Thursday, December 29

Red, Green,Blue,yellow...

I am not a big fan of wearing bangles , and despite the fact that I find  glass bangles gorgeous, I have never "loved "wearing them-until now,that is. My lovely multi-hued bangles tinkle and go chling-chling even if i make the slightest move.. Oh, they are so delightfully colourful to look at too ! I had my traditional baby shower yesterday and because we didn't want two different ceremonies (one thrown by parents and one by the in-laws ), I had both the ceremonies clubbed into one.

The "Valaikaapu" is conducted by the girl's family and is a social function , as opposed to the Seemantham (conducted by the boy's side) ,which involves some heavy duty mantra-chanting and religious rituals. Both these ceremonies are done in the eighth month of pregnancy ( according to the Tamil calender. Rashis of the boy and girl are taken into consideration to arrive at the date). My Valaikaapu-Seematham function started very early yesterday morning at around five (YAWWWWN!). Women from my family took turns and slipped colourful glass bangles on my arm. 

There are several versions of why pregnant women are made to wear glass bangles. My grandma told me that this ritual is done so that the unborn baby keeps hearing the  cheerful clinking sound at all times . My mother tells me that maybe this was done those days (when there were no lights sun-down) to ensure that people could keep tabs on the pregnant women at all times.Somehow, the tradition has continued and nobody really has a sure shot answer to why this being done.My take is that it is just another occasion to let the ladies get together,fawn over the pregnant woman  and bless the unborn baby.Well, also I love my stack of bangles and really don't care why it is done really :-)My grandma started the ceremony (being the eldest lady around).

First bangles in- My grandma and the hubby's aunt look on.


My favourite second cousin does her bit !
 Though women younger than the pregnant women are normally not allowed to take part , we let my second cousin slip in a few bangles. Traditionally, one arm is supposed to contain twelve bangles and the other thirteen , but I ended up with around twenty-six on one arm and twenty-three on the other.More the merrier!

My personal rainbow..
 The Valaikaapu got over in half hour and I rushed to change into another saree- the traditional nine-yards saree called "Madisaar".Married women in our community are supposed to wear the Madisaar for any significant functions in the family. I have worn mine just a bunch of times, as i find the draping extremely difficult and cannot manage without help. I do have to admit this that it is super comfortable (more so than the normal 6-yard draping ) ,because of the way it is worn. It is almost like wearing jeans/salwar.
 
The Seemantham function went on for a few hours , and thankfully I was  provided with a chair to sit on while the hubby fed the havan ghee ,chanted mantras and performed the rituals. The purohit (we call them sastrigal) who performed the rituals explained the significance of the ceremony to us- that the mantras were supposed to energise the baby and make sure that it is healthy when it is born. 

Eyes watering from all  the smoke..
 
The magic concoction- baby's first medicine before its birth.
 The two kids you see in the picture are grinding a  herb with milk.This is normally done by two girls who haven't attained puberty ,but we had only one girl around  and had to make do with a boy ;-)   I thought it was awesome , because both genders got equal representation !This juice was then dropped into my nostril by the hubby and is supposed to be the first medicine the baby gets before it is born. 
The medicine administration- nobody gets to see us sneezing!
 I was warned by so many people that this medicine brought forth  violent sneezes and that I had to control myself somehow. Strangely, I was ok and managed to drag in all the juice.
Everyone yap-yap-yapping
 The sastrigal , then made hubby drag the "Seemantha" , a contraption made out of porcupine quill from the navel to the forehead. Apparently, the woman is supposed to have her "maang" or centre parting done only after this ceremony.
Hubby dragging the "Seemantha" over me.The thing was damn sharp!
Ceremony concluded with the haarthi by my aunt and the hubby's aunt

Wait.. it's not over yet ! I had another dress change- phew! and a mini-ceremony called Poo-chootal (meaning Flower ceremony). Insane quantities of flowers were pinned to my poor hair. I had short hair before I got pregnant and was coerced by my mother into growing my hair especially for this ceremony! I can officially get my hair cut now.. yay!!! Mothers,I say ..Then , we had some ritual where they placed a few coins on me (palm, feet, shoulders) and asked me to balance them(which of course, I couldn't). My relatives (married women only) took turns to move a coconut from my head to toe three times. My aunts and cousins groaned as their calf muscles objected and creaked ; many sidey jokes were cracked about how I was finally getting revenge for all that they had made me undergo that morning . Ah , well.. lets just say I had the last laugh.Nobody had a clue why they were  performing some rituals, except that their mothers and grandmothers had done it at their own baby showers. A baby is being born into our family after a really long time and people were a little rusty about the actual protocols to be followed .Everyone contributed their two cents and we patched together some strange rituals ;-)

My aunt does the coconut thingie
Then, many  songs were sung and everyone went and had  a sumptuous South-Indian lunch ;-) I forgot my GD for a day and hogged as much as possible(sweets included). I am dreading my blood sugar test that I have to take in a few days.. Sigh! So yeah, that was how my Valaikaapu-Seemantham went. One of the reasons I wanted to put all this down  on the blog was because I normally cannot remember things  after two-three days ,and this is one day I want to remember for a long, long  time ...

Anyway, wish you all a Happy New year and see you in 2012 ;-)


Wednesday, December 21

The geyser story..


Been a while I took digs at the chap on the blog.Here I go without further ado...

Me: The geyser's not working.How did you manage to bathe? 

The chap : Oh, that...I have my ways. 

He smiles enigmatically and I wonder how he could have managed the feat. Though its not freezing sub-zero temperatures, the water that flows out of the pipe at 6:30AM is CCOOOOOOLLLLDDDD! GRRR..

Me: Like what? You skip showering?  

Smiles at me patronizingly, like I am the biggest nit-wit on earth.

 The chap : Oh , I use the microwave. 

Me: What!!??$$$

The Chap : I heat the water in microwave. 
Now , I am mentally shuffling through my collection of microwavable containers which the chap could possibly have used and come up with nothing that is bigger than the size of a medium-sized bowl.

He finally relents and decides to show me the container her uses to heat the water.
The chap: See, this is the "cup" I use for heating the water. 

And he shows me the extra-small mug I use for heating milk, normally. Apparently, he uses 4-5 cups of microwave water and that makes the tap water warm. Of all the other options available to heat water(like a gas stove) trust him to use this one! Why does he use it - because everything else is too much work ! Or maybe milky smelling water makes him feel like Cleopatra.

Needless to say, I fell off my chair laughing.

Husbands are priceless when it comes to household chores, I say.












 

Monday, December 19

Customer delight?

Ever been surprised by a gesture of any service staff? I can probably count the instances I've felt the milk of human goodness and professionalism flowing around. This cute handwritten "note"scrawled on the backside of my bill by an employee at Pizza Hut had me grinning from ear to ear.



Yeah, I am a sucker for such things and promptly proceeded to tip him more than I normally do. I wonder if this practice is followed by all Pizza hut employees , and if they do I really don't know how I've never noticed it before. Customer delight is a luxury these days ,what with rude service staff littered all over the place. I did read about an instance of a customer being delighted by a Marks&Spencer employee. This guy in the UK bought something at  a M&S and was not given the proper change by the cashier. He wrote out  a complaint and dropped it into the complaint box ; he  had written that he  would be  sufficiently compensated(of the few cents/ dollars that he wasn't given)  only if someone would draw and send him a dinosaur (one of those join the dots and complete the picture types).Crazy request , no? The guy promptly forgot about it and never expected any replies to his insane request. 

A few months later, he gets a discount coupon and a picture of a dotted dinosaur from M&S customer service and is stunned. Who wouldn't be? Well , all's not bad with the world yet and such people help the spirit of customer service(even delight) thrive on. 

You've ever been "delighted" by any company ?

Edited: The company is not Mac Donald's but Marks and Spencer .Thanks, Andy. 

Wednesday, December 14

You have to love..

I Loouuuuve this..

Don't you just love Chinese products? The labels and instructions on the packaging are always a delight to the tired soul.. I found these inspiring words on the backside of the packaging for some random cosmetic product. After reading it three times, I really wondered what the guy was getting at !

Have a super week.. 

Saturday, December 10

Double century and a lot of rambling...

After three plus years of blogging , I've finally hit the 200th post ! Yayyyy! So much has happened to me  during these 200 posts , that I can't even put these changes into words. For most part, this blog has chronicled my journey.It has metamorphosed from a larvae into a butterfly (ok, apologies for the sad analogy ). I am just happy that I am still blogging after three years.

I am officially under a house arrest (!!) for the next 4-5 hours because of a lunar eclipse  and  am looking forward to catching up with all your blogs. There is little scientific evidence suggesting that lunar eclipses are harmful for pregnant women and the unborn baby, but  for once I am ok with toeing the line and keeping my  mouth shut (just to keep the elders happy). My mom has been light-proofing my room and bathroom for the last half hour so that no stray beams manage to get in . Umm, well ... 

Tomorrow we are officially shifting and while I am glad that we will be moving into a new space, I am also a little sad that we will be moving out of this one. I found myself a little overwhelmed when I locked up yesterday and am sure I'll bawl my eyes out after the movers are done with their jig tomorrow. Anyway , to cheer myself up , I got myself some goodies....*winks*.

I am a huge shopaholic , but haven't really indulged in any impulse shopping for myself in a while. Today, I visited the exhibition I mentioned a few days back on the blog, but because I didn't carry my camera ,I couldn't click pics and show them to you. It was ok-ok and had the usual suspects-jewellery, clothes, linen and assorted girly stuff. I was super excited about picking up some stuff from Matsya , as I've been drooling at their goodies posted on other blogs for a long time now, but didn't pick anything up from their stall because I wasn't keen on anything they were carrying. I picked up a finger ring and a  fridge magnet from  the other stalls.

I love finger rings (chunkier the better). Other jewelery I wear is extremely understated and miniature -sized compared to my finger rings. My other obsession(accessories-wise) is for bags.I 've inherited this trait from my mom and aunt who are obsessive bag buyers.Strange how such traits can passed down from one generation to another..I've also inherited an unhealthy obsession for lotions , creams and anything that smells nice and fruity from my mom. My mom is a mind-bogglingly  resourceful and a street-smart person. She is super active and you 'll never catch her resting for even a single minute.Wish I had inherited those useful genes instead of these obsessive shopping genes that she has so generously passed on  to me ;-). Did I mention that I love buying incense sticks too? I have tried almost all the fragrances from Auroville and Maroma. My favourite is the blueberry cheesecake fragrance stick from Maroma.Yummy!

Anyway, I've rambled enough. Without further ado, let me show you the beauties I bought.You'll have to excuse my un-manicured hands (I am trying to stay away from any chemicals as much as possible).

The butterfly ring...
La..La..La....A close-up




Pretty, no? I also bought a fridge magnet,which I thought is uber cute.It's from a company called Chennaigaga that makes Chennai souvenirs. A friend of mine is a huge fridge magnet collector and has about 70-odd magnets on her fridge.It is truly a sight to behold. Somehow,I picked up the habit of collecting magnets from her and have been collecting quirky/funky magnets for the last one year. I am nowhere near the 70- mark , but am sure someday will have a super collection that I'll be proud of...


The magnet.. You likey? Cute, no?



Do you obsessively collect anything?Are you a Becky Bloomwood like me or you detest shopping like the chap?

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, December 8

The post where I cant think of an appropriate title..


Yeah, Yeah..I did a drama-queen number and said I was swamped and stuff. That I am. But  I am saddled with a bad bout of insomnia and was missing writing here ..Hell yeah, I am back to blogging addiction, i think :-) So had to post.
 
The chap and I are normally extremely impulsive people.We'll just take off at 10:00 pm just like that and go see any filth that is on at the  theaters. Needless to say , we are maniac movie-watchers. Though I am not too much into oscar-type movies (give me a Govinda flick anyday) , I don't really mind sleeping through a movie that the chap is excited about watching. I used to be one of those obsessive  foreign-language movie watchers in college.Sometimes we've watched 3rd grade horror flicks  back-to-back  into the wee hours of the morning with our weekend movie-marathon gang  just for the heck of it. But everything came to a standstill seven months back when we found that strange new things were going to happen to us. We suddenly found ourselves becoming something we weren't before: we found ourselves becoming responsible and boring. And thats a scary feeling .I secretly miss the times I could drink myself silly without worrying about anything.

I tried watching Trainspotting a few weeks back , only to find myself extremely nauseated and depressed  fifteen minutes into the movie. I know I would have enjoyed seeing something like this before - I like edgy, crazy movies. Used to, rather. And now, all I can stomach is mush and animated movies. Sigh! I've been craving  Irish cream liquer and  raspberry vodka for the last few days. I know I am not supposed to crave such things,  but then one can't really control such things , can they ? I was so grouchy and pissed off with the world  in general the other day when the sibling, the chap and assorted cousins decided to polish off a scotch bottle. I had to contend myself with a tall glass of milk and keep peeping in on the  drunkards on  the sly because I felt so bummed that I couldn't  join in. And I am not even a scotch drinker!

I've heard mommy-friends crib about how sexless (as in unfeminine) they feel in the first few years of their mommy-hood and  have wondered how this was possible. How could one stop feeling feminine or stop caring about the mismatched set of clothes one was wearing , I would often wonder. Now I know what they mean and the fun has not even started...Though I don't slather greasepaint all over my face before I head out normally , I count myself as one of those people who puts in some effort to look presentable. Its been a while since I made an effort to doll up and am  found in frumpy, behenji-type clothes most of the times.

I miss the old me and want her back !!!!
But then I feel like this every few years and am forever anxious to move into the next phase of life. Once I get into the new phase, I start missing the old one .Yeah, yeah - Grass is greener on the other side and all that jazz. Now that I am on the cusp of entering into another phase (which I've been looking forward to for the longest time) , I want to go back to  the old, irresponsible me. I  distinctly remember feeling like this before I got married and was about to lose my single status. Though secretly (sometimes) I  miss being single , I am happy that I am no longer in the dating-vating game. I am relieved that I don't have to make one more  inane conversation  or flirt  desperately in a bid to find  the "one". Oh , the joys of being married .Compounded many-fold when you get married to your best friend. You know the hubby will always be there for you and not wrinkle his nose if you decide to remain the most un-groomed person on earth.

When I was working full-time I constantly cribbed about work and how I wanted to quit, discover myself, travel the world and do arty-farty things. Now that I have all the time in the world,  and am doing some arty-farty things , I seriously want to get emotionally abused by a sadistic boss ,who would dump me with more mind-numbing work that I could ever imagine. Strange how I always want things that I no longer have ! You've felt like this before?
 
Ok enough serious stuff... 

I saw a movie in a theatre after ages...Tintin. Realized just how much I missed the chomping-on-popcorn-peering-at-the-screen routine. I go to a theatre for the experience and not just the movie. As voyeuristic as this might sound, I am a people-watcher and theatres are fertile ground for eavesdropping on conversations and generally having a good time at the cost of others. Yeah, judge me :-) 
 
Anyway, I thought the movie was super fun and has been animated very well. What else to expect from the Spielberg stable?  I don’t think I was ever a major fan of the Tintin comics while growing up, but this movie has been made really well and kept me engrossed (till fatigue took over and I dozed off 15 minutes before the movie got over). Darn!  What I loved about the way the movie has been made is the attention to small details – like the near-perfect reflections on mirrors and things like that . The humour element (in the form of Haddock and the Thomson duo) made sure that there were chuckles throughout the movie. Cute! Go watch it if you already haven't.

I would have preferred to watch the movie without the 3-D effect, though . I don’t know if its just us or other people find the 3-D viewing experience a little duh! My eyes started watering after a while and I had to keep slipping my 3-D glasses off , only to see frames of a Tintin-like person running across the screen. I seriously hope that the movie makers don’t take this 3-D trend so seriously and make normal animated movies too. Every second movie being released these days in in 3-D. I don’t care if I can’t feel the water splash on my face or feel the adrenaline rush of the protagonist being followed, I want to see a movie without a freaking headache. Is that too much to ask for? You like 3-D movies? Tell, tell…

Sunday, December 4

Mirror,mirror on the wall..who stares back at you?


This morning when I looked in the mirror, I was shocked. An unknown face stared back at me: the chin has sprouted a beard like the wicked witch of the east ; eyes have become close-set like some ET-clone; the ears have elongated , and are incidentally sticking out of my hair; the face has become more tapered and wicked witch-ish ; extra legs have popped and groan… a tail has magically attached itself to... Meehhhh..

Mehhhh…Yeah, I’ve somehow magically transformed into a goat. 

Suspected cause: The grass my dietician has gracefully allowed me to graze on. If I am found missing from this space and not visiting your blogs like a bad girl.. ahem..goat, you can safely assume that I am off to find a new pasture of grass.. Bye ,bye.. Mehhhh , you guys.

Edit : I am becoming the goddess of mis-communication..Several of my posts have been tangential,to say the least.Lets just say that my sense of humour has gone to the dogs. Well, obviously I haven't become a goat  or have metamorphosed physically , but have been made to eat things that goats normally enjoy.. officially, I am going to go slow on sarcasm.. Anyway , I don't have internet connection 24X7 and am swamped with hospital visits (thanks to some more complications health-wise), prenatal classes, preparing my diabetic meals, shifting, helping with my baby-shower arrangements, shopping for the house and writing assignments, I am drained at the end of the day (translated to no time to blog-hop). I hope the madness eases off soon. Well, a diet of veggies and low-fat stuff doesn't leave one chirpy at the end of the day too, does it ?  Oh, btw.. If you are in Chennai, Matsya and a whole load of designers  and handmade product brands are exhibiting their work on the 9th and 10th of this month in Royepettah.. I know I'll be there :-)