Thursday, June 12, 2014

Father's Day


This post is coming your way a couple of days early to get it out before the Father's Day.

The first Father's day celebration was sponsored on June 19, 1910.

Today I honor my father by mentioning the two phrases he always used, If you made the bed, you sleep in it and You can take a horse to water, can't make him drink it. The simple translation is, follow up your decisions and no one can make you do something you don't want to do.

Of course, I can always find excuses for not following them!

Happy Father's Day!


Father's Day

The eight-year-old twins, Suchi and Soori were talking while working on their art in the den.

Suchi said, "Bhaiya and Didi turned last weekend into a mother's day!"

Soori said, "No--- they cooked a special meal for us and made it into a twin's day!"

Suchi replied, "Yeah, a twins' day!"

Sapna chimed in, "Suchi-Soori, how about we do something for the Father's Day?"

Sagar joined in the conversation, "That's right, we can do something special."

The twins screamed, "Yeah, let's celebrate the Father's Day."

Sagar said, "Before that, I am going to tell you a story about the Father's Day."

The twins frowned, "Are you going to give us another one of your history lessons?"

Sapna said, "Shhh..listening ears, girls."

The twins pretended to zip their mouth and sat quietly with their hands in lap.

Sagar went on, "Sonora Smart Dodd, an Arkansas woman, thought of honoring her father, William Smart, a farmer, after she heard a sermon honoring the mothers."

Sapna said, "Then?"

Sagar smiled, "Suchi-Soori,  it is an interesting story. Well, William Smart's wife died in her sixth childbirth."

Suchi said, "Thank God, we are only five."

Sorri added, "I don't want anything happening to Mom."

Sapna said, "Kiddos, Bhaiya is talking about Sonora' mom, not our mom."

Sagar patted the twins heads, "Now listen. Sonora saw her father raise six children all by himself."

Suchi asked, "Didn't she help?"

Sagar said, "Yes, like your Didi, she was a wise girl." He smiled at Sapna, "Since Sonora was the only daughter, she helped her dad to raise her brothers."

Soori said, "Good for her."

"She felt her dad was special and should be recognised."

"Hooray for dads."

Sagar continued, "Anyway, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation recognizing the third Sunday of each June as Father's Day. Then in 1972, President Nixon signed the bill into law."

Sapna wondered, " "And when was it proposed?"


"Two questions: Why did it take so long? Did Sonora Dodd ever see her dream come true?"

Sagar smiled, "Two answers. The proposal faded after 1910, until she sought help from several menswear manufacturers to promote the idea. Congress thought it was too commercial. But ultimately she did see her dream come to life because she lived till 1978."

"It's good that she didn't give it up." "

Soori asked, "So how do we honor our Dad?"

Suchi said, "We can  mow the lawn."

Sapna said, "Bhaiya does that anyway. Nothing special there."

Sagar said, "Let's think of something, however little, that we can do throughout the year!"

Suchi said, "Let's ask Mom."

Soori said, "Good idea, let's ask her."

The twins rushed to Mom's room while the two older siblings made a list of things they could do to honor dad.

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mom is Sick, Let's Make Soup


Today's post is about the culinary skills of two older children, Sagar and Sapna who take care of the lunch for the siblings and hopefully the dinner too, in Mom and Dad's absence from the kitchen.


Mom is Sick, Let's Make Soup

Sapna asked her sixteen-year-old brother, "Bhaiya, do you really want to try your hand in the kitchen?"

Sagar scratched his head, "Not really, but Dad is gone for the weekend and Mom is not feeling too great."

"What's wrong with her?"

"We better keep the twins out of her room, she has a fever, it's at 103 degrees."

"Shouldn't we call a doctor?"

"It's a weekend and she emphatically said not to call a doc. She asked for a couple of fever reducing tablets and told me to give her two every four hours."

With a tearful voice Sapna said, "I wish Dad was here."

"Me too. I talked with him on the phone and he said he's cutting his trip short and will be here later tonight."

Eight-year-old twins, Suchi and Soori came to the den. "Where's Mom? We are hungry."

Sapna said, "Mom's sick, so Bhaiya and I are in charge. We're going to eat tomato-soup and a cheese-veggie-sandwich for lunch."

The twins' faces fell, "Will it take long?"

Sagar said, "Not too long. Do something until the both hands on the clock are on twelve."

Sapna added, "That will be twelve noon and your lunch will be ready."

"Promise?" The twins asked.

"Yes, that's a promiset."

"Didi, we know how to tell time." Suchi said.

Soori added, "That's right. The minute and the hour hands are on twelve, so it's twelve in the afternoon. It can twelve at night also, but it's daytime just now."

Sapna gave a pat to her sisters, "Okay, okay, I'm glad you can tell time. Now if you want lunch, come later. Go..."

The twins made a face at their sister and left.

"Sapna, can you handle the sandwiches? Peel the cucumbers, slice the tomatoes and defrost the mint chutney from the freezer, and then get the loaf of bread and cheese-slices out."

Sapna tied an apron around her waist, "Yes, sir, you're the boss."

"And I am going to look for Mom's tomato soup recipe." He shuffled through the recipe index  cards. "Here it is. Let's see what it says."

Sapna came over to take a look, "Bhaiya, I can read the recipe, you get the things."

"Thanks, sounds great."

Sapna read the following recipe.

"Tomato soup

4 roma tomato--take seeds out
1/2 big onion-cut in strips
1/2 red bell pepper

3 garlic cloves
3-4 fresh thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
grilled at 400C

Remove thyme twigs, pury in a blender
and make a vegetable stock."

Sapna interrupted her reading, "Hey, I know Mom keeps the vegetable stock frozen in different sized containers, she labels everything that goes in the freezer with the date of preparation." She peeked into the freezer and took out one of the containers of the stock.

"Thanks Sis, that saves us time, the twins are going to barge in at any moment." He started the chopping and cooking of vegetables.

Sapna said, "No problem, they can set the table for lunch."

Sagar said, "Sapna, please let's see what went in the veggie stock."

"Here it is."

Sapna read it.

"Vegetable stock:

2 C water + one small potato + 1/2 onion + 2 garlic cloves + 1 bay leaf + ginger + 3 cloves

Boil simmer for 15 minutes

Strain the vegetable stock and add to the soup-tomatoes."

Sagar looked at his watch, "I'm glad Mom keeps the stock ready. It's already 12:15 PM, where are the twins?"

Sapna peered into the freezer again, "Did you know Bhaiya that she also keeps containers of frozen daals (beans)? Let's see, she also has..."

The twins sauntered in, "We are ready for lunch."

Sapna closed the freezer and said, "You'll get the lunch as soon as you set the table for soup and sandwiches."

"What do we need? A plate? A fork and ..."

Sagar said, "Kiddos, your call, you know what we are eating." He whispered to Sapna, "I am going to check on Mom, be back in two minutes."

The twins set bowls, forks, plates and napkins, they consulted with each other and asked, "Can we have croutons too?"

Sapna served the soup in bowls, "Sure. Girls, how are you going to eat the soup with a fork?"

Suchi and Soori placed the soup spoons by the bowls, "Can we pour the croutons by ourselves?"

"Sure, go for it. Remember, you spill, you clean."

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

Monday, June 2, 2014

Keep Your Limits


Whenever a person stumbles in life, he/she looks for the reasons why it happened, whom to blame, makes excuses, keeps thinking about it and kicks self or just forget about it, saying that it  happens.

Frequently I come across quotes that make me say, hmmm, that makes sense. I must remember that. I am afraid, it lasts a couple of days and then I see something else and say, oh, I knew that, I read it before.

Here is a little conversation between two siblings about what the younger one wants to do and why.


Keep Your Limits

Sagar called Sapna to help him move a dresser so he could reach for the things like coins, pens, pencils and such that dropped behind it. Sapna did not come, she did not even give an answer. 

Sagar called again. No response. He took off his gloves, which he thought gave him a great edge in lifting weights at the age of seventeen. Of course, he gave up lifting weights in favor of Karate but did not part with the gloves. 

Sagar went to Sapna's room. 

She slumped at her desk. Her teary face and a bunch of tissues in the waste basket told a story that Sagar wanted to investigate. 

"Sis, what's up? How about helping me push my dresser a few inches to get my stuff out."

Sapna pouted, "I don't want to leave my room. Go away."

"Okay, I'll leave, after you tell me why you are so upset."

Sapna sulked and played with some tissue.

"Come on, sis, I am your friend." Sagar moved some tissue aside and sat on her desk.

"Mom says I can not take gymnastics, modeling and art."

Sagar frowned, "Oh, you want to drop your soccer?"

'Nooooo, I want to play soccer and take these classes too. All my friends are doing it."

"Hmm, that is tough. They all sound interesting. Let's see if we can sort it out."

Sapna looked up, "What's there to sort out? I want to take these and Mom says no, keep only two."

Sagar went hmmm again and said, "Well, you are going in the ninth grade after summer. That's high school, you'll be getting tons of homework."


"Let's see a day has 24 hours. About ten go to sleep, two for eating, eight in school and that leaves four hours for soccer, gymnastics, modeling and art And your schoolwork."

"I don't need ten hours of sleep and I don't have all the classes everyday."

Sagar nodded, "True. Sapna, from what I know of high school, we do get tons of reading and lots of homework," He made a face, "And all that takes time. Maybe you'll have to rethink your choices."

Sagar jumped off the desk, "I'm going to let you think about it and move my dresser later."

Before Sagar stepped out of her room, Sapan said, "Bhaiya, I decided."

Sagar turned to face his sister, "And?"

"Well, I'll just keep soccer for physical exercise and art for relaxation and the school courses. I did so want to do modeling, I could have learnt so much about fashion and stuff."

Sagar smiled, "Fashion and stuff? Anyway, you made good choices. Randy Pausch said, 'Don't over-do, keep your limits.'"

Sapna wrinkled her nose, "Never heard of him, who is Randy Pausch? "

"A writer. He also said, 'No one is in charge of your happiness except you.'"

"He sounds sensible."

"Yes, he also said, 'Smile and laugh more' and ..."

"Have you memorised all his quotes?"

" No, just some. He also said, 'You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.'"

"Huh? That does not make sense."

"Never mind, think about it and listen to this, 'Don't have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.' Forget about fashion and gymnastics."

Sapna shook her head, "Are you for real, Bhaiya? Throwing all these quotes at me! I still like gymnastics and I'll learn about fashion from magazines and stuff."

Sagar said, "Go for it, dear sis." He smiled as he left her room.

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah