Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tentative Parenting :The story of the little yogi and the working mom

K2 broke a flowerpot today at his grandparents place and I asked to speak to him, he quickly said - Hi Mama, can I speak to Aai (my mother). I gave the phone to my mother knowing fully well it was an evasion tactic from getting a "howling" from his mama. A minute later he did own up to his mistake and said something profound "Own up when you mess up"...this is something they are taught at school and is impeccable learning from a work ethics perspective. We strongly believe that credit needs to be given where it is due, so if things go wrong why not apply the same principle and take responsibility. He has made a couple other comments which apply so aptly to life in general and work in particular. I have been learning from this precocious child the hard art of being a yogi. Here are his top 3 sayings not listed in the order of frequency of use :

  1. You get what you get, and you don't get upset - Patanjali speaks of Santosha or contentment and it is critical to practice this in our work place and ambition are all great but it is important to take a moment and take a breather and enjoy where we are (we are there for a reason)
  2. Sharing doubles the fun - K2 who seeks to share what he already has, case in point his Beyblades with his sister and his friend D .This simple saying has elements of a yama that Pantanjali spoke of - aparigraha, or nonpossessiveness (wish that applied to his Ma too, he can't stand me holding another child in his presence...yet)...sharing knowledge, information and credit makes team work more than just a buzz word.
  3. If it's not your sack, put it back - This final offering speaks to the  yama, asteya, or non-stealing, we refrain from stealing not because we fear getting caught but because we want to engage in right action and preserve our integrity. Learning from my son and life in general I have practiced at work giving credit, praise and recognition for ideas, work and has held me good stead at the work place and helped me sleep easier at night.
Does this mean K2 is out of the dog house for breaking the pot - not quite. However, this little yogi has taught me the value of remembering that the simple principles in life are the foundation for all things black and white in our value system. I hope I can help him practice, remember and value these strong parenting (yes roles reversed) lessons he has given me. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thoda Gupshup...Thoda Chai Vai.

Thoda = A little
Gupshup = social chitchat (not to be confused with the  popular Mobile SMS service in India)
Chai = wonderful Indian beverage...made with strong black tea, laced generously with cardamom and full-fat milk and who can forget sugar ( the cuppa in India is 1/4th the size of the chai in the US, thereby justifying more than just one cup+ the extra sweetness...that's my story and I am sticking to it  ;-) )

It is when I am in India that I realize that I am somewhat socially inept...I lose practice in the US you see...most of my time is spent running after my son, household errands, conference calls, work, gym...not something I am complaining about... things I enjoy doing...but I lose out on taking a breather and sitting down for a cuppa with my friends for inane conversations skimming the superficial (maid, pictures, beauty salon, diet) -- why is it that every time I have a conversation with P or N or even M...we end up with the heavy thing I am really enjoying here is my cups of chai with all the small eats. Here is a picture of some of the things that go with my cuppa

You see in the picture Diet Chiwda, Sesame Cookies and an amazing fruit cake from Diamond Bakery. I have  recreated the fruit cake at home  multiple times (I usually substitute the maida used in Indian bakeries with whole wheat and that makes my cake denser...way more interesting though)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup light butter 
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (made from 2 1/2 tsp low fat curd )
1 tsp orange rind
Handful of dried cranberries, blueberries, walnuts.
Preheat the oven at 400 F/ 200C. Grease a bundt pan or a cake pan and keep aside.
Sieve the wheat flour and baking powder together and keep aside
Cream the butter and sugar  together in a bowl (mix them together until soft)
Add the buttermilk, rind, dried fruits and wheat flour mixture. Mix well.
Pour batter into greased tin.
Bake for 20-25 min at 400 F / 250 C until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Enjoy with a cuppa tea like me....this recipe goes out to Nupur for her event - What's with my cuppa?  and Kid's Delight - Healthy Makeovers hosted by Rasi  (brainchild of Valli )

Things have been quiet here on my end...lots of simple home-cooked meals with the stars being my favorite vegetables. My mother made me Guvar (Cluster Beans), Begun Bhaja ( Eggplant), Red Greens cooked with Pumpkin, Dry fried Cauliflower (my absolute favorite, I could probably finish 2 cauliflower heads on my own)...enough of talking about them and here are the pictures...

How has your chai time been lately

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Inside Out...Outside looking In.

I am inside out, outside looking in,
No matter where I go,
I can't escape my skin
I can act cool, I can act proud
No matter where I go, I am still alone in the crowd
Inside Out, On the outside looking in
                                                 --- Tony Emmanuel 
These lyrics resonated to me from a random song that Pandora played for me as I was lost in spreadsheets. Why is it that even when we  are surrounded by people, things, events and conversations....there is mostly a tiny part of us (and sometimes a big part of us) that remains untouched...unaffected...almost like from the outside looking in. Things have been quiet...spending time with my parents. Occasional flare-ups, I guess once you are a certain age, advise is almost like excess baggage, something you strongly prefer not to get. 

What a hypocrite I am though - I grow old for Ma's advise but never too old for her food -- and she made me all the things I don't have a chance to cook for myself back home. Here is a glimpse of some of the things I ate the past few days...

For those of you wondering what these vegetables are : Karela (Bitter Melon), Tondli (Gherkin), the 3rd one I  only know of as  Avvarakai  in Tamil and Simbo in Oriya (Broad Beans). 

The lyrics seem apt especially for my Karela...the inside is out and the outside is in...:)

So how has life been treating you the past few days...have you been watching the sunrise like me in the mornings...