Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reviewing my year so far

What a year it has been. 2015 - are you here already?

First, our TV breathed its last in the month of January and second, the better half fractured his foot in February . Read more about that here  :D

But all's well that ends well. He recovered in a month and was back on his feet, albeit a little slowly and treading carefully on the delicate foot. We enjoyed a week in Greece in the month of April. I chronicled it here.

Towards the middle of the year, our older cub S went off on his own to India to enjoy his summer holidays with his grandparents. It was a transition of sorts for all of us, and an especially big milestone for him. I just could not bring myself to say goodbye, the thought that I would not see him for nearly 2 months made my heart break. The first week was bad but daily Skype sessions with him kept our spirits up and it was nice to know that the kid was really enjoying himself with his friends and meeting up with cousins and relatives.

The little one turned 2 over the summer. He was a quiet little toddler at the beginning of this year but has progressed to a terrible tantrum throwing tot for whom it's his way or the highway. The days he is well behaved, we are all more relaxed and definitely happier. On other days, it is a struggle and seems like the end of the world. He started the year with just 3 or 4 teeth and now in October he has 16 teeth, which means he has been teething consistently through the year. Which is also a good indication of how tough it has been on all of us.

Workwise, things have been easy for me and I have only been taking on as much as I can, given my circumstances. Who ever said it was easy for mommies?

With a couple of more months towards hurtling to the end of 2014, I can only pray for peace and happiness to prevail as it has and here's looking forward to a bright and cheery 2015 :) May the best and only the very best be in store for all of us.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Creating a technology-free zone for yourself

These days there are lots of articles on the www that tell you how important it is to 'log off' and tune into your own personal self and reconnect with the person you are. Oh it is very important. Ironically you end up reading these articles when you are online and you get sucked into reading more and more of such ones till you have been online for much more time than you had allotted for yourself.

I think if we are much more realistic with ourselves, we may actually log off in the real sense rather than if it is some artifical punishment. I feel instead of marching up to everyone and saying that 'Hello, you cannot use the ipad or the laptop right now because we are having a log-off time'; it is important to introspect and see why everyone at home thinks it is important to be logged on always. I am a self-confessed social media addict and I love my phone and checking updates on it. A lot of my work happens online so that's one of my big reasons. But heck, we would always have big reasons, right? And if nothing works, the forcibly-setting-a-log-off-time would be a lovely thing to do.

In our home, we don't get the wi-fi signal in a couple of bedrooms and it was never a conscious decision. It just happened that way. We have a very powerful router but the signal is weak or almost a zero in those bedrooms and that's where I disappear if have any serious work to be done.  I leave my phone in the living room and vanish to the bedroom with my art or craft projects and guess what, I actually get a lot done without any buzzes or beeps from my device to distract me.

Another fabulous thing that works for me is that I don't have a data plan on my phone. When I am out and about, I am totally disconnected unless I can hook on to a wi-fi network. If there's a chance I am going to be out all day on a working weekday (which is very very rare), I do avail of one of those per-day data plans so that I know I am only using it for urgent reasons.

Share your experience with me :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

The POWER of a 'power nap'

Ha ! I can't believe I am the one writing about a power nap. You see, such a term never existed in my life until now. It was either the whole nine yards or none. I used to be a very deep sleeper and nothing could ever stir me, not even if a group of dinosaurs marched past me. I valued my sleep hours so much that I had never considered an alternative.

In my pre-baby days, I have been known to stretch luxuriously into afternoon naps spanning 3 hours. I didn't even need a cot, even a mat on the floor with a comfy pillow would do. And I don't ever recall having had any trouble falling asleep.

Let's fast forward to a few years later. My older one was a peaceful child, he would sleep and let us sleep too. But the younger boy is a different story altogether. He is a restless sleeper-kicker-shouter all rolled into one. So in the wake of my current scenario, I decided to venture into power nap territory. And oh, what a discovery it has been !!

I take the best power naps these days. Just a 15 minute shut eye gives me enough energy for the whole evening and makes me a happier person. And that automatically means everyone around me is happier.  My tot sleeps for about 1.5 hours every afternoon so I try and time my nap accordingly. The older one is back home from school by then so I can't just abandon him and go tuck myself in bed - so this nap is planned and executed accordingly.

My power naps are taken on my comfy couch. The older one feels I am with him in the same room, gives him comfort and also I get to indulge.

Do you take power naps? Does it rejuvenate you? :-) Tell me your story!
 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How was your summer?

Summer is yet to start moving out of the UAE! Our days are still so sticky, and the super-hot scorching sun continues to beat down ruthlessly. I just can't wait for the winter to arrive!

Here's what I did :

I spent all of the summer here this year while my older one was in India with relatives, he had a blast! I was busy getting my website all organized and sorted, and finally launched it on July 14th :D Have you seen it yet? If not, do log on to www.artsyurmi.com and tell me how you like it! I have decor items up there, and lots of handicrafts!

I was busy with a couple of orders over the summer that kept me busy and I am hoping to continue being busy and buzzing as always 'coz that's what keeps me ticking! Once the weather gets better, I will be able to take the kids out to the park at least and they can get a lot of outdoor time. It is so limited now, and my younger one especially hates being indoors!

The festive season is upon us now. We celebrated Gokulashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi and this month it's Navratri followed by Diwali next month! I love festivals, making sweets, making rangolis, flowers, the fragrance of incense sticks; lamps, EVERYTHING :-)


What did you do all summer? Leave me a comment :-)

Monday, July 21, 2014

My new website!

www.artsyurmi.com is now LIVE !!

Hop on the newest portal in the www to discover a unique and eclectic selection of home décor items in ceramic, terracotta and glass! In addition I also have a section on Eco Décor items - these are beautiful pieces that have been created by upcycling used packaging material.

The website is so easy to navigate and the payment options are also so convenient!

UAE Shoppers can avail of a fantastic $5 shipping rate - isn't that awesome!!

 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My very first opportunity to witness a live sports game!

The IPL fever is on; and I got a chance to be a spectator yesterday at the KKR versus RR match. For the uninitiated, KKR is Kolkata Knight Riders and RR is for Rajasthan Royals :-)

I won't call myself an avid cricket buff but my husband is, so every once in a while I like to join in the spirit of the game just to give him some company! But IPL is an exception because it's just a 20 over match and the innings are over pretty soon - the worst is test cricket when they just keep playing for days together, what a drag!


We went along with my cousin and his wife - more the merrier! We got to the stadium around 2 hours before the match started so we had to brave the heat for some time before sunset. The stadium was already filling up with fans from both sides and by the time it was 1830 - the crowds were roaring!! WOW, what an adrenaline rush! I can totally understand - Cricket is a HUGE passion in the Indian sub continent!

RR won the toss and batted first, we cheered at all the boundaries and sixers, boo-ed at the loss of wickets and then......... came.......... King Khan, to support his team's innings. He looks quite lean and yes, age is showing on his face - but hey he is Shah Rukh Khan :D :D Sorry I'm gushing like a teenager here!!

KKR batted really well, and the game closed with both teams drawing at a 152. They played a super over following which ... Rajasthan Royals WON ! - What a cracker of a match! I am so glad I got to be there, thanks to my parents and my inlaws who took care of the kids at home :-) It was sure worth every minute and all the excitement!





Sunday, April 20, 2014

Too busy? I'm guessing not.

What's with this continuous trend of people saying they are 'too busy'? Since when did it become fashionable to declare you are too busy and that's why you didn't return the call, or sort out some photos or whatever xyz it is that you were supposed to do. Let's face it, we all have our priorities. 

The way I see it, noone can be too busy ALL the time. Consciously or subconsciously we allot priorities to occurrences in our daily grind and we follow that. Sure, we ARE busy. We have so much to do these days that 18 hours look really less (assuming an average person would sleep at least 6 hours). 

The point of this blogpost is how can we stop ourselves from declaring we are 'too busy'? I know of people who just don't bother keeping in touch any more, be it via social media or a phone call or a personal visit. Why? Oh too busy at work, then too busy at home etc etc. 

So what about the people who 'do take the effort'? Are they any less busier than their counterparts - No way. It's all about their priorities. 

I am actually worried about the lack of personal touch these days and it's just not funny any more. I know of people who would rather say hi on WhatSapp than connect and talk to the person. So much so that such people dither if they have to 'actually talk' and they don't know what to say.

On a personal basis, I like creating time slots in between my schedule so that I can stay in touch with friends.For example, I connect on a call when I start to cook so that I enjoy the other person's company and get done with the task of cooking as well. Two goals achieved at one go! I may not be able to make social visits all that much thanks to a really curious and naughty toddler, but we increasingly make efforts towards making anything happen. 

How nice would it be if we just reached out to each other like it was in the days gone by? How nice would it feel to pick up the phone and say hello to someone who you haven't spoken to in a long time - especially a person who may have stopped trying to say hi to you because you always seemed too busy? 

Try it today, and I guarantee a wide smile on your face! :-)



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Great Greek Sojourn - April 2014 :)

Kalimera !!


Right from the time we decided on going on this tour, it was all so exciting! After all it was Greece - bursting with historical ancient ruins, Gods, Goddesses and gorgeous architecture. There was no way we were going to miss this trip. The one question was whether our 19 month old would be okay on the trip because he is a kid who doesn't like to be restrained. So a 5 hour flight plus a lot of local road travel by bus etc - we were just not sure. Then again we decided to go ahead with the trip with the hope that even if he protested in the beginning, he would soon adjust. And he did very well ! More on that later :D

We were going as part of a group, so everything was already predecided and prebooked by the agency. Our tickets, our stay, our meals - all included. Most of the time when we have traveled in Europe, we have had to struggle with finding vegetarian food but we thought Greece wouldn't be such a big problem. After all Mediterranean cuisine is known for their focus on fresh vegetables. We were partly right and partly wrong - maybe if we had gone to restaurants on our own we may have had a better choice. As a group we had no choice but to go to the restaurants we were escorted to. Though they were clean and hygienic, they did not offer much focus on veg food. We were treated to some delicious Indian food on the last couple of nights on the tour, so that was a HUGE plus. Apart from that we had the opportunity to taste the local moussaka and tzatziki, both of which are beyond delicious! I have noticed that the Greeks really love aubergine (eggplant) and any vegetable dish will have this in some form or the other. Yum !

I can give a list of hotels we stayed at, and these are highly recommended for comfort, cleanliness and accessibility.

Athens:         The Athens Ledra
http://www.athensledrahotel.com/

Olympia:     Best Western Europa
http://www.hotelseuropa.gr/

Itea-Delphi :  Nafsika Palace
http://www.nafsikapalace.gr/

Kalambaka:     Divani Meteora
http://www.divanis.com/meteora/default-en.html

The 3 day tour of Olympia-Delphi-Kalambaka is highly recommended.

An important thing is if you don't have the slightest clue about Greek history, I do recommend you read up a little else you are bound to feel a little lost when the guide is explaining. For example, Olympia has the ancient Olympian athletic events arena with a stadium, event locations etc. Everything is in ruins but each and every stone speaks of the years gone by. Just standing there you can imagine the sportsmen competing with each other and the spirits live on there. There's also a nice little museum in there with a lot of nice artefacts, most of them are archeaological excavations (statues etc). A lot of the statues have a head or a limb missing, maybe because they are all just so ancient.  

I highly recommend visiting the Christian monasteries in Kalambaka. They are situated on these huge beautiful rocks and they have quite a bit of history attached to them.

We also went on the 'Athens One Day Cruise' (http://www.athensonedaycruise.com/). This leisurely cruise takes you to the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina. The only regret is they didn't give us much time on the islands. For example Hydra is such a beautiful island where the only form of transportation is mules and horses. It resonated old world charm, but the cruise docked only for 45 minutes which is way too less to walk around and enjoy. We didn't even have time for a cup of coffee even, at one of the quaint lil cafes - that was disappointing.

However at Aegina, which is the biggest of the three islands, we got a good 2 hours, so we were able to walk around by the shoreline, dip our feet into a little water, and relax by the seaside cafe.

A few notes:

I should write here that there is a LOT of climbing to be done because most of the ancient ruins are situated over walls and terrace-type ruins. Some of the trails can be pebbly and rocky, but fun ! Wear your walking shoes and get set to explore - it is worth it.

If you have a toddler, also know that only a few of the ruins are located along trails that you can take your stroller on. Some of the tourist sites do not allow strollers to be taken in so you will have to carry your toddler around or let him/her walk a little of course with great supervision as everything is at a height and the pathways can get steep. Our tot got cranky due to the full schedule and the itinerary, so a tip for next time is to go on as relaxed a tour as possible ;-)


Toilets are available at all sites and are quite clean. You may want to carry wipes along because as in most of Europe, Greeks use toilet paper, no water!

We were in Greece in the first week of April and the weather is just perfect then. It was quite chilly in the mornings but progressing towards a warm and sunny clime by say 11 a.m. Evenings would get a little chilly too but so pleasant and nice. The highways and main roads are dotted with little cafes that sell bakery products, coffee, hot chocolate and the works. The best part is the fresh unpolluted air, just one deep breath completely rejuvenates you.

In Athens, you can shop for curios and other souvenirs at Placa, which is full of these little shops. Feel free to bargain, the Greek shopkeepers love it ;-)

Will write another post if I can think of anything else to add. Meanwhile if you are planning your trip to Greece, feel free to ask questions!!


And finally,  some photos on request :)







Monday, April 7, 2014

Clouds♥♥♥♥

We are on vacation ! Loving this beautiful country and today I thought I will share the pictures of some beautiful cloud formations .. enjoy!!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

The craziest start to 2014 !

January and February 2014. Oh I will never forget the awesome start to this year. Yeah baby, bring it on !

To begin with, in the month of January, our T.V took the suicide plunge. It was awfully overworked so I don't blame it. After 6 years of overuse in our gleefully T.V loving household, one morning in January, the picture tube went into flicker mode and soon there was nothing on the screen ! We actually spent a whole month without T.V and we learned so much about each other as a family. I wonder how it would have been if the Internet had decided to disconnect as well. We would have completely rediscovered the pleasures of living in the real world I am sure!

January 2014 - a.k.a T.V free month was a nice breather. We discovered that we could live without watching the shows that we thought we were addicted to. Of course we were still browsing on the Internet and using social media, but additionally we went back to reading the newspapers and enjoying some great laughs together and having a lot of conversations. There were lots of early nights too. The T.V screen would reappear on weekends but by then we had found so many other fun things to do that we just didn't want to watch T.V anymore :-) 

By the start of February, we acquired couple of new possessions in the house, a wall unit and a smart T.V. In a few days after the T.V arrived, my better half twisted his foot and an X ray revealed it was a hairline fracture. With his foot up in a cast, the onus of taking care of each and every aspect of the kids' routine was on me. My mom flew in to my rescue without as much as a second thought and my dad arrived a couple of weeks later. Along with their unflinching support, I managed to sail through. Hubby darling's cast came off early last week and though he is now able to walk without support, he still needs to be careful and cannot strain his foot at all !

But we lived through it. January was a fun month and though February was very tough on us, I am glad we stuck together and made it as a team. Stress, annoyance, frustration - every emotion crept in but I'm so happy to say that love remained victorious. 

Here's to many many more months of fun, surprises and teamwork in 2014 !


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Ode to my Nose :P

I have always felt that of all my senses, my sense of smell is the most acute :P and therefore this post is totally dedicated to my 'nose' :)

Let me now list out a few of my most favourite smells:

1. This one completely tops the list. I absolutely LOVE my baby's smell at any time of the day, but especially the smell after his bath when he is lotioned, powdered and in fresh clothes; and also when I change him into fresh clothes before his bedtime. I must also mention that I enjoy kissing the top of my kids' heads; it's a unique scent that connects us and the scent that only I know and understand, that marks them as mine! :)

2. Of course, hubby's manly scents. There's something different and cozy about the way he smells, and it's the scent that I know and I am familiar with. It evokes in me a sense of familiarity and a sense of belonging. Wow!

3. Agarbattis or incense, is used in our home daily. There are certain fragrances that are way better than the others such as sandalwood, jasmine and musk. Just lighting one stick and passing it around the house gives a cozy and warm feeling, and of course the house smells great too!

4. I absolutely love the smell of fresh jasmine flowers. I don't know if they add artificial scents but it always gives me a headache when I wear the 'gajra' sold here.  I much prefer the ones available in India because it instantly transports me to a family wedding and memories of when we cousins enjoy decking our hair with flowers!

5. I absolutely relish the smell of freshly brewed 'kaapi' decoction. I enjoy the way the whole house smells of the rich beverage; there's no better way to announce that it's a Tambrahm household! I literally inhale the smell, it is almost as good as drinking a cup of coffee.

6. I know when my favourite food is being cooked by just a whiff of the masalas. This especially holds true when my mother is wielding the ladle :D I don't know WHAT she puts into her cooking but there's a magical taste that only she can infuse into the food.

7. Smoky smells attract me a lot. Whether it is a 'havan kund' or a barbeque, it's the same. I love the way my nose fills with the soft yet strong smell of the grilling and burning/charring stuff. Weird right???


That's my list. What's yours? Don't forget to comment here! :-D