Monday, November 06, 2006

So much for Regular Blogging..

I really thought when I started that I would be a regular blogger, but now I do notice I only blog at each festival. I really wanted to do a post for diwali and one for halloween, but I've already fallen behind.. Got to combine the two into one now!
Diwali 2006
Well.. How much can you enjoy diwali without being in India (sob! sob!).. To start with, more than a week before diwali, I started making the sweets and karams associated with it. I got really adventurous and decided to make kodavalai(bangalore side snack). I really thought it would be simple - but wow! was i mistaken! went through a lot of trouble to make it - it tasted ok that night. By next morning - it was a sob story - rubbery on the outside, soft in the center. So learnt a lesson there and decided to take a risk with the "american" version badusha. Fortunately, it turned out well (though it seemed to me to be a cross between gulab jamun and badusha). Then, Fatima came over one day to help me make 2 more dishes - Thenguzhal and Coconut barfi (which my mom insisted that I make because it was very simple). Thenguzhal which normally comes out well - started going put-put (quite the sound of my dad's old lamberetta backfiring) in the oil. The burfi for which my mom had emailed a recipe - totally got screwed up because of me misunderstanding my mother's ratios in the recipe. So quite disappointingly, none of it was really impressive.
New clothes for the 3 of us - Smrithi was in a pair of jeans, pink t-shirt and a denim jacket. We also went to the Aurora temple which was extremely crowded.

And that was Diwali!

Halloween 2006
Next came Halloween.. I had nothing much to do, but dress up Smrithi in her cute little pumpkin outfit. I have to admit, I was a lit apprehensive about whether she would feel comfortable in it, but she seemed to be quite happy in it. Sandra and Fatima were also with us. Sandra was in a fairy costume. So Fatima and I packed them up and took them "Trick or Treat"ing.. Smrithi seemed to enjoy it, and needless to say I enjoyed the complements she got..

Monday, October 02, 2006

9 days of celebration

Haha.. and there end the 9 days of entertaining and socializing where excuses are rarely made to invitations sent.. Navarathri.. has all of its religious reasons for being celebrated, but I wonder what the reason for golu would be. I suspect it must have been a good creative outlet for women a few generations ago. Women whose lives must have been filled with the monotony of tending to the home and family and rarely socialized in events outside of weddings and funerals. Navarathri golu must have been exciting and special for women those days. To be able to use all of their creativity in creating a golu, to vie for a golu better than the rest of the neighbourhood, to be able to have as many steps as possible, to have themes for their golus, to build parks and temples etc.. I suspect that the same spirit probably still does exist in varying proportions back in India, in places like Madras. Navarathri Golu in the US of course is different (just as everything else in the US is different). It is more a family affair. Almost the entire family visits for golu - one good thing is only women get (vethalai paaku) and the take back gift. Unlike in India where the vethalai paaku actually means what it is called, here vethalai is always omitted due to the high price, poor availability, poor quality and the fact that it is of no use after all that. The traditional ravikai thuni (blouse piece) also does not find a place in the gift bag - there is again no use for it, and its way too expensive too. The interesting part of the gift bag of course is the gift which will vary from something decorative to something that can find a place in the kitchen to some handicraft item(imported from India during a previous trip). The golu itself in the US is a mix of indian and american dolls. The handful of Indian dolls (dasavatharam or kalyana set etc) that have managed to escape the mishandling of baggage handlers from India to the US, besides the american dolls of babies and animals and village set that can be accumulated from dollar stores. Of course, I prefer the Indian ones, they do give a more golu like appearance. I am in the process of collecting some Indian dolls. Hopefully my next golu will be bigger and have atleast 5 steps.

This year my golu had 3 steps with a mix of Indian dolls and dollar store dolls. It turned out pretty good and from what everyone said, I think most of the credit must go to the Ikea lights that i had put up on the back wall. Everyone seemed to like that the most. We had one group of people who visiting us on the first Sunday evening and another group of people on the next Friday evening. Almost everyone I invited managed to visit us. The singers this year were Jayanthi akka whom I had heard and can now confirm sings reallly well, Priya who is a professional karnatic vocalist and sang to that effect and more and Chenchitha who has done a great job of progressing from geethams (last year) to swarajathis(this year). I did not inflict any pain on myself or others by singing during the course of my golu.
Smrithi was of course as cute as ever (Oh god! I am already becoming one of those moms that can't stop boasting about their kids).We dressed her up in a pattu pavadai(silk skirt) for which I hand-stitched a blouse and it all came together pretty well. She also seemed to enjoy the sudden downpour of extra attention she got from all the visitors those few days. I am sure she is missing Navarathri already in that tiny head of hers.

So all's well that end's well. We had a great Navarathri this year and we're getting all set for the Diwali which is on Oct 21st.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Magic Word

The magic word that Ive been enjoying over the last few days is "Amma". You watch these old tamil or hindi movies where the hero and his mom do the "Ma".."Beta" thing. Well Ive always had a good laugh at those scenes and immitated the same to my own as well as others' amusement. At that time, I least expected to be enacting the act myself some 10 years down the line. But now that my daughter has learnt the words 'amma' and 'abba' (instead of appa) I do find myself not only being part of the scene but also deriving great joy out of it. Smrithi obviously is extremely impressed with the way she is able to pronounce those words, and loves to hear herself say it, because she keeps saying it all the time. Every time she says it, my heart just melts and makes me realize what i have in front of my eyes - my daughter - a human being with a heart and mind of her own, who has (ya she already has) her own preferences, will have her own way of doing things...

Motherhood is truly a gift - to be able to nurture a child and bring her up and watch her succeed in all her endeavours, is a life worth looking forward to.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Seminar

Ive been wanting to get ahead beyond the first post that i made to my own blog.. but have been tied down with preparing for the seminar which finally got done yesterday. The seminar was essentially a sales seminar "Data to Insight" - we trying to get some new prospects for Business Objects projects. My role was to get everything organized including a demo/presentation of the product. So I have been spending the last month or so with preparations for that.
Since it was a dinner seminar event, I will go ahead and try to describe both.

The turnout was not bad, my presentation went off really well, and I even earned a few compliments on it. The first few minutes were a bit scary but after that I was pretty comfortable with what I was doing.

The food was an absolute let down (for vegetarians). First came a bowl of salad which Ive never cared for anyway, so I didnt touch it all. Then came a plate with some boiled vegetables. No Indian in his right sense would be able to eat that. The thing had no hint of salt or spice.. ugh!!! I ate a few pieces of carrot and zuchini mainly because I didnt want to faint during my presentation which was to start a few minutes later. I was hoping to return to a plate of the actual dinner (pasta or something) but returned to find only my dessert waiting.. ugh.. boiled vegetables for dinner? they might as well have let us graze in a farm..
The keynote address was about running IT as a business. It was interesting to see the perspective of top IT heads on the challenges they face in running their department. Some of it went above my head - I found it difficult to perceive probably due to my limited exposure to events that occur at that level of the management. The keynote address was followed by a presentation by our CEO - that was good too, but half way through it I had stopped concentrating and thinking about my presentation which was to follow. My presentation went on alright - no problems at least, a few questions, managed to appease the curious folks there and finally ended well.
Now what remains to be seen is if we do close a few sales as a result of the seminar. That would probably be a true measure of its success.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Finally.. my own blog!

Having pondered on the idea of creating a blog for a very long time, I finally sit down to doing it. My only hesitation with respect to having my own blog was that I always hoped I would be able to make up my mind on dedicating my blog to a particular topic... I have often looked at financial blogs etc.. but since I still havent been able to make my mind on what my blog should be about, I decided to just go ahead and get started. My blog will therefore have whatever I feel like writing about - My musings..
The last push towards doing this however was a blog that I read recently - My friend Divya Prasad's dad's blog. I was immensely impressed by it for some reason. I realized I had got left behind in the blogging scenario - the previous generation had started blogging.. high time!!!