Jul 27, 2012

Finished....


At the beginning of May, our elder son started month-long swimming lessons. After a day or two of keeping a panicking eye on the youngster so that he wouldn't drown accidentally, I grew bored with having to sit at the poolside just chitchatting with other moms. So I started a crochet table runner project. It worked on a square-by-square basis and was easily portable. Well the swimming lessons were over two months ago and this week I finally finished it







 This is the biggest thread crochet project I've done so far and I can tell you, each of those squares took me almost 45 minutes and that was the best I could do in a day to avoid hand cramp. But it is extremely rewarding...


Here's a close up...

After laying it lengthwise on our coffee table, I thought I would go with this look...


As long as we are on the subject of crochet, I would like to show you something...


Tadaaaa..., my yarn stash! Top left corner is the leftover ecru thread. I made a dent in that baby, huh? Those pastel baby shades are kinda weighing me down now because no one appreciates woollen things for babies in this hot climate.  And I need to find something to make with that red and multicolored thread too! Are you wondering why I am agonizing about using up all the yarn? (Sigh...) I've promised myself that I will not buy any more new yarn till I finish these :-(  So my next project will be either a white-wool one or a white thread one. Haven't decided yet. But for the time being, I have put away my crochet hooks...



 Can you tell that I love my crochet hooks? :-) Yeah, they go with me wherever I go in this world! Yep, I made that holder too from a pattern I got from the internet and it rolls up into a nifty little bundle that you can see on the top right corner of my stash photo.

My next craft project will be something I have been procrastinating on for a long time now. I've girded up my loins and have decided to do or let that thing go away for ever. Here it is peeking out from my craft basket, silently reprimanding me for the neglect .... ooooh...


 Yeah, it's been imprisoned in that ziploc bag for ages now. So here goes... Wish me luck!!!

Jul 25, 2012

The easiest way to attract rain...

The Ramayana month started off particularly sunny and dry. I had to water all my newly planted cuttings twice a day. The newspapers were cribbing about how poor the rainfall has been this season. Whenever I checked the weather forecast on my phone, it showed a rain-cloud with a huge question-mark imposed upon it and said "scattered rain and thunderstorms" every day, but we got to see nothing.

So we decided to interfere. My DH and I ought to receive an award for ending the unseasonable drought. On Sunday morning we decided in a loud conversation that our coconut oil is running out and it is time to dry some copra again. Not twelve hours later, we had rain!!! For good measure, I again shouted out for all to hear on Monday morning that we are NOT postponing our plan and WILL start dehusking the coconuts THIS weekend. I haven't had to water the new plants ever since!!! This is not the first time it has happened either :-)

In this enthusiastic planting season, I bought some plants from a nearby nursery and mentioned to one of my neighbors that I was on the lookout for saplings of a kariveppu and a kadaplavu (seemaplavu). She gave me a sound scolding for having spent money on buying plants and promised me the saplings from her own yard. So I went to her place last Thursday with the kiddos for some socializing and getting the saplings. She has a tiny bit of space in the front of her house and on an upper balcony and both are chock-full of beautiful flowering plants. She was so generous with her plants that coming back, I looked like the Birnam woods walking down to Dunsinane with the kids behind me picking up whatever fell down. Ok, like Hanuman carrying the Dronagiri mountain would be more apt a simile, but hey, I can't let you picture me like that now, can I?

Fortunately I was able to plant the whole forest of cuttings that evening itself because I had already prepared several pits and beds to receive plants while I was weeding (law of attraction at work, huh?!) and I had very little digging to do. Now I am waiting with bated breath to see how many take to my garden. Yep, I promise that there shall be pictures of tiny little shoots and leaves and flowers as they come! For one thing, our camera is back after a course of treatment and has finally taken to the batteries it used to hate earlier (it always kept ordering us to "Change the batteries" whatever we put in it - pretty choosy, we thought). Macro time coming up!

BTW, if you want to experience some fantastic poetry literally "in action", try reading the fight between Rama and Ravana's brothers (Khara, Dooshana and Thrisirassu) in the Adhyatma Ramayana. It's absolutely bracing and the words themselves transform into weapons that cut, pierce and deal heavy blows. I bow before thee, maestro!!!

Jul 18, 2012

Movie Review: Thattathin Marayathu

"Come back to the classic cliches" was the subtitle that Vineeth Sreenivasan had originally intended for this movie. His inability to translate the same into a catchy Malayalam subtitle led him to ditch it. But it still is a very good description of the movie. Boy meets girl at a wedding, falls in love and the story goes on...

But what makes "Thattathin Marayathu" watchable and different? The script, the brilliantly funny dialogues, the simplicity... After all the angst and dark humor of current Malayalam movies, it's absolutely fun to watch a young guy lose his head over a beautiful girl and commit all sorts of indiscretions for the sake of that love. I guarantee that unless you are in a state of untreated clinical depression, this movie will have you exploding with laughter at regular intervals. You don't have to fall in love with the characters - although you are free to do so if an unapporachably reserved ice queen and a feckless youngster are your type...er well!

Nivin and Isha have accomplished what the director has asked them to do - but the supporting characters take the cake - too numerous to be mentioned by name and frankly I don't know most of the youngsters by name, but they have done a superb job. The only one a little too larger-than-life is Manoj K. Jayan as a sub-inspector with a heart of gold - one feels that the role would have been better underplayed rather than in the overtly comic style.

This is one movie that will bear watching more than once and you will certainly want to do it because you would be laughing so hard at one joke that you will totally miss another. And getting the CD when it comes out will be good so that you can watch it without incurring the wrath of fellow spectators who are irked by your loud guffaws. The music made its name long before the movie came out. Suffice to say it is a treat to watch our four-year old sing "Anuragathin Velayil" and run his fingers through his hair Nivin-style. And he also has the "Aa thattamitta kuttine angane angu zoom cheyyanda" dialogue down pat!

I read somewhere that Isha had taken Malayalam classes before she did the role - the preparation has paid off in dialogue delivery (whatever little there was). There must have been no problem dubbing for her - the lip-sync is perfect. I don't know why, but such little things make or mar a movie experience for me! :-)

In short... run and catch the movie in a theater next to you. Or you can even saunter, I think it's gonna stay there for a while!!!

Jul 6, 2012

One more birthday and some culinary explorations

Anikkuttan turned 4 this week...



Yep, that's the birthday boy. He's into funny faces now when I ask him to pose for the camera. This year has been pretty momentous for him. He was toilet-trained (yep, I finally bit the bullet and was rewarded for my wait, he picked it up within a week!). Then he started school and fell ill with all sorts of infections - and had to quit school after going for a month at the beginning of 2012. Now he's started LKG and is pretty happy and healthy, and has started a very HUGE part of schooling.... HOMEWORK!!!!




These days he has taken up a serious hobby - cooking. Last week he tried a variation on our favorite breakfast food - the humble dosa. He felt it needed a little zing (must be watching Masterchef Australia), so added some fresh used tea leaves to the batter that I had left for a moment on the kitchen counter. He did not forget to give it a good stir so that the tea leaves were very evenly distributed in the batter and his momma didn't have a prayer at scooping it out.

I vainly hoped that the tea leaves would settle at the bottom overnight, but learned some important physics lessons the next morning when the tea leaves remained suspended in their dispersed state at even intervals in the interstitial spaces of  the dosa matrix  (yeah, totally made that up!). I made the dosas. Apart from the fact that our dosas turned out slightly yellower than usual, they tasted fine and the tea leaves were pretty unobtrusive, I must say!

This week, he tried a new experiment by trying to put the string back into the stringed and chopped beans I had left for a moment (you would think I had learned my lesson by now!?!). Not one to do things halfheartedly, he emptied all the strings into the finely chopped beans and tried the tested and true method of stirring things up. But this time it didn't work and for all his pains he received a pretty prolonged tweak of the ear from his exasperated mother who had to pick out the strings for the next ten minutes.

Ani is also at that precious age at which kids have enough verbal ability to give clear accounts of what is happening in their imaginative world and I have droll comments to share almost daily with DH when he gets back from office. Last week, we watched from our porch as a crew of workers hurried about pouring concrete into the basement for a new house.

After a day's frenzied activity, they left the concrete to set and all that was left at ground level were some bunches of metal bars sticking up. Two or three days passed and we realized that our little guy had been watching the place when he said, "Those uncles don't know how to build a house, do they? They tried hard one day and have given up. I think they know only how to dig wells."  I did try to explain, but then left the workers prove themselves capable through their work....

Post laptopitis and a makeover project...

January 29th was an ordinary Monday in all other respects at Karthi. After the weekend merrymaking, I was as usual torn between selecting ...