20 Oct 2014

The Essence of Diwali Celebration

- 6 comments
Diwali means celebration. Getting up early morning and taking oil bath is the first thing on the Diwali day. Everyone including kids in the home would wear traditional clothes and offer prayer to the Gods with sweets and fruits. After which, the first sound of firecracker, a roll of about several meters is heard at about 6.00 a.m. exploding continuously for a few minutes making sure to wake up everyone else in the neighbouring area. In my hometown, Diwali is a special festival wherein the spirit of liveliness is seen everywhere. Especially in the evening until the night, Diwali seems to be the best part of the day because it is the only festival where you can see the night sky filled with colourful lights and sounds.

Yes, the Diwali is indeed a big celebration in my hometown. Everything, from decorations to Diwali sweets to firecrackers will be ready before Diwali but right now, my Diwali celebration is quite different being a Desiwala. Being away from India means, I have to bring in the mood of celebration in my home here, which otherwise my kids will be missing. Living in a foreign country, I still try to celebrate every festival in my own way and in my comfort zone especially for my little ones. The people like me here will still have Diwali decorations, Diwali sweets and fireworks, but all in a minimal level.

To celebrate Diwali in the confines of our home is subjective. I along with my hubby and kids have plans for our Diwali starting from Diwali Foods to Fireworks.

Diwali Decorations

Just like any birthday party, we try to incorporate a Diwali Party theme where we decorate the home with lights and perfumed candles as a reminder to my kids that Diwali means “festival of light”. Getting Diwali party supplies is quite easy now using online shopping in India. Here, I use to buy items from arts and crafts shops for simple decorations and by doing some DIY crafts. This Diwali, we are making paper lanterns for decorating our Diwali lights.(see the image below for steps on how to make a Diwali Lantern).

diwali latern
How to make a Diwali Latern (with and for kids )

Diwali foods

What is Diwali without sweets? Making sweet is a form of art in Diwali and I love the social activity of how my family, relatives and friends come together, helping each other making sweets. I miss all those moments now and it has become like an adage “on those days….” telling my kids. Although I cannot bring or replicate the actual bond of Diwali celebration in India, I try to bring some of its beauty by making sweet delicacies like Laddu, Somasu, Muruku, Soya urundai and Kara sevu, some of which will be exchanged with just a few of my multicultural neighbours here.

Diwali Shopping

Yes! The best part of any festival is shopping and I love shopping. In India, apart from offline shopping, many online shops including coupon offering websites with the best Diwali bumper sale, which is a real bargain for online shoppers. I am still in awe of what Amazon.in is offering for its 10 day sale.

Diwali Fireworks

Fireworks are the biggest part of the Diwali celebrations. Imagine the only time you can see people from young to old coming out of their home, smiling and enjoying each other company with fun and laughter. A lot of fireworks had been banned in India due to air pollution, child labour and depicting a wastage of money but there are still people lighting one or two crackers just for the sake of Diwali. Here in the UK, not everyone can use firecrackers especially the ones that gives out a loud sound. Luckily we have got a wide backyard and hence brought some sparkles, flower pots, chakra and pencils for the Diwali.

diwali celebration

Trying to maintain of some its essence, our Diwali is still special in whatever country we are in. Do you have some stories to share about your Diwali?

Wish you all a very Happy Diwali!



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18 Oct 2014

Diwali Celebration and Diwali food - Adhirasam Recipe

- 4 comments
The best memories of my Diwali are the ones spent at home, the Ghar Wali Diwali.

Nostalgic Diwali! There are so many nostalgic memories of my Diwali celebration that stays quite close to my heart. Some memories bring smile to my face and some bring tears craving for those wonderful moments again. The reminiscences  of the mood that is created in my home a week before Diwali celebration were beautiful with the smell of sweet savouries rising from the kitchen and the liveliness of the surrounding with family and relatives, coming and going is nostalgic.

Around a month before the Diwali starts, my mom and my granny used to make some important savoury snacks in the kitchen and chatting stories. My siblings and I would discuss the type of fireworks we should buy for the Diwali, enjoying the unique fragrance coming from the kitchen and even indulging in some hot savouries handled by our mom. Apart from homemade fresh and hot laddus and murukkus, we will also be tasting different kind of sweets gifted by our relatives and neighbours. In turn, we had a duty to carry the sweet boxes to gift it to the neighbours next door. Ah! it is such a delight when I look back at those days being treated like a royal guest when we enter our neighbours home with a big bag of full of sweets in our hands.

Diwali, is the only festival in India wherein a numerous amount of sweets is made and shared, a festival expressed through sweet foods. The tradition of making Diwali sweets is to celebrate the killing of Narakasura, a demon by Lord Krishna. They are also celebrated for the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom Ayodhya after killing the Demon King Ravana. To celebrate the victory of good over evil, Hindus make and distribute lots of sweets to family, friends and relatives.

And when I say sweets, it is not one or two but plenty of them. My favourite sweet is the Adirsam (அதிரசம்) and I am assured to eat a lot of them even the last bit that will be saved for me by my mom. How I love to eat them!

This Diwali, I tried my best to make a similar Adhirasam recipe taught to me by my mom for my kids who are unable to enjoy the festive mood of Diwali back home along with other savoury dishes like Laddu, Somasu, Murukku and Kara Sev. For my little ones, it is my duty to bring in at least half of what I enjoyed eating during the Diwali.

Recipe for Adhirasam

diwali foods
Source: Wikipedia
Ingredients
Rice Flour - 1 kg
Jaggery – about 3/4 kg
Cardamom -3 to 4 (remove the pods)
Oil for deep frying

Method of Preparation
  • In a saucepan, boil the jaggery in water until all the jaggery is dissolved in the water.
  • Place the rice flour in a large plate or pan and spread it evenly.
  • Slowly pour the hot jaggery into the rice flour and as you pour, mix the contents with a large spoon or ladle to make a dough little by little. 
  • After making a dough, cover it with a lid and keep it aside for about a day or so at the room temperature. In between, you can knead it now and then.
  • After a day, take and knead the dough again to make small balls out of it.
  • Using a chappathi roll, slightly roll the dough into a circular shape just like you do for rolling chappathi and deep fry in oil until cooked light brown on both sides. 
  • Remove the adhirasam after filtering the excess oil by pressing it in between two slotted ladles or between the ladle and the pan. 
  • Finally, place it in a clean white cloth or paper towel to absorb the rest of the oil from the adhirasam. 
  • Store in an airtight container and eat wherever you want but within two to three weeks ( if it remains ;) ).

Time has changed a lot now and making the sweet dishes all by myself is a cumbersome job mainly because most of the time, it is just me and the kitchen. That is the lifestyle of living in a foreign land. The below video #GharWaliDiwali by Pepsi and Kurkure can be related to many Desi women staying far from home, a very emotional one to watch. How I wished to have wings! Yes, I do miss the real spirit of Diwali celebration back in India. Do you miss your Diwali celebration too?


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15 Oct 2014

The Five Days of my Early Bird Challenge

- 5 comments
The early bird catches the worm and the night owls are ...
                                                                                             best at dusk.
Before you start reading the post, let me mention that I am not an early morning person. I love cuddling under my bed sheets until 6.45 probably because at this time, I had to get up to make my kids ready for school. And if it is the weekend, I will be enjoying my sleep till 8.00 a.m. Wait! Don’t come to a conclusion that I am a lazy person. I often go to bed at an odd hour of 2.00 a.m. every day and sometimes it is even 3.00 a.m. Yes, I am a night owl staying up all night writing or working on something like blogging, projects or editing photos and videos. It is like that my mind is fresh, focused and creative at this hour, free from other distractions which in turn makes me productive.

But, this habit of sleeping late night makes my mornings always awkward, switching off the snooze button on my mobile every 10 mins till I wake up in the brim of the time rushing from the bath,  to the kitchen and then to school. I get worn off completely in the morning.

When I found Free Office Finder was challenging bloggers about the benefits of waking up early, I voluntarily took up the challenge to motivate myself to wake up a bit earlier every day, not just on important occasions or for schools. Maybe I will get into a habit of getting up early and what I needed was a push which was given #EarlybirdChallenge and @officefinders. And through this campaign, I intended to balance and achieve goodness of both the times.

DAY 1

The alarm on my mobile went on at 5.30 a.m. and then at 5.40 a.m. I woke up with a jump , pulling myself up to work on my challenge and planned to go out for a morning walk at 6.00 a.m. to feel what fresh and early morning was. Unfortunately, it was drizzling outside. But, having woken up, I was determined to go out. So, I put my coat on and went out with an umbrella. The weather outside seemed moist and cool. And I was strolling alone on the pathway through the darkness with a camera in my hand. Though the wetness made it difficult to capture some images, I still managed to click a couple of them. It was a funny experience as I was checking if someone might me watching me. It was a bit dark and with winds gusting every now and then, I was reluctant to go far. Hence, I returned back home in just few minutes feeling fresh and made some tea. I also started preparing breakfast after sipping some hot tea with biscuits.

early morning

DAY 2

The alarm rang at sharp 5.30 and I woke up still laying in bed until it was 5.45 a.m. This time worked for me the best and hence I decided to choose this specific time “6 o’clock” for my early morning walk since I don’t want to walk alone too early in the dark and the cold weather outside. I found that walking in the morning is very refreshing and hence decided to continue it every day. This time again, the weather outside was drizzling along with the wind. After all, it is autumn and I can see withered leaves flying everywhere. But, I continued my walk going a bit further. I clicked some images and even thought how wonderful it would be if it was summer since I could have clicked some splendid sunrise at this hour. I liked the fresh cold air of the morning. I returned back again to put some tea along with an egg and some chocolate bread.
early morning breakfast
DAY 3

Same time and same walk, but this time my daughter Cherry joined me. Luckily, the weather outside was welcoming and was not like the days before, drizzling and windy. As we walked, we talked about the nature, birds chirping and about the goodness of walking. She said she liked the morning walk as it was interesting for her to watch how the sky unveils itself from dark to light grey to blue. She even requested me to let her join in my early morning walk every day and it was a welcoming gesture. We returned home and I made us some Indian breakfast. My son soon joined us and we read a Tintin story called as "The Red Sea Sharks" together until it was time to get ready for school. 

early morning

DAY 4

It looks like that my biological clock has been tuned to waking at early morning. I just woke up somewhere between 5.40 - 5.50 before my alarm could turn on and started doing my regular (if I could say so ;)) morning walk. After a quick walk, followed the usual morning tea and reading some online news on my tab. Reading the newspaper with my morning tea was a habit I had long ago, which now had been shifted later after doing my morning chores. But, now I bounced back to this old habit of mine and I liked it. Also, I realized I was leisurely doing my morning works and making my kids ready for school. I also made some hot and spicy chicken fajita for our breakfast. 
early morning breakfast
DAY 5

Interestingly, I tried to keep up the time and the pure motivation that drove me was finishing the campaign flawlessly as well as helping myself achieve some good results as a part of waking up early. How humans are! I always feel every result is the outcome of the push or drive that makes me to do something.

Today, I tried to click some images a little far from my home silently exploring the dawn of the day. Both my kids joined me in my morning walk today which I felt wonderful. After my morning tea and reading the online news, I did my usual chores of cooking and getting the kids ready for school. And I had to mention that bright smile on my hubby‘s face during the whole process. With more time left, I even compiled this blog post in the morning time. 

early morning

Honestly, waking up morning seemed distant at the start and the ones that I did were during my exam days or functions and while travelling. This time it was simply every day and it was not that impossible to do when tried. All I need is to poke and make believe my brain to get up for a positive outcome and to give a try. The benefits of waking early morning as I found was calm mind without rushing my day’s chores, a morning walk that I found refreshing, tension free start of the day and how this habit encouraged my children to wake up early as well. Everything worked seamlessly.

As I typing now, I can clearly recall the statement that a habit is said to be born when practiced continuously for 21 days. Hopefully, I will try to make my early morning walk a habit. And I truly hope, that you could also give a try to wake up early continuously for a week and explore its benefits in your own way. Also, do make sure you share your experiences in the below comment.



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9 Oct 2014

Addition and Subtraction Strategies - Part 2

- 3 comments
In our previous post. we saw three methods under addition and subtraction strategies namely using pictures and counters, using the number line method and the 100 square grid method. Today, we will be seeing the other two methods namely the number bonds and the column method that is being used for solving maths sums in key stage 1.

Method 4: The Number Bonds

The use of number bonds makes it easy for children to solve simple addition and subtraction quickly. It is an important mental strategy that is being introduced in key stage 1 and also continued later in a child's education. So, what are these number bonds? Number bonds are nothing but simple and basic pairing of numbers which is made familiar to the children by continuous practice. It helps children in doing quick mental addition.

For example,  3 + 2 = 5
In schools, number bonds up to 10 are practiced in Year 1 followed by number bonds up to 20. Download Number bonds worksheet to practice
number bonds
Download Worksheet

Method 5: The Column Method


Column Method addition and subtraction are a conventional way of adding and subtracting that uses place values, which is by adding or subtracting 'units' digits together, 'tens' digits together and 'hundred' digits together. It can extends up to any number of digits but in key stage 1, the column method is used only for adding or subtracting two digit numbers which has tens and units.

Example:
From the above, we can see the numbers in a tabular form under units and tens. By column addition, we add the units digits together (1+5) and the tens digits together (5+4) to get our final answer (96). This method is often taught after learning about the other methods like using counters, tally method, number lines, grid method and number bonds.  Children are usually asked to use any of the methods that they learnt but number bonds method are the most preferred to solve column method.

Download Column Method addition and subtraction worksheets
column addition worksheets
Download Worksheet

column subtraction worksheets
Download Worksheet


Hope the above methods gives you a fair idea of is taught in school. If you have any more methods to share, do drop a comment or mail me so that I know. Also, read Addition and Subtraction Strategies - Part 1.

Do you think Maths is not for you (or) say you can't handle Maths? Then, just spare a few minutes of your time on this link "What is Vedic Maths?". It will sure be informative :)

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4 Oct 2014

A Trip to Remember in the Land of Dreams #NoFilter Switzerland

- 4 comments
London City Airport is running a campaign called #NoFilter Switzerland asking travellers and bloggers to share some of their favourite unedited photographs of Geneva and Switzerland to send messages across what the true essence of images should be without adding any filters. Being one of the participant in this campaign, here I share some of my unedited images that are taken with a Canon PowerShot SX210 IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera.

Switzerland - the land of dreams

Switzerland is a land of dreams and visiting this place in our recent bus tour to Europe was a dream come true. We entered Switzerland, and upon arrival is our visit to Lucerne, where we saw the Swiss Lion Monument and travelling towards the city is the main tourist attraction - a pair of historic bridges namely the Chapel Bridge and the Spreuer Bridge.

chapel bridge lucerne
Chapel Bridge Lucerne - copyrighted to www.momscribe.com
Out of the two bridges, the Chapel Bridge (called as Kapellbrücke) was so magnificent in its looks especially because of the way it is constructed with its triangular paintings, beautiful hanging flowers and the octagonal Water Tower at its end. I loved capturing the full length of the bridge along with the water tank and the lake surrounding it along with buildings since the whole sight is what gave me an impression of best combination of what Chapel Bridge exactly looked like even after if I see this image after few years.

This chapel bridge lays on the River Ruess and is said to connect the old town and the new town of the Lucerne city.

pedal boats
Pedal Boats on Lake Lucerne- copyrighted to www.momscribe.com
Lucerne has  beautiful buildings, and a lake that hosts Pedal Boats that are ready to takes us for a short trip across the city. In a weather that is cool and calm, the sight of the neatly arranged pedal boats in blue is worth a click. The neutral color of the weather and the buildings gives a lift for the bright blue boat in the images.

Following our trip was the visit to the Mount Titlus travelling in the world's first revolving cable car and then to the snow covered ice flyer and glacier where our view was blinded by white fog. Next, was our visit to the Europe's largest subterranean water falls, the Trummelbach falls also known as the valley of 72 waterfalls.

Our bus journey continued to Geneva, Switzerland's French town where we covered some important places in the city. With little time to roam about in Geneva, we entered the Geneva Park – the Flower Clock. Also called as l'horloge fleurie, it is one of the popular tourist spot in Geneva where the clock is decorated by different flowers using plant mosaicuture that keeps changing with seasons. It has three big needles - the hour, the minute and the second needles which are rotated manually and is said to represent the importance of Swiss clock and watch making culture. Directly opposite to the Flower Clock, is a magnificent statue of two young women encircling their arms on each other’s waist. Located at the Quai du Général-Guisan, it is the Memorial Statue to Le Peuple Genevois with the two young ladies representing the Republic of Geneva and the Helvetia, symbolizing the attachment of Geneva to the Confederation on September 12, 1814.

jet d'eau geneva
Jet d'Eau Geneva- copyrighted to www.momscribe.com
Another important and impressive sight in Geneva is the Jet d'Eau, a super fountain right in the center of the Geneva lake. It is one the city’s famous landmark and iconic fountain in the word which pumps water at a speed of half a cubic meter of water per second 140m into the air which can make you wet before you could near it. Such is the speed of water pumped and returned back to the earth. We had the opportunity to see the Jet at the night time and to our amazement, the illuminated jet looked more like a silver line in the sky when looked from far.  Clicking an image is worth at this time and using photo filters in dark cannot do justice to what is been captured in the night time. What a spectacular view!

broken chair geneva
The Broken Chair, Geneva- copyrighted to www.momscribe.com
Following it was the attraction of the  gigantic broken chair constructed by the carpenter Louis Genève right in the heart of city of Place des Nations. It is an impressive work of art designed by Geneva artist Daniel Berset for the NGO Handicap International, sending out a message to remember the landmines victims who have lost their legs or hands in the fields due to the land mines and promotes Landmine bans. And hence the chair is seen to be standing with three legs only and its fourth leg is splintered half way up.  The photo is captured to clearly show the broken leg with the view of the whole chair, bottom to top.

palais des nations geneva
Palais des Nations, Geneva - copyrighted to www.momscribe.com
Just opposite to the broken chair is the main entrance to the UN European Headquarters (Palais des Nations) where the sight of the National flags stands welcoming the guests. There are currently 192 Members of the United Nations who bring all nations of the world together to work for global peace, development and addressing international problems. And the country flags of all the UN members who are representing their country and the entrance of the Palais des Nations right in the centre  is what you see in the above image.

Our Switzerland trip is one of the interesting trip where we learnt all about different cultures and their way of life.

Filters (or) #NoFilters

Taking photos of places or things that look gorgeous or eye-catching requires no magic but an eye for taking the images in an appealing form. As you have seen from the above images, each images is taken at a particular angle either capturing the beauty of the surroundings (as seen in first two images) or highlighting the main theme (the next three images). Adding filters to the photos using Instagram or Photoshop reduces the natural beauty of the places or the images actually possess. Using Filters, just brings in the manipulated image which does not exists in real. By using NoFilters, we can still capture beautiful images that is authentic and looks decent. For doing so, I believe all you need is a good camera and an eye for taking photos in its natural beauty.

Special mention to judges Becky and Gray from Global Grasshoppers who is also supporting London City Airport #NoFilter campaign. And much thanks for choosing this post for the grand win :)

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1 Oct 2014

Monday Night Mystery Unveiled

- 3 comments
Samantha, with her clothes in disarray and lipstick smeared in a rather sensual way stood in silence for a few moments before she spluttered, ‘Don J! You’re Don J?’ From somewhere in the darkened room, Lallan said, ‘Oh My God!’ (Continued from Listen to your mind but follow your heart)

Part 1 of Round 3 of Team Maximus Dramaticus


The door to the entrance of the godown in Chuna Mandi witnessed a dark and tall shadow being cast on the ground. Lallan hurried towards the shadow only to see a blurred figure moving past quickly into the darkness. Jennifer pushed aside Lallan and began to chase that figure. Whoever it was seemed to be running quickly through the thick bushes and onto the roads. The roads on the Chuna Mundi looked like series of rows adjoining one another, either towards its end or in the middle and Jennifer saw herself running from one road to another. At no cost, Jennifer has to find out who her  intruder was. With Monday nearing too close, she never expected to be caught red handed with those two criminals who has been toying her around like a puppet. Don J was the identity she created herself to pay back Lallan. In case if she had to, she would end the intruder’s life using the tiny weapon in her hand.

But to her surprise, the road in front of her seemed empty. She was panting for breath and she could feel the sweat drenching her hoodie covering her head. Her eyes quickly scanned the road in front of her. The road seemed unusually calm except for the slight screeching noise of a telephone booth door being slightly opened and wavering in the wind. She strained her eyes to see something odd inside the booth through the dark night and she felt that she saw someone standing inside the telephone booth.

Being sure that the road is still empty, she made quick advances towards the phone booth. On her way, she made sure she had her instrument ready for the attack. It was a Grabhorn pen razor given to her by Lallan. He said her that this razor is not easily found and could trick anyone of a lighter or a pen. He also asked her to keep it with her until he gets them back. That was an order given to her.

As she neared the phone booth closer, to her surprise she saw no humans; but just a shirt hanging down from the phone .

story writing

Before she could come to a conclusion, something or someone grabbed her by hands and pushed her towards the phone booth with a strong blow on her face. She saw herself tumbling on the floor inside the booth with her face down along with someone she knew.

“Cyrus!” she gasped.

But before she could talk more, Cyrus was holding her tight, pulled his shirt back from the phone and tied it over her hands only to see a thick silver pen struggling to be hidden somewhere safe. Jennifer was almost stuck between Cyrus and the phone booth floor. The night was so dark that no one could possibly guess that two people are wrestling inside the phone booth. Cyrus, who still has not seen who he has attacked, seemed to be furious with anger.

“You sick woman,” he pulled her by her hair just to turn around exposing Jennifer’s swollen face.

“JENNY,” Cyrus sat shocked.

A moment of silence and shock was what the Friday night was witnessing. Cyrus would feel the fast pounding of Jennifer’s heart. Jennifer was exhausted from running and the strong blow she had received from Cyrus hurt her too much. Having realized who she was with, Jennifer held her head down for a moment. She never wanted Cyrus to see her this way. Nor did Cyrus.

“Jenny! Jenny! ….” Cyrus mumbled and struggled for words. He was in shock. The sight of Jennifer with a villainous look and the blood oozing from her forehead and mouth made Cyrus froze.

“Yes, you are right. I am not who you expected to be,” shrugged Jennifer and straightened herself to a position. 

Cyrus tried to hand his handkerchief to her. Without hesitation, Jennifer took it from him and wiped herself clean. And all the while Cyrus was looking at the silver cylindrical device she was clutching tight  in one of her hands. He did not fail to notice the words written on its cap - German Silver Pats Pen. He saw her removing its cap to reveal a sharp instrument that looked like a razor. In his minds, dancing in slow motion  the words in a shrill voice repeated 'Her paintbrush is a razor, dear'. And as he expected, Jennifer suddenly sprang at Cyrus with her device and Cyrus started defending himself from her.

Tension was rising inside the phone booth with two young hearts that had been hiding what they wanted from each other. A friendship that bloomed, a love that started late and now the sour end that they hated to witness. A couple of minutes passed with their struggle, that caused no harm, but was simply trying to gain control over one another, both Jennifer and Cyrus paused.

Breaking the silence, Cyrus cried “So you are the one who was planning to kill me on coming Monday night, isn't it,  Jennifer?” with his eyes looking on the silver sharp razor. His voice broke as he said those words.

“I would have done that already if I have not fallen for you, you idiot Cyrus,” she was spilling out her anger at him. Cyrus saw tears accumulating in Jennifer's eyes.

“And yes, you definitely should call me an idiot since I have been loving you all these years without having any courage to tell you.” Cyrus yelled back at her. “…until you read my blog,” he slowed down a bit.

For a moment, only the sound of breeze knocking outside the telephone booth door was heard now and then. Cyrus broke the silence once again and questioned Jennifer, “Who the hell are you, Jennifer?” looking straight into her eyes and searching for answers.

Jennifer pushed aside Cyrus question and said, “You cannot know the answer to that question so quickly Cyrus. If you really care for me, then do as I say. It will save us all.”
------------------------------------

Lallan took off his white lab coat, placed it on the old wooden table near by and pulled Samantha close to his side. Samantha looked hot in her black gown, her usual Friday. She standing tall in her black patent gold buckle boots, smiling invitingly under the tight clutch of the manly Lallan. He neared her, bent down and pulled something out of her boots. In his hands lay a short cylindrical instrument, yet another Grabhorn pen razor similar to what he had given to Jennifer. Rotating it between his fingers,  he hissed something in Samantha's ears. She blushed! Even though she wore a smile on her face, her eyes were packed with evil hopes. She had been hiding so much of her true self from Jennifer. Jennifer was a tool for their well-planned game. Lallan had played his part well starting from wooing Jennifer and now the result, Jennifer is mending things for Lallan as Don J. "Don J," sneered Samantha is nothing but "DONut Jennifer," she chuckled.  Her punishment by Lallan was too strong for her. Samantha knew like her, Jennifer too cannot trust love anymore.
------------------------------------

Trust as they say once lost can never be regained so easily. It was like a broken mirror, cannot look or shine the way it used to be before. Tara’s trust is like those broken pieces of mirror. She was trying to pull herself up saying that Shekar would have a justified answer for his wrong doings. Moreover, with just two days in between she has to find a way to stop someone or something breaking her family apart. Her only hope now was Aryan.

The Chuna Mundi room was busy with Aryan cracking the mystery clues. He pulled out a pen and a note from his pocket and quickly wrote something on it. He then placed what he has written along with all the other clues which were spread on the duvet covers of Cyrus's bed.

The duvet sheet now hosted what would be the solution for Monday’s night mystery. Three pieces of information lay neatly arranged next to each other

Dutta’s finished” the paper Aryan wrote lay next to the bits of clues which was left every time before the bitches disappeared in the morning,

Not once | nor twice | nine times | we’ll kill
A bitch | always | but ninth | will fill 
You with a dread that’ll make you still!

Aryan then looked at the final message that he had retrieved from the stone. Written on the crumpled paper were the lines,

“No more running away from me,
I have come so far to thee
Once a Drug dealer, 
Now calls himself a Writer 
Your past is no more a secret 
Your time has come to regret 
Not one, each Monday night a scar, 
Beware, the ninth you are”

Poetry is sure not treacherous. Aryan's experience knew how things worked. Picking the right dose of words and with a calm mind, a poem can be transparent in its meaning. Everything about Monday mystery now seemed to be in place. The ninth target was clearly Shekar Dutta.

Tara was still recovering from the shock holding Roohi tightly in between her arms. The sight of neither Cyrus nor Jennifer was nowhere to be seen. Shekar seemed to be sitting alone, shameful of his act and the situation he has dragged his family into. Looking from Shekar and then towards Aryan, Tara eyes was calling for help. Aryan, she believed is the only one who can do something to save her family from falling apart. 

Aryan understood Tara’s silent stare and nodded his head in approval. Recalling what Shekar has said about his past with Paresh and Samantha couple of hours ago, Aryan had to conclude that Dutta’s murder has something to do with his past. A past that entwines either with Paresh or Samantha’s future. Aryan sat with both of his thumb fingers holding his chin upwards with his hands held as if in prayer. He was thinking deeply.

“Tring Tring Tring” Aryan’s mobile phone rang.

Shekar and Tara could hear an agitated voice crying into the phone. “Sir, we have got information of a dead body inside an enormous building in R.K Puram from a team of officers. The people staying around the building have been complaining of a stinking smell arising from inside the house. And, we heard that the building has name board and belonged to someone called as Prof. Paresh Borah”.

to be continued... Here --> The dark and gloomy night is over

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”


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26 Sep 2014

Addition and Subtraction Strategies - Part 1

- 4 comments
Different strategies and methods are used in school to teach addition and subtraction for kids. The post for today is on request of many mothers who had been asking me about the different approach used in school for teaching Maths. This post concentrates only on teaching addition and subtraction to children using different approaches that has been used in school esp. in reception and Year 1. Also, I added my personal touch by creating some worksheets for kids with images which my children personally choose. This is my first step in creating and sharing such activity related worksheets which I wish to carry forward in the coming days as well. The worksheets that I share are free to download for educational purposes. But in case of sharing it in your own blogs or website, I kindly request you to give due credits.

Method 1: Using Pictures, Counters and Blocks


The method of using pictures and practical apparatus to teach addition and subtraction is the most common method used for early learners. The devices can be blocks, dominoes, cubes or any objects that facilitates teaching addition and subtraction for early learners.
addition and subtraction
The subtraction works the similar way except that we take away the numbers instead of adding them together. Pictures like arrow Cards help introduce digits and place values to children which will be explained in Part 2 of Methods of  addition and subtraction for year 1. Templates for this method can be downloaded here.

Method 2: Using number line/ tracks for addition

Number line is an important method of teaching addition and subtraction by jumping one number to another by moving forward or backward depending on addition or subraction. The below image teaches how number line works. 

number line
Number Line Method
If you like to use printable number line for your kids, the below links will help to make number line interesting for  your kids. You can download the template by clicking the below links. 

number line worksheets
Dinosaur Number Line Template
number line worksheets
Download Frozen Elsa Number Line Template- Worksheet (.doc)
number line worksheets
Download Disney Belle Number Line Template
number line worksheets
Download Spider Man Number Line Template - Worksheet (.doc)

Method 3: Using 100 Square Grid


This is an interesting and important square grid which will come throughout the year for kids in their primary school. Adding "one more", "one less", "ten more" and "ten less" are as easy as pie when 100 square is introduced to kids. It also helps kids to look out and understand the pattern of numbers in a new way.
100 square

Do you like the 100 square above? Then, have a look at the below 100 square printable templates.

100 square grid
100 square grid
100 square

In the coming days, we will be seeing many more strategies and methods such as complements, partitioning, etc which are being used to teach addition and subtraction for year 1 and reception along with some cool worksheets - Part 2 of Addition and Subtraction Strategies.

Do you think Maths is not for you (or) say you can't handle Maths? Then, just spare a few minutes of your time on this link "What is Vedic Maths?". I can assure that it will trigger you to start loving Maths.


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24 Sep 2014

A Good News to Share

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TEAM MAXIMUS DRAMATICUS

She really loved to draw sketches and some of them were really awe-inspiring. Then he came across a particular sketch and his face turned pale. He was shocked to see this in the sketchbook of little Roohi. He thanked God for if Tara would have seen that sketch, she might just have known more than he wanted her to. He tore the page and kept it in his pocket (Read the previous part of Round 2 here: Why should I be good?)

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He hurried back into his room and looked again at the picture that little Roohi has drawn. It was an image of a tall and well-built man holding a toy dog. The picture seemed to be ordinary doodling of a 9 year old, but not for Cyrus.

sketch

Especially when he noticed a sharp razor as an accessory clinging onto the toy's neck. It was not something a little child would draw all by herself. Above all, Cyrus was familiar about the razor symbol. He has seen such symbol in existence when he was working on his assignment.

But …

He recalled the incident back in court.

The court hearing was cleverly terminated by Samantha by provoking the judge that a law student who is still in college has no rights to practice criminal law. Cyrus was disheartened to see that Samantha’s master plan worked so well that he could not even find any trusted lawyers who would stand by his side and support him to carry forward the case.

All his works seemed vain. He has worked so hard to collect information regarding the case in spite of the risks involved. He had even gone one step further in getting a special permission from his dean to proceed with the case with the right help. But, he too backed off supporting Samantha’s claim, saying that the clues Cyrus collected were just mere information and the forensic report he presented as proof leads nowhere close to the case that he worked on.

“Not anymore,” Cyrus thought.

“The proof that I have in my hand would support my verdict in this case. But before that I would need someone intelligent and honest enough to come forward and help me out. But, who could I request? And who is brave enough to stand against the 'power' lady?” Cyrus mind started to replay the voice he heard days back.

“Sir, our tests suggests that the piece of white coat should be laboratory coat and the needle is a surgical needle. There were tiny bits of dried blood stains in the needle and in the lab coat which we found to be one and the same. Moreover, through Serology and DNA analysis, we found that the stains belonged to a mammal like adult dogs or cats which has been heavily drugged.”

The voice of the lab technician kept ringing in his ears.

There were more unanswered questions to which Cyrus is desperately searching for answers.

“To whom exactly the forensic report points to and why drug a poor animal? Do Monday nights incidents have any significant role to play in his case study? What about Prof.Paresh?”
“The razor symbol is too uncanny a proof to represent as a weapon. If that is so, why give a toy representing that symbol to a child like little Roohi and for what purpose?”
“Does the razor symbol in the drawing has something to do with the razor clue that I retrieved on one of the Delhi murder case?”


Cyrus was mulling over his thoughts. He closed his eyes, trying to recall a blurred vision of the lady holding a razor in her hand in the Chuna Mandi house. He was not sure whether it was a reality or his imagination. He felt a slight pain in his once wounded head. He felt burdened not knowing the answers to any of his questions.

“Cyrus, are you okay?” asked Tara placing her hand affectionately on Cyrus, who sat staring at the ceiling with his fingers slowly brushing against his hairy chin.

Tara’s sisterly concern made Cyrus feel a little better. Cyrus sighed and nodded his head in agreement.

“Well, then pull yourself back and follow me now. I have a good news to share. We are going for a long drive to meet someone important,” she said in an excited voice.

“Shall I join you too?” Jennifer asked, standing near the door.

“Sorry Jennifer. I need you to look after little Roohi,” Tara stressed. “She looked a little disturbed last night. Also, I guess it will be better if both Cyrus and I go first. Please understand,” requested Tara.

“Alright then, I can leisurely spend my time admiring the works from Mr. Writers’ blog.Who knows, I might stumble upon some love poems too,” she replied looking miffed.

Cyrus looked at Jennifer. Her childlike way and emotions made him smile. And he can affirm that his love for her grew stronger every day. “Ah! What would my life be without Jennifer? Her beautiful smile ...her dusky complexion and sexy look that she carries in style...she herself is a love poem,” he thought in admiration.

“Blog? Whose blog and who is this Mr. Writer?” Tara’s question interrupted Cyrus thoughts about Jennifer.

“Well, well, Mr. Writer is trying to maintain his anonymous nature to everyone. I thought it was just me who don’t know about his amazing creativity,” Jennifer started pulling Cyrus leg.

Tara looked at Cyrus and questioned, “Is it you Cyrus? Are you a blogger? Oh my, I can’t believe that I have two writers in my home now, including Shekhar. But Shekhar is not a blogger. He loves seeing his writing in prints,” winked Tara.

“Ok Tara, I hope you forgot that you told me that we are to meet someone important today,” said Cyrus with a sudden seriousness in his voice.

In his mind, he was struggling with the drawing done by little Roohi. Shall I show the drawing to Tara? No, not now. She is a sensitive woman and showing her this drawing will make her too concerned about Roohi’s safety.

“Oh yes, the person who we will be seeing today is someone we knew already,” Tara paused. “I guess even Jennifer knew him as a child. He was working as cop before he voluntarily relieved himself of his duty for some personal reasons,” said Tara half lying.

She already knew the truth. Aryan was still working as an undercover cop.

“Aryan! Are you talking about the Mr. Aryan Ahuja, who used to surprise our neighbourhood with his inquisitive mind and sharp eyes? Whoa, what a man he is! He was a man brimming with honesty and sincerity in his works,” recalled Cyrus with a twinkle in his eyes. “You know what? I have written a post in my blog about how I admired him…,” Cyrus went on adding details to Tara's surprise.

Jennifer interrupted, “Well, now I understand why I saw his picture in your blog. By the way, I have already interacted with him when I was with Lallan.”

Cyrus and Tara were looking at Jennifer for answers.

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Read the next part here: Connections and More

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

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17 Sep 2014

Reconciliation for a New Beginning

- 11 comments
sketch fiction
TEAM: Maximus Dramaticus
This post is the final part of the creative writing by Team Maximus Dramaticus who have worked together to bring you some exciting novella which promises to keep you entertained.  Do read the previous part of the story by Titas Kar here "a few clouds cleared".
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Tara snatched the phone from him, “Hello, hello, this is Shekhar’s wife, who is this?”

There was some silence on the other end.
“Oh is it you Tara? The posh lady who makes her headlines in the nation’s popular televisions,” the voice on the other end seems to ridicule Tara.

“Yes, it was my responsibility and I am proud of what I do. But, who are you and why do you need to talk to my husband?” questioned the worried Tara.

“Hun hun husband, I see. In a few days time, you will be making headlines with the name of your husband for the world to see…ha ha ha,” Tara heard the lady on the phone roar with laughter.

Tara was taken back when she heard the lady say those words. “What foolishness! Don’t speak anything wrong about my Shekhar?” Tara was boiling inside in fear and love for Shekhar. “... and please tell, is Jennifer with you?” She could have cried not knowing answers to so many questions, but the lady on the other end rescued Tara from at least that pain and said, "Meet me in an hour at hotel Le ROI in Paharganj and ask for Madam S. If you come, Jennifer could be saved and I have secrets about your husband to share with you," she hissed sinisterly through the phone.

The tone on the other end made Tara sulk in disgust, but she agreed to meet her just for the sake of Jennifer and Shekhar.
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Leaving Roohi under the guidance of Cyrus, Tara started to drive towards the destination ordered by Madam. 'Who is this Madam S and what secrets she knows about my husband?' she thought.

On her way driving, memories of the past started haunting Tara. She recalled the episode discussing her findings about Cyrus to Shekhar.

“Look at these pieces of clues left on every Monday night on Cyrus bed, Shekhar,” Tara showed the bits of paper she had collected to her husband looking for his guidance as he was well known for his keen observation to details. Writers are always blessed with one and she strongly believes that statement.

Shekhar took the paper bits from Tara and looked at it closely. Tara could sense a smile on Shekhar’s face and she knew the writer in him will come up with a solid solution. Her belief did not betray her.

He soon took a note and pen from his pocket, scribbled something on it and gave it to Tara. Tara’s face lit up with surprise reading what Shekhar has written. Written on it were the words, 

"She can paint a lovely picture 
but this story has a twist 
her paint brush is a razor 
and her canvas is her wrist." 

Before Tara could question him, Shekhar answered, “These words are nothing but verses from a book called 'After' by Amy Efaw. Looking closely at these carefully picked rhymes, I sense the killer should have a keen literary sense and has a sort of antipathy towards bitches…”and with those words Shekhar bit his lips tight. His once bright face has now turned pale and firm, all the sudden.

And Tara hasn't failed to notice that change on his face. 

She even remembers seeing the same expression on his face when she first told him about her drug findings inside the locked room. And every time she alerted about it, Shekhar was just avoiding further discussion and asked her to wait until the Monday mystery gets solved.

sketch fiction

But now everything seemed out of place. Jennifer has been kidnapped, Shekhar has been missing for long and moreover he has been accused of something she could never dare to dream. The Shekhar she had known cannot be someone who has secrets that would make headlines. There should be a way out for my dear Shekhar. If not, I should and will find a way to bring him out safely without harm. Tara made her mind strong to handle the situation.
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Cyrus was playing hide and seek with Roohi, her most loved game. The mobile in his pocket began to vibrate and ring. 

He picked up the call, “Hello, Cyrus here.”
The voice on the other end delivered some important findings about the forensic report Tara and Jennifer has submitted.

Cyrus fell weak kneeling on the floor. He was now even more convinced of the reports reviving those couplets followed by a certain syllable count which had frightened him to death on Monday nights. If what the report has confirmed is true, he has to tell all about the case and his findings to Shekhar and Tara. He decided not to involve the police since he knew how angry was Shekhar when he told him that he called the police without his consent when Jennifer went missing. Shekhar even lied to the police that both girls were safe when they arrived and apologised to them for the trouble caused. 

Making up his mind, Cyrus opened his laptop bag and took out his Strontium Jet USB 3.0 32 GB Pen drive. He inserted it in his laptop and started working on the files which he has long saved even without the knowledge of his professor. 
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Percival knew it was coming. He had laid out the plan well enough to trap poor Dutta back to the dark world where he had once escaped. 

Shekhar looked troubled. What if his beloved Tara finds out that her husband is a culprit. How could he face her, Cyrus and little Roohi? No, if I agree to Percival’s proposal, I could never come out of this darkness ever again even if I could try. And if I don’t, all Percival could do is to blackmail me about telling my past to Tara.

“Aaahah,” Percival moaned and then continued, "Why taking so long dear friend. Agree to my proposal or else you will repent," Percival rhymed a warning.

Shekhar looked straight into the eyes of the Professor and said, "So, all you need for your business is my house, isn't it Percival? Okay, take it all but under two conditions. If you agree to it, I will transfer my house in Chuna Mandi in your name in two weeks’ time and I will also make sure that Cyrus gets back to Mumbai without a word of the happenings in the house."

Percival twisted his head sideways and looked at Shekhar. He then showed his glimmering canine tooth in gold and said, “Well, well not a bad proposal after all. Promise me your house and I will take your call.”

Shekhar was relived on getting the answer. Shekhar's two conditions of hiding his past forever and relieving him of the sick trade by giving him a little percentage of the house value to convince Tara were the easiest condition to let go for Percival and so he agreed to his fruitful proposal.

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Tara was escorted to a 220 sq. ft. premium room with marble flooring. There was only one, but a big window which faced the city main road and by the way it looked, the windows and doors in the hotel room were sound-proof. Not a sound could be heard even if there was a murder happening inside.

Tara was asked to seat in a big sofa facing the queen bed, exquisitely decorated with luxury bed sheets, freshly cleaned and pressed. Just above the bed, she saw a large wooden frame with a portrait of a lady. Tara sensed something odd but familiar in that picture. She was staring long at the woman in the picture.

“Had you noticed anything unfamiliar in that picture?” queried a stern and bold voice standing few paces behind Tara. She was taken back. She turned around to look at a long and lean figure moving gracefully towards the bed. ‘So SHE was Madam S’ thought Tara and she jolted back as if a sudden lightening has struck her.

By the look of her, any man could fall at her feet. She held such elegance and beauty, but only few people like Tara knew that behind those deceptive beauty hides the thirst of money and power that dares to kill anything that hinders her way. 
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Cyrus had done it. In no time, he will get approval and he can safely proceed for what he had been waiting for. 

The doorbell rang and Cyrus could hear little Roohi shouting in sheer joy. “Mamma, Mamma you are back home with Jenny aunty”. 

Cyrus rushed to the door and saw his dear Jenny tired and worn out. She was still in shock of the happenings on that day. For a moment, Cyrus thought of hugging Jennifer and consoling her that everything is all right. But before he could think, Jennifer came running into his arms crying hard. Cyrus was moved and the man inside him finally woke up to hold Jennifer lovingly and consoled her to stay strong. He then looked at Tara for answers, but she had long gone inside the house without a word.

Cyrus made Jennifer take some rest in his room and went to see Tara, who was looking at the locked doors in despair. 

“Tara, I have something to tell you,” Cyrus said.

Tara turned her puffed up face and replied, “I need a help from you Cyrus.”

Cyrus heart sank looking up Tara’s strong face swelled up due to incessant crying. The lady he had thought strong is now standing in front of him, shattered into pieces. Cyrus took a deep breathe, shook his head in approval and said, “Anything for you, but before that I need you to see some information I had found.”

Tara looked at Cyrus files on his laptop. “And if everything succeeds as I have planned, I may get a call tomorrow,” he said to Tara. Tara could see Cyrus in a new form. Something made Tara trust Cyrus’s attitude and words. “Now, tell me what help do you want from me?” asked Cyrus to Tara.

“I  need you to call the police,” said Tara.
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The Delhi High Court was surrounded by popular medias and reporters from everywhere. Cyrus entered the court wearing his long black gown and a white stiff collar with bands looking professional in his advocate dress along with Tara, Jennifer and Shekhar. 

“How did you reopen the wrapped Delhi murder case that happened two years ago? “

“They said all vital clues were destroyed, now have you found it by any chance?”

“How did Prof. Paresh Borah get involved in this case?”

“Are there any other suspects in this case other than Prof. Paresh and Lallan who were arrested?”

Reporters from all over were pouring in questions at Cyrus who tried to remain calm. Shekhar too was seen quite but Tara looked a bit nervous. By the look of it, anyone who sees her would say that she is anxiously waiting for someone to arrive.

A BMW black sedan car rushed and halted nearer the entrance of the courtroom. Opening the car’s door came out the 'power' lady dressed in long black gown, clutching tight a renowned black Chloe Paddington handbag and her legs covered with a Metallic Lilac Leg Strapped Sandals. All heads turned towards the elegant lady and there were loud murmurs heard everywhere “ Madame S! Madame S!”

Jenifer turned towards Cyrus and asked who Madam S was. Cyrus replied, “She is Madame Samantha Naik, now the renowned first lady of our honourable Delhi minister. ”

--------- END OF ROUND ONE--------

My team and I are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us. The sequel to this round one organised by Blogadda will be continued in round two by my team Maximus Dramaticus, who write to thrill. 


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