Thursday, January 29, 2009

Karma Sutra - A modern day fable

Once upon a time in WinterWonderland, there lived a littleGirl who refused to grow up, which was just as well because grown-ups never did anything fun. The littleGirl lived with a littleBoy she played games with. Ofcourse, being just the two of them and lots of snowy emptiness, they just played indoors. Soon a littleBaby joined their tiny household and made it one giant funhouse!

With each passing day the littleGirl found herself swamped by feeding schedules, waste management, and The Holy War against the common cold epidemic. The littleBoy spent his time minting money to sponsor the littleGirl's activities.  So when did that leave them with time to play? Never.

The littleGirl wondered if this maternal gig was really for her. She missed every bargain sale which let me tell you is really bad for any girl. And then there were those lost drives around an empty town for a midnight icecream and snoozing under the covers until the Sun was high in the sky. Plus all work and no play would make even theCreator grouchy.

Sometime the littleGirl wished she was surrounded by a bevy of servants and nannies...people to take care of her every whim and the littleBaby. Then she would have ample time to sprawl on a couch and watch the littleBaby play while someone else attended her. Oh! how she longed for an extra hour of sleep. She cribbed, sighed and cried for a miracle.

Then one day the littleFamily went to a party. After hours of nonstop music, some mundane conversations and lots of great food they came home tired but giggly that they still had a social life. Unbeknownst to them another guest had tagged along - a very stinky virus from a very bad cough.

First the littleBaby decided to befriend the guest inspite of her mother's Cold War. The littleGirl followed her with the A Big Flu. And just like that her dream came true. 

As she sat quarantined in another room, the littleBoy did everything for his littleBaby and his littleGirl. And he did it great. The littleGirl couldn't kiss the littleBaby, or hug or touch. If she did have to carry her she had to wash her hands twice and wear The Ugly Mask. The littleGirl now did have all day to sleep and laze but the chills and aches did little to help her along that way.

As she watched the littleBaby babble to the littleBoy, she realized what she had once thought as overwhelming was all she ever hug the littleBaby, smell her milky sweetness, change her diapers, listen to her laughter, have a mock fight when she bites...she wanted it all. 
She wanted it ALL!

Moral of the story
Be wary of your deep desires. They just might come true and bite you in the ass!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Writing Workshop

Two weeks back The Mr came home early from work and I rushed to our local Barnes & Noble bookstore for the weekly writing group. Alas!They had disbanded months ago and I returned home quite crestfallen. Somehow I thought meeting my long lost friends would help resurrect the dormant writer.

I came back and found a few short stories I had written at my last few visits, as late as Feb 2007. To appease my broken heart, I shall post couple of them and assume I wrote it just now :p

Prompt: Write a scene in which shoes figure prominently.

The Shoe Fairy
Did you know you could see a person's entire life just by looking at their feet...their little dreams tucked behind their worries, their fears and their prejudices, all as clear as the overgrown toe-nail?

In my twenty years I've seen them all. Like Rajammal, the English teacher at a famous school in the city. She came to me every fortnight to mend her sandals...Sandals that were an imitation of the original, bought from one of those dime-a-dozen pavement stores that have cropped up all over the city. Bad leather that bit into her flesh as she ran to get onto the 7.40 A.M bus, already brimming with half the city in it.  

By now there were more stitches made by me than by the original shoemaker. I asked her to throw it away but Rajammal insisted there were few more lives in them...her tired smile telling me what she left unsaid. Money that could be saved and used elsewhere.

Then there is Vikas, the neighbourhood Romeo. Oh! He never sets foot into my shop, but would instead park his bike under the tree and stand on the pavement waiting for his girl. One look at his shoes with those funny check marks, I knew this was a boy who knew no struggles.

I always knew Vikas' girl had come by the click of her heels on the stone. I've always wanted to hold those shoes in my hands, feel the softness of pure leather, admire the workmanship that crafted those wonderful straps...straps which elegantly caressed those feet. How did one maintain balance and grace while walking on such thin heels?

Every month those feet were caressed by a different pair of shoes; flat-heeled red shoes in March, those chocolate brown sandals in April, embroidered silk shoes I never thought existed but in story books...she had them all. 

Then one day, those feet entered my gunny sack covered floor with a tarpaulin for a roof shop, my two-by-two pavement shop...the Shoe Fairy entered it. I looked up at her face as she dropped a plastic bag at my feet.

"Amma wants these fixed" the angel said.

I opened the bag and the worn out, brown sandals of Rajammal stared right back at me.

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Why I am so silent...

Okay, to tell you the truth, as the last few posts were on books I got scared this was turning into one of those book blogs (I love some of them, I swear!) and it would repel the meager readers I have who come here to read my convoluted views on life told in meandering sentences and then I would lose what little incentive I have to blog and thus the world would lose another one of those pompous voices. Phew!

Also ever since The Implet turned one, life has just not been the same. She recently started walking and the second I turn away from her, she's trying to climb onto the entertainment console and pull the TV down. Which is highly entertaining if the darn TV didn't cost so much. No! I'm not worried about her getting hurt. Should I be worried about that?

But the most important reason is I hate writing reviews. Somehow the charm of a book is lost when I try to dissect and articulate all the things I liked and all the characters I didn't. It doesn't sound as nice as a loud book discussion. But when you sign up for challenges, like one mundhiri-kudukkai, you've just invited trouble home. So I guess all you lovable people just have to plow through posts on books and somehow find gyaan somewhere :p


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Thank You Secret Santa

I received my gift in the last week of December. However, I couldn't post about it with all the work I had in store for The Implet's first birthday. Thank you Kate for a wonderful gift!
Much Thanks to Dewey and Nymeth for organising the book swap.

My loot: 
Peppermint Cocoa - this was awesome!
The Ordinary Princess by M.M.Kaye  - an used book which makes it double good!
Book Lover's Calendar for 2009

Thanks once again Kate!
And I'm sorry for this late posting :)

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The Zookeeper's Wife - Book Review

It's hard to read a book about Holocaust and be objective about it in the review. Somewhere down the line you realize you're too angry/emotional to form a single coherent sentence. And when a book can affect a non-Jew so, I sincerely feel for those millions mourning their losses. Nothing really is going to make it even.

Have you ever watched those Dicovery Channel documentaries? On Einstein or Newton? There is a voice in the background which narrates the story, and as the story moves along there are small snippets of conversation with contemporaries from that period or other historians who've researched the story.

Imagine the same for the book. Diane Ackerman is the narrator, the Warsaw zoo in occupied Poland is the setting, and Jan & Antonia Zabinski, the actors of this war story. Initially I was put off by the documentary style of storytelling but as the story progressed, I got pulled in and was completely mesmerised by Ackerman's storytelling prowess.

There's a lot of pages devoted not just to the temperament of the hidden Jews but also to the mood swings of the animals under Antonia's care (There's an entire page listing the different kinds of beetles). As humans we tend to judge every catastrophe by the human loss registered but never give a thought to the countless animals lost in the struggle. Through Ackerman's words, we come to see how Antonia thought of everyone who had come under her wings for protection, both human and animal.

One hitch I faced is Ackerman's use of some really big words; I needed the dictionary to understand some of the sentences. As poetic as the prose may sound because of those words, I felt I was being slowed down trying to understand the author when the story is much more interesting.

That said, this is a powerful book bringing to light another page from our sordid bloody world war past. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone wanting to read more about The Holocaust and WWII.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dumbfounded - Review of Sorts

Sometimes the best way to read a book is to just pick it up and start reading.This book is the best advocate for that truth. Seriously! I walked into the library and the first book I set eyes on was this one - nice blue jacket and a kid in an Afro. I picked it up and I don't regret it one bit.

This is a memoir by Matt Rothschild, one of those 'affluent' kids of the huge Rothschild clan. But this book is not about the luxuries in life or of upper-class snooty behaviour. The author recounts his childhood, growing up in New York City with his grandparents, his quirky neighbours, the schools he went to and a possible reunion with his mother.

The book is quite fun to read, flows nicely and is emotional in parts and highly entertaining as a whole. I guess the fact I had no expectations for this book made all the difference in my appreciation for it.

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