Thursday, March 28, 2019

17 years ago....

2 big bags, short hair and overstuffed Hand carry bag

That's how I had landed in LAX, pretty much 17ish years ago. I had a distant uncle pick me up from LAX, take the local roads to my "room" a large-ish studio which I was sharing with a distant acquaintance.
And here I am, 17 years later, taking an oath of citizenship in this country.

It is a bittersweet emotion, India for me will always be home. My true home. But US will also be my home, my grown-up home. As weird as it sounds, it is as honest as it can be.

I have  forged new friendships, got married, had 2 wonderful strong girls, established my career, traveled extensively, lived in 4 US cities, moved over 10 times and not counting the move across the ocean to London for a bit. It has been a ride filled with speed bumps, crashes, speeding and lots of smooth riding as well.

Recently on my planned unplanned trip to LA and southern California, I was nostalgic. Sitting on the rug of my old "real college roommate" and laughing uncontrollably with her brother, their spouses amidst the cacophony of all our kids, I caught myself knocking on wood.

It's been wonderful journey. As I reel with being the Citizen of a new country, giving up citizenship of "home" I feel the path continues on.

Welcome to US, again I say.
I can vote now. The first time in my life. I left India before the legal voting age and since arriving here have not been able to vote.

The harder part of this natural progression is the emotional side. My brother always jokes: Not required in India. I am truly on paper now, an NRI and I will need a Visa to go back.

Jokes aside, I feel growing up in India has set me apart be it the family values, the work ethic, the jugaad attitude, the chalta hain attitude and above all the love for Bollywood. I feel the new passport will not take that away ever. I will be as Desi as Desi can be.

I see my kids who are born and brought up here and I see they are more desi and more global than I ever be.
That will be the true legacy in today's world. A global citizen, what your passport says has little to do with it.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Serves me Right!

I blew my own trumpet recently by showing off 'de-stressing via cooking elaborate meals'.
It's only fair that I follow it up with what happened the week after: I did absolutely nothing!

We ate out twice (trust me having someone cook for you and no associated clean up was amazing)
Sumit cooked twice and we absolutely devoured the delish meals.

The stress level across both the weeks remained constant but the energy level went down, way down! 

Silver Line: I did love how being taken care of without asking. I did love to talk in a monologue with a friend just so I could vent.  In the bigger scheme of things, I did love just focusing my energy on one thing and the rest of things just 'happened'
However I  missed being the provider, being the care taker (I can complain about this, Okay).

This is the tough and the true side of parents (working or not doesn't really change this). Sometimes you get a good week, sometimes a tough week and sometimes a week from hell. Schedules line up tight, you juggle a few things, you cant get to every commitment, you don't get to oversee the homework or sit for a good meal. But somehow at the end of it, it magically "fits".

Needless to say this week I plan to catch up: Starting by warm meals in our bellies, clothes folded and well laundried also, sitting with kids while they complain  finish the homework, remembering to breathe through the stress of work and above all I plan to catch up on the the most important thing: My unfinished Netflix Series!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Stress week or Food Frenzy week

When I am super exhausted or just very stressed, I do one of two things, I dress up fancily or I cook fancily.
Considering I have no where fancy to be at on a day to day basis. I have been cooking fancily.

The last few days in my house have been the following
Saturday: Daal Baati with all Maru accompaniments! Of course celebrating the birthday of the one of the strongest individual I know had something to do with this

Monday: Indian Chinese complete with hakka noodles, fried rice, paneer chili, Gobhi Manchurian. Having kids ask me to open a restaurant after this meal was the best compliment I could ask for.

Tuesday: An Ethiopian street food dish called 'Ful' gobbled up very quickly by all of us. Me missing my mum and sharing food pictures with them made it up

Wednesday: Chaat Corner: Paani Puri, Dahi Puri, Sev Puri! Sumit saying that the paani puri is close to his Jaipur days! Oh man, I am in bliss.

I feel food gets us all together on our dining table, makes us laugh, cherish the limited time we get even more. As working parents with busy lives and busy work, we dont get as much time as we would like with the kids. So this is me saying Quality over Quantity.
The weekday evening dinners makes my fondest memories with the kids (YEs even yelling at them to finish fast sometimes!).

I am sure my family wants me to stay stressed so I could make more elaborate meals(!).
I am sure my weighing scale begs to differ though!

So what's your stress buster?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It sticks in the Universe... but we okay

Man, I wish I had said something like "Solve World Hunger" and it would have stuck in the universe! But no, vain me had said "It's going to be a long winter" and long behold the universe heard that and that's what sticking!!! Damn Me.

Be careful of the spoken word!!! Rudimentary mistake.

Last week was well "interesting" and funnily in a good way. We battled polar vortex and counted our blessings that we had the luxuries of a warm home, a supportive team and kids who managed to keep themselves entertained. And we got to new additions on our "Art wall"

  • We tried the "Throw boiling water in air and watch it turn to snow" Successful"
  • We tried the "Blow bubbles and watch them freeze" Un-successful"
  • We worked crazy long hours since no commute and the work just got more intense!
  • Hubby worked, picked up all my slack and definitely the supportive team comes in play (Again!)
  • But we ate amazing food: Mexican Bowl, Bhajia's, elaborate Indian Meal, Super bowl snacks and above all lots and lots of "Kadha aka Golden Bliss aka Herbal power juice"
  • We saw DDLJ!!! And that my friends was the best part!

We oddly celebrated the onset of vortex and having the crazy cold go away with friends. We are like that(!). Simple pleasures or just need to be a little silly.

But the week was. Memorable. Again, i can only be thankful for staying indoors, being warm and above all being able to choose how I reach to such weeks.

The kids were also reminded of this. I often wonder how can we raise kids who are "thankful" and "not entitled" to these things. Open to all suggestions.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Quick Food Fix: Shishito Peppers

On the last evening of the long weekend after a busy and yet super fun weekend, we are all ready to recharge the batteries and be ready for what lies ahead.

I decided to end it on a simple yet powerful foodie night!
Kids enjoyed some Hash Browns (one smothered with onions, and the other peppered and seasoned) .I continue to succeed  struggle in the No Potato for a year challenge, but I wanted something fun and easy to cook.

Long behold in the my fridge lied an unused bag of Shishito peppers which my husband had picked up in hoped of us eating.
Well tonight was the night.

I looked up a recipe, surprisingly super easy, as always modified it to fit my needs and then cooked and ate it with earnest. Including my recently turned 11 year old kiddo.

1. Wash the peppers (About 10-12) in water.
2. Poke a hole in each pepper. Mainly So when you grill/ char it, it doesn't splutter
3. Heat 2 tsp olive/ vegetable oil in a skillet. I used an aluminium ones, when i researched the recipe, the common theme was DO NOT use non-stick, so I didn't.
4. When the oil is hot (you can test by adding a drop of water, it should splutter), add the peppers
5. Turn every 30- 45 seconds until the "charred" effect comes in. Please note: Charred, not burnt!
6. Take it off the skillet on a plate and garnish with sesame seeds and Rock Salt.

Eat and enjoy!

How was your long weekend?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Because you are never too old for bubbles!!!

A wonderful afternoon during the holidays in Southern California, all of us were coming out of a cactus garden and 2 minutes later the girls sprinted.
I couldnt run at their speed and saw both of them chase these humongous bubbles.

Once I caught my breath, I sat in a corner and saw the kids just enjoy the simple joys in life. I looked at Miss V, like really really looked her

She squealed with laughter, made those massive bubbles and popped them with equal zeal. It was heart warming.

Miss V, my Chatterbox, My old soul, my kind soul and above all my strong soul turns 11 today.

She is at that confusing age when You are too old to hang out with little kids and still too young to hang out with adults. That confusing age when you want to be silly but are too cool to be one. When you are too cool to be cool. Her turning 11 is just a step in this confusing age.
I will hence forth call these years "Sighing Years" or "Eye Rolling Years" or "Mom, this is embarrassing" or "Urgh" years!

You get the idea!

Under her shell of snappiness, kindness, strength, resilience, anger, frustration is still my little girl, is still my chatterbox, my lovely Miss V. She lights up the room, engages everyone around her in deep meaningful conversations, she reasons, she debates, she loves immensely and takes every challenge on!

Miss V, she is becoming such a lovely lady. A lovely strong lady!

Happy Birthday dearest, you turn 11.
We can no longer count your age on our fingers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A full filling falafel evening

One good thing about blogging about recipes is when I want to re-cook them, I know exactly where to look and what to do, since it’s my own already simplified and modified recipe for a  Quick Food Fix, I blogged about them in 2015 and 2016 so making them again was way over due!

That’s what Monday night was… a full filling Falafel evening. Everything was laid out and kids made and enjoyed their own Pita Sandwiches!
 A picture to tempt you (and also to show off)

A simple thing that my older one said in the evening: “Mummy hoping this satisfies your craving” I melted. 
Over my California trip in December one evening walking on the streets of San Diego (Gas Lamp Quarters), I mentioned to the Chatterbox that night, I am craving Falafel. And that was it… but weeks later, she remembered, and last night over the delicious sandwich she said “Mummy hoping this satisfies your craving”. Oh Yes, It did and so much more!

It also reminded me that simple conversations with the kids may have a lasting impact. Hearsay, an example, a story, a conflict: Kids keep absorbing and absorbing and I have no idea what will shape their little sponge like malleable minds. J So keep it as simple as possible and as honest as possible. These kids continue to amaze me and I learn everyday (and also pull my hair out on most days!)

So how was your Monday after the Holiday season and settling in back to routines?