Monthly Archives: April 2010

The 20 books challenge !!

Today I saw this challenge on Pal’s blog. I found it very interesting and is going for it right now. To complete 20 books in a year ! The challenge was for 2009 , But I am simply making it 2010.

From April to April . Following The Indian Calender .

Here it goes :-

April

1. The Hobbit- Tolkeyn

2. The traveller- John Twelve Hawks

3. Are you afraid of the dark – Sidney Sheldon’s last novel

4. Nora Roberts – Daring to dream ( first of the dream series )

Now reading Jumpa Lahiri….. and have got one of Tolkeyns as well. Yumyum…….. !!!!!!

Reading is something I enjoy beyond myself. An obsessive reader . Before I get my hands on a book I make sure that I have enough time to finish it. Otherwise everything will be a mess. If I have started seriously with a book then nothing else matters much!I would love to be left alone for one reason or other.

Like every child I started with child magazines , Balarama , Poombatta. I have said this earlier . My mother used to send us to our neighbor’s house on Saturdays or we had to go there to sleep over while the old lady’s son went for night shift. There they had a huge collection of old story books. Balarama , poombatta, amarchithrakatha , Balamangalam…. every thing .

….And that was a treasure . ( Even now I tell my kids stories I have read then.) That old lady was more strict than any librarian. We were allowed to read the books sitting in the dark store room where they were kept. With so much pleading we could take one book at a time to our house. One day she told us she just sold them to scrap . One of the loses I have not yet gotten over. If I had the money then I would have bought it all .

From there me and my sister moved on to reading The Great Indian Epics . Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Aithihyamala, Sree Krishna Katha , Sree Mahabhagavatham …. It was a competition for us. Who will finish the book first. And then second round… Gone are the days !!!!

Then to Reader’s digest from my Aunt’s house. She taught me how important it is to keep a book neat and mended and how important it is to give a book back to its owner however unimportant it may seem to you.

From there starts my love for books. A book with torn pages or back cover is like a sin to me. I am happy that my kids do not tolerate even a folded page or graffiti in their books. And always keep them neatly covered and mended.

I like classics and thrillers the most. Books that explain life styles, history, geographical details etc. ……….Other than that any interesting book will do.

While reading books I get so much carried away,that I feel the characters are real. Most of them I see in my dreams.

One of the books I have read and reread so many times is “ Crime and Punishment ” . I have seen ‘Raskolnikov’ in my dreams almost every day that sometimes I forget I haven’t met him in person. In my dreams he had the most beautiful hair and eyes.

In college it was ‘Mills n Boons‘ season . Even the name brings to my mind the back ground of Anatomy classes and the packed hall with students in front row eager to take down lecture notes. But soon realised it is not of my kind. ( I am romantic by myself. Thank you very much ! 😉 )

Then to Daniel Steele . I feel sorry for our Professor who had taken great effort to prepare notes and all for abdominal surgery classes . All through it I was with ‘ The  Star ‘ . ( oh! It reminds me so much of my best friend and the beautiful moments we had together . ) There is nothing like reading and dreaming in an afternoon class 😎 . Some times I want to go to college again so I can just sit there and dream during lectures. ( Hey, I had the most updated lecture notes! It seems I can multitask ! )  ) ‘The ring‘ and ‘Message from Nam‘ are also my favourites of Danielle Steel.

Then one day I stumbled on ‘Gone with the wind’ by Margret Michelle , which changed my view of life . From every book I read I absorb at least one line into my life. This book taught me to fight for my life. To change all the negatives to positives . And ofcourse , the famous line  ‘I will think about it Tomorrow ‘. It is one of my habit to follow all the books of the author if I like their first read . Because of this my list of authors is very short.  I really feel sorry that Margret Michelle has written only one book .

One of my other favourite is Anna Karenina of Leo Tolstoy.

God father by Maria Puzo

Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon, Robin Cook , Jane Austene, Paulo Coelho, Charles Dickens , Dan Brown, of course Harry Potter Series …… Chetan Bhagat….

Something I enjoy very much is eating and reading. Sometimes while eating I crave for books , like it is some other dish. If I can’t find a book, I end up reading cartons, ingredients, my shopping list or anything with alphabets on it.

So coming back to the challenge ,  its my fifth book now.

5. Reading Unaccustomed earth – Jumpa Lahiri .

@ Cherai Beach… Before and After !

Before:

Two or three years before, I realised with shock that my son is really suffering for what we want him to be. Every thing was in chaos .I wondered were I went wrong. After I realised, he is a dyslexic child from the movie ‘TZP’ , it took me weeks, even to make a meager plan of what could be done. And even more effort to explain to every body what he might be going through.

The first decision I made was that I will just step back and see what he would do with out me asking him what he should.Because right then my kids would not listen to anything I say.(seem to be eons ago 😀 ) . The words I spoke most was ‘DON’T DO ‘ and ‘YOU MUST ‘.

I learned to let them do what they wanted. Swallowed the words that came to my mouth. A few days later, we all went to  Cherai beach for a picnic. I told his father also to let him free , not to tell him any ‘ dos and don’t s ‘ but to make sure that he is safe. It took a lot of effort to keep our mouth shut. But it was worth it. In the evening when we were about to return, Ruby came to me and said with twinkling eyes

‘ Mother, it is a great day! isn’t it ? It is my most favourite day! ‘ .

Thinking of it even now bring tears to my eyes. Then I realised the pressure we put on him every day to make him behave like normal kids. ( sorry, I don’t have any snaps of that day as I wanted nothing to take away my attention and kept the camera away )

It was about 2 or 3  years back . It has been a long way since then. The only thing he needed was somebody who would believe in him with no bones in it. And we believed in him .

My daughter , Pearl who is the most unique and smartest among three of us almost hated me then . There was no effective communication between us. I always tried to draw the line which was the last thing she wanted. It took  even more effort for me to reach her.

I was busy making both of them perfect , seeing that they had all they wanted , making sure they were well nourished and well groomed , that I didn’t had enough time to have fun with them.

After  3 years:

We went to the same old beach again a few days before.  It is one of our unsaid family agenda to go to some place once in a few months , where we have nothing else but kids to distract us. Whatever they say is the rule !

I was amazed to see two of them ( who are too difficult to be controlled any where ) to be completely  in tune with the nature , as though that is the place where they belong !

And Ruby announced that it is his dream come true !

A lot has changed . I don’t take them to meetings or club parties unless that cannot be absolutely avoided because it is impossible to manage them there. Instead we go to parks where they can explore to their will, to exhibitions where they can linger as much as they want, read all the boards and see all the domes , follow whatever they find interesting , to beaches or to any place where they enjoy themselves.

Now three of us are the best friends and my kids are my treasure. ( And Hubby is most proud of it even though he does not let it spoil us ).

I always thought I am a bit crazy( or exaggerating ) . I could see in other people’s eyes ‘ Why you are taking so much effort just to bring up two kids ? They will just grow up. ‘  But all of them would never realise how different my kids are.

Ponnin Vishu !

Konna flowers are my favourite.We had a ‘Konna’ in front of our house at Haripad . Whenever I think of vishu this tree comes to my mind as a background.  Even though now we get enough flowers here for vishu I always long for those flowers picked from our house.

I would love to wake up again on a vishu morning, as a young girl with amma blind folding me with her soft hands. I would always peep through as I believe mom and dad is the best ‘kani’ you can have. Now  Hubby and kids have taken that place and life has changed so much that it is impossible to be that small girl again .

Vishu mornings always bring the prospects of a bright year with yellow konna flowers, lighted lamps and all those fruits with bright yellow colour and fragrance typical of the festive season and holidays  .

I always wonder why all these festivals are so nostalgic?

that smell of ‘sambar’ from the kitchen

the sweet mischevious smile on Appa’s face, which would always be there once he reaches Haripad!

avial made of cashew nut and drum stick … yum yum

the endless counting and planning for vishukaineettom

walking barefooted from temple to temple under the hot sun and praying earnestly to reach home soon so that we can have our breakfast!

ripe anjili fruits , chakka varathathu , aathakka.

bunches of kudamulla , I think every mango tree in Haripad has jasmine vines on them! You just have to shake those vines  and there would be a shower of sweet smelling flowers  .

Kilichundan manga, Speciality of Haripad . Even now when I take a bite of a kilichundan manga I feel like a small girl standing under that huge tree !

All these are the sweet memories that rush to my mind one after another like from a movie when I think of Vishu .

‘varshangal poyathariyathe

veendum oru vishu koodi kadannupokumbol

nigalkku tharan kayyil oru pidi konnapookkalum

manassil orayiram aasamsakalum mathram.’

My favourite Tree !

All trees are beautiful but some are special.

If you ask me which is me favourite tree , it is always the same . ‘ Ilanji ‘

It has the most sweet smelling flowers and it is a great tree to sit under and chat with your lover!

The tree brings to my mind memories of our engagement time when we used to spent a lot of time under the ‘ilanji’ orchard they have at Subash park and when the guard would come and throw us out of the park when it gets dark !

I have one at my home which I have kept in a pot. Waiting for it to bloom!

Mutton stew with left over curry

Required :

1. Left over mutton curry

2. 1-2 medium potatoes

3. thick coconut milk ( 1/2 cup)

4. curry leaves

5. 1 tsp coconut oil

Take one or two mutton pieces from the curry.

Cut one or two potato ( as you need ) into small pieces.

Add one cup water . Pressure cook in medium flame till 2-3 whistles.

Mix with left over curry . Bring to boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Add one cup thick coconut milk. Add curry leaves and 1 tsp coconut oil .

Serve hot.

( Chicken stew can also be made like this from left over curry . Potato not necessary. )

Goes well with bread, appom, idiappom, dosa, chappathi ….anything. Makes a good easy Sunday breakfast .