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April 03, 2014

Walk in the woods with "Aagasatha..."


I have been hearing good reviews about the songs from the Tamil movie "Cuckoo" and about the movie too. But I have not watched the movie and heard the songs only last week. I had just downloaded the songs in my ipod and took it with me when I went for a walk this week. I was exploring a new path in the woods near our house and this song "Aagasatha..." came on and before I know, tears were trickling down my face and I kept walking and crying and towards the end of the song, I started sobbing uncontrollably. I was not feeling sad or upset though. I don't know if it was the music, the lyrics, if knowing that its a love song between two blind people, if it was the silent woods, the sky, the trees, the sun,.. May be it was a bit of everything but it was such a magical moment. One of those "Whats the point of this life" moment. Sigh!

March 02, 2014

Winter Sports.

The arrival of winter meant that our weekend was also snatched by the kids. They have ice skating bang in the middle of the afternoon on Saturdays and Skiing on Sundays which takes up at least 4 hours of the day. Hd is in charge of weekends but still the cooking, cleaning, getting the kids and the husband ready and throwing them out of the house in time takes such a toll on me! Hd also conveniently went off to India for a week during the kids Ski break which meant I had to take Antu almost every day skiing on my own. 




Ashu, thankfully, agreed to go to a ski camp again this year. So she was gone from 8.30 to 4.30 every day for five days. She had fun, got a medal but swore she is done with skiing and will never ever ski again. This was two weeks back. She went skiing again today of course! :) Antu had started skiing last year and hated it. But she warmed up to it this year and also had her best friend for company so that went well. She moved up a level and took the T bar and skied in a beginner slope today which was a big deal for her and made for a proud dad! :)



The skating show was yesterday and Ashu had fun even though she complained shes in the babies group and they just have to go in circles! :) Some of the girls who did solo performances were amazing! Made me wonder how much much more dedicated and hard working the olympians would be! Antu agreed to ice skate this year but she said no to participate in the show! "Because I am not good at it, Amma", she said! While Ashu is the exact opposite. So Ashu had to take a test to move up a level in Ice skating and she was desperate to pass the test because she thought she was too old to be in that group with 5 and 6 year olds! So the doting dad signed her up for a few private lessons so that she gets individual attention. I took her for a few lessons and she enjoyed them immensely. The day before the test, she asked when the next private lesson will be and I told her that there will be no more private lessons and she better focus on the tips and pass the test if she wants to move up. So she says "Its ok if I dont pass the test. I loved the lessons and I would like to do more. I just want to keep learning, Amma."

"Naan karai eritten. Neenga innum karai eraama nikkarele?"* moment!


* Slap in the face

January 03, 2014

Morocco.

We were in Morocco for a week from Xmas eve to New years eve and had a fantastic time. It was a great escape at least for a week from the bitter cold here although the evenings were quite chilly and the nights were freezing there too. We landed in Marrakech and roamed around the city for 2 days visiting museums, madrasas and mosques and shopping like crazy in the souks and drinking mint tea by gallons! Then through a tour operator went around the country up to Sahara and back the rest of the 5 days. Another family also joined us from here and their 7 year old son and Ashu were quite a company for each other and a sick/throwing up/starving/low energy Antu was quite a company for us!! But of course everything was worth it when we saw the sand dunes! The camel ride and the hike to the sand dunes, the sunset, the sand,.... everything was mind-blowiningly beautiful! We camped in the desert for a night and slept it in a tent in the freezing weather under many, many blankets and the starry night sky was too beautiful to describe. Ashu and Antu have never seen that many stars in their lives and were totally blown away! The winding, curvy roads through the High Atlas mountain range and the landscapes and the gorges and valleys were straight out of a hollywood road movie!

Our Bedouin driver for 5 days was a sweet guy and kept calling the girls Fatima and nagged us to play bollywood music in the car and I am proud to say that I  introduced him to Ilayaraja music! :) Everyone in Morocco knows Shah Rukh Khan! And at the end of a week, I kept saying Insha Allah after every sentence! Its very infectious, I tell you. We saw many, many cats. Marrakech was like 80s and 90s small town India and it was like going back in time. The people are extremely nice and polite and the Riads (tradtional Moroccon houses turned into hotels) we stayed were awesome! I might go back just to stay in these Riads. From the outside, there is this small door in a dark alley but inside its like an Alibaba cave! With huge courtyards and spacious rooms and so unique and charming. And beautiful terraces. And the staff bend backwards to make you comfortable. The last day we stayed at a mountain retreat in the High Atlas and that place was amazing too and the location was fantastic. But the access road was pathetic!



Vegetarian food was a little hard to get especially at the remote restaurants we stopped for lunch but breakfasts and dinners made up for it. At least Hd eats omelettes. I ordered a salad and stuffed them inside the bread and had to make my own sandwich everyday! Ashu survived on bits of bread and salad and the junky snacks I carried with me while Antu went on a hunger strike for her right to starve! :) The five day road trip was a bit much for the kids and us too but when the destination is Sahara, theres no other way, I guess. Now back home and fondly remembering the desert. I think if I give a good shake to our sneakers, I might still find some sand and it would be a sight to the sore eyes!


Happy New Year folks! Hope 2014 brings you all the things you wish for! Insha Allah! :)

December 09, 2013

Of Music and Dance.

November and December were again that time of the year where I was busy coaching the girls group for a dance program and Ashu's violin recital. Both went well this year. And Antu too joined the dance this time and since she was the youngest in the group, she was the cutest too! :) They danced to "Bawre", a fun song from the movie Luck by Chance.  There were 10 girls this time and though it was loads of fun practicing and choreographing, it was a nightmare to organize a day and time which would suit everyone! As always, we managed somehow and pulled it off. Not to mention it was a good workout for me as well! :)


The violin Recital was last Monday and Ashu played two solo pieces and a group recital. This is her third year and shes enjoying playing now and its a joy to listen to her these days. I try really hard to suppress my inner tiger mom avatar and let her be! :)



Here's one of the pieces she played. Bach's "Aus der Bauernkantate".




November 14, 2013

Kinderhotel.

Its November already? Even my one post a month resolution is hard to keep. October was great. At least it did nt snow like last year, phew! So we could enjoy the great outdoors more. And when the kids had 2 weeks fall break, we went to Austria and stayed in a Kinderhotel for 5 days and it was a blast! Four more families came with us too so it was like a big fat Indian wedding! This was the first time we are going to a Kinderhotel and I wonder why we don't have that concept in many places! So the place we stayed was in Galtur which is a ski resort in winter. It had already snowed there in October but it was sunny and bright and the views were to kill for. The children have a play area where they are supervised. They get their own breakfast, lunch and dinner form the buffet. The hotel arranges outings for them. They can watch a movie post dinner in a big screen. They can take the bicycles and go biking. Or use the pedal go karts and take them for a ride. It is just heaven for the parents. And not to mention the spa, pool, jacuzzi, sauna, etc... Our days went like this every day - Get up and have breakfast and check the kids in the childrens area. I also gave Ashu a room key and she and her BFF along with Antu had a blast. I told Ashu she can do whatever she wants as long as she had Antu with her! And she did! Hd and I along with our friends set out for a hike...  and it was one of the beautiful hikes I have ever done. Breathtaking views! And we would come back around lunch time. By the time, the kids would have the lunch by themselves or we will have it together. Then relax for a bit and hit the pool with the kids. Then dump the kids with the men and us ladies enjoyed the spa. Bliss! The kids dinner began at 6.30 and they went to watch a movie at 7.30 while we were served five course dinner! Sigh! That was the best part of the day where we could have adult conversation instead of doing panchayathu between the girls on who called whom stupid first!!! And then in groups we went out for moon lit walks and when the men had enough and went to bed, us ladies sat and talked for hours! I would give anything to do this kinda vacation every time! I did nt want to come back home at all! 

Leaving you with my favorite photo of the trip.

September 09, 2013

Pillayar Chaturthi Special.

The Plliayar under the blue umbrella made by yours truly under the able instruction of Antu! And the one under the Red umbrella by Ashu all on her own. We have improved soooo much from last year! :) 
Hope Pillayar brings all good things in all our lives! 


August 20, 2013

India Trip Report.

Four weeks in India was hectic as usual. Apart from the usual Madras and Kumbakonam trips, managed to go to Hyderabad for a weekend to see Utbt and family after three loooong years. The highlight of the trip was Ro, Utbt and me walking around Charminar in the middle of the night thanks to the Ramzan night market. What an awesome experience! A stomach bug which caused havoc to my system a day back could nt stop me from eating pani puri at Kailash Parbat and the yummy biscuits from Karachi Bakery! Ashu and Antu had a blast with Utbt's girls and it was so heart warming to see the foursome together having fun! In less than two days, they managed a pajama party, movie night, camping (in the hall!), swimming, building legos, reading, visiting park, shopping and million other little things. Talk about time management! Thanks Ro for taking time to meet us and it was lovely to see Ayaan and Tarana too. (Happy? I mentioned you first! :) When in Madras, Ashu did nothing except taking over a room and setting camp there with her Kobo. (See pic.) She would come out only during meal times!

Did nothing new in Madras this time except visiting the Vandaloor Zoo and Dakshin Chitra. And a fabulous puppet display near Kanchipuram organized by the Kanchi trust. And the Phoenix Mall, if you insist! And visiting friends and family too! Stayed a night in Pondicherry at a resort before proceeding to Kumbakonam and I enjoyed my first trip to Pondi. Visited the ashram, Auroville, a few temples, the beach, etc... While Hd and the in laws left from Kmu the next day and Hd to Zurich the day after, the kids and I stayed on in Kmu for one more week before doing the same. It was a week of doing nothing for me and it was pure bliss, as usual. I dont know what I will do if I don't get to recharge my batteries like that once a year or so. Long live Mothers!


The kids did nt want to leave the house and were busy with a cat and two kittens outside our house and all their friends and cousins from the colony who come after school to play with them. My parents were so thrilled about the Kallanai dam opening its gates and water flowing into Kaveri and Kollidam that we went all the way there to see it on Aug 5th. The kids hated road trips there and had to be dragged out! "I dont know why Thatha is so excited that theres water in Kaveri! Are nt rivers supposed to have water?!!", asked Ashu! Poor girl! Thatha and Paati, of course, were over the moon and were photographing like crazy! The girls found a bouncy castle and a few rides on the other side of the dam and were quite happy! I just wanted to get back so that we can buy the Ashoka Halwa at Thiruvaiyaru before the shop (Aandavar Halwa Shop) runs out of it! It was devamirtham, if you must know! :) The next day, Antu said that she had a dream that Kaveri came and asked her to come and see her and when she went, there were crocodiles in the river! Im still analyzing that one! :)

A trip to Swamimalai Temple and an Aandaal Kalayanam at my Aunts house rounded off the trip nicely. Not to mention Ashu falling down and majorly scraping both her knees! The scar will remind her of this trip for a long, long time! I had long chats about many, many things with my grandma cuddling to her in bed and wished I were a kid! She is 98 now and according to Antu she is going to die soon because shes almost 100! I know teaching this kid math was bound to come back and bite my behind! When it was time to leave Kmu, Antu started bawling that she wanted my mom to come too! Ashu blinked many times and declared that she hated me! I guess everyone has their own coping mechanisms! I had the halwa handy! My dad accompanied us to Madras. Antu bored me to death by telling awful slug jokes from Panruti to Vikravandi and the horrible, horrible roads paled in comparison!

Loaded with boxes from Krishna Sweets, more kurtas than I need, a million children's books, home made pickles and bakshanams and a vague memory of watching Mariyaan at Thyagaraja theatre, we came back to Zurich with a heavy heart last Wednesday. I have been walking around with a lump in my throat ever since! Where the hell did I keep that dabba of halwa? *blinks back tears*

August 19, 2013

3.Klasse & Kindergarten.

Ashu and Antu began their yet another first day today in third grade and Kindergarten 1 respectively. I could hear the butterflies fluttering in Ashu's stomach! She wrote an email to her friend yesterday which said "My school starts tomorrow and I wish I can stay home a little while longer!" My poor litte darling! Antu, of course, has been dying to go to KG with her BFF and thats the only thing she kept talking about this whole year. The day was here today at last and Hd and I walked her to her class, stayed for a while and said bye to her and came back home. She seemed thrilled to be there!

In the afternoon, Ashu walked to the KG and met me there at noon and we picked Antu and got home by 12.05! Ashu has agreed to this pick up duty from next week which means I dont have to step out, yay! Of course, Antu is all "I can go on my own" already! Sigh! Why do they have to grow up so fast?

July 18, 2013

On our way.






Five days of shopping and packing and organizing and cleaning frenzy later, we are packed and ready to go. India - here we come! 

July 13, 2013

Summer Holiday Special - Day 1.

First day of summer holidays went in what else but cleaning the kids room! Tonnes of crafts and colorings and drawings and cards to be recycled! Broken parts of toys and cheap goody bag toys and "precious" stuff found in parks and pavements to be trashed! Books which have been read a million times, books which have nt been touched in a million years and books which the kids have outgrown to be hidden! The list goes on... 

I did the best thing -  threw out Hd and the kids out of the house - and tackled the mess for four straight hours and still have nt even caused a dent. Sigh! Of course I spent half the time reading their "stories", admiring their art work, laughing out loud at the funny lists they are so fond of writing,.. 

And I could nt throw the below one without taking a photo first. Three months back when I asked Ashu where she wanted her birthday party, this is the list she came up with!