Wednesday, May 29, 2013

'G':For Garden, And This Is Our Beautiful Garden

We have been living in Whitefield Bangalore for the last 13 years. Having always lived  in apartments, we never really had the pleasure of having our own garden. However when we built this house our wish was granted, and we are very happy with the way our garden was designed.
Following the Spanish architecture (which was my husband's idea), our landscape architect designed a beautiful perennial garden for us, for we did not want to keep changing plants off and on, nor did we want plants that needed lot of water.
Of course, we had to change a few plants here and there because as the taller plants started to grow, the shorter ones were deprived of enough sunlight, but basically the main plants have remained the same throughout.
We have plenty of arches, a pergola, and our garden has a lovely curvy pattern all around, which goes very well with our Spanish villa theme.
I must warn you there are lots and lots of pictures, so enter at your own risk....
Here are a few pictures of our garden:
                                                                  Our front lawn
                                                        Our courtyard

This our kitchen, from where i can see the world go by as I cook
This is when the flowers are in full bloom, and below when this plant still looks beautiful without flowers

                                                   Our Rock/ Pebble garden
                                                        The Terracotta Mural
                                                   Our Spanish Bell visible through the palm trees
                                     The Cashew tree which was such a baby when we first bought this plot
                                  and it has grown so big and beautiful.

                                              Another view of Courtyard, before the poison ivy started growing, and covering the arch

                                                                  The Alamendas

                                This the Tumburjiya creeper that is growing on our pergola, it is so beautiful: the golden flowers would hang down.

Beautiful Lantanas
There are so many pictures, but I don't want to bore you with too many pictures, as it is it has turned out to be photo blog.
Did you enjoy our garden?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother, I Love You.

Remembering My Dear Mother

I dedicate this lovely poem, which I found in the Youtube to my mother. I am sure all of you would surely be able to relate this song. I thank the poet who wrote this beautiful poem.

I have only a few random pictures of my mother, and these are some of my favorite ones. The first picture of my mother: Taken when she was 10 years old.
I wish I had more good pictures of my mother.


I really love these pictures, which are very old and faded, yet shows my mother looking so simple yet very pretty.

Remembering her everyday, today I once again, I feel the same pain of not caring enough.

I feel we daughters were not very sensitive to her needs and her pain, for we were too busy with our little family and our children, we were too involved in deciphering our lives, that somehow her problems were not so much of a concern for us at that point in our lives. I am sure it happens in everybody's life, I know she must have understood us, yet looking back, I wish i could wipe away all the sadness from her life.
The guilt of not understanding her problems and not having offered her any succour will haunt me forever though I also know, she has forgiven us, yet.....

I remember her as a voracious reader: she used to love novels like Perry Mason, James Hadley Chase, Georgette Heyer, and all the Mills and Boons offerings she could lay her hands on. She was a true romantic, reading romantic novels was a passion for her. She used love watching good movies, be it English, Hindi, or Tamil, language was never a problem for her, for she had a knack of picking up languages very easily. She had a flair for acting, and was very good in mimicry.
She was such a good cook, and would do things effortlessly without getting tensed. 
She had an excellent voice too, and had learnt Karnatic music, before her marriage and was constantly in touch with music singing to us, to her grand children, while cooking etc. She had a very soft  and sweet voice.
She once even sang in front of the President of India : V.V.Giri. I wonder, how she sang without getting nervous in front of so many people. She was so talented at the same time so humble. She put her own interests in the back burner and dedicated her life to us. Now, when I think of all these things, it really moves me to tears.

She had sacrificed so much in her life bringing us up, taking care of each and every need of ours, supporting us and shielding us from the wrath of our father when we did things that might have angered him. I think this quote says it all:
"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path." Agatha Christie
My mother somewhere near Boston, with my second sister. 

My mom hated those thick glasses which she was forced to wear after her cataract operation, she was always uncomfortable wearing reading glasses too before that. 
She was a beautiful woman, with almond shaped eyes, and beautiful smile.

Here my mom with my elder sister and me during my wedding.

Mother you were too good for us, we didn't deserve you, and when you are no longer there , we think of you very often, though now it is too late to do anything about it.
Today, when my leg pains sometimes, my thoughts immediately go to you, I think of your aches and pains, when I am in comfort, I think of you, when I see how loving and caring my husband and my children are, I think of you, wishing I had also cared for you, and I know that I don't need a mother's day to think of you, yet, I think of you on that day, as well.
Mother, I pray everyday for you, I am sure you are in a place where you are absolutely happy, healthy and fine.
                    I know how you loved flowers especially Jasmine and Roses: these are for you

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

'F' For: Father, Dear Father!

                The greatest gift I ever had  Came from God; I call him Dad!  ~Author Unknown 

"Dad, there are some memories in life that remain for a short time while and others stick with you forever. All the times I've spent with you are going to be sweet memories for the rest of my life. Let's raise a toast today and celebrate the beginning of yet another wonderful year in your life and cherish memories that we can have forever".....

       He would always have a smile, and here he is smiling so nicely. (the photo is a bit blurred)

This post/re-post is for my father for he would be completing 91 years on the 15th of May.

I know it is still a few days away,  but, the letter 'F', was enough to make me think of my father, and I thought it would be good to share a few things about my father.

I have already shared this story with all my blogger friends a few years back, but I feel it is alright to share it once more.
So here I am sharing something interesting about my father....

 A  wedding in the family— I am excited for I hear my dad is coming to attend it. He is staying with me for a whole week— I can't believe it!

The minute he enters the house he starts chatting with us non- stop….. for there are so many things to ask, so many things to share etc. etc. He is a real store – house of knowledge …. we have to just ask him something, and he would give a detailed explanation, amazing us with his intelligence, sharp memory, and great sense of humour. He would go back to his younger days and relate all the stories of how he met and married my mother.

Those days marriage was not a matter of choice …. it involved marrying for various reasons. Marrying within the family was considered to be best option for everybody. For example if your father’s sister had 5 or 6 daughters to be married it is the duty of the father to bring home at least one of his sister’s daughter as his daughter- in- law, this way he was helping in reducing the burden from his sister’s shoulders. Similarly an uncle could marry his own niece.
 This was the custom followed for ages all over south, though now it is not so much in vogue, but still some people follow it . As long as it is not direct blood relation everything is okay. One can’t even think of such things these days.

Well, my father married his mother’s brother’s daughter, (which is my mother). According to him he was given the choice of marrying any 1 of the 2 daughters, who were suitable for his age. But he was in a dilemma, for both were good looking, and it was up to him to choose. So he changed the names of the girls in their horoscopes and also  changed his name in his horoscope, (because everybody knew everybody, the astrologer would not even bother to match horoscopes when it is in the family), so my father cheated a little and made him match the horoscope saying it was for a friend. Of the two only one matched, which happened to be my mother’s horoscope, and thus the choice was made. Another distant cousin married the elder daughter, in fact both my father and his cousin married the respective girls on the same day to save money. That was the way things were done in those days, one had to keep everything in the mind.

 But, although my parents remained happily married for 49 years, they were the sort of couple who could never see eye to eye on any issue, and since my father had the dominating streak, what he said only prevailed. My mother although loved him deeply, she hated this attitude. He had jokingly revealed to her, how he made the choice of marrying her, and whenever my mother happened to meet that astrologer, she would tell him that she felt like tying him to pole and give him 100 whip lashes.

 My parents life was full of ups and downs. Whenever my parents did get along, my mother would ask my father, to tell her the truth ….. that he married her because he fell for her, and he would always tell her it was not love. Now he is all alone, and he feels bad that he never told her how much he loved her.  He said he could have told her that at least once, but he was too proud to admit that to her.
But I am sure she must have guessed it long time ago, but simply wanted to know right from the horse’s mouth.  Now he feels her loss so much, that he would keep going back to the days when they were really happy, and he says they were made for each other despite their differences, that  the universe works in mysterious ways, though he thought at that time he could choose between the 2 sisters, and tried to hoodwink the astrologer, he must have known deep in his heart that it was my mother he always wanted to marry.

 This, coming from my father, now when my mother is no longer here to feel happy to hear it, was really moving.  However, this is not the first time I am hearing him say this, for I have heard this story many times from him, but only after my mother passed away, which was  almost 21 years ago. 
The moral of the story:

Don't wait until it's too late to tell someone how much you love and how much you care about them, Because when they're gone, no matter how loud you shout and cry, they won't hear you anymore. Well, this is just one interesting story about my father and mother, there are many, many more, but it would take volumes to write about each every interesting facets of their turbulent lives together.

Accidents and my father are made for each other, but he would never let such incidents bother him. He would pick himself up from the scene of accident, and bleeding all over, he would be back home in the same moped. Being a Pharmacy graduate he would know what medicines to apply and within 2/3 days he would be back to normal, with not even a single mark or scar to show how badly he was hurt.

Many times he has got hit by  somebody while he was travelling in his moped, left there in the middle of the road, to deal with it all by himself, and as usual he has got back on his feet and  come home riding the moped with lot of pain everywhere in his body, saying as usual, that, his time was not alright that he must have troubled the fellow who hit him and went off,  in some previous birth, and that it is all part of the game.......

Surprisingly not a single person has ever helped him during such accidents. Somehow God has given him the strength to pull himself up and keep moving without looking back. 

He can still walk faster than any of us, and would always take the stairs instead of the lift.
 He still likes to have everything under his control, like his finances, his freedom to live life on his own terms, and that dominating streak has still not left him, putting him into lot of trouble, unnecessarily.

                       This picture was taken last year when he had come to visit us

  I can only say that, I am proud to have had such a loving and patient mother, and I am equally proud to have such a wonderful father, who, may have been very proud at one time and still is  but is definitely a man with a very good heart and a great smile.   He has made it clear to us that after his death, he wants us to donate his body to the hospital for research purposes. I am sure he would be a good candidate for this purpose, for he has never had any surgery, he has never been seriously ill, in fact there are lots of stipulations for a  body donor but I am sure, he would be eligible.  He must have thought about these things and must be fully aware of the requirements: so if that is his wish, let it be granted.
He keeps saying, : I am waiting for the battery to go off any time.....
                                                       Appa you look so good
 He looks the same even after almost 4 years (this picture was taken at our daughter's wedding reception). The lady on the left is my elder sister.

Happy Birthday Day Dear Appa!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

'E' For Exercise And Me.

Exercise in some form had always been a part of my life from a very young age.

Let me start from my school days. When I was in 7th standard, I had changed school, I had joined  Kendriya Vidyalaya or Central school (as it was known in those days). We were living in Guwahati, Assam. Being  in the Army, meant transfers every 3/4 years, and the Central school was said to be the same everywhere in India, so my dad changed my school. Since it had just started, there were no buses organised by the school, the school itself was in a temporary building, and from where we were staying at that time, there were no buses going towards the school too.
So it used be a long walk from our house, (opposite the cricket stadium) crossing the  bridge over the railway tracks, and walking a little further up to my old school St. Mary's Convent, and then from there catch a crowded local bus to my school. It used to be very hot during summer, and you can imagine carrying a heavy school bag, and also a lunch bag. it was like I was meant to weight train from a very young age itself.
 Sometimes, because of the unreliable, erratic buses those days, I would have to walk all the way from the school  to our house. Now when I look back I wonder how I did I have the strength to do that. After about 2 years of this routine, my dad got transferred to Agra.

 Now,  in Agra although there was a Central School,  it was located very far from our house ( it was still a new concept, not like today where there  is a Kendriya Vidayala at different places in the same city). So, back to Convent which was supposed to be much closer than the Central school. A rickshaw was arranged for me, but  again, the rickshaw fellows were so unreliable, for few days they would come on time, and slowly start coming late giving some excuses or other, putting me into trouble. So, it was back to walking  to school which was about 4 kilometers from our house. And the summer of Agra, less said the better.
However, I think I liked walking to school, for I had to cross a big beautiful park full of Guava  trees, and various other beautiful flowering trees, and also the Agra University was located there,  with lots of young college boys and girls roaming around eating "paruck ki ambrooth,"  garam channa choor, drinking Coco Cola, Fanta, Goldspot to beat the heat of Agra. Since, I always loved people watching,  I didn't really feel so bad about walking.

While returning in the afternoon, the fresh smell of hot samosas being fried at the Halwai shop, near our house, along with fresh jeelabi and garam malai dhoodh was too tempting to avoid, so the money which my mom gave me to catch a rickshaw and come home, I used to save it up to indulge in eating all these delicacies.  I was always very slim, because of all the walking/ weight training, (carrying heavy school and lunch bag) and also the weekly PT classes were  enough to keep me fit.
I was also the shortest person in our family, that kind of kept me worried,  till I heard people telling me, that if I included lots of protein, (Dhal) in my diet,  and did skipping everyday, I would grow tall.
 Also I made my parents buy a tonic called "Incremin", (with the picture of a Girraffe) which was a very popular tonic those days, to increase in height. I think even now it is sold in  all the chemist shops.
Well, the combination of all the things I did finally helped me reach a reasonable height of 5ft.3 inches.

We had to move again, and this time to Calcutta, where I joined college. Here again although the college was close by, yet  not close enough to walk, for my college was in Golpark, and we had our house in Prince Anwar Shah Road. My college timings were also pretty weird:  our classes would start at  6.15 am, there were no buses plying, so early from near our house to the college. My dad used to drop me in his Vespa scooter, but while coming back,  I would still have to walk a bit, from our college to the Dakhuria Bridge, walk over the bridge and reach the end of the Prince Anwar Shah Road, to catch a rickshaw to our house.
Thank God, I no longer had to carry heavy bags.

After two years, we moved to a house in Keyotala, which was just  8 minutes walk to my college.
However, being in college meant,  roaming around with friends, window shopping ( Gariyahat, Lake market), hanging near the beautiful Lake used to be  our favorite way of passing our time. Me and my friends always walked everywhere, and we were all very slim and fit.
Marriage, found me setting up family in Bombay, and there too walk, walk and walk, to the market, to the bus stop etc. And all these places were hot, 
 In Guwahati,  Agra,  Calcutta,  at least, there was some winter  too. However, Madras and Bombay were always, hot, hotter and hottest.
After two kids, I found my weight going up gradually, mere walking was not good enough, to lose the extra baggage I found myself carrying around.

In the meantime we had shifted to what was then a cool, cool Bangalore, I was still a great walker, literally walked everywhere in and around Indira Nagar, be it the whole of  100 ft. Road, Jeevan Bhima nagar, Domlur etc, but the weight wouldn't budge. I joined Yoga class, Gym, Swimming,  still no result. Then  I joined Aerobics class, and felt this was what I was meant to do.

Those days there were no  courses conducted  to become an  Aerobics Instructor and  aerobics was what I wanted to learn, and take up as a career.
So after attending  various aerobics classes, for a few months, I decided to stop all the classes and start my own self training in aerobics and fitness by recording all the fitness shows telecast from the US, and Australia beamed at odd times, on the TV,  at around 3 a.m/ 5 a.m,  then practicing after the children left for school. I was so focused on fitness, that within one year of constant practice, I could master all the moves shown by various Instructors in the TV shows,  that I was recording.  I  felt, I was capable to start my own Aerobics classes.

At the age of 34/ 35,  I was a full fledged fitness instructor with my very own set of classes.
From that day, I  have never looked back, I was always into fitness/ eating healthy, and literally enjoying my job, which was win win all the way, for here I was paid to keep others fit and in return get to be fit too. Which other profession, can boast of such benefits, and also by the time people left for their regular jobs my job for the day was already over. I could stay at home, earn money and be fit too.

People started telling how young I looked, they would be shocked when they came to know my age, and they would be equally shocked to see my grown up children. I was  having a good time enjoying all the compliments coming my way. Till I reached 50, I was flooded with compliments, then, I noticed that, I started to put on weight, slowly but steadily, the weight, that went up never really came down, and soon I became 8 kilos overweight. No amount of exercise had any effect,  in fact the harder I exercised and dieted the more the weight seemed to be determined to stay there.
I did a lot research and found that weight loss at my age was not going to be easy, as here no diet or exercise was going to help me much,  as I was at a stage where my hormones were getting confusing signals,  and till they became balanced ( which would take its own time), I would have to bear my weight gain with a smile.
The more I exercised the more it  would act against what I desired. So, although I felt fit and had the stamina to workout a lot, my metabolism will always be very low, and the weight will always be in places where I did not want it to be.
The solution for this is to cut down my exercise to normal, do a lot of yoga and meditation, and do lots of weight training, limit my cardio, keep it to normal: this will not only make me feel better, it would also help me get  closer to getting that toned body which I had. However, I must not try to hurry, I must be patient, give my body all the time it needs to balance itself, and soon I  would see the results. As we all know, water is very important to lose weight and it would also help in balancing the hormones, and keeping us healthy. I was always drinking lots of water, and now I have increased it to more, and the results are slowly showing.

At every step exercise has been a part and parcel of my life, telling me when to go for it, when not to over do,  and when to slow down.
I am grateful, that  I am not going through the various pains and problems,  that people generally go through during this phase of life, and I am learning to feel totally comfortable and at peace with myself and my body.

 Exercising is still like an addiction to me, I love trying all the different kinds of exercises shown in the Youtube, but I am smart, I know when to stop and take it easy. I don't want to be a hurdle in my own road to success.
 Cheers to exercise!!!