What is ‘home’?


The word ‘home’ means so many things to so many people. It can be a physical space or a space in one’s heart, it can be a feeling of joy created when you are with family or loved ones, it can be memories; it can mean so many, many things. But it sure is a ‘ place of comfort’.

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Courtesy  http://www.home.howstuffworks.com

Home, to me, is about being with my family, as much as it is about being within the cozy walls of our home.  It is about those unique smells that belong to our home, it is about chaos, it is about order, it is about watching a game together and being able to wipe away tears or receive a bear hug.

It is about reading without disturbance, or not being able to read at all, when the children are having a fight. It is about those small crazy things like missing scissors and sock-pairs, that have vanished within this defined space called home.

Then again, it is about coming back from trips, and being on trips, as a family and feeling that deep bonding. It is about leaking pipes and stains on the wall, as much as it is about shared music and laughter echoing off the walls. It is about cuddling with the family, and playing Uno on a rainy day.

It is about going crazy, ferrying the kids to and from their classes, it is about grocery shopping and celebrating festivals.

Above all, it is about being there for each other, no matter what.

Home is both a physical space and a space within our hearts.

What does home mean to you?

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Pit Stops on my morning walk


I usually head out for my long, morning walk, after the kids have left for school.

I take a long walking route, about 6 to 7 kms. The sun is usually quite hot by then, and the sky a nice cornflower blue.

As I walk my first kilometer, the chaotic sounds of ‘morning madness’ at home, before everyone’s on their way,  slowly evaporate from my head.

The sounds are slowly replaced by the twittering of lots of birds – mynas, orioles, sparrows and pigeons.They flit about from bush to bush.

On my walk, there is a stretch of about 1 km, which is along a long canal that winds its way across town.  Here, there are lovely bushes and shrubs of small flowers.

I don’t know their names but enjoy stopping and looking at them. Small orange-red flowers, milky white ones, baby pink ones, bright orange ones. Such pretty and small flowers. The bees are busy collecting honey, and I usually stop to take pictures of these beauties.

I am truly amazed at their beauty, gently swaying in the breeze, sharing their beauty for all to see, expecting nothing in return!

These are my pit stops, where I recharge my batteries. My walkometer on the phone shows that on this stretch my pace is very slow. But the walkometer doesn’t know that on this stretch, I regain my energies and enthusiasm to meet my

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day.

The flowers make me smile and give me hope. They make me believe that all is well with world.  Sharing some pictures of these beauties. Hope you enjoy them.

So what’s your pit stop? What makes you recharge? Would love to know.

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Sibling banter


Last night, we wound up after what was a very long day for all of us.

I sat with the kids, listening to their friendly sibling banter, my mind focused on my ‘Things to do list’. Only a few things they said actually registered with me.

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     Courtesy – http://www.dreamstime.com

One word,  ‘birthday’, made me look up and pay attention. The conversation went something like this.

Son: My birthday’s coming up in a month.

Teen daughter: Wow, yes. What are you planning?

Son: I think I am too old for b’day parties. I will, maybe, have a few friends over.

Teen daughter: Why don’t you want a party? You did the same thing for Halloween. You did not want to go trick or treating.

Son: What’s wrong with that?

Teen daughter: You are growing up too soon..you need to enjoy these things at your age.

(I think, “Wow, my daughter is really giving good advice)

Son: Hmmmm….

Teen daughter: Just remember, if you give up all these things too soon….and then expect to eat all my Halloween candies,  that I gather after hours of planning and make-up, think twice. NO WAY will you get them.

Hmmmm……! So that’s what it was all about…I go back to planning my schedule with a smile on my face.

Letter mirrors


A few years ago, when my Dad passed away, and my mom was clearing out some old stuff, she chanced upon a bundle of letters that I had written to my parents, when I was in my twenties and  working in London.

She had preserved them carefully, organized by date; each letter safely tucked in its original envelope. The envelopes had frayed edges, where my parents would have opened or torn them to get to my letters.

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          Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

A few days later, when I visited my mom, she asked me if I wanted to keep the letters, because they were filled with my everyday observations of London (one of my favourite cities), to my dreams and aspirations, and lots of photos and humourous observations. Of course, every letter was an outpouring of love to my parents, my aunt, my sisters and to my adorable niece, who was 2 months old then.

I took the letters with me, and sat down to read them. I must have had lots of time, especially in winter, for no letter was shorter than 14 pages!

Through those letters, I relived my life in its twenties. I could see that young woman, with so many dreams and aspirations, looking at her future and its immense possibilities.

I loved reliving London, with its tube stations, and the weather, and the long walks I often took. I remembered the scones and jacket potatoes. I remember how many books I read on my trips in the tube. I learnt so many, many things. I travelled, I walked and I read.

I fast forward to the now. How have I changed? Lots of things are still the same, but I have mellowed. I am a wife now, a mom now. My priorities are quite different.

Many of those dreams are still inside, waiting to be realized, maybe after the kids go to university.

Life was independence, fun, young and filled with lots of possibilities ‘then’.

Life is dependence, love, ageing and filled with dreams and possibilities for the family ‘now’.

Different phases, both beautiful. Wouldn’t trade either.

Point of view on a lazy evening


It is evening, around 6 pm. I drag my easy-chair out, to the balcony. Pinkish golden clouds are flirting with the Sun, as he bids adieu for the day.

The birds in the trees nearby are chirping loudly, catching up on all the gossip in their world. The evening is still bright and golden.

The wind lazily makes its way through the coconut palms. I look down at the play area and lobby below. A few cars are parked. There is a small boy, all by himself; trying to run around, clearly missing his friends. He looks around to see why his friends haven’t arrived yet.

He swings himself on a metal bar, and suddenly lets out a whoop of joy, as a group of boys runs down to meet him.

The dynamics below change completely. They talk in shrill voices, discuss something, and then start playing.

It takes me a while to realize that they are playing a game of hide and seek.  It is fun to watch from above, because I can clearly see both the hunter and the hunted.

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           Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

But they are oblivious to me and crawl around the cars, benches and trees, in the park below. They move with stealth not knowing where the predator is! When they are finally hunted down, they giggle, and the game starts all over again.

I am fascinated by this. What is obvious to me from where I am seated, seems to be such a challenge to them.

That’s exactly how it is with life’s problems, right? When we are very involved, we cannot see the picture clearly.

However, when we step back and see the big picture, we definitely get a better perspective!

I dwell on this, and watch the boys playing soccer now. The birds have run out of things to say. Lights are coming on in some homes. The sky is taking on a deep hue. The clouds are mere grey wisps, cooling down after a long day.

In a while, the boys call out byes to each other and run home. I go back inside with a smile.

What’s in a view? Everything…


One of the best ways to realize the passage of time is when you realize that suddenly, a huge building has popped up right next to your place of work or home, or on one of the roads you frequent.

One day, construction is still on, and the very next, the building is standing tall and proud, its shining facade gleaming in the sun and shimmering with bright lights at night.

That is when you realize that time has truly flown. You begin to forget what used to be in the place where this new building has dropped its roots.

Hmmm, but I am rambling a bit here. This post is neither about the passage of time nor about concrete jungles. 

It is about a new hotel cum mall that has popped-up very close to our home. There’s nothing special about that, you may say. ‘Tis probably happening all around the world!

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Courtesy – http://www.world-wallpaper.com

There is only one small issue that I have with this building. When I step out on my balcony or look out from my bedroom window, my eyes are level with the new hotel’s swanky gym.

I get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water, and there are people working out, on cross trainers and treadmills. I can see their silhouettes, burning hundreds of calories.

Then again, I wake up early sometimes, and look out, and there they are again, working out.

Who are these people, who are so motivated to work out late at night and early in the morning? They look like the people we read about in books, who have a busy life and are productive      24 × 7.

As I type this, I am walking towards my balcony to check. All treadmills are occupied! Wow.

I am glad for the bright light of day, because then I cannot see the inside of the gym, and what I can’t see doesn’t bother me, or make me feel guilty – especially the guilt that stems from all the sweets and savouries I have been wolfing down this Diwali season.

Come to think of it, this could be a great USP if our house were to be sold. House with a gym-view to inspire…round the clock!

Deepavali memories


I stand in my kitchen peering into the kadai, adding besan, spoonful by spoonful, into the bubbling sugar syrup that’s right now gurgling out golden ghee…..I leave the gas burner for a minute to get a drink of water & the delicious aroma of ghee, sugar & the first hints of Mysore Pak assault my senses.
My mind jumps back to another time …so long ago, in my hometown, where we would rush home after school to this wonderful smell of sweets being made. The air was festive – my granny would be on her sofa looking content with her family bustling around her. My mom would be filling-up box after box of sweets and savouries to distribute. At around 6 when darkness fell the first Lakshmi Vedi would go off with a loud crack…reverberating through the night. A frisson of excitement would run through the house…Oooooh “Deepavali is here”. We would await our Dad’s arrival from the cracker shop & inspect the goodies & share them.
One year, a coward, ready only to burst sparklers & flower pots, then a few years down, the brave one, setting off the dreaded ‘atom vedi‘, returning to base with a smirk that said it had been so easy. Then keeping our alarms for three thirty a.m. to be the first one in the block to set off the ‘100 wala & oosi pattasu’. Then the early years of college when it was not so cool to get up and be seen as doing all these with Featured imageenthusiasm. Then working life, marriage and kids.
Now, trying to re-create all that magic. Will my children remember the aroma of Mysore Pak wafting through the house? Do they look forward to the traditions we are trying to keep up every year? Yes, I am sure they will…maybe a different version of the same story..but the joy, the bonding & love will definitely continue.
Happy Deepavali to you all.

Moms & Snack boxes


I don’t know about all you moms out there, but when my kids were in kindergarten and primary school, it was a big challenge to decide what to pack for their recess snack boxes and lunch boxes.

Some years, the teachers made it easy by giving a list of snack food categories for the week like Monday – fruit, Tuesday – salad etc.

But when the teachers did not give this list, I racked my brains. I am a fairly good cook but my kids would constantly come back and tell me that their boxes and meals were boring, and that their friends brought fun stuff.

So, once a week I would give them some potato wafers or Indian savouries for their snack boxes, to crank up the ‘cool-mom factor’ a few notches.

There have been times, when I have been asked to call their friends’ moms for certain recipes. They were happy when I made those dishes, but still felt it was not like their friends’ moms cooking. Phew!

I learned a lot of new recipes, and have evolved and innovated over the years. Time has flown, and the kids’ tastes have changed.

Now each time I pack their snack boxes, my teenager says, “Could you just give me fruit and salad. Don’t want any junk. I want to eat healthy.”

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Courtesy – en.wikipedia.org

Hmmmm…so it is back to square one. Monday – fruit, Tuesday – salad….maybe I should just pull out the nursery teacher’s schedule.

How soon time flies…and how soon the kids grow up!

The Tar Baby and A Big Sister


Many, many years ago, when I was in high school, my little sister was in primary school.

Those days, we lived in an apartment block that had a coating of tar on the roof.  That year, all the apartments were given a coat of paint, and the roofs, a makeover.

When the workmen left, some tar was left on the ledge above our porch.  The ledge had a drain pipe to drain rain water. It was a particularly hot summer that year, and the leftover tar melted and dripped out through the drainpipe.

Unfortunately for my little sister, she ran out just when a particularly long thread of melted tar was coming out; and it fell plop, right on the middle of her head.

The poor thing was horrified, and came rushing into the house, crying.

My parents were out, and I, the big sister, was in charge. After giving her some candy, I took matters into my own hands. I sat her down on a chair, wrapped a towel around her shoulders, kept some newspaper on the ground, and with a pair of scissors, I snipped away. First, I chopped off the huge blob of ‘tar stuck’ hair. Then all around the area, wherever I could see even a small bit of tar.

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      Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

While the tar was completely removed, what was left of my sister’s hair looked horrible. There was long hair in places and then clumps of short hair, where I had worked my magic.

The poor thing was hysteric when she saw herself in the mirror. I dreaded my mom’s arrival.

My mom was mad at me, needless to say, though she was happy that I had managed to get the tar out.

Then, it was a trip to the hairdressers. I went along, if only to assuage my guilt. The hairdresser said that she had to cut my sister’s hair to the height of the little clumps that I had carved on her head. So, my sister’s hair was almost razed to the scalp; and she went around looking like a coconut for a few days.

It was a sensitive topic at home for a while. Now, we laugh about it when we look back!

Coffee Friends


Earlier, I had written a post about Popcorn Friends. There are many different types of moments in life that can be enjoyed with different types of friends.

Today’s post is about Coffee Friends. Simply put, Coffee Friends are those with whom you go out for coffee.

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       Courtesy – http://www.ClipartPals.com

Most Coffee Friends usually have a favourite coffee outlet or cafe for the Coffee Friend meeting.

Where I live, there are many good ones to choose from.

So, last week I had a Coffee Friend afternoon. Thanks to Whatsapp and Smartphones, we could take out an  hour from our crazily busy lives to catch up.

Though we each rushed in at the appointed hour, the next 60 minutes were pure relaxation. With the smell of lattes, mochas and capuccinos wafting all around us, and soothing music playing, we settled down in our comfy seats to another wonderful Coffee Friends meeting.

As we sipped our coffee and snacked a bit, we caught up with each others’ lives – from schedules to work to children to fashion. We squeezed in a lot in those 60 minutes.

We laughed, ragged, discussed some serious stuff, ordered more coffee, discussed life’s philosophy and peeked at our smartphones multiple times to stay in touch with our busy schedules.

60 minutes that were exclusively for us. No topic was too trivial or too heavy for the Coffee Friends.

Before we knew it, we were saying loud byes and exchanging hugs. Each of us headed in a different direction, totally rejuvenated and energized.

We plan to meet soon for another Coffee Friend morning.

So do you have Coffee Friends? Would love to hear about those moments.