Sunday, December 30, 2007

When Chocolate does the trick

Yesterday I was having a rather difficult day, my son was sick with viral fever, we all had 2 consecutive sleepless nights as we had to keep checking his temperature & then give medicines, & to add to all this I was nervous because the last time Aadi had viral fever he also had a Febrile Seizure; so every time the thermometer showed a rise in temperature my heart went racing.
I tried to remain calm, but I knew that inside I was fighting my own devils. So yesterday Aadi was a bit better, no fever, was cheerful as CS & his nephew were here so he had company to play. But when they went off site seeing, Aadi was in a bad mood & Amol was also not at home & to top it all I was experiencing palpitations as though a super fast train was racing inside me!! I was restless, my body aching at the same time with zero energy. Fortunately Aadi went to sleep but sleep was miles away from me...I could not even get myself to shut my eyes as my hand was always going towards Aadi to check him for fever. Finally after some four hours Amol was home & I held up my hands in complete defeat, I declared I needed rest & Amol helped me keep an eye on Aadi while I rested. I lay down with a book, but could not concentrate on the words...I tried shutting my eyes but again I could not sleep coz I could hear my heart racing & thumping!! I got up went to my buffet near the dining table & pick up that bar of chocolate that had been sitting there for a long time. I took it in my room, opened it & slowly chomped off the entire thing....what followed was complete bliss !! peacefulness came over me, I was cheerful again, the train inside me had reached its destination & was no longer chugging. I think I managed to sleep for some time after all this & then in the evening we went to my favourite place: KLCC. We sat down near the fountains while CS & Anirban (his nephew) took pictures. I took in all the soothing sounds of the fountains, it healed me. I enjoyed the sights of the ever changing designs of the numerous water jets rise & fall in wonderful synchronisation. Aadi & I also went close enough to the fountains so that when the wind blew some super fine jets of cold water blew towards us. (If I was to say this in Marathi I would say: thanda panyache halke halke tushar amchyawar padle.)
My day ended on a high note with a dinner of extra hot Peri-Peri chicken & Mexican rice from my favourite Nando's.
So ladies, when your spirits take a dive, please plunge into some dark sweet gooey chocolate!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Books for babies & toddlers

Reading to our kids is a very important thing. This way we introduce them to the beautiful world of books & improve their vocabulary. Reading also helps develop concepts of numbers, letters, colors, shapes. Children learn to listen, reading also helps develop their memory; most importantly we are giving them lots of information about the world around them.
I read to my toddler from a very early age, but for us it is not a bed-time activity, we read in the afternoon or when ever we want a bit of rest after some activity, this way I found that Aadi takes more interest & is alert when something new comes up. His favourite are the Clifford books, I also read to him some Marathi books (Marathi is our mother tongue). Over time Aadi has taken a huge liking for books & picks up some book from his shelf & sits down to browse & comes to me with all his questions!!

This is a recommended reading list from for infants to age 2:

Hug by Jez Alborough - A tiny chimp invokes the universal language, uniting his friends in a group hug to end all group hugs.
Max's Bedtime by Rosemary Wells - Max's rubber elephant is lost. Ruby tosses him her bear, but Max still can't sleep. So many toys get piled on his bed that he falls off -- and there's the elephant! Good night!
Shanna's Princess Show by Jean Marzollo - "Shanna is a whole series and it's great for African American kids to see some black faces in story books like this one." — Oprah
Counting Kisses by Karen Katz - How many Kisses does it take to say goodnight?
When Mama Comes Home Tonight by Eileen Sinelli - No other bedtime book addresses working families as effectively as When Mama Comes Home Tonight.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. - A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Combined with Martin's sing-song text, Carle's boldly colored collages create unforgettable images of these endearing animals
Duck Is Dirty by Satoshi Kitamura - What starts out as a pleasant stroll becomes one catastrophe after another for Duck, our hapless lovable hero.
Snoozers by Sandra Boynton - By using the colorful picture tabs on this collection of seven bedtime stories, kids can easily find the story they want to hear. Snoozers is the perfect bedtime book for children and parents.
Baby Dance by Ann Taylor - A rhythmic poem by 19th-century poet Ann Taylor makes a delightful board book perfect for baby and parent to share.
Time for Bed by Mem Fox - At the end of the day, darkness is falling and little ones are getting sleepy, feeling cozy and being tucked into bed.
The Adventures of Max the Minnow by William Boniface - A small fish sets off to become the biggest fish of all, only to learn to appreciate himself as he is.
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley - It empowers a child to scare of the monster, one of the fears a lot of kids have at this age." — Oprah
No, David! by David Shannon - When Award-winning writer and illustrator David Shannon was five years old, he wrote and illustrated his first book. On every page were these words: "No, David!" ...and a picture of David doing things he was not supposed to do. Now David is all grown up. But some things never change.
Little White Duck by Walt Whippo - "This is a book you can sing or read." — Oprah

Here are some more timeless books for toddlers:
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. About a little bunny who before falling asleep, wishes all that he loves in his room goodnight. A poetic classic that gently lulls a child to dreamland.
Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. An infinitely mischievous yet engaging (and not at all frightening) tale that will delight every young one and every one young at heart. Also see other books in the trilogy: In The Night Kitchen and Outside Over There.
Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram. With over 12 million copies in distribution worldwide, this beautifully-illustrated book about whether you can measure love is as popular as it is touching.
Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?, by Karen Katz.Arguably the cutest lift-the-flap book that will get your little one laughing himself/ herself to sleep. Helps little ones learn about eyes, lips, hands and other parts of the body.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Beautiful pictures and adorable storyline aside, this book serves as an ideal introduction to math and life-science concepts. It’s actually used in some preschools to explain a butterfly’s intriguing life cycle! Also look for The Very Busy Spider by the same author.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Christmas day, always bring back memories of my earliest Christmas celebrations. In my school in Pune, which is a Convent school, we celebrated Christmas with much aplomb. The last day of school preceding the Christmas vacations was the 'Christmas Party'. Each class in the school had to decorate the class with the Christmas theme, cotton was used to depict snow. The good old babool tree came into use as the Christmas tree. The desks & chairs were shifted from their usual rows & placed at the back of the class. All windows decorated with the brightest colored paper, mistletoes were cut out & painted. I also remember that the four house-boards (the ones that were at the top of the central staircase that started from in front of the office) between class 7 & 8 were also decorated according to the holiday season.
We also had the Christmas story enacted by us, and when I was in class 2 or 3 I was one of the shepherds. Dressed in a house gown, black poster paint in place of a beard, a cloth covering the head & a stick procured from I don't know where...There was baby Jesus, Mother Mary, Joseph, the three kings, pleanty of farm animals & not forgetting the little mule that carried Mother Mary. Wow as I write this the entire thing just swam across my eyes!!
After school, Christmas was only a holiday in the regular student life, no real involvement with anything Christmassy.
When I had left India 4 years back, the mall-culture had only begun & thus the typical Christmas theme Malls were not there. But at the same time the highly developed mall scenario took me by storm here. I was delighted to see all the malls decked up as per the festival of the season; be it Deepawali, Eid, Christmas, the malls were always there to remind me what festival was approaching.
Now that my son is growing up I want to do something Christmassy so that he understands & respects the entire purpose of Christmas. Well not just Christmas, I would like to make every festival in every faith a special day in order to let him grow into a person who respects all religions & has full knowledge of the traditions, customs of each faith.
One thing that I remember very well from my school days is that my Principal Sister Mark, would say that it is not correct to mention Christmas as 'Xmas' because Christmas is there because of Christ, & if we use an 'X' instead of 'Christ' you are cutting out Christ from Christmas. So I do not use the short form & always use Christmas in full.
Merry Christmas to you all !!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pre-school hunt update

The update is long overdue, as I had decided to finalise the pre-school on Wednesday itself. My luck seems to be running out as it is the year-end!! I'll tell you why I am saying this:
Wednesday I set off for Gymboree & decided to ditch the music class there & instead take the taxi around to look at the schools & Aadi is sleepy & hungry after the class. As I discussed my plans with Sebastien uncle, he gave me a worried look & told me that he has a pick up scheduled, so he will complete that & then take me around. He promised he'll be back in 20 minutes. So anyways the music class was gone, so I took a stroll in Bangsar village; and spent 31 RM on a single curtain holder!! Gosh by the time I went to pay for it, I was too embarrassed to return it, so I managed to say that if it does not fit my curtain I'll return it & get something else in place. That was another example of luck running out. To top this, uncle comes a good hour later instead of the promised 20!! reason being - traffic jam.
OK finally we set off, & first headed for Taska Jaunty Montessori along Jalan Ara, we found it very easily, but it was closed & there was a banner with two phone numbers on it. I had one of them & took down the other one. But I did inspect the place from outside. I liked it, small garden with proper playing equipment. Looked organised to me. Shoe racks in place. So I will wait for them to return from their vacation. Yes, before I go on to the next school, let me also tell you that none of the numbers on the banner seem to be working or connected!! So I just hope that my phone call gets an answer..somehow!!
Second on list was Words, the pre-school along Jalan Maroff near Bangsar Shopping Center. Ms. Shelly was there to welcome me in in spite the school being closed for vacations & cleaning. She took me on a tour of the school & showed me all the different areas like toddler area, out-door play area, water play area, sand play area, eating area etc. The place looks very organised & clean. I liked the easy environment there, not a school-school..There are lots of colourful things around to stimulate the children. The best part was that they have an uniform, this is very important to me as it gives the child a sense of belonging & identity. Aadi's previous pre-school in S'pore had uniforms & he loved to wear it, even now on days that he misses school too much, he goes to his cupboard & brings his school uniform & just wearing it makes him happy :)
To continue about Words, I also like their attention to detail like installing staircase-gates so that no toddler gets to a place where he should not be. There is plenty of room to move & play, another thing I loved about the place is that it has a low student-teacher ratio of 6:1. They follow partial Montessori methods, they prefer using crayons to actually draw alphabets & numbers which is not done in Montessori. They also have lots of after school activity & hobby classes. Their web site is very informative:
I like this one a lot, & know for sure that my son will be very happy here.
But I am still going to wait for Taska Jaunty to re-open as it is full Montessori & that is my most important criterion.
So the hunt is still ON...wish me luck !!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When the maid does not come..

Sunday night my maids daughter calls in to say that her mom would not be coming the next day. I was too sleepy to react so I just thanked her for the message & went off to sleep. Well the next morning when I went to the kitchen, I could not find the tea pot, it had not been washed the previous day. So I made tea in something else. I had put all the utensils in a tub & submerged them in water so that they are easy to clean for the maid on Monday...but she did not turn up!! So there I was with heaps of utensils to clean, & a schedule to keep as it was also Arts-day at Gymboree for my son. So I left them & started with our preparations for the outing. Breakfast was made according to the pots available. Hubby was sent off without a fresh lunch, I just packed some chicken (I had attempted to make Peri-Peri chicken & Mexican rice for Sunday dinner) & Mexican rice. Hubby was more than happy to have it for lunch again !! We went off to the class & upon our return although Aadi slept for two hours I invested them in the ongoing school hunt. Then the normal schedule caught on, & before I realised it was evening & dinner was to be made. Then I remembered that I had bought a huge Papaya the previous day, so bingo !! that was turned into dinner with a dose to hubby that we must lose weight & eating fruits for dinner was one way !! So there you go, no vessels to wash!! Then as hubby was busy in cutting the Papaya, I finally got myself to clean the sink full of vessels, the tub remains un-touched till now.
Assuming that the maid will turn up tomorrow, I did some spring cleaning today, & also sprayed some insect repellent in our room; and have made a mental note of all the tasks lined up tomorrow. But again I am worried that tomorrow I want to finalise Aadi's school also, so how will I manage all these things considering the fact that the timings are a bit overlapping.
Anyways, tomorrow is a new day & maybe something will work out & I will be able to do all my tasks & also get the maid to do her bit.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Search for that 'perfect' pre-school - Still ON

Come Monday & I am all enthu to re-start the hunt for that 'perfect' pre-school for my now very bored son. (The photo above is from his previous pre-school in Singapore). It has to follow the Montessori method of teaching, there should be a low teacher-student ratio, they should have a playground, they must be clean & hygienic, the teachers/directresses must be soft & gentle with the kids, they should be...., the school has to... oh well the list never ends. Well actually it ends, but these are things that are very important for the child.

Well today I decided to visit a school while returning from Aadi's Gymboree Art class. We can manage only one as the class ends at 12, and Aadi is sleepy or hungry or both !! So off we went to Gymboree & then as soon as class was over we hopped into uncle Sebastian's taxi & went off looking for Fungarten Kindergarten along Lorong Marrof, we found the house number correctly, but there was no sign of Fungarten, the place had some other name, & looked run down. Even then I went in & enquired with the lady. There were a few kids inside, mostly day-care ones I feel, & seeing them Aadi decides to take off his shoes & run inside; and I am trying to get the lady to tell me where Fungarten relocated to...well my enquiry was futile, & I went back to the taxi with Aadi howling away for not being sent inside the school. He went off to sleep on way home & was dozing for a good couple of hours. During which I racked my brains, Google, and everything else I could think off to find some more pre-schools in Bangsar. Finally I decided to cut it short & stick to the few names that I have, One of them is Tasks Jaunty Montessori, the other is Words. I liked the latter one more as I have gone through their web site & the place looks fun. So now I have decided that enough is enough, I will choose between these two only...well except that I want to check out Children's House also!! but they are closed until 7th January, and I cannot bear to keep Aadi away from school till then.

So now Wednesday will be the-day, the day that we finally decide. I have plans to also carry some cash so that I register there n there if I like the school. So wish me luck for Wednesday!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why do we have a prayer room?

Most Indian homes have a prayer room or altar. A lamp is lit and the Lord worshipped each day. Other spiritual practices like japa - repetition of the Lord’s name, meditation, paaraayana - reading of the scriptures, prayers, and devotional singing etc are also done here. Special worship is done on auspicious occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and the like. Each member of the family - young or old - communes with and worships the Divine here. The Lord is the entire creation. He is therefore the true owner of the house we live in too. The prayer room is the Master room of the house. We are the earthly occupants of His property. This notion rids us of false pride and possessiveness. The ideal attitude to take is to regard the Lord as the true owner of our homes and us as caretakers of His home. But if that is rather difficult, we could at least think of Him as a very welcome guest. Just as we would house an important guest in the best comfort, so too we felicitate the Lord’s presence in our homes by having a prayer room or altar, which is, at all times, kept clean and well-decorated. Also the Lord is all pervading. To remind us that He resides in our homes with us, we have prayer rooms. Without the grace of the Lord, no task can be successfully or easily accomplished. We invoke His grace by communing with Him in the prayer room each day and on special occasions.
Each room in a house is dedicated to a specific function like the bedroom for resting, the drawing room to receive guests, the kitchen for cooking etc. The furniture, decor and the atmosphere of each room are made conducive to the purpose it serves. So too for the purpose of meditation, worship and prayer, we should have a conducive atmosphere – hence the need for a prayer room. Sacred thoughts and sound vibrations pervade the place and influence the minds of those who spend time there. Spiritual thoughts and vibrations accumulated through regular meditation, worship and chanting done there pervade the prayer room. Even when we are tired or agitated, by just sitting in the prayer room for a while, we feel calm, rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Benefits of Honey

Eyesight: Regular use of honey mixed with the carrot juice helps to improve the eyesight. It should be taken one hour before meals in the morning.

Cough: Mixture of equal quantities of honey and ginger juice is a good expectorant. It gives immediate relief in symptoms like cold, cough, sore throat, congestion of chest and runny nose.

Asthma: Mix half a gram of black pepper powder with honey and ginger juice mixture (equal quantity). Take this mixture at least three times a day. It helps to cure asthma.

Blood Pressure: Take one teaspoonful of garlic juice mixed with two teaspoonful of honey. It can be taken twice a day in the morning and evening. Regular use of this mixture is beneficial for high blood pressure.

Blood Purification and Fat Reduction: Take one glass of warm water and mix 1-2 teaspoonful of honey and one teaspoonful of lemon juice. Take this preparation daily before evacuation. It helps to purify the blood. It also helps to reduce fat and to clean the bowels.

Heart Tonic: One teaspoonful of anise powder mixed with one or two teaspoonful of honey acts a very nice tonic for the heart. It strengthens the heart muscles and improves its functions.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday, I told hubby not to wake me up at midnight for wishing me, as I was tired & did not want to be cranky when I would be required to be cheerful. So we slept off, but there it was the phone rang at mid night & it was my brother & mom, I don't recall what we spoke initially, but then as we went on, my sleep went away & I actually asked Mom to continue talking as I was wide awake!! Meanwhile hubby was awake & doing something in the kitchen, as I walked in, he lit the candle which was singing 'Happy birthday to you', & mounted it on top of a chocolate pastry. We had a mini cake-cutting ceremony & was handed my card which had some very mushy lines on it. We wanted to cut the cake while Aadi was awake so we abandoned the ceremony & went straight to bed. We woke up at a princely 8 & I went about my regular chores, then decided to meet for lunch. So after calling for a cab & sweating off the waiting period we were finally off to Amcorp Mall, oh by the way I decided to get my much needed haircut done today. Aadi was handed over to hubby with a bag full of books & goodies to eat. I entered the salon anticipating what lay ahead. Here I want to tell you that the last haircut I had was in a Jean Yip salon in Singapore & I was very unhappy with the result. So this time I did not want to mess up. So I mustered all my courage & told the lady there (named Sabrina) that I did not want to shorten the length, but just needed some layers & an overall nice look. She understood & then suggested that I go in for a moisture treatment as well as my hair was "not healthy" according to her. I did not want to explain to her that they were not unhealthy but just neglected so I gave my consent to the treatment. My only concern was the time all this would take as I had to meet my two boys for lunch, I was assured that I would be done in 45 minutes. So then a girl came with some shampoo & a squeezy bottle of water, she lathered my hair with the shampoo & gave me a good massage also :) after that it was off to the basin for a wash, where she asked me if I preferred warm or cold water to which I replied cold. She washed my hair gently & bundled me up for the treatment which was to follow. The treatment consisted of a cream/lotion which was applied on small sections & then a bundle was made on top of my hair & then the 'dome' machine was got & placed strategically over my head. To my horror I saw steam coming out of it & recalled all the movie scenes where the lady screams & runs out of the salon when steam/fumes appear from the 'dome' machine. I gave a concerned look to the lady & she gave me a re-assuring smile. Oh before I forget let me mention that I was offered a hot cup of Milo & some biscuits while the massage was on. After the machine went 'ting' it was finally removed & then the girl told me I had to wait for 3 minutes before washing again. So after another cold-water wash I went back to my perch again & then began the cut which was done by a cute Chinese guy with the weirdest hair & color I had ever seen. Maybe I can call it the shabby look !!! The haircut turned out good & the setting took it's time & another girl was called in to help. SO I had 2 people with 2 very noisy dryers trying to style my hair. But at the end it was all worth it coz I really liked what I saw of myself in the mirror. So off I went to meet the boys with a broad smile, expecting a huge compliment from hubby. What I actually got was a broader smile & 'it's looking nice, I was going to tell you to cut it this way' !!

We then headed to Chutneys for lunch, it is an Indian restaurant located in newtown PJ. We ordered 1/2 chicken tandoori, paneer masala, one garlic naan, one butter naan & spicy Andhra rice. The drinks were spicy buttermilk & Punjabi lemonade. I can't begin to tell you how amazing the food was. The tandoori was just perfect, the chicken had the right seasonings & was devoid of the typical tandoori red color, there was the amazing aroma of charcoal & the meat itself was tender. I generally don't like non-veg items in restaurants but this one was simply outstanding. The paneer (a hot favourite of mine) was spicy & not too I quite liked it & the best past about my butter naan was that it had a sprinkling of sesame seeds on it that made it all the more yummmm. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch & then headed back to Amcorp, from where we were to head separate ways.

We had plans of going out for dinner at another favourite joint called Nando's. But we are still so full with the lunch that we dropped the idea & are relaxing at home. I wanted to put all this down before the date changed in the calendar so in midst of keeping my eyes open & attending to Aadi I am finishing this special post. Happy Birthday to Me !!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Terrible Two's

Ever since I read Malina’s post about toddler hood, and terrible two’s; I have wanted to shout out to the whole world that I too have just very recently experienced the ‘onset of the terrible tow’s’!!
Earlier when mommies would tell me how their kids were suddenly not babies any more but had opinions and demands and most of all a vocabulary to say what’s on their minds…I was like…”my Aadi would never do that…he is just too sweet for all this”. But I was proved very wrong. As soon as Aadi turned two, he suddenly was not my baby anymore, he was suddenly saying a lot of words, at times broken sentences and most of all he was learning the trick of their trade i.e. throwing tantrums.
Of course it is not as terrible as it sounds. I love the fact that his language skills have improved so well and he can say a lot of words in both Marathi as well as English.
Most importantly I noticed that he had learnt to say an emphatic “No” and “Nako” (Nako is No in Marathi our mother tongue) and also (thankfully) a seemingly lovely sound of “Yes” !!
Before moving to KL, his tantrums were not that painful, but now, it’s like I have to pay attention to his demand ( though only at times as I believe that if you pay attention to a tantrum you are fuelling the tantrum). I feel his tantrum or anger-exhibition as I prefer to call it is more due to the fact that he is not engaged in school activity yet & that maybe it’s his way of telling us that he misses all. I don’t get angry or lose my cool at him…poor thing I feel very sorry for him & it only propels me to hunt for that perfect school for him. But yes I lose it completely as the clock hits 8 PM !! Post this hubby has to be home to take over or else there are some screaming scenes.
Just today after bath he told me he wants to wear a Cars (the movie) shirt, he does not have one. I tried to calm him, but it was futile. I found him a nice blue shirt with an airplane on it, but he was least bothered. He continued with his crying, then I offered him a warm cup of milk and voila, I had a happy & playful baby (oops toddler).
The way I look at tantrums & anger show is that the kids are still young enough to say exactly what they want, & if we cannot understand them it irritates them more. At times just hugging my son has made him happy. Another thing to understand is that this is also the time when they are forming their individuality, so we must encourage all good things, and discourage what we think is not good. This is very crucial as kids don’t know the difference between good & bad and will want to imbibe anything & everything they see in us, the parents, media like TV, movies etc. I have seen some parents who are in their own world, and are not focused on the child, this also makes the child want to shout & scream and make his/her presence felt. I tell all my friends that the child is never at fault, it is us parents that fail to make the distinction between right & wrong to the child. Some people also believe in being friends to the child, I feel it is better to be parents to the child as will have lots of friends as he/she grows up & that they always will need a parent to guide them to scold them & to help them make decisions.

Mapro Panchgani

Last night we were watching the AFC (Asian food channel) in which someone made a sandwich consisting of some greens, tomatoes, turkey & cheese; and they called it the 'everything sandwich'!! to this hubby & me had the same response..."there is no sandwich like the Mapro sandwich". The situation & our comment made us nostalgic about the very famous Mapro sandwich. is not a sandwich churning is a company that makes jams, squashes, crushes, syrups & soft confectioneries. It is located in Panchgani, and every (or should I say most) traveller to Mahabaleshwar or Panchgani makes a pit-stop at Mapro for a bite of their yummyyyyy sandwich, fresh & flavourful ice-creams, and the works...
The sandwich is made with a thick bread which is huge (8x8") the contents are very simple & basic, like some greens, tomatoes, cucumber, lots of cheese...and I don't know what else....I just love the medley of flavours & the melted cheese & this entire ensemble is grilled to perfection. I have a photograph of this somewhere...I will have to find it...but surly I will post it.
The ice-cream is another favourite, specially with their syrup toppings...I love the Lychee syrup on top of a Vanilla scoop, there are lots of options to mix & try.
On all my trips to Mahabaleshwar we have stopped at Mapro, actually going to Mapro was like an incentive to me to go to Mahabaleshwar!! I love the ambiance of the outdoor cafe where all these delicious things are served & the grilling of sandwiches makes the air all the more aromatic!!
I will end my post here with a resolve to visit Mapro on my next visit to India.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why a lamp is lit in Hindu Homes

In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it is maintained continuously - Akhanda Deepa.
All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion. Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness - ignorance. The Lord is the "Knowledge Principle" (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.
Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.
Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Done at last !!!

Today is that day when I (read we) have managed to finally put a full stop on something that had been pending from d-day that we moved to the new home, and that was to arrange our son's toy room plus my writing space. Actually I am so happy with us (team of hubby, son & me) that I made a lovely lunch of Matar-Pulao, hubby dear did his yummy bit by making some masala-papads. All the work was done before lunch. We began by sorting all the toys, arranging some of them on a rack, that gave us the freedom to throw away one box, so that left 2 boxes of toys, with two racks of books & activity stuff ....phew !!!! after the toys were sorted & placed so as to allow Aadi to look & choose, we got to doing my writing space bit. This we arranged on a table (study table) that was in the toy room, the laptop was brought in from it's new perch on top of the dining table, the printer, the hard disk were woken up from their slumber in the still un-packed cabinet. Some pens, pencils, markers made the content of my pen-holder. I also placed a photograph of the Budhha (which I find peaceful to look at) on the table & any decorator will envy me as the table & the picture with it's steel frame all match & look amazing. To add some color to the grey-black ensemble, I added a colourful paper holder & a very cute strawberry shaped photo frame.
I love this new nook of mine & I can do a bit of writing while my son plays in the same room!! cool na? I can also keep an eye on the kitchen & get up once in a while to stir some yummy stuff !!
right now hubby is taking is much deserved break by watching die-hard 4, Aadi is busy bashing up his air-filled tiger, and me, I stole some time to write in this post. One more thing that will make my day perfect is a phone call to my folks at home.

First Aid - the Ayurvedic way

Simple Ayurvedic remedies can play a very effective role as first aid treatments. Below are some simple treatments which have been effectively used for thousands of years, for treating some common problems. You can also try them and stay healthy in a natural way.

Asthma: Take one teaspoonful of ginger powder and one teaspoonful of licorice powder. Add half a liter of water and boil the mixture till it reduces to one fourth (about 125 ml.). Strain it and drink it warm. Adding a teaspoonful of honey or one gram of common salt is beneficial.
Backache: Make a paste of ginger, and apply to the affected area. Massaging with eucalyptus oil is very effective. You can also make your own massaging oil. Take 2-3 cloves of garlic, and cut them into small pieces. Put them in 100 ml. of sesame oil or mustard oil (or any other oil if these two are not available). Boil on slow fire for about five minutes. This oil is very good for massaging the area of backache.
Bleeding (External): Applying a paste of sandalwood powder is helpful in the cases of external bleeding. It stops the bleeding and also heals the wound. Drinking a cup of warm milk with half teaspoonful turmeric powder and a pinch of saffron or alum, added to it is also very good healing drink. It also acts as pain reliever.
Burns: Make a paste of fresh gel of aloe-vera with a pinch of turmeric powder. Adding one 1-2 grams of ghee or coconut oil to this paste makes it more effective. This paste can be applied to the burnt area.
Cold: Take one tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, one teaspoonful of cinnamon( Dalchinini) powder and one teaspoonful of licorice powder. Add all these together to one liter water and boil on slow fire for ten minutes till about one fourth (250 ml.) of it is left. This drink can be taken three times in a day. Honey can added as a sweetener.
Diarrhea: Add one teaspoon of fresh grated ginger and one gram of nutmeg powder to half a cup of water. Blend them together for few minutes into a mixture. Drinking this twice or thrice a day helps to stop diarrhea.
Earache: Take 2-3 cloves of garlic. Peel off the skin and cut them into small pieces. Add 100 ml. of sesame or mustard oil and boil on a slow fire for about five minutes. Strain and when it becomes cool, drop two drops in the aching ear. Can be used two times a day.
Make a mixture of one teaspoonful of onion juice and half teaspoonful of honey. This mixture is also helpful in earache. Two drops in each ear can be used two times a day.
Eye Burn: Put 2-3 drops of pure rose water into the affected eye. This can be used two or three times a day. It also helps in itchy eyes and reduces the redness in the eyes.
Boils: Apply cooked onion as a poultice on the boil. A paste of ginger powder (one teaspoonful) and turmeric powder (one teaspoonful) is also good to apply on the boil. Either the boil will be suppressed or a head will appear so that the pus can be drained out easily.
Exhaustion (Heat): Drink one glass (250 ml.) of coconut water or grape juice. Take 3-4 pieces of dates and cook them with one glass of milk or water. Eat the dates and drink the milk or water. It is also good to blend them in a mixture before taking. This drink is very good and gives instant energy.
Gum Bleeding: Squeeze the juice of half lemon into a cup of water and add one teaspoonful of honey. This drink should be taken every morning. Massaging the gums gently with coconut oil also helps.
Menstrual Cramps: Take one tablespoon of aloe-vera gel and mix in half a gram of black pepper powder. Such a mixture can be taken 2-3 times during the day or until the cramps disappear.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

All in a day

According to me, dance is an expression of your feelings. Today as I was watching Aankhe the movie where three blind men rob a bank. In that Arjun Rampal does a good piece in the song 'tension kayko leneka', I loved the way he does the free-form & full-tu tapori dance. I simply enjoyed it!! It brought back memories of a school picnic, where our group was busy dancing at the back of the bus to all the then hit numbers from Ram-Lakhan, etc. We actually decided to dance the way Anil Kapoor does/did in his movies, and it was great fun watching all of us trying to do some silly step. Zooming into today, my son loves dancing, and he with all his 27 months of experience does a very good job at that. His current favourite number is 'hare-ram from Bhoolbhulaiyya'.
We had a good day of outing today, we explored the Bangsar Shopping Center, and Amol liked the variety of products at Cold Storage, although we found it a bit expensive. But if you consider the piece of mind with which we could shop, then it was all worth it. Before heading off to BSC we stopped at Bangsar Village for Aadi's Gymboree class, but realised that we were a good 20 minutes late, so we decided to ditch the class & head off to Mumbai Se, a store we've been waiting to explore. I liked the store, the clothes & some of the artifacts that they displayed. I specially liked a pink top with kundan-work, it was amazing....someday I'll buy that.
I also finally managed to get some kaat-chaat done!! that was my big achievement for today.
Today Malins has gone back to her hometown on a long vacation. I hope the kids have a pleasant journey. Sonia also has gone home. I must say these girls are going on a much deserved break. The kids will love all the doting & affection that all the dada-dadis, nana-nanis & everyone else will overflowingly offer.
I want to go home too...