Multitasking Mania

Surely something’s wrong when I am standing fully dressed in work clothes and:

  • Making dosais for my breakfast
  • Eating aforementioned dosais while hovering between the stove and the nearby countertop
  • Making mini-trips between dosai bites to the fridge and microwave to plan and pack my lunch
  • Brewing my coffee on the side to take with me on my ride to work

And still giving sidelong glances at my laptop sitting on the kitchen table, with a nagging feeling that I should be more productive and get a head start on my work rather than waste time on inessentials like food.

It’s going to be a busy work day, but really, my first meeting is not for another three hours.  So what’s up with the constant drive to be productive?  Che!

Are you this crazy too?  Please tell me you are. 🙂



There’s more to life than increasing its speed.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I recently realized that I have a preference to rush through things.  Especially, mundane tasks where I don’t see a huge return or value, or when I am doing something for myself.

Like when I am out getting a haircut, or shopping for myself, and it happens to take more than a half hour.

Thinking back, wondering when this might have started (yes, I had some fantastically idle time this week), went all the way back to grad school.  A strange era when, on my own for the first time, I did grocery shopping or laundry (ugh!) only when absolutely necessary.  Just so I didn’t “waste” precious time that could have been spent on studying and research.

The more aware I am that I do this, the more I catch myself doing it.

This evening, after making dinner, decided to do yoga to stretch my aching muscles.  Went upstairs, got settled, and started my warm-up exercises.  First thought that crossed my mind?  “I don’t have time to do 18 repetitions of the warm-ups like they do in yoga class, so I am just going to do 5 repetitions.”  I heard this chatter and found myself wondering “why?”  Dinner was ready, N wasn’t back home from work, Amma was reading, little N and her friends were working on a group project in our living room, and little A was doing her math homework at our kitchen table.  Who in the world was looking for me, and why did I feel like I didn’t have enough time for yoga?

Within a couple of hours, caught myself feeling the same thing again.  I was putting away the laundry upstairs, when I felt like I had to finish quickly and go downstairs, like something or someone needed my immediate attention.  When in fact, N and little A were playing a game of chess, Amma was still reading, and little N’s was in the middle of a violin lesson with her teacher.  I was not even on anyone’s radar.

So, WTF is this, this thing in me that’s urging me to go quicker, and get on with the next thing?  I know that there’s no getting to the end of that to-do list.  Ever.  So what gives?

Hmmmm…. something to think about, huh?

I Wish I Could Tell

Sollathaan ninaikkiren…

Sorry, this is not a post about some deep, dark secret (although, wouldn’t that be fun!).  Some other time, ok?

This post is totally about something else.

Last week, little N had a s&^t load of school stuff to get through one night.  Fabulous supportive mom that I am, decided to give her company (without realizing that she was going to go on till 1 am, but that’s another story).  Made her some masala chai around 10:30 pm, and tucked myself in on the couch across from her.  I usually don’t watch movies on my own, but didn’t think little N would tolerate my just sitting there watching her toil (and let’s face it, making small talk).  So.  Decided to see what was up for viewing in the old tamil movie world.

Landed on “Sollathaan Ninaikkiren”.  Normally, N and I would have by-passed such ancient offerings (N just refuses to look too far back).  But I was left to my own devices, and happened to notice that the movie was made in 1973.  Not such an old movie, I thought to myself.  Hmmm… does everyone have this delusion that the year they were born in was really not that long ago?.  Anyway.  Print was surprisingly decent, so plodded on (and finished it) despite several instances along the way where the resting feminist in me felt quite riled up:

  • Father of three girls: “Oh, one must never be born a girl.”
  • Girl’s family to potential groom’s family: “Girl is a teacher.  But if you don’t want her to go to work, just say the word and she will quit tomorrow.”
  • New bride to husband: “Now that you have tied the thaali around my neck, I am just overwhelmed with respect for you.” (adiye!!!!)
  • Potential groom to girl’s father: “I don’t want to marry your older daughter.  I want to marry her sister.” (And the sister agrees to marry this rat!)

But the movie was not without its plus points.  Chennai from the 1970s looked so uncomplicated in black and white – empty streets, PTC buses, old cars, saree-clad women, sambraani.  Felt soooo nostalgic.  Also, bonus – I only recall seeing Sivakumar act as Rama or Vishnu in most old movies (always oru blue color and constantly smiling, che!).  Watching this movie now, I was totally struck by the young Sivakumar’s resemblance to the Singam (mmmm…got my money back right there, I say!!).

Overall verdict (feminist outrage notwithstanding) – not too shabby for a solo late-nighter. 😉

Blackboard Wisdom

Even if blog posts are not happening full swing, blackboard wisdom is still going strong. I stumbled on these two quotes this morning – one from a TED talk that I was listening to while driving to work, and the other while checking out Seth Godin’s blog during my lunch break.  Hope you like them too! 🙂


First post of 2017.  Cannot believe that I actually went almost a month without writing here!  So, let me start with…. Happy New Year!  And a little take-it-easy post on Happenings in my corner.

Things have been super busy around here for all of us – work, school, home, activities – it’s been nonstop.  A lot of times (like right now), our home resembles the quiet zone of a library.  Little N and little A are both poring over their homework, Amma is reading “Tapovan Prasad” while reclining in her favorite chair, I am writing (while keeping half an eye on the vendakkai roast that is cooking for dinner), and N is on the computer (scoping out our next vacation, no doubt).  Planning to unwind by watching “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya” tonight with Amma and N (if we don’t fall asleep by 9 pm).  Sounds like a mindless, fun flick.  We’ll see!

Had a ton of fun figuring out our Patronuses on Pottermore (have you tried this?).  Some outcomes made total sense (little N’s patronus is an eagle, little A’s is a dolphin, and mine is a St. Bernard), and other a little less so (Amma’s is an adder, and N’s is a wild cat).  Hmmm… maybe I should buy patronus charms for everyone, wouldn’t that be cool?

I am yet to start on my fitness goals for 2017 (no surprises there, you say?).  Really need to start soon.  But where to start?  That is the question.  I know.  I will start by locating my Fitbit and charging it.  That way, I will be ready to wear it and start (ahem!) exercising next week.  Baby steps!! 🙂

In addition to my word of “fitness” for 2017, I also came up with a color for the year.  You ready?  “Rose Gold”.  Rose for health and fitness, and Gold for excellence.  Clever, no?  Plus, I really do love the color.

Hope you’ve been having a wonderful 2017 so far too! 🙂

My Word for 2017

My word for 2016 was “relish” (read about it at  Relish was on my mind off and on during 2016 (and I am happy to report, not just when eating pickles).  But looking back, I didn’t particularly pause and do all that much relishing in 2016.  I think “achieve” would have been a more apt word.  Which, interestingly, was little N’s word for 2016.  It has been quite an eventful year, workwise.  In 2016, I became chair of the women environmental professionals group in NJ, passed my professional license exam (after whining about it a LOT here and elsewhere), and switched to a more challenging and, at the same time, very flexible job, which gives me great balance in my life.

But I think my biggest achievement in 2016 was figuring out (on my own) the cause of my chronic back pain, which has been going on since the end of 2013 (ugh!).  I will tell you about it quickly (even though little N warned me not to be one of those people who go on and on about health issues on their blog).  So anyway, just like that, out of the blue, woke up one morning thinking that perhaps my pain has to do with diet.  Googled it (of course), and landed on gluten as a possible culprit.  Long story short, I eliminated gluten from my diet for a couple of weeks.  And the pain was completely GONE!!  How cool is that?!  It’s been a couple of months now on this gluten-free journey.  Of course, I sometimes absolutely pine for my favorite gluten-filled foods (my precious chole bhatura, croissants, pancakes, aaaah!!).  But, cannot beat being pain free after so many years (especially, after resigning myself that old age aches have come calling early).  So, that’s my biggest achievement in 2016.

Ok, I am finally getting to the point.  My word for 2017.


I am amazed at how long I had been going on with background pain just because no one thought to connect the dots to diet (especially the experts in the medical profession).  So, in 2017, I will focus on fitness and health for the family.  I will plan our meals better and in advance, and will reduce processed foods around the house (always a challenge).  I will keep exercise on my radar – a friend and I are signing up to start Jazzercise in January, and I will participate again in an annual walkathon in April.  Don’t know that I will run a marathon just yet (but perhaps I will surprise you, and myself). 😉

I am super psyched about my word for 2017, and hope I do better with it than I did in 2016 with “relish”, or in 2015 for that matter (my word for 2015 was “lighten up” – still waiting for that to happen!).

So, what’s your word for 2017? 🙂

Let’s Play

It’s raining cats and dogs here today – flash flood warnings, the whole works (no power cut, though, for which I am infinitely thankful).  Had taken little N to the mall for some clothes shopping.  Our usual 15 minute drive back home took almost an hour.  Came home drenched, warmed up with two cups of masala chai that N made, and decided to whip up some onion pakodas.  When I was growing up, Amma used to start making bajjis or pakodas as soon as dark clouds gathered in the sky (those were the days, my friend!).

As I was deep frying, taste-testing (aaha, super-aa irukkae!!!), and thinking back to those good old pampered childhood days, I suddenly remembered a little game that my school friends and I played eight years back, when we were first re-discovering each other through Google groups.  Yes, my mind makes strange, and entirely unrelated connections.  Still.  I am a sucker for such games, so thought I would share it here. I could not find my responses from eight years ago, would have been fun to see how (and whether) I have changed much in the past eight years.  So, here goes, the questions and my answers:

Where is your cell phone?  Don’t know, don’t care

Where is your significant other?  In the family room, ironing out vacation plans

Your hair?  Transforming rapidly from hottie to patti 😉

Your mother?  At V’s place

Your father?  On my mind every day

Your favorite thing?  Awesome Indian restaurants (such a foodie, I know!)

Your dream last night?  Don’t remember

Your dream/goal?  Traveling for several months every year (mmmm… delicious!)

The room you are in?  My kitchen

Your fear?  Loss

Where do you want to be in six years?  Exactly where I am today (in my personal life, that is.  Obviously, at work, I would like to have advanced quite a bit, duh!)

Where were you last night?  P. F. Chang’s, Barnes & Noble

What you are not?  I am not a person that plays games (and I don’t mean the Monopoly kind)

Muffins?  Meh!

One of your wish list items?  Travel around the world for one whole summer

Where did you grow up?  In India; specifically, in Singaara Chennai

What are you wearing?  Which dog wants to know?

Your TV?  Always off

Your pet?  Does it have to be an animal?

Your computer?  Off (typing this from little N’s macbook)

Your life?  Sweet 🙂

Your mood?  Calm (which is not all that common, so pretty good, huh?)

Missing someone?  Appa, miss sharing so much with him

Your car?  MDX

Something you are not wearing?  None of your business

Your summer?  Busy so far, but fun times are within striking distance (yay!)

Love someone?  Love my lovely family!

Your favorite colors?  Red, black, and a bright, cheery yellow

When is the last time you laughed?  Today 🙂

Last time you cried?  June 25th (when I attended the memorial service for my bhajan teacher’s son, who passed away last year at 16 years of age)

Ok, now answer all these questions in the comments below, or in your own blog.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with! 🙂