Sharing is caring.

Image‘Sharing is caring,’ someone reminded K, my friend’s five-year old moppet for the tenth time that day.  

‘Ya, sharing is caring…and caring is daring…and daring is bearing!’ he declared (and closed that topic once and for all).

And there is truth in that wise little man’s version: to share we must care; but to share, we must also dare. Dare to share our stories, our cup cakes and biryanis, our homes and our selves, even as we secretly wonder: ‘Who cares?’

The Right to Write, a book by Julia Cameron, found its way into my life just at the time when I was convinced that I had absolutely nothing worth writing about on my blog. Then I read this line:

“I believe that if one of us cares enough to write something, someone else will care enough to read it. We are all in this together, I believe, and our writing and reading one another is a powerful comfort to us all.”

And it gave me courage to start writing again. (For anyone who has wanted to put pen to paper, this is the book to read.)

And on that note, there’s some good news on the home front: Ishaan has started to eat pizza – with cheese (he’s hated cheese till now) and is also progressing to eat a stray burger every once in a while.

(I know, I know, I should be thrilled that he’s not into junk food…but hey, every once in a way, it makes life so easy!)

But of course, as this conversation shows, he still has a long way to go.

Ishaan is enjoying his burger, hitherto a rare sight.
 
‘Like it’  we ask.
 
‘It’s the second best burger I’ve eaten…ever,’ he declares.
 
‘Good! And which is the first?’
 
‘I haven’t eaten that yet,’ he announces (still thankfully, eating).

Who knew literature could be such hard work?

This week my son’s class, standard one, decided to celebrate Literature.

The kids had to:

illustrate the cover of the book they were currently reading;
learn a poem or a little speech to be said in front of the class;
prepare for a spelling bee;
start a kindness journal;
come dressed as a character from popular literature (super heroes were banned making it that much more of a challenge);
dress up in Indian clothes on another day;
donate old books to school (which meant we had to search for them);
carry a 100 things to eat (we sent a 100 pepper cashews) which the kids shared with each other to mark the completion of a 100 days of school.

If this was all not enough, the parents were requested to ‘do something’ for a library festival as well as in class.

For the library festival, some mums got together and staged a play – two actually – one was based on the mythological story of the Churning of the Ocean, by the devas and asuras. The other was Roald Dahl’s version of Jack and the Beanstock. This meant hours of practise, renting of costumes and making of props.

For the class thingie another group of mothers read out the story of the Wizard of Oz, alongside a powerpoint presentation of the same. Meaning I had to go off one evening searching for a lion mask and a mane, that would do justice to my role of the Cowardly Lion

I had just returned from a hectic holiday and ran straight into the eye of the storm. Rehearsals, guests, preparing for a protest march against widening our road and cutting down the beautiful trees on it; sick kids (both of mine obligingly added to the chaos by succumbing to a terrible viral attack), trying to keep up to speed with the next thing on the to-do list.

It’s been a busy week.

And in some ways a great one. Ishaan thought I rocked the class play. I didn’t. But it felt good to hear all the same.

Dorothy and gang

I got to watch him recite the poem  he learnt – The Homework Machine by Shel Silverstein – a poem after every little fellow’s heart. And today he went off to school as Merlin the Wizard (from King Arthur fame), togged up in the glad rags that my husband spent the better part of yesterday making!

Here comes Merlin.

I like being involved in school. I think.

So in moments of doubt I console myself.  Our kids are little but once. And grow up but once.

I guess it’s all worth it in the end.

Fancy a spider?

Or a worm? How about eating a spider web? I did – and they were awesome.

My talented friend Reethika Singh makes them – the cutest, yummiest, gooiest cup cakes in the world. She does a lot else of course – cakes, brownies, chocolate and so on. And the icing on the cake (sorry, i couldn’t resist!) is her classy packaging – all bows and cellophane and nicely written messages.

She also does sugar-free versions (for the weight watchers) and makes them all the time for my husband who is diabetic – and her biggest fan. I have personally never eaten better sugar-free cake/brownies than hers – they don’t taste weird and a bit-off – and are as tasty as the regular variety. Maybe it is because she uses the best ingredients and doesn’t sting on the good stuff.

What ever it is – we like. We like a lot.

p.s. You can contact Reethika at: cupcakeree@yahoo.com

These are the exquisitely crafted little spiders that were actually too precious to eat!

gummy bear worms

 

googly-eyed orange cupcakes with a butter and sugar icing - it took me straight back to my childhood when my favourite snack was a glob of butter mixed with sugar, smeared on a soft, white slice of bread. heaven.

a couple of ghosts, spiders webs and the cutest mummy ever - love the eyes! - made up the awesome spread

Goodbye Eddie

He lay on his side on the lawn, a pink bougainvillea flower at his throat. The children had dropped it on him in a farewell gesture. His body was still warm as I stroked him and said my goodbyes to this loving, faithful dog, a part of our lives for the last 13 years.

Eddie had died of a heart attack – my father-in-law and husband were with him in the end. They say he whimpered, reached out with his paw, and then his heart just stopped beating.

We will miss him. He was especially gentle with children – Laila loved to ruffle his ears, and when she got too rough, I would stop her. But he never pushed her away or lost his patience.

He was also very brave and never hesitated to take on dogs twice his size. He had a bad habit of running out of the gate the minute he spotted a new (dog) face and would do his best to chase the intruder away. These shock and awe tactics never failed to shock and awe the poor recipients –  and after us chasing him around and breaking up the (mock) fight, Eddie would be escorted back into the house, quite the hero.

He came from a long line of dachshunds and his illustrious father was Rosco – a character straight out of a Disney movie. Rosco, legend said, managed to terrorise and chase away a stray monkey that was harassing the neighbourhood. But his most endearing habit was to pick up a biscuit or snack thrown to him, retire to a comfortable spot (far from the madding crowd), and proceed to eat it,  slowly and surely. Rosco had dignity. And this he passed on to Eddie.

Ishaan, my son, wanted to know if dogs go to heaven. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Eddie has gone to join his parents, sisters, brothers and friends. He must be having a whale of a time.’

Farewell sweet Eddie. Till we meet again.

Eddie is buried in a quiet part of the garden he loved. We miss him already.

A ‘Picnic’ of a party

I love my friend Suchi. So it is with pleasure that I write about the sweet, uncomplicated little party that she threw for her three-year old, that saw us setting off one lazy Sunday morning for Bangalore’s oldest and most beautiful public space – Lalbagh Botanical Gardens.

The guests were few – family and some friends – perfect for temperamental three-year olds. We brought the kid’s cycles along and were there by 11am.  It had been many years since Rohaan and I had last visited Lalbagh – and we were ashamed that this was the children’s first time.

Suchi and Co had found a nice spot and the food was set up on some collapsible tables. A thermos of hot, inviting chai and popcorn were perfect to get the ball rolling.

The kids didn’t need us – or require a single game either. They played cricket, badminton, some football, hide and seek, blew bubbles, cycled, ran around – whew! – and were still raring to go. The adults lolled around on the chattais and gossiped about Bollywood, competed to see who had funnier stories to tell of their attendant spouse, and swore that from now on they would start ‘doing stuff with the kids’ every Sunday morning.

Playing cricket

chilling...

and the cake was cut

we ate

The menu was simple and yumcious. Special mention has to be made of the Cheesy Pasta – read here for the recipe.

The high point of the party though, was when we discovered there were no matches to light the candles on the cake. Suchi tried to convince Arjun that it wasn’t important. In her words – “Just pretend they are there and blow!”

He stalked off instead and found refuge on the closest bench, arms crossed and with the biggest (and cutest) sulk this side of the planet.

Everyone ran around trying to get innocent bystanders to part with their precious match boxes. Anyway, all’s well that ends well. A matchbox was borrowed and the birthday boy was persuaded to cut his cake and blow the ‘real’ candles.Some more play followed and then it was time to go home.

Some foreigners passing through found us amusing enough to take pictures – convinced no doubt, that this must be a typical Indian way of celebrating a birthday.

Little do they know!

p.s. The party was as ‘green’ as the grass we sat on. Paper plates and glasses – with the child’s name written on each glass (thereby saving another 4 glasses per head being used up in the next hour!) was a thoughtful touch. A nice, big, white trash bag hung from a tree – sort of like a balloon – and we left the place as beautifully clean as we found it.

p.p.s Contrary to popular perception of the hassles associated with public spots in India – no one stared too much, no one harassed us, no one intruded. Of course it helped that this party wasn’t in your face, but was a gentle celebration of a very special day.

Backyard science and putting my money where my mouth is

Fed up of hosting Ben 10 parties for Ishaan (we did three, back to back!) we decided on a science experiment type party for his 6th birthday, as he was into making potions/stink bombs/anything suitably gross. He was thrilled to say the least. So this is what we did.

the invite - click for details

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A peaceful little party for an adorable little poppet!

Loved the last party I went for over the week-end with Laila. She loved it too. Nihal was celebrating his 3rd birthday, and his mum Sarita* had invited about 15 kiddies to a relaxed and fun affair on her beautiful terrace garden. Though Nihal has an older brother, this was mainly for the two to three year olds. For once the second little ones (mine included) had their moment in the sun!
* For more info, hold the mouse over the highlighted word.

View of the terrace garden

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A Halloween to remember!

Don’t let the size of your apartment scare you. It’s the size of your heart that counts.  🙂  And for proof, look no further than my dear friend Muthu’s Halloween party that she threw for us lucky people (25 at least!), last October in her cosy little flat.

A white bedsheet + black cut-outs + cotton wool = One scary ghost

Vampires and witches 'hang' with ghosts and other creatures of the night

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