entey pana…

I have a full set of vision pots, two stainless steel sauce pans , one crepe pan and a wok. Vision set and the stainless steel pans  and the wok are older than Yaya. I hate to shop and don’t like to have too many pots and pans. So when I buy a pot, it is bought hoping to use it for life time.

Former Danish ambassador’s wife once told me that her husband never remembers her birthday/ anniversary etc and instead of feeling angry, she goes out and buys something for the house and consider it as her birthday gift  or anniversary gift etc.

So every year for my birthday I buy something for my house… and last year I bought a nice crepe pan. ( It costs me 129$). I have been wanting to buy a crepe pan for ages as my dosai kallu loved holding on to my crispy dosai and wouldn’t let it go..and each time I made dosai I swore..and told myself that I really need a crepe pan. It took me 14  years to buy a new one..and happily I chucked the dosai kallu in the bin.

Last Sunday morning I went for a walk..and when I returned I could smell pancake being made..Happily I walked in to my kitchen with a smile on my face and a song in my heart to find my son making blueberry pancake ( my favourite)..He is probably trying to earn brownie points after his behaviour at the basketball court..but nevertheless he was doing something nice and I appreciated it very much.
I really wanted my children to learn to cook.. It is a skill that will come in handy in their future..
and how touching it is to see that my son cared enough to make blueberry pancakes !!
It would have been the best pancake breakfast I ever ate.. if only the child of mine used a wooden spatula.. he didn’t..and I said good bye to my beautiful crepe pan..
( I didn’t get angry with my son because he didn’t intentionally damage the pan. I believe children learn from their mistakes..this was a costly mistake..and my son was miserable when he realized that he used the wrong spatula!!)

Now I am back to owning an expensive crepe pan that behaves exactly like my old dosai kallu and loves holding on to my paper thin crispy dosai and won’t let go..
Such is life


I live next to a nature reserve and often go for a walk in the woods during winter. ( the only time I know for sure there won’t be any snakes). And every time, how much ever I try, I still walk in to a cobweb which results in me  jumping up and down screaming and yelling and looking for the blasted spider. Then I spend a lot of time trying to remove the sticky cobwebs from my hair and body. Often I miss a few threads of spider silk still stuck on  my hair!
Those missed spider silk are like the Indian that reside somewhere in me..You know how much every you try to remove it..it is still there..

As a child I hated India and everything that is Indian. I couldn’t cope with the extremes..the rich and the poor, the opulence and the abject poverty. the tradition and modernity.Kamasutra and edicts for female behaviour.. There was no middle ground and I couldn’t wait to get out of India.

A very good friend of mine calls herself a banana.. She is Chinese..but doesn’t identify herself as a Chinese. She thinks she is a Banana ..yellow on the outside and white inside.

I don’t really know what I am any more.

But on certain days like today the sticky spider silk takes me back home..and I can see myself  on the oonjal.. which was built using the coir rope that was tied to the bucket to draw the water from the well..the seat was made from the stem of the coconut leaf ( I am sure there must be a word for it, but can’t really think of it) and you have to hurry and enjoy riding the swing before Ammachi finds out that you have taken the rope from the bucket..Sometimes Ammachi was generous and bought a new rope for the well and the greedy pig that I was tried unsuccessfully  to trade with her to continue use the old rope for the bucket and give me the new rope for the oonjal.
And the smell of banana chips being fried in the coconut oil and the hissing sound when Ammachi sprinkles water mixed with turmeric and salt on to the chips in the oil..
Then there was the sadya..the only time we sat on the floor to eat a meal..
and then laying down on the parapet after eating a heavy meal..and listening to the sound of wind as the leaves rustle and dance..and then you sleep..peacefully..blissfully till someone wakes you up and and ask if you want to play “sat”…
And as the evening sky grew dark..the cousins depart to their own home..the birds back to their nest..
And soon it was time to bring the cows back to the shed..close the chook cage..
And upadeshi appachan would start his sermon..

But those few hours..from morning to evening..they were magical..to be repeated the next year..they gave a meaning to life..
Wishing you all a very happy Onam..may the magic continue..

Right…and the grey line ..

My son’s basketball team is in the top of the ladder for this year’s championship season and last weekend was the most crucial game for the team in the second place to get in to the top spot as  the game was between the top two teams.
I did notice that the other team was being rough and in the first 10 minutes there were already 3 fouls. Sometime in the second half one of the boys from the other team scored an own goal.
My son’s team won the match.
All was well, so I thought.
As we were leaving the arena, my son told me “Mom, one of the boys in the other team kept shoving me and telling me that ‘you are an Arab and I hate you”
( In all fairness my son does look like an Arab and has family history that makes him look that way..)
But calling names was not right and I was just about to walk inside and tell the coach of the other team that calling names isn’t right. First of all my son isn’t an Arab and even if he is, what difference would it make to a basketball game?
By then one of my son’s team mate came out and told him” hey mate, what you did was smart” and gave him a high five and both of them were laughing.
“What did you do?” I asked my son
“Well Mom, they were being pretty rough and kept shoving me and during the second half one of the boys from the other team asked me which way we are going and I directed him to the wrong basket which resulted in him scoring the self goal”

My son is grounded for eternity..I am that mad with him.

He is 12 and it is time he learned that whatever happens, he will be less of a man when he forgets his ethics.
When you play a game, you have to remember that at the end it doesn’t matter who won or lost. What matters is that you played a game fairly. What my son did was so wrong. Imagine the ridicule the boy who scored the self goal will have to endure because of my son’s cheekiness ! Yes, I do understand that they called him name, pushed him, shoved him etc. But that doesn’t give my son the right to do what he did.
I feel bad for punishing my son..because I know he was pushed to do what he did..but my job as his mother is to teach him to do the right thing whatever happens.


M is a second generation Canadian of Pakistani descent and a very good friend of mine. M has ? criminal history..it is a query because no one knows the extent of her trouble with the law..

It all started with a new pair of new shoes. Her son wanted a Nike, but M couldn’t find the ones he wanted and bought something similar. ( We used to cross the US border every second week to buy groceries etc from Bellingham and the shoes were on sale. M has 5 kids and one income, so it was a big deal for her to get those shoes)
Her son was not happy to wear a shoes that didn’t match his expectations and M being the normal mother told him, he doesn’t have to wear it and please keep it aside and his younger brother will grow in to it eventually !
He didn’t want his brother to have his shoes and so grudgingly he wore it to school.
He was crabby and the shoes were a bit tight.. so with a sad face he limped in to the class that morning.
“are you alright” the teacher asked.
“yup” the boy answered sadly..
As the day wore on..the teacher noticed the boy limping more and more..
She called the boy to her desk and asked him
“Are you sure you are alright”
The boy nodded his head.
“You know you can tell me if anything is wrong”
the boy nodded his head.
“Did someone hit you?” The teacher asked
the boy nodded his head !

M went to pick the kids up as usual and she was a bit late. There were 2 police cars in the school car park and no sign of her kids. She did wonder what happened for the police to come to the school. But since it was none of her business, she continued to wait at the car park. Eventually after not seeing any of her children for  20 minutes, she walked in to the school and the principal came out of the office with the police officer and said ” We need to talk to you”
Each of her children were in separate rooms being questioned by the child services..
The cops started to question M. They already blamed her for being tardy to pick up her kids after school and they didn’t believe that she was waiting in the car park for 20 minutes. ( Sometimes the whole class gets detention for 10  to 20 minutes after school and M really didn’t think what are the chances that all her kids get detention at the same time and for that long)

Eventually M said she wanted to see her son and exactly where he was beaten. Up until that moment the teacher, the principal, the cops or the child security officers didn’t bother to check for any injuries on the child. They just believed the child’s story that his parents beat him on the sole of his feet and that is why he was limping.
There were no injuries.
The child accepted he was lying..
But no one can prove that the parents never hit the child before..benefit of doubt…and so there is some sort of  record..

The school, the cops and child services did what they are supposed to do..but sometimes innocent people get in to trouble for no fault of theirs!


Endangering the welfare of the child..

Yaya’s party was on Saturday evening and I had to meet friends of mine for brunch on Sunday, I didn’t have time to cook before I left to meet up with my friends.
But there was plenty of food in the fridge.
Leftover Lasagna, goulash, rice and chicken curry.
There was  bread and all sorts of stuff you could use to make a decent sandwich, including home made guacamole !
There was 4 different types of instant noodles ( all made in Malaysia, the only kind my children like!)
There was Kraft dinner
Before I left, I told Yaya all the stuff that are available and asked her to make her own lunch.She is 14 and is capable of reheating food in the microwave even if she didn’t like to cook..so I thought

After her syncope spell and when she gained consciousness, the Doctor asked her
“What did you eat?”
She replied “cake”

The time was 8.20 pm..all day my child only had cake!

I kind of felt like Mary Antoinette with the guillotine blade around my neck !  I know she never said let them eat cake, but nevertheless the situation I found myself in was pretty daunting. I was guilty of endangering the life of a 14 year old by feeding her cake !
The doctor gave me ‘that ‘ look.
There was no point trying to explain that my child chose to eat cake instead of cooking something to eat..even if the cooking part is nothing but taking the lasagna out of the fridge and zapping in the microwave for 2 minutes, which her brother and sister did !

Sometimes..how much ever I try..I still end up feeling guilty..



Yesterday when I went to pick up the kids after school, my youngest saw me first and I saw her face light up. She grinned, waved and started to walk towards my car..hopping on one leg. Every few pace, she turned to look and see if her brother who is busy talking to his friends has seen me. The biggest thrill for her is to reach my car before her brother sees me! Those few seconds are ours..hers and mine..
And she did it.
“Hi, mom, guess what? and she started to tell me whatever that happened from the time I dropped her to school.

Eventually her brother saw me.
He grabbed his bag from the floor, gave high fives to all his friends and started walking towards my car..if there was a race between him and the proverbial snail, the snail would have won!
He opened the car door, looked at me and said “sup?” ( what’s up !)
“How are you?” I asked
“fine” he replied, while fiddling with the car radio knowing very well that the one thing that is sure to annoy me is to change the radio channel or the settings. I spend many precious hours to get the bass and treble of the car stereo to my liking !
I didn’t want to start a fight, but I was tempted to swat his itchy hands and tell him to keep his hands off the radio! ( he never dared to touch the radio when he was young for he didn’t want to face my wrath!)

When I came to Australia my son was in grade 5 and he did all that baby did..hopping on one leg and running towards me and then talking to me about all that happened at school..

Next year he will be going to high school taking the public transport..

There was a time I wanted time to go fast..when each day was the same as the day before..feeding and changing the diapers..
I wanted my life back where I had time for myself. I wanted a few moments of privacy and solitude. I wanted to take a shower without one of them barging in to ask me something. I wanted to sleep without one of them waking me up to ask me how many moons Jupiter have?

And I wish..and I wish and I wish…if only the time could go a bit slow..

Party for 30 under 50$

I wanted to teach Yaya that you can host a party without actually having to spend a lot of money.
The first thing to consider is the location. Anywhere that is free..home, park, shopping malls!
Yaya wanted to have a bowling party at first. It costs 20$ per person and I told her she can invite 10 friends. She wanted to invite more friends and chose to have it at home.

Food..variety is the key.
We bought 2 loaves of bread ( 6$)
One packet butter(2$)
2 family pack of pies and rolls (14$)
2 boxes of strawberries(6$)
1 packet of chocolate melt.(4$)
3 bottles of soda water (3$)
1 bottle of strawberry daiquiri mix ( it was on sale!!3$)
6 bottles of soft drinks ( 6$)
1 box of cupcake mix ( 3$)
1 box of popcorn ( 3$)

I prefer to make cucumber sandwich because it is easy and everyone can eat it. (esp  vegetarians and those with food allergy). We made fairy bread with one loaf and cucumber sandwich with the other.
Yaya baked mini cupcakes and iced them.
The family packet of pies and rolls had 38 pieces in each and we baked them.
I have a Hershey’s chocolate fondue kit and made  chocolate sauce with the melts and poured in the bowl, lit a candle underneath and the kids dipped the strawberries in the sauce.
Instead of chips, we made popcorn.

I refuse to serve alcohol to children. But I do know that a lot of parties Yaya had been to, there was alcohol ! ( it has now reached a stage that private schools are planning to start RBT at schools!). Yaya asked if she could have mocktails and that was fine with me. She used the strawberry daiquiri mix and mixed it with soda water.

Yaya and toothless also made a campfire in the garden.

Party decorations were candles. ( ikea tea lights)

30 kids came for the party. They danced, went to the park near home and played spotlight in the darkness.( that was a bit scary especially because there were no lights in the park and I was worried about snakes) I stayed in the living room and read a book because I felt my child is old enough to be on her own and don’t need to have her annoying mother around and at the same time I wanted the kids to know that I am very much there!

The one thing that surprised me the most was, Yaya didn’t introduce me to any of her friends. ( I know the usual gang of 5 that come to my home regularly, but not the other 25)

I didn’t want them to play spin the bottle and having an outdoor party helped to prevent that. But just because they didn’t play it at my home doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be playing the same in their friends’ home..( that is the harsh reality!)

From princess party to dance parties..how time flies!

Hold tight !!!

The past few weeks have been nothing short of awesome !
You know how it feels when everything works according to plan ! ( not that I actually have a set of plan)

Kids have been very happy and not annoying me much.
I managed to get tons of books after visiting three libraries over 5 days.
I completed building the retaining wall.
My garden is looking awesome and I haven’t killed any plants ( yet)
I completed collecting a full dinner set for Yaya. ( I picked Grindley cream petal  Ivory and green pattern for her because she likes green colour. It took me three years to find all the pieces to complete the collection!)
I hosted a party for all of Yaya’s friends ( She procrastinated on having a birthday party and chose to have pre departure and belated birthday party together ! Her birthday was in June)

So everything was going well..

During the party, Yaya stepped on two nails ! It was part of the bird feeder and my son left it on the floor while tidying up the Yard. Because Yaya is going to Spain soon, I thought I might as well take her to the clinic and get a tetanus booster shot.
Happily we went to the clinic.. and the clinic was crowded and to make things worst my friend who is our family GP had taken the day off. I had to wait 2 hours to see a doctor and by then I was really annoyed with Yaya and scolded her for not looking where she was going. If she looked, then she would have seen the nail and wouldn’t have stepped on it. I was also mad at my son for leaving the stuff on the floor.
Finally we managed to see the Gp and she got the needle. As I walked out of the clinic, I was thinking of what to cook for dinner and told Yaya to hurry up because I had to drive back home and cook dinner..  we already wasted two hours at the clinic.. and the next thing I know was my child calling my name and she was on the floor.
I grabbed her leg and lifted her legs high. I wasn’t sure if she was reacting to the tetanus or was having a syncope. ( I also lost a patient years ago after a syncope)
The doctors came, took over and I stood there trying  to make sense of what was happening.
It was my baby that was on the floor and all I felt was guilt..for scolding her for not being careful. Of course I knew my child didn’t walk on the nail purposely..but sometimes I say things without really thinking about it.
Yaya did have a syncope spell.. and I was grateful for the fact that I never let her have the vaccination at school. I had always taken her to the clinic to get the vaccination because I felt in the event if there is ever a reaction, the clinic is much better equipped than the vaccination van, besides if I take her to the clinic, then I am there !!
Yaya is fine now..but I still have a lot more to learn..to cherish every moment and to remember that in the end it is not a complete dinner set that matters.. 


Don’t get alarmed..I was talking about me.

Last Saturday during my youngest child’s basketball game, I was told not so subtly by the team manager that I should actually watch the game and support the team instead of reading.
That got me thinking.
Why is it that there is an expectation that a parent must chronicle and be part of every second of their child’s life?

For me, in every game there is a winner or loser and I really don’t care who won or lost. I know my child is a very good basketball player, but what difference it would make to her if I gape at the basket to see her scoring?

I also see a lot of parents screaming and giving directions to their child and the team. It is just a game ! why must it become all about winning?

When we were in Canada, I volunteered at the tuck shop on sports day. All my children wanted was my presence and I was there. But there was no way I could divide myself in to three and watch each of their games and the best thing to do was to volunteer and do something good !

I also know that my children will never get to Olympics!
A friend of mine leaves home at 5 every weekend and drives her son from Brisbane to Toowoomba ( an hour and  a half) for a basketball game and then drives back to Brisbane for another game and then she takes the child for soccer.. all in a day. She gets back home at 9 in the evening. It takes a very special and dedicated woman to do that. I can’t. If my children missed out on a great sporting career because their mother is lazy, I will just have to live with it. There is only so much I can do.

I wanted them to learn swimming ( life saving skill) skating ( easier to learn when you are a child) roller blading ( same as before) and play a group sport.
I also refused to sign up my son for cricket. ( Selfish, I know. But I don’t have 8 hours to spare on weekends)

As for reading during the game,, it is my choice, mine alone !