Happy Birthday Saanvi!

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This is one of my favorite photos – Saanvi with her father.  Saanvi celebrates her 3rd birthday today. I wish she gets the strength and wisdom to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

We have a small gathering to celebrate this occasion in the evening. Tom & Jerry Cake, along with red-pink-white theme balloon decoration are geting ready.  All the materialistic things are taken care of – there is one thing I’d like to mention this special day.

As a parent, the best gift you can give to your kids is your undivided attention. When your kid comes and speaks, or tries to get your attention – savor that moment, drop everything else and listen to them.  Those will be the moments that will help build the bond. An equally important gift would be to talk to them when they are in a mood to listen. Tell them things you expect them to do or behave in a certain way. Build that bond, so that they know that parents will tell them things that will be of good to them. When kids become teenagers, this will be the biggest savior for parents.

Here’s wishing my sweetie pie Saanvi all the happiness in her life. As I always say to my family, I wish she turns out like her Dad – I’d be the happiest Mom in the world!!

Have a good day and keep rocking!

A Must Watch TEDxGateway Inspiring Talk by Ruma Roka!

I believe that, everyone in life has a purpose.  Ruma Roka, who spoke so passionately at TEDxGateway Mumbai has found her purpose in helping Deaf & Dumb people a honorable life.  A bored home maker with no deaf people in her home, she started learning Sign language and started her journey with a small step.  She spoke to lot and lot of people – Everyone , Parents, Organization and the deaf people themselves needed convincing that Deaf & Dumb can be productive employees of an organization.  What started off in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment flat with 6 students is now spread out to 580 people, who work in Multi national companies.

I’d like to mention one striking truth from her talk. The deaf people who are employed at various companies have proved themselves valuable to their organizations and have gone ahead to win “Best Employee” Awards!!  As they cannot hear & listen the outside world, the noise ratio is zero and hence they focus more on their work. Isn’t this a wonderful blessing in disguise?

Hatsoff to Ruma Roka for giving these deserving people a hope on life. More than that, when I see videos like these, my faith in humanity increases by manyfold inspiring me to think on how to make the society better.

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

Recipe 18 : Cauliflower Gravy Curry for Chapati

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Cooking is one of my favorite things. I always remind myself to do it more often than i do now. It really has therapeutic effects on me – I just forget the entire world when i enter the kitchen. The entire process of cooking, and smelling the food to check if the spices & salt are good is just an awesome feeling. Today, I present Cauliflower Gravy curry to go with Chapati / Naan.

Total time taken : 45 minutes

Ingredients

Cauliflower – 1 big, cut into florets

Paneer – 100 gms cut into cubes

Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp

Onion – 1

Tomatoes – 4

Lemon – 1

Coriander Leaves – a bunch, for garnishing

For the spices

Cashews – 12, Cumin, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Garam Masala, Red Chilly Powder, Milk, Turmeric

Method:

1. Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling water with turmeric added. It will help remove any worms present in the vegetable. 

2.  Midly fry the paneer in ghee and keep it aside.

3. Soak cashews in milk for 1/2 hour . Grind all the ingredients mentioned in “For Spices” section into a smooth paste.

4. Heat the kadai and add ginger garlic paste. 

5. Add Onion and fry until translucent.

6. Add the “for spices” mix.

7. Puree the tomatoes and add the puree to the mixture in the kadai.

8. Add required salt, 1-2 cups of water depending on how watery you need the gravy curry. Close the lid and let it boil. 

9. Add cauliflower florets, paneer and close the lid again. Simmer for 10 minutes.

10. 5 minutes after you switch off the stove, add lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Enjoy the tasty curry.

Cooking notes:

1. The taste is very different when you puree everything together ( spices + tomatoes) or both the purees different. The different purees definitely add great taste to the curry.

2. The consistency became a bit watery for me, and I had to add rice flour to make it a bit thick. Make sure to check, while pouring water.

Overall, the curry tasted great and I received a whole lot of compliments from my dear hubby yesterday. Do give a try and let me know.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Life Habits Podcast : My thoughts

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Usually, I get up at 5 am in the morning and get myself 2 hours of uninterrupted time to do things that matter to me the most. For the last few weeks, TheTechPanda has been the only thing I did those 2 hours. Today, when I got up at 6 after watching a late night movie yesterday – I craved for some input into my brain rather than output some from it. Podcasts are my favorite way to get information – people talking is more unplugged than people writing. No matter how much we try, the actual persona will shine through in the podcast. Went upstairs, and listened to the Life Habits Podcast. The episode I listened to, today was :

http://www.lifehabits.net/2010/12/06/lh52-taking-things-personally/

Before you come to assumptions, this is one topic that has been troubling me a lot lately. So, why not get expert opinons? 20 minutes long and this is the best investment of time at 6 AM. The top 10 practical list of things to do hit the nail on the head, and whoever follows the list to a T will never have this problem again.

There are other topics I downloaded to my iPhone for my later listening. It seems now 1/2 hour of my morning slot will be dedicated to Life Habits until I finish listening to the entire series. However, a lot depends on how much we implement it, rather than how many of these podcasts we listen to.

Go here for the main page of podcast:

http://lifehabits.podbean.com/

See the list of topics and I’m pretty sure you will identify a topic or two that will resonate with you.  For more updates, you can “Like” their facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/lifehabits

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

extrovert

Of Extroverts and other things

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From the Internet

I’m a self proclaimed extrovert. Social interaction stimulates me, and lack of really pushes me to the other extreme.  Only after I started working from home, did I realize the pain social isolation can cause to an extrovert. Don’t get me wrong – I am busy all the time, and probably always behind my schedule too. But, the very act of going to physical office and just watching a whole lot of people around me energizes me. It’s as if i draw my energy from all the people around me. By text book definition, an extrovert is:

Energized by the outer world

Outgoing

Talkative

Acts First, thinks later

Values breadth of experience.

Bingo! You know me really well now:)  With time, you need to find solutions for everything. While working from home, and no social contact – I had to find ways to keep myself motivated. Here are a few tips that worked for me, might be you googled to find out exactly these:

1. Go out of the home every single day : But where? Doesn’t matter. How long? Doesn’t matter. Just GO OUT.  Take a walk or visit the temple. Go to vegetable market. While working from home, it is very easy to get isolated even from your own family. Internet is one of the best and worst inventions of mankind. This will help you charge your internal extrovert battery.

2. Take frequent breaks between work : If you need to sit at the computer for long, get up every hour or so. Even if you think you don’t need to. Talk to another person in the house about anything in the world and then go back to work.

3. Excercise: This is really helpful. It will help clear lot of mental clutter and keeps you focused on the right things. Excercise atleast 15 minutes every single day.

4. Meditate: End of the day, if you are not peaceful – the entire game is lost. Trust me, meditation is the best gift you can give to yourself. Do it every single day.

5. Talk to loved ones on the phone : Call you Dad, Mom or your best friend. Chat with them on how things are. Chances are you’ll end up talking about what you are feeling at the moment and just talking eases things with us.

6. Play with your kids: This is the best suggestion I can give to anyone who is at home with kids. You probably get more time than when you went out, so savor that time and play with them. Laugh silly and do some art. Paint with your fingers and have fun.

These are the 6 Strategies I currently use to keep myself charged up every single day.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Saanvi Chronicles : chinna pani

Parenting is fun and kids are the best mind readers in the world. The moment you think you know it all – they just make sure you are so wrong. And when you throw up your hands and admit that you are the worst parent in the world – they give you a virtual trophy of the best mom and prove you wrong again!

With saanvi sick again since the last week, she has been making sure I use up all my day’s energy by 11am in the morning. I have been alternating through this phase of I can’t – I can phase since few weeks and it’s time to recollect some gems my daughter had thrown at me .

1. Ye nanna laddoo kavala konukkundamu : If you guys remember that AD of Cadbury shots, one day we told her what the lead character says. Since then, it’s her favorite. We take her out just to buy one for her. It is extremely pleasing to note that, she asks every single one in the family if they want the thing she’s getting.

2. Amma, chinna pani chesi pettu : what this means is – mom, help me out with this little thing. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes when I first heard this. While I use this to distract her from tantrums, I was surprised to see her so effectively using back at me.

I keep getting lot of bouncers day in and day out. One more :

Saanvi friends tho saanvi matladali, Amma friends tho amma matladali.

3. Naaniya : This is Saanvi’s nickname for her dad. One day, she got up and started calling him Naaniya. Now, if she wants her father’s attention – she just keep roaming around him saying the word again and again.

4. Manam ippudu emi aadukundamu : when we feed saanvi, we made her play a lot. So, now when she knows we are going to feed her. She herself comes up with the ultimate question of – what game am I getting to play now? More often than not, I found that feeding becomes easy once we have settled to a game of get choice.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

If my daughter would write a book..?

I like reading books. Ever since my daughter is born(3 years ago), my bulk of waking hours are spent dealing with her one way or the other. While trying to convince her to do something, I always give her logical reasons. And she has the best answer in the world to everything I speak : NO.

In a particularly happy mood, I had the weird thought that if saanvi would write a book, what would it be? Here is the TOC as per my wild imagination :

Title: How to get what you want, all the time

Table of Contents :

1. Know what you want. Tips to help you find out your needs, desires and character

As a kid, I find it really strange that she has opinions at this age and enforces them so brutally on us. So, I would expect her to think that everyone knows what they want.

Her tip would be to listen very very keenly to every single sentence uttered at home, irrespective of they are talking to you or not. If the topic is about you, just pick up your needs and character from there.

2. Proven tactics to get what you want.

There are many number of ways to get what you want. One is by being a good girl. Other is by being stubborn. The best part is, find out which person is most likely in a mood to do what you want, and simply go and show childish charms. Your work will be done.

3. How to survive without eating anything

Saanvi has a Ph.D in this topic. Reply with NO for any question related to food. Next, demand the family to feed you no matter what. Tell them you’d like to play while eating. And once they fall into your trap, just play play and play. Once they are frustrated of feeding you, they will give up and go away.

4. How to bring anyone in home to a good mood

If someone is really angry with you, for whatever reason – go crawling towards them and give them a bear hug and a big kiss. You bet they’d kiss you back.

If you find someone sad, go and ask them why they are sad. Get them to play your favorite games. See how happy they become.

That’s it for now guys. She would be turning 3 soon and is one of the most mischevious kids I have encountered. Apple of our eye and sunshine of our life – life with saanvi is very rewarding.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!