Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Taree Zameen Par

Fantastic movie! Vin, Chotu and myself rushed to this movie Sunday morning show after breakfast. I was in tears couple of times in the movie. Vin wanted to know in which scenes I was crying. I could not remember but the whole movie was taken so sensitively that I enjoyed every minute of it. I realized how much we influence our kids even though the movie emphasizes dyslexic kids. I think we (current education) put a barrier to kids’ free thinking. The movie depicted so well how kids day dream and how the routine education curbs this kind of imaginative thinking. Hats off to Aamir Khan for such a wonderful movie and sensitive direction. Vin wants to watch it again, I might get him a DVD once released with English subtitle and he might cry too, if he really understood the dialogues.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Up Close and Sonu

Last week we were at Sonu Nigam’s concert. Man! That guy has awesome voice. He has nice sense of humor that kept the audience engaging throughout. It must take lot of hard work and energy to put up that kind of show. My friend and I had to get through the dancing crowds to get close as 10 feet to believe it was real live show while DH and my friend’s husband were comfortable in their seats forty feet away. I lost my voice cheering and shouting. It was awesome experiance!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why are they black?

Was Chotu’s question!

There is an Urdu University close to my parents place. We saw groups of black dresses suddenly and Chotu was surprised.

Chotu: Are those black people? Why are they dressed in black?
Me: They are Muslim ladies who are covered in “Bhurkhas”
Chotu: Oh! Why do they need “Bhurkhas”?
Me: They cannot show their face to outside people other than their family.
Chotu: Why? Because they are black!
Me: No, these women are one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Chotu: Why can’t other people see them then?
Me: That is their Custom / Religion
Chotu: What does that mean?
Me: (((I give up, uff this kid never stops))) That is their belief, that is how they need to do it.

Questions died down once we were past the “Bhurkhas”.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

RTI itch

Return to India has been with us since last three to four years. Finally we did it. DH (dear hubby) and I have accepted jobs in Hyderabad, India, moved our stuff and bought one way tickets to Hyderabad. We are here now in Hyderabad, India. It is still not hitting me. Of course I landed yesterday. For me the decision was easy, I just had to say yes to an email to land where I am now. For DH it was a major decision, so he had to talk to tons of people to get different points of view. Vin (my oldest) was very sad to leave his friends back in Redmond and his life that he started in Washington and move to a different continent. Chotu, apart from repeating what Vin said he had no real issues. He is a real Bindas (Take it easy kind). My sissy was sad to see me go but my brother was happy; he is planning to return back in two years. My parents are excited. My mom is excited and is ready to give me advise and take control. My MIL was against our move, but she realized that it did not affect our decision. She thinks we will not be able to adjust here. Climate wise this is the best season to move. For now we have personnel taking care of us (stay, transportation, diet). Every five minutes you will hear “Saar, Madam” to boost your egos. Whatever is ahead of us, I don’t care, all I know is I am having a ball alreadyJ. Chotus quest about Burkhas (veil) is coming up next.

Friday, November 30, 2007

HP Trip – Day 5

We reached Delhi early morning and took an Auto to NJ’s place. It was Sravana Sukravaram, so Sai and NJ did pooja very diligently. I was never into poojas since my child hood, was forced into such rituals by mom and after marriage, DH never encouraged/discouraged such things so lost touch with rituals. Felt very good to see someone believe in them sincerely. We had nice homemade cooked lunch and went on a Lajpath Nagar shopping spree. There is a small bangle shop about 10X12 sqft store called JhunJhunwala chudiya or something similar that carried awesome bangles. We hysterically bought stuff that we had to borrow bags from NJ and stuff it in. My OCD kicked in when we were stuck in Delhi Friday evening traffic and we have an hour to reach airport on time. Finally we reached airport on time (lil earlier than needed) and reached Hyderabad and home around midnight. Thanks to Vissu who gave us ride. We showed off our videos and pictures to everyone (whoever asked and the ones who never bothered to ask).

HP Trip – Day 4

Kalatop and Kajjar wildlife sanctuary was our main foucs for the day. As I have signs of OCD, I was nervous that our car might breakdown somewhere in the jungle and we will not be able to catch our train back to Delhi. That did not happen but Sai and Kemo were rehearsing that in the midst jungle some bad boys will come and hijack me and how the journalists will interview Kemo and Sai. They had a big kick out of the day dream story and all this conversation was in Hindi. The driver was listening to this entire story and at the end of their imagination, I said in Telugu “if the driver is already on that mission what would you guys really do?” K was so worried, his face went pale and I couldn’t stop laughing. Back to the Kalatop – it was a scenic route and only one vehicle can travel at a time in that path. I was totally lost in transition. We have seen pahadi ladkis (excuse my hinglish) who are so beautiful just as shown in Shammi Kapoor’s filmis. These girls are in the middle of nowhere in the hills cutting grass for their goats and herding cows- such a simple yet complex life. After the sightseeing we headed back to Chakkibank to catch our train back to Rajdhani. We are three hours early than the scheduled time credit goes to my OCD. We had to go and talk to the station master to get the waiting room unlocked and started our rummy game. We had dinner that we got to-go from the famous “Sharma Dhaba” in Dalhousie after boarding the train. We are ready to go home after a fun exhausting four day trip.

Friday, October 12, 2007

HP Trip – Day 3

We engaged a taxi for the whole day. The driver’s name is Manoj, must be in his teens. Very enthusiastic about his job and very very respectful. I think it comes with the culture. We headed to Dharamsala and Mcleodgunj –the headquarters of His Holiness Dalia Lama ji. The travel was awesome- narrow roads from one hill to another, from one town to another. On the way we saw many Bhuddist monks. The scene was just as it was shown in “Discovery Channel” – Beautiful colors, warm weather, Blue Mountains a sense of peace within and out. Maybe I am just romanticizing a bit, but we could feel it. We stopped at the famous Dal Lake only to be disappointed to find a pond. We visited the Buddhist temple. Unlike other temples, this temple was different. There were no people rushing you from behind to move on, choclates; biscuits; tea; bread being offered as prasad to the deity and disciples arguing with their teachers (part of Buddhism). We ate delicious lunch in the temple premises restaurant. Saw Richard Gear's photo with the owner of the restaurant. Spinned all the prayer wheels. On our way back we did more shopping. I stopped at a flute place to buy a flute for DH. The owner played the flutes to show me the various sizes and bases. I bought a wide base sound flute made out of bamboo from Nepal to DH. The flute shop owner is from Nepal (one of my ToVisit place), mentioned that he would return back to Nepal during winter and comeback in the summer with more goods. His family would make the flutes and his friend who visited India for the first time is the artist who etched Sri Krishna on the flute. Both gentlemen are pretty accomplished artists with humble nature. I could not withstand or come to terms with the simplicity. I could not hide my pretense. It silently bothered me of all the money, materials and food we waste and not worthy of. On our way back we stopped at an old church. Since we covered pretty much everything, we decided to move on to Dalhousie that evening. Manoj arranged for another Taxi that can drive us to Dalhousie. Before we left to Dalhousie we toured the norling Institute and their students working on varous arts. Shyam was our chauffer for the evening. It was very dangerous route, 8 –feet ghat road with road slides along the way. Reached Dalhousie at 10:00PM and Shyam had to head back to Dharamsala. We prayed for his safety. Finished our dinner and slept like a log.

Monday, October 08, 2007

HP Trip – Day 2

We arrived at Chakki Bank next day morning around 7:00 AM. Took a taxi to Norling Guest house, Dharamsala. It took us around three hours, we crossed Punjab boarder and entered Himachal. I have enjoyed the taxi driver’s Punjabi accent along the drive asking him questions. It was pouring heavily all the way to the guest house. It was beautiful place that KM and Sai found out on the internet. Amidst bamboo gardens a small Tibetan style settlement. We got refreshed and I took a long nap. Sai and KM took a quick walk around the guest house and were pretty excited. They both woke me up and I was still groggy from my jet lag but couldn’t help listen to their excited tit bits. Around 5:00 PM finished my lunch and headed for sightseeing. Since not much light is left, we thought we will cover Tapovan Ashram at Sidhberi. It is the headquarters of Chinmya Mission. We three have been Chinmya Yuva Kendra members in college days and there was an occasion to visit Sidhberi at that time. Unfortunately my parents did not feel comfortable to send me to Sidhberi in Himalayas at that time. It is in our destiny, so it was there right in front of our eyes serene, beautiful, pleasant location that was described to us 16 years ago. After visiting ashram, we went to Ram Mandir that is in the premises and returned to our guest house.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

HP Trip – Day 1

We flew from HYD-Delhi. This is Sai’s first ever flight and she said “it is just like a big bus” and it was. Air travel has become so common in India; I remember reading somewhere that India and China will have worst air traffic in the coming years. NJ’s family picked us up and her DH (dear husband) drove us around Gurugaon and finally to their home. SV, NJ’s husband did his masters at the same time we were in our B.Arch, so we were talking about old times, meanwhile Deepu – NJ’s son got really bored. We had Pizza, played cards (KM card playing crash course begun) and head off to Sarojini Nagar Market. After living in U.S. for long, personal space is something I take it for granted or feels it is my birth right. I only realize it is a myth when I enter markets like Sarojini nagar. I avoid many shopping centers and temples for the same reasons. We did have lot of fun other than my people phobia. From there we drove to India Gate and I was surprised to see so many people. I have always seen India Gate in movies with no people except the filmi folks jogging etc. Relying on Airborne, I did have the yummy roadside 'bhel'. NJ’s family drove us off to a metro station. Delhi metros are no less to Europe metros. It was amazing to see how fast you can get to from point A to point B without traffic. Finally we landed at Old Delhi station and boarded our much awaiting train “Jammu Mail” that will take us to Pathankot (Chakkibank). The weather in Delhi was very humid and sticky, I was so glad to get into the moving train. Due to jet lag and the entire shopping gala, I dozed off very early, whereas Sai and KM kept chatting for long hours.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Lot of planning and scheduling went into our HP (Himachal Pradesh) trip. I called up Sai one day and asked her if she would be interested in 3-4 day trip to some where we have never been. Sai and I have been to most of the south and northern India during our Architectural tours in college. She suggested “Dharamsala” over the phone and my mind got fixated on it. Did all the research on how to get there and what to see around. Meanwhile we asked NJ, Chakri and KM if they would be interested in joining us. NJ had visitors, KM agreed and Chakri had to drop out in the last minute. I booked flight tickets (very cheap if you book ahead) from HYD- Delhi and train tickets from Delhi- Chakki Bank (Pathankot). I did this booking with the help of my brother and his friend. We cannot use international credit cards anymore for booking online tickets. I am impressed with the online services how I booked all my tickets from here (U.S.). Sai and KM are in charge of lodging. Sai, KM and I are very excited about the trip; we told everyone that we could possibly tell. Sneak preview of HP trip... details coming up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chalo Bharath….

Packed my bags just a day before the Independence Day and was waiting impatiently for my Sis to arrive to give me a ride to the airport. Early morning Aug 15th while I was getting Chotu ready for daycare -
Mom: Chotu, pay attention to me, you are getting late, I will be late...
Chotu: I wish you could miss your flight...
Mom: What! Why do you say that?
Chotu: So you don’t have to go to India.
After all that planning, now the lil guy throws a curse on me and my sister has not yet left her house when I called she was still “leaving right now” and hung up on me as usual. For some reason I believed in “Bal Vaak Brham Vaak” some corner of my heart, so took the wheel from my Sis and landed two hours early at the airport. Took out the entire extra luggage and handed it to her and checked in very early just to prove Chotu wrong. Off to a three week vacation away from everything (work, kids, DH and everything…). Everyone was envious of the idea. Of course had to answer zillion times to everyone how I could leave DH alone with the kids and go on vacation.

Monday, August 13, 2007

IBL Program

Since summer is full of Sports, Science, Arts, and Jedi camps for Vin. I came up with up a super idea for Vin. Vin has been asking for another video game console Nintendo DS Lite. We all love incentives. I came up with an ‘Incentive Based Learning’ Program (IBL). I asked him if he can learn Telugu in this Summer, he can get Nintendo DS by end of August. The test is - he should be able to read 1st grade Telugu book and write three or four letter words without seeing any book. I asked my Dad to mail me a Telugu book last month and we received the book four weeks ago. Guess what? - Vin can write and read 1st Grade book. Phew! What motivation and inspiration these Video games are on kids. If we can channel those appropriately, they can be to our advantage. Of course no matter how many games and consoles we have in our house, the limit is two hours over the weekend. Chotu does not like this or any of my rules, but he has to live with themJ

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fact or Fiction

In this world of action figures Bob the builder, Sponge bob, Power Rangers, Spider man etc., chotu had an interesting question the other night while I was putting him in bed.

Chotu: Mommy, Is Bill Gates real?

Mom: Yes, Kanna- he is.

Chotu: Is he rich? (source- his bro)

Mom: Yes. He is the richest man on earth.

Chotu: How much money does he have?

Mom: I don’t know but lots.

Chotu: Oh! Where does he have all his money? All over his house?

Mom: Nope. All is not in the form of money. He owns Microsoft, Xbox and many other things like buildings etc.

Chotu: Does he own you?

Mom: Hahaha! Nope.

Mom: He also gives out lot of his money to the poor people.

Chotu: Oh!

Mom: Ok, now no more questions , go to bed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Challenge me

Chotu always likes to solve a puzzle or two before going to bed.

Chotu: ok give me a hard one

Nanna: What looks like a donut but not sweet?

Chotu: huh! Bagel. That is so easy, I want another one.

Mom: Come let me ask you one while I put you in bed.

Chotu: Ok!

Mom: What is the fastest animal in the world?

Chotu: Jaguar! This is so easy. You need to ask me challenging ones.

Mom: Oh! I don’t know what is challenging for you and what is easy. Why don’t you ask me?

Chotu: Sure. Ummm . It looks a snake and on trees- what is it?

Mom: Python .

Chotu: No- it looks like a snake, not a snake. It starts with a ‘V’.

Mom: Viper, Venomous snake …

Chotu: No Mom! It is a vine. See! This is how you need to challenge me.

Mom: :-

Big Brother

Vin: So what’s going in school?

Chotu: ‘A’ has been chasing us and bothering us?

Vin: Did you tell your teacher?

Chotu: – No

Vin: Then?

Chotu: She tells on us and the teacher gives us time out.

Vin: Oh! Chotu- this is what you guys should do. Kick her and run.

Chotu: Yeah! But teachers don’t believe us.

Mom: Vin! What are you teaching? That is not nice.

Chotu: But Mommm! ‘A’ is always bothering us and getting us in trouble.

Mom: You should always tell the teacher, you should never hit anyone.

Monday, July 02, 2007

What's Next?

Finally the fat lady sang! It is really a great experience walking the aisle. Many popped the question –“what’s next?”. Shrugged off – I quit school. There is so much to do outside of school, and need to focus on Vin and Chotu.
Upcoming posts- Vin giving advise to Chotu on how to handle gals at school.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Haunting Flavors

Talking Rain

Bigelow Green Tea

Zone Perfect Protein Bar

Victor Cafe's Panini Sandwich

Starbukc's Carmel Machiato

Vanilla Ice cream with freshly cut strawberry pieces

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chotu’s 2 Cents

DH usual routine on the computer browsing local news papers of desh .

Chotu: Dad why are they colors everywhere?
Dad: In India there is a festival where everyone plays with colors…
They have lots fun, you can paint each other faces…
……..goes on explaining without giving a chance to chotu to respond.

Chotu: After patiently listening to his eloquent dad said “ Oh! You mean Holi”?
Dad: With a smile on his face appreciating his knowledge and embarrassed for underestimating.

At the lunch table:

Chotu: Oh! Fish sticks! I can’t eat fish, because we need to kill fish to make fish sticks.
Dad: Please eat this time; you don’t have to eat next time.
Chotu: Why can’t we eat meat balls? No fish anymore, so we don’t have to kill fish.
Mom: Where do meat balls come from?
Chotu: You know! From animals or somethin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Growing Pains

Chotu’s list of complaints (with a frowny look) to his dad yesterday at the dinner table

1) Why do we have so many rules in this house?
2) Why do we have to eat dinner everyday?
3) How come we have to go to bed everyday early?
4) Why do we have to listen to you everyday?
5) This is no fun!
6) I want to have fun everyday.
7) Why can’t we watch TV for long time?
8) Why can’t we play X-box?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Painting Blues

Due to snowy weather we are stuck at home since last Wednesday. We have tried our best to keep us active. All of us did at least one painting each, which was updated in their respective blogs. Hopefully we will go back to our normal lives this week. We had a nice warm Christmas in CA with Friends and Family of course with Mickey, who would miss him. We are paying back for having warm Christmas:(