Thursday, December 3, 2020

Sleep and I - Relationship Status: Complicated

Thursday, December 03, 2020 0 Comments


Very long ago, there was a time when my dear sleep and an early bird me were happy being together. Both of us waited only to hit the bed. We were going strong. There was so much understanding and love for each other; we were in sync. Our love created something very beautiful – dreams.

BH jumped into my life, right from my dream. He became a reality. The amazement was overriding my life so much that I couldn’t close my eyes at night. Those long conversations, late night talks, giggles and butterflies in the stomach experiences kept the clock ticking. My dear sleep kept waiting for me in the bed. Every. Single. Day. I did not realize that I was cheating on a long, stable relationship.   

Then, BH and I married. The first few days of our married life were euphoric, and it did not really matter at all when I slept or when I woke up. My dear sleep was disappointed and I was clearly disillusioned with him. And then the everyday grind of life began. BH, being a night owl, was discussing all his intellectual notions of life at night. I would struggle hard to make sense out of his words. Everything seemed like an Over-Head-Transmission (OHT)! My kindhearted sleep was right there, with his arms wide open. But, I shooed him away because at the end of the day (pun intended) I was keen to impress my (then new) husband. So, I kept my eyes open like this. My dear sleep was ashamed of me.

The struggle was real. I had married a man from the other end of the sleep spectrum. There were days when I was literally spouting nonsense half asleep when he was trying to have a conversation. There were also days when I would stealthily elope with my dear sleep when BH was going on and on with his theories and philosophies. The best part of those dates with sleep was that it worked like roofies for me. I would not remember a thing and I would wake up with energy of having 10 Red Bulls.

While BH and I slowly were slowly adapting to each other, my dear sleep had started behaving cold with me. I would lay in bed with my eyes wide open (over) thinking of

  • What better points I could have used in an argument I had in the past.  
  • What worse things can happen to me, my parents or BH, and how would I cope?
  • The sounds I heard were of some intruder? Why is a mosquito buzzing somewhere? Oh why have I developed supersonic hearing capability now?
  • Those unresolved battles in my mind, plotting the whole revenge path and then thinking it isn’t worth it.

By the time my dear sleep gave a namesake hug, I’d remember that I forgot to set the alarm. I set and finally embrace sleep. There is no warmth or depth in his love. As a result of which, I would panic wake up to see if the alarm clock’s battery has gone out and the alarm didn’t ring. Or worst, I’d wake up just a minute before the alarm goes off, cursing sleep for that one full minute of separation. My dear sleep thought I was beyond redemption. I was clearly not comfortable with the fact the relationship with my dear sleep had hit the rocks.

Then Baby 1 happened. Sleep had turned into a sadist, vengeful person. I would stay up all night and nap an hour or two in the morning. I had become a zombie. Years passed, my dear sleep looked like he had softened his stance. But then, Baby 2 happened. I stopped seeing my dear sleep. Finally, after years, I made an honest effort to reach out to him, talked to him, offered apologies and he did look convinced. I was happy. I slept like a baby that one night. Next morning, I realized Baby 3 is on the way. My dear sleep smirked as he left my side.

I could not figure out the meaning behind the smirk back then. But now that Baby 3 wakes up every half an hour at night just to show some love to me. I think now I know what the smirk meant. For now and for a few years more, I can’t put in words the relationship I share with my dear sleep.  It’s complicated.


the transformation from a delightful early bird to a confused owl to a dog-tired crow!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tomorrow, I will be absent.

Thursday, December 04, 2014 1 Comments
Till that day, I bragged to BH, that Bunni was a good student. She loves going to school and she has never ever felt bad or cried to go to school.  I jinxed it. Badly. Very badly. I realized later.

Bunni: Tomorrow, I will be absent.
Me (Shocked): Why do you want to be absent?
Bunni: Because so many of my friends remain absent.
Me: If somebody is ill, or if you have an important work to do which cannot be done after school hours or if you need to visit someone without delay, you should take an off. Else you shouldn’t miss going to school. 
She listened, very still, like I was telling a fascinating  fairy tale. She did not say anything. I thought that she is convinced.

That day, while she was getting down from her school bus, she said, “Amma, Tomorrow, I will be absent.
Me (annoyed): What? I think I told you when you can miss your school.
Bunni: Tomorrow, I will have fever.
Me: Oh baby. Don’t say that. You are a strong girl. No illness can touch you.
Bunni: Then, it is my birthday tomorrow. There will be a party at home. So, I will be absent tomorrow.
Me: First, it is not your birthday tomorrow. Second, I am sure you would love to wear new color dress to school on your birthday and take chocolates for your friends.
Bunni: Oh.. Yes. I had forgotten the date today.

That night, I told her stories and we recited a few shlokas before she slipped into slumber. She suddenly woke up and said, “Amma, tomorrow one day, I will be absent.” I was a little bothered this time. I wanted to know if there was some other reason behind her repeated requests of being absent at school. I did not want to ignite her crankiness at this time. I just smiled and patted her to sleep.

The next day, I diverted her with exciting stories and fun-activities while she got ready to school. And she got into the school bus happily. There was no hesitation, or change in her expression when she got into the school bus. I met her teacher that day, and asked how she was at school.  Teacher said that she was a good student and had no problems. I saw her class-work books. I met a few of her friends.  There was no sign of any hitch.

Apart from those conversations, her behaviour had not changed. She wasn’t morose. She did not exhibit any negative changes. I was kind of relieved after doing all the necessary checks. Then, I thought I should give her the silent treatment the next time she brings up the topic.

That day, while she was doing her homework, 
Bunni: “Amma, I will be absent tomorrow.” 
I could not stop myself asking, “Why do you want to be absent?” I wanted to be double sure that nothing is wrong. 
Bunni (gleefully): Just like that. I want to see ‘red ink marked A’ against my name in the attendance register.
What a reason! We stopped the conversation there.

Next morning,
Bunni: Amma, today I will be absent.
Me: I said, not today. Be absent tomorrow and day after tomorrow. [Today being Friday ;) ]
Delighted little girl went to school happily. And when I was helping her get down from the bus after she was back from school, she said.. “I have two pages of homework today, which means tomorrow and day after tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday. I will be absent one more day after that. I will be absent for 3 days!
And I thought I was very intelligent. Hmmph. I remained silent. I diverted the topic by asking her what all happened at school. She narrated everything in an animated way.

Monday morning, she got ready silently and we were waiting for the school bus. There were no uncomfortable conversations or silent treatment. As soon as the school bus came, she jumped into it and shouted, “Driver uncle, tomorrow I will not come to school. So, you need not come here. Aunty, remind driver uncle tomorrow not to stop here.”  The aaya of bus looked at me; Muted by her unexpected bouncer, I just winked to convey that she was kidding. After she came back from school, she said, “I will be absent tomorrow, if I tell you, you will remain silent. So, I have told driver uncle and also ma’am that I will not be coming to school tomorrow. If driver uncle does not come, you cannot send me. If ma’am does not teach, there is no use going to school. (Awww. That innocence!).
I smiled at her and said, “But you are a good girl. You will not miss your lessons.”  That statement somehow made her happy. So, I survived that day.

Next morning, while I was dressing her up,
Bunni: Amma, I will be absent to school today please.
Me (exhausted): Since you are a good girl, you will not miss going to school.
Bunni: Today I will be a bad girl.
Me (Recovering from that bombshell): But, I know that you are a good girl, you cannot be a bad girl.
Bunni: Ammaaaa, I am a good girl even if I am a bad girl sometimes. Nobody can be a good girl all the time. Take for example Appa, he tells me that he will be a good boy with me if I behave like a good girl. But when I do something bad, he says he will become a bad boy to me. Can I call Appa a bad boy just because he is so when I am bad?
My feet had turned cold by that reply. How on earth can she come up with this? What can I answer? She had given a big funda of life actually which she may not have realized the depth of.  By the time I could open my tightly zipped mouth, she smelt Maggi and ran into the kitchen saying that she wants to eat it and said “Give that tasty breakfast quickly! Or I will miss my school bus!

Bunni - With her bestie..
Waiting for the school bus
No matter how much they can drive you crazy, you love them for what they are. This little thing will be five years soon. I cannot visualize what mental challenges we are going to face as parents. But she lights up our life inside-out constantly with such sparkling conversations. 

Monday, April 8, 2013


Monday, April 08, 2013 0 Comments
Karnataka is a verily a microcosm of India - due to the richness and variety it encompasses in terms of food, languages (Kannada – an umbrella term for its various dialects, Tulu, Konkani, Kodava), culture and traditions. So, the state run Karnataka Tourism aptly holds the motto “One State, Many Worlds”.

Food habits of a region are influenced by its climate, crops, location and culture. Karnataka cuisine has a wide repertoire of authentic dishes which have a blend of various sub-cultures that influenced and moulded it into its present form. Karnataka food and its varieties can be broadly categorised into five types based on the regions that make up the landscape of Karnataka; namely Northern Karnataka, Old-Mysore (Bayalu seeme), Malnad, Mangalore/Coastal cuisine and Kodagu. Different regions have their signature recipes comprising of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Technically, there is no one dish that can singularly represent all of Karnataka. Even Bisibelebath (pronounced as ‘be-see-bay-Lay-bath’) ; the recipe of which is shared here, is one of the authentic dishes of Old-Mysore region.

Cultural history
Rice and Ragi (millet) are the staple foods of the Old-Mysore region. The history of rice is said to date back to the Vedic period.  
There is no mention of rice in the Rigveda, but it is referred to frequently in the post Rigvedic literatures. In Atharva Veda, it is called one of the two immortal sons of heaven – Rice and Barley. The Yajurveda mentions five varieties of it, of which the best was mahavriti
                                                             - Extract from the book Cultural History Of India, Om Prakash

Toor-dal (pigeon peas), another important ingredient of Bisibelebath, has a history of about 3000 years. It finds its origin in the eastern part of India. We should thank the traders or the populations which migrated to this place for the introduction of toor-dal into Karnataka cuisine; without which Saaru (known as Rasam in other parts) and HuLi (known as Sambhar in other parts) would not have existed in their current tasty avatars. Now if you are wondering what the difference between “Saaru” and Rasam or “huLi” and Sambhar is - the answer is jaggery. A pinch of jaggery is almost indispensable in the Old-Mysore cuisine.

The hunger-inducing, heady aroma of piping hot, spicy bisibelebath first hit the olfactory sensors three centuries ago, in the kitchens of Amba Vilasa Palace - the palace of Mysore Wodeyars.  The royal cook who wanted to be in the good books of the Maharaja, ventured out on a culinary exploration using a combination of lentil and rice,  spiced it up with slowly roasted and ground spices like cloves, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric along with dried coconut, tamarind etc.  Then, to add a dash of royal grandeur to the dish he added cashews tossed in hot ghee. This neonatal “bisibelebath” was prepared sans any vegetables because the then Maharajas chose their vegetable-based side dishes according to their preferences.
The good old cook forgot to obtain a copyright of his dish and the recipe leaked beyond the walls of the palace. It reached places where creative people came out with various versions of bisibelebath, and the vegetable-loaded version picked up popularity.

Bisibelebath, BBB or B-cube as we algebra-lovers call it, remains the favourite of many people here. It is a wholesome nutritious food. The usual routine that is followed at home is – cook huge amounts of Bisibelebath in the morning and gorge on it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and if possible, as the subsequent day’s breakfast too. And this kind of craze for Bisibelebath, is not unique to our home. The recipe I am sharing with you was passed down to me as a secret heirloom from my mother’s kitchen.  The recipe seems extensive, but is worth all the effort. Ah..that intoxicating aroma and the lip-smacking taste!
Here we go!

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 45 minutes


- Carrot – 1 cup, medium diced
- Potato -1cup, medium diced
- Tomato – 1 cup, medium diced
- Green peas/groundnuts – 1 cup
- Capsicum – 1 cup, medium diced
- French beans - 1 cup, medium diced

Ingredients for roasting:
- Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
- Byaadagi Chillies – 2-3 pieces (used for color)
- Guntur Chillies- 4-5 pieces (used for the pungent taste)
- Channa Dal / Yellow split peas - 1/2 tbsp
- Urad Dal / Black gram split lentil - 1/4 tbsp
- Dry desiccated coconut - 2 tbsp

- Aromatic Spices:

- Cloves - 2 (Lavanga)
- Kapok Buds - 1 (Marathi Moggu)
- Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
- Black Pepper – 4 (Menasu)
- Poppy Seeds – ½ tbsp

- Rice – 4 cups
- Toor dal – 4 cups
- Ghee  - According to your preference
- Tamarind -1 medium lemon size
- Jaggery – A small piece

- Ghee - 2 tbsps
- Cashews – 10 broken
- Hing/ Asafoetida - A pinch
- Mustard - ¼ tsp
- Red Chilli - 1 broken red chilli


  • Take a heavy bottomed pan and roast the listed ingredients in the said order, without spices, on a very low flame.
  • Empty the roasted ingredients to a plate.  Roast all the spices listed with 1 tbsp ghee. Once their aroma starts pervading the kitchen, add poppy seeds, desiccated coconut till the delicious aroma intoxicates you.
  • Wash tamarind thoroughly and soak it in water to get the tamarind pulp.
  •  Cook vegetables, rice and lentil in a pressure cooker preferably in different compartments.
  • Grind the ingredients that you earlier emptied onto a plate and the mixture of roasted spices, desiccated coconut and poppy seeds, along with tamarind pulp and a pinch of jaggery with sufficiently required amounts of water.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, mix cooked lentil and rice. Add cooked vegetables and the ground mixture to it.  Add water so that it does not get very thick. Add salt to taste. Allow them to blend while you keep stirring.
  • For seasoning, add mustard, hing, broken cashews and red chillies sautéed in 4 tablespoons of hot ghee. Add this to the cooked mixture.

There! Delicious Bisibelebath is ready to be served!

Bisibelebath should be served piping hot with generous helpings of ghee. The Maharajas for whom the dish was invented were not calorie-conscious and still aren’t, I am guessing. You can see the picture of current Maharaja for confirmation ;)
Serve it with boondi/chips/fried-stuff to satisfy the Indian penchant for something crunchy to go along with a heavy delicacy.
Enjoy the Bisibelebath and lick your fingers away!

PS: This post was originally written for Centre Right India

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stubble Grumbles

Monday, January 07, 2013 22 Comments
This was during our early days of marriage. One evening I hit a “rough patch” with my husband. My fingers which were moving over a terrain as smooth as melted chocolate, stumbled on a thorny terrain - his stubble! It was the same sensation I get when a metal is scratched. Sreeech... Yikes! That put me off.  I backed off and asked, “You did not shave today?” He rolled his eyes, “That makes me look cool! “. I gulped.

I had a challenging task ahead. I did not want to offend  him by nagging. I wanted him to shave whenever he had a stubble. Slowly, I started dropping subtle hints.

>>Showed him some snaps in which he was clean shaven and said he looked handsome.
He replied “I know. A lot of people have told me so.”. He didn't even get the hint on why I was showing him those snaps.  FAIL

>> Mailed him an article on the web which said shaving helps in removing dead-skin and also keeps the skin wrinkle free. The facial hair can keep oil and dirt on the skin and hence shaving is hygienic too.
He replied “Don’t waste your time reading such over analytical crap. I don’t give a damn to all these things anyway.” FAIL

>>Next morning, I put the toothpaste onto his brush, shaving foam onto his shaving brush, kept a flask of hot water next to the bowl and the after-shave lotion on the sink cabinet. Then I waited for him while I prepared the breakfast.
He returned as scruffy as a gorilla. I ran into the bathroom area to see that ONLY the toothbrush was used and all the other stuff I had carefully arranged remained untouched. FAIL

So, after the series of failures I tried making friendly conversations with him. I said that a beard looks weird on him. It is a furry mask which hides the handsome cuts his face has.  He defended by saying that a beard gives him a mature look and that it gives others an image of a thinker. And once he said “Having beard and moustache is so manly!” There! I got the exact reason behind my failures. Do not mistake him to be a misogynist. But, he is proud of what he is or has.

Now, I had to tackle this problem in a different way knowing the weak point. One evening he was watching a documentary on TV. I ran to him from behind and planted a kiss over his cheek. And I whispered in his ear “I do not want anything to come between us. Not even your stubble”. He requested for a cup of coffee. When I came back with a cup, Voila! I see a man who had sent his stubble to the rubble, by shaving double that day!

So, love worked for me. If you think I blackmailed him, let me tell you.. Everything is fair in love and war. Sometimes even I feel sorry for him that he has to keep shaving and think - why shouldn’t there be a receding beard-line like receding hair-line?Why can’t people go bald on their chin? LOL!

This post is a part of the 'Shave or Crave' movement in association with

Monday, November 26, 2012

Panchatantra side effects

Monday, November 26, 2012 25 Comments

I have always been a fan of children stories which are windows to our big world. I started off pretty early narrating stories to Bunni. Animals which can talk and which can emote kept her butterfly-like attention honey glued. Myriad stories made my life simpler in conveying subtle facts, rules and maxims to guide our daily lives. I was so proud of myself. But, later I started to realize, these stories have side effects too!

All wells have a lion in them. We were in our village, walking through the roads, we spotted a well. I thought, I will show her what a well is. But, she held my hand to stop me.
Bunni: Don't peep into the well. A lion is living in there. It will eat you the moment you bend in to see your reflection!
Remember the lion which fell into the well seeing its own reflection? (see here) And you thought that is the end?

 Ask for forgiveness. Get a life.
We were watching a National Geographic documentary. And a lioness was on the run to hunt a wild buffalo. Bunni started shouting.
Bunni: Buffalo must have done something wrong, that is why lion is trying to kill. <going near the TV> dear buffalo, dear buffalo, tell the lion that you won’t do that mistake again, it will forgive you. It won’t eat you!

Anyone who falls dies!
She does not know the concept of death. She just knows, the word and the situations in which I had used while narrating the story. We were walking on the road and Bunni spotted a traffic cop running. She was overly excited to see a cop running. (you know who runs in stories ;) ) she started shouting in the top of her voice.
Bunni: Amma, look! A police man is running!!
To my embarrassment, that police man stopped running the moment her words hit his ears and turned around to see us.
Me: Yes. Say Bye to police uncle.
Hi, police uncle. You should not run.

Police: Why shouldn't I run?

Bunni: See. Road has a lot of stones, you will fall down and die!!
Police man looked straight into my face! I did not know what to say. I mean, how I can explain to him so much? I just apologized and ran to save further embarrassments. I could sense a smile on his face.

Steal and eat. Your tummy will be fat!
We had gone to temple. The priest was busy with chants and aarti. Bunni was doing monkey-jobs of climbing the railings there. I told her to stand silently, or the priest would get angry. As the priest came near us to give MangaLaarathi and Theertha,
Bunni: Amma.. This priest has stolen and eaten a lot of Laddoos. See his tummy is so fat!
This was from the story of Bal Ganesh! Ouch! That priest's face was red! The pressure in my mouth for a roar of laughter was building by few kilo-pascals! I controlled myself and said. You shouldn't say so.

 Every Gopal's wife is Suman
We had been to a marriage reception. When we were on the stage,
BH: Bunni, Wish Gopal Uncle a happy married life
Where is your wife Suman?

Gopal looked perplexed,

Gopal: Who is Suman?
Gopal's wife Priya had baffled look on her face.I intervened and stopped the conversations because I knew where it was going. The story of the goose which laid golden eggs had owners named Gopal and Suman, who were husband and wife. So, for her, every Gopal's wife is Suman.

Children observe and construe a lot more than we expect. What a fun life they lead. Absolutely no inhibitions, no rules and bounds for the way-of-life. So much to learn from them. The way these stories are embarrassing me, it is should be Punch-atantra.