Tag Archives: humour

Wisdom from 150 Beans!

I am flipping the pages of one of my handwritten recipe books. The book is yellowed – with both age and stains from the kitchen; from having balanced the book near the cooking pot or from having turned the pages with hands coated with dough or turmeric powder or a hundred other ingredients.

Against each recipe is a small note in my handwriting, which rates how the recipe turned out.

This book has recipes from my grandma, my mom, my mother in law and my dad’s sister.

Today, I can stand in front of the stove, and estimate the quantities of ingredients mentally, I can gauge by the aroma, if all is well. Skills that have been acquired over many years.

But there was a time when I was a novice cook, navigating the world of recipes with precise measurements and quantities. Life in the kitchen revolved more around the science of cooking rather than its creative side. My tools were a set of measuring bowls and spoons.

I remember one evening, when we had a potluck dinner with our friends. I had to prepare a vegetable side dish for around 40 people.

I used this very same recipe book then. However, I had scrawled down the ingredients and quantities, but had not written down how many people the recipe could serve.

Then began the complicated math. The recipe said 2 carrots, 15 French Beans, 3 tomatoes, 1 onion and so on. To me this seemed like the quantity for around 4 to 5 people.

Being an expert at the math of cooking, I multiplied the quantities by 10 to serve 40 people. When I wrote my new quantities down, the 150 beans seemed out of place………..and thus it began – my journey towards learning that cooking is more about intuition, and less about precise quantities.

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

It has taken me many years and many errors to get here. There have been times that the dishes looked good but tasted anything but! Then again, there were dishes that crumbled, but tasted delicious.

It has been a long and enjoyable journey. Today, as I stand in front of the stove, I add salt and spice with practiced ease, I can see and tell, smell and diagnose what is right or wrong. I am a better judge of quantities.

After all, it is the wisdom acquired from 150 beans.

Advertisements

Smart Charades

My mobile phone rings, and its call is insistent. I drop what I am doing to pick up the call. It is an important call, and I settle down with pen and paper, jotting down notes, and doodling unconsciously, eyebrows furrowed and shoulders hunched forward, my concentration absolute.

Image courtesy – fotosearch.com

A few minutes into the call, I sense rather than see a presence. A momentary lapse of attention, and I refocus. In another minute, the presence becomes palpable, I look up to see my son waving at me.

And then the game begins. A game that has its own unique rules. A game that I call the Smartkids game. I am sure that most parents are familiar with this game – maybe each of us plays different variants, but the basic game goes something like this.

The parent is on an important call. The child now tries to sneak-in a request to do something that he or she would normally not be allowed to do, when the parent’s attention is fully focused on them.

So, back to my call. My son waves. I wave back, and I signal that I am on a call, as he can see. The game of dumb charades begins.

My son signals for permission to play games on the iPad.

I shake my head and mouth a ‘no’. He has already used up his quota for the day.

He shows his ten fingers and the clock. 10 minutes and makes a pleading expression.

My eyes roll an exasperated NO in capital letters, bold font!

I am trying to keep my wits about me – to hold my telecon together.

My son goes away, but he is back with a pen and notepad. He writes, “Please, at least 5 minutes.”

I scribble a hasty big NO, font size 72.

Another PLEASE…and I am teetering on the brink of an eruption.

I stand up, and with violent hand gestures, and rolling eyes, I signal a final DECISIVE NO.

I can picture myself, trying to hold a sane conversation on the one hand and trying to play a rather difficult version of dumb charades on the other.

My son shrugs and frowns. He walks away. My call ends at the same time.

Game over. Phew! I have lost a few rounds in the past, but now I know how it works

My son knows that there will be other calls on other days, when I will falter and give in.

‘Creating’ memories

The days are flying, and there are days when time seems to have vanished between sunrise and sunset. I try to recall what I did or what I ate, but I am simply not able to remember. Where did the day go?

However, I can easily identify every single classmate of mine from old school photos. I can remember the lyrics to most of the songs we heard as children.

But now, when someone asks me to sing any new song, I can only remember the tune, and I make up my own lyrics on the fly, much to the embarrassment of my children.

Earlier this week, I was a participant in an event, where our group performed a medley of songs.

We had lots of fun preparing for the event. However, all of us had a problem with our memories and the lyrics. For the first few days we used papers and our phones.

But as with everything else, confidence comes only if we are word perfect. So we tried our best to do away with the papers and our phones.

But this presented another problem – this effort required absolute concentration, where we could not allow even a stray thought to intrude into our minds.

One stray thought and the lyrics just flew away, leaving us opening and closing our mouths like fish, trying desperately to get the lyrics back into our heads.

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

What happened to those memory chain games where a group of us sat and reeled off names of animals or fruits and added a new animal or fruit to the already long list?

These days, if I don’t remember to write things down, there is a 100% chance that they will be washed away from my memory, making sure to come back and haunt me in the future.

Once I make my lists, I need alarms on my phone as back up. What if I don’t remember to see the list?

And this is how it is now, my life, trying to ‘create’ memories of simple, everyday things.

Dolls and Dreams

I am obsessive about cleaning, and feel strange when I am not organizing or ‘re-cleaning’ things around the house.

Today, I attack the toy cupboard. Sadly though, the toy cupboard is only ‘that’ in name. Very few toys remain; the remaining space has been taken over by other stuff – odds and ends, this and that.

But it was not like this earlier. Every drawer in the toy cupboard was colour coded and sorted by type of toy, frequency of use, easy accessibility and other crazy things that only a mom with OCD would do!

At one point my daughter’s world was in various shades of pink, purple and silver. One drawer in the toy cupboard was dedicated to dolls, Barbie dolls to be specific. My daughter had around eight to ten Barbies.

Courtesy – Clipart Zone

I remember wonderful afternoons, when my daughter and her friends would play, cook, have tea, dress up their Barbies, and do all that little girls around the world did!

Before we knew it, my husband and I were attending our daughter’s interview for admission to school. They wanted to meet the child and talk to her.

My husband and I sat on either side of our daughter, who was at her cheerful best. The teacher spoke to her.

Teacher : Why do you want to come to school?

Daughter: To study….

Teacher: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Daughter: (after deep thought) I want to be a Barbie doll.

All of us burst out laughing.

As with everything else, the Barbie phase came to an end, in bits and pieces.

It began when she stopped playing with the dolls, sometimes. Then came the phase, when she would take them out sometimes, or when a friend still wanted to play. Then came the phase of packing them up, but not willing to part with them. And then the day, when she gave them away.

The dolls were replaced by badge makers, loom bands, beading kits, and lots of art and craft projects.

Pinks and purples have now been replaced by black, silver, and more black and silver.

How time has flown!

Expressive lemur strikes a chord

It is a rainy day and we are at the zoo. There is a steady downpour. Our shoes make sloshing sounds in the water, throwing back drops of water on our trousers.

We walk around, looking at each enclosure. Most of the animals seem worn out by the rain. They are seated in their shelters. Some, like the hyena, continue to pace, back and forth, oblivious to the rain and the visitors.

We then move on to a series of inter-connected enclosures that house a few naughty monkeys and some ring-tailed lemurs.

In the first room, a fight seems to have erupted between the monkeys and two lemurs. They tease, chatter and chase each other frantically – up and down the branches.

The other ring tailed lemurs also watch this fight, their bodies braced for action. 

We smile and move on. The second room has a few lemurs, the loners, sitting by themselves.

When we reach the third room, we laugh out aloud, for seated all alone, right in the middle of the room is a lemur. Just look at his expression – 

We just love the look on his face. We wonder what he is trying to express.

Seems like he is saying, “Whatever!” 

This expression strikes a chord.

  • This is the expression I wear when I have not had my morning coffee.
  • This is the expression my children have when I narrate a joke that they find boring.
  • This is the expression when one has just finished a difficult exam.
  • This is the expression after a high-thrill ride you have been on (one that your children have forced you on..and you unknowingly said yes to!)
  • This is also me at the end of a long day.

I can relate to the lemur’s expression at many levels.

Bye little friend.

Moms and lunch boxes

My kids are now at the age where they seem to be hungry all the time and are always asking for food. One meal is barely over before they want to know ‘what and when’ they will eat next. As a mom it is nice to see this phase, but my kids were not always like this.

They were picky eaters and wanted only a certain type of food. My daughter would have milk only from medicine dispensers, strange as it sounds. 

There have been many different food phases in my kids’ lives.

I am reminded of a funny incident that happened many years ago, when my daughter was attending nursery school. I would prepare small sandwiches, mini dosas, mini idlis, vegetable wraps etc, trying to make my daughter’s lunch box as interesting as possible, knowing that she was fussy about what she ate. I would check with her the previous evening about what she wanted  – just to give her a sense of involvement, so that she would eat her food at school.

Picture courtesy – Clipart.com

I derived a lot of satisfaction to see her empty lunch box after school everyday! One day, however, the box came back untouched. I was worried if she was going to fall sick, but she seemed her usual self.

So, I asked her why she hadn’t touched her lunch. And this is what she said….

“Amma, the girl who usually eats my lunch was absent from school today!”

Aha….! That explained it all.

Marathon misunderstanding

One of my friends has a daughter who has just graduated from high school, and who is now enjoying the break before she heads to college later this year.

Days of continuous study have suddenly been replaced by lots of time to spend with friends and family.

A few days ago, my friend’s daughter told her mom that she was planning a ‘Marathon session of Movie watching’ with her friends. Her mom was preoccupied and only heard the marathon part and the friends part.

Picture courtesy – Can Stock Photo

She was very happy that her daughter and friends were going to run long distance. Their conversation went something like this!

Mom: Wow, that’s so cool. So when are you planning to do it?

Daughter: Tomorrow 

Mom: So soon? Are you ready? 

Daughter: Of course, Ma. Need to stock up. 

Mom: Yes, what do you need? 

Daughter: Potato wafers, Nachos and cream, Coke, Fruit Juice and maybe some brownies.

Mom (looking dazed): But doesn’t that take away the whole purpose of your marathon?

Daughter (looking puzzled) : But we are going to be up all night, so we need to charge our batteries Ma.

Mom : I think you should buy isotonic drinks, bananas and other fruits.

Daughter (looks shocked) : Amma, my friends will never ‘ever’ come to our home for a Movie Marathon if I serve what you just suggested.

Mom (with realization dawning) : Movie marathon? I thought you were going to run one.

Both burst out laughing. 

Truly a ‘marathon misunderstanding’!