Monthly Archives: December 2016

On the road….

We are on a road trip in the state of Tamilnadu in India. We are visiting many old temples in and around Thanjavur and Kumbakonam.

It is quite hot, as our cab weaves its way through the most beautiful villages and towns, hidden in swathes of green paddy fields.

The paddy crops sway in the gentle breeze, as scarecrows watch over them silently. There are goats, cows and buffaloes dotting the landscape.

There are kingfishers on every electric cable, waiting to catch their prey from the water. 

Small shops, which sell a household’s entire supplies, flit past as we drive through these towns. 

Life is happening, children are cycling to school, men and women are already busy on their farms. In certain places, both paddy and sugarcane fields greet us.

We soon pass the small town of Tiruvaiyaru, famed for one of the greatest composers of Indian Carnatic music, Saint Thiagaraja. The driver points out various sites in the town.

He suddenly says, ” There is a must-stop place in this town.”

We look enquiringly. He talks about this sweet shop named ‘Andavan Kadai Halwa’, meaning God’s Halwa Shop.

For those of you who don’t know, the ‘halwa’ is an Indian sweet made of wheat, sugar, ghee, milk, cardomom powder and other ingredients.

Though halwa is not a particular favourite in our family, we agree to visit the shop.

The halwa shop is located on a busy street. It is a very small shop. The heavenly smell of ghee greets us. There is a display counter with pieces of halwa and other savouries on display.

We ask the man behind the counter about the halwa, quantities and prices.

He says, “Please taste some first.”

And as we watch, he takes a big blob of hot halwa that is floating in ghee, drops it on a banana leaf, and gives it to us.

We salivate just seeing it; the orange colour looks inviting. We cut off small portions and taste it.

My husband and I look at each other, as our eyes widen in delight. This is easily one of the best halwas we have ever tasted. The man smiles knowingly…!

We polish off the halwa. We order take away packets and walk out into the afternoom heat.

We finish our trips to all the temples, admiring centuries-old architecture. It is late evening as we head back to our hotel. It is a ninety-minute ride.

The moon flies across the sky with us, as the stars twinkle. The festival of Kaarthigai is being celebrated. Small earthen lamps have been lit and placed on the front porches of most homes.


We enjoy the gentle breeze, as the road winds and takes us back to dinner and other mundanities like packing and getting back home.

A moment in time…

Recently, as I browsed through my digital photo archives, I came across this picture of my son, when he has 3 years old.

I still remember – it was a cold, windy day, and we were on a windmill farm in The Netherlands.

My husband and I stood transfixed by the old windmill, but my son was mesmerised by this beautiful duck that waddled across the grass. 

My son got his arms together and imitated the duck’s waddling as he followed the bird, making a ‘quack’, ‘quack’ sound with his mouth.

Seeing this photograph brought back memories of that holiday, and memories of the little boy that my son was then, whose day was made by that little duck.

How time flies! When I showed him the picture, his eyes grew big, and he asked, “Is that really what I did?

A simple moment in time. A moment that can never be replaced. A moment when a three year old followed a duck.

Bliss between two lists

Once or twice a year, there comes a day, when I realize that all my work projects are done, that my ‘things to do’ list is ticked off, and that there is just ONE DAY before school holidays start, after which the children will rule my life for three weeks. 

Today was that day. I woke up lazily, plodded through my chores, ran a few errands (there is no escaping these), and then felt a frisson of excitement. I had nothing in my ‘to do’ list. All this means is that I am done with my old list, but mercifully  have not added the hundred other things that need to be done.

I think I was quite sensible by cutting off the list at such a point, where ‘today’ could become a reality.

Courtesy – Clipart Kid

I giggle at this absurdity of suddenly having four hours to spend. I decide to do a little bit of each of the things I love. I read, I watch some of my favourite shows on youtube, I stare into space and ponder about life, allowing myself to drift away with my memories, and sit down to enjoy a great cup of filter coffee, on my easy chair, watching the heavy rain outside.

In what seems like four minutes, the children are back, in a high state of excitement that their holidays are within touching distance.

I smile, as I ready myself to become a referee to their squabbles over pencils and space and air, in the room they share. I prepare to get started on packing for our trip. I prepare to hoard the refrigerator and stock up on food supplies to feed two children, whose constant refrain over the next three weeks will be, “Is there anything to eat?”

The holidays will fly, and the New Year will glide in, and we will all get back to the grind.

But such days, the one between two ‘things to do lists’ are pure bliss.