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Supermarket experiences

February 4, 2018

We live in the border of a most coveted neighborhood on one side and a predominantly muslim area on the other. I frequently go to a supermarket in the area where grocery prices are cheaper. On one of my trips to the store, I saw 2 women in a burka behind an aisle blatantly eating ice cream. After they were done they didn’t even bother buying anything before they stepped out of the store. It’s no wonder that people are treated very suspiciously in most stores this side of town. Before we step in the store, they tag the bags shut and only open them at checkout. I later realized it’s so you cannot steal stuff and hide. It used to offend me but not enough to go shop for the same stuff in the expensive side of town.

In another incident, I went to another supermarket to quickly grab a few things I needed. Got them and stood in a checkout line, behind an old lady with a driver and a truck load of stuff. There was a buy one get one free for something she bought and when the store clerk pointed it out, she went to get it. I left some space for her to come back again. A guy barges into that space and jumps the line to go in front of me. I politely got his attention and once he realized what he did, instead of apologizing he started attacking me rudely. “If you are next, stand here. Why would you stand there?” and so on. For a moment I was shocked, but immediately I saw “RED” (didn’t help that I was PMSing). Suffice to say I reacted and words were exchanged. But the result of that altercation is what surprised me the most. I immediately got ushered into the next counter where a clerk checked my stuff at jet speed. There was an instant shift from me being an unnoticed shopper to folks in the store being respectful towards me. Lesson learnt – “Assert yourself and you will be respected”. The clincher is when another dude does the same exact thing to this guy behind me and barges in before him in the line. Karma is a bitch.

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Reflection/Resolution Time

January 8, 2018

2017 was an okayish year. It started off with us deciding to move back to US before august so kids can start 2017 academic year there. And husband puts the onus on me to do all of that, because of his business issues and wrapping up takes time. I knew I’d be a single parent with a job struggling to settle down in my job and helping my kids settle, and I absolutely didn’t want that. The selfish person that I am, we cancelled our plans.

Then came the girls function for which my parents spent a lot of money – I don’t know why I went ahead with it. It was fun in some ways, but a lot of effort. Overall I hated myself for going through with it which I did to fulfill other peoples expectations. And the funny part is they deny that they expected this of me and my parents <sigh>.

And since October, the push to move back started again. We decided it’s best for the kids education/exposure/future. I love change and I’m excited, but clueless as to where to start. Husband’s issues are much more complicated and we don’t know when he is able to wrap up and move. And I can see that I’ll be stuck in the single parent scenario again. Instead of actively starting the process, I’m just sitting here doing nothing.

I’m not great at making resolutions and sticking to them. But this is one resolution I want to make and stick to. When we move to US, we will proactively start making friends and socialize as a family. Our social life is severely lacking. As a family we are never in the mood to socialize and so have zero family friends. And it’s all our fault. It felt kind of sad that at times when we wanted to have someone over, we didn’t know who to call.

 

Life as it’s happening

December 22, 2017
  • Sale agreement made, waiting for the final sale to happen and as usual it’s getting delayed which in turn is delaying all our plans.
  • Daughter’s dance school had a performance at the World Telugu Conference closing ceremony with an audience of 50,000 according to the newspaper coverage. The President of India was the chief guest. There were about a hundred dancers performing in various groups, and our little one was the only dancer with an almost solo performance with her teacher for a short one minute role. Lots of excitement from us parents while the girl is cool about it.
  • Still lots of cooking happening in the kitchen with mom. We’ve all been looking forward to meal times given the fresh food and the great taste, thanks to mom’s hand in the cooking.
  • Speaking about food, I pretty much stick to making the South Indian food. Not a fan of the gluten and hence no chappathi’s or rotis at home. While I love the western food, I hate using the processed ingredients that goes into making them, so not much of that either at home. Kids love all things western when it comes to food in theory (I think it’s coz’ of the west craze and the peer pressure at school). They keep complaining about not getting “other” food. Anything Indian (especially south-indian) is uncool. It’s okay to experiment and love different cuisines, but why shun our own food. I just don’t get it.
  • Done with mom’s health follow-ups and thankfully it’s all good.
  • There is always this background thread of sadness and brain fog in the mind. While I’ve learnt to deal/manage the sadness through supplements, being thankful for all the good in my life and reminding myself that there is no reason to be sad. The fog on the other hand is a constant. I need for it to lift so I can move on with the next phase of our lives by finding a job and helping my kids through their stuff.
  • Disgusted with the politics at both the state and center level. Power is very dangerous, makes people so arrogant with very little regard for the common man.
  • It’s reflection and resolution time, but my foggy brain is unable to get to it yet.

Cooking Musings

December 17, 2017
  • Lots of cooking happening at home. Made finger-licking chicken biryani that was a huge hit in the family. On the flip side cooking in a hurry led to disastrous results – salty dal and omelette ending up in garbage.
  • While I’ve been good at making regular south indian meals, sweet and savory snacks and pickles were beyond my capability.  With mom and mil visiting, I’ve decided to remedy this and made mysore-pak and cauliflower pickle with their help.
  • Cooking from scratch requires a lot of work. I officially hate peeling garlic, but won’t have it any other way.
  • There is so much goodness to the spices in pickles despite the bad rep they’ve gotten. Fenugreek, Garlic, Mustard, Oil, Vegetable(s), Salt and Chilly powder – delicious and healthy (I don’t consider non-refined oils unhealthy).
  • It’s so much more enjoyable to cook in the kitchen with the company and experienced hands of my mom.
  • In theory, I love the idea of living in a joint family and being a house-wife, cooking for my family and learning from the older generation of women. However I will not trade my working woman’s life, living in different countries and the exposure it gave me for the traditional way of life.

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.

 

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