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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finding a home after school for my child

It has been long since I penned down something in this blog. in fact I almost felt that my blog was stone cold and dead, looking for a fresh breath of air. Sorry, but with my daily routine of hard core office work, meetings, presentation, managing a house without any full time maid, and a growing 11 yr old son and his hectic schedule of studies, Taekwondo classes, Keyboard classes, Football activities in and out of school, there is no scope of 'thinking'. Before, even I took a deep breath, we are in the tenth month of the calendar.

Off late, the core attention point is to decide on an alternative afterschool daycare for my son. Very cautiously and carefully, and obviously intentionally I left out the word "creche" the most abused word in Indian homes.As always, I love walking up the hill, against the public motion and hence second time round I am on the search. And I am proud to have found the first one 4 and 1/2 yrs ago. For some compelling reasons, the existing outfit is planning to shut down and I am forced to look for an option.

Like many Indian working parents, we were lucky to find help from both sets parents in taking care of our son in the initial years. But as we were in Delhi, and both sets of grandparents were traveling from Kolkata and it was stretching and tiring them a little too much in having these 3 month on 3 month off kind of life in Kolkata and with us. When we moved to Gurgaon life in appartments were a little more cosy and secured, and keeping the ordealof past 5 yrs in mind, we opted for a creche than a full time maid.

My son till that time was underweight, fussy, non-eater, always finding some grandparent at his beck and call. Going to creche was not easy. Though I do not have any guilt pangs, but neither do I try and convince people for putting their kids in creche as " creche mein kyun jayega, uska kya koi nahin hai?"...

Four years down, my son can eat any food, can adjust in most of the environment and his health improved drastically. But the most salient observation was in his character. My child was otherwise shy of any other child we visited or who visited us, now can tackle, carry, hug and take care of kids as small as infants.

He misses these kids in vacation and for past few years we have got used to having two full fledged birthday celebrations, one in his daycare and the other with friends, family and classmates.

While we are anxious about making the right decision for the next one, I am also confident, at 11yrs, by no country standard he is fit to be at home after school unsupervised with or without maid or servants.

So, wish me luck while I go for my recce and finalise the next 'home after school' for my son.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Holi & RCI Bengal




Happy Holi. With Spring,( or may be summer)setting in, its time to type in my next post. Had there been an award for the most irregular blog, I am sure, there would have been no better contender than me.

Jokes apart, Holi, Easter weekend being a specially lo....ooong one, got some mental space to do something beyond the regular daal-chawal fare.

But please understand this is my first ever entry to RCI, or any other blog event. But just to celebrate Sandeepa's return from hibernation, decided to re-cast an old post of mine for RCI Bengal.For those like me, caught between priceless memories of childhood, or growing up days in Kolkata and the fast(er) paced mundane life in another megacity, this should bring back some memories.

Some of you might have already tasted this wonder before, some have never. But, this dish is very special for me....as I cook this for my hubby and my son, who can drool over this, but I can not even taste it.... as I am very allergic to crabs.

Fiery Hot Crab Curry

Ingredients:

1. Fresh crabs- 4, cleaned, limbs and claws cracked, but not shelled
2. Red Onions...2, large, ground into a paste
3. Ginger paste...1 tablespoon
4. Garlic paste.....1/2 tablespoon
5. Tomato....2 large, blanched, skinned, grated fine
6. Turmeric powder.... 3/4 tsp, level
7. Hot Chilli powder... 1 tsp, or to taste
8. Kashmiri Chilli Powder... 1 and 1/2 tsp, level
9. Potatoes... 2 medium sized, skinned and cubed(optional)
10. Mustard oil... 200gms (max)
11. Whole masala... Bayleaf(2-3); small green cardamom(2-3), clove(1-2), and cinnamon stick(1 inch)
12. Salt and Sugar to taste
13. Garam Masala powder...1/2 tsp


Process

1. Cleaned crab pieces rubbed with salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric
2. Heat oil till smoking. Reduce flame. Deep fry crab pieces for 2-3 mins or till they turn red, strain and keep aside
3. Fry the potato cubes in the same oil and keep aside
4. In rest of the oil, when hot, reduce flame and add the whole masala, stir for 1-2 minutes and put in the onion paste.
5. As the onion turns transluscent, add garlic followed by ginger, keep stirring.
6. As onion starts browning, add tomato and stir well.
7. Add turmeric, kashmiri chilli and the Hot chilli powder and keep stirring. As the masala starts leaving the edge, it is time to add the potato cubes and mix well.
8. After 2 mins of stirring, add garam masala powder and stir well.
9. Add 2-3 cups of water to avoid burning the masala and for gravy. Cover and simmer.
10. When gravy boils, add the crab pieces, keep covered and simmer.
11. Take off the cover and put flame on High, to dry up the gravy.
12. Keep stirring till gravy has dried up and gives a fiery red look to the crabs.
13. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

14. Never forget to serve with an extra empty side dish for all the shells and claws emptied.

Happy dining with Indian Crabs.