Due to the lack of inspiration today, I decided to clear the backlog of noodle taste test in my little black book, because yes contrary to what it looks like I don’t eat noodles all the time, I had some reviewed in my notebooks for weeks, this one above being one of them.
You might not find it in every store as it is an imported one, priced 35 rupees a pack when I bought it and ate it a few weeks back, but recently found another flavour in the same range priced at 40, so that probably means the price has increased, I saw just the last weekend that Reliance mart which I visited for the first time ever had some of the varieties in that range too.
This particular flavour is a favourite in our household and had been for months since we moved to Mumbai last year, when I cook this one, one pack is not enough to satisfy both Ishi and my appetite, and even DH who is a die hard Maggi masala noodle fan can’t resist this one.
It’s part of Koka’s No MSG range which means it is safe for those sensitive to it and small children. And calorie wise, a 100g of noodles set you 389 calories which is by far the lowest calorie total I have found so far in the world of instant noodles.
While cooking the noodles it has a very subtle smell, don’t let that make you think it is going to be a bland taste though, because these noodles do deliver.
The taste make comes in two part, one is the powder that you add to the water while cooking them, and the second is a pouch of flavoured oil, it adds about half a teaspoon to the cooked noodles, don’t try to eat your noodles without the oil, I did, and this make them taste a bit blah and dry…the oil MUST be used.
The taste of the noodle has a distinctive Satay flavour indeed, and isn’t too spicy with that lovely hint of roast peanut taste to it, the spice and salt balance in the mix is also just right, which is a good thing because in some of the Koka Noodles flavour there is a bit too much salt for my linking sometimes.
So all in all this take on chicken noodles deserve a thumb up or even two, it passed the fussy toddler test with flying colour too.
First of all, Ishi is feeling better and has been full of energy all Friday and Saturday, which means she is definitely going back to school this Monday.
Then DH was away all Friday on a business trip and came back on Saturday morning with the same issue he had Thursday night: forgot his laptop’s charger in office.
So the plan he had was to drive all the way to his office in BKC to pick up the damn charger and come back, but I saw it coming a mile away, when he has to do so much driving around he then get cranky, and the grocery trip we do every weekend become an even bigger pain in the popo than it already is. And the fridge being pretty much empty, this is a trip we needed to do on Saturday and not this Sunday. So in a brilliant move I suggested we all drive toward his office, stop on the way to the new Phoenix Market City mall they built in Kurla, do the grocery shopping there, that way DH is doing only one big trip and keeps his irritation with Mumbai’s traffic to a minimum…pure genius.
DH is by default not a shopping guy, he hates shopping, and he doesn’t really like malls to begin with, which is fine by me, because really all I want is to do grocery shopping at whatever supermarket they have in there (we’ve never been before). DH start by surprising me deciding to give the car to the car spa people for seat cleaning, he knows it takes at least an hour to get it done, and that means we need to kill time in the mall, which I know he hates, and since I really have no intention of shopping, or window shopping (window shopping with a husband in tow is torture..ladies never do it) I tell him we can stop for coffee before heading to the supermarket while waiting.
We locate the area where all the restaurants and the food court is to find something, and I point to cafe Costa, we know them, they make good coffee, good munchies and the seats are comfy, DH heads toward it and suddenly say “Hey let’s try that one, Di Bella Coffee, it looks nice” I saw the signs for it in the parking lot apparently Di Bella is an Australian coffee company that seem to have just arrived in India…so sure let’s give it a try, I’m not a bug fan of coffee so when we go to a coffee shop I pretty much go for the alternative caffeine fixes, which aren’t super numerous in most coffee shop, so let’s see what a new one has to offer in that department.
We go in, a waiter show us to a table and hand us a tablet pc telling us all we have to do is to browse the menu there, and build our order on it. I suddenly see DH’s eye spark a bit…a coffee shop with electronic gizmos! A man’s dream. It took him time to operate the thing, because the whole tablet was a bit slow to react to the finger touching an icon on the screen, but we placed an order, DH had a blast choosing his coffee the add on and then passed the tablet to me so I could choose…there was a big selection of hot chocolate, I don’t usually like hot chocolate because I don’t like milk much, but I really wasn’t in mood for tea (which for me is really weird), they had so many different type of hot chocolates in there, I ended up selecting one with marshmallows in because…well I have been craving for them in a long time and resisting the urge to break the bank on a pack of mini ones at the supermarket for months, knowing that the day I cave the pack would not last more than an hour leave alone a day. getting them in a hot chocolate drink seem like a good compromise. I then point out we better order a small thing to eat so Ishita can get something to munch on. DH take the tablet from me and happily order some ice cream sundae thing, before hitting the “send order” which had me amazed, really you get to place an order and send it to the counter without having the waiter or Barista come and try to cajole you into taking this and that extra topping on the coffee and ice cream to fatten up the bill…wow (Costa and Cafe Coffee day are the worst offenders for that).
The coffee was apparently good, my hot chocolate delivered with me finding the excuse to cave one of these days and buy a pack of mini marshmallows to do some of that hot chocolate at home (yeah right!). Dh was in a super mood and even wanted to roam the mall after our coffee break, and then we headed to a big un-crowded, blissfully clean and orderly Reliance Mart, I did my shopping, DH got his clean car and then we headed to get the charger and off home we went, Dh not at all traumatized by being in a mall, or in the Mumbai traffic…a little does of tablet pc in a coffee shop is apparently all it takes to keep a man happy in an environment that is otherwise designed for the oestrogen loaded lot…who knew!
My daughter is sick this week, got a big bad cold and throat infection and fever galore, so much so that on Wednesday we went to the Dr because she kept us up all night with restlessness and probably a solid dose of drama queen attitude (she knows we melt at the knee when she is sick and will try everything not to upset her).
And this is precisely were gender matters, in my experience I prefer having a male paediatrician, over a woman. We had quite a few since she was born as for immunization and such, we walked in the OPD at Manipal hospital in Bangalore a lot before having a friend recommend a lady, at which point we shifted to Navi Mumbai 6 months later.
in all the peds we’ve seen, only one lady was friendly and professional at the same time. All the others had that kind of matronly condescending attitude as if their being women on top of being Dr made them far more qualified in childcare than you, made them so arrogantly confident in themselves that whatever you reported about your own child was of little significance or importance. Things like us going in for immunization only to have the Dr ask what kind of cream we used to treat rashes on the face, and when telling her it was a product trusted by mommies back where I come from to sneer and sermon me about how only coconut oil is good for it. Or the fact that Ishi always had been a skinny girl and that it was of course that I was no feeding her right because yup we all know that hereditary factors are just a bunch of bollocks and that as a foreigner I of course had disastrous eating habits myself that is sure to kill my own kid…Simply put, these women paediatrician I saw knew best because of who they were and that dispensed them from needing to ask anything about family history of anything. Highly recommended lady Doctor included.
A thing that I never saw with any of the male Doctor we saw, who for some reason are far more detached and professional and don’t let whatever hormone bout get in the way. They are Doctors, they don’t feel the need to be superior in their approach, all knew that parents know their child well enough and that it is worth asking the right question. None of the male Doctors we saw felt the need to lecture me for her 3rd percentile weight, sure some found it odd, but instead of immediately accusing me of not feeding her properly, they asked how she was eating, and how active she was, and how many diapers she soiled a day, and upon getting normal answers to all the above ask if there was a family history of being underweight during childhood, which yes indeed there was, in my case at least, DH can’t remember in his case. In this light Ishita’s weight isn’t worry some, but none of the ladies in the paediatric lot seemed to want to consider that option, I was in their eye the one at fault, one even suggested that I spoon fed her ghee to fatten her up to meet the standard (if that isn’t quack advice what is?). the one we saw last Diwali in Lucknow was the worst of the lot in the condescending department, we came in for an emergency viral fever check as my in-laws were getting panicky, turns out that apparently having a nearly 2.5 year old weighting just 10kg was all bad, I tried to explain that it was hereditary, only to be met with a once over look taking in my slightly overweight figure (PCOS makes it hard to stay trim sorry!) and then lecture me about the importance of nutrition and that feeding a kid junk food wasn’t it…at no point did she even ask what Ishita was eating, nope, my lack of desiness was proof enough that I was a barbaric lady feeding her kids potato chips and soft drinks the whole day long! She then pointed out that it was my daughter drinking water from her sippy cup that was making her sick, and the fact we stopped sterilising bottles when she was 6 month old, never mind that between the age of 6 month until the time we saw that particular Dr Ishita has never been sick, when I pointed it out I got a lecture on how I cannot behave that way here as it’s not like in the west and I must adjust to India while staying there, DH tried to point out that Ishita was born in India, but apparently we still had a tourist attitude, all because of how I looked.
She was right no matter what and I was by default wrong, never mind that she saw us a grand total of 10 minutes altogether, she acted like she was the ultimate expert on everything related to my daughter. She was the worst, but not the only one.
So this Wednesday the ped we saw at the hospital was a guy, and he asked all the right questions again, didn’t bother over the weight issue, because we came for a cough, fever and earache in the first place, he asked how she was eating these days of sickness, told us that her lack of appetite was normal, to keep offering food as she asked for it, but focus more on fluids intake, we walked out with a prescription for cough syrup, an antibiotics for the massive throat infection, and a fever reducer, no lecture on how sippy cups caused whatever and that my being a foreigner means that surely all my daughter eat is crap.
Could it be that a lot of women embracing the profession are more likely not to be able to separate the profession from motherhood instinct and let the fact they had kids before their patient get in the way? I personally would like to think so.
Men going in the field might be fathers in their private sphere, but perhaps the fact that they don’t have the same bonding with their kids as a mom do makes them see all kids and parents in a more objective way and not feel like they need to give condescending advice to their patient’s parents. Their field of expertise is paediatric medicine, not lecturing parents on the merit of coconut oil over whatever specially formulated lotion they are using. I can see how the particular issue would have gone if the ped I saw back then was a male: “I see your daughter still has newborn rash on her face, are you following a special treatment for it?” to which I would have replied “Yes I have this ointment we use for rashes and dry skin in Switzerland” to which he would in all like hood have replied “Have you seen any improvement with it?” to which I would have replied “Yes it seems to be going away fine” at which point the doctor would have been satisfied because the purpose of the consultation in the first place was not newborn rash it was prescribing an immunization shot and see if she was fit to receive the shot in the first place.
All this post to say that yes I much prefer dealing with male doctors, and that Ishita is sick this week which means she is not setting a foot in school until next Monday, as I don’t want her to generously give her germs to her classmates and get other parents to have to deal with cranky fussy sick kiddos, because they aren’t fun days in the life of a mother.
All of which of course mean i probably won’t be blogging much until Monday.
One of the recent add on in the Maggi Noodle family, probably supporting the effort to promote healthier eating habits in urban Indians when suddenly health became the topic of the hour.
This particular type of noodle claims to be made of whole wheat flour (atta) and to be full of fiber, and even states it has real vegetables in, giving a new dimension to their slogan “Taste bhi Health bhi” (tasty and healthy).
I’m one of those who don’t really fall for these lines really, All instant noodles are flash fried in the first place, are starchy, and 100g of that thing contains far more calories than 100g of regular Italian pasta. I know that when I eat these noodles, they are junk and all they satisfy is my taste buds, and in all frankness we all need these moments of comfort and indulge in junk food, junk food isn’t bad when consumed in moderation…it’s when it becomes an everyday staple that it spells trouble. So really trying to sell me atta noodles and claim that they are healthy…not working! There I said it!
But as part of my vow to taste all the noodles there are on the Indian market, I bought a pack of that one, and I had tasted it before as my SIL keeps only that one in the house…because it’s healthier than normal Maggi (which I don’t buy into as previously stated). So since the claims wants one to believe it’s healthier than regular Maggi noodles, let’s have a look at the ingredient and nutrition facts shall we? This version of the classic noodles contains 84.2% of atta, they do not mention what makes the remaining percentage though. And here are the nutrition facts on the label:
The claim on the packet is that it has the goodness of protein and fibre…so I took the pack of regular masala noodles out of the pantry to check what the nutrition facts of the good old trusted noodles says:
So what does that tell us? That there is only 1 gram more protein per 100g in the atta noodles…not enough to make it so superior to the regular noodles, it has also 25 calories more, most probably from all the add on in the taste maker. it has nearly 4g more carbs than the regular Maggi and more than double the sugar! the regular Maggi do not state how much Fibre there is in it, but so far the only thing the atta variant has less of is fat, and it’s a mere one gram less fat…not enough to make it healthy.
All in all if you know how to read labels, you will see that Maggi fooled you into thinking the atta version is healthier, because in truth it is not, it is just the same…and that fibre be damned, if you want to benefit from the GOODNESS of fibre as they state on the pack…go sink your teeth in a fruit or eat a serving of dal, but please do not fall for the healthy claims of these noodles.
Now that I played food label detective, to the taste bench. The taste maker has some real dehydrated veggies in there, but the total amount is one teaspoon once rehydrated, and they probably lost all the nutrients a vegetable should have in the process…they give a nice touch of colour to the noodles though, the spice in it is the same masala mix you find in the regular Maggi Masala noodles.
Taste wise, it’s the comforting taste of masala noodle, with a weird sandy texture due to the atta in the noodles, if you fell pray to the healthy claim, you will reason yourself with the fact these noodles are good for you and that the sandy texture is something you need to get used to. I don’t and that texture is horribly off, I never saw it in whole wheat Italian pasta, so why is it in these noodles, whole wheat doesn’t mean it has to rub your tongue and palate the wrong way, beside if you like ramen noodles for the comfort aspect, how is having sand in your mouth comforting? Ishita wasn’t crazy about these noodles either, she ate less than half the pack, letting me take the calorific burden, and of course because it had green peas and bits of coriander leaves in it it was in her world toxic waste that needed to be plucked clean off the noodles before considering putting it in the mouth…an epic fail into tricking her into eating a gram of vegetables.
I know some people like these atta noodles, and the taste is far from bad, after all we are talking about the same old Maggi Masala flavour here, but if you force yourself to eat this Maggi instead of the regular just because of the health claim…stop it, go back to what you like, eat it in moderation and rest assure a sandy feeling in whole wheat pasta is not normal at all and that no you should not suck it up in the name of health, and certainly not in this case where there are no added health benefit attached to this noodle.
Now I mentioned in passing in the comment of the previous post that I wanted to talk a bit more about children books in India, so here we go.
First thing fits, there are books in 3 languages lying around in my home, the French ones are the one my mom brings with her with each visits as you won’t find any of them in other places than Flipkart. Then I have the obvious lot of English books which you will find everywhere in India, and last but not least a few in Hindi which DH tried to read to Ishita but generally get completely ignored.
I thought I would post pictures of how books look in each language before reflecting n the topic further:
These are the French language books, I have quite a few around, and this is typically what older toddlers are read by their parents, the others I have are obvious baby books, with more interactive features and less text, of which I didn’t take picture because we don’t read them much anymore.
This is what the English books look like, we are having a lot of them around because they are easy to find everywhere, beside since her school asked me to speak exclusively English with her, we had to get more and more reading material, these 3 are her favourite at the moment, with The Cat in the Hat being the absolute must read at least once a day.
These are the Hindi books, we have about 10 of them, but Ishita refuses to sit through one, they are surprisingly though to find in India and this is what brings me to this whole blog post.
Kids book in regional languages in India are few and though to find…there said it. It came even more obvious this first week of July we spent in Lucknow, which is in a purely Hindi speaking area of the country. We were for some reason at a bookstore there one day, the ground floor was dedicated to books in Hindi and the first floor to books in English. The Hindi section was big, but it was mostly adult books, the kid section was one miserable shelf tucked in a corner, most of the books were for older kids who could read on their own and a solid 70% of what was there was of religious tone or mythological, with a few books speaking of family values and kids daily activities. Out of the whole kid section there were only 2 toddler books made of cardboard, both about the Hindi alphabet illustrated in rather old fashioned almost academic looking pictures, not the things that really catch the eye of a young kid at all (pretty much like the pictures in the brochure type alphabet book I just share a photo of). We didn’t buy anything in Hindi for her, because she is already not sitting through one Hindi book with DH at home, so we headed to the first floor, where the kid section was about 4 times the size of what was below, crammed with books of all level, type, genre and sizes, there were even piles of kiddie books on the ground due to lack of space on the shelves.
And then it hit me, from the sight of the books in this shop and what we have at home, one thing is really clear: books aren’t supposed to be read to kids in India, kids learn to read in school and then read on their own. Books are not supposed to be fun, tactile and interactive, they are supposed to teach something. While both in the English and French culture books are a bonding activity, they are supposed to be attractive and fun to hold, feel, read and touch. It is accepted and even highly recommended by paediatricians and child development expert to start reading books to your kids as early as possible, to interact with your child while reading books, pointing at pictures, and asking questions as you read.
All the books we have in English and French have toddler friendly pictures, appropriate length text, are easy to handle by a small child because they have hard cover and even cardboard pages for the early readers. They are books that triggers imagination, and curiosity in a 2-3 year old.
All the Hindi books we have or have very complex drawings and text more appropriate for a 5-6 year old, or simple text with unappealing pictures that do not catch Ishita’s fancy and would probably bore any regular toddler. They are all without exception stapled back brochure type books that are delicate to handle for a small child and have zero interaction features to engage the child into the reading of the book. All in all these books are designed only for kids who are learning to read on their own, not for toddler discovering the world and building language and communication skills.
And not surprisingly, all my friends who have kids only have toddler books in English and consider reading time an English language activity, they just don’t bother keeping Hindi books around until the child is much older and can read them on their own.
And if you ask me, How sad is this? Sad that once again in a country of such diverse cultural heritage there isn’t much more for kids in the realm of books. How sad it is to think a book should on be a tool of knowledge when it is so much more than that. How sad to once more realise that languages are here to divide instead of unite. Because here is another fact about books, a Hindi book cost about 30 rupees, the English ones about 150-200 if not more, to me the message is clear: You get access to English only if you can afford it, if you can’t then your language shall be Hindi…this is the same sad story as when DH had been asked by a 5 years old girl at the playground to stop speaking Hindi because that is a Maid’s language. So now it seems books also segregate rich and poor readers into distinct category! As I said this is SAD if not utterly disturbing.
Have we reached a point were science and academics in India has much more weight than literature and art? Judging by what is available in the children’s book world that seem very much like it. If that wasn’t so there would be more book illustrators and children books author and far more good publishing house tapping in this market.
And what is the long run consequence of this situation? Isn’t that telling parents and kids that reading books in other language than English is a waste, that Hindi and Indian culture is a waste? That they are above it and should not be bothered by it? So far the only thing that is toddler friendly and Indian is Chota Bheem on TV…this is a cartoon, but it is on TELEVISION, so is the message here that if you have to get your young kids interested in India it has to be done glued to the Idiot box rather than immersed into a book with bright pictures while sitting on mommy’s lap.
I sense trouble, don’t you?
There is always something I find disturbing when a bookstore closes down, and that one is even paining me even more.
The area in which I live has only ONE bookstore that sells brand new books…or shall I say HAD because I noticed last June end that the store seemed closed, and I just learned it actually completely shut down instead of relocating, the reason being that the owner of the building in which this bookstore was located decided to double the rent, which meant the store could not afford it anymore.
The store in question is Crosswords, it is part of a big chain, but to my knowledge that was the only one within a short driving distance, and that very store was already there in the area the last time I lived in the area in Mumbai in 2004…8 years ago they are shutting down. What’s left in the area now is one second hand crammed dusty bookstore and nothing else.
While as a grown up I don’t really mind second hand bookstores, the ones in India are anything but kid friendly, and that was the reason why I loved crossword so much, they have a very nicely done kid section in all their stores, it invites kids to come in and explore, pick up books and decide what they want, leaf through books and enjoy. Since moving back to this area, I admit I have been in that store more often for Ishita’s benefit than mine as we read more kiddie books than I get to read grown up books, it was so much fun to go through the shelves and find books at random there, and now this is gone…all gone. The nearest mall seem to have no bookstores so far, though I hope they will fix this flaw soon, as having 2 Planet M (CD and DVD stores) barely 3 kilometres away from one another but no book stores is another disturbing trend to me.
Sure Crossword is still on the net, so is Landmark, and there is Flipkart too…but call me an old bat if you wish, they are simply not the same and never will. Don’t get me wrong I order books online too, mostly for myself and to get a discount, but online stores will never have the appeal a real life store has. For once you can browse for hours on an online site and end up lost and confused so online really works best if you are looking for a specific book or author, not if you just now you want new reading material but have no idea what yet. In a bookstore, you get the element of surprise, you get to touch and discover books that would otherwise not catch your fancy, it could be the colour and texture of a cover, it’s artwork the title, the fact it’s suddenly put on display on the special’s table…I’m the kind of person that can roam in a bookstore for hours and never be bored of it, but my patience on any given book selling site never goes beyond 15 minutes no matter how well designed the site is, it’s not inviting people to get lost and stumble by chance upon a book. And for kids even less! My daughter is 3 years old and it’s oddly discomforting to see that she can already scroll through DH’s iPhone when at her age I didn’t know how to operate my parent’s stereo fully and wasn’t allowed to put vinyl records on the player by myself because the risk of scratching them was so big…so would I want my daughter to browse Flipkart to find kiddie books? For once she doesn’t yet make the connection between seeing the cover art on Flipkart and the fact it is a book that is on for offer. For her a book is bless it be still a thing you can touch, feel and leaf through.
this is something she can carry by the arm load at Crosswords trying to persuade me to buy them all, this is something that excites her, something that hold promises of beautiful pictures inside and possibly interactive content in the form of lift able flaps and touch and feel textures. Buying a book, means visiting the store, sitting on the bright cartoon rug and let the element of surprise take over. Where on Earth would I find this online? And there is no way even a second hand car garage sized crammed dusty shop can deliver the type of joy we had in that particular Crossword.
Now all we can buy to entertain ourselves in the area are DVD’s at Planet M…way to go on promoting literacy in children huh? Leave alone creativity…sigh!
Recently I was reading a blog post at American Punjaban PI where she reflects on the 2 past months spent back home and how it felt, you can read it here.
I’ve been in the same position myself in 2008 when I joined DH on an assignment for 2.5 months back in my home country, and that is when a reality of expatdom hit me in the face: once you lived abroad, you never see your homeland in the same light again. In fact the longer you stay away, the more you will feel like a stranger back home, a thing an English teacher of mine tried to explain to us long time back as well.
Back in 2008 I lived in Zurich during the week because that’s where DH was posted, and my mom managed to get my a national rail pass so I could go every weekend to Geneva for free, but both cities be it my home town or Zurich were not really my home. Zurich would be understandable, this is a city in the German speaking part of the country, language which I have only basic survival skills in, but Geneva is the city I was born and grew up in, yet it felt almost as foreign to me as Zurich, and the devil was in the detail.
I had been away 5 years before coming back, 5 years during which both myself and my homeland changed in subtle ways. My first realisation was that in 5 years in India I had become far less tolerant to cold weather, and I thought stupidly that May would be much warmer and easier for me to get comfy in, I didn’t take into account the fact that at that time Switzerland was hit by a cold wave that was unusual for the season even for the locals, not that I didn’t plan this and didn’t dress accordingly, considering the temperatures I thought a pair of jeans, sneakers and a hoodie sweater over a t-shirt was fine, but I spent the first 3 days freezing in what other Swiss seemed to do fine at the time.
Then I realised that I got used to predictable weather as well, in India it runs like clockwork, you know it’s going to rain during the monsoon, and the rest of the year will be dry with not a single drop of rain falling, you know Summer is going to be consistently hot and Winter blissfully cool (at least in Bangalore), there is very little surprise in the Indian weather.
The Swiss weather is a whole different story, I grew up in it, so it should not have shocked me but it did, you can go from a cold super rainy day to a real hot day in Summer, you never really know when you will need your umbrella and you could start the day thinking it will be a nice sunny day and end it being soaked to the bone by the evening, that’s how fast things change back home.
But the meteorological factors weren’t the only one who had me feel out of it, there were all the little things, like the fact that when you go shopping in Switzerland you don’t hand over your credit card to the clerk, especially not in Supermarkets, nope you swipe it yourself and then the clerk will hand you the paper to sign and verify the signature if they are conscientious, I can’t tell you how many times in these two months did I hand it to the cashier only to have them politely show me where to swipe it, which inevitably put the label “tourist” on my face, not that the credit card in question would not have given me away, some machine show you what amount it makes in your country’s currency, and in one store the guy was like “Where do you come from?” Because the total on my card was 2000 rupees, when I said India he was a bit puzzled, this was in Luzern so the exchange was in English.
But in Geneva I went buying a DVD in one of my favourite store, to have the guy ask me if I wanted to be part of the loyalty program, to which I replied “No, Thanks” immediately, and him to ask why, and I said that I was not living in Switzerland, not wanting to go into details, the guy to then say “It’s ok she mail offers in France too” With my obvious lack of accent speaking French what else could he deduct from my stating I was not a resident, that’s when I told him “Well I live in India actually” and him to be puzzled by that piece of information, because a) I didn’t look Indian and b) who would want to live there?
The interesting part is that while I didn’t dress Indian back home, my choice of western wear was clearly not in alignment with the local trends anymore, not that I’ve particularly be a trend follower back home ever. But it’s only after 5 years away that I realised that people in my homeland really prefer subdued colours as far as clothing go, the neutral palette pretty much rules in all season, floral prints provided they aren’t in bold colours are around in the warm days, and the boldest you find in winter is a splash of red in a sweater, or some purple at times. Accessories are kept to a minimum too, shoes are functional, most purses black or brown in basic styles and only student in art colleges really wear bold outfits and are labelled eccentrics by most. Back in the days people even laughed at my red converse high top sneakers…just to say.
5 years in India changed my wardrobe radically, not that I shied away from colours before that, but India has practically given me a license to have things like hot pink and orange around. And to come back to my airplane outfit, the hoodie jacket was an Addidas lime green one, worn with mauve and yellow Reebok sneakers, not exactly super flashy, but enough to have people stare, and my family to find my sneakers funny with even a friend’s daughter asking if my husband approved of these because she would as a 12 year old not be caught dead in them. For 2.5 months I was wearing colours in a sea of beige, white and subdued earthy greens and floral print, pretty much feeling like an Hibiscus that found a way to grow in the harsh weather of the Swiss Alps. Definitely a tourist’s attire, a tourist who is holding a Swiss passport…
And there were all the really small things, such as suddenly being confronted to the fact some of the big tea brand found a way to turn a tea bag into some high tech fashion thing while I was gone, bye bye paper square, hello weird pyramidal shaped plastic net…I felt like they messed up with one of the few constant in my world: TEA. I also came face to face with Starbucks, when I left they weren’t there, they were not even planning to be there, and here I come back to see some in every big cities! Not that I mind a fancy coffee, that is the only way I would drink coffee as I am not a fan of the good old cafe’s double espresso with cream and sugar on the side. They also found time to colour code the nutrition facts on all packaged food stuff, and even add the calories and nutritional value on every package in Mc D, not that it is bad far from it, but the life as I knew it had monochrome labels on supermarket goods, and Mc D didn’t tell you your Big Mac alone was over 500 calories worth of junk…we knew it was junk food without that printed info on the box. Geneva also found a way to revamp the whole public transport system, and add lots of new tramway lines, change the routes of some busses, and update all their automatic ticket machines so that when I first arrived and had to take a ticket I was super puzzled on how to operate the new machine…in my home town! The price of a movie ticket went up, and i no longer had the frequent movie goer program card to make it cheap again, people at the ticket booth warned me that the movie was in English with subtitles and asked me if I was sure I did want to go for that show then…they never did back in the days when I was anyway going to the original version shows to spare my ears from poor dubbing, but they did then, maybe because I didn’t look like a local who would understand that every alternate show in most theatres was in original version?
And of course there were the good addresses as far as shops went that closed in the 5 years I was gone.
And this is when I realised that long term expats end up having a better chance becoming citizen of the world rather than try to identify with either the culture in their new country or the one they left in their homeland. It’s not a bad thing at all, but yes the feeling of standing out and look like a foreigner in your own native town is unsettling at first.
I realise that is two Just Noodling posts almost back to back, but DH has been sick and at home, taking possession of my laptop as his for some reason refuse to connect to internet at a decent enough speed, and I write best when in peace, quiet and solitude, so there you go another noodle review.
This one is from Nissin, the same label that brought the cup noodles to India and their yummy pani puri flavour (which my local supermarket ran out of and didn’t restock…boo). Like the cup noodles this product is manufactured in India, which means the flavour might be modified to suit the Indian palate as in comparison to the same chicken noodles they might sell in other countries.
And frankly at this point I struggle to come up with something nice to say about it, the taste maker smelled more of chilli than anything else, and certainly not chicken, the taste of the noodle has a vague chicken-y taste the first second it hits the taste bud, but is almost immediately covered by an overpowering burning taste of chilli that lingers to no end, and in my case made me struggle with the idea of throwing the whole thing in the dust bin, but waste not want not, so I ate it, submitting myself to a whole bowl of torture noodles, so much so that the nicest thing I could say about these noodles is : Horrendous.
Not all is tasty in the instant noodle world, and this one is so far the worst I’ve put in my mouth, my advice to anybody would be to not waste 10 rupees on this one, unless you like scorching chilli taste in the first place, but then you might get a better flavour out of “Maggi Thrillin’ Curry Noodles” then.
Here is a short blog post, but these particular noodles do not deserve much more than that.
This topic has been on my mind for quite some time, to be exact, since the parent teacher meeting I had last February during which the teachers express some concerns about Ishita’s communication skills.
See from the moment she was born, I made a point of talking French with her, DH stuck to Hindi when he was around, and she got exposed to English on a daily basis via the other kids at the playground and TV, life was pretty simple, we knew that like all multilingual kids she would take more time to speak properly, and that was it. But Ishita is a late speaker, she is 3 and despite understanding everything I say in both French and English she is one of these kids that will just not speak unless they absolutely have to, my mom reported that I had the exact same traits as a kid and that until past the age of 3 it was rare to hear me utter a word if I could avoid it, and then almost overnight I started talking. Needless to say that in other circumstances I would not be worried about Ishita knowing that on top of being exposed to 3 languages at the same time she is also having some hereditary factors that seem to dictate her refusal to speak.
That was without taking into account her school and the fact that they have to make sure kiddos are ready for the ultracompetitive Indian school system later, with their admission interviews to enter kindergarten and what not.
Their main concern back in February was that they had no clue whether Ishi actually understood English because she was content not to speak, and she was not ALWAYS fallowing instruction as a result they urged me to discontinue speaking French which in their term was not a useful language anyway, DH asked about Hindi and was met with the same “not useful language at the time” sentence, in short, we had to speak ENGLISH ONLY at home, so she would start learning how to talk.
Back then I mulled the issue over and over, talked with other parents in her school that have also been told that their regional language all confounded were useless and that if they wanted to give the best chance to their kids in school they had to switch to English only. As a compromise I switched to mostly French at home, and exclusively English outside, since it’s another approved method for bilingual kids, the result was that Ishita kept picking up words at the exact same rate, still refused to speak more than the absolute necessary, and the teachers at summer camp to question me still on whether she was understanding English…never did they raised the possibility of there being a speech issue, nope their only concern was that she was exposed to a monolingual environment…explaining that bilingualism confuse kids!
That had me baffled of course, because research is there to support the fact that YES kids growing in more than one language do indeed speak much later, and that NO they aren’t confused, and that early exposure to many languages has been proven to develop the brain in a much different pattern and help improve communications skills later on. In a country that has so many regional official languages and thousands of dialects, you would think the school system would be prepared with the notion of multilingualism, but it seems not so much.
With the school year starting last June, yet again the teacher questioned the same thing once again…”Does she understands English” and for some reason they don’t even seem to believe me when I say that yes she does, because she is a quiet little one that doesn’t speak much compared to her peer…never mind my trying to point out that introverts do exists and it’s not bad, I’ve been over that topic on the blog already. What they want is an exclusively English speaking extrovert Ishita, and nothing else will do…sigh!
So sick and tired of being questioned on what language I speak and what language was spoken at home, I switched to exclusively English both outside and inside. Simply because the school system in this multicultural and multilingual country is disturbingly close minded and elitist, I wouldn't;t want her to be turned down during admission time early next year now would I? Rejected because she calls a dog a “chien” and prefer calling water “pani” now that would be humiliating.
So I switched to English, and guess what? She still picks up new words at the same pace as before, she just now started seeing the point of no longer whining, but I doubt it has anything with the switch to a monolingual environment, it’s probably just that she is coming around and realising that her stubbornness is futile and that she gets more out of the deal with words…at this point I am fairly sure she would have acted the same even if still spoken French. Pani still means water and is preferred by her, dogs are still “chiens”, and she still is able to say “No” in all three languages according to her mood of the instant. And as it has been for the past 4-5 months, the only two sentences she speak are English ones and the only ones that matter to her: “What is this?” and “Wake up!” when DH and I refuse to go out of bed on Sunday morning when she wants us in the living room.
So what does this “Speak English only” enforced by some playschool and later the elementary school system going to achieve…the way I see it it will mean the death of some regional languages. Now I actually scarily see the point of some of these regional extremist parties defending Kannada or Marathi. I disagree with some of their methods, and of course strongly disagree with their politics, but I now start seeing the threat they fear. Yes the school system favours English, you have teachers telling parents that their regional languages are useless and will make the kid fail admission interviews for Jr Kg, in short it means that local culture and family heritage sucks, and should be done with…so if so little care is given to Marathi which is the State language in Mumbai, who cares about one firangi speaking French to her daughter to preserve some cultural heritage I ask you?
Fortunately almost 3 years of exposure to French is not going to be forgotten so easily by her, and as soon as she starts speaking to the level of satisfaction of the school, I plan to slowly reintroduce my native language to her.
Since my daughter apparently refuses to change her introvert nature to become an extrovert at the school’s command, and that she oh ultimate crime can’t colour within the line in her homework book at age 3 (more on that in another post) I might as well give in on the language issue before the school labels me a rebellious mom…sigh!
Coming back to my Just Noodling series. This week I am sick, I managed to get a cold courtesy of my daughter that wasn’t too well just before leaving for Lucknow, it resulted into hitting me toward the end of the stay, and developing into a full blast congestion hell by Monday. I coughed up my lungs, and am still right now under the influence of the brain fog, that today simply refuse to lift…oh well.
One of the things that makes me feel good when sick is starchy chicken flavoured goodness, and as far as chicken noodles go, the Maggi one are among my favourite. In fact I like this one much better than the original masala flavour. Compared to other chicken noodles I tried it still has a solid chicken flavour without falling in the over spicy or over bland category.
The tastemaker’s smell brings me back to the days my mom would cook chicken broth based alphabet noodles on rainy winter evenings, soup my sister and I would gulp down with some of what Maggi is famous for in Switzerland: Maggi condiment sauce (picture here), that sauce is what we call “Maggi” back home, this is the ultimate all purpose condiment to add to stocks, sauce and soups to add a bit more flavour to it. It looks far from appetizing if you have never encountered it in your life. And the closest taste to it I can find is yet another Swiss institution: Cenovis which is a brewer’s yeast bread spread my Aussie and British friends know under the name of respectively Vegemite and Marmite.
But pardon me, I am deviating here, back to the noodles shall we?
They taste the part as much as they smelled it, still bringing back some warm fuzzies from my childhood, which efficiently make them a perfect rainy cold day treat, or a sick day feel good fare, the taste is strong enough to make it palatable despite my clogged sinuses, the only thing that went missing over the years is that the Maggi i remember from a few years back still had a gooey quality it no longer has, they must have altered the recipe somehow, the solution to keep as much as the original taste intact, is to put enough water to cook the noodle in, and be left with very little to drain, that way all the chicken flavoured water goodness is absorbed by the noodles.
And as far as Ishita is concerned this is one of her favourite ramen noodle type out there too, yesterday I cooked only one pack for us two thinking that since it came as a side to stir fried veggies and chicken it would be enough…she asked for more, with such persistence that she went to sleep on it and asked for it again as soon as she woke up from her nap, so I had to cook the other pack we had in the pantry…not that I objected, still feeling pretty foggy myself, I felt like I could use some feel good food in the evening too.
When it comes to domestic airline companies, there is enough to choose from, and they more or less offer the same fare price given 1-2 thousands rupees, the difference between the “low cost” and the “premium” is if you book well in advance not even significant enough. And over the years I’ve flown with most of them across the country: Jet Airways, Sahara before it became Jet Lite, Kingfisher, Spice jet and Jet Lite when it stopped being Sahara, and of course Indigo which is the topic of this post.
I flew Indigo only 3 times, mainly because that is one of the very few companies flying to Lucknow in the first place, and that in the recent past we didn’t have the time luxury to do any length by train. Bute those 3 times between last November and this July were all the best domestic flight experience I had.
So what exactly makes Indigo so much more enjoyable than all, especially since it considers itself a low cost airline?
Well simply put, they manage to make flying fun, and I’m not talking about them goofing around with safety and their staff cracking jokes, I’m talking about the effort they put into inserting some colourful quirky notes in their food packaging.
Like on all low cost airlines, you pay for your food as an extra, no free snacks is provided on board, the only thing free is the water per glass (you pay if you want your bottle). But where it differs from other airline, and I’m talking even the premium ones that stiff offer free food, it’s that not only does the food taste better, it also looks good…visually.
What they understood better than anybody else in the industry is that people don’t eat food on board a plane because they are hungry, but to kill time. And I think any of you can relate about the non-hungry thing, face it in Mumbai you have to be in airport at check in nearly 2 hours before the flight takes of, and in all that time you probably already killed time on the ground drinking coffee and eating a snack or two, filling your tum for a couple of hours. The average flight time is around 1.5 hours and any normal human being who ate a muffin and drank a coffee on the ground will not need to eat more until they land at the destination, but yet serving food in the air has become pretty much an institution, because there is no better way to keep 200 passengers happy and quiet. other airlines serve you the standard remix of a dal-roti-rice-sabji (or chicken if you opted for the non-veg), a fruit salad or pudding for dessert, and if you are travelling in the morning a sad excuse of a gummy looking blob you are supposed to call an omelette or a paratha, you end up eating it because it’s free on premium airlines, and in the case of Jet Lite or Spice jet you give it a miss because it’s overpriced, and do not look good, beside these low cost let you carry snacks on board anyway. Why would anyone not hungry or super bored buy a nearly 200 bucks meal served in a standard aluminium thin with plastic cutlery?…My point exactly.
But look at just how the cashew nut and cookie tins they sell on Indigo look like:
I mean just LOOK at them? And tell me they aren’t irresistible, these are part of the all day munchies selection that come in collectible re-usable tins you like to carry back home simply for the cute factor. Munching on cookies on a flight is often all one need with a cup of tea to kill time, the cookies are priced 50 rupees for 5 pieces, the cashew 100 for a serving. And don’t you love they labelled the cashew nut box “Nut Case”…now you see what I mean when I said quirky.
And the collector boxes are only one thing, all their food packaging is unique to the food item they carry, be it the tins or the disposable sandwich wrappers, they even made you want to try a new sandwich in every flight just to see what all the packages look like, from the cardboard pop art style corn chips tubes, the the Vegetable sub sandwich that comes in a blue box with a yellow submarine on it, and a little story of a yellow sub that wanted to learn how to fly instead of swim, to some Indian wrap thing that come packaged in a giant matchbox with some Indian pop art design and fun lines to read. They make your 170+ sandwich FUN and they also do taste good, much better than some I had in other eateries on the ground.
I’m willing to bet that people flying Indigo are more likely to by food than on other low cost just because they made the food appealing in so many way, and that ladies and gents is how a low cost airline makes some of its profit, it’s all in their interest to make passenger want to have food on board, and that if you want to have some edge over all the other low cost the last thing you want to do is cut down too much on service.
So my reason to like Indigo might be shallow, I don’t really care, I'm only human, and if a cookie tin keeps me smiling on a flight…then fine by me (not that I get to eat many of them in the first place, Ishita loves them too)
So since the only purpose of our trip to Lucknow was to celebrate Ishita’s 3rd birthday in one massive party we should normally have thrown on her 1st birthday, let’s talk about it.
It was held on the 6th of July which is her exact birth date and our wedding anniversary as well. DH being the one who had to foot the bill for that thing insisted months in advance to keep the party cheap enough considering we had an estimated hundred of guests to come. And it turned out that the venue that would be the most affordable without compromising on food quality was a restaurant in a club in the cantonment area (military base), the cost per head for a non vegetarian fare was 400 rupees which was extremely fair considering Royal Cafe asked double that price. The drawback is that because it is on army ground, no loud music was allowed, which efficiently meant no DJ. Which in all honesty was more than fine with me, I’ve been to a few parties and impossibly loud Bollywood music the whole evening long wears really thin, beside in our party there was a max of 10-15 kids in all, not enough to even bother hiring an entertainer.
My in-laws waited until we came to give us the menu options so we could choose, then we headed to JJ bakery picked up a nice cake that looked like this:
That monster of a cake was 6kg and was Ishita’s favourite in the catalogue, a perfect Princess cake to go with her nice dress. The base was butterscotch flavoured, and the towers chocolate, of the two the chocolate was tasting better to me.
The party was supposed to start at 7.30pm, but no one bothered showing up before 8.30, by 9 the head waiter asked when we wanted to do the cake and DH said “Right now” only to end up in a mini argument with his mom who said we had to wait for her sister to come! At this point I wondered why she was insisting on waiting for someone who was late when it wasn’t even her party but my DAUGHTER’S who oh by the way is 3 year old and became understandably fussy considering the late time, and the fact that nothing else at the party was kid friendly except her cake. DH managed to negotiate, told his mom we would wait 5 minutes and then do the cake regardless, fortunately that mausi in question showed up in the nick of time.
Ishita enjoyed her cake, and the rest of the party was the usual Indian affair of guests moving to the buffet, eating and leaving right after that. MIL managed however to ruin it a little for me belittling me in front of guests on purpose, I won’t drag into details, but basically at one point when I was busy enjoying cake with my daughter and chatting to some distant relatives she came all fuming to me shouting “Serve karo” which means “Do the service” and which I failed to understand, because it was a fully staffed and catered venue and beside at that point the waiters had cut a serving of cake for everybody. MIL furious that I failed to understand went as far as asking the relative I was talking to to translate, basically she wanted me to go stand by the cake to serve guests slices should they want a second one! Yup you read that right, she asked me to play waitress at my own daughter’s party on my anniversary…a party that by the way her son paid in full for! The relatives I was chatting with had a baffled look about them hearing MIL bark at me in a tone she uses on her own servants, and even my sister in law who was in the background and overheard it was totally shocked at it. With no choice under MIL’s laser stare I had to stand and march toward that cake, only to have SIL even more alarmed and shocked urging me to go back and sit and enjoy the cake with my daughter.
I was fuming inside of course, totally shocked and hurt. DH was outside chatting with a friend, so I took the excuse of leaving the indoor area to look for him pretexting Ishita wanted her papa to go immediately tell him what happened, he was as shocked as me of course, then urged me to take a deep breath and we went back inside where he found my SIL and asked her what happened, to hear exactly the same words I reported to him, and then he went to his mom asking her in a diplomatic way why she asked me instead of the waiter to do the service. MIL in her usual way tried to pretend that no it was not how it looked and that she requested me to keep an eye on guests who wanted a second serving of cake because there was no waiters around (of course they all moved back to serving starters and preparing the main course buffet), but DH wasn’t fooled, so he came back to me telling me that his mom made it sound trivial again, and told me to just ignore her and walk away if she came near me, which didn’t happen as MIL pissed at having been caught in her little trick went in hiding in a corner of the venue only to shoot me dark killing stares should I pass within her sight..oh well, there were many other people to chat to anyway. But way to go ruining the spirit of a party, a party she and her husband requested as it is tradition, but did not pay for, and only the guests were theirs.
To be frank, I have been to a few kids party in India, at the exception of one which was held into that person’s home, none were kid friendly. All the other started very late considering it involved toddlers, had very little kid friendly food, a majority of adult, blasting Bollywood music that isn’t age appropriate and almost always ended up with the birthday kid crying by the time the cake came out because they were simply to darn exhausted to even care. In our case I was glad we did the cake before the buffet because it was already 9pm, the party dragged until almost midnight when the last guests left, by then Ishita was half asleep on my shoulder asking for being in bed. Call me nut, or conservative or anything you want, but I don’t think a 3 years old should be up until midnight, and I don’t think it is appropriate to hold a kid’s birthday party at night either. And I don’t think birthday parties should have hundreds of guests who barely remember who you are from the wedding and ask “So what’s your daughter’s name?” followed by “How old is she"?” If they have to ask these questions, they are clearly not bothered to keep in touch with the family in other circumstances, so why should we have to pay 400 bucks to feed them just in the sake of tradition?
There said it, rant over, but then we are now done with the tradition keeping thing, my in-laws had their big party, and we won’t have to bear with the July heat in Lucknow again.
After a little over a week of silence, I am back in action. As mentioned previously we headed to Lucknow for a week in order to celebrate our daughter’s birthday in a huge function that is normally done on the first birthday but had to be postponed until now.
I will go into the detail about the party in another post later in the week, with cake pictures.
This post is more of a reflection on the whole trip and how the culture and lifestyle differences we faced and are all starting to notice more and more after each passing year.
DH is very clear about not liking to go to Lucknow more than a week a year or so, the reason being that first MIL can’t seem to behave with me and with each stay she find new sadistic cunning ways to get at me. And the other being that in the house in which DH grew up it seems the time stands still. Days are long, with little to do, and he himself has less and less of topic of conversation that his parents can relate to to share, call it generation gap, and the fact that he is like his brother who lives in Delhi a big metro dweller, with the metro dweller lifestyle to match.
We never go out in Lucknow, because each time there is a question of doing so it becomes a family expedition and MIL and FIL arguing the necessity of it as in “Why do you want to have chaat outside when we can make them home”, hanging out in a restaurant is not something they do, when outside food is ingested that means going to a family restaurant, asking them to pack the food to go, and still cook rice and chapatti on the side, to my in-laws the notion of just going out to have a good time is alien.
This time we did go out for chaat and the next day to the mall where we ended up having Mc D with BIL and SIL, only to have MIL ask the next day if we were going to do that everyday. The thing being that even my BIL and SIL who lives with them were eager to have an excuse to be out, if that says that much about the home environment.
Ishita didn’t cope too well with this trip either, I was pretty proud to have her nearly potty trained and not have to face MIL’s disapproving stare on disposable diapers, but it turned out that my darling daughter got so scared of the bathroom there (we have no idea why) that she ended up peeing in her pants, so the diapers went back full time, she also refused to shower and we were met with screaming matches every time we wanted her clean, coming from a girl who LOVES water no less. The next Ishita issue was with the food, she likes rice, dal and chapatti home, but refused to eat there, again with no reason we could know of. She hated breakfast there and that one at least I got why. At home we do eat fruits and yogurt and sometimes eggs for breakfast, in DH’s home it’s fried food stuff every morning, or almost, Ishi isn’t a fan of white bread toasted in the tawa with butter, she doesn’t like parathas much, and Maggi doused in tomato sauce is really not her thing one bit (she likes hers plain). So much so that she drank tons of soy milk to make up for it, and we bought munchies for her to snack on, because trying to explain to his parents that she likes fruit is useless, they don’t get it, the only fruit that makes it in that house is mango during the mango season. We could have bought some, but the fridge is always full there, and nothing stay fresh outside more than a day in that 40 degree Celsius heat we had at the beginning of the week so there was little point in trying to get any fruits in. She ate a little mango (which isn’t her favourite by far) and that was about it.
The last time we went was last November, and back then Ishi was down with a viral fever so she was pretty happy just to sleep the whole day long and watch cartoons on the laptop, this time she was healthy and full of energy she had no way to burn, her beloved playground was nowhere to be seen and there was no substitute for outdoor play, because despite the house having a garden, my nephew almost never plays outside even in the evening, so no fun toys around. SIL from Delhi was the only one to understand the fact Ishita is an outdoor girl and to think it was a good thing to let kids play outdoor.
For DH and I it was though to kill time too, first the power cuts are more frequent than ever before in Lucknow, and 20 minutes without AC is torture in that scorching heat. Then we had a Tata photon connection that stopped working on day 2 of the trip, leaving us with little to do, and there is only that much book reading you can do, which in my case was anyway close to none as I was reasoning with a fussy hyper toddler while DH did some chit chat with his family just to keep up.
We are lucky that our bedroom is the only one on the top floor and no one goes there, so we had some privacy, but the bathroom attached to that guest room is the one with the most water problem, no matter what we never ever got to have more than a drizzle about half the width of a pinkie finger to come out of the taps, which means filling the bucket to wash ourselves in the morning takes a solid 15 minutes if not more, and because the toilet doesn’t flush right a stale smell of urine lingers in there (thinking of it that might be what Ishita hatted about the bathroom.
What dawned on me and Dh to some extent is that we are feeling more and more like outsiders. We are used to a faster paced life in Mumbai, to functional toilets, no more power failures, different diet, schedule and pastimes. We even run our own household differently. What I find challenging in my in-laws home is that they have that massively huge kitchen, but it’s even more storage deficient and unpractical as the average apartment kitchen in any cities. There are so few pots and pans that they always run out of them because they wait for the maid to wash them, which results in shouting for the maid to come clean them or try to find an alternative, when all that would be needed would just to buy an extra pan or two. The same goes with spoons and forks which are always in short supply because no one thought of buying any new ones. And as far as cleaning goes, I am used to not wait on the maid to get a spill taken care of, I take a sponge or a mop and wipe it off, but there are none of these to be found there, they just cut half a handkerchief sized piece of old cloth for the maid to use, and no one else touches it because it’s making cleaning any spill time consuming and more messy. I provide my maid with high standard cleaning products and gear so she has the tools to be efficient, and so that I can do it myself when needed.
What more with kitchen work MIL always complained that I don’t do much when I am there, but because of the lack of cutting knives around, and cooking gear, it’s pretty much designed so only one person can work in there at a time, so I just don’t see where the complain is really.
All in all, DH and I were both happy to be back home yesterday, we both enjoyed beer, a nice shower and preparing chicken without running around finding the tools to do it efficiently. Ishita was happy to find her Danone vanilla yogurt and fruits and ate more in the evening of Sunday than she ate the whole week combined!
For her the highlight of the trip was the airplane ride, she couldn't get enough of it, I don’t even think she was that exited about cakes and gifts as running in the airports in both Mumbai and Lucknow saying airplane over and over again jumping with excitement at their sight.