Thursday, October 23, 2008

Little Star

Summy's school has a star system in which kids get stars everyday for good behavior. When they get enough stars, they get to visit a "treasure box" and pick a small prize.

She picked a tiny picture of a kitten in a frame. She gave it to me and told me to keep it. So I said, "Oh no, Summy, you keep it. You earned it."

Her reply: "Mommy, I earned it for you."
She's also earned a tiny phone book for Kiran.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Deja Vu

Today I stayed to watch Assembly at school. Across the oceans, across a generation, Assembly is exactly the same here as it was in my school when I was a kid. It's partly exhilarating (as long as the marching music is on and the songs are sung) and partly boring (with the principal's messages to not run in the hallways and the older kids reading essays).

When I went to school, I was the one who always forgot things. I forgot to bring my textbooks, notebooks, homework to school. I forgot to bring my lunch box, water bottle, back home. I was late half the time. Luckily I have a mother who was (and is) very organized and wouldn't forget a thing.

Now that it's my turn to be the cool, calm, collected mother, I'm even more flustered. I forget to send the water bottle one day, the library book the other. The day before, as I walked her to school, I realized that I left her fully-packed backpack at home. And if it's hard being the kid who always forgets things, can you imagine how hard it is to be the mother who has to explain to the teacher that she forgot the whole backpack at home - lunch, absence note, homework, and all?

I am grown up with a child of my own, but talking to a teacher still makes me nervous. Can I say that?

Mickey Mouse

We see Mickey almost every Sunday at Disneyland - original and authentic. But Summy always hides behind me and Kiran when he comes too close. She is scared and suspicious of people in costumes.

But the other day, on Hollywood Boulevard, among the Elvises and Marilyn Monroes, there was a Mickey Mouse in a threadbare costume. He was posing for photos with kids, for a dollar or so. She goes right up to him, gets a picture, gives him a hug, and then tells him, "Mickey, I see you on TV."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Little sunflower that Summy planted, and cared for by herself, and is very proud of.

There is a small patio attached to the apartment, and out there are some pots, soil, shovel, watering can, seeds, and freedom to plant what she wants and get as dirty as she likes. As a result, we've had lots of flowers, and a bumper crop of tomatoes (considering that there were just two tomato plants growing in a very narrow strip of dirt along the patio fence).

When she heard the word "Kindergartener" on TV, she reasoned out - "Well, I go to Kindergarten, and I'm a gardener - so I guess I'm a Kinder'gardener'."

Sweet Holiday

Until Kindergarten started, I didn't realize that school meant going everyday - she cannot just stay home when we feel like it.

So when it was her first holiday from school yesterday, we made it a fun day. She wanted to make cupcakes from scratch, so we found a recipe, she wrote a shopping list, and we went grocery shopping. Then we made cupcakes, and while they baked, watched a princess movie together. We ended the day with going to the park.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First Homework: Self Portrait

(Birds and Flowers optional)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Finally started going to Kindergarten last Thursday. The little lady did not seem especially excited, but took it in stride. She walked with me to school as if she'd always been doing it.

We found the classroom. There were chairs around two tables, with new pencilboxes on the tables with the children's names on them. Right away, she found the box with her name, and sat in the chair to check it out. She glowed a little on finding a brand new box of crayons, a pencil, and scissors inside.

Their teacher gave them coloring pages while she talked to the parents and explained procedures and rules. Then it was time for us to leave.

Here was where she was to cry and cling to me, I was supposed to hold back tears while reassuring her I would be back later.

I remember the Kindergarten kids in my own school would cry for the whole first month. The whole Kindergarten area would be full of sniffling and wailing cuties.

Except, she is now five and a half years old, and we already had that tearful scene more than four years ago in daycare.

So, I said bye. She ignored me. I said I would be back later, and gave her a hug. And then I was gone. She was in school by herself. Just like that. Coloring a picture with the same pout that she had on when focusing on something, ever since she was a baby.

I went back to pick her up at the school gate. I have to wait there until she sees me and tells her teacher I'm there. Then we walked back home, while she told me about her new classroom, her new teacher, her new friend, and (last but not least) her new pencil box.

Only after four days, today she confessed to me. "Before I went to this new school, I was a little scared how the new school would be. But now I am not." I am surprised that the little babbler, who can't keep one thought that enters her head from escaping through her mouth, would keep this to herself for so long.

So, school is going well. I enjoy the walk with her to school, with her backpack and her lunch bag. She enjoys being among kids again.

There are a few dark moments, like when I realized that the gates would close at 8:40 AM and if I brought her to school later than that, she would get a tardy slip. The nightmares from my childhood are back again, as I procrastinate as usual and run at the last minute(this time, with Summy) to rush into the gate before it closes up like in an Indiana Jones movie.

I still remember me being late atleast once every week, waiting outside the gates, and the gates finally opening to let out Sister Romana (our principal), running after us into school while waving a long ruler menacingly (while managing to never actually hit anybody with it).

Ah, school days are back for me too. I still carry the weight of unfinished homework, in the form of paperwork that her teacher is sending home every week for me to finish.

It's wonderful to see Summy as a Kindergarten kid.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hairy Pot

When she said, "He looks like Hairy Pot.", pointing to a boy wearing glasses, I had no idea what she meant for a minute.

It was Harry Potter.


Here to log a milestone.

After going to swim classes for four weeks, Summy is swimming with her head under water for a few feet at a stretch, with no floaties or other support. Watching her holding her breath for so long, makes me breathless.

She has to learn a lot of things, the first being coming up to take a breath. But still, it is exciting to see her do something that I've never done myself.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bhel Puri

It's been over a month since Summy and I got to Hyderabad. In fact, in a couple of weeks, it will be time to leave. Obviously, I had a lot more to write and remember about than the measly two posts than I put in.

Ever since we started on our long flight from Los Angeles to Hyderabad, I've been typing away in my head, but little of it got far enough to make it to this blog (which might be a good thing after all).

I remember only a few of the most interesting details of our travel and our stay.

One day, Summy brought home a couple of small kids from next door, while my mother and I were out. She looked at my father and ordered, "Make Boost, Thatha!" When her grandfather told her he didn't know where the Boost was and to wait for grandma, she went in the kitchen, got out some Pringles and served them to her pint-sized guests. She usually doesn't let any of her friends leave without having a snack.

Another time, while we were with Kiran's parents, she asked Kiran's father to play hide-and-seek. My father-in-law dutifully hid behind some curtains. Summy looked about a little before asking her grandma where her grandpa was. Not knowing what was going on, her grandma replied that she didn't know.

After hiding behind the curtains for as long as he could stand, grandpa came out, and what did he find? Summy had forgotten all about the game and was picking flowers in the yard with her grandma.

Summy's taken to India like she has been here all along.

Summy roams the flats, goes off to find her friends by herself (which was unthinkable back in California), and her friends come home without having to make a date first. This is the way it always was for me when I was a kid, but it is a first for Summy. Thanks to her friends, Summy's English is now more Indian than mine.

I too have taken to being here quite well. I cross roads, go around in autos, talk in a mix of Telugu, Hindi, Urdu and English.

Hyderabad is spicy - a mix of people, traffic, pollution, honking, colorful clothes, shoving, rudeness, and when you least expect it, the kindness of strangers.

The USA, even colorful South California, is much more bland.The orderliness that makes it looks like a wonderful place to live, also makes it taste like Dry Crackers compared to the Bhel Puri that is Hyderabad.

Still, Summy and I look forward to going back home, where Kiran waits impatiently for us.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Crossing Over to the Other Side

We are still in Hyderabad.

I was crossing the dangerously and terrifyingly chaotic Ameerpet intersection today.

Some businesses say "The customer is always right.". In Hyderabad, the slogan goes (or should): The pedestrian is always wrong. So what if the traffic signal is at red? So what if I'm on the zebra crossing lines? Bikes, autos, cars, buses honk indignantly as I cross the road, because I obstruct them moving an inch or two further.

Someone touched my elbow. I expected somebody I knew, but this was a young girl I'd never seen before. We stepped across the road together. A car came perilously close, and as far as we could tell, the driver cared as much for our safety as for that of a couple of bugs.

Involuntarily we grabbed each other's hand and squeezed tight. After that we held hands as we crossed the road, and smiled before going our separate ways.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Old Friends

We are in India.

While Summy has fun with her old friends, her grandparents, I had the chance to meet three of my own old friends. One of them, I had the luck to live close to for several recent years. I hadn't seen another of them in a long time. Another one, she remembered that the last time we had seen each other was twelve years ago. I was newly wed and was getting on a train to Mumbai and to my in-laws house, to go onward to the USA to study, and she was waving at me. Now they all have two kids each, most of whom I had read eagerly about but had never seen before.

They knew things about me and hadn't forgotten. When I faked knowledge of something, my old friend laughed and said, "I know she knows as much of it as I do (which was precious little)". There is no fooling old friends, and there is relief in not having to.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ocean Art

At the bottom is the ocean, and in the ocean is seaweed. Looking closely, waves can be seen on surface of the water.

To the left, there is a sand beach, beyond the sand are some trees. The little pink angel like figure next to the trees is Summy.

To the right is a cliff. On the edge of the cliff is a car, enjoying the scenic view. The cliff is quite tall, so there is a cloud passing right past the car.

The sun is setting, and colorful birds are flying home in the sky. To add a touch of fantasy, the purple splotch above the sun is Chitti Chitti Bang Bang (the flying car from the movie of that name).

The art was done at school when the kids were given paints and paper, and a free hand to make what they wanted.

Here she is in one of the places that give her inspiration.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Solemn Pledge

This morning, Summy put her right hand on her heart, and started to recite:

"I plejjalleeshance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republics of Justin Stan, One nation, Underdog, The Invisibles, for all."

She told me she learned it at school.

For reference, here is the more conventional version of the pledge of allegiance:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Monday, May 19, 2008


We have a wild little yard, considering that all the yard we got is a little concrete patio attached to our apartment.

It's much easier to maintain and enjoy a small yard, I think. When we had a (relatively) huge backyard, every plant that I touched dried and withered away. Except the mint, which grew into a mint jungle and started to take over the lawn.

Anyway, I'm wandering.

We have a few pots of plants that Summy and I maintain painstakingly. I had no idea how many pests want a piece of the plants. We dealt with aphids, ants, mildew, unwanted mushrooms, and caterpillars, all as humanely as possible (except the mushrooms, which make my skin crawl).

So we now have a few flowers blooming, and a couple of strawberry plants producing fruit at the rate of about one a week (which is great, but we supplement our one homegrown strawberry with four quarts of strawberries from the market every week). A few tomato plants starting to flower, some herbs, hot pepper plants in various stages, and a few snow pea vines that some mystery creature is eating up.

Most of these things were planted by Summy. She does not read the instructions on seed packets, she does not do research online, but somehow she gets it right if left to herself with some dirt and water.

That's it for the Flora. As for the Fauna:

We had a small wasp's nest on the fence that we took out. The wasps started working on a new one right away, and it was fascinating to see. We haven't yet had the heart to take down their new nest. They are peaceful and hardworking creatures.

We found a caterpillar having lunch on a strawberry leaf, and he got put into a bowl with dirt and leaves in it. Summy watched the caterpillar very carefully, but after looking down at all the leaves, the caterpillar decided this place wasn't for him and escaped while she wasn't looking. Ofcourse he got named before he left - Fuzzy.

We have a couple of spiders that spin the most beautiful webs. I take the webs down every now and then, just because they make the patio look unkempt. But they don't care, they always spin them again.

And ofcourse there are the ants, ladybugs, and plenty of other funny looking insects. Summy will get them into a bowl and observe before reluctantly letting them off to "go find their mommies and daddies and kids".

So much life in a few square feet, and these are only the things we can see.

Extreme Measures

When we lived in Shrewsbury, we measured Summy's increasing height against a wall with pencil markings. We didn't disassemble that piece of wall to bring with us when we moved, though we would have liked to. So now there is no wall to measure against.

But Summy's found her own way - she stands against me or Kiran to see how much taller she's grown.

The other day, I was walking behind her on a path. In front of Summy was another little girl, carrying a skateboard under her arm. Summy quietly walked closer behind the girl, while measuring herself against the girl with her hand on top of her head. After deciding that the girl was probably about "the same tall as me", and hence, the same age, she caught up with her and made small talk.

Not that she would have not talked with an older kid. She loves older kids. And little toddlers. And babies. But especially kids who are the same size as her.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Miss Calculator

Every once in a while, Summy does something that seems amazing to me. What things our kids do aren't amazing, no matter how trivial?

She adds small numbers, but that's not what's amazing. She does it inside her head, no fingers or dots on paper. She does not remember that six and five make eleven. So that's not what I mean when I say she does it in her head.

She closes her eyes and as far as I can understand, she visualizes six things and five more things. And then counts them to get the total. It might sound simple enough, but I've tried it and it's hard for me.

Miss Calculator does miscalculate now and then, but still, it's impressive to me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Illiterate Parents

This happened a while ago, but I forgot to blog about it until Kiran reminded me. Summy had learned how to write, even though she didn't know how to spell.

She wrote pages and pages of stuff and brought it to us to read. "What did you write, Summy?", I asked, looking at what seemed like gibberish.

"I don't know?" she said. "I can't read it. You're the one who knows to read! What does it say?"

What logic!

Shhhh.... It's a secret

The other day I asked Summy what she did at school, and she replied, "We were making special jewellery boxes for Mommies."

Then, smiling sheepishly, she said, "Oops. I was not supposed to tell you that."

By this time, the Mothers Day secret was out, but I promised her that I would forget she ever told me.

Kiran was in Japan, and while talking to him on the phone night, he asked Summy what she had done that day. This time she was more careful. She whispered into the phone, "I made a jewellery box for Mama." He couldn't hear her at all and kept saying "What?", but I could very well.

Nothing is as precious, even a jewellery box, as a five-year old trying to keep a secret.


Summy was eating strawberries and asking me if they were good for her. "Yes", I said, "They have antioxidants and are very good for you."

"Bananas are good for you too", she said. "They have lots of mashpotams."

"You're right", I agreed, smiling. "They do have lots of potassium."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Something smells fishy

Oh yeah, that's Summy's fish.

Summy picked them, Dad brought them home. Summy wrote fish to-do lists. Dad set up their tank. But who spends the whole day with them? Mommy.

We asked for sturdy fish that could survive a family who didn't know anything about fish. The guy at the store pointed at some fish that were kept individually in cups, and recommended that we bring home one male and two females to put in the tank.

At home, we put them all in the tank and went to sleep. The next morning, Kiran left for work, Summy went to school. I was working on the computer but all I could see was the fish chasing each other out of the corner of my eye.

It just so happened that these tough fish were Betta Splendens, also called the Siamese Fighting Fish for a good reason. And there could have been no worse advice than to put a male and females in one tank. The male Bettas are very very aggressive and don't tolerate others of their kind in close proximity, be they male or female. This is why (duh!), unlike the rest of the fish in the store, the Bettas were kept in individual cups. Ofcourse now I know that, after having watched Blackfish (the boy) terrorize Coffee and Angelina (the girls) and nip their tails.

Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I went back to the store for advice, and this time the advice was no better. They said I could return Coffee and Angelina for a refund.

How could I return fish that Summy had named? How could I put the fish back into the little tiny cups after they had the whole tank to swim in? How would I know that after I returned them, they wouldn't just be flushed down a big toilet that was specially built for the fish? The truth was that I hadn't "bonded" with the fish (that must be the zaniest sentence I ever wrote). But for better or for worse, we had got them and we had to care for them, even if they were just fish.

I divided the tank into two with a net, and isolated Blackfish on one side. Within two minutes, the two girls figured out that Blackfish couldn't get at them, and they seemed to enjoy staying right on the other side of the net and staring coolly at Blackfish as he went nuts trying to get at them.

So we took him out of the tank altogether, and put him in his own bowl. For now, everyfish seems happy, even though the two girls have little fish fights.

Now that there is less conflict, it's happier to watch them everyday. They are tiny little creatures one inch long, and I expected they'll just swim around aimlessly, all the same way. But each has its quirks. When I turn off the filter in their tank, they know food is coming. They seem to have good memories. Angelina prefers small pieces of fish food, while Coffee will eat anything. Blackfish is kind of picky, but he loves peas (I found out from Mother Internet that some fish can eat some vegetables).

And yes, now we've bonded with the fish.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

TV and Junk Food

I am not a great mother - I try to be good, but I know that I make many many mistakes.

Summy wasn't much interested in either TV or junk food before we moved to California. Once we came here, her school was very laidback in every way, including food.

For every holiday she brings home goodie bags filled with candy, and one of her teachers actually rewards good behavior with candy. Still, we threw out most of it because she didn't eat it. I kept a jar of candy out in the open at home and it rarely got touched. No restrictions, she could have it anytime she wanted - even before mealtimes. Because, she just wasn't interested.

But slowly, as I started giving her quick convenient "snacks" and she got the same at school, she developed a taste for Starburst, chocolate, Oreos, and Cheetos (all unheard of six months ago).

Also, back home in Massachusetts, the only TV we watched was PBS - for half an hour in the morning on some days, no ads. After an hour or so, she would usually get bored and switch off the TV herself. So again, there were no restrictions on TV. She could watch it anytime she wanted. Because, she just wasn't into it that much.

We move to California, and new cable, and here there's a kid channel that keeps going 24/7. Besides that, there's several on-demand kids shows. Whenever I had to study or cook dinner, I would just turn the TV on. Slowly, especially in the last few weeks, she turned into a zombie, lying down on the couch and just staring at the TV for an hour or two every day (and wanting more).

So I put away the candy jar inside the closet, out of reach, and tried not to turn the TV on so much. Didn't work very well. She still asked for candy at the store, and TV at home.

I panicked - here I had a good thing; a great thing - a kid who loved her vegetables and fruit and didn't even like candy and chips, and liked to get around and play instead of sit down and watch TV - and I went and ruined it. I took it so much for granted and thought she would always be that way.

Luckily, the damage seems to be reversible. I've started to show her strawberries or oranges instead when she asks for junk food. She still has a choice, but she mostly chooses the fruit. Ofcourse she chose the junk before, because I wasn't giving her another good option - I would ask her if she would like fruit instead, but that isn't as good as a visual of a bowl of juicy red strawberries.

And the past few evenings, when she asks for TV, I've been saying "Let's play.". I've never seen her choose TV over companionship once. And it still hasn't changed. Her bored expression goes away and her face lights up at the sugggestion of doing something together. It makes me sad to think of all the times she sat on the couch and said "Can I have some TV now?" because she knew the answer if she asked me to play with her - "I'm too busy right now, Summy.".

I remember one day, she drew a sad face instead of the happy faces she usually draws. I asked her why the little boy was sad, and she said, "The little boy was sad because when they were going to school his mommy said they could go to the park in the evening but in the evening they had to go to Ralphs for groceries and they couldn't go the park because his mommy said they runned out of time." in one breath. A not-at-all subtle dig at me. Broken promises have happened to us several times in the past few months.

In all the bad things I've done as a mom, I think getting my priorities wrong and letting her down this way, was one of the worst. I am lucky that Summy is small enough to not even realize that I've done wrong, and even when she realizes it she forgives so easily. At the end of the day, she always hugs me and says "You are the bestest mom in the whole world.". And I feel like a fraud.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wee as in Wictory

Inspite of being misunderstood countless times since I came to the USA, I still used to think I talk English okay. Until now.

Summy realized that I just didn't know how to say some things. Hey, I realized that I don't know how to say many things.

For example, today I was talking to her about her friend Owen. She said "What?". I repeated myself. She said, "Who?". After saying it three or four times, she says, "Oh, you mean Ohwen!". It seems that I had been calling her friend an oven.

The other day, I was telling her how to spell van, when she stopped me. "Amma, say vee. Not wee."

I say, "That's what I said: Wee!"

"Not wee. Say vee."


"Vvvvv... Vvvvv.... Vvvveeee!"

"Www... Www... Wheeee!"

At this she doubled over laughing. Then she realized I wasn't just kidding around, I really couldn't tell the difference between "V" and "W".

In school, an English teacher taught us how to say "W" - always start a w by rounding your mouth - and pressed on us to say "water" not "vater". So that's how I say "w", only apparently now I don't know how to say "v" anymore.

Summy was even more persistent than my English teacher and wouldn't let me go until I said it the right way. So now I know: to say "V", one has to touch the inside of the lower lip with the upper teeth.

Ve both emerged wictorious.

But I still can't really tell the difference between v and w unless I try really hard. Sometimes, while driving by myself, I find myself going "Vee. Wee. Vee. Whee." People stopped next to me at red traffic lights think either that I'm crazy, or that I'm having a lot of fun.

Actually, it's both.

It's "afishll" - we are now five

Summy turned five last month (and ofcourse, we turned five as mother and father).

The celebration was quiet and peaceful, unlike the last two years where she had birthday parties with all her class invited.

This time we brought the party to the class, with pizza and cake. Her teachers made a special birthday crown for her. When the cake was put in front of her, her friends and teachers gathered around, and every one sang Happy Birthday, the look on her face was unforgettable. It was one of pure happiness. The same look was on her face at the same moment last year, and the year before that.

This may sound like a greeting card, but Summy: May you always be surrounded by lots of friends and loved ones, and have many many more happy times.

Kiran brought Summy a small aquarium and three fish as she is now five and considered responsible enough to care for pets. She is responsible all right, in a managerial sort of way - she wrote me down a list of things to do to care for the fish.

I quote her list, numbers and all:

2 THE FIISH WANT AA HIDINGPLACE (I had to go buy decorations to put in their tank to hide in when they are shy)

She signed her name on the bottom, drew pictures of three fish on it, and to show me how official the list is, she wrote "A FISHLL" on top (she had already asked me how to spell "fish", and she figured that official must probably be spelled with a "fish" in it). The list is still taped to the aquarium stand.

The list seemed to have worked because the fish are still swimming around.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Family Fun

Until six months ago, the most adventurous ride I'd been on would have been a giant wheel (in the Hyderabad Exhibition).

But now things are different. It's hard to go to Disneyland every Sunday (as we do now) and get away with saying, "I won't do that ride, or that one, or that one. I'll do the little kiddie carousel though."

Summy was taking Kiran on all the little roller coaster rides that she is allowed to ride on, and she always wants the biggest ones. I stayed on the sidelines, "watching the stroller", until one day the two of them persuaded me to go on a tame little coaster. ("It's okay, Mama. I'll be right next to you and hold your hand.")

Slowly she worked us up to "Space Mountain", which is a relatively small roller coaster, except it's in total darkness, only lit up by "stars". It is very fun once you do get used to it!

And now, Kiran and I have started to take turns to go on rides that Summy is too short to go on. Yesterday we tried the Maliboomer, which is a kind of ride called a Space Shot. They put you in a chair with your feet dangling, with a plexiglass shield that goes around your head so that the nice residential city of Anaheim is not disturbed by your screams as you are shot up 180 ft in 4 seconds and then dropped down into a free fall. Despite sounding and looking scary, this is fun as well. Summy lived vicariously through our rides, unable to meet the 52 inch height requirement even while trying her best to stand on the tippiest tips of her tippy toes. But she did go on the kid version of the same ride, called Jumping Jellyfish.

You'd think having children would make you feel older, but the opposite is also true. Children give you a second chance at being a kid.

As George Bernard Shaw said, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.".

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Guide to Making Friends

Very useful for shy people like me:

1) Keep an eye out for a person who seems interesting.

2) Once you spot an interesting person, walk up to them. Step right in front of them and make eye contact.

3) If they don't say anything, continue to stare closely at whatever it is they are doing, and comment on it.

4) If they do not respond to this, bounce up and down while saying "Look what I can do!". If you can do cartwheels, do a cartwheel or two now.

5) If they still haven't said anything, it's time to stop being so very subtle. Say "Will you be my friend?".

It always works for Summy, so it should work for any of us. Right?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cabbages and Edamame

I'm still at home while I'm working on learning new things and writing new exams. Life is pretty laid-back and the only things I have to do are cook and study. Still these things somehow stretch out to take the whole day and I find less time to do things like updating this blog.

One thing that I've learned to love in the last six months is to cook.

Maybe it's the fresh veggies from the farmers market: I take pleasure in buying veggies every Saturday and making sure they are eaten up before the next Saturday rolls around.

Maybe it's the extra time I have to think about what to make: While I'm driving around I'm making up dishes in my head like cabbage with potatoes and soybeans or edamame (which doesn't taste so bad, by the way!).

Maybe it's the computer that's right next to the kitchen, so I can put bokchoy, broccoli, and potatoes on the counter, wipe my hands on the towel, google for the unlikely "bok choy dal" and "broccoli alu curry", and amazingly have recipes turn up.

Whatever it is, it's a good thing I like to cook because now I have to turn out lunches for the little lady every day.

It's much harder than I thought it would be, considering that at home she eats anything that I cook (and when I ask, she almost always tells me that it's good). But I used to send lunches that came back uneaten no matter what they were, and I finally understood the moms who agonize about what to pack for lunch.

For now, things are all right, as I figured out that lunches need to be a little more gourmet than jelly sandwiches or pasta and tomato sauce. Current menu items are carrot or tomato fried rice, garnished with cilantro, pasta with cheese sauce and broccoli, chickpeas with seasoning, chapatis and yogurt with soybeans on the side, cherry tomatoes, vegetable pulihora (!!!) and occasionally Maggi. She's eating these now, but next week might be a new challenge.

At home though, she is a pleasure to cook for, as is Kiran. They'll both eat anything I cook and relish it, no matter how strange it might sound. Thank you, you two!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Monthly Journals

I am terrible at keeping up Summy's blog these days. But Summy has been helping out with a different kind of journal at school.

The teacher sits the kids down at the table, one at a time, and has them draw a picture from their life, anything that they like, in their own special monthly journal. Then the kid talks about their picture, and the teacher writes it down verbatim. At the end of the month, the teacher sends the journal home. It's up to the kids to decide whether they want to do the journal that day or not, so they are not forced to sit down and do this even when they have "writer's" block (just like I frequently get blogger's blogck).

I'll post excerpts and pictures from the journals once Kiran comes back from the South Pole next week and brings the camera back with him. Not the South Pole, really, that's just Summy's slip-up for Sao Paolo. ("When are you coming back from South Pole, Daddy? - I'm making fun of what she said, but she's pretty savvy: She can pin-point the Brazilian city on the world map.)

P.S.: Thanks to all those who had visited and left kind comments about Summy and her art on my last few infrequent posts. It made me happy and proud of her.

Friday, January 04, 2008


It was all a few splotches and googly eyes on black paper until she told us what it was. The night sky with fireworks in it, and the eyes at the bottom are Kiran, Summy and I watching the fireworks. Then suddenly it was a masterpiece.

She bites!!

I've been quiet for a really long time, after we have moved to our new apartment. But I have to write this down somewhere.

Last night, Summy had crept next to Kiran in the middle of the night and was sleeping on his shoulder. At one point, I was woken up, and Kiran told me "She bit me!!!". It didn't even register, I just went back to sleep.

This morning, I heard the whole story. It seems that she had chomped down on his shoulder, he woke up startled, and found her eyes were still closed and she was still asleep. But she had an apology for him later.

"I'm sorry, Daddy, I thought you were a sandwich." Ofcourse! Why didn't he think of that obvious explanation? According to her, she was just dreaming that she was going to bite into a sandwich, and his shoulder happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Could that be true? I don't know if that's what really happened, but it seems hilarious (to me, anyway).