Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thanks Doris!

Thank you for this award. I hope I will live up to it.

A To Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "Z"

This is also a tribute to my parents who believed in eating just enough to survive while enjoying every bite of their meal. It was very hard for my mom to cook to the standards of my father's taste as he knew about the finest cuisine you could find in India. Being an accountant for the kitchen of the King of Hyderabad before India became a democracy introduced my father to not only the fine cuisine of India but to that of Great Britain, the Middle East and the Far East (as they then called it). So, after losing his job after India became a democracy my father worked for the government of India, but still had the taste buds of the royal kitchen. He did grow herbs and vegetables for my mom and always said that one does not need the heavy taste of grease but the "ZEST" of fresh herbs and vegetables. These are the pointers I will always remember.

Use lemon juice instead of heavy dressings on your salad. (I miss the spoons that my uncle had with the name of salad dressing engraved on their handles.)

Saute your food to bring out the zest. It is better then than frying.

When it comes to vegetables fresh does it better than cooked.

Don't drain the nutrients out by boiling. Try steaming if you have to cook vegetables.

Keeping a mix of lemon crystals and salt is better than just table salt. (Here in the US we keep garlic salt.)

Yogurt is always better than ice cream. ( My mom made home made yogurt every day but I would go for my father's home made ice cream any day. It was only occasional though.)

 My daughter orders unsweetened ice tea with a slice of lemon instead of soda and it smells great. I use any excuse to drink cola while eating out as we don't buy it in grocery any more.

"Zest is something anyone can afford, but you have to be lucky to recognise it," my grandmother's best friend said when I was little. I think she was right.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "Y"

Last night on the TV show "Community," Pierce, the elderly student, wants to learn things that younger people do. I think a lot of us elderly folks do want to learn things that young people do, because a lot of times young people do neat things, or rather cool things. Some of my friends and relatives who are my age complain that young people don't care for the elderly, they don't show enough respect. I disagree with them.  I never had a problem with younger generation. If you leave them alone they are fine. The thing with respect is that you have to show respect first before you expect any from anybody.
The show "Community" is carried by young people who I can say fall into "Generation Y." They work hard. They mind their own business and their perspective is different because they don't stick to any one culture or one stream of thinking. They like to be open minded and like to take good from everywhere, hence they may become friends with someone you would not guess they would hang out with.
From being individualistic, tech savvy, ambitious, and flexible, Gen Y-ers are good in balancing money and time at the same time not neglecting values. The Millennials may take their time and seem cold, but any responsibility they take they do their best to fulfill. They could never be apathetic. No wonder the three young actors who play Annie, Abed, and Troy carry the show.
Today my husband woke up before five in the morning to watch the Royal Wedding. However he was puzzled to have missed the word "obey" from the wedding wows. He was surprised when I told him that Kate Middleton did not want the word "obey". He asked why. I said that she is "Gen Y". She would not utter something if she did not believe .
One character that will always come in the picture when you speak of Generation Y will be Jaye Tyler on Wonderfalls. There is even an episode where she is referred to as quintessential  Gen Y-er.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "X"
On his late night show, Conan O'Brien was teasing David Duchovny, saying that in the year 2000, David Duchovny will be extremely unpopular when it's revealed that Duchovny is Russian for syphilis. David Duchovny replied that in the year 2000, Conan O'Brien will be unpopular when it's revealed that he has a bad case of Duchovny. I'm not worried about what ever happened to the carrier of David Duchovny because Gillian Anderson has also disappeared from the television and the silver screen.
The later episodes of the X-Files series may not be as interesting as a thriller, but the older series would keep you engaged throughout the show. These are the shows about two FBI agents who are given assignments to solve cases that had unreasonable circumstances. One of them would try and find reasonable answers within normal reasoning but the other one would always find something supernatural and beyond reasoning. If you are into paranormal phenomenon and the supernatural you would certainly enjoy the earlier episodes of the X-Files.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "W"

We - one of the sweetest words.
We - a beautiful term.
We - a wonderful relationship.
(No disrespect for the dictionary definition intended)
Among most of the struggles we go through in life, the struggles for the desire to be part of a "We" is most justified.
 If you are looking to be part of a "We" in future - Plans, Dreams, Hopes, Flights, Wings, Skies, Breeze, Shore, Voyage, Horizons.
If you are part of a "We" at present  -  Care, Outreach, Respect, Shelter, Shade, Laugh Whirlpool, Frustrations, Whistles, Gasping, Lullabies.
If you have been a part of a "We" in the past  but not anymore -  Dialogue, Monologue, Pain, Empathy, Sarcasm, Shadows,  Loneliness, Smiles (bittersweet),  Memories accompanied with sweet and sour chuckles, Storms, Hurricanes.
In "Rolling in the Deep," Adele captures the pain of the "We" in the past better than any artist I have heard. She makes it sound almost victorious while keeping it dignified.
"We almost had it all!!"
"We could have had it all!!"
 Here is Adele.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A tribute to the letter  " V "
In second grade Nature Study class we were told that  Brinjal (a kind of eggplant) was a fruit. When I told this to our nanny, she accused my school of teaching us wrong things because we know that eggplants are vegetables. When my mom came back from work she explained to all of us that there is a plant science called Botany and according to that science there are different parts of a plant. Therefore a vegetable can fall under the group of fruits if it is carrying seeds or it can be a leaf, a stem, root or even seeds. Growing up in a home where we grew our own vegetables was taken for granted in most families. Here in New York we feel lucky when we have the  right weather for even a few vegetables a year. I try to buy local as much as possible.

Whether you grow your own vegetables or buy from a super market or farm market, please make it a habit to serve your familiy at least four fruits or vegetables a day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute the letter  "U"

I realized today that hiding table salt from your husband is very, very tiring. So today he can have a few sprinkles. From tomorrow he will be back to low salt. Until then I need some fluff. This is my fluff.

I am sure a lot of us agree that being a mermaid would be very cool indeed. Kids and kids at heart alike!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Easter everyone :)

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "T"

I was supposed to have written a blog in honor of the letter "T" but I was so run down that I could not get up from the living room floor. Sometimes Saturdays can do that to you. You just need to "veg" out. I did and now I feel like I failed at the A to Z Challenge. Oh well, we cannot be successful at every thing :(
I think that I can blame my tiredness to some degree on having to deal with  traffic these days.

On Friday someone wrote a comment (on someone else's blog) that  they had a beer while driving. At first I was a little angry, then I said to myself that at least that person is responsible enough to realize that he was guilty of having a beer while driving. How many drivers are out there, who drink and drive and not realize it?  How many more drivers are out there who have four cups of coffee or soft drinks that have caffeine equal to four cups of caffeine? Combine the coffee and the fear of not getting to work on time, you have drivers who refuse to take their foot off of the gas pedal and if there is a slow car in front of them, they swirl around it in the same speed. If there is not enough room for them to swirl or swing around the slow car, then there is a crash. Then that driver along with at least thirty to forty cars behind them, is stranded, if not badly hurt. Thank God for seatbelts and airbags, the number of traffic deaths have decreased. Still I think an accident is a waste of resources and time that is if everyone comes out of their cars safe and sound.

My daughter loves this poem, that I wrote while being stranded in a traffic jam.

Highway Wreath

Policemen, Firemen and paramedics
They were all on their toes
Trying to save whoever it was
Trying their best, God only knows
Teenage driver, a tired mother
or even a second shifter
Is that her or is that him
A DWI or a drifter
Everyone was going frantic
Trying to pull the wounded out
Calling the local hospitals
the nearest ones about
Half a mile traffic back up
Now becoming a mile or two
Tired travellers getting more tired
Not knowing what to do
People wondering what happened
Was it a blind spot
Or was it the brake, the speed
Or a tire that was shot
I was sitting counting my sins
Patiently at the wheel
There are enough broken hearts
Enough pain we had to feel
Oh, Dear God, please spare
The paramedics the pain
Of having to pick up that phone
And tell that it was in vain.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "S"

When a coworker of mine became a member of "CHAMPS" (changing human attitude, making people safer) she was very much excited. She told me to wish her the best, and I did. An other coworker who happened to be next to us said, "Why do you need anyone's wishes, you are suppose to do the job yourself?" To that my manager very angrily said, "Don't be mean, respect her sentiments."  At that point in my life, I did not understand the word sentiment being used in that sense. Now I am learning. English is a beautiful language, but when it is not your mother tongue, you sometimes get confused.
Today is Good Friday and Earth Day. So today I was extra patient when drivers where tailgating me and overtaking me from the ramp on my right and zooming by. Also, when we went to the supermarket my daughter reminded me that it is Earth Day and we should bring our reusable bags to save plastic. I think I am beginning to understand the word sentiment.
I am feeling really bad about the fact that Jerry Seinfeld refused to appear on an event that Donald Trump's son had planned for raising money for St. Jude's. The reason being that Donald Trump was making fun of our President's political policies. I heard that St. Jude's does not refuse to treat any kid who goes there for treatment. Doesn't this make you feel sorry for children? It is bad enough that sometimes kids have to suffer because of parent's separation or divorce, but Donald Trump and Jerry Seinfeld? I hope nothing like this happens when they raise money to support Maria Ferrari hospital, here in New York.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "R"

Universities and Money - all the time.
Universites and nepotism - most of the time.
Universities and brilliant but poor kids - seldom.
Our humanitarian side gets hurt, but our business side says "well - the expenses that universities have to go through can justify the cost."
Wait, what?  Expenses like paying Snooky tens of thousands of dollars so she can give a speech about how hard students should study and how much harder students should party?
While Rutgers could have saved the same money and could give a break in the cost of books for students or wave the fee for labs etc, I am just hoping that Rutgers was able to make money somehow from this attempt of pleasing students by inviting someone from  Jersey Shore.
Hope and ambition should not be taken away from any kid no matter how expensive university costs get. So  let us all encourage kids and grown ups to learn to read. I know some of my friends don't like it when I push them to read even the headlines of a newspaper, I am not backing off promoting literacy.


You want to make a difference
In how things are going on
You want to make it happen
Before the day is done

You are really feeling helpless
You feel that it is too late
You don't want to learn to read now
You think it is your fate

It's not your fate not to learn
Or not to find out for sure
So believe me. because I am not lying
This is how you can cure

Cure the problems the best you can
Before they become a pain
In reading there will be no loss
There will always be a gain

You are afraid people may think
That you do not have a friend
If you read in a public place
A book from end to end

The flow of language that you understand
Has no equal or substitute
So read, that a writer or a poet
Appreciates your gratitude

June 2005

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "Q"

While writing a comment on someones post, I mentioned that I am guilty of picking up a book and not finishing it. I forgot to mention that there were a couple of exceptions to that habit of mine. There are some authors who are so good that you want to finish their books even if it means getting to the dinner table late, or staying past your bedtime (when you were a kid) or using your entire lunch break at work. One such author is Beverly Cleary. Wow, does she ever write great kids and young adult books. I would read all my kids' Beverly Cleary books as soon as they would finish them. Among all of the characters of all of her books, the one I really love (and I am sure a lot of people I know do as well) is Ramona Quimby.
How I wish I could put a pair of eyes and a pair of ears to the letter Q, because that is what Ramona likes to do. The imagination that Beverly Cleary has to be able to create a character like Ramona Quimby is extraordinary. Ramona is so realistic that you can actually imagine her to be a real little girl. What am I saying? To me Ramona is real. I cannot have it any other way. I mean, when she actually gets in trouble for playing with an other girl's hair because she is fascinated by the way it bounces "Boing Boing", and the way she thinks that "Guts" is a bad word and says it to get her anger out of her system. It is amazing how she worries about her father's smoking and writes "NO SMO KING" everywhere. It is very touching when she gets worried that her parents might get divorced because their dinner was not ready because someone forgot to plug the slow cooker. There are too many cute little things to mention. So if you or your kids have not read these books, please do yourselves a favour and pick a couple from your local library. They will enjoy them and so will you.
They made a motion picture of these books combined. The movie is called "Ramona and Beezus". The books are a little different from the movie in the sense that they took a few incidences from each book and made that into a movie. It was fine, as Mrs Cleary, who is in her nineties, approved that. She enjoyed talking about the books and the movie.
Joey King, did a marvelous job of playing "Ramona Quimby" and even at this early age she is a terrific human being. She does a lot of volunteering.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter  "P"

It was last day of the week before Father's Day and all the ladies were wishing the men, "Happy Father's Day" and some of us were telling each other to enjoy Father's Day with loved ones. I turned to one of the guys, around the same age as my son and asked if he had planned out what he and his siblings are doing for Father's Day. To my disappointment he said that he was not talking to his father. I was shocked, because he seemed like a young man who was raised with a lot of love. One more year and he would be out of community college then he would go to a SUNY school nearby. I asked him what he was talking about. Then he told me that his father was angry at him for working an odd job and not going to college. It turned out that he had started working right out of high school and his father wanted him to go to college, finish off studies and then get a "white collar job"  if not a career. So, this was the reason this young man was not talking to his father?
He said that that was not the only reason. His father was accusing him of wasting time with hoodlums and gangsters etc, when all he was doing was working hard so he could be independent and save up some money. He called him names that he was too embarrassed to talk about.
I then came to a conclusion: it is best to avoid accusatory language, when talking to kids about any issues. Also avoid calling names.
 Then I convinced him to give his father a call, and tell him that he was heading for some kind of decent job. He is not going to offload trailers for ever. Last time I spoke to him, he said that he was going to North Carolina to spend his vacation with his father. This was great.

The I realized that while talking to your kids about anything, it is best to start with facts and not judgment. Also never call them names or label them.

I come across a lot of kids who are not happy with their parents and sometimes I wonder whether my kids are happy with my husband and me or not. Kids are open for some reason, with outsiders and can talk to them. Friends can be of any age. So I hope that if anything is bothering my kids about my husband and me, they would talk to their friends. Ease up a little then talk to me. So far they seem happy (Thank God!)

From a conversation I had with yet another young man, I gathered that as parents, we not only have the responsibilities of providing food, shelter and clothing for them, we have an unspoken relationship of friendship as well. That young man had a fight with his dad, over bad manners at the dinner table. He said that his father always demanded a lot of respect and gave none.

I think it is best to set a positive tone. Show respect and respect will be given to you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A tribute to the letter "O"

Marguerite,the process coordinator at the beauty shop always used to call me a pessimist. She said that I always look for sad things, things that are discouraging and people who suffer. I always used to tell her that I do not do that on purpose. It is just that when someone is sad, I cannot laugh and joke and believe that I did not see that person. I am not looking for discouraging things, but I cannot close my eyes when disturbing things happen. That does not make me a pessimist. It makes me a realist. Then I started doubting myself. Will I ever be an Optimist?  So, I decided that I will become an optimist. Whether I notice more sad things than things that one can enjoy, or whether I give attention to underdogs, my point from now on will be not only to make a sad person feel better, but give them hope. I started with one of my coworkers who always used to put herself down and thought that she could not get (in spite of working hard) what her sister can get without even trying because she was pretty. So I wrote her a poem.

Go getter

Don't rob yourself of happiness
Don't be upset at every thing
In this ever changing world
Take with a smile what life can bring

With eyebrows up and a frowning face
With fire in your eyes
Don't hide your smile in attitude
Don't trade the truth with lies

Hardships may seem like a trap
But you are not there to stay
Look around and you will find
A sure promising way

And when you come out of this trap
And learn to fight your way out
Then may be you can help some one
Smile and clear their doubt

I have to thank  Marguerite, who made me think and then decide that I will not stop just at looking at sad situation, but help people get out of there.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter N

This afternoon, we were listening to the radio and "Circle of Life" was playing. My husband said that the voice sounded very familiar and like it was a well known artist. I didn't know who it was.  Then my daughter said that it was Elton John. She said that if it's Circle of Life, it has to be Elton John. To me the term circle of life brings back memories of my father working in our backyard and talking to the man who delivered the dirt and the mulch and discussing the circle of life. They would discuss how nature works, how every year they plant vegetable plants and vines and every year the same plants start becoming part of earth and dirt. I always used to get upset over all that.
In Sunday school we learned that nature is a servant of man (human beings.) I felt sad about the fact that nature has to be our servant. Then I was told by a friend of my grandmother that sometimes Sunday school teachers do not know how to best teach the realities of life. She always used to help me with solving mind boggling issues. I loved plants and flowers and fruits and vegetables hanging from the plants. I could not imagine them to be our servants. So when I was told that we are just as much servants and caretakers of nature as it is of us, it made me feel better. It made my mom feel better too.There was only fifteen years of an age difference between my mom and me. So the talk would be for both of us.
In college, in our Botany lecture we were told that "Nature in its ministry to man is not only the material, but is also the process and the result."  We generally would jot down things and elaborate. I had a lot of help with that. My parents, my grandmother and our housekeeper taught me about how water evaporates from the seas and falls back on the Earth as rain, how plants use the rainwater and sometime the same rain would travel in clouds to distant lands and fall off as snow. It was hard to believe but I see it here in New York every winter.
My thirst of wanting to learn about Nature will probably be in me until my last breath. Today I read nature blogs, (Especially Desert Canyon Living), and thanks to the internet, I learn and enjoy so much. We did get the National Geographic for sometime but when we got to see the same people who work for the magazine presenting shows on the television we stopped buying the magazine.
Some old fashioned apothecaries say that  the healing powers of  nature are only limited by man's idleness. My mom told us that meditation is a natural way of healing and repairing our body's wear and tear. Appreciating nature is a way of meditation. Baby animals, flowers, seagulls, oceans, birds flying in an order, mountains - the sources are unlimited. She said that it gives our mind a break as well.
I like to listen to what William Wordsworth said  "Let Nature be your teacher."

Friday, April 15, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter  M

A couple of weeks ago, my brother told me that his daughter is planning to be a CPA. I could hear the pride in his voice. His daughter was going to follow the foot steps of her grandfather. "I am happy for her " I said.
"Who would have thought," he said. " I mean being a girl, you would think that she would be interested in liberal arts and stuff." He was just getting carried away.
"You would have thought that," I said "Not me." Then I quickly realized that this can unnecessarily take away my niece's thunder, so I said "Give her my love and congratulate her, I will give her a call too." I did not argue with my brother for just assuming that because his child is a girl, she would not be good in Math. My daughter told me how Danica McKellar  is so good in math that she actually wrote books on the subject.This was such a great news for me. Such a dainty little girl a math wiz? Sure enough. Her books are in the list of New York Times Best Sellers for Kids books.
She happens to be the author of Math doesn't suck, Kiss my Math, and Hot X Algebra Exposed.  Who would have thought - oops, I was just about to make the same mistake that my brother made, assuming that girls are not good in math. She is so good that she and another of her fellow students along with their professor Lincoln Chayes wrote a theorem - the Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem (Winn for Brady Winn not Winnie Cooper).
She said that she wrote those books to help girls survive math without losing your mind or breaking nails. She said that she wrote Math doesn't suck for junior high girls, to show them that math is accessible and relevant and even little glamorous. It was to counteract the damaging social message telling young girls that math and science aren't for girls.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter L

Whenever I ask myself "What is Love?" I just start laughing. It has been several years since Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell danced to that song on Saturday Night Live.  Before that I used to love that song. (I still like it.) When I worked as a clerk, I would open the office, turn the radio on, then go and clean up the waiting room, and this song came on. In those days, I was too busy as a wife, a mom and a part time receptionist to think about things like love.
Ever since I remember, love was just love to me. You love your parents, your siblings, your grandparents and when you got married you love your husband and your children. Then a co-worker told me that women probably love their husbands more than their husbands love them. Now that thought had never occurred to me before. I still try to understand what she meant. I know I am more vocal and expressive and my husband is not. That does not mean that what she said was true. I asked my mom once. She said that if that thought occurred in my head, then I love him less than he loves me, because love does not mean that you worry about yourself being loved. I think she was right.
Webster's dictionary describes love as a deep affection or passion for someone or something. I think that there has to be a strong personal attachment, otherwise why would emotions like kindness and compassion be part of love?  That is why we love babies, children and the rest of the occupants of this earth whether they be human beings or animals, birds and other creatures.
Then there is love that we see in the movies. Part of me wants to go back to my teenage years and think of love that two pre-teens find for each other. The love where there are no complications, no competitions, no doubt that the other one loves you.  It may be short lived for them, but it is cute.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter  K

Kids -  how do we define them ?
Someone said about a five year old,  "He's not a baby, he is a kid!"
Someone said about a thirteen year old,  "She's not a kid, she is a teenager."
To me the only definition of a kid or rather kids is "my children and everybody else's children." OK I took that a little too far. To me a kid is a child, from infancy to adulthood, ie twenty-one. Even that feels very uncomfortable because my mom and my grandma thought of me as a kid even when I was in my forties and had three kids. My husband thinks that that was because they never lost the instinct of motherhood. Do fathers and grandfathers get the same feelings about their grown-up kids? I wouldn't know.

Right now, I am writing about kids that are anywhere from infancy to teenage years especially those under your care.

Here are some of my feelings:

They just need your care
Don't hurt them because you hurt
That wouldn't be fair

Just let them explain
Just talk to them lovingly
Try and share their pain

They are really keen
Don't rob them of their chances
Kids are never mean

Just talk and listen
You may be saving a life
Give them attention

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  *
Early this morning there was a very sad news report about Orange County, NY. "Horrible Tragedy in the Hudson River," they said. In the city of Newburgh less than ten miles from our town, a mother of four children drowned herself along with three of her kids. It is one of the saddest things I had to watch on television. It brings back other news flashes from across the nation. It is especially sad that those mothers had to resort to suicide/murder, why couldn't they talk to someone?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter  J

My mother loved this poem and my father loved plants. So, he built a trellis and grew a Jasmine vine on it. Jasmine flowers have to be plucked in half bloom because their calyx is too delicate to hold the flower and falls off when the flower is in full bloom. We used to pluck a basket full of buds every summer evening unless it rained. Then there would be mess on the ground.

This is also a tribute to my parents. This is the translation of a very famous Indian Poem.

In the Shade of Jasmine Trellis
two love birds in the light of the moon
like two free spirits, ready to fly,
like fresh flowers, in the afternoon

The cool breeze of the garden
was gently blowing by,
then stopped and rested on
their faces and took a deep sigh

We have seen those two birds
seen them day and night
We have seen them together
during peace time and fights

Is there a mix to cure the pain
Oh, apothecary please do tell
'cause surely the other will fall
if one got hurt and fell

The minarets of mosques have seen them
The bells of churches have seen them,
The tall walls of temples have seen them

This poem is cherished by interfaith and inter racial couple who go through hard times because of society.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter I

Issues and Ice Cream

Last night when I told my daughter that I would like to blog about Ice Cream for the letter I, she seemed very excited. "I wonder who invented Ice Cream?" I asked.
"Someone awesome," she said happily.
I am sure it must have been someone really really nice to come up with some thing like ice cream. Whether it was Marco Polo who brought the formula from somewhere around the world or it were people from Europe in 1600, or the people who commercialized ice cream in the mid-1800s, they must have been people who wanted to make people happy. There is nothing but goodness in ice cream. I mean look at the ingredients  - - - like Breyers Ice Cream always advertises, milk, sugar, ice, and sometimes fruit. At least I grew up eating ice cream like that and we didn't even have a refrigerator . I still can taste the ice cream my father made in the old fashion clunky ice cream maker, the ice cream we couldn't wait for and the ice cream we watched being formed (milk slowly turning into creamy sweetness.)  I would trade the store bought ice cream box of half gallon anytime for the ice cream we had as children. That made everyone happy, whether they were kids or kids at heart.

So, next time the people in the House or the Senate are fixated on a problem, they should take a break, have a scoop or two of their favourite flavour of ice cream, then maybe we will not have to be on our toes about the government getting shut down.

My daughter thinks if the world leaders were to have ice cream , there probably would  be no wars.

I think that if people had ice cream instead of coffee every morning before they go to work, they will be easy on fellow drivers on their way.

As for now, I think, you can take your little one for an ice cream cone, if his big brother is teasing him.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A tribute to the letter H

Back in 1997 when I was working in retail, the manager for home fashions department would always show us nice pieces of "name brand curios" and then very nicely ask for our suggestions. I used to work for ladies coats department therefore I could only give suggestions but not really decorate his department. One day we opened up a box and there were beautiful platters that had the words "HOME SWEET HOME" painted on them, with little houses and tiny white fences and kids playing and dogs with Frisbees. I showed one to a coworker "Aren't these so nice!" To my disappointment she had a long face, but she did not say anything. I felt really bad, did I hit a wound?
"What's wrong, honey? Everything all right?" I took her aside, as she had tears in her eyes. This was a young girl, as a matter of fact as young as my second son, working for little extra in her pocket, no household responsibilities, no worries, her dad working for a reputable company and her neighbourhood as upscale as can be for the town.
"Nothing," she said.
"Come on now. I'm not being nosy, but I'm here if you need to talk," I was feeling bad for her. It was her age to be chirping like a bird.
"My Dad cheated on my Mom," she started crying.
Then it became very clear to me why she did not like those platters.

They always say that a house is a house until you make it a home. How do we make it a home? What do we do to make sure that everyone who lives in that house, especially children, are taken care of? We try to live the American dream, give our kids the same toys as other kids, make sure their furniture pieces are matching, their curtains and walls just so. Is it possible that in the processing of providing all those things we are over working and getting stressed out? Is it possible that we are getting away from the other parent of our children, you know our spouse?  Why do people cheat? I would never blame the one who is cheated, but I always wondered.  One of my friends had gorgeous hair, but she always thought they were a pain. So I asked her why doesn't she get them cut. She said that her husband loved her hair and that she would not cut them. She was young. She said that there will be many more things that may come that might threaten her happy home.

"No happy home should have to be threatened," a friend of my uncle would say. Everyone used to wonder as to why he married someone who had no money, no looks, and no education. People used to be jealous of his wife. He was highly qualified. He could have gotten a beautiful, educated girl if it was up to his parents to find him one. He would not listen to anyone, he just loved her. I heard that he is still married to her and their children are very happy.

I am not trying to pin the blame on men only, I know some women, who did not care about their kids when it came to their own whims and fancies and cheated on their husbands.

Like my friend said, there are a lot of factors that make a "Happy Home", but to start with, let us be nice to each other, so kids can learn.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to letter  G

G is for Garden
This is a tribute to my parents as well. They loved gardening. We had a garden in our back yard with fruit trees like Guavas, Mangoes, Bananas, Papayas and Pomegranates. Around the trunk of the Guava trees and the Mango tree, my father had kept little pots with seasonal flowering plants. Then we had Palm trees, Crotons, Roses, Jasmine and many more. Every time my father bought a new plant he would walk my sister and me and showed the plant and told us the name of the plant. At the age of five, my sister had memorised almost all the names of the plants. Then my father would proudly mention that to our relatives. One day one of my uncles asked her the name of a flower he saw in our backyard. My sister did not remember the name for some reason, she kept on thinking and then finally she came up with an answer: "It is the flower of it's own plant." To this day we remember her smart answer. We also had a small garden in the front, most of it had Cactus plants and some Bougainvilleas. Sometimes baby goats would squeeze and come in from underneath the gate and go towards the Cactus. My sister who was five would gently tell the goat not to eat the Cactus because they have thorns and then she would pluck some flowers and some leaves of the Bougainvilleas and feed the goat. To this day, I tell her kids the story about their mom when she was little.
Some people don't even care about plants and trees, but to those of us who care, gardening is our life.

"So you take a subway" she asked.
"I don't have a car, but I have a garden on my patio," he said.

"In our neighbourhood, kids eat right and it does not cost us much," she said.
"Oh?" he said.
"We all grow different kinds of vegetables and give each other gifts of produce from our gardens" she said.

"My heart goes garden, garden,
whenever you smile,
stay for a while,
stay for a while." Translation of an Italian Poem, told by a coworker of mine who said that in Italy a Garden is synonymous with happiness.

"Jason" said Mommy " Where are you taking my silk flowers?"
"Mommy" said Jason. "I am making a garden in my blanket fort."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to letter F

Freshly Baked Bread.

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh Fruits

Fresh Fruit Smoothies

Fresh Water

"Gee, you look so fresh today !"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A to Z Challange

A tribute to the letter E


Today I thought that I would write about energy that I don't really have and a couple of lines complaining about the two rough days I had, would be sufficient. I will close up the blog. But no, my daughter remembered that I had planned on writing about Empathy so here I am. I hope that I will be able to put down my thoughts accurately.

This is the advantage of having kids who are not babies anymore.  I tell them my plans and sometimes when the day actually comes for me to see a doctor, even if it slips my mind, they go "so call me and let me know how it went at the doctors today." Oops, good thing he reminded me, and in a nonchalant way I say, "I will."  If I am trying to develop empathy with people who are serious when they say that they are getting forgetful, I think that I am close. It is one of my biggest fears. Not being able to remember, comprehend and express myself. 

Empathy is, (unlike sympathy) the feeling of pain you get when you meet someone or hear about someone who went through the same pain that you felt. This phenomenon is amazing. I cannot get over it. If I hear on the news about someone who died in an auto accident and their loved ones are upset, my mind goes back to my aunt who lost two of her daughters. This was back in 1984 and in India. So why does my mind relate to the new victims like they were my own family? Old Indian expression translates that it is because we are one big universal family. Pain is something that brings the lost ones closer, this way.

It is very sad to hear that a teacher who was missing in Japan in Tsunami, was found dead. He was from Alaska. My sympathies and my prayers are with his family. I don't know the kind of pain they are feeling but unfortunately thousands of Japanese people do.

I lost my father to Pancreatic Cancer. My daughter never met my father, but she says that every time she hears about someone who died of Pancreatic Cancer, she feels for them. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Focus - A to Z Challenge

A tribute to letter "D"


If you ask me if all the doctors are like Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I would say that most of them would like to be like him. I mean the dedication to his profession and the love for his work is not uncommon, it is just that a lot of them are not as lucky he is. Don't get me wrong, he is a great doctor but so are most of them.
The desire of helping human beings is the number one reason for any one to get into medical school. The wish that they could save lives or at least make people get better from a sickness makes a person take the MCATS.  Someone I know is very much upset that in spite of spending thousands of dollars they are not able to get their grandaughter to pass the test. I asked her if the girl is into medicine, the answer I got was that if her father is a doctor and mother is a pharmacist why wouldn't she? The thing is that one has to be into the subject because it is a hard road.

Once they get into a medical school, the students practically forget that they are people, with a need for a social life, the need to sleep and eat on time, the need to be able to make a mistake once in a while because those tests do not allow a single mistake as it is human body that they are studying.

They get out of the medical school tired, roughed out, and their spirit broken with the burden of student loans, which are so big that the monthly payment could easily be enough to pay on a good size, single family house.

So, they are out of medical school, now comes the matching programs for getting into a residency program where they work for peanuts, more than seventy hours a week and double shift majority of the time, made fun of by seniors and putting up with the brunt of the profession.

Now that they have emptied their wallets and piggy banks and used up all the checks and savings bonds given by their relatives, finally they are out of medical school.

So, are they like kings now? If you can call working at the finger tips of HMOs a royal job, then they are. Those who want to go on their own, get into such competition with the big Medical buildings that they are forced to pack up and work for some one any way.

Inspite of such hardships, at the end of the day, the only thing a doctor cares about is whether or not he was able to cure a patient's disease.

So, if you are with a doctor and you are dreaming of a huge palace of a house with nothing less than a Lenox or a Limoge in your curio cabinet it is not fair with him. He is already over burdened. And if you are the young high school graduate hoping for a "mini Cooper" for a graduation gift, think again. You do not want to give your dad a heart attack. He has to take care of his patients.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Focus A to Z Challenge

C is for Concerns and Cookies

"Goodnight my dear", said Grandpa tucking the little boy under the covers
"Grandpa?" the little boy lifted his head. "Can one place be at two different places?"
"What do you mean?" asked Grandpa, turning on the light and looking in the eyes of his grandson.
"You are saying that there is an imaginary place where there is love for people but Grandma says that there is a place deep down in our hearts where there is love for people" said the little boy.
"Yes" said Grandpa, "It is possible for one place to be at two places at the same time." The little boy looked happy, there were no more questions in his eyes, his eyelids were heavy with sleep. "Goodnight my boy" said Grandpa tucking him again. "Goodnight Grandpa" said the little boy. When the little boy grew up he was a balanced man who cared for people.

In the living room of a couple we knew, there was a plaque with a framed message that said "Children become what they see". Also I heard that the couple was really racist. Then it made me wonder if they sold a plaque that said "Children become what they hear"

In an episode of the television show "The Wonder Years" Kevin notices that his father gets tense when he finds out that his mother has started a new hobby. At the end of the show, his dismay turns into reassurance when he sees that his father goes to comfort his mother when she burned herself with a hot iron.

"We are human beings just like you guys, don't you fight with your siblings?" the milkman's wife was yelling. I asked my Mom why she was like that. My Mom said that she was not being civil. I was not satisfied with her answer. I am still looking for answers. What kind of behavior should a couple adopt when it comes to fights and differences? Some people say be natural, some say sugar coat and some say tell chidren to go to their room.

How do we raise a child to be confident and still not be over confident? We want them to be nice to everyone and not hurt and tease anyone, right?

What do we do about "Barbie dolls " coming with their feet shaped like they should be wearing high heals?

What do we do about Kid's Beauty Pageants?

Cookies are good. Yum !!!
Wait--- What ?
Well --- we can try healthier recipes, with no transfat, no hydrogenated fats less saturated fats and keep the dietary needs and food allergies in mind. OK, I agree, fruits are great. Make cookies an occasional treat, but cookies are still very nice!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Focus - A to Z Challenge

Tribute to the letter B
The Beatles

Right now my mind is going back to when my kids were young and watching Sesame Street and a band is singing the song "Letter B " to the tune of Let It Be, by the Beatles. There were so many subjects and things that start with the letter B that I could have blogged about, but none would stand out like the Beatles.

I am sure almost every one of us knows a lot about the Beatles already. I lived in England for two years and as much as I would have liked to visit Liverpool, (where the Beatles originally formed their group), my husband chickened out saying that that was a city where he does not like to drive. Oh well, I know that it would not hurt them if a couple of fans did not make it to their city.

They received numerous awards including seven Grammy's, 15 Ivor Novellos (songwriters and composers awards) and they were number twenty in the list of one hundred influential people of the century in one of  the Time Magazine issue.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Focus:- A to Z Challenge

A Tribute to letter A


It has been almost a week since I blogged about anything. First couple of days I felt weird. Then I kind of got used to not writing. I was reading a lot of blogs and commenting on some but the thought of writing was making me feel guilty.  I do not want to neglect my husband. For some reason I felt that by having my own thing I was neglecting him.  I was practically lying on the living room sofa and watching television shows that I don't even like, the ones I would never watch if my husband did not watch them. Then I told myself that this is going to make me dislike him and I do not want to pick a fight with him, especially when it was my choice. So I decided to write. Also I could not disconnect my self from Internet, there are so many exciting things happening for example this A to Z challenge.
I chose A for Age or rather Age for A. I have a lot of reasons for that, as a matter of fact sixty years. My elders used to say that experience comes with age whenever I made a mistake whether it was cooking or sewing or any other task. Parents and grandparents are awesome. To them even mistakes we make look cute. Now that I am a grandma, no mistake of my grand kids is a mistake. Exactly! what mistake?

Seriously though, I came to an understanding that there are some people much younger than me who have more experience in life than I do. So, you think that I should have waited till I got to letter E for writing about experiences of life. I could have. This thing called age has been working on my nerves though. So I thought that I would write about it.

It is not all the time that I  am bothered about age itself. I did not feel getting old. May be I am just lucky. I know my father was strictly against letting us do any of the housework. He used to say that once I am married and have my own life, I would have a lot of work to do. So he spared me my energy and all I had to do was study and keep up with my grades. My friends and coworkers think that it was not a good thing because I should have been experienced enough for real life. It took me less than a week to learn everything about housekeeping.  Cooking - I learned from recipes in my head. My friends look at my hands and say that they are still soft. They ask me my secret. I tell them that I had twenty years less dish washing to do than them. They say that they envy me for my soft hands in spite of my age.

What bothers me about this thing called age is that we have certain expectations and certain standards that we go by. Why? OK, OK I got that a little too out of line. What I mean is that if a person does not pass high school by a certain age, he is not happy with himself, or his folks are not happy because society has set some standards. Don't get me wrong, I am all for education, but don't make that guy feel horrible, when in actuality a couple of years' difference will not make a difference in the big picture of life, while breaking a young heart will make a difference when it comes to self-esteem.  Same thing about living with parents. It is actually smart, I would say, to live with your parents, earn some money, get some college credits and when you feel secure financially and emotionally, by all means be independent. Do not set an age and do not copy others.
One more thing about age is the saying "Today's sixties are like yesterday's fifty's and today's fifties are like yesterday's forty's and so forth. What the  - I mean why should we have to look like we are fifty when in actuality we are sixty. I am for eating healthy and exercising, but not for any special diet just because of looks. I know that if I take care of myself today, I will be healthy( unless I get a teminal illness) and that in turn can make me look good. I do not feel like spending tons of money because people my age want to look ten years younger because times have changed. Cultures and society standards will change, but if we set hard core standards they will probably make us age faster than the standards of our ancestors did to them. They had high standards too, but in values. People did not have to have more things than they could afford just because they were of a certain age.