March 30, 2019

I must be in middle school then. Amma used to make idlis for breakfast once in a while. And I literally hated every time I had to eat those white rocks. For some reason, her idlis were as hard as rocks. She would say that they were hard because the batter was made in a mixie and not the rock age method of stone grinding. 


Image courtesy: Here

Amma and I belonged to an era which graduated from stone grinder to the electronic mixer. There used to be an old man who came asking for alms on weekends. Amma thought he reminded her of her paternal grandfather. We used to tease her, Go..attend him..your Appayya tata had come. She would admonish us giving us those looks which we were very much scared of back then. Not now though. That weekend, idli happened to be the breakfast and as usual, we did not complete them and there were enough to give them to him. She happily went and offered them to him and came inside. He stood there looking at her and the white rocks in his hand. Held them and turned them around, looking around and then threw it back on the compound wall and left. We kids roared with laughter at the act and the treatment the poor idlis got from him. From then on, the joke stayed in the family. 
Mom never got better at making idlis until she came to the U.S. (This is our claim, okay!). She would even say, you need to eat them hot..that's when they are soft. When they become cold, they become hard. I always kept arguing that the street side idlis never get hard even when they are cold. 
After I moved to the U.S and had a family of my own, I got the modern wet grinder from India as I learned that's the secret for fluffier idlis. And I would boast to her that my idlis are softer than hers and that I mastered the skill of making idlis. I still did not like eating them as much but had to make it for the husband and the kid. One thing I never understood is when people order Idli in a restaurant. I have this expression that says, "Idli? Who in the world orders an Idli in a hotel? Don't they have anything better to eat?"
Facebook tells me it's World Idli day today. I was speaking to Amma over the phone a while back and she said, they ate idlis today. I told her that it's World Idli day and reminded her of her Appayya tata joke and she claims...Oye...not anymore...mine are as soft as cotton balls now. And I say, Yeah...right!!! Here's a Happy Idli day to all the idli lovers across the globe!

March 9, 2019

Read this post by imagining me standing in front of a mike and I am trying to talk like a standup comedian. Just saying! You are at your free will to read it as you like or not read it at all. :)

So...apparently I decide to go on a non-cooking strike. Non-cooking strike?  One must have heard of Hunger Strike. But a No-Cooking strike? Yeah..right. You heard me right. So it started on a Friday night with all my might. As we went to file our taxes and ended up late into the night. We picked food on the way and ate very late. I normally cook for the week ahead and pack in boxes of five. One for each working day of the week. So the husband could grab one a day and go. Cos you know, people in my home are handicapped that way. They need a GPS even in the fridge or say, to serve their food.
Come Saturday and we attend a House warming and lunch is covered. I stand firm and say there is no food at home and we stop by a curry point to pick up some curries for the week. The son eats one of the curries with roti (I didn't make them btw..) and says, this is not so good...it's alright. I tell him, you better get used to it as I am not going to cook this week. What? Why? he exclaims! I didn't respond but got the kick out of it and conclude by, Cos I need a break!
Silence!
It's Sunday and we visit the new Baba Temple. The daughter and I eat the prasad and feel our lunch is done. The son wanted KFC. So, we make stop. The smell of chicken makes us both hungry again. Pizza Hut is right next to it and the husband orders pizza so that he could eat it for dinner too. We hop in.   We come home and eat pizza again while the husband complaints the customer service for being denied of extra pepper. 
       I said I am on a strike right? But what can stop me from entering my kingdom? Though I resisted from the past couple of days, I could not stand it longer but then I really did not want to lose my battle..you see? So I fry some fish ...just because it has been defrosted a couple of days back. I cut the chicken and marinate it for school lunches for the week ahead. You see, these are compulsory tasks I had to finish. I do all of this while watching Marvelous Mrs.Maisel with my Bose Noise canceling headset. Let me tell you, that's the best investment the husband has ever done for me. I open the fridge to store the spices and notice a stack of beer bottles. Don't I remember they were expired? Then wtf are they doing in my refrigerator? I take them out. All of them. Open them one by one. Drain them, wash each bottle and then put them in the recycle bin. I am finicky that way. I put rice in the cooker...poor guys..let them not starve tonight...it's freaking cold outside. And I continue to watch Marvelous Mrs.Maisel. Now wait..Am I starting to sound like her? You see..these things have an impact on you.. The more you watch, the more you tend to talk like them, act like them. I will let you all have a nice weekend before I become one. 

January 16, 2019

"Amma...amma, Can I get bangs?"
"No, Nanna"
"But why amma? What is wrong in getting bangs?"
I have no answer. 
"Please amma..." this time folds her hands and lowers her chin"
I tell her to go ask her dad to escape from the situation
"He will say, No. He already said that before"
She sulks and understands that it's not going to happen and decides to move on with her work.

Another family: A father and son at the Hair Salon. The 11-year-old boy asks," Dad, I want to get a Mohawk this time"
"What Hawk?"
"Mohawk"
"No Mohwak...geehok. Just get a regular hair cut."
"Why? What's wrong?" 
To avoid further embarrassment,  the dad starts off in their local language. "If you ask one more time, I am going to break your legs".
The disappointed boy goes and gets his regular hair cut done with one on the sides and two on top.

A group of Moms of Teenagers: "Mine wants an ear pierced"
"Mine wants a Tattoo. A Tattoo! I can't even imagine that. What kind of people get Tattoos?"
"Mine wants to cut her hair super short. What happens to all the effort I put all these years in growing her hair so long?"
"Yours just wants to cut her hair. Mine wants highlights. What are people going to think about her with those red/brown streaks? As if she is going to dance in a club. Color. She wants to be highlighted."
Another sigh! "These kids are just out of their minds. Don't know what is wrong with them?"

How often have we heard conversations like these? Very often, right? If not, at least once in a while. Why are we so rigid as parents? Haven't our parents said 'NO' to one or many more things that we wished we had or wanted to do? How much hurt did that NO cause to our growing mindsets? Haven't we all been kids once? Teens, young adults, and adults now? Haven't we thought, "I am not going to be this way when I grow up"? But then, what changed now? Did the kid in us die on the way of becoming a parent? 
If your little girl wants bangs, get it done. It is, after all, a few strands of hair. It's going to grow back. Tell the boy that he could get a Mohawk for Summer but cannot keep it forever. They get bored with it after a while. No kid can go around with a Mohawk forever. Do the small things for them.
        Let the ear gets pierced. It will close when they remove it. A tattoo. Bargain with them to get in a small size, maybe not so visible. Let them know the reasons behind why and why not.
Did your daughter ask you to take the pain to grow the hair that long? Did she ask you to toil and oil it, wash it and take all that extra care? Kids never do that. We as parents do it as we don't have the extra long tresses that we desire for. Highlights are not permanent. They'll fade away in 6 months. It's hair after all. It will grow back. If the 15-year-old doesn't wear shots, is the mom or grandmom going to wear shorts that are really short? There's a time and place for things in life.
       Kids grow up before we realize, when? While raising them feels like an eternity, they are out of the house in no time. Once they are grown up and look at their pictures, they would definitely recollect the bangs they longed for, those shiny high heels for Birthday, or that cross body pouch for a picnic or jogger pants in high school that we never let them have. They would not remember the $200 Nike shoes you bought them for working out. They wouldn't remember the expensive dinners and Birthday parties you threw for them. They won't memorize or remember all the pain and money you spend on providing them the things you wanted to give. But, they would always remember those small, tiny things you said No for. As parents, we do think they forget it easily. YES. They do. Kids tend to forget that minute or that day itself. But deep inside their hearts, these small NOs pile up and leave a void that none of us can fill. 
       We may live only until half of their lives. They are going to live longer than us and look at those pictures for the rest of their lives. Make memories for them. Memories they cherish. Memories they feel happy about. Memories they fondly want to look at and tell their kids with pride; "See, my dad and I did this together". Not with a disappointing tone that sighs, "I wish my mom let me curl my hair". Let them live their life and not yours!

Here's wishing all my readers a Very Happy, Healthy and blessed New Year! Just realized this is my 150th post. Thank you all for being with me all these years and continuing to show your love in more ways than one!

Images from Pinterest.

December 12, 2018

She was there. Before I was born. While I grew up. She was there. She stood there on every occasion as our Mother, Grand Mother, and Godmother of all her siblings, their kids, their siblings, the kids' kids, and their siblings...Being the oldest of eight siblings, she always carried pride, elegance, and charm in her demeanor.

Out of your seven siblings and their kids and grandkids; be it my luck or the bond you share with your youngest sister; you have been there on every single major event of my life, Peddammama. 
You were the first pedda muthaiduvu to adorn my hands with bangles on my bride making ceremony. You were the one to make me seated for my engagement, you always received the first tambulam. For that matter, it coincides that you brought the first wedding proposal to me. I still remember how upset you were when the guy's family didn't respond for a while and how you chided that they send my photos back if the family is not interested in our proposal.

I was always proud that you were the first one to go on a flight when I was my daughter's age. Your stories from Singapore lured us for long years of my childhood. How your sister would boast and I could only see pure joy but not a bit of envy in her eyes. Only you could remember and bring gifts for each and every one of your nieces and nephews. You must have long forgotten what all you bought. The first tiny alarm which had a button to press and not a key. It made the cutest bird sound ever unlike the screechy alarms every one of us carried in our homes. That Gold Citizen watch.. And the Singapore Saris you got for Amma and Chinnakka..I can still remember the color and print on them. Oh boy! They just lasted for a lifetime.

Being the oldest child and the oldest sibling always comes with its own set of perks and drawbacks. Who else knows it better than you? If not for you, how else would pedda mamayya be the family doctor for the entire Moparti Siblings and for generations to come? I always felt sorry for some of your wishes not being fulfilled. I only thought I could have brought her here if she was my own grandma. But what did you not do that my grandma did? I wish I had all the courage, the liberties I have now, back then.  

You longed for people. One phone call and you would rave about it all the time with anyone who visited you. One small visit and it would go for years. I can't forget your amusement on seeing both my kids. We are your sister's grandkids but we were always Jayamma gari santanam. Only you could own certain subtleties. When you were alive, none of us bothered to tell you how much we valued you. I think that's the way of life. We realize and express our feelings only after the person has left us. 

Out of the few pictures of I have of myself; glad to be having some of the most precious ones with you. I know you are no more....I know you won't read this....but I am sure you will hear my ache to touch those wrinkled hands, to take those return gifts you save for us after each function. Your fuss over getting all the fruits plucked and packed for us will be missed. And our trips to Takkellapadu won't be the same again...That feeling of mandatoriness will be replaced by a new Vaccum. Why I write this now? Because I am not sure if I will lead a long life like you, if I will have your memory..I am afraid I will forget telling the stories of these memories to my grandkids....May you live the same grand life in heaven till we reach you one day! With all the love you have showered on us, we are truly blessed to share your legacy. 



 On my bride making ceremony...When I was in
an age when I just nodded my head to what has
to be done next....
Four Generations!


pedda: Oldest
Tambulam: Tambulam
Santanam : Offspring
mamayya: Maternal Uncle
Muthaiduvu: A married woman whose husband is alive

September 5, 2018

Now that the baby turned toddler turned cute little girl with two pig tails is turning into an almost tween; her chatter is no longer an innocent musing as it used to be. From the past year or so, we have conversations. Most of her questions are around religion and they are quiet interesting conversations. This post is not one of those religious talks we had but something funny to spread some smiles like always :)

One day while rolling on the bed, Ammu blurts out: "Amma, I wished you started wearing makeup"
"why?"
"you will look pretty"
"why? I am pretty even now"
"umm.... Amma, no offense but you will look much better. All the holes with pimples; makeup will cover all that"
While I still think what to answer her next, she goes.
"you see American movies. How people put makeup on?"
"So?"
"See how much lipstick Taylor swift puts on..."
"What's Taylor Swift? Is it a movie or a person?"
"Oh! My gosh, Amma! You don't know who Taylor Swift is?"
"Nope, I dont!"
"Amma, she is the one who sang "shake it off", sings something I can't comprehend
Now it's my turn to say "oh my gosh! Amulya, you know so many things"
From rolling on the bed I turn to rolling my eyes and wave her off!

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Ammu wears a blue frock and I tell her, "Amulya, you know we bought this frock at Gymboree and they are closing stores now?"
"They are closing? why?"
"Because they are not doing so well in business. They are not making a lot of money; that's why."
"They need to tell people about their business, Amma"
"What do you mean tell people about their business?"
"They need to advertise, Amma!
See...ads on tv? I have seen a yogurt, a Bank and detergent ads but never saw a Gymboree ad .They need to sell them more, Amma"
It was another of those, I see!! moment for me.

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We had guests over and she was narrating something in English
I ask her to speak in Telugu
She says, "why?"
I tell her because they can't understand the way you speak English
"They cant understand my English?"
"What do you mean? English is one. Like you say god is one, English is also one. It is the same English we all speak.."
"Then how come they all not understand?" And gives me one of those you are so dumb looks. Sigh!