mom of all trades

mom of all trades

Monday, July 21, 2014

A bit of me..

“There, that’s my son” I pointed out, to the woman next to me at the crowded school gate. I looked at him through the eyes of the woman next to me. What would she see? A thin boy with dirt on his trousers, cheeks reddened with the heat and a cheeky smile? Would she see his eyes which twinkled with mischief? Would she notice his lopsided smile which reached all the way to his eyes and was punctuated by deep dimples on either cheek? Would she guess that this little boy has been the centre of my universe for the past nine years?

My “little” boy turns nine this August, and I marvel at the change that he has brought in me as a person.  A little soul placed into my arms and along with it, the power to mould him in infinite ways. To think that I was bestowed with that sort of power was both thrilling and terrifying, all at once.
What I was totally unprepared for, was the way he would make me feel. A feeling which made no sense at all when you think about it logically; but felt so right. Why would I for instance, want to give a tight slap to the well meaning nurse, who was vaccinating my child to protect him from potentially dangerous illness?  It was magical to give yourself to someone so fully, expecting nothing in return.

We have in the course of these nine years formed a bond that I will cherish for a life time. His baby features are giving way to more boyish looks and his little world is expanding at a pace which I am finding hard to keep up with. I will soon find myself at the fringes of his life and I am preparing myself to gracefully step into the side lines, but always a call away.

But for now, I relish the little things that still make him ‘my little boy’. The wetness on my cheek that remains from his kiss, even after he  disappears through the school gates, the look of delight on his face when he finds his favourite cheese raisin sandwich in the car on the way back home..

Happy Birthday Kanna. I see a little more of myself in you, with each passing year. God bless you now and always.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

A slice of childhood- Memories of my grandmother

It was one of those days when you had to have mangoes in every meal; right from a lusciously thick milkshake the colour of daffodils, sweetened with honey at breakfast, to the tangy and sweet ‘pazhamanga kalan’ (a sweet and tart curry made with ripe mangoes simmered in a yogurt sauce) with which you douse your steaming hot rice for lunch.  Mangoes always bring back memories of my paternal grandmother from whom I learnt the art of eating a mango without having to use a knife. We called her ‘valliamma’, which is a term ordinarily used in my mother tongue Malayalam for addressing one’s aunt, more specifically mother’s elder sister. But to us, her grand children, she was anything but ordinary. I can picture her still, sitting crossed legged in her starched linen ‘mundu veshti’ which smelt of talcum powder and mellow sunshine, holding the reins of  my father’s sprawling ancestral home in her gentle yet firm grip.
valliamma and her grand kids
Valliamma always ensured that each of us children felt special. Whenever we visited, there would always be everyone’s favourite dishes on the menu, as if it was the most normal thing. Fresh   succulent ‘poozhan’ (a river fish common to the region), crisp and fried to perfection for lunch; or a robust, rustic egg masala curry in a rich mahogany hued coconut gravy, which you could mop up with thick slices of crusty bread. There was always that special dish to perk up your meal.

I remember waking up in the morning to her soothing voice, as she sat at the foot of her bed, fresh after her morning bath, chanting prayers. I loved watching her get dressed, readying herself to face the day, and if I was particularly lucky she would let me help her. She would sit on her bed and call for her ‘vanity case’, an antique rosewood box which she would delicately slide, to reveal a mirror cleverly concealed within its womb. I would then play her ‘lady- in- waiting’, handing out whatever she asked for. She had a creamy porcelain complexion and I would watch her massage her face in swift, deft movements and there would always be a smidgen of cream for me to practice my massaging skills. Afterwards we would examine our glowing cheeks in the mirror, faces pressed together.
 But it is during Vishu (the Malayalee New Year festival) time that I still miss her the  most. Whenever I go through my ‘make-do’ Vishu preparations;  buying yellow flowers to make do for the golden hued ‘konna flowers’ or getting a ‘instant’  payasam mix to make do for the creamy sweet ‘semiya payasam’ fragrant with cardamom and speckled with plump golden raisins and slivers of cashew nuts fried in ghee, I think of my valliamma sitting in her enormous pooja room and arranging an elaborate ‘vishu kani’ , with a large urli (brass urn) polished until it glistened like gold, brimming with seasonal fruits and vegetables, gold ornaments, an antique ‘valkannadi’ and ‘konna’ flowers.
The pooja room would be transformed into a magical place with flickering brass lamps and deities adorned with brocades and flowers. It was to this room that she would take us at the crack of dawn, one by one, with our eyes closed and we would open our eyes and take in this wonderful sight. What a lovely way to step into a brand new year.
One of the last memories I have of valliamma which I still cherish, is of us going through my wedding trousseau. Too frail and sick to actually come out for shopping, she insisted that I show her whatever I purchased. I can still picture her childlike glee as she opened each packet and fingered the rich silks and brocades. She passed away just after my engagement. I know she would have loved to see me as a bride and I would give anything just to see that look of love mingled with a tinge of pride, as I stand before her in all my bridal finery; the same look I had seen in her eyes all those years ago when we pressed our faces together to look into her mirror.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review of Simba bags

Steffi Doll, Spiderman and WWE Superstar John Cena printed bags from Simba toys is a good value for money deal, that combines functionality and affordability. Printed with a colourful picture of Steffi doll , Spiderman and WWE superstar John Cena, this bag is sure to be a hit among boys and girls alike.
It boasts of three spacious zippered compartments which will ensure that your child can pack all his books(plus other 'stuff') in an organized way. No more leaky water bottles spoiling your child's books;this funky bag has two netted bottle holders on the sides which will ensure that your kid can stay hydrated throughout the day without the worry of spilling water.
The straps of this cute bag come with padded support, so that the weight of the bag is distributed evenly on the little shoulders of its owner while its light weight design ensures that it is easy to handle.

Scope for improvement: I felt that the back of the bag could have some padding as well, so that it is easier in little backs; also the material could have been a little thicker as there are chances of it being torn.

Overall a great buy, which I am sure will satisfy both the parents and kids.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mocomag - a complete online magazine for kids

Mocomag review

Mocomag is indeed the coolest online magazine for kids. My eight year old son is hooked on to it and it is one addiction I don’t want him to stop. It beautifully injects learning with large doses of fun and makes sure it is presented in a format that is interesting for kids. The simple easy to follow language and the colorful illustrations ensure that the kids are able to follow the information provided, with minimal adult assistance.

What sets this magazine apart is the way that technology has been cleverly used to create a visually interactive content. Each issue has a specific theme that runs through the length of the issue. It also covers a whole plethora of topics, ranging from history mysteries, quiz and news tidbits to easy to make recipes, crafts and stories. The riddles, comic strips and informative videos that it is sprinkled with make it a sheer delight for kids to read. All in all a fantastic read for kids and highly recommended.

you can read their latest issue here:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Share the language of love

“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others” 
Brian Tracy.
In the times that we live in today, when the concept of ‘I’ ‘me’ ‘myself’ seems to be the new age mantra; the art of sharing is one of the greatest lessons that we as parents can impart to our children. I am honored to feature on my blog, this wonderful initiative called ‘Johnson’s baby share the language of love’. Johnson and Johnson, which is synonymous with quality baby care products across the globe, has partnered with the well known NGO Goonj  to share this language of love with less fortunate children across the country.

What the campaign stands for:
In keeping with Johnson’s core philosophy of “care”, this campaign aims create a forum for the less fortunate children in our society, to experience “the joys of childhood”.  Working hand in hand with Goonj who shares the same philosophy, this campaign encourages mothers’ to share their child’s old or unused articles with those less fortunate.

What happens once you contribute?
Once the drop boxes at various centers in the city are filled up for the day, they are taken to the Goonj collection centers where they are cleaned sorted and pressed. They are then transported to the nearest Goonj centers and distributed among the needy.

How you can make a difference
Any object which you can contribute be it an old toy, book or games can bring a smile and brighten up a child’s day somewhere. All you need to do is collect your stuff and take it to the nearest collection center in your city. This year’s collection centers are being set up in 14 cities across India including Mumbai Delhi Bangalore Kolkata Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Cuttack, Pune etc over three successive weekends. Collection drives will also be initiated in 170 residential societies in 5 cities. There are also various touch points through which you can contribute to this campaign. Give a missed call on 1800 267 6767/ 1800 267 2222 to get details about your nearest collection center .You could also check out their face book community which is over 4,50,000 strong.

So join in today to speak the language of love, for no words can say more clearly that you care.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The art of leaving

Leaving a place you called home for nearly a decade, is not easy.   Possessions and memories coexist in bountiful abundance.  It is amazing how you begin to notice little things about your world, that you hitherto took for granted, when there is an expiry date attached. A pomegranate tree laden with luscious crimson fruit in a far corner of the apartment garden, which makes you feel almost guilty for not having noticed it before. The way the morning sun drenches your living room in a buttery golden light, that gives it an almost ethereal tinge. A pencil mark on a bedroom wall indicating your child’s height, when he was still at that delicious age where you could carry him around; the way a little apartment  housed our joys and sorrows, our hopes and fears, our little rituals of sustenance, our little indulgences and pleasures.

Bangalore for me, will always be a special place where I was privy to my child’s wonder years, where I learnt the art of leaving behind the dispiriting  ‘why’s’  and ‘what if’s’ and befriending  the elusive “why not’s’.  

I leave behind a bit of myself here, as I prepare to discover a whole new world, learn new things and more importantly be willing to unlearn old ways; for as Joseph Campbell quoted  “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

‘Home’ from now on, is the lovely coastal city of Chennai and I look forward to this leg of the exciting journey called life.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Guest post for

Mom of all trades is thrilled and honored to be featured on the ' pregnancy bible'

It is an online companion to the book 'What to Expect When You're Expecting'

Dubbed the “pregnancy bible,” the iconic New York Times bestseller is now its all-new fourth edition, with over 17 million copies in print, and according to USA Today, is read by 93 percent of women who read a pregnancy book

you can read my article here