I have always been skinny. I realized early that I don’t put on weight very easily. But even then I was always a little cautious about what I ate because I had loads of skin problems as a teenager.

But I have never had to worry about my weight. The only time I worried about my weight was when I was pregnant and I put on 21 kgs over the 9 months period. My mom who was underweight before her pregnancy put on a lot of weight over her 2 pregnancies and never lost most of it. I was apprehensive that I too would be like my mom. But if my father has been very generous and bequeathed me his premature graying genes, he has also been very generous with his lean look genes. So luckily for me, I realized a few months after BB was born that I take after my lean father and not my plump mother. I lost all the 21 kgs over the next 6 months without any disciplined exercising, dieting etc.

On a side note I would like to mention that even thought I didn’t have any disciplined exercise routine,I got loads of exercise of a different kind. We stay in a three storey house. By three-storied house, I mean the kitchen, hall and MIL’s room are on the ground floor and our bedroom is on the second floor with the SIL and BIL’s bedroom on the 1st floor. When I was on maternity leave, on an average day I would go up and down the stairs to the 2nd floor at least 20 times .Sometimes carrying a 6-9 kgs BB too. And we don’t have a maid. So sweeping, moping and washing BB’s clothes helped too. So now you know the secret of losing weight easily after having a baby. Build a 3 storey house and fire your maid :D

Since God has been very kind to me with respect to the lean looks (I have a few complaints against Him about the graying, thinning hair though), I decided to throw caution to the winds. Over the past 2 years, I have been gorging on sweets, chats,samosas, pizzas, burgers etc. without a care in the world. Everytime we go out for lunch from office, one of my managers (who is on the heavier side) always  comments about how lucky I am to have such a good metabolism rate that helped me stay skinny in spite of eating well (giving a dirty look to my piled up plate) .

About 2 months back, we had an office sponsored Health checkup for all the employees. So imagine my distress when my health checkup results showed that I had more than the desired cholesterol levels. The levels are not high enough for me to have a heart attach any minute and pop it off. But they are high enough to have hurt my image (I very smartly announced it to my whole team) and also my ego ( my wonderful metabolism is not so wonderful after all L).

So now every time somebody sends out a mail in office announcing sweets from home, wedding sweets  etc. I get gentle reminders from my team asking me to refrain from binging as I need to keep my cholesterol in control. A couple of my young team members have even checked the internet for steps to control cholesterol and have been generously doling out all the appropriate advice (eat cucumbers and oats, oats soaks up all the extra cholesterol, exercise regularly etc.)

Being the wonderful mother that I am, I promptly passed the blame of the high cholesterol levels to my son. After all I end up eating all his ghee laden leftovers everyday. It was his fault that he does not eat 2 ghee ka parathas that I make for his dinner every night ( he eats 1 and 1/3 and I eat the 2/3 leftovers).it was his fault that he does not eat the ghee filled rasam/dal rice sometimes and I am forced to eat it because I don’t like the idea of wasting it. But later I just accepted the blame for my own cholesterol levels.My MIL who watched me as I tried desperately to cut down the oil/ghee that I consume decided that it was not my diet, but stress levels which had affected my cholesterol levels.

And it does not help that the evil health checkup results came out bang in the middle of the never-ending festive season. So I have been gorging very guiltily on all the Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Dusserha and now Diwali goodies, thinking of the thick layer being added to the already thick cholesterol layers in my system ( of course it would be a sacrilege to the Gods to not eat goodies during a festival :D).And we are still not done with the festivities coz Bakrid,Christmas and New year are just around the corner.

Yes I realize now that being skinny is not equivalent to being healthy.

But there is absolutely no pleasure in eating sweets/goodies with a guilty mind .So my resolve for today is to just let go of the guilt and binge. Healthy diets,exercise and controlled cholesterol levels can wait for the New year.

These days we need to be extra cautious about what we say, sing or how we express ourselves in front of BB.

He quickly latches on to any interesting phrase or expression, quietly records it for later references and it soon shows up in his conversations.

Sometimes he manages to use the phrase  in the right context, but there are times when he seems to be using it to just show off his improved vocabulary.

1)PP and BB are busy repairing one of his toys.BB wants to do something and PP tells him not to do it.BB is not very happy with this, decides to get back at PP and loudly states ‘Papa, chumma* you are cooking up stories’. PP looks shocked and I start giggling. BB seeing the effect his new vocabulary has on us decides to use the phrase again and again like he is trying very hard to convince his dad not to con him. PP and I are soon laughing our guts out.

PP uses the ‘cooking up stories’ phrase quite frequently in his conversation and our chuppa rustam BB has quietly picked this up.

2.It’s late in the night and we were getting ready to leave after visiting my parents last Sunday. My dad is helping BB put on his shoes and is trying to convince him to stay back.

Muthacha(my dad)- You stay back here today. Let your Amma and Papa go.

BB: No Muthacha, I am going to my house.

Muthacha: But this is also your house.

BB: No no, this is not my house. This is your house.

Muthacha: No, this is not my house. I only stay here. But this is your house.

BB: Muthacha, chumma you are cooking up stories.

Muthacha looks shocked initially and then starts laughing. PP and I the other hand don’t know if we should be shocked, amazed or proud, reprimand him or just laugh it off.

3)I say ‘Oh My God ‘ and ‘Oh Man ‘ when I am surprised and now the copy cat BB does the same.

‘Oh my God, that is the problem. Repair it and then the car will work Papa’ BB says as PP and BB together figure that there are some lose wires in his remote controlled car.

4)If I happen to hear a catchy tune on TV or radio, it stays in my head and I tend to sing/hum the same song for couple of days as I go about my work at home. One day I realized that I was absent-mindedly singing the ‘Shiela ki Jawani’ song. I stopped singing very abruptly when I reached the ‘I am too sexy for you’ line and turned to look at BB. BB gave me a mischievous smile and started humming the song. Luckily he had not picked up the lyrics and BB soon filled in some personalized lyrics. So now father and son go around singing ‘Bua ki friend Vani, I like to drink pani…..’ to the tune of ‘Sheila ki jawani’.

*Chumma-mallu word for simply. Not to be mistaken for the Hindi Chumma.

Isn’t it wonderful how a little greenery can change the look and mood of a place?

This is what our terrace looked like when we moved in about 5 years back.

And this is what our wild terrace garden looks like now.

I was not a garden enthusiast.When we moved into this house, the MIL, SIL and PP who are all garden enthusiasts would try to outdo each other to get the best flowering plants and kitchen garden plants for the little patch of land we have in the backyard and for the terrace garden.But over the years, the interest levels waned and I realized that the terrace garden was beginning to look really sad.

Initially I only took up the job of watering the plants . I didnt even know the plants I was watering for a long time.But this was one chore that I looked forward to very morning.There is a certain joy in watching as a the water from the hose pipe brings life to the just waking up plants every morning , as the sun-baked soil in the pots( specially with the scorching heat of the summers) soaks up the water and  almost breathes a sigh of relief ,as the little earthworms, insects etc come alive after their shower ,as the whole cemented area gets drenched in water.

And soon the love for gardening caught up with me.

PP who planned the garden initially does not believe in any organized planting. So he planted 2-3 plants in every pot.And BB who has been trained by his father also adds to the wild confusion by popping shankupushpam, tulsi seed pods and doddapathre stems into random pots. So now our  garden(if you could still call it one) has about 40 pots with 2-3 plants each and all the plants grow in happy,wild abandon.

Lily Pond

Fresh mint

Lemon grass which we use to make yummy Thai green curry

Red greens(oxymoron?)

Bachale(another type of greens)

Wheatgrass and mint in the same pot

Wind chime we picked up from the Dastakar mela this year

A little flowering plant growing in the crevice

The view of the garden from our room

A little belated,but wanted to put down this lovely memory to reminisce about later on

My veliacchan and veliamma( chacha and chachi) , their 2 sons with their families  decided to celebrate Onam in Bangalore at my parents place this year. So my Dad’s younger brother(appan) and his wife(cheriamma )and their 2 sons also decided to join the celebrations.My parents had also invited my in-laws and my sister’s mother-in-law this year for Onam.

How did it become a celebration of national integration?

My dad’s younger brother wife (cheriamma) is a Tulu speaking Mangalorean. Her sister and her husband also decided to join us for Onam this year.

My brother-in-law(sister’s hubby) is an Kannada+ tamil speaking Iyengar. My sister’s MIL K aunty came along with her sister. K aunty decided to add yummy Vangi bath to the traditional Onam Sadhya. So while the there was the Paladda paysam bubbling away on one stove, all the ladies were standing around learning to make Vangi Bath from K Aunty at the other stove.

My in-laws are originally Rajputs, but their ancestors migrated to Tenali(in Andhra) generations back. So they speak Hindi at home, but they follow the customs,food habits and festivals of Andhra. My MIL’s brother,wife and his in-laws who are from Tirupathi were visiting us and so they all decided to join the Onam celebrations at my parents place.

My sister, BIL and my niece could not make it for the afternoon Onam Sadhya,but they joined the celebrations later in the night.

BB had a blast with my cousin’s little daughter A and later on with my niece N. He almost smothered A with his love and affection.

The simple pookalam was completely the handiwork of BB and his cousin A.

This is a favourite song in the fruity family household.

BB loves watching this video on youtube and hums along.And he obliges every time his dadi asks him to sing the monkeywala song.

I found my first grey hair when I was 21 . With a father who was so grey-haired that he was mistaken quite frequently to be my grandfather,I should have been prepared for this premature greying. But instead I was quite devastated.I remember telling my then boyfriend PP about this strand of grey hair and wondering if he would dump the old lady girlfriend to go take his pick from the college full of young girls.And it didn’t help that PP had a head full of silky black hair then. But PP laughed at my stupid apprehensions and we moved on.

I completed my engineering and then got into a B-school based in Pune. 2 years of late nights, constant project deadlines, the ongoing global economic crisis and the related placement tensions didn’t help my grey state of affairs.I came back to Bangalore, got a job and got married to PP.It was about this time that I realized that I better do something to look like PP’s wife and not like PP’s mom and started applying mehendi regularly.(PP is of a small build and was often mistaken to be a college student even after becoming the Creative Director at the advertising agency he worked for) . I was always very conscious of my grey hair(not enough to dye it though) all through this phase.

Years passed by and PP’s genes also started to act up. Like his dad, he also started losing hair.Since he was very conscious of how quickly he was balding, he keeps his head very closely shaved instead of having  little patches with no hair.So by the time we were both 30, I had a head full of mehendied hair and he had a head with hardly any hair.

When I was expecting BB at 30,our favourite joke was that if baby was to end up with both our genes, he/she would make an appearance into this world with about 3 strand of grey hair and continue with that for the rest of his/her life.Luckily BB came into this world with a head full of black, soft hair. But lets see if our prophecy comes true in a few years :D.

A few weeks back, we were grocery shopping in a crowded departmental store and I strayed away from PP as I was searching for something .When I had picked up all my stuff and was ready to bill them,I started searching all the bald heads in the store to find my bald-headed PP.I smiled as I found my bald head and we headed out together.

At 33(OK technically I am 33 and he is still 32 for another 2 months), we are both quite comfortable with our looks now. We have a long way to go as we actually grow old together,but its been a wonderful journey of premature ageing together with PP.

About a year back, when BB  got a glimpse of the animated movie  Cars on TV and  demanded that we get him a McQueen car, we knew that the the guy was already hooked.So we consciously made a decision to not buy him the DVD and get him to watch the whole movie.But the doting father that PP is, he took the little boy McQueen shopping . They went to the local shops around and asked for a Lightning McQueen car. But surprisingly none of the local shopkeepers seemed to have heard about this character.

The little son was disappointed and to make up for this, the creative father decided to make him a McQueen.So they carefully picked up a red racing car from the numerous little cars that BB has, then they cut out the eyes, smiling mouth, the lightening and 95 stickers etc and pasted it on and soon they had a nice little McQueen. BB was so excited with this little arts and crafts exercise that he decided to paste/draw eyes and a mouth for all his favorite cars.

About 3 months back, PP picked up the DVD and since then BB has turned into a full fledged Cars movie fan.The father-son duo can watch this movie again and again and again. And it is left to me to me to be evil, disciplined parent to police them and restrict their Cars movie watching to about once a week. Now the little fellow is in love with not only McQueen, but also Mater, Doc, Sally, Frank(!),Mack, Red, Fillmore(aka Peace van in our little world),Luigi and Guido.

He also has his favourite dialogues. and he says this one perfectly with the accent and all.(the meanie that I am I make him say this when I am feeling low and I perk up and end up laughing every single time)

And look at what the doting father did in the meanwhile. 

Every night, he would carefully chose a toy from BB’s toy basket which closely resembled one of the Cars characters, paint it the right colour with acrylic paints,let it dry and then paint in the eyes, mouth and the other distinguishing features. And BB would wake up to see  a new Cars character toy waiting for him the next morning !

Last week we were in a big mall shopping picking up gifts for a friend’s new born baby and we saw the whole Cars merchandise on display. I got to say that PP’s hand painted ones are much better( and more economical too :) ).

I personally love the Mater and the Fillmore(peace van).

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