April 24, 2014

For the love of fruit kebabs

Since I follow the Chennai calender at work, I had an off today.

After the girls' camp ( iLeap- highly recco-ed and loved by the girls- the LO is doing Dragons and Castles and the older one is doing 39 clues - a continent a day)   I had promised to get them fruit kebabs at Barbeque Nation.

Unfortunately found out that no kebab place in I-nagar serves the fruity kind.

BUT a small little outlet called Kabab Palace was willing to accommodate my request at short notice since I had taken pre-cut fruit with me. I told the waiter to say he had it on the menu.

Our planning produced the desired result with the girls enjoying the 'store's fruit kebabs'!!
And they got a demo by the indulgent uncle manning the tandoor.

What all we do for little ones.......

April 22, 2014

If I Had a Million Onions...

Here is a collection of poems, some silly and some serious but almost all engaging , by Sheree Fitch, from Tradewind books.

They are inventive and creative and clever and while most seem to be fun, there are a few profound serious ones hidden in these 25 or so poems.

We enjoyed A million onions and thought of more possibilities of what we would do with a million onions...

'Sometimes' was simple and intense at the same time.

We really loved Beggs and Acon and  again it provoked the kids to come up with their own.

Anush  had 'complicated' fun just trying to read the long  concrete poem with its twists and turns.

A prayer moved me- an elegantly simple way of expressing what all a mother wishes for her children.

Yayo's illustrations open with a traffic signal on foot! Whimsical and minimalistic , the pencil sketches match with the poems, never distracting.

April 21, 2014

The long weekend that was

We went to a very local mela at RBNAMs grounds with apartment friends. What fun the girls had on the ferris wheel and dragon ride. The fish show and the mirror house were a let down. The bonus was the used books store that sells by the kilo.

Did sessions for Easter at Timri and Kalabaloosh at Kidwai.

Went to Chintamani for a day and enjoyed the new improved roads.
Shared the Kashmir pics in great detail with family.

In other very big news, my cousin graduating from MIT, moves to Berkley for her Phd!

April 15, 2014

Kashmir- Paradise Visited

Kashmir is beautiful all over. Radiant mustard fields and tall pines and droopy willows and imposing chinars, white snowy mountains and green lush pastures,  flushed cheeked children, handsome men and dainty women....

We stayed at Hotel Pacific and found it clean and comfy.
But Dar e salaam seems nice too and if budget permits the Lalit for a night perhaps.
House boat overnight stay does not appeal to us but that can be done too.

One can stay in other destinations but we used Srinagar as the base and hence all were day trips, Very relaxed even with two kids.

Sonamarg and Manasbal can be combined to shorten tour by a day.

The Dal Lake shikara ride is a must, though cliched.
We visited Pari Mahal, the Spring water garden, Naseem baug, Badamwadi & the Hazratbal shrine and of course the Tulip garden.

Went to a village a bit lower than ‘Meadow of Gold’ Sonamarg. Mesmerisingly white - one can take in the sights and sounds of Kashmiri village life there. The Thajiwas glacier is not too far and we saw the Sind river.

Gulmarg, included sledges and skiing and the highlight was the Gondola cable car ride and the snowman we made.
On our way back , we were enchanted by hand'knotted' carpet creators and a Pashmina shawl making unit
We also enjoyed High Tea at the Lalit in Srinagar

Pahalgam on Pony, with its Ledder river, streams, valleys and woods charmed us
Karan, Arjun and Badshah were our rides
We stopped at Sangam for the Cricket bat factory demo
Lunch at Nathus included wada for Adi

Yusmarg takes in acres upon acres of grassy meadows ringed by pine forests and stunning snow-clad mountains. The reservoir is beautiful and the drive is filled with orchards

Said to be the deepest lake in the Kashmir Valley Manasbal has beautiful gardens and is pristine. The girls enjoyed a picnic like ambiance and on the way back we went to a paper mache wokshop.

Just do not shop on Dal lake. It is over priced.
It was fun travelling alone with kids and very doable. 
But of course always nicer when the entire family is around together. 
Especially missed the adult conversation.

April 03, 2014

Tradewind Books Three

We are thrilled to have got wind of  this wonderful publisher  .

Here is a review of three lovely picture books from Tradewind Books:

Anna carries water
by Olive Senior (Author), Laura James (Illustrator)

This book resonated with both my girls ( 8 and 4) and me. That is HUGE appeal, is it not? A lovely story of conquering your demons ( or cows), set in Jamaica with vivid illustrations in bold attractive colours.

To my four year old Anna seemed to be her- Small challenges, big problems to overcome and the itch to be like her 'grown up' sister.

Anush, my eight year old, loved the lush and vibrant illustrations and felt that sibling encouragement and water conservation were universal needs.

I enjoyed this book with its uplifting possibility of how fear, unfounded as it may be, can be overcome if only we tried. And the illustrations are full of little authentic details that you can savour even if you belong to a different culture.

Check pictures from the book by clicking on the illustrator's name.

The Flute
by Rachna Gilmore ( Author) , Pulak Biswas ( Illustrator)
A melancholy poetic tale, the protagonist, a girl child, Chandra, is orphaned and ill treated but remains hopeful and resilient and finally finds love. Rather 'sad' my child said in parts. It is much like a fairy tale, propagating the' evil step folks' stereotype yet paving the way for a happy ending.

Misery gives way to hope, the story swells and ebbs like the river.

The illustration is by Pulak Biswas (who passed away recently). It is stark and beautiful and captures the Indian rural milieu successfully with just red, blue, black and grey.

Night Sky Wheel Ride
by Sheree Fitch ( Author) , Yayo ( Illustrator)

The large full spread art, the text setting, play with fonts and arrangement of letters, the words themselves, of course- all make this book poetry in motion.

Wonder, sibling love and shared joys/ secrets, the urge to grow up and be allowed to do an exciting thing- imaginatively captured in words and art and interwoven to create an appeal that is larger than the sum of the two.

A charming book that will give you a giddy high or at the least prove to be an engaging ride/ read!!

April 01, 2014

A school, a farm, a corner house and a palace

We attended Bookalore at Auro Mirra school, where the girls would have gone had they not made it where they go now. They and I had fun of course

Did my first event at Lakeview farms for Timri. The shop is really cute with so much personality.
The event went off well.

We had a brief but bright meet for the Bubble Ink Challenge at Corner House.

We went with the Ns to Bangalore Palace. Good visit if you ignore the gruesome elephant stools and hunting trophies that are around.We also had a decent Karnataka meal at Adigas for Ugadi.

At the school review, Aditi had a wonderful review and most importantly was rated kind and helpful and very keen on learning

March 26, 2014

Random Update about Nostalgia

We held Vishnu Sahasranamam at home
Paati had wanted it but we did it after her anniversary
Amma made chakkarapongal, amma- appa  decorated the altar very well

We hosted Navy's school buddies- 10 of them at home- a reunion of sorts. Good fun they had.

Had a nice session at Cavalry cottage for Holi. Pics at the Arts Tales blog.

Have kept up my reading aloud to Aditi for the Bubble Ink Challenge- a picture book a day by theme
Sometimes I also read aloud to Anush.

Anush has taken on a month long challenge as well- she gets to paint a wall of her room in orange or turquoise if she does not reappear on our bed before 6am every night !

March 22, 2014

Sri Lanka Again

Was in Srilanka on work
The expressway makes the airport commute a delight

Since school opens early there, managed to narrate Ranganna to the kids.
A fellow blogger whose child studies there has helped Ranganna reach Sri Lanka.

Hope it is all sold out at the Book Fair there today.

March 18, 2014

A long hectic weekend

- Queen on Friday night
- Seniors lunch on Sat
- Family seniors on Sunday
- Navy's school buddies on Sunday
- Holi fun on Monday
- Girls' swimming has resumed ( i only watch)

Exhausted doing nothing!!

March 15, 2014


Adi generously proclaimed her love for me

She gave me a 'gift'- a spinning top

After some bit of playing, she said it was a return gift

"A return gift - so you have to return it to me Amma!!"