24 December 2004

The world's biggest earthquake this year...

Well, our little country here has been blessed with this distinction. Early this morning (dec 24), we had a little X-mas present from Mother Nature.

An earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, off the coast of the South Island. The only one this year to go above 8, apparently. Lucky we were that it happened 800 km below the surface, otherwise the results would have been disastrous, even in quake-ready NZ.

Here, in the shaky isles, we are used to quakes. Small and big ones. But the first one I felt reallly put the shakes into me. It happened 3 months after I landed here.

Now, I am used to the fact that quakes happen here all the time. But even then, when I feel the bed trembling and the crockery rattling around in the cupboards, I still go a bit pale. And we all of us run for the doorway or under the table..... have to teach Nandita this one, she's still too young to know.

Statistically, we are ripe for a really big one to hit one of the country's cities. Any time now. But hey, what place is safe? We've had one in even Singara Chennai. Take heart my friend, it't not yet pralayam.

Hayfever horrors!

I was a perfectly ordinary and healthy person in India. Well, average at least. But I was good for my first 3 years in Aotearoa. Then some long-forgotten genes started showing up. That and living in NZ make a deadly combo. Called allergic rhinitis (Commonly called hayfever).

Horror of horrors!! It has me in its grip thoughout the year. Not just in spring when the pollen is doing its rounds. It's not just hayfever. It's anything fever. Folding clothes, cooking, eating, walking, going into another room at home _ anything can set it off!

I sneeze, and sneeze and ......... My eyes start itching, my nose starting watering. I start wheezing. Quickly pop a pill in. It is supposed to have instant effect!! Ha. Whatever. I try my nasal spray, still no effect. The wheezing becomes bad and I reach for the inhaler.

Nothing works. My whole day is ruined. So y'day, I popped the second pill, against my doc's wishes. Still it was night time by the time I was ok.

I had taken off work on Wednesday and Thursday to take the kids out. On Wednesday, my hayfever wasn't too bad. We went shopping and then we went to Avalon park to feed the duckies and play. Had a picnic there. Not bad at all.

But Thursday was disaster. Went out for a walk with Lalitha. Her kids and Nandana went cycling. Nandita walked with me. I got it bad then. Got back home and after lunch, much against my better judgement, went to Queensgate shopping mall to pick some clothes for Nandana. That too by bus, as I had promised to Nandita (and anyways, this time of the year, parking is a pain in Queensgate) God, it was AWFUL!! I couldn't even enjoy my icecream!! Miserable. I spent more time trying to breathe fully and not to rub my eyes too hard (with my eyes being what they are!!) than I did shopping. Finally, I did pop pill # 2 after I got back home. But by the time the effect kicked in, it was night. I had a very good night's sleep. And I know I will be ok the next couple of days. Till the next attack.

Gosh, this is one of the things I HATE about NZ. But gotta live with it. After all, it's only here that you can take your kids with you to work during school hols (Nandana is with Shiv, at his work now). And all said and done, I love this place.

Jingle bells and all that jazz

Well, we are shutting down here for the season. NZ Inc will wake from slumber only on Jan 5.

It is nice and wonderful, and makes up for not having a holiday for Deepavali, Vinayaka Chaturti etc.

Even nicer, tucked into my bag is a cheque for my X-mas bonus. Hurrah! And again at work, Mark's just been in with a huge crate of beer cans. We've already had a couple of wine bottles in. Not to mention the cookies and cake and lollies and what not that all the other chocolates and cakes. If I fancied a drink, no place like work. But being a well-brought-up gal (ha ha), I refuse to be tempted by all this.

What does tempt me is the fact that I have no work till Jan 4 (spl shift at the DomPost, being a newspaper they will have to work through the holiday).

So no more rush to leave Nandita at the caregiver's. No more rushing Nandana to this auntie or that auntie's house till the hols are over. I can nap afternoons when I am at home. And not have to get up early daily (not that I do now, it's never earlier than 7 am)

We don't have any major projects lined up for the hols though. As we moved into this house hardly a month ago, we still have to sort out all the extra stuff in the garage. And move some more stuff into the garage.

And set up one more room, as my Periamma and Perriappa are going to be visitng us for a month, in the third week of Jan.

We might go picnicking for a day trip, maybe to the Staglands. Or to the Te Papa museum, where they have a good exhibition on space. Or someone where else, or just catch up with friends.

But by the time we know it, it will be back to the grind.

But till then, all you wonderful people out there have a great X-mas and New Year!!

21 December 2004

Weekend away at Lake Ferry

I have just gotten back from a weekend away. We (the family) went away for the weekend, along with two other families (Lalitha's and Hema's) to Lake Ferry which is a two-hour drive from the Hutt. It was brilliant, or would have been, had the weather not played spoilsport.

The kids' schools closed for summer on Dec 16. And so we had planned this trip about a couple of months ago. Have to, since all the acco gets rented out otherwise.

Onoke Place view, the place we rented was fab and expensive. Out of the world views of the lake and the seas and the place was so comfy and well-furnished. Pleasure to rough it out in a house like this:-) We reached Fri nite and all of us had dinner at our place.

But as I earlier said, the weather was typical Wellington _windy, wild and wet. All night the chilly southerlies tore across the lake and bang into the houses and cliffs on the other side. A constant banshee wailing through the night. Have to admit I didn't sleep too well.

But that was the only noise. All the usual noises were missing. the main one being `ring...ring'. The place had no telephone (as did the other houses our friends were staying in). It was unnerving, but blissfully so. Till you don't get rid of it, you don't realise what a noise that is and how much it gets into your head. (Of course, I must tell you here that I did have two mobiles, of which only one worked, just in case, u know, to stay in touch with the world....)

We did manage to get out and see the seal colony (they were sooo cute and posed very well for us) and also upto Cape Palliser to see the light house up in the cliffs. But that was it _ the weather cooperated only till Saturday afternoon.

For the rest of the day on Saturday, we all went to my place to watch a bad Tamil movie (the kids got bored to bits) _ Attagasam. And even the die-hard Ajit fan that I am, I had a tough time sitting though the full movie.

Then, off to Hema's place at Whangaimoana for Sat dinner. Her place was really in rural NZ, beautiful, with greenery for miles around us. And hardly a handful of other houses around.

Sunday lunch at Lalitha's place, which was just a few houses away from us, and we left Sunday, later in the afternoon.

Still, I've already started planning for the next trip there, hopefully, when the weather is a little better. But that's not really our fault. It's officially summer now and it shouldn't have been so cold and windy. Blame it all on El Nino!

PS: In response to Hari's very appropriate comment, here is a link to the place. The best I could do, I am afraid. http://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/properties/3192.asp
This is the place where we stayed _ and the views here are the views from the property!

13 December 2004

Saturday Night Fever

It is this West End musical, and has been running to packed houses here. And to rave reviews too!!!
Y'day being Nandana's (my older daughter, for the uninformed) birthday, and Shiva having been able to get free tkts to the show (that was some luck, each seat cost $135), we did go along.

And it was brilliant, and not just because of the lighting. It was like being in a disco and very pleasant, coz you didn't have to dance or sing or DJ and make a fool of yourself! You only had to sit back and watch.

It was a musical based faithfully on the original 1970s movie. The lead dancer even looked like Travolta.

But what a show they all put on. Not only did they all dance, but they sang as well, even while dancing. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I can barely breathe properly (blame some of that on my asthma) when I even walk fast or uphill (which I have to quite often, with Wgn roads being what they are), leave along sing. But here were these superbly trained dancers, singing and dancing. To be sure, most of the songs only had a faint resemblance to the original Bee Gees hits. But still, they all had good singing voices. And the wonderful dancing made up for the really weak storyline.

And the props were good too. Not hard to tell that I enjoyed the show. A lot. As did we all. Even 26-month-old Nandita, once she got over her initial fear of the sound system, which was far too loud.

This writer's block

Before I actually go onto this blog, I must and I want to thank all the wonderful people who took the time to visit my blog and more inportantly, put in such flattering (and hopefully true) comments. Really and truly appreciate the feedback. My blog is basic and so are my thoughts, but it is all true! Also, I would like to thank those that did visit the site and go through it, but could not/would not leave comments.

And yes, I would love to visit all your sites (some I have already been to). Will do so a.s.a.p.

Now, coming down to the matter of this blog, let me confess here, I am hoping that blogging will remove my writer's block and let me write freely again, so I can do the articles for DomPost based on my recent visit to India. I have been 'trying' to write ever since I got back in Oct '04. I haven't even managed a squiggle, leave alone an article, upto now.

Seeing all the rubbish that is sometimes dished out here as Indian (both cultural and edible), I want to try to at least be genuine in what I write. So people can get the true pic at least once in a while. Mera Bharat Mahaan (sometimes)!

8 December 2004

A quick thank you note

To you, Shyamala-----! (I haven't spelt that out coz I know how much you love that name)

I owe u a big thanks for all things technical that you have switched me on to, like email, chat, blogs etc.......

Hooray, I am off work Thurs and Fri....
and Saturday and Sunday!!!

Busy, with Nandana's b'day parties, plus we are going for a show of Saturday Night Fever on oops, Sunday. But am sure it will be enjoyable!

There's too many things....

that I want to blog about:

Silly season
Office X-mas party
The last movie I saw
The Civil Union Bill that is going to be passed here in NZ
The wonderful ways of baby Nandita
Our new house
etc etc,
but they must all wait for
I have no net connection at home now.
Plus, I get the time to blog only when I am on night shift at the DomPost, which I won't be for the next two weeks.
And most importantly, it is now 11.10 pm here and my bus is at 11.30 (I am at work now), so gotta rush...

Still, I will persevere, now that I've found how to go about it.

Till then, adieu.

I just never quit!

Yes, I am rather patting myself on the back. And why not? After all the trouble I've had with this blasted blog, I am still back again to blog more. Someone ought to give me a medal for it. Alternatively, after going through my future postings, someone may well send me a howler (Harry Potter fans, such as myself) should know what that means!

Ok, gotta go now, the first edition of the newspaper is with me. And I have to give it a quick look before bloggin any further. Guys n gals, stay with me.

6 December 2004

Here I go again!

Well, at least no one can accuse me of not trying. It's a good way to keep others in touch with what your thoughts, at least. More later. This is basically just a trial run!!