Monday, August 29, 2011

Do you still feel "at home" at your mother's home?

Mother's home. Mom's place. Tavaru maney... These are phrases that really hold a deep-rooted emotional umbrella of feelings over your heart. They shade your heart from the rest of the world.

Yet, its so ironical how you feel so out of place in this same home you grew up in all your life, once you move out and have your "own" life. The umbilical cord connecting you to that distinct world "before marriage" gets stretched and strained in unimaginable ways.

No, I'm not in distress or anything...I just got thinking about it a few days ago, when I made a comment to an aunt of mine. I was visiting her. Hubby was on tour as usual. "So will you stay back at mom's tonight?" she asked casually. "No, I'm going back...I just feel more comfortable there...." without realising the horror of what has just escaped my lips. But my aunt, a decade older than me, completely identified with that and said she feels the same way too...we swept over the issue with an understanding smile for each other.

But, it is true...for me at least. maybe it is too for some other women.
My mom has always been a very strict disciplinarian, and post-marriage, the freedom from that I guess makes me feel this way. Even now when I go back to mom's I hate being whipped by her -- put the glass away after drinking tea- don't let it dry up, don't enter kitchen till you've brushed your teeth, "go, go have a bath fast", make the bed as soon as you get up, don't keep the oily ladle on the kitchen counter, don't drop food on the stove while serving yourself dinner....
I know, small things...still, no one tells you that in your home! (It's a different matter that you're saying all that to husband and child perhaps, in your own role as mother...) Sometimes I feel miserable that I take this home, these people and their presence in my life for granted. My friend who recently lost her mother always points out in times of distress "But at least you have a 'mom's home' to go to....." Oh how miserable I feel for her at such times.

I don't know if it's age, but every conversation with the parents is no longer a conversation -- it's an argument, very often a fight. Because we disagree on most things. How and when did I grow so different from them, and they from me?
I don't like being told what to do. I never liked it, but I was never so vehement in protesting either, earlier. Perhaps then, I didn't have some place to "escape" to. No "escaping to husband's" when parents piss you off.

But it's amazing how I'll still run to mom's when I'm sick, when things aren't smooth with the in-laws or hubby, when I'm just feeling low, when I don't feel like cooking. It's still a place I go to seeking solace, comfort, food, love, and the familiarity of all things childhood and growing-up. But then, there's a point when I want to return.

Whenever I point out to mom "My pollen allergy always gets triggered in YOUR house," in between my allergic sneezing bouts, it gets her all teary. "MY house..? You grew up perfectly fine here all these years..."

This thing of yours and mine, mom's and mine, parent's and husband's ... how easily we cross over, leaving behind more than two decades of what shaped us. How casually we sift and separate, distinguish and compartmentalise. How foolishly we claim what we have now is ours.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vegetarian avocado recipe - a simple sandwich spread

I'm really excited. Today's the first time I made something with avacado (butter fruit) at home. It took me five minutes to make, that's the best part of it...

And what a day to make it. It is Varamahalakshmi pooja today. We don't do an elaborate pooja, so I had time on my hands. But this is the fastest thing to make.

A colleague had given me a ripe avacado from her friend's garden. So I couldn't keep it a day longer -- it was RIPE.
I've eaten avacados at restaurants and at friend's places, but never made it myself.
Didn't know it was this simple.

Here's what I did:
1. Halve the avacado
2. Discard the seed and the brown skin around it if it's stuck to the pulp
3. Scoop out the fruit/pulp with a sharp steel spoon
4. I mashed it with the spoon once -- it was easy and smooth
5. Add salt to taste, a pinch of sugar, some fresh ground pepper, finely chopped fresh coriander (kothambri), squeeze in a dash of lime (all this to take away it's slightly bitter after-taste).
You can add mashed green chillies for fire. I didn't because I was hoping to con Sonny Boy into eating it. You can also add in some mashed garlic pods and finely chopped raw onion for crunch (these two elements were a no-no today, it being a festival)
6. I also added some fresh cream (it was around in the fridge), and grated in some cheese - just for effect :-)
7. Spread this on a slice of bread, top it with finely chopped capsicum/green bell pepper and finely chopped ripe tomatoes. You can use any other vegetable/greens of your choice. This is just what I quickly did. I think boiled potato will work well.
8. I sprinkled some more salt
9. I closed it with one more slice of bread, also spread with the avacado mix on the inside
10. Toast it in one of those plug-in electric toasters/sandwich grills

I LOVED THE RESULT. Had a yummy breakfast...with tomato ketchup

I guess you can use your imagination and add anything to the avacado mash -- garam masala, dhania/jeera powder and turmeric, maybe chopped spinach, olives, ajwain....i don't know -- i'm going to try other combos soon

Avacados apparently consist of "good fat", multi-vitamins, specially Vitamin K and folate. It's high calorie, yes, but worth its weight in nutrition too, so it's fine i guess.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The birthday blues...not so blue after all

Each year, Sonny Boy's birthday brings on the worries. I know it's hardly the feeling to be associated with birthdays, specially of your child.

But only a mother like me who has an extensive web of relatives and friends living around, and who are more enthusiastic about your son's birthday than you are, (and whose parents pressure her into throwing a party
;-)) -- will know what I mean. And specially an Indian mother who has her child's birthday bang in the middle on the Monsoons, when the party surely gets rained out. And specially so when your own birthday is a few days apart from your child's, and you well, end up slogging on your own birthday :-( because the party inevitably happens a few days after his date...

After last year's experience, I learnt a few lessons.
I also spent a good month wondering what would make Sonny really happy -- I mean what kind of party....
So I ended up throwing two parties!!!!!
One to please my parents and all of Sonny Boy's grandparents/ great-grandparents (he has many!).
Then another one so that he's surrounded by kids and behaves like one! -- This one was for the limited number of friends he has -- apartment kids, my best friend's kid, my nieces and nephews. Of course, my own cousins were on the list too.

We decided
1. No party in a hotel or hired hall, no theme, no magicians, no "activities", no games
2. It has to be indoors (rain can't spoil all the fun, just some!)
3. No extravagant stuff
4. No exotic menu
5. No return gifts (kids these days who come to parties EXPECT  them!)
6. Menu would be good ol' cake-chips-juice-sandwich kind of stuff

Yeah I'm one mean money-saving mum, but damn, have you checked out what birthdays outside the home cost these days?!

Well, we pretty much stuck to the plan and it was fun to see Sonny and the kids hide under the bed and play, dance to rhymes on the DVD...they even opened some presents and played with the toys....
But damn, like every year, I promise myself, yet again, I'm not doing a party next year. :-)