Friday, January 30, 2009


Two days ago as I was watching this video of Jessica Cox, Betu came over to my side to see what I was watching. He asked me who is this person. I told him this girl doesn't have any hands and can still fly a plane. I showed him how she uses her legs deftly and manouvers the airplane so beautifully. He kept watching and when she started to play piano with her legs he asked me why she was playing with her legs. I again reminded him that she doesn't have hands. He then asked me "par woh apne pair se kyun kar rahi hai? Pair nahi lagate na? Gandi baat hoti hai na?" I knew where this came from. I always tell him not to step on books and toys and he was repeating what I have been telling him. I tried to explain and reason but he was not convinced. I knew it would be difficult to explain.

He continued to ask me questions about her and how she does things and I tried to answer as best as I could. During the conversation I asked him to thank God for making us healthy. The moment I said that I felt my statement was wrong. Having 2 eyes, 2 ears, one mouth, 2 hands and 2 legs doesn't make us healthy. Its your heart, mind and your physical abilities in totality that make us 'healthy'. Even if one bit is missing, it will be a state of unhealthiness.

And just because we cannot think of suriving and doing things without our hands or without legs, we call others as handicapped or as disabled? Isn't the other way round? Aren't we the ones who are handicapped?

My discussion with Betu left me pondering for long on the whole aspect of our being and calling us abled. The impact the video had on Anirudh, I realised only the next day morning. After he had woken up and was snuggling with me, he asked me again about the video and the 'girl' in the video. His questions were endless - "How she would brush her teeth? How would she drink her duddhu? How would she take her bath? How would she wear her clothes? How would she wear her shoes?" and it went on and on. I again tried to answer to my best and in the end told him "Betu, agar aap try karoge to sab ho jaata hai.".

And I closed the topic at that. I felt it was enough for him at such a young age. But it sure is a topic which we grownups should think and do something to change our attitude towards life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Yesterday night while I was ironing in our bedroom, I could hear Betu squealing with laughter every now and then. And once he just kept on laughing really hard. (He was in the living room watching some cartoon.) And hearing his laughter I started to laugh too. Not those little laughs but good loud ones.

Hubby was also there in the bedroom and when he heard me laughing he asked me what was I laughing at. At first I said "Kuchh nahi" but when he insisted I just drew his attention to Betu's laughter which was still going on. And then Hubby also couldn't help smiling and laughing a bit himself.

And then hubby and me looked at each other and smiled. We both had a feeling of contentment. Of happiness. And suddenly I was feeling so relaxed after a long day at work.

Whoever said that "Laughter is contagious" and "Laughter is the best medicine" was so very right.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pictures from the Manali Trip

Here are the pictures from the Manali trip that I wrote about earlier.

Morning sky enroute to Manali

A submerged temple in river Beas

River Beas

Hot Water Spring @ Manikaran

Evening Sky enroute to Manali from Manikaran

View of snow caped mountains from our room

Me and Betu all set for zorbing

Betu enjoying the snow

Ooh..the snow is sooo cold..brrr...

Trip to Manali - January 2009

We finally managed to plan and go for a trip to Manali after pondering and some more pondering to utilize a three day long weekend. Betu's demands of wanting to see snow actually made it easier for us to decide what place to go. Manali was the closest destination where we could see some snow. So off we went there along with another family. Their son and Anirudh have been daycare buddies since the past 3 years and now thanks to the kids we parents are quite pally too.

Jan 23, 2009
We took a train to Chandigarh and stayed over at my sister-in-laws's place overnight. She had called up a day before to ask what we would liek to eat. First she asked Anirudh and he said "Chhole-Bhature". Then he asked hubby and he said "Pav-Bhaji". So when we reached there she had made both!! :D And she had also prepared yummy gajar halwa. It was so delicious that I had to literally hold myself for not taking more after gorging on 2 huge helpings. We finally forced ourselves to go to bed at 12:30 am since we had to get up at 4:30 am.

Jan 24, 2009:
We managed to wake up by 4:30 and and Started from Chandigarh at 6:00 AM in a hired Innova for Manali. We stopped over a few times for nature calls and chai-calls and snacked on the the stuff that we were carrying with us. We were dilly-dallying whether to go to Manikaran as we were not sure how much time will it take for us to reach Manali. Once we figured we could comfortably reach Manali by 6:30 PM after stopping by at Manikaran we decided to go there.
Manikaran is famous for hot water springs and cold water flowing together. I've already written about the Manikaran visit, thanks to mobile blogging, in an earlier post so you can read the details there.

We reached our place of stay at Manali, Sterling Resorts, by 6:15 PM. The resort was quite nice and peaceful. After we checked into our rooms, the other family came over to our place for chit chatting along with rounds of chai and snacks while Anirudh and Prithvi, his daycare friend, played on. We had a kitchen in our room so hubby got some Maggi, tea laves, sugar and milk and we prepared the tea in the room itself.

Around 9 PM we went for our dinner at the restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed the food. The 'garma garam' tandoori roti's seemed so heavenly. Finally around 10:30 PM we retired to our respective rooms.

Jan 25, 2009:
We woke up at 8:00 AM. When I opened the curtains beautiful sight of snow clad mountains greeted us. We all went 'WOW' at the sight in front of us. After enjoying the beautiful view I made some 'adrak ki chai' and had it snuggled in rajai. And then we got ready for sight seeing. We started at 10:00 AM to go to Solang Valley. We rented some snow gear (body suits, gloves and gum boots for Rs 100/set) for all of us. On reaching solang, we did some snow sports such as snow-slide and zorbing. In snow slide, we would climb up till some part of the mountain and then those fellows would make us sit in the inflated tyre tube and push us down. Me and Anirudh did that and it was really thrilling. I actually closed my eyes the moment we were sliding down. Anirudh insisted on doing it again and I didn't say no to him. And the second time I managed to keep my eyes open and it was all the more thrilling. Anirudh wanted to go again and again but the each ride costed Rs. 100 and so we had to say no. Then me and Anirudh went for Zorbing (thanks to Mampi for telling me the correct term). Its a big inflated ball with two layers of walls. We slipped inside it, they strapped us inside and then rolled the ball down on the mountain slope. Me and Betu were continuously shouting 'yippee'. Betu wanted to go for it once more after we were done but I was not sure I could manage another round of it :D.

Then we went for a horse ride up the mountain while Prabha, Prithvi's mother, stayed back as she wasn't comfortable riding horses. We saw so much snow there and Betu -Prithvi had a gala time walking on the snow. But soon with their feet getting cold, they both started to cry. We saw a group of guys with a fire lit inside a tin canister. Those guys held both the kids in their laps and stretched the feet of the kids over the canister to make them warm. And I hung the socks at the rim of the canister. After 10-15 mins their feet and the socks both were warm and both of them were smiling again. And at this point Betu did a complete 360 degree turn and said "main aapko bol raha tha mujhe snow nahi dekhni. Snow bahut thandi hoti hai!" And I just rolled my eyes thinking that because of him we made this trip and now he is blaming us. Aajkal ke bachhe..baba re baba.

On the way back it started to rain a bit and was getting really cold. Thanks to the rented gear we were feeling warm. So off we carried on with our ride down the mountain and from there to our resort. But we got stuck in the jam close to 2.5 hours. Luckily we had snacks in the car because with just breakfast and no lunch, our tummies were growling. We finally reached our rooms around 5 PM.

After freshening up, we made maggi in our room and after than some tea. It was the yummiest Maggi I had ever eaten :D

After than we went to the activity center where all the people were gathered. A localite was acting as the host and we played some really interesting games there. In the end he sang some songs and he had such a beautiful voice. He could easily put all these Himesh reshamiya types and the younger breed of singers to shame. And after that proceeded to have dinner and then to bed. All of us promptly dozed off thanks to the tiring journey.

Jan 26, 2009:
We had planned to start by 7:00 AM. But we didn't wake up until 6:30 AM and were scrambling to pack things and get ready. Betu didn't want to get out of the bed at all. He said "Mujhe yahan achha lagta hai. Mujhe is new ghar mein hi rahna hai. Mujhe dilli nahi jana." :D But somehow managed to drag him out and we were on the road by 7:20 AM. Stopped by at a "Raja" hotel for breakfast at 11:30 AM and had yummy gobhi and aloo tandoori paranthas with fresh curd. We reached Chandigarh by 3:30 PM. Had yummy daal-rice at sister-in-laws place and were off again by 5:30 PM to catch our train back to Delhi.

And thus came the end to our short and quick holiday trip.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You know its time to lose weight...

...when you can feel your cheeks jiggling in a moving train.

~~ Keep Smiling! ~~
Sent on my BlackBerry®.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh

Its 3:45 pm and we just started back from Manikaran. The place is famous for hot water spring and cold water spring flowing together. Calling it "hot" would be an understatement. It was boiling and bubbling. You can't put your finger inside for more than 1/2 a second.

I bought a small bag of rice and kala chana for Rs. 10 each from there and left it dipping in the pool of hot water spring and it got cooked there. In 15 mins rice was completely done and kalachana was 75% done.

There is a gurudwara there and they cook the food in big earthen pots in one of the hot water pools. We ate at the 'langar' at the gurudwara and relished the kadhi with roti and rice. A young boy helping there told Anirudh that he is not supposed to waste the food and Betu followed his instruction to the T. He did not even leave one spoon of the food in his plate. When I asked him to eat as much as he wantsto, he told me in a very serious tone "unhone bola hai na ki bilkul khana nahi chhodna. Poora finish karna hai."

We were earlier planning to skip going to Manikaran because of tight schedule but am really glad we came here. It was an experience in its own. The pictures will follow few posts down when I reach back Delhi.

- Jan 24, 2009
~~ Keep Smiling! ~~
Sent on my BlackBerry®.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What do you do when...

..your son picks up the shirt, that you have taken out to wear that morning, looks at it questioningly and asks "Yeh shirt kis bachhe ki hai?" (This shirt belongs to which kid?). And when I said its mine, he looks at me with raised brows and says "Yeh to aapke liye chhoti hai. Yeh aapko nahi aayegi." (This is small for you. It won't fit you.)

I suddenly felt so 'fat' hearing his comment and that too right in the morning!!


Edited to add: The shirt size was 'L' and was bought 2-3 months after delivery to fit my huge size in.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The journey of 4.5 hours

Almost barren trees with leaves sprouting on some branches.

Kids playing cricked on open grounds where the wickets were made out of earthen bricks.

Ladies in colorful lahengas with gota work embellishments, sitting in a circle chit chatting, laughing and smiling.

A calf nuzzling up with its mother cow.

A little girl, sitting on the pillion seat of a scooter, carrying a really tiny baby goat in her arms.

A farmer working in the middle of his mustard fields surrounded by a sheet of yellow flowers.

A small white temple on the top of a huge barren mountain.

Little girls in blue uniforms with red ribbons in their hair walking to their school.

Little girls selling newspapers at the traffic signals instead of begging.

And finally the jubilation of Betu when we reached his Dadu-Dadi's place.

All these happened during 4.5 hours that made me smile and feel happy at heart.

~~ Keep Smiling! ~~

Sent on my BlackBerry®.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My cake baking rendezvous!

What are your first thoughts looking at this picture? Are you thinking on the lines - looks yummy, so well baked, wanna dig your teeth into it?

But wait..hold your horses. The phrase "Looks can be deceptive" fits so aptly here. This cake was a total fiasco.

So what went wrong? For one, it had very little sugar so it kind of tasted very bland. Second it just didn't rise. Reason? Even I don't know :|

But you know what? My Betu still eats it with enthu that it just melts my heart. He goes "Wow! Cake" and gorge on. His expressions are priceless. As if he is really really enjoying the cake and as if the cake is really really delicious. That makes me feel so guilty because he so wanted to eat a cake and I told him I will make one instead of buying. And eventually it turned out to be such a flop show :(

Betu, next time I promise I will bake you a better one.

P.S. Its a Chocolate Yogurt Cake.

A fractal broccoli!!??

How cool is that?

Read the details here.

Is it just me?

Or do you all also find it funny when people wear layers of woollens inside the shirt and they appear as wearing only a shirt and pant during feezing winters?

Why doesn't wearing sweaters OVER the shirt seem like a good idea to them? I wonder...

~~ Keep Smiling! ~~

Sent on my BlackBerry®.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Celebrating Lohri

Not so long ago I had posted how we celebrate all the festivals of all the religions at our place. We went and celebrated Lohri with our punjabi friends today evening. Betu was super excited and when he saw we were among the handful ones who had arrived at the celebration point, he started to shout at the top of his voice "Happy Lohri". When I asked him to be a bit quiet he told me "Sab log so rahe hain. Lohri manani hai na isliye sabko bula raha hoon." I had no words looking at his enthusiasm and I let him shout and call out to everyone :)

Here are the two pics from the celebrations -

Monday, January 12, 2009 - the book rental company

Talking to someone who recently read my book review posts asked me where am I sourcing my books from. Whether I'm buying them or renting them? Its then that I realised I'vent written about the book rental company from where I'm sourcing my books from.

In September 2008, I had received an SMS advertising for this site "" where they were giving books on rent after you register with them and paid some refundable deposit to people in New Delhi and NCR region.

I have always been fond of reading but somehow always preferred borrowing them rather than buying them to read. Reason being, books need lot of care and lot of space to be maintained. The space was the main constraint why I preferred to borrow them and this company seemed to be just perfect for readers like me.

I went to their website and they had couple of plans on offer depending on how many books would you want in a month. I opted for the easiest plan available i.e. the one where they offered 2 books a month. After browsing through their website for about 5 min, without thinking much I went ahead and got the subscription for it. Then I proceeded to add books to my queue from their catalog which I wanted to read. The same evening I got a call from them and next day my books along with a bookmark were there at my doorstep. (Its another story that the bookmark has been duly chewed away by betu ram from one corner. ) I went WOW with their promptness. And so far they have kept the WOWness intact except that they do no deliver the books in the same sequence as I've specified.

I wrote to them about it and they had their reasons that all the copies were out in circulation and thus the preferred sequence of books cannot be adhered to. To some extent it makes sense but I still can't help feeling a bit disappointed when the book I'm looking forward to doesn't arrive.

So this is how their system works. I've provided a delivery address at the time of registration. I specify the list of books that I would like to read and sequence them. The next step is to click on the button "Order Pickup". For a first time user, it basically means "Send me the books". For a second time and subsequent time user, it means, "I've read the books you had sent and please send me my next lot of books". Once you have submitted your "Order Pickup", a guy will come personally and take the read books from you and give you your next lot. In the envelope that they send the books in, they also send a self addressed envelope for us to keep the books back in before handing them over to the delivery boy.

Its obvious that they had put enough thoughts about the system before implementing it and they have been able to keep up to it. The books I've received have all been in good condition.

They have quite a few books in each genre including for kids although couple of books which I've looked for once in a while I haven't found there. I'm planning to write to the librarian with those book titles so that they can add them to their collection.

So far I'm pretty happy with their service and I hope they keep increasing their collection. I've already figured out the books I want to read for the whole year and am looking forward to read them all.

So any of residing in you Delhi and NCR can make good use of this site if you are fond of reading.

So happy reading everyone!

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I finished reading "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini on the Saturday that just went by. I managed to finish it flat 3 days compared to the weeks I usually take to read books these days.

After reading and hearing such rave reviews from so many people including some of you from the blogworld that I just had to read it. It is a wonderful tale of two little boys from Afghanistan and their journey of growing up and moving on with their lives. How from being such "pukka" friends they drifted apart and they could never see each other again.

The book was very well written and kept you glued to it. The emotions, the turmoils in the lives of the main characters of the story seemed so real that you could almost relate to it. There were 2-3 points in the book that made my eyes wet.

After I finished reading it, for about half an hour I kept thinking about the characters in the book. About their lives and the whole story as such. It made me sigh. It was a mix of sad and a happy sigh. It touched me a lot.

But still I feel his other book "A Thousand Splendid Suns" was much more intense and overpowering than this one.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

I had read the book "The Historian" more than a month ago but never sat down to write down my views on it. Until now :) I won't call it a review as I am not sure I know how to write reviews. I don't now what it should have and what it shouldn't so that it doesn't become a spoiler.

This novel by Elizabeth Kostova is a tale of a quest for the 'Vlad the Implaer' who is none other than the Dracula or 'Drakulya' as called in the novel. It has been presented as a first person account and it reaches through the past five centuries with the story settings all over Europe.

Although the book was a bit thick, about 650 odd pages, but I really enjoyed reading it. The story was quite gripping and thrilling. The author kept the curiosity maintained almost throughout the book.

And after reading the book I really wanted to travel to Budapest and Istanbul. The way the author described both the cities I was quite intrigued.

So people how like a bit of history, a bit of horror and a bit of thriller its a good read.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It has been a long debated topic

and still it never ends. The topic in question is about women and treating women well if not equally.

My thoughts on this were triggered by a post that I read recently where they had shown this label:

As I said lot has been talked about and debated on this topic and I've nothing more to add. But it always makes me wonder how long will this continue? When will the people actually think maturely?

Like the author I didn't know whether to get angry or laugh at it. I just rolled my eyes and left it at that.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Does this make you drool?

It was really yumm and polished off in flat 5 mins by Beturam, Hubby and moi.

Click here to view the recipe.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What I hate about new year wishes

Yeah you read that write. There are things that I hate about new year wishes. Especially these SMSes that keep pouring and pouring and pouring in. It gets so much to respond to all of them. So after responding to about 7-8 SMSes I just stopped.

So if any of you who sent me an SMS and I didn't reply, please don't think I didn't because I didn't want to. I thought of you and sent my good wishes in my thoughts itself :)

Not satisfied still? Ok..then please accept my wishes right here :D

"Hope you all have a wonderful year ahead which is filled with lots of joy and good health for you and your dear ones!!"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 has arrived...

..and somehow it feels no different than any other day. But then is it supposed to?

Anyhow...we had a wonderful impromptu celebration with a cousin bro, Avi bhaiyya, who stays close by. And when I say close by, I mean a 2 min walk :)

We had no plans of going anywhere and I was busy making the eggless orange cake when he called to ask our plans. When we said none, he called us over for some soup and macaroni salad. Who would have said no to that :D

So off we went to their place with my just out of the oven orange cake which was devoured and finished within 10 mins. It was then followed by some good Indian white wine and must say it was awesome.

After licking the soup bowls clean and eating yummy macaroni salad, we came back home by 11 PM and I promptly dozed off while putting Betu to bed and woke up only around 8 in the morning.

Here is the pic of the orange cake that I've intentionally mentioned too often ;) Although the picture doesn't do justice to the cake. Am planning to make it again on Sunday and shall click a better picture of it then.