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Yesterday

May 13, 2017

(Yes, can we just do away with titles for blog posts altogether, please?)

Yesterday was one of those mornings where I started the day with low energy, had cramps and was so tired and wanted to nap by 10. The thought of making lunch made me want to curl up in bed.

Mercifully, around 11, A and I got into bed with the idea of an early nap for both of us. We read for a bit and then began to play the fool.  She climbed onto me as I lay on the bed and generally began to monkey around. We began to roughhouse and mercifully she didn’t jump on my tummy, and as always, it was so much fun. After about 30-45 minutes of this, accompanied by the world’s sweetest sound – that of A’s laughter, of course – both of us felt remarkably refreshed, we got out of bed and I was ready to make lunch.

I prepped for a pumpkin soup and also remembered there was some plain frozen millet khichdi (just pressure cooker millets + dal mixture that I made too much of once and frozen) I had to use up soon. I took that out and reheated it and took out some spinach I’d blanched the previous night and chopped it up.

Now, A began to get quite hungry and sleepy as it approached 1pm. Also, she’d been awake since before 6am, so I decided to make soup later and served the khichdi with some curd. And the plain, blanched (almost burnt) spinach. This child LOVES spinach, for some reason. So she devoured whatever was in her bowl, asked for more spinach (by now I had even given up the idea of adding garlic or some seasoning) and then, kept saying, ‘Thank you for food, Mummy’. And as usual, wanted to know how I had made it and what went into it.

So. Much. Heartmelt. And gratitude.

The way the morning just turned itself around was quite amazing. And I’m so, so, grateful for this sweet, understanding, accommodating and non-fussy child of mine ❤

 

(This post is mostly to remind myself of how sweet this child can be, on days when she’s driving me up the wall :D)

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Z: Zero Waste Lifestyle

May 1, 2017

This ( link) is a term I came across sometime last year, and I’m quite amazed by the idea of it. The very fact that there are people who actually manage to do this on an everyday basis is quite astounding to me.

Think about it, there’s so much trash that gets generated with each action we take. We wake up in the morning and brush our teeth. There’s waste in terms of the toothpaste tube we toss out after it’s empty, the carton it comes in, and then the toothbrush itself that we toss out when it’s past it’s time. Of course, there’s a good chance of all this getting recycled, but in a country like India, especially in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad where Waste management is a disaster, I have no such hopes.

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Takeaway food in disposable containers, mineral water bottles, groceries, packaged food, milk packets/cartons, tissues and sanitary pads and tampons – there so many things that we just use and throw with barely a thought of what happens to it after we discard. My pet peeve is the not-so-new thing at Indian weddings – small mineral water bottles at EVERY meal for about 200-300 people, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. We’re so Eco-friendly with the plantain leaves that we eat those meals on, but the bottles?! So much is sacrificed in the name of convenience.

I’m quite unlikely to implement the totally zero-waste lifestyle, mainly because I don’t see myself making my own soap or toothpaste any time soon, but I do hope I can make baby steps towards a reduced-waste lifestyle.

I do carry a bag every time I go grocery shopping, and refuse to put vegetables in those individual bags for weighing, as far as possible, but I’ll be conscious of the choices I make in the store to further this. When I do take those small plastic bags, I’ll make sure I reuse them till they fall apart.

I’ve mostly cloth-diapered A in her infancy, and I’m glad I was able to do that. But I’m still quite on the fence about menstrual cups, but I think will give it a shot this year. Worst case I’ll hate it and switch back. If not, imagine the amount of trash I’m saving each month with just that one change!

And I’ve discovered that someone sells bamboo toothbrushes in India, how utterly cool is that!

And finally, clothes. I’ve pretty much stopped buying stuff that’s cheaply made, or ‘Fast fashion’ brands (I avoid non-made in India stuff as far as I can, no Mango, Zara etc) but I’m yet to achieve success in having a really small wardrobe. I did some major culling once last year, but again it’s looking quite full. With a move of apartments around the corner, this is perhaps a good time to do this again and hopefully, sustain it.

A friend of mine told me she did  once went on a no-shopping experiment for a year. Unless it’s essentials. I think I can do this, at least with clothes. I think I’m set for a year already, but perhaps I’ll evaluate the wardrobe once more before I make that grand decision. Yes, it’s a plan 🙂

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X and Y

April 29, 2017

So I skipped X because life intervened and we had to make an unplanned trip to Bangalore and it was about 10.45pm and we were on the bus when I remembered that I hadn’t posted for X yet. And so I went ‘Oh well’ and went to sleep. I had a couple of ideas swimming in my head and didn’t get around to fleshing them out enough for a post. Here’s the illustration for X that I did. X for Xiao Long Bao, those lovely little dumplings filled with soup. I happened to get to know of and taste these at a SE Asian restaurant in Bangalore last year. All my years in Singapore, I had no clue that such a thing exists. And what marvellous little things these are 🙂

 

Y is for Yellow Bell Pepper. 

My most favourite vegetable, possibly. Now, my most favourite way to eat it is roasted on a flame until it’s blackened and then cooled and peeled. I love eating it as it is, or in a sandwich. And here’s my Yellow bell pepper illustration. 

  
Man, I can’t believe we’re at Z next! Yaaaaaay. 

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W: Weirdo

April 27, 2017

Until recently, she would quite willingly pop lemon wedges into her mouth. 

At nights if she wakes up and finds her bedcover in disarray, she wakes up and dutifully tucks it back in, even if she is half asleep. 

For her last birthday, I’d made carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake didn’t turn it great, but frosting was the real icing on the cake. And yet, she didn’t care much for the frosting and gobbled up the cake. 

‘Mummy, why can’t I eat worms?’

‘Mummy, can I eat sweat?’

‘Why can’t I eat mud?’

Yes, this is my very own weirdo from another planet. 

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V: Village

April 26, 2017

The kind that they say it takes to raise a child, I mean.

Only lately have I begun to realise the actual implications of the nuclear family life. Yes I know, quite late in life. At the risk of sounding like a self-centred <your choice of expletive here>, only after I’ve had a baby, I’ve truly understood why the whole joint family structure made sense once upon a time. And what it truly means when they say, It takes a village.

For one, there’s tons of wisdom, tried and tested through the ages that would’ve been available on demand, or even unsolicited, take it or leave it. Instead of turning to the Internet at the drop of a hat, there would be grandparents, in the flesh, telling you what to do and what not to do from years of experience. Instead of second-guessing your every decision, or asking strangers (well-meaning, I’m sure) on the Internet for advice, there would be loads of advice freely available at home. Yes, there’s always the phone and people you can turn to for advice, but I don’t know, we do seem to rely on the Internet a lot more, because it’s convenient.

Secondly, the child has a lot more exposure to family than during the occasional weekend or holiday when the family visits happen. And these additional helping hands are invaluable, be it in cases where both parents are working, or even when one of the parents stays home all day. The whole business of taking care of the child and engaging with her is shared across more than an adult or two. Which means a lot less stress on the primary caregiver.

I also think the child will grow with a lot more passed-down wisdom from the grandparents and learn to deal with different points of view. And of course, stories! Who better than the grandparents to regale them with stories of their parents’ childhood, and other fun stories in general?

And then, if there are other children in the house? That much more fun for the children, then 🙂

Of course, all of this applies as long as the adults all see eye to eye on most relevant matters and have healthy respect for each others’ choices and each other’s space. The lack of it of course is probably the main reason families move away, apart from the standard reasons like jobs, proximity to workplace, schools etc.

I wonder if in the future we’ll go back a full circle and joint families will be more the norm than the exception. Will we all evolve sufficiently to learn to live with each others’ differences, make suitable compromises and co-exist peacefully? Only time will tell, I suppose.

Edited to add: Of course, on further thought, I’m guessing it will be complicated. For one, I’m not all for the newly married couple moving into the groom’s house simply because that’s how it has been for centuries. So much patriarchy at play. So when I mean a joint family, I don’t mean it in the traditional sense. It would be nice if both sets of parents live close by, so the whole joint family feeling is still fostered, perhaps? Sounds Utopian, I know. Hmm.

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U: Unfiltered thoughts / Updates

April 25, 2017

It’s bedtime and I’m all ready type out a short post and go to sleep. My A-Z Illustration Challenge is all but done, tomorrow is the last one! I didn’t take Sundays off on that one so I’m done a good four days earlier. Quite relieved I’ll have one less thing on my plate until the end of April. I’m looking at you, A-Z blogging challenge.

And four more days of it to go. V, W, X, Y and Z. Argh, that’s five. True to my usual style, I haven’t a clue what to blog about for any of the rest. I do wish I hadn’t taken up both the Illustration challenge and this one at the same time, in retrospect. I would’ve done more justice, I think. 

Someone on my Instagram posted a picture of Florence and man, I so want to go back there. All those students walking about, sitting around sketching. Re-visit the museums, go back to that hilltop where we waited for the sunset, drinking cheap wine and drawing the Duomo and the view in my little sketchbook. Such good times and what a great city to study art in. Sigh! 

My Mom’s birthday is coming up and given the fact that she’s here, I’m wondering what to do on the day. Hmm.

I’m glad to be blogging though because it’s good to go back and read archives from two years ago and realise that I’ve forgotten so much stuff already. I do hope I can get back to the blog at least once a month. 

This thinking out loud style is what my old blog was mostly about I think. I should really go back and re-visit it soon. Yes I might cringe and cringe but I should do it anyway. 

Over and out. 

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T: Tools of Titans

April 24, 2017

That’s the name of the book by Tim Ferriss that I’m currently reading and quite enjoying. It’s essentially a compilation of the highlights of interviews of people from various walks of life (in his words, world-class performers) from his podcast, which I’ve been listening to for a couple of months now. On his podcast, Ferriss has this very casual interview, which is more like a chat with all these cool, interesting people from a really diverse range of fields, on topics like their morning routines, fitness, productivity, books, etc. So the book is distilled version of the podcast and it features people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scott Adams, Cheryl Strayed, Maria Popova, Brene Brown and then a whole bunch of other people who I’ve never even heard of, but some of whom pique my interest enough to go look them up next.

Even though his podcast is supposedly a ‘Business podcast’ and the book delves into the tools and tactics of ‘billionaires’, I’m glad I decided to give it a shot and try both when a friend recommended it. Especially, the book. Maybe it’s the phase of life or frame of mind that I am in these days, but a lot of quotes/ advice in the book seem especially relevant to me. In fact, I don’t know of a book where I’ve gone about highlighting so many parts (on my Kindle) as I have, in this book.

So, here are some favourite bits from the book –

Seth Godin – “I think we need to teach kids two things: 1) how to lead, and 2) how to solve interesting problems. Because the fact is, there are plenty of countries on Earth where there are people who are willing to be obedient and work harder for less money than us. So we cannot out-obedience the competition.’

Chuck Close, an American artist – “Inspiration is for amateurs— the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will— through work— bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea.”

When Kurt Vonnegut wrote ‘Write to please just one person,’ what he was really saying was write for yourself. Don’t try to please anyone but yourself…. The second you start doing it for an audience, you’ve lost the long game because creating something that is rewarding and sustainable over the long run requires, most of all, keeping yourself excited about it….”

And this line from the book, which is actually a Zen mantra –  ‘Sit, sit. Walk, walk. Don’t wobble.‘ is something I probably need tattooed on my hand or some place where I can ALWAYS see it.

Apart from so much learning, the book has also given me a bunch of other stuff to look up, the people who feature in the book, a bunch of books to read, music to check out. And to think, I’m not even done with 50% of the book!

Okay, I’m done gushing.