Man in the bus stop

He sits there all day, with a shopping trolley that holds all his worldly belongings. It was Thanksgiving day yesterday and I wondered where his family was? I wondered what made him give up on life? What made him stop fighting to live?

What was different in his and my destiny that gave me a chance to sit with my children and enjoy a great thanksgiving dinner while he sat alone on a wet and cold evening?

Every time my children told me that I am not being fair, I always told them life isn’t fair, though I never realised how unfair life really is.

Yesterday, as I parked the car, I looked for the man, his trolley was still there and I knew he was there huddled beneath the tarp that protects him from the rain…In the end, he and I will still inherit out share of 6 sq feet…but while I wait to get mine, he sits there to remind me that I had a better stroke of luck and that I should count every bit of my blessings.

Happy thanksgiving

After travelling around the world so many times, I thought I knew all about how not to suffer from jet lag. Drink plenty of liquids and follow the time zone at destination always worked for me. I checked in to the motel as soon as I landed in LA, I planned to do a bit of sight seeing after everyone freshened up.  I thought I will lay down and the next thing I know it was 4 pm. I slept from 7 am to 4 pm and then stayed awake most night and found myself waking up at 10.30 am the next day. I am still feeling so drowsy and driving on the wrong side of the road is really tiring!

So far, kids are having a blast. A trip to burrito bar or Guzman e Gomez in Brisbane would cost me abt 90$ and here the same meal cost $15. We have had Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Yaya is enjoying speaking Spanish.

Wishing you all a happy thanksgiving .

I am hoping to attend a vegan thanksgiving lunch at cafe Gratitude and then do a bit of shopping


When I was living in UK ( 1995), I met a mallu doctor at a dinner party. She had just come back from a trip to US and was talking about Grand Canyon. I had no idea what Grand Canyon was, so I asked ” What is Grand Canyon?” There was a pin drop silence in the room. Apparently I was the only 24 year old on planet earth who has never heard of Grand Canyon.

And Grand Canyon became a part of my must do list. Kathleen Noonan wrote recently “In life, we work to deadlines, most of us. Yet, no matter how silver-tongued we are, there is one deadline we can’t talk ourselves out of. On the day we die, what is not ticked off the must -do list will remain not ticked off, The deadline will arrive.

Kids and I are leaving next week for a 6 weeks vacation to US. Funds are limited and I have no idea how much this trip is going to cost me. Apart from visiting the ivy league colleges on west coast  and east, a trip to Disneyland and then the grand canyon, I have no idea where I am going. I have hired a car.. After grand Canyon, I might head to Mexico and then fly to NY and  from there to .Boston..New Orleans..ah the list is endless and madness too for wanting to visit east coast during winter 🙂

“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.” ( Walt Whitman)
As they say, it is the journey, not the destination that matters. I look forward to spending time with my kids, explore new places, learn new things and create new memories.
As for the blog, I am hoping to do a photo blog of the places we visit.. but then again I hate taking photos and have to rely on Yaya’s goodwill.
Wishing you all in  advance a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year..
Until we meet again….


I have been pretty annoyed with Yaya the past few days. Two days ago, she woke me up at 2 AM asking my help to download a voice recording from her ( my ) phone to the computer. Apparently she had to submit her English assignment as a voice recording and decided to do it the very last minute and needed my help to log in to my ITunes.

Before that, she went with her friends to make gingerbread house at a local school fundraising. In my quest to live close to nature and away from other homo sapiens, I bought a house pretty far from the city center. Everything about the location is perfect, except when I have to drive at night. It is a long and winding drive and often there are no other cars on the road. I am also scared to come back home in the middle of the night alone. ( snakes). I  have to take the other two with me because I don’t want to leave them alone at home. My youngest goes to be at 9 pm and Yaya called me at 10.30 to tell me, she finished making her ginger bread house, can you please come and pick me up? Don’t get me wrong, Yaya didn’t do anything wrong, the problem was me doing all this on my own and it was my own choice. I didn’t get mad at her. I was just annoyed with the whole situation.

Thelma’s house is the first house from the main road and I love seeing all her plants. It is also comforting that she is always there. I know every bit of her garden and Yesterday I noticed that her potted iceberg rose ( full of blooms and her pride and joy) and few other plants were missing. So I called her when I got back home to find out what happened. She told me “my daughter told me, either I get rid of the plants, or I leave the house”

“Oh” I said. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that.

“Are you ok?” I asked

” of course I am”, she said ” You know what, Initially, I was upset, but then I thought, at least she is still alive to fight with me and I am thankful for that. So I moved the plants to the back of the house”

( Thelma came to Australia to take care of her daughter when the daughter was diagnosed with cancer)

And it occurred to me, sometimes when life gets all weary and tiring and children are becoming a handful, I forget the simple things..that I would rather drive in the middle of the night through long and winding road and see my smiling child than the alternative.


Yaya graduated from Spanish Immersion last week. 3 years ago, when she joined the immersion class, she didn’t know a word of Spanish. All the kids in the immersion had to write a test at the end of 6 week intense basic Spanish lessons and only those who passed the exam were allowed to continue with the program. Yaya’s class started with 29 students, and only 14 survived the 3 years of rigorous learning.

When we were living in Canada, Yaya had the option to join the French Immersion program, but I didn’t let her. I studied in Malayalam medium till 10th std and even to this day I don’t know the equivalent word of a lot of mathematical terms in English. ( it also didn’t help that I didn’t study Maths after 10th). I felt late immersion programs are better because Yaya would have learned all the mathematical/scientific terms in English by then and it will not create a lot of confusion for her. She enjoyed the program and speaks fluent Spanish now.  It is not just getting all A’s or getting the gold medal that mattered the most to me, more than anything I admire her determination and ‘never give up’ attitude, especially in the first year of the program when so many of her friends quit because the program was very intense and expected a lot from the students.

This was my son’s assignment. Monologue on Puck ( asking a character a moral question).

I seek all of thy forgiveness for my actions. I know now that magic cannot make amend for all of my actions. I shall use a tiny amount of magic to gain thy forgiveness by making it seem as though all of this was a dream. I quote myself in asking for thy forgiveness “If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended, that thou have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear (A5 S1 L415-418).

If thou shall forgive me for my actions, I will make it up to you, this will all be a dream and thou were merely asleep when thou saw these visions as they are no more real than a dream.

From my actions, thy art to judge me as an annoying, meddling child. I wish for thou to lend me thy ears. I realise that I can be mischievous and act as though I have not a care in the world, but it comes as a first nature as a jester to prank and to be careless. I am merely but a loyal servant to my good king Oberon. I do whatever he asks me to do. I am also his jest, therefore I seek laughs and smiles from him… and these I receive through pranks. I wish not to harm anyone though, I wish for my pranks only to bring laughter and smiles to everyone.

When Titania arrived back from India, she brought with her an Indian changeling boy. She knew well that a changeling boy would usually become a part of King Oberon’s workforce. However, she seemed to have different ideas as to what to do with the boy; she intended to keep the boy and covet him like a treasure. Having felt betrayed, Oberon struck an argument with Titania. The argument left Oberon furious and seeking revenge on Titania. “I’ll make her render up her page to me” he said (A2 S1 L189). Oberon ordered me to find a flower that had been struck by an arrow from Cupid’s bow, known as the Love in Idleness flower. He sought the power the juice of the flower provided. He was going to place the juice in the eyes of a sleeping Titania and when she was to wake, the first living creature she saw she would immediately fall in love with. He intended to force her to give up the Indian page boy by making her fall unwillingly in love with some hideous animal of sort.

My loyalty to Oberon and my mischievous personality compelled me to search for the flower. After looking long and hard, I finally obtained the flower and returned to my King with it and all of its juices. He told me to take some of the flower’s juice and head off into the forest where I would find a young boy dressed as an Athenian and a sweet young lady whose love had been rejected by the boy. I scavenged the forest, seeking the two youths and after searching for a long while, a young man I spotted, lying on the ground. He was dressed in Athenian clothes. Then I spotted the girl, lying on the ground next to him. That is no such way to treat such a beautiful young girl I thought to myself. “Churl, upon thy eyes I throw, all the powers this charm doth owe” (A2 S2 L77-78) the jerk did not deserve a maiden such as she, but I had to do what my master said. I then placed the juice in the eyes of the boy using my sympathy for the girl to avoid my conscience and returned to Oberon.

I know now that my actions were wrong; to alter someone’s love towards another’s favour is immoral and unjust. Hopefully you could understand why I became so imperceptive to the immorality of my actions. Being a fairy I thought that anything I did could be undone with a touch of magic. My carelessness and mischievous personality lead me to harm two young Athenian women emotionally. Although I may like to prank, I wish not to harm anyone. Even though it may be removed from their memories, it will never leave my memory; the fact that my carelessness caused harm to someone.

I knew that one day my carelessness would lead to the harming of a person, however I had no idea of the consequences. I have always viewed meddling as a way of receiving laughs. That is until I heard a young woman cry due to my meddling of a mortal matter.

I shall take heed to make use of this lesson and allow it to guide me in the future from careless acts and I shall think twice before following through on the jests I create to please my lord, Oberon.


The stranger in my house.

Yesterday I met my friends for dinner, all our children are classmates and are good friends. We ended up talking about the strangers that live with us.

One of my told us what happened that morning. Her always impeccably dressed child came to eat breakfast wearing a ragged off shoulder t shirt that exposed more body than it covered. My friend really wanted to tell her daughter that her t shirt is really inappropriate to wear to school, but she held her tongue. When the daughter was leaving for school, the mother noticed that she had changed her t shirt and wore something that is appropriate.. obviously the daughter was trying to rile her mom up first thing in the morning and was looking for a fight.

Another one talked about her daughter not going to bed on time. They have 10 pm bedtime and the daughter decided, she is not going to bed at 10 pm as it is her life and she can do what she wants. The more her parents told her off for not going to bed, the more she stayed awake. Then the parents understood some battles are not going to be won. They told her that she is right that it is her life and she could go to bed anytime. She stayed awake till 3 am for a week and the parents didn’t say anything. Eventually the thrill of riling up the parents wore off and she doesn’t stay awake till 3 am now. But as a matter of principle, she doesn’t go to bed at 10 pm, so she says.

In my case,before, it was “mom, my friends are planning to go for a movie, may I please go with them?” and now it  is “mom, I am going for a movie”, If I am lucky, I will get to hear, where, what, when and with whom. Most of the time, that info is not given. I know Yaya is learning to be independent. But, still I feel it is only fair that she at least ask my permission before she goes somewhere. Apparently, it is not just me who is going through this. It is the same in other families.

At the end of dinner, we all agreed, some wars are not going to be won and that is scary.

Teaching children to write.

I am a firm believer of ” your ability to express your thoughts define where you end up in your career”

Why writing is so important ?

I grew up rot learning to write three types of letters, first one was  how to write a leave of absence letter and the second was how to request something ( mine was to ask a publisher about a book and this particular one was really stressful for the publisher chosen by the teacher was Vidyarthimithram and I couldn’t spell it and the last  was how to cancel an order. My teacher wrote these three letters and the students had to learn it by heart and you got full mark if you regurgitated the teacher’s letter without making any mistake. The only changes you had to do were to write the correct date and sign with your own name. I still struggle when I have to send a formal letter at work and what takes my colleagues 2 minutes will take me 2 hours.

When my children were little, all three hated to write, but it was my son who struggled the most. His brain worked much faster than his ability to write and it frustrated him. I taught him to think 10 things about any object/character and write them down. We started off with things like pencil, eraser etc and he had to write 10 things about it. It taught him to slow down his thinking, for it was really hard to write 10 things about a pencil. I also worked with his teachers and got permission from the school that my son will be allowed to write his assignments on the computer instead of writing them manually. ( typing was faster than writing for him)

He got A for his English assignment. He had to ask a moral question to one of the Characters in Shakespeare’s Midsummer night’s dream and present the assignment in the class. He didn’t read the book, instead he read all that is available on the net about the midsummer night’s dream and wrote his assignment. He hates not getting an A and opted to wear a skirt, so he will get all the extra marks to get an A. I know, as his mother, I am supposed to get him to read the book. I didn’t because I don’t see the relevance of Shakespeare’s work in 21st century. I also think being smart alone isn’t going to get you anywhere in life and sometimes you have to know how to wing it even if you don’t know anything about the subject !

This is what he wrote

toothless puck

toothless puck2

Not bad eh?

Prim and proper.

When I was about 11 years old, Amma found out from someone that The little flower hospital in Angamaly has the best Ophthalmologist in Kerala. Immediately, she wrote to the hospital and managed to get an appointment for me. . The very next day, Amma took me to our family tailor. There was no way we were going to go all the way to Angamaly without me wearing a proper dress. Amma had bought the fabric as a bit piece ( leftover) and it measured less than half a meter. Since you can’t stich a dress with that much of fabric, both Amma and the tailor went through the left over collection of fabric the tailor had to find a matching pieces. In true fashion echu kettiyal muzhachirikkum , the tailor managed to stich a dress that looked like a patchwork quilt. ( deep blue and vadamulla purple). Amma had also borrowed a pair of black shoes from my neighbour ( few sizes too big and Amma stuffed pazhathuni inside, so I can wear it). I also got to wear the gold chain, which was attached to my dress with a lot of safety pin to deter snatch thieves.

The other thing I remember very fondly about that trip to Angamaly was that we had to catch the early morning bus  and had to walk from home to the bus stand. There is a catholic church across the Collectorate and they always played nithya vishuddayam kanya mariyame early in the morning. As I held my mother’s hand and walked, it was very soothing to listen to the song and I felt very attached to my mother and felt grateful that she cared enough to get me the best medical care.

Although, Amma wore her trademark cream blouse with all her sarees, she insisted that we always dressed well when we went somewhere important. When Yaya was a little girl, I used to dress her up in cute little shoes and lacy socks. She looked like a princess.

It was a few months after we arrived in Canada that I took the kids to Abbotsford for a day out. We were eating our breakfast in the MacDonald’s and kids were playing in the play room, That is when I noticed this child wearing mismatched socks. I turned to look at the horrible woman who couldn’t even spend some time to make her child wear matching socks. She looked pretty damn normal. I told myself, there was no way my children will ever wear mismatched socks.

( The other reason I remember this incident very well is it snowed that day and it was the first time baby saw snow. I can never forget the expression on her face and the first thing she did was to stick her tongue out and eat the snow 🙂  )

Anyway, back to socks, Yaya hasn’t worn a matching pair of socks for ages. It is her job to take the socks from the laundry room and she is too lazy to sort them out. She tells me that there is no law that says you can’t wear mismatched socks. I am sure other mothers are looking at me and telling themselves “What a horrible mother she is, she can’t even get her children to wear matching socks”

Lessons in life

My son was sick for 4 days and didn’t go to school. On Saturday morning, he came to me with tears in his eyes and told me ” Mom, I have 7 assignments to submit on Monday, What am I going to do?”

Well, assignments do not sprout suddenly, it is true that he was sick for 4 days, but I was sure he was given the assignments few weeks ago and he left it to the very last minute. The one thing I absolutely hated when I was (always) in the same position and went to my mother, she always said ” serves you right”. Instead I told him “Monday is still 48 hours away, you still have time, don’t panic and don’t get stressed, you will be alright”

Then he asked me ” Have you read Midsummer night’s dream?”

“Yep” I replied.

“I have to pick a character from that and write my assignment based on that character” He said

“That is not too hard to do” I replied

He looked a bit sheepish, so I asked him ” Did you read the book?”

“I read the excerpts on sparksnote” He replied with his trade mark grin on his face.

“Good luck with your assignment” I replied.


Yesterday, he got a costume, complete with a green t-shirt, green skirt, Yaya’s old barbie tiara and wand and is planning to dress up as Puck, while he presents his assignment. He thinks that even though he didn’t read the book, he still should get an A for his costume..especially for wearing a skirt !

I am waiting to see how this is going to pan out.