In the Land of Coconuts ...

It has been 2 weeks since I reached Kerala and we have had a family gathering, seen a movie and done some shopping. Unfortunately for me, my cousins’ exams are going on but they managed to squeeze some time to have a lot of fun with us. I, Kunjunni and Dad saw the movie “ How To train Your Dragon 2 ” at PVR and we enjoyed it a lot. Well, at least I and Kunjunni enjoyed. Dad never saw the first part so I don’t think he understood a lot. But in any case, the movie received loud cheers and applause at the end. Achamma (Dad’s mom) along with uncle Sujesh, reached Kerala from Bangalore the day after we reached India. So we had a family gathering with all our relatives, had a great time. Kunji chechi’s Fa-1 exams finished 2 days back and now she is a free bird. But for poor Kunjunni, his exams are finishing only tomorrow. His crafts teacher had told the class they needed to buy a pot and paint it. You get these materials in the store. So, the night before the Hindi exam

Birthday breakfast

I celebrated my birthday this week, we had a home-made English breakfast complete with bulls-eye, toast with cheese, beans, sausages, pancakes, grilled vegetables and breakfast steak. It was a small family celebration.  We had some goof ups but it was all okay. For instance, I was in charge of pancakes, so after they were done, they were thick and out of shape. I was going to say “Why on earth have you made the pancakes so tough?” when I remembered it was me who had made them. But thankfully, they didn’t lose their taste. And Mom accidentally spread cheese on her pancakes instead of butter.  The entire thing was planned by Dad and me. Yesterday we bought all the necessary things. We gave Mom a day-off and worked hard in the kitchen. At last everything was done and we had a hearty meal. In the aquarium at Dubai mall, they are bringing in two crocodiles . Jock the croc and his girlfriend Missy are going to arrive at Dubai in a specially equipped Singapore Airlines jumbo

Breakfast at Buffalo's

Dad took a right turn and I was surprised to see that he was parking the car next to Buffalo's , a southwest café and restaurant. We had never gone there before but it had been on our “List of must-go restaurants.’’ “Why are we stopping here?”I asked Mom as Dad got out of the car. “I thought we were going to have breakfast in IKEA.” “Um…we are. We just need to buy Dad some shoes from Crocs” came the reply. Dad returned after some time, and declared the shop was open. We got out and started walking and went inside a restaurant on the other side of the parking lot. That’s when I knew it was a surprise planned for me in the honor of my advance birthday. We settled down at a table and when the waiter gave us our menus, I noticed that instead of “Buffalos”, the cover page said “Basero”, which left me really confused. When I pointed it out to Dad, we looked out of the window and saw “Buffalo’s” on the other side. That meant we had come to the wrong restaurant! So, instea

Maharaja by Vineet at Riyadh!

“Do you know Vineet Bhatia is opening his restaurant in Riyadh?” Mom asked.  I was standing with her in the kitchen. “He is opening ‘ Maharaja ’ in September. It is beside Chilis.”  “Who is Vineet Bhatia?” I asked. “He is a famous chef of India. His cookery show comes on Travel and Living channel.” Mom loves watching Travel and Living.  They show a variety of places, steaks, ice-creams, sandwiches etc. But she does not want to experiment any type of different food. I would have protested against that but then I realized I probably would lose my love for those foods ;-)  Google is going to release self driving cars . Dad showed me this on Larry Page’s Google+. The bright side is that it would be really useful for old people and kids. The day when there will be only self-driving cars will be a great day. We will just have to ask parent’s permission and then we can go by ourselves to Baskin Robbins for ice-cream, or to a friend’s house or to the park or anything. An

India's new prime minister

This week has been really busy! Most of Mom’s friends have come to Riyadh from India because now it is summer vacation in India. Mom is so excited, that once she starts talking she almost never stops unless she notices me and Dad are not listening. Added to this she talks and laughs really loud too. Me and Dad sympathize about our neighbors. Seema aunty, Daliya aunty, Liji aunty, Shijitha aunty – we met all of Mom’s friends in these two weeks.  Uncle Rainson’s parents are in Riyadh. We had a great evening when they came over. Narendra Modi has now become newly elected prime minister of India. It feels kind of weird because I can only remember Dr. Manmohan Singh’s name for all these years as Prime Minister but now since Prime Minister has changed, I feel everything changed. I went for cluster meet tryouts of badminton and I could not get even one shot! I was so embarrassed. Usually I can play really well. Dad wanted to lose the weight he had always dreamt of los

Another busy weekend

“Next, we will go to NEXT ”  Mom said, grinning. My father and I chuckled. We were having a long day of all types of shopping. Dress and grocery shopping took a lot of time always. My FA-1 had finally finished and after 7 days of exams, I was ready to sit back and enjoy the weekend. But my Mom had other plans. We had to complete a load of shopping which we did over the 2 days. So when I went to school on Sunday, my eyelids were feeling heavy and I was ready to use the table as a bed and my bag as a pillow. Nobody seemed well in my class. Rabia and Sauda had headaches, some people had cold, and others were ready to go to sleep. I was suffering from all the above. There had been a sandstorm on both days of weekend, and we all had been victims.  So, last week and this week had and will be a total drag, according to my calculations. To make things worse, a rumor had been spreading that the FA-2 exams would be starting early. I was like “Just great!” Sunday is not exact

Winning the Inter-house Quiz

“And the winner, of the Inter-House quiz competition is……”  Headmistress ma’am announced into the mike. Our fingers were rapping by themselves on the table. We were getting goose bumps. We could almost hear the drum roll in the distance. “….Tabuk house!”  ma’am finished. We all cheered loudly. So did the audience. They clapped like they had been expecting us to be the winners the entire time. Actually, we did know they were guessing that the winners would be us because when ma’am had asked the audience who they thought would win they had all announced “Tabuk!” I had been chosen for the quiz competition by Rejula ma’am. There were 4 people in each of the four houses, that were, Hijaz, Jizan, Madinah and Tabuk. I was in the house Tabuk along with 3 others for the quiz. We were really excited and as we got off stage and our friends congratulated us. We had gotten off to a good start. We got points in all the questions of the MCQ round, the Category round, and the “Wha

Losing Archie Andrews ...

I took a deep breath and entered my new class. All my classmates looked at me. ‘Hi!’ ‘Enjoyed vacations?’ ‘Congrats, you have been promoted to 8 th grade!’ I was so happy to see my friends again. 2 weeks break after 7 th grade final exams, it felt so good to see them all, everyone chatting loudly, joking and laughing. My best friend Chandana was sitting on my left and my other best friend Anne was on my right. The 3 of us could hardly wait to tell all that had happened during vacation. All words came spilling out. Our new class teacher, Maria ma’am, came in and announced ‘Hello class, I will be your new class teacher. I will teach you chemistry…..………….’ she went on, telling us the rules and everything. She had taught us chemistry in 6 th and 7 th grades too, so we know her really well. Yesterday, when I came home from school, my mom sad ‘I want to show you this news article’. Alas!  It said that Archie Andrews of Archie comics is being killed off! I s

Freaky Friday

Since today is the weekend, we have a couple of restaurants to try out in our mind and one of them is the ‘Red Lobster’. I don’t know if it’s good or not but my father had his heart set on eating big, fat lobsters so he seems very enthusiastic on going there. You see, Dad would be non- vegetarian the first 6 months and be vegetarian the other 6 months. Which is also one of the reasons I call him an omnivore. He loves eating salads a lot. But, in the very rare times we would buy ice-cream or if I would be having any fruit, he would request for a ‘small bite’, but by the time the ‘small bite’ would be taken, the fruit would not be seen. I saw the movie ‘Frozen’ a few days back and I really liked it. My favorite character was definitely Anna, and she looked very cute when she was young. There is a metro coming in Kochi, so according to the video, it is fun, you can save 20 to 50 per cent of your normal travelling time and more. The metro's starting point is at Pet

Lunch at Back Yard Grill

I can’t believe this! Only 9 days left for my vacation to end. I am so angry! I don’t know why the days of vacation have to whiz by and the school days go so, so slowly. My family loves trying out various restaurants, so just yesterday, we went to Backyard Grill because whenever we passed it, we would say ‘Hey! Why haven’t we tried that out yet?!’ When we entered the restaurant, we felt the ambiance was not as good as compared with Apple Bees and Steak House. It seemed a little dull. There weren’t many options in desserts either. But the food was just great. I had a Silverado burger, and I could not stop eating the minute I took the first bite. I would have chewed my fingers too if I hadn’t got a grip on myself. My Mom was going to order chicken teriyaki, but it hit her that whenever we would order the chicken teriyaki, it would always be sweet. We aren’t exactly fans of sweet chicken so she skipped it and ordered a sizzling fajita combo meal. We checked

Dirab Trip

Just one day after the vacation started, we went to Dirab. It is a place in Riyadh which is really worth seeing and is a 30 minute drive. We can see many valleys in Dirab. It was mid-morning when we went there and then we wished we had thought of the time more clearly because Dirab looks best in the evening. When the sun’s rays shine through the mountains in the colorful evening sky during sun set, it looks just great. The sun’s rays on touching the clouds reflect the clouds with a bright golden colour. The blue sky is transformed into pink, purple and golden. There are farmlands and a horse stable  at Dirab. From a distance the valleys look beautiful. My Mom loves Dirab a lot. She always insists on going there since it is such a relaxing destination. Since the valleys are low, every time we go on the  hairpin  road downwards, my ears pop. Thankfully it goes just as quickly. My ears pop in flights and they begin to hurt a lot. The foggy hearing that I get only goes after a

Thank God, It's Friday!

SLURP! SLURP! These were the noises my Mom’s straw was making as she drank the ‘Ultimate Gold Medalist’ that my Dad had ordered for himself. The cocktail had looked very nice and my Mom just did not seem able to tear her eyes from it, even though I waved my hand in front of her eyes. She saw right through it as if it was invisible. Apparently, my mother had fallen in love with that special cocktail.    I did not see anything too special about it since it looked like a regular cocktail. But when I had a sip, my heart melted for it, and I was drinking just as merrily. We were at the restaurant T.G.I. Friday’s . When we went to London, we had tried out this restaurant with uncle Sujesh and we had instantly liked it. We got the main course we had ordered and wow, were it delicious. My Garlic chicken pasta magically disappeared after a few minutes. As the cocktail was originally for Dad, me and Mom ordered a ‘Friday’s Sundae.’ The name was kind of funny, because it ca

Farewell, Class 7

Just yesterday we had our class party. Officially we have completed 7 th grade and on our way to 8 th . The results were distributed. You could judge everyone’s marks by their faces. Some were looking at the ceiling predicting their situation when they got home.  So to stop thinking about the sadness and suffering we were going to endure, we tried to focus on the food. But there were a few problems as well. When Anne opened the lids of the ice-cream cans, we found out that the ice-cream had nearly become soup. I was like “Uh-Oh”. But the taste remained so it was okay. On the other hand, Alaina had forgotten to bring the knife to cut the cake she had bought so she had to make do with a plastic spoon, which was not exactly the best option but we didn’t have any other choice. She had a hard time cutting the cake but it turned out all right at the end. Cutting the cake was as hard as cutting a tree. There were samosas, cookies, pedas, cake, ice-creams, marshmallows, cheetos, c

Back to blogging...

­­Sorry, I  haven't  blogged in a while. I got stuck with so much of work and studies. We had our FA-4 in January and our SA-2 finished just yesterday. A small calculation: (FA-1 + FA-2+FA-3+ FA-4) + (SA-1+SA-2) =  Promotion to next grade, good results & FREEDOM!!! Tons of studying Anyway, I feel like a lot of pressure has just been removed from my shoulders. It’s kind of like the feeling a donkey has when 4 tons of load are removed from its back.    This morning, to celebrate my independence, we went to McDonalds and had breakfast from there. We ordered pancakes, an Egg Mcmuffin meal and two Sausage McMuffins. Then we went to LuLu, did some shopping and came home. We have a class party tomorrow and instead of uniform we are allowed to wear colour dress. Our results of our SA-2 will also be shown. My cousin Savithri’s cat gave birth to 2 more kittens when the previous 2 died a few months back. The mother cat’s name

IKEA Breakfast

There was deep rumbling from somewhere. Unfortunately that was not thunder, but my stomach growling. We were on our way from the badminton class. I was getting hungrier by the minute. I was given 2 options - Asraya Turkish restaurant or some other Arabic place. I did not have any interest in either of them but I saved when Dad pointed at DQ Grill & Chill , which we hadn’t tried till now, we could have our food from there. We loved trying out new restaurants. This place was called Dairy Queen (DQ) though I had no idea why it was called that. As long as I was concerned, it seemed to have burgers and the usual stuff and I didn’t think it to have any dairy items. We ordered onion rings, quesadillas, 2 grilled chicken burgers, large grilled chicken salad for my Dad and 2 sandwiches.  The place was a bit crowded, but still there was not much noise and we found a table. The onion rings were delicious and the quesadillas were to die for. Everything was yummy and the growli

OK Google!

This week was very busy. I bought 3 books from Jarir bookstore- “Diary of a Wimpy Kid- Hard Luck” by Jeff Kinney, “Dork Diaries- Tales from a Not-So-Happy heart breaker.’’ by Rachel Renee Russell, and “Gangsta Granny” by David Walliams. We  weren't  actually planning to go to Jarir bookstore. We just decided to go somewhere since we were bored and we thought of it. I jumped on the books the minute I saw them and Dad regretted of even thinking of going to the bookstore. He was also surprised when I finished all 3 books in one day. Go figure. A Nexus 5 Kit Kat is on its way from America and its destination will be the waiting hands of my father, or, more truthfully, my hands. It is a new version and not yet available in Saudi Arabia.  I said I could always help get rid of his old phone by accepting it as a hand-me-down.     If you come to my home, don’t be surprised if you hear someone always shouting “ Ok Google !” in front of the computer. This is because now there

Chennai Express

“Don’t underestimate the power of a common man” was a quote said by Shah Rukh Khan at least 5 times in the movie ‘ Chennai Express ’, a comedy movie. Three-fourth of the girls in my class watched that movie, and everyone liked it. Now at school we all imitate him and say “Don’t underestimate the power of a common girl” all the time. I really loved it too. It was really funny.  But Mom did not feel about it the same way I did, because she had seen many movies before similar to this. Also, when the fight between Tangabali and Rahul started, she had got up and walked around the house for some time since she did not like fight scenes. And I got that very gift too. So I was mostly looking down at my feet and admiring my toes during the fight. But I watched the rest of the movie with Dad and Mom. The three of us were sitting on two comfy huge armchairs. For some time I sat next to Dad on his armchair but his tummy got in the way so I sat next to Mom in hers. Both of us fit per

Oh Zeus!

When I got out of the car, the wind had become stronger. It tugged at my shawl, but I held on to it. Now we can say winter has officially started, for the temperature has dropped. After reading Percy Jackson books (again), I was ready to blame the Greek god Zeus , lord of the skies. We did not have to wear our uniform tomorrow, instead, we could wear color dress, and the teachers said we did not have to bring any books. It would be really fun. But the sky is now all moody and grumpy and it is making me all grumpy too. There is lightning, thunder and rain. Mom says that maybe I may not be able to go to school tomorrow. Great. Just great. There are only a few days when we look forward on going to school and tomorrow is going to be one of those days. And then BOOM! Now we can’t. I wonder how many classmates of mine are coming to school tomorrow.   Have mercy on us, Zeus. 

Bahrain Diary (Part 2) - Tree of Life

A group of women wearing short dresses got out of their car. The car’s tire had sunk in the sand, and refused to move.  Some men surrounded them, giving them smiles and offering their help to the girls. Their own car had got sunk in the sand, but they hardly paid any attention to it or the “ Tree of Life ”, now that they had something else better to look at …… . I gazed at the tree from a distance. This ancient tree was called the “ Tree of life ” as it had survived in the desert for 400 years without any known water source. When we were just about to reach, I had seen a tree next to the roadside but it was only my size and I had felt disgusted, since I thought that was the great ‘Tree of life’. But when the real tree appeared in sight, bigger than its imposter, my disgust turned into wonder and amazement. Many people, the newborn, the middle-aged and the old, were sitting on the tree happily and trying to climb it. Some branches of the tree touched the ground while the ot

l'OLIMPO - The Italian dinner

I picked up a slice of yummy pepperoni pizza, cheese trailing after it. It looked and smelled delicious. In less than 4 seconds my slice was gone. Dad was looking at me, astonished. “Nobody is going to steal your slice.” I gave him a suspicious look. If Dad requested for a small bite of anything I was having, from guavas to ice creams, pretty much half of it would be gone. Go figure. We were at l’OLIMPO , an Italian restaurant. For me, dessert is more important when we go to restaurants like these, and I would always go to dessert section first, whether we bought any or not. For Mom, the place looked like a ‘wonderland’, for me it looked a little like ‘ Steak House ’, only little more stylish. I like Steak House, but now whenever I think of it I always remember the ‘great zucchini’ incident . We had chicken Caesar salad first. Dad love salad a lot, which is why I called him a ‘herbivore’. I poked my fork and attacked the lettuce since I found it difficult to stab it.