A Few Lovely Life lessons My Baby Taught Me!

I wrote again for Parentous.

I debated a lot in my mind about what to write... and whenever I started off on something , it turned into a rant . I have been in that mode for too long . And it took everything in me to write on a positive note and it felt good in the end!

So here it goes .

As parents, we are often very eager to teach our babies what we know about life. But do we have to really? To tell the truth, several times I have felt small in front of my one year old. I have felt almost everyday that I’m in no position to impart him any life skills, and that I should be learning from kids. He’s a lot smarter, and more importantly a lot happier than I am. And he always leaves me wondering, ‘What are babies doing differently that makes them so infectiously joyful?‘. So here I share a few lovely life lessons that my baby has taught me.
1.) Start the day with a smile
learning from kids
Every morning as soon as he opens his eyes, however much groggy he is, he makes sure he gives out his best smile to welcome the new day. He is ever so excited for the day to begin. What I really admire though is the consistency. He is capable of doing this every single day without fail. I wish I could do that more often. Half your day’s challenges and problems would be met with so much positivism if one can make this a daily habit.
2.) Find laughter in the silliest of things
learning from kids
learning from kids
We adults take ourselves too seriously. Yes, I agree that we have chores and responsibilities, stressful days at work or home. And not many of us have the talent to not let it affect us. I know that I myself try struggle with it daily, but somehow these tiny human beings are so much better at it. My little one amazes me every time when he acts silly and laughs hard at it. Today he might find it very funny that he’s made a new hat out of a basket . And tomorrow he is laughing uncontrollably about a new style he created out of a clothespin. The best part is, he makes me laugh too. Life would be so much better if every one of us adults did that – make each other laugh.
3.) Cheer up quickly
learning from kids
One distressing event and I lose sleep over it (not that I’ve been sleeping any better otherwise, but still). We human beings tend to dwell in our misery so much that we forget we are just a tiny speck in the whole making of this vast universe. But these little ones have all of that figured. They bounce back so quickly, they even put basketballs to shame. Yes they do cry a lot, but that’s because you replaced the fork in his hand with a spoon, not because he fell off the staircase ten minutes ago. You see, what I mean? They will cry, but only over new things. Rest of the time they are busy being blissfully happy.
4) Never give up
learning from kids
We are all born with this talent and somehow we all lose it along the way to become adults. I have put my son down from the coffee table umpteen times and discouraged him everytime he made an attempt to climb. I have seen him falling from chairs, tables, cots, windows and what not. But none of my warnings or struggles to keep him down has worked. When he puts his mind to climbing that table he will keep trying. Not just until he succeeds, (what if that is a beginner’s luck) but until he perfects that technique.
Now it’s not that we aren’t aware of any of this. We all know better than any other that this how life should be led – with less judgement, more laughter, less sulking and more forgiving. But we are so…ADULTS. Maybe with the new year around the corner, I should promise myself to try and be more like a child. ‘Cause only children know HOW to GROW!

I also baked again for my Parents' 37th Anniversary.  Mom found the cake too chocolaty for her
liking. But surprisingly Dad and everyone else loved it!

Ferrero Rocher Cake

Now all I got to master is  the frosting.  I suck at it!. I just can't get my whipped cream to stabilize.

Enough of cakes now, I need to bake more varieties now. Bread, Pizzas, Buns, and rolls.

Hmmm... The thought of it all makes me drool!.

Indian Men and the Mera Rajabeta Syndrome.

Warning: Rant post ahead!

They say, it takes a village to raise a child!.
Chinese knew what it meant when they stated the above adage. But in India it should only take a strong woman. And not just one, but two or three and earlier it would've been more.
What is it about Indian men and also many women , I don't understand , that they cannot snap out of  their  outdated patriarchal attitude.

I am someone who takes a lot of pride in raising my son, I have sacrificed a bright career that I could have had, my financial independence and more crucial things like straight hours' sleep and   nourishment  for the sake of it. But I don't want to be taken for granted.

I have always wanted to know from a man's ( esp Indian) perspective :

- How does it feel not to think about what to cook for the next day?
- How does it feel to sleep undisturbed, because you are the one going to work.?
- How does it feel to not worry what else can be tried to satisfy your picky eating toddler?
- How does it feel to be unperturbed by your own mother's dodgy knee?
- How does it feel when your wife has to remember your best friend's ( even your dad's)  birthday for you.
- Tell me how does it feel when you don't have to worry about piled up laundry or untidy house
- How does it feel to not participate at all in anything and call yourself the MAN of the house.

Somebody really did name this attitude of Indian men aptly. The  Mera-Raja-Beta-Syndrome. 
These men just grew up ...... they have gotten everything they needed with such ease that they wouldn't know the trouble that went behind it. And they expect the same easiness in their lives.

I don't want to judge these women who brought them up. I give them neither any blame nor any praise.

I am not interested to know if you ( Indian man) , are better than your cousin or your Padosi. Are you better than what you were yesterday?

Don't say my expectations are high, because you unlike other men, don't hangout or drink and spend out of your way. I don't do any of it either and that is not the excuse I give for not showing up for my duty as a mother and wife.

And also ... when you are past 30 and already have a Rajabeta of your own, I think its high time you up-ed your game .

P.S : Sorry, sometimes I have to just take it off my chest and lay it all down without sugarcoating any of it. And tomorrow yet again I shall resume my chores ( read slog away as usual) as the devout and dutiful Indian woman!

.Feeling Meh!

No 25 : CHECK!

I have successfully knocked off one of  the 30 things in my list!

- To get published somewhere/anywhere

So when Parentous send me an email asking if I were interested in contributing, I leaped and grabbed the opportunity.

And I get to write for them something every month about my Mommy-life, which is even better.

So here goes my debut article .

The title grabbed all the eyeballs!

Caution! Do not get too carried away by the title. MasturDating only means to take yourself out on a date. And that’s just what I did on my last birthday and I fell instantly in love with the word and the whole experience.
Mums and Masturdating
If like me, you are the kind who had a truckload of nurturing hormones waiting to explode and couldn’t wait to be a Mother, then may be you shall relate to my story.
We are the likes of those who who read up every single birth experience, expert advice and community discussions that are available on the internet. We are so thrilled that we want the baby to arrive, like, tomorrow. And we are also such; that we either underestimate or are oblivious to the colossal exhaustion that will follow this tiny being’s arrival. And thus what do we get? That thing which we believed won’t happen to us…because we thought we would be busy being deliriously happy! Yes, I mean Postpartum Depression!
Then suddenly we hate everyone, including the dear and near ones who are trying to be helpful. We are crying a river, because that favourite bra doesn’t fit anymore. And then we worry because we fear our attitude as a parent might affect the child. We’ve all been there and done that!
In my case , I was so devoted to my child that I conveniently forgot to devote some time to myself. Being a stay-at-home-Mom, I missed simple things like having a meal and actually enjoying it peacefully, reading a book, window shopping, and those sacred seconds you get to pee, ALONE!
It took me more than a year to realise that maybe a break is what I need. And so that’s when I decided to gift myself a day off for my birthday. I started preparing my husband months ahead on our baby’s routine. How he likes his formula, what tricks to show him if he refuses his vitamin, what song to sing for his lunch time, what story for his nap , where lies his favourite book, and where his toy.
And when the day arrived I spent so much time preparing instructions for my husband that I lost half a day. But the other half of that day still remains to be the highlight of my year so far. I didn’t skydive or scuba dive. I simply enjoyed a book and a meal all by myself in a quiet mall nearby. And pampered myself with some retail therapy.
Masturdating for the day

When I came back I realised I had brought back a very refreshing peaceful vibe which helped me take on my maternal responsibilities with more joy and patience. It suddenly struck me that I must be crazy not to have done this before. And guess what, as an unexpected consequence, my husband thoroughly enjoyed his Daddy-time with the baby has become more confident and interested in handling him. Infact Daddy turned out to be a bit more creative and fun with playtime than Mommy was.
So if you are a stay at home Mom, then it is only natural for you to long for some of the basic simple pleasures of existence. But if you also have an even tempered and extremely understanding husband like I do or someone similar in your life, do not wait as long as me to Masturdate. It works like magic!!

Meltdowns and Anxiety Disorders

I think I have genetically acquired my Mum's anxiety disorder. She is always tensed about something or the other, or about someone, or about some event.

She willingly owns someone else's problem and gets unnecessarily stressed. Its the same with my sister, and now I am beginning to realize, I might have inherited it too.

There's only so much one can be of help to another person.  And I cannot resist but voice out when I see things that I believe are not right. I am learning that while everyone knows the truth, nobody likes hearing it from someone else. And also  that its high time I learned to turn a blind eye to so many things around me that does not deserve my attention.

I really miss living life simply in its terms where one does not have to weigh each emotion and word before it comes out. This blog was supposed to help me distract from my constant frustration and channelize my ill wandering thoughts into something positive and fruitful. I hope these challenges that I have set for myself keeps me focused and excited about the good around.

My new obsession is with Gardening. I'm turning my tiny balcony into this escape haven. Sometimes what you need is Dirt Therapy!.

All cleaned up!! 

And turned into This!

There's just so much more that needs to be done. More updates when there are more plants and more sprouting!

Baking is a Therapy!

What is it about Baking that is so therapeutic.  You see I can cook too. And I love cooking. But baking.... there is just something else about it.

So when your toddler breaks a blender and you want to vent your rage and despair; you bake and get over it.

This really sums it up

And this week I tried two recipes. Jam drops and Banana Bread. These were so easy to make and so yummy that I wouldn't bother to buy cookies and tea cakes from the store anymore.

Melting Moments

That's two more off the list!

Onam by ourselves

Usually this festival will have me and my Mum-in-Law doing all the work, which is dicing and cooking vegetables and preparing around 15 dishes for 25 guests every year. This time they are all back at hometown and it was just me , husband and the baby.

For the last Onam Baby D wasn't old enough for solids. So this was technically his first Onasadya.

Oh well, the food lasted for a week, and most of them tasted really good.

That reminds me, I still haven't made a good Payasam yet. Every time it has gotten thick and gluggy. But baby D enjoyed it . Look at him polishing off his fingers!

It was a good day!. A rather quiet one with just us playing with him after lunch till we all got tired and slept!

Raffaello Cake

And I prove myself once for and all by baking from scratch for the first time. It was for my birthday, I decided to bake a lovely Raffaello cake. I love Raffaello chocolates and always wanted a cake that tasted the same.
I followed this recipe.
And this time I used a small trick I found online to get a flat cake. I covered my cake tin with another one. And Lo and behold!

My perfectly round  Flat cake
This was  a lot of work, the slicing , the soaking of the two slices in syrup and then the frosting and filling. I cannot say I was happy with the frosting. I am yet to master that!.  But this definitely turned out yummy! I started getting orders from my husbands office! ( Victory dance)

Cooling down!

I am definitely nailing a lot of things that I thought was not my cup of tea. I make my own pasta sauce and I can also make savory pies. ( of course I use pastry sheets, but there will come a day when I would make my own ) 

And now for some Tea biscuits, Cookies and Short-breads , because I got THIS over the weekend

Such pretty jars compels one to bake !!

The Going-Away party for the Pachats!

It was another feel good day!. It was back breaking and leg aching work , but it gave me satisfaction.
This was just supposed to be a get together and dinner before my cousin and family left ( They are migrating to Australia for a few years). But then the number of guests became almost 20, and that's when I thought " lets make it special and merrier".

Unfortunately , and I say this with real sadness , I was so busy working; that I couldn't take pictures and none thought of taking pictures too. How sad! There were some really great ideas ( rather puns) in there . Some borrowed from Pinterest and some my own.

The idea was this :

We are saying Good Bye! . And there are these really rhyme-y goodbye sayings , some of them you've heard and many you haven't.

My idea was to play around with these sayings and the food. I couldn't get them all on board.

But I made Buffalo wings for " Gotta go, Buffalo".
Barni cakes for " Take Care, Polar Bear" ( Barni is my nephew's favourite)
Fish fingers for " Give a Kiss, Goldfish"
Chicken lollipop for " Chop chop, lollipop"
Strawberry bites for " Give me a Hug, Ladybug"
And coloured Farfalle Pasta for " Bye Bye , Butterfly"
I had also made a few cucumber boats with tuna salad on it and called it " Bon voyage".
Donuts that said " DONUT forget us" ( That's cliche) . A few popsicles that said " It SUCKS , that you're leaving"
And bowls of nuts, " We'll go NUTS , without you"

I also made an Aussie meat pie ( first time, which turned out AWESOME) and decorated the pastry with ketchup and mayo to look like the National flag of Australia. That was also well appreciated and my cousin cut through it with our friends playing the Anthem in the background. It was quite a hilarious moment.

And in the end of it all came the dessert - (English fruit trifle) That said , " The Pachats are DESSERTing us".

Our guests stayed over till 3 in the morning , playing  eating and drinking .

It was a brilliant party !!! And I have no pictures to share , which is simply tragic!!!!

Devastating really!

But I have a picture of the fruit trifle I made the next weekend. We had relatives over and the custard which was meant to be served during lunch was swept clean by my husband and SIL.
Quite enraging , regarding me and MIL didn't even get a taste, so I went straight to the store, bought fruits and whipped cream and decided to make an English fruit trifle.

It was a spur of moment thing. And it was good though I would next time spray my cake with some sugar syrup and also  poke my cake layers so that the custard can seep through.

English Fruit Trifle

Somebody said it absolutely right.....

Wishlist : Attractions of UAE

I was born in this wonderful city. Now I'm back here through matrimony. But I never got to experience this amazing place like anyone should. Scores of people pour in from everywhere to see and experience this city and its shameful that being residents we haven't ventured out anywhere in this city.

So here are a few places and activities  I would like to check off while I'm here:

  1. Dhow cruise  ( I know, don't judge me)
  2. Desert Safari/ Camping  ( Now, you see what I mean?)
  3.  Al Ain Zoo
  4. Ski Dubai ( Penguin Encounter)
  5. Attend a camel race
  6. Spend a night with the Astronomy group 
  7. Watch the flamingos at Ras al Khor
  8. Atlantis the Palm - Marine Adventure
  9. Visit Dubai Dolphinarium
  10. Go Fishing
  11. Crab hunting in Umm Al khwain
  12. Ride a camel
  13. Try my hand at Falconry
  14. Go to Hatta pools
  15. Take the Water Taxi
  16. Trip to farmer's market
  17. Buy an Arabian artefact
  18. Go to Breeding Centre 
  19. Double decker bus ride
  20. Take the cable car at creek park
  21. Fast during Ramadan
  22. Ride in a wonder Bus
  23. Try my hand at a traditional instrument
  24. Eat a Camel Burger   ( Turning a vegan, so I decided against it, though my friends who tried, said it tasted like any other meat, so I don't miss it at all)
  25. Visit the Old souks , Bastakiya Quarters
  26. Ride an Abra
  27. Miracle Garden / Butterfly Garden
  28. Jazz Festival
  29. Kite Festival
  30. Anantara

Im just being overly ambitious here. But then there is this saying, " Only if you dream as high as a hill , will you achieve as high as a heap"

P. S : I suddenly feel I need an Insta cam - so that I can click and paste then and there into my journals!

Wee Problem

My 13 month old got circumcised today.

Babies......  I wish I could be like that! He must have gone through a lot of pain, who knows? He can never tell. But wasn't he more than excited about having Mum and Dad being with him all day or what!

The whole surgery went by very smoothly. I always believe that my baby is so blessed to receive such wonderful service from his Doctors.

The annoying part came after the surgery though , once we got home.
Everyone wants to see how it was done. Then they feel sick after seeing. Now they feel it was all a very bad idea.  " They circumcised like they would for Muslims!! Did they have to chop off so much skin? "...... And thus came on the colossally idiotic plus nervous comments .

I hope they all see some sense and appreciate that it was done for my baby's own good!

Bal Krishna Themed First Birthday Party

The photographs from the Birthday Party had just arrived  and I'm both excited and disappointed.

Excited because I get to post them here and slightly disappointed because the pictures aren't great really. Anyone could have clicked those pictures. No creative input from the photographer whatsoever and there was so much scope I tell you.

Anyways here they are finally. A full month's brainstorming, shopping and planning that culminated in a decent Little Krishna Birthday Party.

The Invitation
I clicked the picture and designed the card.

I dressed my son in a traditional Dhoti Kurta for the party!

The entrance and the sweet table were decorated with tiny colorful butter pots. These butter pots were the highlight of the whole event.

Dahi handi as decoration

The Cake and Sweet Stand
 From the tissue pompoms to the banners-  All of it were made at home with a lot of help from family.

Feather bands and crowns for every Guest!
We made these peacock feather bands at home! They look lovely in the pictures! Don't They?
Photo Booth!
Me and my husband went way early to the venue to set of all this up!
Fun time playing Radha and Krishna

The guests thoroughly enjoyed the photo booth  playing radha krishna and stealing butterpots!
The games were theme centric too. Crowning the krishna & Butterpot Pinata.

Crowning the Krishna

Butter pot Pinata

We used our baby's photographs from his cake-smash photo shoot at the food serving area and custom made the food labels too.

Below are two pics from the shoot.!

Lil Krishna ready to smash his cake!

Smashing the Butterpot Cake

Food Area

 And this was my personal favourite part of the event. The Party Favours! We filled hershey's kisses in tiny butterpots and every family got to take one home. Notice the peacock eye on each kisses? I liked that little detail. I personally made those feather pens out of shiny ribbons . They really fit the theme and looked gorgeous.

Guests pen down their wishes for the baby 
I hope my li'l one grows to appreciate all of this when he finally gets to see all of it. This was a very special rewarding feeling. Even if nobody else did, I really did enjoy putting all of this together!

Day 40

The Meltdown has begun. I lost my cool yet again. I want a break from everything and everybody.
Just where is that escape hatch when I really need one.

It has not been very easy living with someone who has BPD . And its even more hard to live with people who care little about it. Sometimes I feel I'm the only one alarmed at certain behaviors. Sometimes I get the "you-are-overreacting' response. Sometimes I feel I'm an outsider and I don't belong in this home,

I got to quickly find a good Jar to drop my happy moments in. And that gratitude diary is needed in urgency.

Day 33

I was really pleased with the party. It wasn't so bad after all. And many of the guests enjoyed and responded with a " this was good" feeling.

But what wasn't really that great is the situation at home. I'm being accused of being unfair and too rigid by none other than ' my own truly' and which is something more than I can stomach.

I keep getting the feeling that I'm an outsider in this house and never before have I felt so lonely.

I hope and pray this to be a passing phase.

Meanwhile, I take in charge again of the meals. This might either help me knock a few things of my list, or bring out the moron in me.

Day 25

My baby turned One today. We did nothing but rack our brains about his party. Now that we are back in Dubai, things are different again.

Life is back to living with extra caution. Watch what you think /not think, say/not say, do /not do. It was not like this before. Whatever happened I wonder. My fault , I guess.

I don't remember being under so much stress for anything other than my own wedding. Its just a party! But I guess the problem is when everyone wants it to be THEIR special day than the baby's. Poor lil Baby! But it's good he won't be able to remember any of it. I hope he has fun that day.

Cakes and anything that's baked

My 11 month old son Dhruva took his first steps today. I became all teary and emotional as I filmed him. I already miss him.  His yawn, his tiny feet that wasn't so tiny to have fit into my hand knit sock. His, toothless grin, his grumpy looks, I would miss them all. Time flies!

I baked a cake today which looked like a disaster but tasted okay. But then anyone can bake with cake mix box! Thats it, I'm thinking. No more cake mix baking!.

So, No.28 :  Here is the list of 20 recipes I wanna learn bake:

  1. Ferrero Rocher Cake/ Raffaelo Cake   ( I did both)
  2. Chocolate Bundt Cake
  3. 7 Up Cake
  4. Fresh Cream Fruit cake 
  5. Brownies
  6. Muffins
  7. Red Velvet/ Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes
  8. Dinner Pies/Dessert Pies  ( I made meat pies and chicken pie)
  9. Cinnamon Rolls
  10. Pull-aparts
  11. Cheese and Garlic bread/buns
  12. Pastry Puffs
  13. Cookies
  14. Biscuits
  15. Quiche
  16. Pound cake
  17. Scones
  18. Tarts
  19. Donuts
  20. Cake Pops
  21. Fruit Trifle
  22. Pizza
  23. Chocolate chip cookie bowl
  24. Nutella braided bread
  25. Chicken wreath
  26. Stuffed bread
  27. Spring Rolls
  28. Bread 
  29. Ice cream Cake


Bake away all of 2015! 

Day 1

500 days isn't much and that is all I have left before I turn 30. Three complete decades on this planet and there is just so much more left to learn, experience and understand.

Now that this milestone age is looming over me like a death sentence, I thought of doing something worthwhile with my remaining days of late twenties.

Though I am fortunate to have covered two most significant things i.e : Marrying the love of my life  and  giving birth to a very happy and fun loving child, the last one year has not treated me very nicely in terms of my personal well being and it has driven me crazy. I now consider myself as an empowerment project in process, who is constantly introspecting and criticizing herself for losing her cool and hating on oneself. 

I have decided this cannot go on any long especially when I have a child who is turning ONE next month and I simply cannot have him follow a bad example. Helping my son grow up into a genuinely good man is the only real achievement I am aiming for and the very first step would be to feel that I'm worth something .

This blog will be documenting a few trivial and significant things that I have been always wanting to do, just to feel good about myself, just to have a sense of achievement, just to have a finite answer for ' what I did with my precious 20s '.

All the very best to me!