One Grapeseed and the Sofa – Our Treasure Island

treasureOur sofa set is a treasure trove with the ownership of the treasure clearly identified. This has been a recent serendipitous discovery for us. Now, if anything is missing in the house, the first place to hunt for it is to rip up the sofa seat cushions and the headrest, and viola! You may find what you have lost!

It all started with the hunt for the seed of a grape that fell at the conjunction of the sofa seat and the armrest. Ryan was eating big grapes that had big seeds. One of these seeds popped out of his mouth and fell into the invisible slot between the seat cushion and the armrest of the sofa. Now, since my kiddo is a really ‘nice’ guy, he wanted to pile up all the seeds at the corner of his snack box. He couldn’t take the daring obstinacy of that one seed that fell in there and almost disappeared into the black hole. Down he came from the sofa, and fought with the sofa seat to pull it up. It was almost a wrestling scene in there. I remained a silent spectator. He grunted and groaned; I also overlooked a few episodes of his falling back on the ground with the futile impact of pulling up the seats. Slowly, the headrest was thrown on the other side of the sofa. Gradually, I could hear the ripping of the velcro from underneath the cushions. And then he did it! One huge pull, and the seat bounded off.

That one pull of the sofa seat unravelled treasures unknown, that were once owned and loved, and forever forgotten when these precious gems of possession had suspiciously vanished. Now they were right before their owner, and the expression of surprise and joy on the face of the kiddo was remarkable.

‘Mamma! See what I found,’ came a joyous cry.

Still silent, I went to see what exactly he had discovered. Here’s a quick list:

A green jumping frog, a batman figure, two cars, a toy nurse with a huge head, a host of crayons, a play-doh jar cover, a building blocks window, a plastic spoon, a Kinder Joy surprise toy, a block of Jenga, and a lot of things which I have removed from the photo above to avoid mommy-shame. Some of these include a lot of puffed rice pieces, unused crumpled tissues, a few coins, a dehydrated piece of what seemed an apple slice, two candy wrappers that were beyond recognition, torn crayon covers, and a broken plastic fork. But the lost gem that won hands down was a Yakult bottle still sealed and still intact in its fermented glory. You can see that bottle on the right side in the picture above.

The boy gave gasps of joy as he handed out each of his once lost toys and victoriously held them out. I seemed ecstatic too, though surprise was probably the chief of my expressions!

And then out came the nondescript colorless grapeseed that had initiated this treasure hunt. Ryan picked it and safely placed it in the middle of his empty snack box. Just as expected! Take my word for it. He had piled them up, not me.

treasure2

Happy to have found more than what he was looking for, the boy remained busy for the rest of the day with his rediscovered toys, and I didn’t dare to see what lay hidden under the other seats. I kept that as a surprise for another day. I was still trying to calculate how that sly Yakult bottle had slid down under that seat and remained there happily.

Kipsta Mini Basketball Set Plexi – Our Home Basketball Set

hoop new

With Ryan turning 4 last month, I had somehow convinced him to put up a basketball hoop on his 4th birthday wishlist, and also to enroll him for basketball classes. You see, we mommies almost always have our kids try out every known sport possible, and then take up one or two that they like. Its the same with Ryan. He is trying out basketball and skating, and swimming of course.

Since we are such fans of the sports goods store Decathlon, our obvious place of research was the same. We got the Kipsta Mini Basketball Set B Plexi and we love it. Kipsta is the team-sports brand under the Decathlon group umbrella and focuses on football, basketball, rugby etc.

The kiddo too loves the basketball set. It’s perfect for juniors, and the best feature of this mini basketball set is that it has two hooks with which we can hang it on our doors. The angular hooks are made with precision so that the panel can be easily mounted and unmounted. We can mount it up on doors, fix it on a wall, or put it up on a medium-height loft. For us, it gets hooked to our doors. Whenever Ryan wants to play basketball, we mount it up and when done, we remove it from the door. It is true that once it is mounted, the door needs a tad bit extra push to close, but that push doesnt hurt the panel or the door. We really loved the modularity of the piece. Here is a quick pic of the Plexi set on our door.

hoop 1

Since it is meant for beginners, a mini basketball is what we need for the hoop. The panel is made of polycarbonate material that makes it strong, hard, and break resistant.

The installation time was also minimal, almost around 5 to 10 minutes for the dad who is a pro at the mechanics of these equipments. The panel also has small black pads to rest it evenly on doors, however, we had to put dual-sided tapes to keep the entire panel straight because our door probably has a smaller width than other doors. On our door, the lower end of the panel was not in line with the upper end, but with the tapes, the lower end got extra cushioning and remained straight. This is a pic of the box in which the basketball set was packaged:

kipsta box

You may want to get one of these if you have a 4 to 7 year old kid who could be interested in basketball for the first time. Priced at INR 1299, it is worth a buy.

Autumn. And the aroma of Durga Puja.

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Again. It’s that time of the year when there is a nip in the morning air but it is also sunny. The mornings are both foggy in the distant far and balmy close by, but I can feel the chill when the balcony door opens to let the autumn mornings gush inside.  What makes these October mornings more personal is the whiff of Durga Puja in the air. There is this distinct fragrance of approaching festivities that linger in the immature air, and the deja vu feeling of the Pujas come rushing into me. Its very familiar. Its unassuming. And it takes me back to the jejune Puja happiness of Kolkata.

As kids, the Pujas meant a time of being free and happy. Free from school, free from study time, free from mom’s scoldings, free to eat food that seemed heavenly manna for me but was actually classified under ‘junk,’ free to feel free. The Pujas meant 5 sets of new clothes for each of the five days of celebration, the warm smell of new cotton, lip-smacking delicacies made at home, lot of blaring music from the nearby pandals which hosted the goddess, and happy crowds everywhere.

We used to spend the five days of the Pujas at our grandparents’ place. And we were pampered by our uncles and aunts, not to mention the grandparents. We used to love the intricate decorative lighting all over on the roads, the exquisitely massive pandals, the embellished idols of Durga and her convoy of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartick, and Ganesha, the mountainous piles of fresh flowers in the pandals, the aromatic and traditional Dhunuchi Naach (dancing with a big earthen incense burner with a lot of coconut husk and resin), not to mention the rhythmic loud sound of dhaak (drums hung around the neck). The exuberance of the entire place was remarkable. The joie-de-vivre of the time filled everyone, irrespective of age or of class. Everyone revelled in the buoyancy of the festival that was incomplete without the ethnic ‘Khichudi Bhog’ (a melange of lentils and rice) and ‘cholar daal with narkol (lentils cooked with coconut pieces). If I were to list the essential element of the Pujas, Im sure I’d miss a lot of them.

The strongest memories of this time include the fragrant aratis (worshipping with oil and resin lamps), my dad lifting me high to see the idols in the smokey pandals, the bunch of people dancing like lunatics during the immersion of the goddess,  and also the constant fear of losing my shoes in the crowded pandals.

In the last ten years, I havent been to the city during the Pujas, but I can imagine the gusto of the place. I would love to visit the city and relive its Puja fervour, but I’m probably averse to crowds now. It is strange that I may not be able to really enjoy the festive zeitgeist with that crowd, but that crowd is the essence of the Pujas. Without that crowd, the Pujas are bland.

For now though, I’d settle with coconut ‘naru’ (sweet ball of jaggery and coconut)!

Being Mommy – Spiderman Love #SpidermanSaturdays

#ThrowBackThursdays and #FollowFridays are passe. Its the era of  #SpidermanSaturdays. Or so as the kiddo makes me feel.

This Saturday was a ‘I’m a Spiderman’ wake up call for me. There was an early morning demand for change of clothes to the Spidey costume. Let me tell you that Ryan’s love for Spidey is not new. It is a three years old love. Im counting from the time he turned 1. Also, so well known is his love for the tight-costumed red guy that he inevitably gets a Spiderman gift every year on his birthday. Not only that, his Spideys accompany him on car trips both long and short, to the park (mostly hidden in a tiny bag that he never wants to part ways with), and on the bed too. The guys are often lined up near his pillow, and they dedicatedly cast a watchful glance at him all night when he sleeps. Sometimes they often find a space on his pillow as in here:

sleepingw:spidey

Coming back to #SpidermanSaturdays, there was an early morning change into the red costume, and out tumbled all the Spideys that have overtaken our house these years. They were made to do some ‘stretching exercises’ as Ryan mentioned. Like this:

spideys exercising

Then, they were made to sit together. All the men. All the Spidermen. Including Ryan spiderman. Also, there was a rendering of ‘Ryan Man, Ryan Man/ Friendly Neighborhood Ryan Man….’ when off I went to brush. Yes, I had not brushed while all of this was happening. That is called being a mommy. There was also a photo session soon after.

ryanwithspideys

After all the morning hubbub of Spiderman, I did have a peaceful afternoon. Thanks to the dad.

Of Lotus-eating. And eating oranges.

Oranges.

The first sight of oranges in stores tells me that it is already Autumn and that winter is just around the corner. I love winter for its lovely blanket of sunshine during the days, and for my favorite soft comforter during the night. One of the most interesting love affairs I have is with oranges and winters. I simply love to sit in the winter sunshine and eat oranges. Strange? Maybe.

I love to peel the fruit and eat it, savoring the tartness and the sweetness of it all in one bite. It brings back memories from my childhood when my mom used to give me an orange every day during my winter vacations. What makes this memory more fondly nostalgic is that every winter morning, a huge quilt would be put out in the sun to absorb the bright and radiant sunlight, and I used to sit on this huge quilt with indolent comfort and eat my orange. As a kid, it would be my favorite ‘thing-to-do’ in the seemingly balmy winter afternoons. It was a fascinating experience. Everyday.

This lotus-eating joy of citrusy afternoons has stayed on in me till date. And I crave for those afternoons. I love to peel an orange part by part, and Im joyous like a kid as I get to see more of the juicy orange inside. Careful so as not to hurt the inner translucent skin of the sections, I separate the white stringy pith from each segment. I do take a good look at the bean-shaped segment before I pop it into my mouth and savor the sudden burst of juicy pulp while twirling it in my mouth. I believe my face has the same half-eyed expression of contentment shown in chocolate-eating adverts. And yes, after the gratifying session of orange eating, there is the customary strong ‘tuh’; the clicking of the tongue from the palate to savor the last strains of tanginess in the mouth.

Waiting for the winter noons to bring in loads of orange goodness this year too!