My my!!! Where did the time fly??

2 weeks of uncertainty

2.5 months of hiding it  from family

1 week of “Really? Again?!!” ‘s , “No, you didn’t” ‘s , “Do you know what it is?” ‘s to “I hope it is a boy finally” ‘s to “I guess you want a boy that bad” ‘s from family and friends.. actually this continued through out the 9 months! and is still going on among those who got to know recently that I have a three girls ūüôā

3 months of trying to fit Na and R into an Indian life, attending Indian schools, going through lot of emotional trauma trying to manage everything on my own without H’s help.

2 weeks of confusion, thanks to Indian Government policies on visitor visas – Delivery in India or Delivery in US

2 days of decision making, going back to US! Although sad that I will be leaving my parents and family, I was also glad that I am going to be back with H on whom I can lean on the most, at all times ūüôā

4 more months of apprehension, more tests, more apprehension, many many more questions!

D-Day- Baby ‘Ad’ arrived ¬†ūüôā

3 more months of apprehension, since she supposedly had some issues with her heart. The doctors examined her at 3 months and found nothing! After she turned 3 months old, we have truly enjoyed our  girls and thanked God everyday for blessing us with three cuties!

Today Ad turned 6 months old. ¬† Considering she has occupied very little blogspace on Naradtales, what better occasion to make an Ad-specific post! ¬†Happy Birthday kanna, thank you for coming into my life! Truly, ¬†I did not know I would enjoy you this much 15 months ago ūüôā

Ciao for now,

Shankari.

Hum honge kamiyaab!

A couple of days ago a good friend of ours invited us to a concert by YSL. Having attended another program earlier by a different set of young talents of NJ, I was very skeptical about the quality of this concert.  My friend and her husband had to constantly reassure me that this concert should not be missed( Thank you D and A for this!)

So Narad in tow, H and I attended the concert yesterday.  To say that the performances was stupendous would be an understatement.  The young artists had a strong hold on the language and the music and created magic on stage.  It was heartening to see kids born here so well versed in carnatic music!

Bringing Narad up in the US, I am often plagued by whether I will be able to successfully instill some of the Indian culture (read – classical music, classical dance, painting, and food!, in my case ) . ¬†The recent years of my stay in New Jersey has shown me that the Indians in NJ are more into ¬†my kind of “culture” than probably my peers back home !

Yesterdays music program once again drove home to me that my kind of culture is definitely rich in New Jersey!  The dedication to music among the artists and the pride among  the parents was noteworthy.   Kudos to you all for having persevered in instilling music in your kids, and  having kept up with the endless practice/soul-searching/questioning sessions.

As a young parent, I thank you for upping the interest in my little ones, who have been constantly holding a “Kutchery” at home since we came back from the event ūüôā Hopefully one day they will be able to make their mark in some form of fine arts….
I have been humming¬†“Hum honge Kamiyaab ek din” ever since!
Ciao for now,
Shankari.

So how was your weekend?

Ours was extremely hectic at the same time we had a lot of fun and heard some funnies!

Saturday morning saw us in the local Babies R Us, all three girls in tow dressed in Indian finery waiting to get portrait pictures taken.¬† Once this got done, we dropped the youngest one at home with my parents and went to a friend’s housewarming function.

So, before leaving for the photo session, we are all busy trying to get the three ready in pattu¬†pavadais¬†and matching jewellery. Since R(alias the Avial¬†family clown!) ¬†got ready first, I asked H to put her jacket on. H was busy talking to my dad and did not hear her ask him repeatedly to zip her jacket up.¬†¬†¬† Finally when he realised what he wanted he told her “Sheri pa, one minute wait pannu”. So she goes “I not appa, appa!”¬†¬† The next 5 minutes saw all of us ROFL ūüôā

I have enrolled Na in Balvihar¬†classes in a school nearby. These take place¬†on Sunday mornings between 10 and 12. ¬†Na has a lot of fun in these classes and recounts all the songs/stories that she hears from her “BalVihar¬†Teacher”. Since the fees for the classes covers the attendance for the family, this week I decided to take R also to the classes.¬†¬†¬† Although¬†I had my reservations about her,¬†R also had fun,¬†but¬†¬†she took sometime chilling out with all the folks there.¬† I guess a crowd of almost 30 kids and their parents overwhelmed her initially ūüôā

My father accompanies me to these classes and we both are astounded every time we see the crowd for these classes.  So many people religiously attending these classes and sharing ideas and that too in a foreign land is really amazing and inspiring.  My dad keeps recollecting that 40 years ago, he used to facilitate Balvihar classes in his own apartment in Bombay and today he is seeing a school full of students of all ages!

Thank you Chinmaya¬†mission for providing this wonderful opportunity¬†to us “desis” in this land!

On another note, this weekend, i.e.  23rd of October Chinmaya mission is conducting a walkathon. It is a charity event to raise funds primarily for rural development as per their blog (http://cmtccordwalkinfo.blogspot.com/).  If any of you are in the area and wish to take part in the walkathon please definitely do.  If you wish to contribute monetarily to this cause,  you can use this link https://cord.dojiggy.com/pledge/index.cfm?585F22080A70647471650147515B357A050A05740171.

Signing off, below is a picture of a lamp that Na made at the Balvihar class this weekend. Really proud of her work since she told me that she did the entire thing herself!   I am so glad she is also bitten by the creative bug..

So tell me, how was your weekend?

Ciao for now,

Shankari

Knock Knock! Anybody there?

Hola all of you!

It has been quite a while since this blog saw any activity at all. To all of you who wondered/looked/mulled over/pinged me a huge sorry for no updates and a heartfelt thank you!¬†I am very much humbled and honoured by the¬†blog love ūüôā ¬†

The Avial family is doing quite alright and is still stationed in India, atleast the mom and Narad are.

The reason for an extention¬†of their stay¬†is an addition to the Avial¬†household end of may/early june, combined with a severe sciatic pain(it can be¬†a pain in the a**, really!)¬†. The doctor’s in India advised against travelling and hence Avial¬†amma¬†made the decision to stay back!

It has been about a month now since I made the decision and it has taken this time to¬†adjust to it ūüôā¬†¬†The kids are in a local play school and¬†are liking it now although initially they had huge issues with everything.¬†

So that has been the reason for no activity on this blog. I am not sure how many posts I will be able to write, the reason being the laptop is not now tied to my neck ūüôā¬† Hopefully I will be able to put in some update once in a while.

In case I am unable to be¬†frequent, do keep us in your prayers girlies!¬† And folks that have my contact email/number, do keep in touch ūüôā

Ciao for now,

Shankari.

Forewarned is Forearmed!

  1. Narad’s¬†mom invited many to see Golu at home.
  2. Narad got invited to see Golu at many homes
  3. Everywhere Na had just one question for amma, “does this aunty have girl babies”? was duly asked. Amma answered in affirmative if the aunty had girls, negative otherwise.
  4. The ones that did not have little girls, were promptly asked right at the door, why they did not have little girls, much to amma’s and the aunties¬†embarrasment!

So dear blog aunties, if we were to ever visit you or you were to visit us, please be prepared for this question ūüôā

Tata!

To garden, to garden, to learn numbers and letters!*

* sing to the tune of to market to market to buy a fat pig ūüôā

Today’s morning’s conversation as Na was getting ready for school –

Na – “Amma are we going to school”?

ATTRIMM – “Yes, yes, hurry, otherwise we will be late”

Na – “Amma¬†are I’m going to kindergarden”? *notice the usage of “are”*

ATTRIMM¬†– “No kanna, you are still too little”.

Na – “But, why amma”?

ATTRIMM-¬†“Only when¬† you grow bigger you will be able to go to Kindergarden, for that you need to drink you milk and eat breakfast without troubling amma” *hyuk¬†hyuk! that ensure’s she eats today’s breakfast.Mom¬†feeling mighty chuffed with herself ūüôā *

Na – “That’s okay amma, if I cannot go to the kindergarden, can you take me to the flower garden”? *hyuk¬†hyuk¬†turns to huh! and the puffed up ego deflates like a pricked balloon”!!*

ATTRIMM– A thousand things running in my mind!!! ūüôā

I did remember, however,¬†that helped a bit with ego!¬†I was awarded¬†the “Cherry on top award” by Shruti. She says it¬†is for beautiful blogs¬†with a little bit¬†of¬†extra. Don’t know about Naradtales, but Shankari¬†is definitely a little bit¬†extra(large) ūüôā So thank you Shruti, both from my blog and from me¬†!

As per the rule I am supposed¬†to list one thing that I would change in my past, if I could.¬† Though I wished for a thousand things to be¬†changed when I was younger, in retrospect, I feel my life has been good the way it¬†has been lived all these years. I don’t wish to change anything, since I have only gained from each¬†experience.

I am also suppsed to tag 6 people, however, I pass on this award to all of you for making that extra effort to read and comment on Naradtales. Thanks guys! I would not enjoy blogging so much had it not been for all of you!

Hope all of you had a great weekend.  

Tata!

Friday Funnies!

1 “I’m so tired, can you please play with them” mom + 1 “I’m raring to spend time with the kids”¬†home @8pm dad + 2 “kids fed and readied for the bed, but still have enough energy to bring down the house” + 2 cardboard dabbas¬†that previously housed oil =

Why is it?

That my washer/dryer and the laundry basket always have more clothes than me ūüė¶

Woe is me! I¬†can’t stand¬†this dhobi job…

Tata!

Amma amma kozhakattai-kki kannum unndoe dee?

When my mom was here, helping me look after Narad, one of the things that I learnt quite¬†a bit about were the cute little dittys¬†that paati’s sing to the grandkids.¬†¬† Mostly used to entertain the kids, some of them were educational also. The one I have mentioned in the header is an educational one.¬† The story for this goes like this –

A mother who had four kids made kozhakattai’s, 4 each, and placed them in a cheenchetti(wok¬†kind of a¬†vessel). The first child walks in and eats 5 instead of 4, closes the vessel and walks away. The second child eats 5 and walks away too. The third child, the most mischevious¬†one, eats 6 and fearing the mother’s anger, puts a¬† frog in the cheenchetti¬†and runs away. Now the last child comes in, the youngest one. The child does not realise that the “kozhakattai” is a frog and tries to hold it in its hand. The frog jumps away from¬† the child. The child then goes to it mom and says –

“Amma¬†amma¬†kozhakattai-kki¬†kannum¬†unndoe¬†dee( amma¬†does a modak have eyes?)

¬† Amma¬†amma¬†kozhakattai-kki¬†vaayum¬†unndoe¬†dee” (amma¬†does a modak have mouth?)

and so on, covering all the body parts.  Finally the child asks the mom

“Amma¬†amma¬†kozhakattai¬†chaadum-oe¬†di?” (amma, can a modak jump?)

and that is when the mother realises that the child has seen something else in the cheenchetti!

I have been making¬†modak’s¬†for Lord Ganesha for the past 5 years, and every single year they would have a life of their own. I would never be able to get the covering dough right or the poornam¬†right. Even if everything seemed perfect, when I steamed then, the poornam¬†would jump right out of the covering!¬† It was almost like they would be possessed by a frog’s spirit ūüôā¬† This rhyme was perfect everysingle¬†time I made the modak’s.¬† Even though I did not know the whole¬†story, I did know the rhyme and I would sing it while making the kozhakattai’s.

So this year, “Project kozhakattai” was started¬†well in advance, almost a month in advance. In aashad¬†month, my mom offers kozhakattai’s¬†on one of the Friday’s. I decided to try my hand at the jumpy kozhakattai¬†and a very “jumpy” me¬† made the poornam. Again, the kozhakattai was a mega flop.¬†

For chaturthi¬†I still wanted to go ahead and make it and asked a few sources how they went about making the elusive kozhakattai. Finally I settled on my mother’s recipe, because obviously, amma knows the best!¬† Laksh, the recipe all for you ūüôā

For the covering –

Ingredients

—————-

  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 1 tablespoon maida
  • Pinch of salt.

Method

———

Grind the raw rice either in mixie or grinder to a fine paste. My mom said the consistency should be that of the maavu we use for making kolam. Now since I had no clue what that consistency was, I maintained dosa batter consistency. Mix the maida into the batter and salt and leave it aside. This can be done the previous day also. On the day of making kozhakattai, pour the batter into a kadai(if non stick better, then you will not lose too much batter).  Keep stirring till the batter leaves the sides of the pan and rolls up into a ball. At this stage remove from the fire.  The next set of steps is optional , keep the ball of maavu  in a wet towel and wrap the towel round the maavu.  Let the maavu cool down. This helps breaks down any knots that might have formed in the maavu. I did not do this, instead while making the covering, I used to take little batter at a time, knead them nicely so that the knots break and used the matter to make the kinnam(covering).

Poornam for sweet

Ingredients

Coconut – 1/2 cup

Jaggery (no sodium one) –¬† 3/4’s to 1 cup depending on the sweetness

Elachi powder a pinch.

Method

Make a paagu¬†of the jaggery(melt the jaggery and let it thicken).¬† It should be¬†a¬† thick paagu, when you test with a little in a small bowl of water, the jaggery should automatically turn into a ball. Once the jaggery reaches this stage, put the coconut in it and keep stirring. Put the elaichi¬† powder and a spoon of ghee and turn off the gas. Once the poornam¬†cools down make balls of the poornam¬†and keep it inside the white filling. Now the kozhakattai¬†is ready to be¬†steamed. Place it in the steamer of your choice and steam for about 10 minutes when the kozhakattais¬†will get a glossy appearence. This indicates that the kozhakattais¬†are done ūüôā

Poornam for savory

Ingredients

urad dal Р1cup

Curry leaves – 1 twig

G.chillies – per taste, usually I add as a rule 2 for each cup of dal.

salt – per taste

hing, mustard seeds – for tadka.

Method

Soak the urad¬†dal in water for about 3 hours. Once the dal is soft, drain all the water out and grind it along with curry leaves and the green chillies.¬† The batter should be¬†coarse like adai¬†dosa batter but not as watery as the adai¬†dosa batter.¬†¬†Add the¬†salt to the batter. In a¬†kadai, do the tadka¬†of hing and mustard and pour this ground batter into the¬†kadai. Keep stirring till the urad¬†gets cooked and leaves the sides of the pan.¬† That’s it the poornam¬†is done.¬† For making the kozhakattai’s¬†follow the same steps as the sweet modak.

There done, hopefully this recipe will help you also!

Ciao for now, Rad calling ūüôā

Tata!

A safari and the rainforest!

The Avial household had a fun weekend.

Friday was spent¬†courting the gorillas in the Rainforest caf√©. After months of planning, should we go – shouldn’t we, what will we eat? Will the vegetarian food there be vegetarian enough so on and so forth, we finally decided to brave the make-believe¬†gorillas, crocs, snakes and parrots there.¬† To say that we were not at all disappointed will be an understatement. The kids had a ball and we were very relaxed since the place is very¬†kid friendly. Parents and kids were trotting all around and looking at the different animals, no one was getting offended. The girl who¬†waited on us was also very jovial and friendly and made our first experience(yes, quite sad that way) in Rainforest caf√©¬†an awesome experience.¬† The food we had¬†was also very good. I had Jambalaya for the first time(H has tried this before) and I liked it a lot.

Saturday, we went to the Six flags safari and again Narad¬†were thrilled¬†to see the animals walking so close to the car. We got to say hi to a cousin of the Deer, an Ostrich and a giraffe.¬† The rhino decided to snub us and the peacocks were too busy preening to care about us. The tigers, lions and the bears did say hello but from afar!¬† The elephants were too hot and were cooling off, putting¬†mud on each other. Na was very thrilled looking at the various animals and trying to identify¬†in which movie(cartoon) she has seen them. We saw some Llamas and she correctly identified them as the animal in the book “The emperor’s¬†new groove”.¬† The whole safari experience lasted for about 4 hours and we were home by around 7:00 in the night. Caught up on an old telugu movie with an awesome pizza for company ūüôā

Today we stayed put at home, relaxed and caught up with all our chores.¬† All in all, a very fun weekend, wouldn’t mind if this happened every week!

So, how was your weekend?

Tata!

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