Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Whether, the year gone by was good or bad depends on how we were! 


I was reasonably good and the year not so bad! I hope to be better and kinder and wish that the year ahead is good and kind to me, my family, my friends and all others I know and don't know. 


I also hope I start blabbering less in 2010:))


Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Naanum Kutcheriku ponen!

Last weekend we decided to exploit V's love for music, especially percussion and wind instruments ( and also our desire to visit a 'December season Kutcheri'!). With rain dashing any hope of attending a Kadri Gopalnath concert during the week, 'Ghatam' Kartik's ensemble was the only instrumental concert during the weekend. So, keeping our fingers crossed we awaited Saturday evening. The Rain God was merciful and we went to the auditorium and explained to the kid that we were going to watch dum-dum, dham taka dum, tiki tiki tuk vailin and keeeboth (Drums, Mirudangam, Ghatam, Violin and Keyboard in that order). The hall was one-third full (positive thinking??) and we again kept our fingers crossed, wondering how long the little one stay put.

The concert was good, with the kid Satyanarayana excelling on his Synthesizer (A technical name for the Key Board I hear but I will stick to KB for the rest of this post!). He is only 14 and played his part exceedingly well to support the rest who were twice (or more) his age. I am handicapped, when it comes to the techniques of classical music, so I will only give a general description!

V gleefully watched his favorite instruments at play.

The only disappointment was there was hardly any 'Ghatam' at play and Kartik dispalyed his konnakol, singing and talking skills that day.

V took a small break to have his dinner.

The 'Ragam-thallam-pallavi' was excellent, and it was very different to listen to Mirudangam-Violin, KB; Ghatam-Violin, KB; Kanjira-Violin, kb and Drums (actually a rhythm pad!)- violin, KB combinations.

V started fidgeting...

The concert started on time. The sore point (as experienced every year by the 'sabhas') was the near empty hall (negative thinking?). It was actually a little embarrassing because when not playing the instruments, the artists chose to look at the audience, and one could n't bat an eyelid without risking their attention.

We left the hall smiling....V had been quiet for about two and a half hours!

Monday, December 21, 2009

To greet or not to greet...

I have only two reasons to greet someone on an occasion...1) The occasion itself, 2) To stay in touch. The last mentioned is more important of the two.

A few years back, I used to send every one an e-card (that is after having stopped sending paper cards by post). Now, I only send text mails or send a message to their phone, but I send a greeting nevertheless, whether it is the New Year, Deepavali, Christmas and any other occasion. I gloat over this because of a phone call received earlier this year. An ex-colleague called up to find out if everything was OK. I was puzzled. She said, "This year you did not send an SMS for Sankranti and Ugadi...so I wondered....".
I had to explain to that not-yet-married-blissful soul that I was a little busy with the brat and the rest of the family that it slipped my mind and nothing else.

After that I have been careful enough not to leave out any one, despite the fact that (expect on 'bigger occasions like the New Year) not many bother to send a greeting until one initiates. However, it is enough to trigger a response from those under hibernation!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eating Out..

We are not great 'foodies' (if one looks at the quantity we consume!), but we like experimenting. As vegetarians, our options are limited to the vegetarian restaurants in the city, for the sake of variety, more than anything else. For two years we 'adaki vaasichufied' (chaste tamil for staying quiet!), because of the kid, and now that he insists on a separate plate for himself, we have begun 'restaurmenting' (experimenting with restaurants that is!) again.As and when we try a new restaurant, I shall post my experience.


The tried and tested


Saravana Bhavan:  Food quality is as good as ever. However, with new, good, food joints springing up every now and then, Saravana Bhavan seems obnoxiously expensive and their service is not good. Kid-friendly to the extent that they provide high chairs, otherwise they still follow the policy of asking diners to be seated on the same side of the table if possible, to accommodate others!


Murugan Idli Kadai: Another 'functional' eat-out. One gets bored after a few times, since there is no variety in the menu. Quality of food is very good though. One warning: It is better to start with either Idli or a vadai. We once ordered, idlis, vadais, dosas and kuzhi paniyaram, and everything tasted sour. It was summer and guess the batter had gone bad! Expensive, considering what is offered, but good.


Cream center: We visited this place (RA Puram) only a few weeks back and understood why everyone was drooling when they mentioned the place. Lovely food. Absolutely kid-friendly. But highly priced (Channa Patura Rs. 120?? Hard to 'digest', the price that is!) and lackadaisical service. But one can go again and again for the food. To get a good value for your money, I would suggest one tries their 'Thali'.


Eden: A perennial favorite only and only because of the food. Much had been written about their service and space! The Anna Nagar restaurant is spacious though, and also offers more on the menu. I hav n't tried their place at 'Harrisons'. 


Mast Kalandar: (Above Shastri Nagar SBI Branch) A few months old. Good food. Interesting combos. Reasonably priced. Again very functional. They blare 1990s hindi songs and is a bit hard on the ear! Reminded me of the 'Ohri" restaurants in Hyderabad. It is better to go with the combos. If individually ordered, it would appear pricey. We prefer ordering from home and they deliver on time.


Rasam: We dined at their Mylapore outlet. Good food, different fare. But expensive (considering the quantity) and service, lethargic.


There are some more but I don't remember them now!


The New Places


Dosa Calling:  Not new, as their Kilpauk outlet is already many months old, but their Indira nagar outlet is just a few weeks into business.  Food is good. A lot of variety in their menu and they don't stick to Dosas alone. They also offer, Rice, pastas and Wraps. Reasonably priced (cheaper than Murugabn Idli Kadai) and good quality. But the place is very small. They too follow the "sit on the same side of the table" principle. In fact there is no proper waiting area and one has to wait (almost) on the road. Service was slow. They have to do something about the space. Here, the tamil songs blare, and give the effect fit for a 'tea kadai'. I understand that they offer Dosas...but still???


Annalakshmi: This is a new outlet at 'Planet Yumm' on Eliot's Beach. First and foremost, they are (thankfully!) situated outside the common dining place, similar to Saravana Bhavan in Spencer's Plaza. It appears spacious. The food is good and price almost reasonable. They have more variety, and I say this because they may pose a stiff competition to Murugan Idli across the road. They open at ^:00 AM and close at 10:PM. It is clear, however, that they are still in the initial stages and that should explain the slow service. One refreshing change from other eating joints (according to H) is that the plates are yellow and not white! Not too bright but different!!


P.S: The above are based on my experiences at the restaurants that I found 'reasonably good' and not general views as heard from friends and relatives! Also, since I (or we) care more about hygiene, quality and taste, ambiance may or may not feature here!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Displaying Creativity!

Last weekend, V's school hosted a project day. Everything displayed had some contribution by children. Though the school claimed that everything except the setting up was done by children, the teachers' (or aunties in this case) efforts were evident in every display. The whole setting up, for the project day was done in half a day. Since it was the first such thing for us, we were amazed. The theme for V's group was 'Parts of the Body' and tiny hands and feet imprints made reindeer and lotuses come alive. I am too lazy now to display some of the photos...but will ...soon!

While leaving, H said to the coordinator, "Hope the creativity does n't stop here..", to which the good lady replied, " Take it from me...It won't".

Later while walking back home, I said, "The creativity you were talking about will not be gone...How else can you explain the efforts of the people who thought about it and set it all up?", to which the one who always has the last word (sigh!) said, "They probably drew inspiration from the children"...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When the neighborhood has a lot to offer...

The neighborhood we live in has two new eating joints. One is situated opposite two (well established) restaurants. The other new restaurant is about half a kilometre from the above mentioned. In addition to this there is yet another fast food chain in between and a coffee shop on this street and two other coffee shops on the adjacent road.. Then there is a branded jeans store, a textile 'biggie', a unisex saloon and many other shops. And I forgot the supermarket and yet another pizza joint and a few other upcoming eating places and shops and saloons. All the above are situated in a one KM radius.

Good news is n't it? One need n't travel by a vehicle....Just a few minutes walk would help you to meet all your needs. A hair-cut? walk it down. Forgot about the 'Urad dall' just as you are about to switch on the grinder...No problem...run to the store. Or forgot to buy a grinder... head to the electronics giant across the road. Guests coming...Don't wait for a home delivery...stroll across to the nearest pizza outlet and instead of waiting for the pizza, hop across to buy some dosas.

Sounds like fun? I really don't think so. With no one really bothering to create some parking space for people who dine or shop, the whole place is turning into a parking nightmare. Though the street we live in has no restaurant or shops, people who drive down, park their cars here. No one seems to think when they park. When one enters the street, one needs to be wary of the auto rickshaw stand at the street corner, the Toyota Innova parked immediately behind it and a Scorpio parked opposite. If this is a motorist's woe, I cannot even write down in meaningful words, the predicament of pedestrians.

I may sound like a hypocrite here. I want my shops and restaurants within walking distance, yet nurse a grouse. It is not about the commercial spaces themselves, but where they are placed. None of the restaurants or departmental stores I am referring to, having parking spaces for their customers. In many cases, old houses have been converted into swanky new shops. I am not even hinting at those tiny boutiques or antique places located in by-lanes. Every morning and evening the road looks like there is a perennial traffic jam, but in truth it is only an array of vehicles waiting for the signal to go green. Parked vehicles encroach the road so much that the others have to move at a snail's speed.

I can either go on lamenting or do my bit. As of now, we walk (however difficult it might sound!) to places within a kilometer or go around in the two-wheeler to places within a five or six kilometer range (with the kid that is. Without him, the distance really does n't matter!) or take the car only where there is no problem of parking...for us and others.

P.S: I began this post to write about a couple of restaurants that we have been frequenting off late, but had to put this down first, because whenever we come back home after a meal, we are unable to recognize it because of the haphazardly parked cars.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A year ago...

...when I badly needed a break from the routine, when I very badly wanted to do something which I liked, and very very badly wanted to do something for me and me only, I logged into Blogger, 'for the heck's sake'. First I blinked, created a profile, a url, a title and a post. Then changed the url and then the title. Then the title and the url and finally arrived at what it is now.

Though I thought I was doing something for myself, I ended up being a mommy blogger writing about my son! Not to be bogged down by motherhood, I started another blog, only for penning or typing down my thoughts, but just as how the child occupies most of a parent's life this blog bullied and suppressed the other. I am not one to relent... so from now on I am will be writing more general stuff...like schools, kids books, parks, children entertainment etc. Did I say something about relenting???

Technically it is a year since I 'created' this blog, though for the first six months I wrote only two posts, and began 'actively' blogging only since June. So it is a 'Happy half year to this blog' and 'Thank You' to everyone who is taking the pains to read this pain..err..parent! I will continue to disperse sense and nonsense and this is my resolution for the coming year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kid Speak!

Appa and amma are having a silly argument (Note the point, a silly argument - only in front of the kid!) after which...

Amma: V...who is chamathu (loosely translated as good!)... Amma or Appa?
V: (without batting an eyelid) Naanu (Me)
Appa: Nee pozhachupeda... (again loosely translated as..you'll survive this bad bad world and become a politician!!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Drying clothes on a rainy day...

...is one of the most physically and mentally challenging tasks. First, the clothes accumulate, thanks to the kid running to the water and the parents running behind and all three getting wet, or to the fact that the amma ignores the unpredictable weather and leaves the umbrella behind, or to the previous days clothes that smell and feel wet like they are just out of the washing machine. Then, all of a sudden one realizes that the open space available is big enough to dry a few handkerchiefs and piles all the clothes into a bucket and carries them to the terrace on the fourth floor.

Living on the first floor despite the presence of an elevator does n't help as one still has to climb a flight of stairs, some of the steps of which are slippery thanks to the overflowing or dripping water from the terrace. After that one has to constantly look at the sky, put the clothes on the line, squint at the clouds to check if the black ones are really floating towards the said terrace or if it is only an illusion. Just as one finishes putting all the clothes on the line and comes down, again gingerly stepping on the steps, the black clouds close in and it has suddenly become dark. At this, one dashes out to the terrace again, this time with the kid coming along since he had found out that he was left behind the previous time.

One checks the clothes and tells herself that the clothes seemed to have become a little dry and carries the heavy bucket and the crying kid, huffs and puffs all the way down only to find that it is indeed drizzling outside. After a small pat on the shoulder to self, one begins to dry the clothes in the balcony and irons the half dried ones. Just then the sun comes out all scorching and one puts one's big foot in the mouth, removes all the clothes, takes them out to the terrace again, does a small jig at the sun and son, dries the clothes, comes down, and after the exhausting work, amma and child take a nap. Only to wake up and find that it is pouring outside. One looks out expressionlessly and goes back to sleep again.

It is another story that all the clothes were soggy and wet and dirty because the loose sand on the terrace had stuck to them, what with the wind blowing hard,  and all the clothes had to be washed again, and the process of drying...repeated as above!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Manners please...

We were on our usual beach outing. The little one and his appa were in the water and his amma as usual was gaping and wondering... at the sea of course! I got up to call out to the duo to get back, when I noticed a boy (looked like college going) clicking snaps of V, with his digital camera. To make sure I was right, I stood a good four feet behind him, and thanks to his camera with a really wide screen, I was able to see that he was indeed clicking photos of V. It was so casual, that people walking in front of him stopped so that they did n't affect his view. He was even framing out H.

I was livid to say the least and as father and son were retreating, I was on the heels of the 'camera' guy. Actually, he did n't expect someone to be watching him and was walking away without even telling the parent that he had clicked his son's photo. They were a group of four or five boys and all I asked him was, "Don't you think you should have asked first"? He looked plainly shocked that he was being watched and deleted (he seemed to be doing something of that sort. I did n't pull his camera out to cross check, which on hindsight, I feel was a foolish thing to have forgotten) whatever he had clicked. Also, I am pretty sure that he was embarrassed, with many eyes on him, as it was quite crowded that time.

I told H of what had happened and he remained silent for a very long time. If he is silent when I keep jabbering, it only means either of the two:

He, as always, thinks I am talking nonsense and does n't bother to listen, or

He is really bothered and is thinking seriously about it, which only means the issue is grave.

This time it was obviously the latter and I kept saying how youngsters these days seemed to have lost all manners. He said the following, trying to sound casual but it gave me the creeps...

"What do you think will happen..In worst cases he'll probably upload this as his profile photo in Facebook..."

The above was what prompted me to do the post. How far can one go to protect one's child? If someone asks before clicking a photograph, we can think of something before refusing politely. But what if something like the above happens? Now, I am actually thinking about the many times this could have happened without our getting to know. This is not the case of making a mountain out of a molehill, because this is serious considering the circumstances that we live in. I can only appeal to those who seem to throw all reasoning behind and do what they like.

At least when you take a photograph of a child make sure you speak to his or her parents about it.

Knowing well this may not work, a suggestion parents...Throw your inhibitions off...Tell the 'perpetrators' politely, or if they don 't listen, there is no harm in being rude. It is you child after all.