Monthly Archives: March 2010



… we came third at the Artst-Craftsy Challenge, though huffing and puffing 😀 .. Here’s the entry
I thank my husband for sacrificing the loofah (though it was stolen when he was away) and Pattu for successfully pulling out parts of her hair clip which inspired the princess idea…( I would have thanked my dog and my dinosaur but I don’t have one …)

But seriously you guys – Shruti and TPL , are awesome! Some effort and passion it takes to do something like this… I’m gonna flaunt this badge

Shruti, TPL – the cards & the puppet look lovely! 




I woke up to the waft of Maracheeni puzhukku’ early this morning. Maracheeni’ is Tapioca and puzhukku’ is a gooey chewy paste. We make papads out of tapioca and this is the process: make the paste first and then spread it out on mats made of palm leaves or on jack fruit leaves. The more modern we got, we used plastic sheets for convenience. This is dried in the sun till it becomes brittle and stored for future. MIL made the papads today and they are drying in the sun as I type this. 

This sent us all on a nostalgic journey back to the 80s when vadams were an integral part of summer vacations. The best thing about the vadams is that it offers a range of gastronomic experience at various stages of its making.First the puzhukku, which is as popular as the pappadam – its is a completely different kind of sensation on the taste buds.Then when the papads are half dry and rubbery – quite challenging but that’s the fun! Then the fried and roasted papads…hmmm… The joke is that the women start by planning for a certain number of papads and after losing a few in each of these stages, only half of it will actually make it to the frying pan!

My grandmom used to make javvarisi vadam'(sabudana papad) and ‘arisi vadam'(rice papad). In Tamilnadu, the ‘puzhukku’ is called the ‘koozhu‘. It doesn’t matter what they call it, it is just as chewy, gooey and yummy!

At my grandmom’s place in Kerala, the coconuts would also be dried in the sun for making coconut oil. Chewing the coconuts through different stages of drying was equally interesting. As kids, we used to be employed as scarecrows – extra coconut/ puzhukku for shooing the crows away, for bringing the papds in, for spreading them out again the next day… it required labour you see. Well, some of it ended in our gut instead of the crow’s beak and some of the men would also sneak up for a steal and wink at us kids which meant, ‘Sshhh.. no reporting to the women!’. As though the women didn’t know – while counting, they would murmur amongst themselves, ‘oh, we can’t keep the human crows away, can we!’ 😀

And here’s a pic of the papads that are drying on the terrace… on Jack fruit leaves 
(…and while the pics are loading, I’m licking the remains of the puzhukku 🙂   )


Up Close – fresh from the kadai

Me too is ‘Tagged’


Swati has tagged me to say seven things that people don’t know about me. I’ve seen this tag doing the rounds in blogosphere and here I am doing it now… So please fasten your seat belt, here I go…

1. I can’t drive (LOL – and I told you all to fasten your seat belt!). I’m terrified of traffic, cows, dogs and even the crows on the road! I’ve never even been on a bicycle *HIDING MY FACE IN SHAME*

OK, now that I’ve said this, it is easy to say the rest.

2. I haven’t seen snowfall yet 😦 … or for that matter never experienced single digit temperatures

3. I am absent minded. Once, when the family sat down for dinner I realised that I had cooked everything but rice! More recently I was frantically looking for my phone and went back to the rest room, cafeteria and rummaged through my desk for a good 15 mins when I figured out that I was talking on the phone all the while! I hope you’ll still read me and be my friends.

4. I guess I’m not a movie buff – If I count all the movies I’ve watched till date, I’m sure it would be less than 100.

5. The one thing I really feel bad about is the fact that I can’t sing! Not that I’m good at everything else, but I don’t feel so bad about it. A few maamis tried but gave up eventually. I have absolutely no sense of sound 😦

6. My childhood ambition was to become an underworld don. Well, I have a few months of Karate and and rifle shooting under my belt…

7. I cried when Dumbledore died.

And now its your turn ladies… I tag Lavanya, Jayashree, Apu and TPL

We speak Hindi these days


Definitely not at home. Pattu has couple of Hindi speaking friends at school and she seems to be quite fascinated by the language. She speaks very fluent gibberish that sounds like flawless Hindi! She intersperses her Hindi sentences with one or two English words, so it is possible to get a hang of what she is saying…

The conversation goes something like this…

Pattu: Kya ke jao tum ke neki (No clue what that means!)
Amma: What are you saying?
Pattu:Amma, upstairs jake tum kene ke? (Shall we go upstairs?)
Amma:OK..what do you want to do there?
Pattu:Ghar ja tum ke play ke neke upstairs jake nee (Let’s play)
Amma:What do you want to play?
Pattu: Iske piske balloon aske deke ne karo kee (Let’s play with balloon)
Amma: No, I don’t want to play
Pattu:kya ke tum kiya bas taakke owl dekre ke hai.. karo tum? (If you don’t owl will come and take you…well, something to that effect..)

you get the drift… and it goes on and on… there are days when we speak only Hindi, even to the maid, driver and the poor care taker! We are going mad!

Fresh and Green


We live in a neighborhood where all residents have a small green patch around the house. Most of us happen to be interested in a kitchen garden as well. We sometimes share our produce with neighbors and friends like olden days. We’ve already got some raw bananas, banana flower, white raddish, a bagful of tomatoes from couple of our neighbors – both the ripe and the green variety. I particularly love the green tomatoes which are rare to come by in the market. We’ve got some papayas as well – again the raw and ripe variety. Raw papaya is also not found commonly in the market and we love making subzi out of it. Our own chillies and tomatoes have just started bearing fruit and the papayas are becoming fatter. We harvested Methi leaves, pudina, the red keerai, manathakkali, some avarakkai (flat bean variety) and brinjal.

While on this, if you are interested in organic fruits and vegetables, do visit this site. We’ve been ordering one box a month from here which typically lasts us a week or so.

I owe our garden to my MIL and her green thumb (touch wood!) who single handedly plants, waters, tends, cares and toils, out there, come sun or rain. She’s going to be away for a month – the plants will miss her immensely I’m sure! But I’m going to make a sincere attempt to care for them… atleast enough to maintain it the way it is right now – I hope that’s not too ambitious…

Well, we tried….


Here’s Pattu’s entry for the March challenge. With Pattu, it is very difficult to hold her attention for long. So I had to think of ideas that can get done in less than 10 mins – that was my challenge (besides the fact that I am not particularly creative i.e,).
So, we started by making the paper plate clowns where she had to only stick things on to a plate and boy did she enjoy it! She wanted to convert all the plates in the house into clowns. 

What we used for the paper plate clowns: two rings from a toy for the eyes, a red hair band cut and stuck for the mouth and a black hair band cut and shredded for the hair. I did the cutting part while Pattu did the rest as instructed.
Then we found a bath scrub and wrapped it over a ball. We fastened it behind with some hair clips (one of the pics will reveal this :D) and cut out some packing material for the eyes and the mouth. To be honest, we wanted to make a cute looking puppy but this one ended up looking like a forlorn alien LOL! Here too, I helped with the cutting and Pattu did the rest…with a bit of struggle.

The gloves gave us an idea – the dwarfs. Black wool for the hair, black dots for eyes and red painted smile.
Then we rummaged further to find the loofahs – The maiden’s dress is a fluffy loofah. We found a hair clip that had the girl. Inspired by that, Pattu’s care taker thought of another maiden with a paper fan dress so that the loofah maiden had company. Pattu liked the fan folding…
Then the duckling – that’s another loofah with a handle. We found some pegs to go as the eyes and the beak is a pistachio shell coloured red using crayon. Pattu did all of this.
Then we had to make a story around it…. so, there it goes… phew!

 The story is in verse (because I am very lazy) and this is how it goes:

Slide 2

The little alien was lost and sad
He couldn’t find his mom and dad
Where are you,
oh where have you gone?
Will you be back by 
the break of dawn? 
Slide 2

The five happy dwarfs came along
And played a happy peppy song
Nothing seemed to
cheer him though
Home was just where
he wanted to go

Slide 2

The plate clowns vowed to make him smile
And they tried and tried for a long while
The little one just turned away
The clowns didn’t know what to say

Rest of the story…

Slide 2

Then came the maidens, with dimples and curls
They danced around and did some twirls
‘Oh no’, said the dwarfs and the clown
How do we get him to throw that frown 
Slide 3

Then came a ducking lost and scared
She is lost and no one cared
The alien cuddled her, ‘come let’s play’
He sang, he danced, he made her gay
The dwarfs, the clowns, the maidens broke into a song
Happy and merry, they danced along

So, that’s that….

Come Summer…


Vacation time is nearing and I’m wondering how to keep Pattu productively occupied. I’m sure there are summer camps in every street corner these days, the trouble however is to identify the good ones.
I see that Kanchana Paati, Sunshine, MAS and a few others around Velachery have announced their summer plans. Let’s do something is also planning a variety of activities. Xseed of idiscoveri, Hansel & Gretel, Vanilla, all have lots going on for summer.

I definitely don’t want to send her to a very crowded place. Would prefer a something nearby. Pattu’s school has some activities planned till end of April, so we are good till end of April.

While doing this round up, also came across a sale at Oxford Bookstore, Nungambakkam – upto 80% off on books and a flat 10% off on all books and stationaries.

Introducing Buc…


Buc is a huge bird, so huge and so tall that it’s head touches the ceiling of our bedroom. It has big eyes, sharp beak, huge wings that spread out till H’s house and purple plumes. Sometimes it changes to white or orange, reflecting Pattu’s mood for the day..err, night… This one is nocturnal like the Owl and the Bat. It can carry Amma away if she is typing on her laptop at night when she should ideally be playing/ reading with Pattu!
Pattu dreamed up this bird because I used the ‘Owl’ occasionally to get her into bed (if she insists on playing even after 11.30 PM). Now the bird has become a reality for Pattu. When asked to name the night birds, Pattu would promptly say, ‘Owl, Bat, Buc’

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction – Pattu’s reactions sometimes make me laugh. That affirms my ‘action’ as positive. But through some reactions, I realise the folly of my ‘actions’. For instance, what started off as a harmless cajoling by way of, ‘let’s beat the floor/ wall’ when she got hurt has now become Pattu’s solution to pretty much everything. If she gets hurt, beat. If the building blocks don’t fit/ fall, beat. You get the drift…

Pattu: Amma, can we go to A’s house tomorrow?
Amma: No Pattu, she is going to Bangalore
Pattu: Nooo… beat Bangalore…

She bit her tongue accidentally and said, ‘beat..’ and paused.
Amma: Beat your tongue or your teeth Pattu?
Pattu:  *confused*

I’ve been telling her to not use the B word. She probably thinks I’m unreasonable since I was the one who started using the word in the first place! If only I knew…*SIGH*

Remembering the man who created the Amul Moppet


Eustace Fernandes who created the absolutely adorable Amul moppet passed away. I’m sure you all would agree – it is impossible to pass by an Amul hoarding without being affected by its humour and without feeling an urge to pinch the chubby cheeks of the cute little girl in polka dots. I used to arch my head eagerly to check out the Amul hoarding on the way to college and it continued for many years till I moved out of city limits.In a cluttered ad landscape, this brand has continued to evince interest and appeal across generations by being contextual and by maintaining its simple humour. It has been a record breaking 44 years and I hope it will continue forever… What a wonderful way to live on in our hearts, how utterly butterly  immortalised!

Here are some of my favourites. Check out the archives for more.

 Advocating the use of helmets
 Souyuz – Cosmonaut in space.

Introduction of the Escalator in India

Tags on Baby Clothes


I’ve noticed, much to my dismay, that most of the baby clothes come with tags, some so large and sometime too many in a single piece of clothing. The material is seldom soft and causes considerable irritation on the soft skin. Very often Pattu has ended up having rashes at the nape and near the waist depending on where these tags are. I’ve tried to chop them off but they still protrude as sharp edges. Pattu refuses to wear some of the pretty clothes only because she can’t stand the irritation caused by the tags.

I am surprised that none of these major brands have realised how kid unfriendly the tags are. I’m sure there are other ways of keeping these tags if they are not totally avoidable. These things make me wonder how much research actually goes behind all these big brand baby products that we trust so much. I wonder how this piece of consumer feedback hasn’t yet reached the brands….