Aviemore/Cairngorm

The day after Christmas, instead of idling the Christmas holidays, we packed our bags and packed some christmas food remains and escaped off to Aviemore /Cairngorm. As we were getting close to reaching the destination, we were in awe of the sights we saw ! My belief in GOD truly strengthened. GOD has painted Nature so beautifully. Every sight was a Picture Postcard perfect sight !

I was so much in love with what I saw, that I mentioned to J – That, after I die, I shall come as a ghost and settle in the mountains of Aviemore/Cairngorm and live my ghost life in solitude. J being J – asked me, what about our mountains of Nilgiris, Ooty and Kodaikanal ? Ohh..So as a ghost, your standard has been raised – Haan 🙂 ?

Here are a few pictures :

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Enjoying the view and taking in the spirit of Nature !

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From atop Cairngorm Mountains !

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GOD’s painting !

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A Stream flowing through the Mountains

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Reindeers in their Natural Habitat !

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Cairngorm Mountain Train ! 

We saw a lot of animals at the Highland Wild life Park – That’s for another post !

Happy Weekend , Everyone !

 

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M’s birth story !

Two of my favourite  bloggers Paatiamma and Tharani had recently written about the birth stories of their little ones,  Nemo and ZAM respectively. Reading about their birth stories, brought about **raktha kanneeru (tears of blood) in my eyes 😦 , Gosh, how much pain these sweethearts have endured to bring their little ones into this world.

In comparison, The pain I underwent to deliver M is nothing comparing to their pain and struggle. Paatiamma and Tharani Hats off to you both ! Truly, you both are brave girls !

Well, here is M’s birth story :

M’s due date was 07-09 November, but on 22 October a series of events unfolded –

  1. Chandrayaan – I was launched. The long expected launch of the Chandrayan-I – A Mission to Reach the Moon was launched by the space scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
  2. On the same day, SJ relaxing at mom’s home woke up at about 8.40 am. SJ enjoyed staying at mom’s home and being pampered from the 7th month. Mummy was getting ready to get to school, she had prepared Rice, channa masala and Egg dosa and plain dosas for her heavily pregnant daughter 🙂 My sis had recently been married off 1 month ago, yet she lived close to my mom’s place. So I got to see her everyday. Mom left to work and Dad was with me that day.  After enjoying a good breakfast , while dad was busy gorging the news paper, I slowly walked to the kitchen to drink water. Suddenly , I felt a burst or a splash of wetness and I mistook it to be urinating. I get to the loo and then it actually stuck me that my waters had broken.
  3. I immediately alert dad who calls the cab company, we inform mom and mom was on her way. We had to rush to the hospital I started packing whatever basics I could. The twist in tale is that with my waters broken, I went up to the second floor balcony to get the clothes that were drying upstairs. he he he …Brave me.
  4. J was in Singapore – I call him and tell him we are going to the hospital, J being J asks me – why ? Hospital for what and whom ? I say :” what a question – it’s for me, remember your wife is heavily pregnant ” ah , well –  men !!!
  5. After packing, the next thing I did was going for a quick shower – yaa, that’s how cool I was. I was ready before mom could reach home from work. It was raining by the time we left home at about 11’ish in the morning. After lighting candles and a quick prayer we leave home. One touching incident that I would not forget was the taxi/Cab driver uncle holding an umbrella over my head from my house gate to the cab door, while mom and dad were busy locking the home 🙂
  6. My doctor visits me and after a quick ultrasound , she announces my waters have broken but baby’s head hasn’t turned yet. She decides to induce pain and wait for a few hours. Dad calls MIL and FIL and they get to the hospital too.
  7. By 6.00 PM, I was about 2 cm dilated , but actually didn’t feel an ounce of pain. I had idli for lunch, mom fed me on the hospital bed. The baby’s heart beat was being constantly monitored and it showed that the heartbeat started variating a lot.
  8. By 7.00 PM the doctor checks and announces that it’s better that I’m taken in for a surgery to deliver the baby. She met my parents, MIL and FIL and tells them that they are preparing me for a C-section. She also speaks to J over the phone, explaining that its safer to go for a C-section at this point of time.
  9. A group of nurses attacked me. One was fixing my IV line, the other was pushing a catheter into my urinary bladder , One was writing on my hand, mentioning about the injections she had given me. I felt like a lab rat for a few minutes. I was wheeled into the OT, wide awake – with mom, dad , MIL and FIL running behind my bed 🙂
  10. I saw many masked faces inside the OT  – One of whom I could recognise was my doc. The person who administered anaesthesia, asked me if i wanted a baby boy or a girl. I smiled and said – I know it’s a boy, because i spent 7 months on my pregnancy in Singapore and my baby’s gender was revealed.
  11. All that I felt was the pain of a single injection in my spinal below my hip. Minutes later I felt my lower abdomen numb.
  12. I could see the doctor bring her knife and with all drowsiness, I shouted – no don’t cut me…and all I heard was better put her to sleep, she seems scared !
  13. I was given another dosage of anaesthesia and was put to deep sleep, I didn’t know an ounce of what was happening in that room. Really !!! I slept though my baby’s birth !
  14. M was born at 7.56 PM on the 22 of October.
  15. The next thing I know was waking up while I was being wheeled out of the surgery room – I say a nurse pulling my bed and asked her ” where’s my baby ? – The nurse mentioned  – “Your baby is fine, he is at the nursery”.  I was wheeled to a room and on the way I could see Mom, dad, my periappa and periamma,  MIL and FIL – all smiling ! They had already seen baby M. It was almost about 9.00 PM. I was in the room.
  16. The idly that I ate in the afternoon , was still in my tummy and caused nausea. Throwing up immediately after the surgery could cause an injury to the fresh stitches. My MIL was holding my tummy while wanted to throw up and my mom , not finding the bowl – opened her hand and let me throw up that bit of food on her bare hands – I love you , ma !
  17. Baby M was all bundled up in a white towel and was being carried like a little doll in a nurse’s hand and was brought to my room at about 9.30 PM ! The nurse brought him straight to my lips and I laid my first kiss on his forehead…
  18. That first kiss was the first of the zillion kisses that my lips have laid on M
  19. Hence, the journey of my motherhood began !
  20. Truly –  a No Pain, FULL GAIN birth story 🙂
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M’s bedtime routine

M is used to a routine before bedtime, without which he refuses to fall asleep –

– A bed time story (Anything book he chooses or from my memory)

– Stars Time  (Like if he behaved well, spoke in tamil , wasn’t stubborn – he gets a star each.  For wrong doings – he gets minus stars)

– I’m yet to start this step – It’s called  5 A day step : Where M and I discuss what fruits or veggies he had that day to constitute his 5 day for today, to ensure he gets enough Vitamins and minerals for a healthy well being.

– Talk time (Discussing how are days went and if anything interesting happened that day)

– Prayer time.

– Good Night and Huggy time where we give each other really tight hugs

Remember , no talking after we say good night !

🙂

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Child Care

After giving birth to M, I started working when he was 18 months old. Since J and I live in a distant land away from our close knit families, we are M primary care takers . Child care during his school holidays, was more challenging when he was younger 2-4 years old, specially during the times when he would be ill. It was a struggle but we juggled through.

Now that M has completed 7 years , managing his holidays when we both work – has actually become a lot easier.

During his summer holidays, J and I – both split our India trip so M could spend his entire 8 weeks leave in India. So, he can spend more time with cousins and grandparents.  As a result J and I and M were not in India , together as a family this time. First it was M and Me, I got back and then J went to India, when he was returning  – M came along. Well, yes the long leave was managed that way !

Now, when it comes to the shorter leave like Christmas leave or training days leave – then I rely on Child care. For M it is change as well, being the only child which is boring to be at home, he enjoys the company of his friends who are mostly of his class, he makes new friends as well. They do a lot of activities together and M has fun.

Not all of his days are spent in Child care though, I do apply a few leaves, J does so. We try to balance out so M does not find it monotonous. We try and fit in a few lazy days at home for M during his holidays too, so he can sleep late in the mornings and relax 🙂

In case , we both have to be at work that day and M is on leave. J has the provision to take M to his workplace and keep him there. That’s what he did for a day , during M’s Christmas leave. Well , since it was the Christmas period, the workplace wasn’t very busy too.

M enjoyed meeting J’s colleagues, Sitting in a cubicle and pretending to be at work 🙂

Below was a picture clicked when M was at J’s workplace for a day.

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How do you manage Child Care  ?

How do you achieve work life balance ?

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Affectionate M :)

On Friday, after a walking back from work, when the climate was a freezing one degree – My ears ached a lot.

As I went to pick up M, I mentioned to him about my ear pain.

We got back home and went about our normal life.

I wake up on Saturday morning and went to M’s room, he had just woken up but was still on bed.

He asks, Mummy – How’s your Ear pain  ? It touched me that he still remembered and enquired.

I told him, after a good sleep, it was much better and he replies  “Good Sleep helps “

True That !

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J doesn’t fall asleep so easily, unlike me – who falls asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. On Thursday night, J hardly slept properly and requested me to drop M off to school the next morning, so he could catch up on his sleep and get to work later than usual.

When I mentioned this to M, the next morning – he quietly listened and we walked our way to school.

The evening came and when J enters the home, M hugs him and says ” Daddy, I heard you didn’t sleep well last night.

“Daddy, please think of some of your favorite things – Like cars or anything, I do the same and then you will automatically fall asleep “

J smiles and tells M he will try it out.

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When ever M sees a homeless person on the road, he wants us to give them all our money !

We explained to M, that it is sometimes important to do charity to people who genuinely deserve help, not someone who uses the money given out of good will to buy alcohol and smoke.

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When M was away from school during Christmas holidays, he lovingly thought about his friends, He mentioned that he is missing them and is waiting to get back to them.

When ever any of his friends have any problems , during our prayer before bed, he requests us to specially pray for his friends.

Sweet of him !

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M had a question on Sunday , for which J and I are still looking for the answer –

He asks as to why we need to go to school and work for 5 days and get only 2 days of weekend time.

Why can’t we have 5 days of weekend and 2 days of school and work days 🙂

As a matter of fact, M thinks that the system of our society in unfair !

After the week has just began, I’m asking everyone the same question ?

Hope your week goes well….

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Healthy, Easy – Spinach Kootu

The below is the recipe for the comfort food in the SJ household. I learnt this recipe from my MIL , its a super hit because it is a sure shot food that M loves to eat and will eat it any time of the day – With rice or chappatis.

I do not have to explain the goodness of Spinach and Since there is moong daal added in it, Its added goodness. This dish can be prepared so quickly that it will be ready before the time rice is cooked.

Ingredients :

  1. Fennel Seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon
  2. Jeera Seeds  – 1/2 Teaspoon
  3. 1 Teaspoon Oil
  4. 1 Medium Onion
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon of Turmeric
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Moong Daal – 1/2 cup
  9. 1 medium size tomato.
  10. 2 green chillies.

Step 1 : Heat 1 Teaspoon of Oil in a small pressure cooker, add Fennel and Jeera.image2

Step 2: Add Chopped Onion and Chopped garlic cloves and saute

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Step 3 : Add turmeric powder, salt and washed Moong Dhal and fry.

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Step 4  :Add a couple of green chillies and water and bring to Boil

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Step 5 : Add the chopped Spinach leaves :

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Step 6 : Add chopped tomatoes :

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Step 7 : Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or 10 minutes.

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Step 8 : Mix the mixture well and enjoy with hot rice and some ghee..

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I did not add ground coconut, since M likes it this way.

My MIL will skip the Jeera and the Green Chilli step in the recipe and will grind coconut, Jeera and green chillies and add it at the end and simmer it for a few minutes. This adds to the taste.

Hope you try it and enjoy the goodness this easy and healthy dish brings.

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Happy Birthday Dad !

Dearest Daddy,

Wishing you a very very Happy Birthday !

Wishing you all the happiness in the world because you deserve it, Daddy. Mom, Me and Sis love you loads and you mean everything in the  world to us.

You are our guide, philosopher , mentor and model that we look up to every single day of our lives and during every single obstacle that comes our way. For every child their dad is their first hero and you have always remained so for us. We can rely on you with all of our issues and you are always a listening ear and provide us with best life advice that works so well for us. I remember years ago once, I had complicated issues with my in-laws and was so depressed. All that I had to do was give you one phone call and after I put that phone down, I was at peace with the world and myself.

Daddy, They say only a person with a certain maturity level can forgive someone’s wrong do’s and understand the situation and reasoning behind their bad behaviour. You are one of them. When someone speaks to you disrespectfully or bad mouths, you are the person who actually  sympathises with that person, and understands the situation they are in and hence their behaviour. Not everyone can be you , Dad. I remember once my FIL treated you badly at the airport and all that you mentioned to me was it was due to his insecurity and possessiveness that he had for his only son J , that he behaved that way and forgave him in an instant. It pains me to see what you have undergone , just to keep your daughters lives intact and peaceful. We love you , Dad.

Dad, you come from a family that hasn’t been well to do. You and your brothers and sisters have had difficulties in having your next meal on your plates during your school days. It is due to your sheer handwork and planning that all of your family has come a long way and settled your lives so well. The love and affection that your side of the family bestow on each other is truly amazing. They support each other during every triumph and tribulation and lend a helping hand.

You are so farsighted that you planned our life so well. In turn, you made sure our lives are safe and secured at every stage. When you married mom, you ensured mom goes ahead with her studies and completes her B’Ed and continue her career as a teacher. I can understand how difficult the times would have been when you managed with just your pay and mom’s education and a baby me. You and mom waded through life through sheer hard work and faith. You made sure your daughters had a good education, went ahead in enrolling them in professional courses by paying a hefty – I was enrolled in Embedded systems course after my engineering and Sis was enrolled in a Tech Writing course after her degree, You wanted to give us the extra edge more than just a education and make us hireable material. You encouraged us to go ahead and have careers of our own and be independent.

Me and sis , always admire the financial planning that you adhered to in life. You set an exemplary example of saving for the future and securing life. With doing three jobs a day as a bachelor you saved up a little and got a small plot in Bangalore, even before your wedding. By the time Sis was born and mom completing her education and me a 4 year old , you built a small three room home and moved us to our own house in 1985. How lucky we were. You would work overtimes, sometimes I remember you going to the factory at 5.00 in the morning and getting back home at 12.00 in the night. Mom and you have made countless sacrifices in building our nest. With the savings of every five years, you went on with planning and expanding our small house with extra bedrooms, built a first floor – rented it out and made sure you and mom were financially secure and did not have to rely on anyone in your retired life. Your dedication and planning strategies are most admired by most of our extended families.

You are and have always been a gem of a person, Dad. Mom has always mentioned to us when we were younger – that we are all so lucky to have you in our lives. You were a dad who never drank alcohol , have never touched a cigarette or had any bad habits at all. You were always dedicated to your family and I don’t even remember you spending time or going out with your friends. Our family has been your top priority and you have done whatever little you could do for us. Now, that you are a grand dad of  grand son M and a grand daughter N, Me and Sis,  still relied on you to getting diapers to taking them for vaccinations. You have done it all with a smile. Thank you, Daddy !

I got married and flew away from home in 2006, after which I spent a substantial amount of time at our home was when I got back in 2008 to deliver M, thats when I stayed back a good 4 months back home, rather than shuttling between my inlaws and ours during every other India trip. During the few months I was back home, I saw this young boy come home regularly every month, looking for you – I later found out that you had funded his and his bro’s and sis’s education because they couldn’t afford it and now that the boy was working he kept coming back every month to pay a little bit of what he thought he owed you and wanted to. It struck my heart , Dad.

You have always been doing your bit for the society . When we were little, you used to be part of this social service organisation other than your work, which dealt with child labourers and their education. After retirement, you have made use of your time to help people around you. I have known you enrolling mentally challenged kids of illiterate parents, taken them to government offices and filling in forms to get them enrolled for government bursaries and made sure they get paid something every month for their maintenance. For those in our families, who struggle with their health or finance or moral support – you have always been there for them.

To the best dad in the world !

Happy Birthday !

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