For You, Daddy!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

And The Mountains Echoed




So you know that in June, Mum and I went away for a break. Over three weeks, we visited family in two cities and holidayed with friends in two mountain towns.



We travelled over hills




And rolled across dales.




We watched Liam work his magic with homeless boys

This ‘flow chart’ is what changes a child’s life.
Liam believes, not just in second chances,
but in giving a chlld
seventy times seven chances.




 And gaped at Godbaby twist and not shout during her Capoeira workouts.

Godbaby: Après change of hairstyle




Mum hung out with her girls

L–>R: Godbaby, Mum, Big Sis
Godbaby: Pre-change of hair style




And we huddled around two ageing relatives whose photographs I have chosen not to share in a public space in an effort to afford them dignity that has fallen victim to the ravages of ageing.



I am aware that this is the fate of some of us when we approach certain chronological milestones, and it makes me incredibly sad to see how helpless some unfortunate people are against physical decline that technology has not conquered yet.



This trip was no holiday per se, for me. As I wrote to a friend on return:  



Our trip was a good diversion from routine, although not entirely a relaxed break for me. Mum, 82, is very independent, but since we were in new-to-her-at-this-age places and she does not voice her preferences/displeasures as loudly as I do, I had to constantly think of where she’d need physical assistance and I had to ensure her meals/snacks were on time. Like me, Mother eats every two to three hours. Like me, too, she begins to wilt when she gets hungry. Unlike me, she doesn’t turn cranky. You know what I’m talking about. Yup, I’m still the same. 😉



Before we left, I didn’t think of this trip as a break for me, so I wasn’t disappointed to not get to do what I wanted to at all times. I’m just very happy for Mum because the change of scene was a good boost for her already active life. .  



But I was away from routine and that made a few things come to light, especially when we were ensconced at Liam’s in the mountains. I’ll list three of them below. 




I. I realised I did not need that break. Because I wasn’t tired.  


Before we left, I had looked forward to getting away because I had not been on a holiday in 14 months. (Extra long weekends to neighbouring states do not count.) I wasn’t exactly tired before I went on the trip, but I did not realise how tired I was not until the third leg of the trip.



Before we left, I was looking forward to ‘unwinding’ and feeling ‘refreshed’ on the trip.



And nothing happened.



I then realised that it was because I wasn’t tired.



And I wasn’t tired because I plan, prioritise and pace all the activities I can when I’m at home.



I literally pencil in simple chats over coffee (for her) and green tea (for me) with BFF Two at my place or hers even though we meet at least once a week.



I feel nothing when I have to cancel plans to catch a movie or a play with friends when another friend calls and desperately needs a pair of ears for her woes.  



I am strict about when my personal contacts can call me for non-urgent matters. Before 8 a.m. and not after 8 p.m. Emergencies excepted. (It’s lights out at my casa at 9.30 p.m. and I wake up at 5.30 a.m.)



I am very strict with myself and the time I spend on line.



Writing personal mails tops my list of priorities. If I find myself interested in a new article or site, I squelch the slight twinge of disappointment that I could not ‘flip through’ some of my daily reads, which are primarily online newspapers.



I’ve RSSed a little over a dozen* blogs. At first, it was awfully hard for me to refrain from commenting on new blogs or even the ones I read regularly. I know how much I like receiving a ‘Like’ or a ‘Comment’ on my blog, but that’s not good enough to spur me to do the same on everyone else’s I read when I’m crunched for time.



I am just as strict with my time for myself as I am with others, be it in person or cyberspace. 



“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” ~ M.K. Gandhi  


*You want to scoff at the miniscule number of blogs I’ve RSSed? I’ll give you more fodder, friends! I do not have an account with any networking site**. Oh, dear. I’ll give you a few minutes to recover from that anticlimactic truth.



**I have access to Big Sis and BFF One’s Facebook accounts. The only time I stroll around there is with Mum by my side so that she can catch up with our relatives/family friends and my school era friends, respectively, around the world. (BFF Two lives in China and therefore, does not have access to Facebook. In any case, she’s like me; prefers deeper interaction with a small group of personal contacts.)



Five years ago, when I returned to live with Mum, people around me here slowly became acquainted with my unflinching firmness that they were not familiar with because I had left when I was a teenager. My rigidness was teased gently by most and I smiled sweetly in response. But stood my ground. I was ridiculed by a few, seethed inwardly in their presence and railed against them to my Core Four (i.e. the four people – a mix of family and friends – I am closest to). But I did not budge.



My body, my life, my rules. Period.



Five years on and I’m revelling in the results. I am not tired nor do I tear my hair at the end of the day. Or even at the end of 14 month holiday drought. 🙂




II. I stayed true to my intention of switching to ‘Unplug mode’ and I was okay. I was more than okay; I was absolutely fine being completely immersed in the real world. ^_^ 




I checked mail three times in the twenty days we were away. I had access to a computer everywhere we went, but I just did not feel like checking my e-mail.



I did keep track of my Core Four once a day with whoever’s Crackberry or Smartphone was at hand. But those were not my customary prolonged exchanges. Via a common message, I reached out to check that they were okay and to brief them on the highlights of our day.



Each of the three times, I wrote mails to my friends who were hurting in some way or who were celebrating a birthday that day.



Here’s an excerpt from a birthday mail I wrote to a friend: 



Mum and I are still in [the name of the state we were in at the time]. In fact, this is the first time I’ve checked my mail in 8 whole days. I know! If it wasn’t your birthday, Friend, I wouldn’t have even logged in today. I am enjoying NOT writing as much as I enjoy writing my regular reams!  




III. Before I returned home, I had a pretty detailed plan of what I would have liked my life to be like here after being away a few decades. Some things fell into place. Some did not. Actually, some of the big ones did not. I was angry, frustrated and …. angry. Yes, I know I’ve repeated ‘angry’. That’s because I was angry a lot.  



Three years later, I realised the anger was harming me, first of all, and only me for the most part. Thank goodness, I’m a narcissist. I decided to stop being angry because I do not like pain.



When I calmed down, I began to think of other options to fulfil my potential. And options came my way. Not always the ones or the way I had imagined, but they were options nonetheless.



I tentatively dipped my toes, loved how refreshed my soul felt and dove right in. And I’ve been doing swimmingly ever since. Hallelujah!




I am telling this without a sigh

Not ages and ages hence, but now   

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –   

I took the one not imagined by,   

And that has made all the difference.


Dear Robert Frost, thank you for inspiring me with your ‘The Road Not Taken’.

Also, I’m dreadfully sorry I’ve plagiarised and spifflicated your venerable lines.  




Liam, friend of our family, is a Salesian priest. Recently, he was transferred to a mountainous part of the country where he heads a shelter for homeless boys. His institution also has a fruit and vegetable farm, a chicken farm and a piggery on the same sprawling property.



While each of the four places Mum and I visited on this holiday is special to me, I will share my favourite moments from when those mountains spoke to me. 



1. Feeding the pigs. I used to feed the pigs a snack every day. I’d gather all the ripened apples from the ground in a pail and toss them to the pigs. Oh, I was so very tempted to hand feed them, but warnings from the elders and common sense got in the way of my fun. 😉 



I called the littlest pig, Babe. Babe was one greedy, little piggy. 



Being the lightest on his little pinkish tinged feet, with shocking speed one day, he grabbed the first apple I threw in. Then he grabbed the second apple as well … with the first still in his mouth! Not satisfied with two apples stuffed in his mouth, he darted between the big pigs and lunged at the third one! What a pig pet!



“Babe!” I admonished. “This is exactly how you will land up on a dining table, roasted to golden perfection with that d#mned apple in your gob.” Warning in vain, for sure.  



2. Playing with a glow worm. One patch of the massive grounds had openings in the mountain walls. Those ‘caves’, as I called them, were filled with glow worms. Then Liam picked one up and asked if I wanted to hold it. I froze while the thing wiggled in my hand. Gradually, I began to, um, thaw and I think I managed to stroke it, too. Aww. 



Watching all those glow worms was a treat. Playing with one made me want to flicker, too. I declared that they flickered because they were happy. So was I.  



3. Seeing thousands of newly sprouted wild saplings. One late afternoon, Liam, a colleague of his and I went trekking to the summit of the lowest mountain in the neighbourhood. I opted for the unbeaten, rough slope. I had trekked in that region a few years ago in summer and I knew those grounds are dry and barren at certain times of the year. 



I was shocked and delighted to see how much lies asleep until the rains come and wake them up! I rarely get to see newly sprouted plants. Seeing a huge carpet of them was pure joy. Like the glow worms, I insisted the sprouts were happy (to wake up).  



4. The view from the edge of a cliff. Not too early one morning, Liam took a group of his visiting colleagues, Mum and me for a drive around some of the scenic spots. He took us higher up the mountains towards a dead end. More of a dead drop, if you ask me. He had said the view of the valley below and the smaller peaks that stretched almost into the horizon, was a beautiful one. 



But when we got there to the edge, it was very foggy. Clouds of mist swirled around us and we barely saw land anywhere ahead of us; mostly fog.  



And that’s exactly why I enjoyed that moment. 




I love the mountains, I love the mist.

I had both there.

That magical moment up in the mountains

was my most favourite moment

of all the other non-family/friends times

I spent on this holiday.





::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  :: ::     CONGRATULATIONS   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::


Fresh off the press! Fresh off the press! The Hook got Freshly Pressed!


Here’s the article:


An Open Letter To Ellen DeGeneres


Hook, what I’m most excited about you getting Freshly Pressed is, that this, getting Freshly Pressed, was one of your many little dreams. And it gone done come true! Woo flippin’ hoo!


You’re next, Hook And Family’s Other Dreams! 


Thank you, Shogun 360°, Iaconis and JIMMY 2 HATSfor signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!  and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, Shogun 360° Marketing, You’ve Been Hooked! Dog Leader Mysteries and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post.


Thank you, WordsFallFromMyEyes, for liking and commenting on my post titled ‘Loves’ Labours Not Lost’. 




P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.


I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!  








Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Loves’ Labours Not Lost

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , ,



Today is International Workers’ Day.



May 1 is also called Labour Day in some parts of the world.




This image is from




Last May Day, I wrote about some of the wonderful people who toil to make my life comfortable. That post is titled:


With A Little Help From My Friends




This post is about a few others who earn their living by making my life easier.



And it’s about what I try to do to ensure they receive a little additional gratitude. Hence, the twist of that Shakespearean story in the title of this post.



I am a little biased towards helping people I know personally. There is a need everywhere in the world, but I have found that, when I enforce my ‘Charity begins at home’ mantra, the personal interaction with my clients (as I call the beneficiaries) fulfills a certain emotional need in me.



Remember I said this a while ago?



I will share some details of my work with my cousins in a future post. Oh, don’t worry about making me cross my heart. I will brag. 🙂



In my first post of 2013? No?

That post is titled:

A New Day Has Come’.

Not even the faintest of tinkling bells? Oh well. You’ll just have to take my word for it then, won’t you?



Nearly 5 years ago, I gave up a high flying job and lifestyle and … whatwho?


The Monk Who Sold Her Ferrari?

Do I look like a person who has COMPLETELY lost her mind?

Why on this climate changed earth would I sell a Ferrari if I owned one?

Ditch those wheels to trudge up some mountain?






And to think, that you thought, that I was the ridiculous one. Ha.




So let’s get back to the point, shall we? I worked at a few companies in a few countries and I was happy. Until I grew a pair had the courage to admit to myself that it was ephemeral happiness.



Nearly 5 years ago, I moved into the slow lane. Seeing the difference in my life overall, towards the end of last year, two of my cousins decided to weave in and out of that lane.



Being the lazy wench that I am, I will copy the rest of the background story about my cousins from my earlier post.




Late last year, when I went away on assignment, September-October, to be precise, two of my cousins gave me a wonderful surprise. The timing is uncanny because these two cousins are not related to each other.



One is Mummy’s younger sister’s son and the other is Daddy’s younger brother’s son. Both are from different parts of the globe and though they have met each other on occasion over the years, they are not in contact with each other. But they both came up with the same thought, and they both approached me with the same request, at almost the same time.



They both wanted to do something about, what I call, their Personal Social Responsibility or PSR for short. Since I switched careers to social service 4 years ago and am thriving* in it, they decided to seek my guidance.



*Not in terms of salary earnings, but the emotional millions I’m raking in.



So there. That’s what’s been eating my time since October last year. Because this is completely new to both my cousins, and I work alone with each of them via Skype, I have had to spend time I didn’t quite have.


I call the cousin who is older than I am – Gun.

Because it’s his high school ‘street name’ for his biceps back then; which he only used to peacock around with, not beat anyone to a pulp.

Gun calls me ‘Chick’.

Not because I’m female, but because I’m the younger of two sisters. Chick is not offended in the least. She cheeps in delight, in fact.



I call the cousin who is younger than I am – Dawg.

Because we both like dogs. That’s a lie. But I really can’t tell you why I call him that.

Dawg calls me ‘Dude’.

Because I spent 5 years in my earliest career in his city, and during that time, I spent a lot of time with him and his (then) school and college bloke buds, who are still his closest mates today. I was (and still am) like just another dude to them.




I had a few ‘rules’ for my cousins when we discussed this project. The two biggies I insisted on were:



1. The clients be people I know personally.


2. Gun and Dawg would have to meet the people they help when they visit Mum and me. Until the visits happen, I would send them detailed reports about my interactions with each individual/family every time AND that I want feedback from each of them.



Both cousins requested anonymity with the clients (and in general) and I respect that, but I stressed that they must visit the families the way I routinely do.



Years ago, I’d found that writing cheques and giving cash donations to organisations made me feel good about myself, but interacting with the clients, especially in their homes, makes them feel good about themselves. And whoa! Don’t even ask how I feel when I see the unbridled delight over my visits to their humble dwellings!



Gun doesn’t travel very often on work, so I usually Skype with him.




Three years ago, Gun and his friends travelled across a few seas.
So did I.
We spent a few days being the kids we refuse to stop being.




Dawg has, what I call ‘ants in his pants’ i.e. he’s a globe trotter, so we communicate more frequently via e-mail.



Below is an excerpt of my mail to Dawg when I introduced some possible clients. He gladly adopted this group.




1. Gisele: As in Gisele Bündchen. That’s what Mum and I call our tribal banana woman.


We call her Gisele because years ago, when Mum told her she (Mum) wanted to get her (Gisele) a new pair of flip-flops to replace her well worn ones, she had told Mum she preferred the Havaianas* brand because she had heard that they didn’t hurt the feet. She walks around with a basket of bananas on her head. She’s pint sized and a very chatty old woman. And yes, Mummy did get her a very colourful pair. Mum said Gisele’s face glowed just as brightly as the new pair of Havaianas on her feet when Mum gave them to her.



*As you know, Havaianas  are originally from Brazil. Then they, like Gisele Bündchen, made a splash in the world of fashion.




2. Grumps: Our tribal veggie woman.


I named her that because it took me three years to get her to crack a smile. She used to be very serious, almost sullen. My ‘May God bless you’ in local speak, which works as ‘Thank you’, and ‘May God grant you a good day’, a typical parting line, were ignored the first three years. A year and half ago, she began grunting a response. A few months ago, she began to reciprocate more coherently; sometimes, not always. And she even manages a hint of a smile on occasion when I gently tease her.



Giselle and Grumps are a dying breed of door-to-door salespeople. They don’t have much longer either because nearly all the tribal women sellers are a weathered, wrinkled lot.




3. Smiley: Our baker.


Smiley is a very pleasant person and I bestowed that monicker because of his bright and ready smile to all his clients. I think he’s in his late twenties. He looks after his sickly mother and Smiley himself suffers from kidney stones. The boys at the traditional bakeries lead very hard lives. 😦 




4. Dormouse: He is a quiet, skinny, um, insignificant worker at our grocery store.


He has a 7 year old daughter. He hails from a very poor family, and he is oh-so-humble, Dawg, it makes my heart ache for him. 😦





The above mentioned four people and a few other families now enjoy the blessings (as I call the monetary assistance) from both Gun and Dawg every month.

Dawg is a Financial Consultant and has founded his own company in a country far from where I am now.




Dawg ‘n me
when his family and mine
went on a little holiday two years ago.




By January this year, barely three months in, Dawg developed a virtual umbilical cord with each of his clients. He was so thrilled with how well this had taken off, he got greedy. As in, he wanted to go for scale with this venture. So he dangled a delicious carrot.



Did this bunny bite?



Read on to find out.




Dawg: Yo, this gig is going great guns! I love reading the reports of your visits. It makes me feel like I’m right here with all of you! So I began thinking. What say we go global? Come on, Dude! Think about it. No, do it. Whatever you decide will become our CSR initiative and you will be officially appointed as the (Company Name) Brand Ambassador for this. 🙂



This is your project, Dude! Make a plan and let me know!!! 



Me:  Great stuff, huh? Not so fast, sez me.



CSR? No. I’m still for your PSR.



Brand Ambassador? No. No pictures of me on your website.



Well, I took on the PSR project with you because I really could not resist something so tempting. Sigh! But I ain’t signing on no dotted line, Dawgbert, because like it or not, I am grounded. I’m done with slavery work related overseas trips.



Hmm. I would like to think that you made me this offer because you think I qualify to take this on. But that’s not why I think you did it. You’re just jealous of the fact that I only traipse around the country on work now whereas you still do those crazy around-the-globe stints.


You know the me-of-old would have seized a juicy challenge like this, but, dear cousin, I am completely unaffected by your dazzling offer because I know you. You are so from the Dilbert world. Fancy shmancy title for blood, sweat and tears disguised as Air Miles. Keep ‘em f…lying miles, Dawg. 




Least concerned about his masking his intent, he shamelessly (as ever) returned volley with this cartoon clip.




This image is from




Still, my PSR work, right here in my own state, is not without its travails. As I wrote above, I meet and interact with the clients who mostly live away from my city. After I meet all of them each month, I send detailed reports to Gun and Dawg.



And then, there’s the accounting. Arrgh!



Me: Attaching the Excel sheet I’ve made for [client’s name] account.



Will send you the estimate for [another mini project] when my head stops hurting. You can work on it when you get back from … Singapore? Finland? Brazil? Japan? Where the heck are you this time, Dawg? Oh, stuff it. Who the eff cares? 😉



Dawg: Dude, I am really cool with you handling this as per your  judgment. What I am saying, O Cranky Cuz, is that you don’t need to keel over an Excel sheet with all the itsy bitsy details and then send all those details to me. Keeping me in the loop is good, but not if you tear your hair in the process. Leave Excel and numbers to the accountants, and do what you do best. 🙂



Me: You know how to tap into the best of a slave an employee!



Yes, you’re right. This stuff really freaks me out! I swear, you are the third* and last ‘money donor’ I’m taking on. But I want to do all the accounting myself because one of my big concerns with organisations is transparency/accountability.


*Big Sis was my first ‘money donor’ three years ago. Now Gun and Dawg have joined that club.



Second, I need to keep track myself, although my abacus era methods are foolproof. Then again, I’m the fool, so yeah, no jazzy formulae with me. 



Third, Daddy had taught me accounting* and this is my nod to him. Okay, this last one doesn’t make sense. But I feel nice thinking he approves of the colourful stuff in the spreadsheet.

*Daddy was a (Certified Chartered) Accountant.




Thank you, Sekhar Chakrabarti, for permitting the use of your image.


Readers, are any of you (postage) stamp collectors?

Then head over Sekhar Chakrabarti’s blog 



peruse your little philatelic hearts out!




I do not think the clients I help Big Sis, Gun and Dude with have the luxury of the second and third sections in the above photograph. I hope that the blessings they receive from my relatives and the time I spend with them help correct that imbalance in some manner.



And so, this is the reason, since the start of this year that I chose to further decrease my publishing schedule to once a month.



Working with Big Sis, Gun and Dawg means I don’t always read your posts upon publication.



It also means I comment far less than I used to. But when I do mouth off, by gad! It’s like I never left, yeah?



Oh, then you wish I would leave?



I can take a hint, people.



*storming off*




Thank you, The Ranting Chef, for signing up to follow my posts.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked! and FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie”, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!





Monday, 1 April 2013

I Eat, Therefore, I Am.



A big mouth. No, seriously. I have a big mouth. All the better to eat with and all that. Okay, I mean, I am a big mouth. Like, a really LOUD mouth. 



When I find something that has helped me in some way, I open my mouth nice and wide, and yeah, often put my foot right into it, but I also love to blab about what I’ve “discovered”.



And that’s what I’m going to do in this post. I’m going to blather about fodder.



Now there are reams of scientific evidence connecting good nutrition and a healthy body. Over the years, I have read many such articles and about 15 years ago, I began to adopt certain practices. I think they work.



I am healthy i.e. I do not have any known medical ailment to date. I go for an annual medical check-up and all tests have consistently been normal. Why I find that abnormal is, because every single classmate of mine, from my school years who I have kept in touch with over the years to date, has been diagnosed with some health related blip. Some are on medication, some have undergone surgery for gall stones and kidney stones, and one has even undergone a coronary bypass. His blockages were attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle.



So I really do believe that some of my “madness” (as my dietary adjustments have frequently been called) works to some degree. I have shared my diet schedule with people I know. I now feel comfortable enough to cast a wider net.



That Disclaimer Thing:

I don’t know how to do this in a way that will save my behind from being sued by anyone, but I’ll try.



1. Please consult your doctor before you decide to adopt anything I write about here.



2. Please read up as many sites and delve into as many sources as you deem necessary to be comfortable with the things I do before you decide to adopt anything I write about here.



3. None of this is scientifically tested or proven by me. It is all based on how I feel and how my body feels.



Another VERY important point about my ‘diet schedule’, if you will, of today is, that I began making tiny changes, one at a time, over a decade and half ago.



I had repeatedly read certain things in a variety of magazines (this was pre-Windows era), thought they made sense, and decided to give them a go. Having noticed a positive difference almost every time, I was buoyed by the success and adopted that new habit. When that practice fitted fluidly into my routine, I was spurred to try something else new. Nearly two decades later, and I have settled for the schedule I will chalk out below.  



ACHTUNG! When I talk about my diet schedule to someone for the first time, this is the most common response I get.







I normally get out of bed at 6 a.m. and crash at 10 p.m. I down something almost soon after I wake up and my dinner (the last meal/snack of the day) is at 8 p.m.





6 a.m.: One tbsp Honey  +  one tbsp Coconut/Apple Cider Vinegar with 250 ml warm water


6.30 a.m. to 8 a.m.: One and a half litre Green Tea  


8 a.m.: Porridge made with:  

400 ml Milk +  2 tbsp Oats  +   1 heaped tsp ground   Flax Seeds  +  1 heaped tsp ground Millets  1 tsp grated Jaggery  +  1 tbsp rehydrated (dark) Raisins  +  1 Date  +  2 threads Saffron  


2 sliced Bananas added to the above when cooked.


10 a.m. to 11 a.m.: 500 ml Green Tea 


11.30 a.m.: Fruit  or  Raw vegetable  or  Sprouts


12.30 p.m.: LUNCH


Main Course:

Brown Rice/Quinoa/Couscous/Wild Rice with an equal amount of Lentils/Beans

cooked with

A pinch of Turmeric  +  2 peels of dried Kokum  or  ½ tsp Tamarind paste  +  1 Red/Green Chillie


A Fish based dish with a thick-ish gravy/sauce


Cooked Vegetable


Entire plate topped with:

1 level tsp mix of minced Ginger, Garlic, Onion and Corriander Leaves



Two squares of Chocolate  or  a slice of Cake  or  a wedge of Pie  or  a small bowl of Pudding


3 p.m.: 300 ml Green Tea


4 p.m.: Processed snack: Crisps (Chips)  or  Biscuits (Cookies)  or  Savoury/Not-too-sweet Bites (Munchies)  


6 p.m.: 300 ml Green Tea

7 p.m.: 250 ml Yoghurt  +  Fruit  +  1 Walnut  +  2 Almonds  +  3 Cashews/Pistachios/Pine Nuts  


8.30 p.m.: DINNER


Main Course:

Beef/Chicken/Lamb/Pork cooked with a Leafy Vegetable and Soya Nuggets


Cooked Vegetable


Multi-grain Brown Bread  or  Whole Wheat Pita Bread  


Entire plate topped with:

1 level tsp mix of minced Ginger, Garlic, Onion and Corriander Leaves



Two squares of Chocolate  or  a slice of Cake  or  a wedge of Pie  or  a small bowl of Pudding 




And voila! Non-achy, non-breaky heart and the rest of me. 



There are many one-time variations, of course. For example, I will buy a carton of soy milk or rice milk on occasion and have that instead of yoghurt. Then, there’s my Sunday Breakfast that I mentioned in my previous post, ‘I Live To Eat, Too.



All the little oddities, like:

Saffron and millets in the porridge

Beans, turmeric and chillie in the rice


Leafy vegetables with the meats

are to add a little nutritional heft to the dishes since each of those ingredients are supposedly good for us, and I cannot prepare more dishes nor eat any more often than I already do to make sure I eat a little of those items on a regular basis.



What I like about myself where my eating is concerned is that I love my healthy choices as much as I do the junk. I also like that I’m not hung up on healthy food nor do I vilify unhealthy food.



Also, very important:

I do not inflict impose these culinary quirks on any of my visitors


I leave this schedule at home when I leave my house*.

So I get to indulge all senses when I abandon all sensibilities at spreads away home. Big whoop!

*Except when I go to work every day.



I have always had a ravenous appetite, so the frequent munching comes easily to me. (Thank you, freakishly high BMR!) What I have consciously changed is the poisonous high-sugar, high-fat fare I gorged on after I left home at 19 (no parental supervision, yaay!) until my mid twenties. That kind of food kept me satiated for longer periods, but when I grew older, I realised that although I could not see the flubber build up on the outside, I was most definitely lining my blood vessels and damaging other organs on the inside with my unhealthy choices.



There are a couple of  restrictions and preferences that I have with the source of my food. As I thought about that list, I realised it would fit better in a post of its own. I will share that with you all in a few months. I’ve got month related posts scheduled next.



Eating the way I do today, even though it was one teeny tiny change at a time, was not easy at all for me at first. Almost every ‘new experiment’ felt awful at the time (s~h~u~d~d~e~r) and tasted even worse (big, fat YUCK).



But years on, I am enjoying the results of my hard-at-first choices.




This was taken yesterday i.e. Easter Sunday.


This is in my (side) yard.

I was heading to the backyard when I got the whiff of our Easter lunch lamb ribs being grilled.


These are my ‘Yaay for yum!’, happy-left-feet moves that I was busting,

while unbeknownst to me, Big Bro busted my b#tt! 



When he guffawed over the exposé with the family later,

I realised this picture would be appropriate here because:



1. My halter top is from my high school days. 

2. My boots are from my college days.

3. My shorts are, um, new(er). Like, 12 years old only.


I have no doubt my diet plays a significant role in letting me gleefully get stuck in my sartorial past.




I wish the same kind of energy, health-problem-free confidence and zest of life for everyone.



Give healthy food choices a shot, e-Friends.



And while we’re at it, let’s try and keep our Mother Earth in the pink, too.




 Happy Earth Day!


This image is from
22 April is Earth Day.


Thank you, Matty Byloos, for permitting me the use of your image. 



Matty Byloos (

is a former-teacher-current-writer/painter.



As you, my regular readers, know, I’m no good at art. And I make no bones about that fact either.

But as you, my regular readers again, also know, I’ve got a green beating heart. And a big mouth! 🙂  



Nature lovin’ hippies like me, and what the heck, not-tree-huggers-yet, too,  (I don’t discriminate!),

check out Matty Byloos’ other passion – the environment.



For news in general about how our choices affect the environment


specific tips that we can use to reduce our carbon footprint, head over to Matty Byloos’s website:







::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  :: ::     THE  SEVENTH  SENSE   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::


Sandy Nana’s Fudge Cookies! Sorry, Friendskies, I’m not done talking about food. Or going back in time.


Oh, Sandy Nana was Mum’s mum. She passed away nearly 20 years ago. But I still remember her.


Sandy Nana wasn’t a terribly accomplished cook, but when I was little, I loved the Fudge Cookies she baked. I actually cannot remember the exact taste of those cookies, but I remember what I felt like around her, especially when she made up stories and made those cookies.


Which is why I got stupidly giddy today when I keyed in ‘Sandy Nana’s Fudge Cookies’ and Google NoseBETA whisked me back in time!


Google who? Google Nose BETA, people!


‘Tis this newest, whizz-est offering from the mighty search engine. You know how you can search for text/data, images and all? Well, now you can search for …. smells! I KNOW!


Go, watch the vid first, follow the instructions and and check it out! Make that – sniff ‘em out!


You can find the following link below the Search box on Google’s Home Page. (


Google Nose BETA


Oh, a confession tip. Actually, I didn’t look for Sandy Nana’s Fudge Cookies, I just typed ‘Fudge Cookies’. Duh.


And fell on my face.


Go forth and enjoy the same fate. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t wish the same for you, e-Amigos?




Thank you, FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie” and You’ve Been Hooked!, for commenting on my last post.


Thank you, Rantings of an Amateur Chef, Kathryn Darvill, FLOWERSBLOOMS by “Elvie” and  You’ve Been Hooked!, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 





Saturday, 15 December 2012


Filed under: Blogging,Celebration,Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , ,



It’s that time of the year again when I take stock of my doings and undoings and mis-doings.



I have two lists specifically that I work on at this time. I call those lists ‘Diamond’ and ‘Coal’.



Coal is about the ‘bad’ things that were lumped my way this year. But those things are never bad entirely, because coal can turn into diamond. So one way or another, I’m wiser.  



Diamond is about all the precious things that were heaped upon me this year. Some rough, some sparkly, some well-cut, some odd shaped, but all of extremely high value.



The Coal list gets done with pretty quickly, so I get that out of the way first. And then I savour prancing around like Richie Rich with his diamond studded toys.  



Among the many things I am thankful for this year is



No, he won't hurt you.



Yes, YOU reading this right now.


(Bestie Boy burning up the floor with one of his classic moves.)



YOU have given me the all important impetus to keep this blog going since I began 13 months ago. If my Stats chart was white all the time, I would have given up writing here a while back. But I get white columns twice a month or so.



I’m happy with blue columns that reach for the top margin, I’m happy with blue columns that hover around the bottom margin and I’m happy when I get white columns*as well. Those white columns give me a fresh lease on my rather relaxed approach towards my blog.



*Non-Wordpress bloggers, blue columns correspond to the number of visitors to the blog i.e. y-axis on a particular day i.e. x-axis. The white column is really a blank column on the Stats chart; an indication of no visitors to the blog that particular day.  




The Stats chart in WordPress.



I am also very grateful that YOU allow me to maintain privacy with those ugly strips across the eyes. Avoiding the kind of attention I dislike is something I fight in real life. I’ve discovered I now have a reflexive aversion to most kinds of attention that come my way, until I feel safe or comfortable with the source. Here’s some more light on this matter.



This is an excerpt from my e-mail last year to a friend. 



I find it degrading that I garner attention primarily because of my matchstick body when I have so much more to offer as a person. Oh, I am very grateful that I get attention, even after so many spins around the sun. I’ve been blessed to never not get attention my entire life, so I don’t know what harmful measures I’d resort to if I were to crave attention. Still, I am human and it saddens me that people [guys especially 😦  ] do not see the non-physical side of me right away or even after a while.  



In some strange manner, covering my(/our) eyes makes me feel less noticed. For putting up with the (wholly inartistically) defaced photographs I (dare to) share, a special ‘Thank you’, dear readers.



So. Why all this gratitude towards YOU?



Because YOU – lovely peeps I do not know (personally) at all – make this blog happen.



Well, yes; I do all the writing. But how boring would my words be if I did not jazz up my somnolent soliloquy with a picture here or a quote there from YOU?



How would I have been thrilled had 13 among YOU not chosen to Follow my blog posts or subscribe to them?



How would I have felt that sudden, tiny surge of triumph and pride had YOU not Liked my posts?



How would I have been delighted to yammer away in response to practically every line had YOU not Commented?



I began this blog to merely share what I’ve learnt from and what I’ve laughed at in my own life. I wanted to share these in the hope that, just like I did via blogs of strangers I had read and stories I had heard in person; YOU, too, could learn without having to endure the uncomfortable side-effects of certain experiences, or to relish the fun of my lighter moments.



I have stayed on track with my blog


I could focus primarily on what I love i.e. writing


I did not have to fret about making my posts more visually appealing


YOU graciously permitted me to share material from your sites


YOU thrilled me when YOU






on my posts.

Oh, even when YOU visited and read silently. My Stats don’t lie, yo.  



For giving me the opportunity to bask in all those lovely feelings and for letting me enjoy the main reasons I began this blog, thank you, YOU. 🙂



But I’m not done.



You know how I like to brag, right? I also like the share the lurv



So here’s the Who’s Who behind making this blog one of my many bright spots this year.  There are four ‘categories’. They are



I. The Large Hearts

II. The Brave Hearts

III. The Make-Me-Chatter-Away-My-Heart(s)

IV. The Warm-My-Heart(s)



I will list every one of YOU in the following manner:



Your Website Name

Your Tag Line and/or Organisation

Your Website Address  


(A few names are repeated across ‘categories’.)




I. The Large Hearts AKA The Generous Lenders

I have been very lucky every time I’ve sought permission to “borrow” an image (primarily), a website or a quote. I have never been turned down by anyone. Had a few requests not answered at all, yes; kicked to the curb, no.



One thing that surprised me many a time, was how surprised people were that I made the effort to ask for permission to use some of their material when I could just, um, help myself. The blogosphere is a pretty big place, after all. But if I did do that, I’d be forgetting one of the many little lessons Daddy (and Mummy) taught me:



“Do not take someone else’s things without asking them first.” 



So, these are the lovely people who were generous with their material that I used in my posts since I began in November 2011.



This image is from

This image is from




Andrea Pascale

Word Decor ‘n More

I got my Gravatar image from Andrea. Daddy’s Girl is still lovin’ it!



Jean Browman

Cheerful Monk



Colin Gibson

Dunedin Methodist Parish



Van Wijnen



Sidney Snoeck

This is a photo blog about the Philippines.



Heidi McDonald
Creator and Website Manager
Unique Teaching Resources
“Engage Your Students in Learning!”




English Department of



Margo and Alan

DIY STRESS RELIEF everyday . living . better




Rocco’s Pop Revolution: Seen through the eyes of someone living it



Susan, John and Erin

Happy Life U



Bahar, Hadhoud, Rasha and Ahmed

Chapter Q8



Bill Hitchcock




II. The Brave Hearts AKA The Followers

I am a little possessive about my e-mail space and I do what I can to avoid waking up to a bulging Inbox every day. Not everyone has my phobia, it seems, because these people, by Following me, have chosen to let me invade that space with my posts that are hot off the press!



This group, Brave Hearts, also includes those of YOU who have RSSed my blog or Bookmarked me in some way.





Cheerful Monk



mj monaghan

A steeping cup of infotainment.



365 Veterans

Project 365/ honoring a Veteran a day, for a year.



Believe Anyway

Finding Ways to Be Optimistic Even During Trying Times




How Orples Came To Be, and other interesting stuff




Every single story has a beginning at its end.



Parashar’s Tales

Woman – Vulnerable, Strong, lover, hater  




MY WORLD IS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR! Paintings of my life’s journey, experiences, cherished memories, emotions, thought, ideas and other interesting stuffs.  



Girl Meets Bulgaria



domestic diva, M.D.   

my mother raised the perfect housewife…then I went to med school



Official Website of Alberto Monnar

Composer, Saxophonist, Pianist, Vocalist



JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project

Showcasing the beauty of the human spirit — in mid-air — around the world




I am love. I am divine. I am grateful. I am bliss. I am here. I am Sufey.




III. The Make-Me-Chatter-Away-My-Heart(s) AKA The Commenters

Aww, you lot! YOU get me to do exactly what I was born to do love doing – blab blab blabbedy blab!




This image is from



I sincerely appreciate the time YOU take to think things over and type out those comments. It’s something I don’t do often on most of the blogs I read, but that’s a choice I make for a handful of reasons; the main one (which, I know full well, is also the most stupid one) being – EVERYONE will see me! (*rolling my eyes* … for you. 😉 ) So although I have things to say almost every time, I have to warm up to someone(‘s words) and THEN! Just ask the unfortunate ones below.




How Orples Came To Be, and other interesting stuff



mj monaghan

A steeping cup of infotainment.  



You’ve Been Hooked!   

Observations from the trenches….

The Hook’s got a book! It’s called ‘The Bellman Chronicles’. Deets on his blog.



Cheerful Monk




MY WORLD IS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR! Paintings of my life’s journey, experiences, cherished memories, emotions, thought, ideas and other interesting stuffs.



Parashar’s Tales

Woman – Vulnerable, Strong, lover, hater  




IV. The Warm-My-Heart(s) AKA The Like-rs

I like! I really, really like! I get royally chuffed when I see that YOU have Liked my post. It’s the simplest way to high five me.  




This image is from



But do I do that when I know I want to press a Like button on someone else’s post? Haven’t you been paying attention to my mewling? People will see me, um, People.



vikram roy’s blog

Free Thinking, Motivation, Poems, Art, Literature, Music, Love, & Oxygen: A Complete Blog



You’ve Been Hooked!   

Observations from the trenches….

Haff you checked out ‘The Bellman Chronicles’? Best place to start? Hook’s blog.



maze a day


Welcome to the #1 Featured Photographer Blog on the web!



mj monaghan

A steeping cup of infotainment.




How Orples Came To Be, and other interesting stuff



Bucket List Publications

Indulge – Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences







A forum for creative and analytic discussion of the text that surrounds us 



Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Food…cooking…eating….tools – What works, and what doesn’t!



“Ka-byahe ~ The Island of Your Imagination”

Robi assures you that through this blog, he will get you far than you imagined!






my zen city




Every single story has a beginning at its end.




Unique Art by RAY FERRER – Business or Residential








And that’s the end of one section of my ‘Diamond’ list for 2012. 




If you celebrate Christmas,


La Familia

My Family

To Yours,

Have a very merry one!



If you don’t celebrate Christmas,

May this time leading to end of the year

Be a cheery one!



 Cheer is a freebie!



And on that sparkling, frosted note,

My dear blings

(YOU’re on the ‘Diamond’ list, remember?),

‘Thank You’ very much


Your support and encouragement

in 2012.


See YOU All in the new year!



::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     A SPECIAL HUG   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

I miss you, Marcy*. Every so often, I think of you, Magi, Oscar and Olivia, and everyone else I got acquainted with through your delightful narrations. I hope all of you are well. Please come back soon. Oh, and Dora** sends you the pip-pest of her squeaks. 🙂

*Marcy is The Orples’ – Olivia and Oscar – brain mama, as I call her. Because this lively pair of orange (the fruit)-people siblings were “born” in her mind. (

**Dora is my “pet” dormouse. Like me, Marcy is fond of animals and remembered my dormouse after I referred to her[(?) Dora] on Marcy’s blog a while earlier. Needless to say, I was chuffed that Marcy remembered me little, um, rodent.



Thank you, Sufey, for signing up to follow my posts.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, Urban Wall Art & Murals, The Vibe 101 and The Book of Terrible  for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 




Saturday, 1 December 2012

Challenge: Below The (Water) Line

Filed under: Bestie Boy,Environmentally Friendly,Food,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , ,



Two posts earlier, I began a series on the two challenges I set myself up for this year. This post is about the second challenge.



To read about the first challenge, please read:



Challenge:  Below The (Poverty) Line, Part 1 of 2




Challenge:  Below The (Poverty) Line, Part 2 of 2




This second challenge was close on the heels of the first one. Let’s head back to the excerpts of the conversation between Bestie Boy and myself.



Once again, Bestie Boy’s text in green and mine in brown.





Bestie Boy: I, too, read a blog by a guy who also leaned more on the pragmatic side of the story*. But it was entertaining reading nonetheless.



*About that blogger’s experience with the ‘Below The Line‘ ( challenge.



Me:  There’s nothing entertaining about the pragmatic side of things for me. And pragmatic is what it all boils down to eventually.



As I said above, knowing something and doing it are different. The latter is a lot harder, of course. Slacktivism is all the rage. Signing petitions, participating in rallies, awareness and fundraising events, donating cash or material kind; all these are wonderful and necessary, but to me, these are the easy ways out. More importantly, I do not think these practices alone are sufficient to reduce the damage in the first place, or reverse it.  



The only way to ascertain we meet these goals (reduce and reverse) is to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. An unexpected bonus? The feeling of satisfaction knowing that we are trying to make the all important difference. As with most things in my life, I prefer to be on the vaccination side than the Band-Aid side. Meaning, I prefer being proactive rather than reactive; prevent more than cure.  



I do not like the pragmatic side of the practices to help causes I believe in. Deprivation, in whatever form or to whatever degree, is not fun. So much so, I get quite annoyed with myself when I learn new little ways to do something to further a cause that’s important to me because eventually, it’s always about sacrificing. 😦



My latest ‘gig’ for example. The monsoons are upon us. Years ago, there used to be a fishing ban from early June to the end of August. This was not only because the waters were too rough for the traditional canoe-style fishing boats to venture into the deep sea, but also to allow marine life to breed normally.



Over the past decade, that has changed. From 3 months, the fishing ban was reduced to a shocking one month. The reason? Greed. Technology helped; with mechanised fishing trawlers that made it relatively safer for vessels to brave the raging monsoon waters.  





The green peeps here in my state fought and managed to get the ban extended for an extra 15 days last year. Only to have that decision overturned and trashed this year. And then, I just had to go and read an article, and discover what one of the pro-longer-ban guys, a scientist, said. I’ll summarise his rant concern below in blue.



Earlier generations did not eat fresh fish during those 3 monsoon months i.e. June, July and August. They survived on a variety of salted fish preparations. (Our family did, too, even until I left home for uni.)



Today, outside the banned period of one month, we eat freshly caught fish.

During the banned period of a mere month, we eat fish that has been caught earlier and frozen.



Both varieties come at an enormous cost to the environment. Eating fresh fish before and after the reduced ban does not allow marine life to breed normally and this results in the stock of fish not being replenished for the following season.  



Bottom line: An unsustainable practice.



As soon as I read that, what do I go and do?



What I did as a child.



No fresh fish for three months i.e. June to August. Arrgh!  




Thank you, Bill Hitchcock, for permitting me to share this image from your site,



Mum still has her quota of fish at lunch time and I don’t grudge her that at all. She’s 81; she’s, ahem, excused.



For her 81st three months ago, I had ’81 Is Fun’ inscribed on her cake.
Mother certainly lives it up!



I hate learning all these joy-of-life sucking tips, Bestie Boy. I hate that my conscience doesn’t permit me to not practise what I know (will help the causes that are dear to me).



Oh, but I LOVE bragging about these deprivation gigs.



I’m in the throes of a bragging episode right now. 🙂



Bestie Boy: Oh no! Wa-hay, here we go again! No fish for three months, huh? That’s a pret-ty big fish you’re chasing, Kate. You love fish, and you love pork, and yeah, yeah, you love basically all food, you grub hawk. Still, no fish for a flupping three months? How are you not going to be a fish out of water? Oi, no cheating with the frozen and tinned varieties, ya hear? No fishy business at all.



Me: I’m gonna try, Bestie Boy. This is going to be very hard for me. 😦



Bestie Boy: Meh. You’re going to nail this tail, K-Wizzle. I know it. Now go fish. I mean, don’t. *fist bump with pride*



And oh, the next time we go swimming and you see bubbles ascending from the depths, don’t yell at me in disgust, you mad piece of fool. It’ll be the ocean gurgling her gratitude.  



He’s BACK at it!



Bestie Boy just cannot resist a body of water. Despite the warning sign board, he flung off his shirt and cargo shorts and “attempted suicide”. (It’s what I ranted about after he had had his fun.)



Fortunately, he left his trekking sandals on. Oh, his Sponge Bob kecks, too. One can never tell with my dude bud.



And that uncertainty of Bestie Boy’s shenanigans is the biggest challenge of all for poor ol’ me. 😉



Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, Bucket List Publications and You’ve Been Hooked! for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 




Thursday, 15 November 2012

Challenge: Below The (Poverty) Line, Part 2 of 2

Filed under: Bestie Boy,Food,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , ,




Last week, I began a series on the two challenges I set myself up for this year. This is the second and concluding part of the first of the two challenges.



To read about how I got started on this challenge, please read my last post:



Challenge:  Below The (Poverty) Line, Part 1 of 2




To find out how I fared with that challenge, well, read on.



A reminder. Bestie Boy’s text in green and mine in brown.





Me: Duuuuude! I so limbo’d through the week, yo! Uh huh, shimmy’d ‘n duck’d below that frakking line! 




Oppan! This NO Gangnam style! 😉




Okay, okay, I know I foolishly compare something as horrific as poverty to happy times like dancing. What I was getting at is, I’ve just completed my dinner that capped a (work) week of dieting below the poverty line. (Dieting – again, a wrong choice of word, I know, but I think that’s what dieting feels like.) Quite tempted to celebrate right now with a slice of chocolate cake that’s oozing my name in trickles in the box it lies in.



Right. Ditching the drama; cutting to the crux.



Refraining from the beyond-basic extras wasn’t as hard as I suspected it would be, thanks to my ability to move a few gears in my head. Yes, yes, I really want to show off attaining the spiritual goal I hoped to with this challenge.  



First, the ‘give the devil his due’ stuff. I hadn’t read about this challenge anywhere. So a very special ‘Thank You’ for sounding me about it, Bestie Boy.



Thanks to this challenge, I also finally know what I’m going to gift Liam* for his birthday this year!

*Liam is my friend who is a (Catholic) priest.



In Liam’s name, I’ll do something with the money I have saved skipping the frills this week. It’s a toss-up between giving him the amount for his street boys’ shelter or giving someone something edible right here in my city. As you know, I don’t give donations per se. I like to deny myself something and “donate” the money I would have spent on that temporary luxury. My travelling second class on long distance trains make sense now? I feel like a flippin’ saint when I suffer through stuff like that for this reason! I find this manner of giving fulfilling.



Liam doesn’t like receiving personal gifts, but he likes it when someone more deserving gets whatever-it-is instead. What’s that saying again? Ah, this.



Show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you what you are. “ ~ Daddy

(Google doesn’t know the true source.)



Bestie Boy: Poverty and its resultant deprivations are something I think about often, anyway.



Me:  Oh? Oh-kay. I know you’ve experienced periods of deprivation on occasion during your student days at uni, but I did not know you were aware in times of bounty.



Bestie Boy: I’m a [the university he studied at] student; of course, I think about these things! Just by process of osmosis, I think anyone who has ever stepped foot inside [the university he studied at] will be instantly made aware of these kinds of things.



But sadly, I did not take part in the ‘Under the Line( initiative. It was much-talked about in the office, so I guess we raised some awareness.



Me: Fo sho! I learned about it through you. In any case, awareness is the first step towards making any kind of change.



Remember how I cribbed because I did not read about this challenge anywhere? Well, I found an article in some business section after the event, and I saved the following excerpt to share with you whenever we got down to talking about this.



The article is about the writer’s experience. He focussed mainly on how he budgeted for the challenge, but this excerpt is what I found more interesting. The writer’s text in blue; my two bits in … yeah, you know.



Of course, as a friend pointed out, many genuinely poor people wouldn’t bother cooking at all – they would simply buy £5 worth of spaghetti hoops, spam and own-brand biscuits and get by on them. Well, maybe so, but I reckon part of this challenge is to try and live in a sustainable, reasonably healthy way. And I did feel quite detoxed by Friday, after five days with no booze, very little fat and no sugar (almost). (I did not think of this benefit! Detoxed – ha ha!)



But I wouldn’t want to have to live below the line for any more than a week at a time [Me neither. I didn’t enjoy the process. 😦 ] – it really made me realise the luxury of choice that you take for granted when you have enough money. 



Bestie Boy: I liked the last line of the article you included in blue: – it really made me realise the luxury of choice that you take for granted when you have enough money. 



I think that’s what the campaign is all about really: realising how lucky we are.



Me: “Realising how lucky we are (/I am)” wasn’t the reason I jumped at it. Noble and worthy and all that jazz as the thought was, I dove into the challenge to challenge myself with something else.


Deprive myself of my favourite food – check!

Go a whole day with no food*  – check!

*Good Friday and the times I emulated my Muslim colleagues in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan.


Both have been checked off several times to not make me bat an eyelid anymore over the thought. But eat the absolute boring-ish basics and get myself to not just refrain from not eating the fun-nest parts of the meals*, but not crave these luxuries? That was the biggest test for me.



*Raisins, flax seed, dates, jaggery and saffron strands with my porridge

Fish at lunch

Meat at dinner

Dessert after both meals


My fruit, veggie, nuts and junk snacks 




This is typically how I eat.

This image is from 



Thank you, Team at Chapter Q8,


on whose page

10 Ways to Right-Size Your Meals


I found this image. 




Everything Isabella cooks at home is stuff I like. The simple, healthy variety, mostly. Mum and I get a lot of food gifts, but tempting as it all is, that’s pure junk. So I restrict our consumption of that and I give away most of it to those who aren’t as fastidious as Mum and I are.  



Every time I eat, out of habit that I’d cultivated shortly before I moved to China, I am conscious of what goes into my belly as part of my mindfulness ( and gratitude practices. 




Thank you, Susan, John and Erin, for granting me permission to use your article to explain the

Attitude of Gratitude


on your website,

Happy Life U’.




Not easy to be (the one on the) right.

This image is from




Me: As you’ve seen, being aware and being thankful are now routine for me. These two practices (along with a few more) are why I believe that my vita is dolce indeed.



This image is from dreamstime (



When darkness rolls into my life,

I remind myself

that the sun will rise from behind the clouds.  



Thank you, Alberto Monnar and JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project, for signing up to follow my posts.

Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Ranting ChefYou’ve Been Hooked!, and mj monaghan for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 








Thursday, 1 November 2012

Challenge: Below The (Poverty) Line, Part 1 of 2

Filed under: Bestie Boy,Food,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , ,



With 2012 beginning its ebb, I will do a recap of sorts.  



In my next three posts, I will share some of my first-time experiences this year. As the title says, they were challenges. And I took them quite personally.



The first two posts in this series are about the same challenge; the third and last post will be about a different challenge.



I will narrate my experiences via excerpts of my e-mail correspondence with Bestie Boy circa April-May 2012. As always, his text will be in green and mine in brown. 





Bestie Boy: Someone in the office just mentioned this challenge of living below the poverty line, and my ears pricked up.  



Live Below The Line





If looking at this picture is hard, can you imagine what living that reality must be like?




Bestie Boy: We’re all thinking of doing it when it starts on 7th May. Could you bear to give up nice grub for 5 days, Kate?



Bestie Boy throws down the gauntlet.



Me: I’ll give you this – you’re clever; very clever. Which is a good thing because (your) looks go only so far with me.



I had a successful Lent this year. Remember I said, “I was proud of myself for not having craved my favourite food for 40 days and 40 nights?” You pointed out that ‘proud’ would make me egotistic about it. So I thought about it, and I realise ‘proud’ was the incorrect word to use. I was more relieved not to crave those things, and my belief in my stubbornness determination was strengthened. Is that still egotistic?



Anyway, this challenge will be different from my Lenten ones because here, I won’t be allowed to eat a lot. During Lent, I give up the things I love, but I am never hungry at any point. This challenge will pinch. Hard.  




 Thank you, Margo and Alan, for permitting me the use of your image.

Those two blokes live in my head. Really.



I like when I’m put to the test. So travelling 2nd class on the long distance trains and on public transport around the city (and everywhere else) is not good enough for this masochist. I’m raisin’ ‘em stakes with this, baby. And I’m gonna drive one (stake) right through the organ that will hurt me the most – my breadbasket. Oooh, imagine how much more I’ll brag if I actually go through with this. Well, earning the, ahem, right to be a bragasaurus is the main reason I do these things, don’t I? 😉



I’ve thought of my diet schedule for the challenge. It will be as follows. As you know, the text in red is what I (also) eat normally. Those are also the things I enjoy the most; which is why, I’ve decided that those are just the items I will avoid for the challenge next week.



Breakfast: Milk, oats. Two bananas, a tablespoon of raisins, two saffron strands, a teaspoon of ground flax seeds, one date, ½ a teaspoon of  jaggery. 


Two between brekkie ‘n lunch snacks: Fruit/salad vegetable each time.  


Lunch: Brown rice, gravy. Fish, cooked vegetable, dessert.


Late afternoon: A piece of cheese, dry fruit (2 almonds, ½ a walnut, 2 cashew nuts, 1 fig, 1 apricot) and a tiny chunk of junk more often than not.


Early evening: Fruit with yoghurt.


Dinner: Cooked veggies, pita bread/brown bread. Meat, dessert.


No green tea through the day; just plain water.



Whoa! That’s a lot of red up there, Bestie Boy! I feel dizzy (with hunger) just looking at that!



This image is from

Thank you, Rocco, for permitting me the use of your image.


Your precious pooch is exactly as crestfallen as I was when I realised exactly what the challenge would entail.  



Will have to psyche Mother now because she was mighty upset when I skipped fish and meat during Lent this year. She was almost certain that without some of my fave stuff, I’d turn even more skinny. (Oh, shut yer yap. That is possible.) Worrying about my wellbeing is her privilege, and since I rarely give her the opportunity to worry, she goes a wee bit nuts when the occasion arises.  



So could I put my mouth where my heart is? I don’t mean stuff my face with all the food I love, e-friends. Do you think I could pull this off?



To find out, watch this space. Same place. Same time. A fortnight from now.



Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 






Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What Forgiving Gives Me

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

In my last post, I told you about Justice Sach’s magnanimous forgiving spirit.

Forgiving people who have hurt us is something Daddy and Mummy advocated and practised. Growing up, I did not realise the exact painful ramifications of what my parents experienced, so I easily accepted their reasons for forgiving a wrongdoing.

The Gold Medallists

                                                       Mum          Dad        Me                Big Sis

This was taken on 24 August 2002 (yes, 10 years ago) at their Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration.

In my late teens, I began to understand the grind my parents were put through by some unscrupulous people. Worse still, people they knew personally and had close bonds with. A few examples next.

i. A relative who reneged on his financial commitment when the fledgling business that was started by Daddy, this relative and a common family friend began to flounder. When Common Family Friend began baying for blood, Daddy was saved from landing in the slammer by his three younger brothers who paid Common Family Friend off.

ii. The supervisor of Daddy’s construction arm of the business who fled the state with the workers and equipment. It was Daddy’s reputation that helped assuage his angry clients as Daddy scrambled to put together a whole new operation to complete the projects he had started and had promised on paper. As a result of those enormous losses, our family endured a lean decade financially without the frills we had had all our lives until that point.

iii. During that dark decade, a whole group of (former) friends who did not invite my parents to their celebrations because my parents could no longer afford to reciprocate or socialise at their usual highfalutin hangouts. (When we bounced back, Daddy and Mummy were civil to those people, but did not renew social ties.)

iv. Clients who did not pay Daddy. My father was not the sort to push either because “he/she is in a far worse situation than us, so how can I ask him/her for the money?”   

v. A (now deceased) relative who was part of a religious order who told Mummy that she would “go to hell” because she bore an offspring who married a person outside our religion.

Relatives, friends and prayers helped my parents during those dark times. And my parents’ spirit of forgiveness.

Although I saw my parents forgive people, I couldn’t quite understand it. They talked about the anguish of betrayal and we all experienced the pain of deprivation. And then, they’d say they understood the person who caused them grief. And prayed for them!

When I left home for university at 19, I got a knife in my back for the very first time in my life.

Not the backstabbers.

With my closest group of friends in our final year at uni. All aged 22. 

I overheard my (supposed) friends at uni making fun of the way I walked upright and spoke crisply. All because of my academic and extracurricular achievements (that I slogged for, d#mmit!), and the trendy clothes I sported despite me telling them that most were Big Sis’s (admittedly very cool) hand-me-downs.

Decades on, I can still hear the words that hurt like I had never been hurt until that point. After the pain subsided, I tried to do what Daddy and Mummy did, that is, forgive them.

Uh uh.

Not so easy.  

This image is from

For a good decade and a half, I ignored Daddy and Mummy’s practices and their advice each time I shared my problems with them. Because I just could not forgive the people who hurt me (fuggedaboutit!) and I just could not pray for them (not a prayer!) as my parents did and suggested.

Instead, I seethed. I railed to my inner circle (other than Daddy and Mummy). I flooded my mind with horrid thoughts about the person who played dirty. I tried to think of ways to hurt that person in some way, got stunned for thinking along those lines, slunk around in shame, and simmered under a façade of ‘I’m golden’.

Until my mid 30s.

Then I understood that Daddy and Mummy had a point about forgiving and letting go.



It was a fairly easy transition because the resultant changes in the way I felt physically and the way my mood lifted were immediate. And addictive.  

Today, I’m mostly a ‘forgive and let go’ kinda person. But I’ve taken it one step ahead of what Daddy and Mummy taught me.

I try to understand the other person.

I still get angry instantly, but soon – sometimes a day, sometimes an hour, sometimes right away! – I begin to conduct a postmortem of sorts. I have learnt that looking to understand the motive before the deed was done helps me deal better with the fallout.  

I have found that I feel lighter, better, freer when I turn the focus away from the ‘What’ to the ‘Why’.

This image is from

  Thank you, Nancy, for permitting me the use of your image.

A little side story.

When Nancy responded to my request to use this image with a wave of the green flag, she signed off with

loving intentions and deepest gratitude”.

Simple words, profound impact.

I look to figure out why someone hurt me instead of they hurt me doing such-and-such.

I choose this route because I am more interested in finding out how I can prevent a repeat.

How I can avoid being in someone’s line of fire again.

Or even how I can avoid becoming the perpetrator of a heinous deed myself one day. 

Anyone else take this ‘Why’ approach?

What do you do to dissipate anger, hurt, resentment or revenge when you are wronged?


This image is from

Thank you, Gustavo, for permitting me the use of your image.


Thank you, mj monaghanThe Book of Terrible and Elvie Rose for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, mj monaghanThe Book of Terrible, Ellis Nelson , and Zen in the City for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Few Good Men

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , ,



Over the past year or so, I have attended talks by a few people who were in town for various reasons. I am going to highlight the three who wowed me the most.


First, I will list their names and the topics they spoke on.


1. The Dalai Lama
Ethics for the New Millennium


2. Justice Albie Sachs
Light on a Hill


3. Dr.Karan Singh
The Relevance of Vedanta* in Today’s Context

*A brief explanation further down.


Each one of these speakers impressed me, and I learned a little something from all of them. Also, each of these speakers had experienced personal hardships, either in their childhood or later in life. Despite covering various subjects, I found a common theme among all three in their talks:


– All human beings are equal. There should be no divisions of any sort in the human race.


– Each one of us has the power to make changes in the world. The changes don’t have to effect large sections of society because it is not the amount of change that’s important. It is making that first small change that is most crucial. The rest will follow.


– Materialism does not bring happiness.


Each of the three spoke well and each was humble about his accomplishments and his stature in society today.


Having heard him speak several times earlier on TV and YouTube, and being a bit of a fan myself, I had expected good oratory from The Dalai Lama. I went in not expecting anything in particular from either Justice Albie Sachs or Dr.Karan Singh. In fact, I had not heard of either of them until a few days before I went to hear each speak.


And boy, did these boys blow me away! They were soft spoken and those sort, coincidentally (or not), are my kind of guys. 🙂



1. The Dalai Lama
Ethics for the New Millennium


This image is from


I chose this picture deliberately because it captures that mischievous twinkle in his eye as he is about to slam dunk a purposely playful response.


As I said earlier, I had heard The Dalai Lama speak a few times before, but this was the first time I saw him speak live; 6 rows away from me.


I am not going to tell you who The Dalai Lama is and what he is all about because he is a bit of a rock star. What I will share is that I found him to be quick witted, humourous (although he admitted to having a bit of a temper), shorter than I had imagined and not pudgy at all, as I had imagined. In fact, he struck me as lean; muscular even. He needs to fire his stylist for draping him in those shapeless tents swaddling robes. 😉



2. Justice Albie Sachs

Light on a Hill


This image is from


A South African Constitutional judge, a Human Rights activist and the former dean of Harvard Law School.


Justice Sachs, 77, was a victim of a targeted bomb blast in Mozambique in 1988. He lost his right arm and right eye in that attack, so he is slightly bent in posture, but his peaceful aura stands tall.


Shortly after he recovered from that gruesome attack, Justice Sachs asked to meet the man who deliberately planted the bomb in his car. He wanted to tell him that he was not angry with him, that he did not hate him.


When they met in the prison where the man was incarcerated, Justice Sachs told him that he forgave the man for his heinous* deed.  

*My opinion; not the word Justice Sachs used. In fact, when recounting this experience, he abstained from all judgmental words.


What left the deepest impression on me was this.


At the very start of their conversation, Justice Sachs apologised to the perpetrator for using his left arm (instead of the traditional right arm) to shake hands with him! Wow.


How blissful he must be to be rid of the burden of revenge and resentment that we typically tend to harbour!


In my next post, I will share my experience of the power of forgiveness.



3. Dr.Karan Singh

The Relevance of Vedanta* in Today’s Context


*This is the simplest explanation of Vedanta that I found on Wiki:

“A group of philosophical traditions concerned with self-realisation by which one understands the ultimate nature of reality.”


Still confused? So am I.


This image is from


A former member of the Indian parliament and a champion of interfaith dialogue.


Dr.Karan Singh, 81, was my absolute favourite! 🙂


He was born a prince in Jammu and Kashmir. When he was old enough to understand his privileged position, he consciously discarded his royal title, thereby ending the royal lineage in Jammu and Kashmir. He lived like a commoner, chose to be an educator and worked towards dispelling barriers to allow those at the very broad bottom of the Indian pyramid have a chance at a better life.


As if all this weren’t fantastic enough, he is the most wonderful orator I have heard in recent memory. Frail and mild to the eye; but strong in the convinction of his beliefs and practices. He had me in a trance as his rich language flowed from the very first sentence, and he whisked me away for the rest of the all-too-short-a-time that he waxed eloquently.


You know how some lucky winners, celebrities or contestants (usually) are asked which idol of theirs they would like to have dinner with? I don’t fall into any of those categories, but if I were handed such a momentous opportunity, my answer, without a moment of hesitation, would be Dr.Karan Singh!


I’d actually make a special request – I would ask it not to be a dinner meet.


Because by God, even to an avid gastronome such as myself, food would be inconsequential when I have his eloquence to drool over! Sigh.


Thank you,  The Book of Terrible  and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Canada!




This image is from

I was not born in Canada. I was not raised in Canada. I grew up in Canada.

Now that you are sufficiently confused, let’s carry on.

I immigrated to Canada as an adult. I have lived there long enough to feel like I belong.

In Canada, I learned to follow my heart through the hardest detour in my life. I’ve almost always done what my heart told me, but until then, most had been fairly easy decisions.

Then I came to a particular juncture.

One path gleamed with the career and life I was happy with.

The other was not resplendent in comparison, but it led back to something that was/is the dearest to me in the big wide world.

But it was not an easy decision to make.

In my late teens, I had left the nest and spread my wings.

By my late 20s, I had flown much further and much wider than I had planned or even imagined.

In my mid 30s, with focus, hard work and perseverance, I achieved whatever little goals I had gunned for.

And then it hit me.

Despite all the external embellishments, I was not happy.

I thought things over. I prayed. I talked to a few people.

I had to make a choice.  

A career with the trappings that the world worships?


An incomparably less glamourous vocation that would allow me to wake up with a feeling of contentment every day?

Again, not an easy decision to make.

After all, how many just chuck their glowing careers and globetrotting ways to baby-sit ageing parents?

If I had to listen to Daddy and Mummy, and dance to their “You can’t live with your parents just because you want to be with them in their old age” tune, I would have still been in Canada.

But I listened to Canada instead.

I had read about people who had made similarly tough decisions to simplify their lives by tuning out the world and listening inwards to what their hearts told them.

Some made choices that involved reducing frivolous expenses, some chose smaller living spaces, some chose to give up their private vehicles and rough it out with public transport. And some gave up blazing careers.

I met very few of these people, but mostly, I read about them. With each one I met, and with each article I read, my resolve to return to my roots grew stronger.

And now I’m back in the country of my birth. With those who gave me birth. Not Daddy, of course. He’s off on a jaunt somewhere.  😉  Took off five months before I planned to return. Hmph.

I’ve been back with Mummy for a few years now. And I’m happy. Poorer, no longer hip, definitely not happening. But happy.

Oh yes, I am at peace. Finally.

This home I grew up in is where I belong. Unless Mummy decides to beat me to it and join Daddy wherever he is. Then, I will take off again. Most probably.

I do not have links to the exact articles that inspired me years ago. This article (with its accompanying URL below) is a very good example of some of those I had read.

Here are some pictures of my time in my adopted home nation.

On the GO!

GO Transit is the province wide, rail and bus transit system in Ontario. Another FYI snippet. Canada has provinces, not states.

This normally busy station is deserted because it was one of the last trains I took back to Streetsville in Mississauga, where I lived. I had wound up that particular Canada Day at the Exhibition Place, downtown Toronto.




                                                          HTH                                  Me

The lady in the red jacket is Hazel McCallion. I’ve given her the faux title royale HTH, which I’ve coined for ‘Hazel The Hurricane’.  Hurricane Hazel as she is fondly known, is the feisty and fiery mayor of the city of Mississauga in Ontario.

Hazel McCallion is 91 now (I know!) and has been our mayor in Missisauga for the past … wait for it … 33 years. Yes, Thirty. Three. Years. Whoa!

When I lived in Canada, I used to volunteer at (the) City Centre in Mississauga, among other places. After my stint at City Centre in the morning one Canada Day, I spent the evening (this photograph was taken) in my neighbourhood in Streetsville. Hazel McCallion lives in Streetsville as well.

 Kate Spade Girl                                                  Me                            BFF Two

Kate Spade Girl is my nickname for my Jamaican-Canadian friend who is fond of that designer.

Kate Spade Girl visited me when I lived in China. Kate Spade Girl will spend Christmas this year with my family at home. Yaay!

BFF Two joined us for dinner one night (in China).

The little shout out, rather scribble out, in my hand is to my other dear Canadian friend, who I call affectionately call ‘Tinamisu’. Tina is of Italian origin. I like Tina and tiramisu. 🙂

Kate Spade Girl and Tinamisu are my closest Canadian friends.

Being a lover of nature and the simple life, it was only natural for me to be drawn to our Native Indian heritage in Canada. I enjoyed spending time at Crawford Lake in the Halton Region of Ontario.


I’m dreaming of (my birth) home …. no more. 🙂

This image is from

A dream catcher is a Native Indian item made with a willow hoop and a sinew net or web. It is hung above the bed or at the window. It is believed to filter out bad dreams and only let good dreams pass through. I like that idea.  

This next shot is not very clear.


Reaching for my dreams



Thank you, O Canada, for giving me the strength

to go after my most important dream,

which I am now blessed to live.


Red, White and Proud!

This image is from



Happy Canada Day, Hook and family, and my other Canadian readers!


::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     EXTRA!  EXTRA!  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

My Canadian blog bud, Hook, released his book recently. If you’ve had enough reality TV and would like to switch gears to reality reading, Hook’s book is for you!

His book is called ‘The Bellman Chronicles’. (

You can find out more on his site, The Book of Terrible. (

Although I haven’t read it, I like his blog posts. Oh, and this daddy’s girl is mighty pleased that the cover of his book has been designed by his 14-year old daughter, Sarah. 🙂

::  ::  :: 

I’d also like to send some Canada Day love to another blog buddy who is south of the 49th parallel.

::  ::  ::   

Marcy King or Orples’ Brain Mama  as I call her (as opposed to ‘birth mother’) has some entertaining and endearing Orples tales to tell.

Orples what? Orples who?

Stop by at her site, Orples, ( to find out more.  

::  ::  :: 

Hook and Marcy, wish you both the luck of the Four Leaf Clover Eleven Point Maple Leaf in your literary ventures!


Thank you, mj monaghan and The Book of Terrible, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 

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