The kolam-maami…


…. is a title am all set to earn very soon:-) Here is the one I did for another SIL’s house-warming..

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Passport to a healthy pregnancy..


…is to first not treat it like a sickness.. I think, its mostly the mind.

Both my children are products of what I’d like to call – a participative pregnancy.. I enjoyed every moment of it, except for the loss of my dad just 3 months before Vyas was due and I missed him all the more during the first few weeks of my son’s birth:( Though the loss is something that can never be compensated, I must say that the hubby, my sis, her hubby, all my in-laws, my cousin sis, were all very very supportive… Few things that together served as a passport to my healthy pregnancies are:

1. The Doctor

I went to a very very wonderful doctor.. She never did an internal examination though she kept preparing me for one during the last term if needed… She always made me feel very comfortable.. She remembered that I had complained about the pain long after the episiotomy because it was close to the rectum and took care to keep the cut away during the the second baby. She taught me simple exercises that I followed during and post pregnancies.. She emphasized on breathing exercises and explained how the techniques will help during the labour.. And it did..

2. Self-care

I continued with my usual work routine at home and office.. I took care not to fall sick by staying away from unhealthy food like fizz drinks, too much coffee/tea, less oil, salt & sugar, many small meals that included lots of fluids (buttermilk, juice, tender coconut, soup etc), salads, fruits, dry fruits & nuts etc.. I used to wear kurtis with pockets stuffed with badam, raisins, figs.. The draw at the work bay was always stocked with these snacks including dates, gooseberries etc.. I don’t know how one is supposed to eat for ‘two’ people.. I never did. I ate only for myself and never over-ate. Oh, but you must not count the lunch- outings with my friends to Pizza Hut or to that dhaba that served yummy paranthas, or the likes of Saravana Bhavan for the fluffy aapam or puttu or a lip-smacking Adai-Avial combo:)

I walked for 40 minutes every night and was never in a hurry.. Did regular breathing exercises, and was conscious about the postures..

Went for periodic check-ups and the doctor was always available on phone..

3. Letting others participate:

Kolla patti, sugandha maami, and random aunties from the in-laws side, insisted on making goodies for me.. I happily let them do/bring and I loved all the attention (albeit for a short term of 9 months;)).. My sis used to indulge me with my favourite food and I never refused.. She and duddu (he was just a few months old then) came over to stay and ‘take care’ of me for a few days- it was more of a mutual- moral comforting arrangement in lieu of our dad’s passing away.. When i reached home from work, she would have cooked up a yummy dinner and would have whipped up a delicious dates milk-shake for me:) Duddu and the tiny baby(Vyas) inside my tummy were reasons enough for us to smile and stay happy through-out.

I used to be awake all through the night and don’t remember when i slept.. Getting bored of staring at the ceiling, and tired of my effort at warding off the snoring sounds from, well, the hubby, I thought i was wasting my time.. So i got out of bed one morning at 3.30 AM, had a quick shower and started cooking.. In 15-20 mins, my FIL came of his room panicking that something was wrong with me…:) he asked to stop everything and get back to bed:) MIL planned all her activities to sync with my routine.. When I was pregnant with Varun, she never went out of town anywhere:)

My friends at work are awesome! A very positive-thinking gang.. A couple of them used to bring ‘special’ food for me.. but that’s about it! No special excuses for not joining them on an outing, outside lunch etc.. They walked with me post lunch if i wanted to and have always been a great company:) My best friends (I miss them even now!)from school, were always in touch over phone as they had relocated to other states/country..

During both the deliveries, the MIL, Sis, SILs, and my cousin sis, took turns staying with me at the hospital.. FIL insisted on making the first visit in the morning with fresh filter-kaapi.. Somehow, the coffee tasted extra nice those days:) All took turns fussing over me, rocking the baby to sleep etc(it was not required though– just an excuse to hold and cuddle the baby:)). When Varun was born, FIL made one more trip in the evening along with Vyas..

4. Awareness, preparation, safe delivery

The doctor, internet, books (Pregnancy and child birth by Miriam Stoppard. Dr.Geetha Arjun’s book was not out yet!) helped me through the pregnancies besides of course all the wonderful people around me..

For both the deliveries, I was aware of the stage of labour i was in- though the first time it was more of a guess.. Though I had contractions and a lot of pressure on the bladder, I was not sure. Because it was not ‘painful’ as seen in the movies:) So when the contractions were 10-15 mins apart, I woke up the hubby and MIL and asked them to get ready stating that I probably was having a false-pain:) We reached the hospital 40 mins later and the duty doc smiled and said: My dear, you ARE in labour and wasted no time calling my doc. And there, Vyas was out in 2 hrs.. With Varun, I called my doc- at midnight- to tell her that I was in labour and was heading to the hospital:) She asked for a few details to probably time my delivery and arrived in time to deliver Varun, who I was sure was going to be Vibha🙂

In short, I took things easy and went with the flow.. Sometimes I went early to work, some days I went late. I settled for a power nap of 20 minutes during work days- post lunch- and NO ONE at work guilt-tripped me or made fun or passed rude comments… In fact, they have been wonderful. I mostly did my usual chores and let the MIL/hubby to take over on the days when I didn’t feel like it.. I never worried. Not a bit! How would I be a mother to two lovable brats otherwise?!!:)

A Padi-kolam


Here is a padi-kolam (a rangoli) that i did for my SIL’s house-warming function..

The four bent sides as seen in the pic below forms the basis of what is called the ‘iyengar’ padi-kolam- basically a rangoli that has no dots..

I love these variety of rangolis for two reasons- (i) it lets your imagination take the lead and you can extrapolate the design in any which way you want..(ii) the dots i make on the floor always end up like the world map and are never aligned the way it is intended to be! In most South Indian-brahm homes, you’ll find the dot-less rangolis during festivals or functions like weddings, house-warming etc.. They look best when done with wet rice flour (soaked and ground to a very thin consistency). The one you see here is with dry kolam-maavu made from washed and dried rice. They look nice with colors too..