Monthly Archives: April 2008

Kanglish, Tanglish, Manglish or good old English!

DH left for the US after settling us down in Bangalore and we mom and daughter began our routine. Little K began fitting in with her peers just fine. She seemed to be adjusting well to her new environment and I was relieved. Two months passed and it was time for me to travel to the US one last time to co-ordinate my international move. DH decided to meet us in Paris and spend a week together in France before we traveled to the US. He greeted us as we got out in Paris. K was excited on seeing her Dad and jumped onto him with all the stories she had for him. But wait a minute, he looked really confused and then looked at me in disbelief. I didn’t get it initially. Then he wanted to know why she spoke grammatically incorrect English! K had totally forgotten her English Grammar and was now speaking what I call Kanglish (the Kannada English). I smiled and told him “What can I do everyone around her talks like that only no?” Well you can imagine his confusion. First of all, he is an advocate of talking Malayalam alone amongst ourselves. I’m the more relaxed parent and let her occasionally slip up. And now, he wanted her to correct her grammar, well how could she. She spoke to me “Amma, tell Achan that I talking correct English only.” There he was, almost rolling on the ground with laughter. Throughout our stay in France, K amused him with her Kanglish/Manglish/Tanglish (Thanks to our Telugu neighbors, she picked up the Telugu version of the language as well.). Poor DH, he could not believe his ears. He kept asking her to correct her English grammar (and adding “Talk to Amma in Malayalam” at the end of each of his lectures). Poor confused kid does not even know what grammar is. Anyway, she stopped using the words only or no at the end of every sentence. I tried to refine my grammar too. I can’t imagine slipping up on a blog for the whole world to read!
We got back to Dallas and little A from next door came to play. Voila, K suddenly started speaking the best English I’ve heard from her in months. But wait a minute, it was not only a change in grammar, she switched her accent back as well. Then I realized a simple truth. The little one switched her accent (and her grammar along with that) in the process of “fitting in” with her friends in Bangalore. Back in the US, she started using her Firangi accent and of course the grammar that came with it. Little kids are versatile and adaptable. They are also quick learners. They can learn Kanglish, Manglish and Tanglish along with Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and all other Indian languages quickly when they move back to India from the US. Can DH complain? I don’t know. I think she’ll eventually get her English grammar back. Until then, I’m going to hope and pray only that she adjusts to the new life. I am right, no?


To Amma and Ammamma, with all my Love

My recent trip home was a short one but it brought back a flood of childhood memories. Ever since my parents settled back in our native place, I’ve probably been on three flying visits home, with never enough time to relax, sit back and enjoy the warm and serene surroundings. This time was different. I didn’t have a packed itinerary and didn’t have to rush from place to place visiting people and places. This is just the way it was when we were kids!

I knew I would miss Amma and all her yummy food, when I left and so I decided to take pictures of her creations. I wanted Amma to make all the tasty food that Ammamma used to make for us as kids. Ammamma didn’t do too much of cooking herself by the time I was old enough to remember but would always make an accompaniment of some kind to make the meal a great success. She was also the supervisor ever present in the kitchen, chopping veggies and constantly improvising recipes. Ammamma is no longer with us but every time I visit Pampady, I remember her and all the love she showered on us as kids. One of the ways in which she pampered us and showed us her affection was through her mouth watering recipes. Some of the dishes that I make at home are recipes that I learned from Amma (over our phone conversations) which she learned from one of my Grandmothers.

One of Ammamma’s recipes, Chadacha Maanga (Pounded Raw Mangoes) was my favorite as a child. Raw mangoes were abundant in Kerala during the summer months and Ammamma would prepare pickles of all kinds with it. We used to collect fresh raw mangoes for Ammamma and Amma to make into delicious Chadacha Maanga(Pounded Raw Mangoes). This is one of the recipes I associate with Amma and Ammamma. This time in Pampady, we spoke a lot about Ammamma and Amma also made the famous Chadacha Maanga for me everyday. It is an easy recipe but the Ammi Kallu(flat grinding stone with a cylindrical stone pestle) is an integral part of the recipe and I have not been able to find a better way of doing it. I tried making Chadacha Maanga with my metallic mortar and pestle here and it comes out alright but it is definitely a lot more effort than with the Ammi.

Here is the recipe:


1) Two fresh raw mangoes, cleaned, deseededand cut into big pieces – Step one was for me was to pluck fresh green mangoes from Amma’s and Daddy’s Mango grove.

2) 7-8 toasted whole dry red chillies – Amma lightly warmed them on a medium flame for a couple of minutes. The chillies should not burn or change color.

3) ½ a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

4) About a teaspoon of Kallu uppu(un iodized salt crystals) or according to taste. Can be substituted with regular table salt.

5) One teaspoon of fresh coconut oil for the Garnish. (Ammamma definitely was liberal with the coconut oil so for her sake I did add more than one teaspoon for the picture!)
 The ingredients:
The Ingredients


Grind the red chillies, cumin seeds and salt on an Ammi Kallu into a semi-coarse paste. The chillies should not be fully ground and should appear as flakes. Now place the Mango pieces face down two at a time on the chilly/jeera paste and pound them to blend in the spices. Don’t grind the mangoes; the pieces should stay as pounded mango pieces. Transfer the Mango pieces onto a serving dish and top it off with coconut oil. It can be eaten as an accompaniment with rice and curries or as it is to quench a spicy mango craving!
The Mangoes on the Ammi:
The Mangoes on the Ammi
A sensational meal – rice with aviyal, drumstick leaves dal, long beans fry(payar upperi), chadacha maanga, pickle and papadam
The sensational Meal

All other recipes in the picture will follow soon 🙂

This recipe is my contribution to JFI for the month of April.


Eiffel in Spring


Eiffel in spring, Eiffel in summer,

Eiffel in the rain, Eiffel at night,

Eiffel in the sun, Eiffel with the fog,

Eiffel in the Morning, Eiffel with the lights,

It’s indeed a beautiful sight!


I’ve seen it all! The Majestic Eiffel in the Rain and Sun, with the glamour of the lights and with the glitz of the light shows that makes the magnificent tower even more beautiful. DH lovingly took us to Europe after painstakingly planning a trip and a beautiful itinerary a couple of years ago. We loved the trip and it was the most memorable of trips we’ve been on. The first time at Paris was alright but I didn’t like the city. I thought of never going back there!

Well here we are three years later and just off the plane from a trip to France. I fell in love with the place on our subsequent visit there and now we went back to just count the number of bolts on the third level of the Eiffel that I forgot to count last time 😉 This is how DH teased me throughout our stay in Paris, every time we visited the Eiffel Tower.


There are times in our lives when first impressions are totally wrong, like my first impression on Paris.  This trip got me thinking. I have perceived things and formed opinions before actually giving something/someone a fighting chance. I wonder how many of those opinions were wrong. To err is after all human but what if a wrong perception has cost a lot? Then a thought crosses my mind, I will never know the worth of all those wrongly perceived entities. I will never know how my life could have been enriched by something that I threw away. I make a mental note to give everything/everyone a chance to prove a case before creating a mental image of what it will be. I packed my bags (and my thoughts) and boarded a long flight back home. On my way over I wonder how Eiffel will look in the snow and make a silent wish to be able to return on a snowy day some day. That will definitely be the icing on the cake!









The Nemmara Vallangi Vela

After Nine years of Marriage, I attended the vela celebrations for the first time on the 2nd of April 2008. K enjoyed with her Achamma and Achachan. She loved all the attention and I enjoyed the free time and put it to good use with my small digi camera! Words cannot describe the magnificence of the Vela pandals. When people spoke of the “Pandal”, I thought of it as a small typical wedding Shamiana. I couldn’t be further from the truth. In actuality the Pandals are huge and beautiful structures made out of wood. Both the Nemmara and the Vallangi Pandals were equally good. (Although Saasu Ma would bet her life on the Nemmara Pandal’s beauty!). The Nellikulankara Bhagavathy temple is splendid as it is but for the vela the temple bore a very festive look. Nellikulankara Bhagavathy always looks beautiful and on Vela day she looked magnificent as well in all her grandeur. Devotees thronged the temple from early in the morning. I didn’t expect these many people there. There was a sea of devotees many of them outsiders who had traveled long distances just to attend the Vela.
The Panchavaadyam was excellent at the vettaikku orumakan temple in the morning. It was even better in the night at the Mannam temple. The eleven elephants were decorated in the traditional vela décor. Bhagavathy’s tidambu on the main elephant was really grand. This is all from the Nemmara end. I’m sure things were equally good at the Vellangi end.
The grand finale to the Vela, was of course the fireworks early next morning. People traveled from places far away including the neighboring states to see the fireworks. The crowds were too large and we women folks could not go into the paddy fields to watch. I felt left out but saw glimpses of it from Veliamma’s terrace. DH has promised to take me to see the fire works of the Vela sometime. It is definitely worth the trouble.
I loved my first time at the Nemmara Vallangi vela and want to return here every year to see the Vela.

Summers with Ammamma

Not so long ago, a Mother boarded the Island Express (now the Kanyakumari Express) with two very naughty little girls. They looked forward to the train ride and to the exciting summer at their Ammamma’s place in Pampady. They spent their time on the train climbing up to the top most berth and down again. The overnight journey was a comfortable one and they got off early next morning and took an auto to Ammamma’s place. They ran into Ammamma’s waiting arms and devoured everything that Ammamma lovingly made for them. Their Ammamma prepared everything they demanded and agreed to each of their whims. Their Amma would complain as to how Ammamma was spoiling the kids! They basked in the attention and didn’t want the summer to end! They spent an entire summer there with their cousins and cried their heart content when it was time to return to Bangalore. Yes, my sister and I loved summer at Ammamma’s. I still remember looking out of the train for a last glimpse of Ammamma’s place as the train chugged past it to see Ammamma waving the white mundu from the top of the steps at the back. Those summers were so special! The five of us spent all our time outside. We would trek to the river and back every other day. We enjoyed bathing in the river and refused to come home. We loved Ammamma’s Appams and Adas, Murukkus and thenga vadas and much more. We loved the mangoes and jack fruits. We loved the papadams and kondaatams that Ammamma lovingly fried for every meal. How I miss Ammamma!

And now, I boarded the same Kanyakumari express with my little one. She did most of the same things we did on the train, behaving like a monkey till I forced her to sleep! We got off at the same station early in the morning and Dad was waiting for us at the station. She ran into his arms and refused to walk to the waiting Auto. And then once home she jumped into her Ammamma’s arms, just like we did years ago. Her Ammamma had filled the store room with goodies for her. She started demanding all her grandparents’ attention and they are relenting to her every whim! I was just about to intervene wanting to ask Amma and Dad not to spoil her when I remembered my beloved Ammamma. I held back. I want K to have the same special summers that we had over and over all through our school years. Let her have all the special attention and affection from her grandparents. Nothing can replace the affection grandparents lavish on grandkids. It is a special bond indeed. Let her create fond memories of her grandparents’ place that will last a lifetime. Let her think back with Nostalgia to her summers with Ammamma and Daddy Muthashan.