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Cooking

December 8, 2017
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One of the luxuries we’ve decided to have after our move to India was to hire a cook. Given my obsession to cook everything from scratch, eliminate all processed foods from our diet, not using store bought powders, sauces etc., and two of the four of us with food allergies, it made sense to indulge in this luxury. I rarely cook these days except for an occasional off day for the cook. Our cook needed a surgery, so she took off for two months and left a temporary replacement for us. After a month, the temp cook found a permanent job and left. With R2A looming ahead, this was the perfect time for me to practice my cooking skills.

Yesterday, I woke up at 6am, and made brown rice, dondakaya fry, boiled peanuts for kids snack, made dosas and cocunut chutney for their breakfast, and packed their lunches, snack, water bottles etc. by 7:45. MIL and BIL were visiting, so made another batch of dosas for the 5 of us (including the maid) and Chai for all of us. For lunch and dinner I made Chukkakura dal and Beerakaya chutney to go with rice. It was past 10AM by the time I finished all this and ended up with a splitting headache and nausea. After lunch, I had to chauffeur MIL to visit a sick relative after lunch. In the evening, chauffeured kid 2 to dance class, dinner and tried to sleep by 9 still with a headache. Got up to take a painkiller and slept by 10pm.

Today again, woke up by 6am. Made brown rice, chikkudukaya fry for lunch, boiled the soaked peanuts for snack and Idli’s for breakfast. Kid 2 wanted pasta because it’s field trip day and everybody brings fancy western lunches, so she had to have it. Made white sauce and pasta with carrots and green peppers for her, packed lunches, snack, water bottles and sent them off. Since there is no more idli batter, made dosas for the rest of us. Then made butter from the milk cream I’ve been saving. Since mil is around and kid 1 loves mysorepak, we decided to make it. She got pickle for us without tadka, so did that and finished around 10AM again. In the evening I made Egg porutu to go with rice for dinner.

I’m exhausted with a slight headache and nausea today also from all of this cooking. Both days, I couldn’t do much else beyond all the cooking. Long time ago I realized the fumes from deep frying gives me a bad headache and nausea. And so I don’t make anything that calls for deep frying. I guess the fumes from making dosas and tadkas is enough to trigger headaches now. Possibly because I’m not used spending so much time in the kitchen, and instead of taking it slow I overdid it. I do love cooking except when I have to do it everyday. If/when we move back to America, the thought of cooking for a family of four, along with cleaning, laundry and other chores (which I never had to do here), along with a full-time job scares me. I know everybody in US does it including my sil who is perfection personified. They all say I’ll get used to it, and I really hope so. In the meantime, I eagerly wait for my cook healthy and back to work.

 

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The opposite of ‘multi-tasking’

November 29, 2017

Single-tasking, uni-tasking, mono-tasking, concentrating, maintaining focus are some of the the words people tried to use as the antonym for ‘multi-tasking’. None of these terms however resonate with what I have in mind. You see how all of these words including their antonym ‘multi-tasking’ have a positive connotation, where as the word I need is intended to be ‘unfavorable’ (I chose not to use negative). What would you call a debilitating issue where if there is a major decision/task to be made/done, one cannot do anything thing else except for the most mundane tasks like eat, sleep etc. Should we call it “Debilitate-tasking”, “disable-tasking” or “dead-tasking”???

There is still No End in Sight for us. And while we wait for it to happen, we postpone seemingly normal tasks like inviting folks for dinner, out of town visits, bringing parents over for their health checkup etc. Also didn’t bother to celebrate two huge milestones, a milestone birthday and a milestone wedding anniversary. It’s not like I do something to resolve it (husband does though), yet have a busy, cluttered mind incapable of functioning in a normal mode. Wish there is a magic wand or a switch or a medicine to make our brains work whenever we need them to.

Books, books and more books

November 14, 2017

Books read in the past month:

  • Number the stars by Lois Lowry
    • The resident brand new teen is apparently a big fan of this author. He got this from the school library, shoved it into my hands and said “read”. And boy am I glad about that. It was a gripping tale of two ten year old girls and their families in Denmark during world war II. Germans invade Denmark and one of families help the other (jewish) family escape the Nazis. Must read.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    • YA genre. I learnt about fan fiction in this book. The protagonist is a writer of fan fiction and her stori(es) are interspersed with the main story of the book. The inner story has paranormal stuff which doesn’t interest me at all. So I skipped it altogether. It felt like it ended abruptly, although it may have some connection with the inner story (and maybe I missed the point of the book completely).
  • Hillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance
    • Gives a perspective of the so called hillbillies and a great respect for the author for rising up despite the adverse surroundings he grew up in. A well-written non-fiction book. Highly recommend.
  • The Other Boleyn girl by Philippa Gregory
    • The story of the two Boleyn sisters, both involved with King Henry VIII, one as a mistress and the other who becomes a wife. The book is long, but I still couldn’t put it down until I’ve completed it. Amazingly well written book based on historical events.
  • Re-read portions of Lisa Kleypas books – “Dreaming of You”, “Where dreams begin”, and books in the “Hathaway series”. I can never get enough of Kleypas’s books.

To be read:

  • “First Muslim” by Lesley Hazleton
  • “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee

Children are the windows to our souls

November 11, 2017

It struck me today that Self-awareness is a quality that I’m sorely lacking in. Not only am I totally unaware of my faults, I rate myself pretty high in certain good qualities even when I don’t have them. Now what brought this on?? Why am I suddenly looking inward and thinking about self-awareness?? My amazing younger kid has her emotions on the sleeve, and frequently blows up, sulks, whines etc. when the mood strikes. She can get quite jealous of friends, cousins etc., even when there is no reason to be. I kept telling her how sometimes it’s okay to be jealous, but that she has to keep her emotions in check. In particular today, she was blowing up because mommy loves her friend more than her which was an absurd thought. And I tried telling her that. Anyhoo, I realized that I have similar qualities – getting jealous, blowing up occasionally, being self-centered etc.. It’s not a sudden realization, more like I knew I have those qualities, but have never acknowledged them.  Today I’ve also acknowledged that I’m all talk, but no action. I’m trying to decide whether to make peace with these facts, or make an effort to change them or ideally do both.

 

No End in Sight

October 31, 2017

Our family is at crossroads. And the direction that we are supposed to take is currently not in our control. The decision to take is based on whether or when somebody else decides to abide by an agreement made. Why is it so hard for people to say YES or NO?? And if they decided on “yes”, why NOT abide by the agreement. Three times agreements were made, one verbal, one on paper – signed, and the third waiting to be signed contingent on them fulfilling their initial commitment. First two have been dragging on to the point where we’ve given up. Waiting on the third which was supposed to be done yesterday, but still waiting and hoping against hope that this one will go through. Or else back to square one. This waiting is torturous for someone with low patience levels to start with.

Twice so far we’ve made major decisions and each one is preceded and decided by not so good positioning of our lives. If there is a third time, I hope it’s on a truly positive note.

On the little things that matter, resuming regular exercise has brought down our PMS melt-downs to a manageable level. And this month is bearable on that count. Although my gym membership is expiring this month I think, and I don’t think I’ll renew it <sigh>.

#MeToo

October 23, 2017
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  1. When I was about 6 or 7, my dad sent me to a neighbor uncle’s house about 5 doors down to give something. This is a time when it’s common for kids to play outside unaccompanied. He didn’t think twice about sending me alone. The uncle on the other hand was worried for my safety, and sent his teen son to accompany me back to our place. The boy made me hold his penis to masturbate. This memory is so vivid – I don’t remember much else about my childhood in that place where we lived until I was 8.
  2. We were visiting some caves when I was about 12, when someone grabbed and pinched my non-existing breasts.
  3. A few guys were riding on a bike and one of them hit me hard on the back when I was walking with a cousin on the road. I almost lost my balance.
  4. The worst was when I was a child of 10 and a relative staying at home abused me over a period of time. The details are still difficult for me to share. This is a person for whom my dad helped secure a job and our family provided shelter and food while he settled down.

I’ve never ever shared these incidents with another soul. Why, I’m not sure!! Maybe because the topic never came up with people who I could share this with. I no longer feel ashamed or guilty about these incidents. And know for a fact that it’s not me.

Toll-gate revelations

July 3, 2017

On our way back from our parents town from a weekend trip, there were several locations where we had to pay toll. First time, the husband who was driving wasn’t paying attention and ended up behind a line of vehicles while the other lines were practically empty. The next time we paid close attention to all the gates and ended up in the shortest line with only one vehicle in front. Unfortunately that guy took forever to pay and we see that all the vehicles that came after us leave while we were still stuck behind this one vehicle. Then there was this time where there are huge lines of vehicles and we still tried to optimize. What do we know, the line we were in moves the slowest even after switching lanes twice.

And this folks is the story of our life. No matter what we do, we get the short end of the stick.