I realised today is the last day of February.. how did that happen? I feel like the days are dragging on but the months are flying by.
The girls are well settled at their respective schools and the routine monitoring continues. They are still testing twice a week and so far the tests have been negative.
Oh one Sunday we did get a positive test and isolated immediately. But we also decided to get PCR done within 12 hours, as there were no symptoms at all. Guess what? The PCR came back negative and we were approved to leave Iso. Isolation, even if for 2 days was an experience in itself- one that I don’t wish to relive again.
In other news, I turned another year older and this year, I asked for a nice day out and some plants for my birthday present. Oh and a nice massage 😃 Here’s my favourite one from the lot 💕
How has 2022 been for you, so far? If you are reading this, do leave me a comment:)
MrMowgli turned 5 on 1st of February! We treated him to some low-fat pup cakes from a newly discovered dog cake baker. Low fat because he was diagnosed with pancreatitis early last year and that made him very sick – since then he is on a vet prescribed diet. But everyone deserves a treat for their birthday 😃
I may sound biased but I think he is the cutest golden retriever ever 🙂 He understands ‘Walk’ in both Hindi and English and now even springs to attention if we spell it out as W-A-L-K 😃 He is so smart, yet, he thinks a little safety gate needs to be respected and not knocked over. He is big enough to jump over it but he sits behind it and calls out .. oh my heart.. isn’t he the cutest ?!
He still checks on the girls each night, but here’s the funny thing. He waits to be invited into MsA’s room, but strolls right into MsAn’s. When he is sleeping on our bed, SP asks him nicely to move, he just looks at him lovingly and wags his tail.. I don’t even have to be looking at him and just say the words – “off the bed” and he jumps off and sighs at me 😃
Presenting the beautiful boy that rules our hearts and home 😍
The girls are back at school for Face-to-Face learning – the last regular year of regular school was 2019. Seems almost surreal, but we know it’s real. We lived through the fear and panic of COVID-19, the crippling isolation of lockdowns shortage of essential goods and much more.
Testing twice a week for regular monitoring is the way forward and the first time we did the test, we were all holding our breaths- the girls took turns being human timers for each other. But negative test results meant that they were able to start school on their designated days.
Here’s hoping and praying for a full year of regular school for my kids and all the kids across the globe.
Diwali is round the corner and it’s time to shake the lockdown fatigue and welcome some well deserved cheer. Restrictions in Melbourne have eased at the right time too. We were invited to a Diwali celebration last night and that put us all in a festive mood.
I am still waiting for my Diwali-in-a-box from my dad & sister thanks to quarantine delays, it’s time to put on my adult hat on and bring some festive furor in my little home with little touches of decoration here and there, massive decluttering & yelling at everyone to help clean( I am not very popular right now) and of course preparing traditional treats – Diwalicha Faral . Faral is a mix of sweet and savoury snacks prepared lovingly at home.
I grew up in a traditional Maharashtrian home and the delicious aroma of besan & ghee roasting wafting from the kitchen signalled that Diwali was here. I remember my mom and grandmother roasting 1-2 kgs of besan in a massive kadhai(wok) till their arms were about to fall off and then roll the laddus till their fingers were aching . There were big steel dabbas ( calling a dabba canister just doesn’t invoke those happy memories 😄) filled to the brim with laddus that we would sneak around to get our hands into.
This morning, MsA’s smile when I told her what I was cooking reminded me of my own joy as a child. However, this time I had a little help from my newest kitchen toy, my Thermomix. The girls have named her Therma 😊 Therma did all the roasting for me & then I roasted the besan & ghee mix in the pan for another 5 minutes to get the colour of my choice.
MsAn bantered on about how she doesn’t like laddu & I only cook what MsA likes. She wants Gulab Jamun. I have challenged myself to make some now – of course you will hear about it whether it’s a success or a failure 😄
For now, my house smells beautiful.. Diwali vibes are on. Roasted besan, cardamom, incense… and my heart is happy! I hope to share some more recipes over the next couple of days 🙂
I have a day off today and had big plans to study but spent most of my morning hanging out in my room, staying out of the way of those who are studying and working. I had Mr.Mowgli for company and used my time wisely to make some phone calls that were long overdue .
And now, it’s lunch time, I made myself a cup of packet soup (Asian Laksa, in case you are curious) and decided to settle down for some studying. But one child is using my laptop and another has occupied my office. I could use the work tablet to sign in but I try to keep work and school separate, so here I am 😊 Just stopping by to say hello and document a few things.
So, we are in Lockdown 6.0 – it seems never ending and COVID fatigue or Lockdown fatigue has kicked in big time. It’s knocked me out for the sixes that’s for sure. The girls are unhappy about logging in from home as well. The only person that seems unaffected is SP. But, then he is an introvert and was also used to this style of working pre-COVID.
Don’t worry, this post is not going to be all doom and gloom. Today is a bright sunny day and that’s making me smile. Last week I also started a new role professionally. And that is super exciting too. The only downer is that I had to do an online handover for the last role and do my own onboarding online. But my new team leader is lovely and set me up for one on one with all the members of the team through out the week, so that was nice.
Usually on my day off, I am bustling around in the kitchen doing the laundry and any other mundane tasks that are pending from the week/weekend. Today, I just decided to give myself a break . And now I am trying to beat the iPad that has 15% battery left, to finish this post.
Today reminds me of the time when I was a 20-something newly wed, living in Toronto or a suburban American town, not a care in the world. I would wake up, make myself a cup of tea and log in to chat with friends and family in India, write a blog post ( although I do regret not starting a blog in those early years) ,craft, watch a movie, go to the library- you get the idea. But obviously, that’s not an option now..working full time, having kids mean more responsibilities. But, every now and again,having a day like this helps.
MsAn has returned my laptop, so I should try and get some studying done before they finish school for the day. Also in the time that it took me write this post, with interruptions, the weather has changed from sunny to cloudy and there was a quick hail shower too – that’s Melbourne weather for you. But my mood is cheery now 🙂
Today was a long day at work- long meetings, lot of firefighting behind the screens and I was exhausted by the time I logged off. I told the husband to order pizza and I was going to sit on the couch and stare at my phone. Another work call and I decided to cook- to unwind.
I love the rhythm of slicing and dicing, the mixing of spices, marinades and finally watching it all come together. Tonight I cooked besan wali Capsicum & a quick kadhai paneer with daal fry and steamed rice.
Quick paneer kadhai recipe :
Marinate paneer cubes with yogurt, Chili powder,coriander powder, Kasuri methi and salt. Keep it aside for 15-20 minutes. Heat oil in a pan toss in diced onions and capsicum – cook for 2 minutes, dump the marinated paneer in the pan and let it sizzle. Lower the flame, add a little water, cover and cook on low flame for another 2-3 minutes. This whole dish took me about 15-20 minutes from start to finish.
While the paneer was getting cooked, I chopped the onions for my daal fry , while talking to my dad and seasoned the daal- burnt the onions a little accidentally but in the end that made the daal tastier.
While the daal was simmering away, I sliced up the red & yellow capsicums for ‘besan wali capsicum’ .
My mom used to cook it for our school lunches and I have finally mastered it.
For this dish: heat oil in a pan, add some cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds start to splatter, add the diced capsicum and stir fry. Season with salt, turmeric powder, Chili powder.When the capsicum is semi cooked, add some besan (Chickpea flour) . Two large heaped teaspoons for 2 medium sized capsicums. Mix well, cover and cook on medium flame for 3-5 minutes. The idea is to cook the chickpea flour by steaming. Try to not add any water, while cooking this dish.
It was a lovely meal to end the long day and there are enough leftovers for our lunches tomorrow . The only person not impressed with tonight’s offerings was MsAn, who ate a cheese toasty instead. Oh well, 3 out of 4 is not bad 🙂
Ten- Double digits! MsAn is 10! I can’t believe it that my baby is 10! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, where did the time go? Wasn’t she just born yesterday.
I remember waking up all groggy after my surgery around 11:30 pm or so and asking to see the baby. SP brought her to me and she just nuzzled her way into my heart in that very moment before settling in comfortably on my chest. It felt so effortless- just right.
I still remember being worried if I would be able to love another baby as much as I love MsA. It turns out I was worried for nothing. Now sometimes MsA accuses me of loving MsAn more than her. Well, she follows me around like a puppy, smothers me with kisses and cuddles and talks my ear off – how , please tell me how can I resist the force that is Ananya!
She is the loveliest little girl with a quirky sense of humour. She laughs easily, even at herself. The only time she gets annoyed is when her dad and sister try to tease her about anything. She loves telling stories, just about anything – it could be something that happened at school, something she read, or facts about animals.
At school, she loves reading, art, Mandarin, food tech, Maths, PE, everything except writing. She is really good with technology & robotics. She has a lovely little group of friends and it makes me really happy that she may have found her tribe.
She is a very sensitive, caring child and worries about those that she cares about. And as a result COVID-19 has been an emotional roller coaster for her. The anxiety of the virus, the loneliness caused by lockdowns and missing school has robbed a little piece of her spirit – I hope I can help her find it again.
But, she is generally a happy little old soul. She loves cooking with me, loves reading, playing video games, basketball, piano & loves her doughnuts. She is very perceptive and aware of other’s feelings and it amazes me how much she takes in when I think she is not listening. She wants to be a vet when she grows up.
Dear MsAn I hope you always remain this happy, bubbly, loud, funny, perceptive person as you find your place in life ❤️ As I tell you, always be yourself unless you can be a unicorn! You are as unique as your name and we would never change that for anything, even though sometime we may ask you to talk softly 😀 A, Papa & I love you soo much ..
SP and I got our second doses of Pfizer about 3 weeks back. I was going to wait 2 weeks from the day we got the jab to post about it,but I got distracted by the Lockdown! Yes, we are in lockdown again- Lockdown 5, but more about that later.
So, with the first dose, I didn’t have any side effects other than the regular flu like symptoms & a dull headache, but they disappeared in 2 days. However, with the second dose, I started feeling sick straight away. That may have caused a little excitement in the quiet waiting area at the hospital. One minute I was standing at the counter, waiting to be signed out, next I was being led the nearest chair. 4 nurses appeared suddenly and I was taken to the examination bay & then wheeled out to the observation room.
Finally my heart rate steadied and they let me go home with instructions to rest and return if I felt worse. I slept a lot for the next two days. This time I had a lot of nausea too and sleeping helped too. Besides when you are a mum, it’s not always that you get told to go back to bed & I was not going to let that opportunity pass.
Anyway, back to lockdown, I can’t believe it that we are back in lockdown so quickly and that our last lockdown was only last month! 🤯 We are doing our part – staying home, using masks, just being sensible. And despite knowing and understanding the logic of it, it’s still hard to not be impacted by it. Almost everyone I speak to talks about how they are now struggling emotionally and that’s completely understandable, isn’t it? We are social beings after all. Even the most introverted, most anti-social ones amongst us need the most basic social interactions for their mental wellbeing.
But we are also the most adaptive species on earth. The last time I was in the office, masks were mandatory. It was so nice to recognise familiar people despite the masks, seeing their eyes crinkle as they smiled upon recognising you. It was wonderful to see everyone respectfully staying the required 1.5mtrs away from each other. It was funny to watch friends do that awkward air hug, side step and then elbow bump – funnier because I had done the same thing myself. We learn, we adapt, then learn some more, until we perfect this game of life, taking all the little curveballs coming our way, in our stride.
I am waiting in the car with MsA, waiting for the Dr to call us in for the appointment. She is running late, so I think it will be a long wait.
Anyway, the reason for this photo is that I have one of my favourite scarves on – it’s so colourful and has giant butterflies on it. I am also also wearing my favourite earrings . And I am finally seeing some curls in my hair again – you can see the greys too 🙂
About 4 years back, when SP was working interstate and I was rushing everywhere alone – I decided to get my hair permanently straightened. Wait! Wait .. there was a logic to my madness. I had long hair but never enough time to style it. And even if I found the time to make an effort, by the time I arrived at work, I looked like I had fought 10 battles( at least I felt like I had) .
I loved the ease of wash and wear and that I always woke up with amazing hair. Fast forward to a couple of years and MsAn started noticing that she was the only one that had messy curls but both MsA and I had straight hair and she started feeling left out and wanted to change her hair. I told her her curls were gorgeous and she asked me why I didn’t have any. I didn’t know what to say.
Finally last year, I decided to return to my original hair. It has taken a long time for it to get to this stage but I can finally see little waves and curls 🙂 it’s not a lot but still considerable since I have had dead straight hair for 4-5 years.
The doctor called us in just as I was looking for a photo of MsAn’s curly hair..so finally finishing this post 4 hours later. We managed to fit in lunch at our favourite cafe, grocery shopping and a short drive in between. Seems like a good Saturday so far.
I wanted to write something for the last so many days.. nothing big- just something little- a few lines, a few words – just something to fill the hole in my stomach..
You know the pit in your stomach when you are trying to hold it together when you are feeling nothing but despair.. despair at not knowing when we will see our families in India again… despair at not knowing when COVID will go away.
The start of winter,onset of another lockdown (Lockdown 4!!) in Melbourne and being unwell just made the hole bigger and bigger and I had to lay low to lick my wounds.
I am not ok, but it’s ok to not be ok. This too shall pass – it always does 🙂 In other news, Ms A turned 14 and the Husband turned another year older and we celebrated with lots of cake.
MsA finally got her teen birthday party with cake and friends and a sleepover. The husband had another birthday in lockdown.
SP and I got the jab! First dose of Pfizer! And since I am actually feeling better after writing this post, I will leave you with a smiling photo of me.. I promise I am smiling behind the mask 😷 I knew it that writing will help 😊