29 January, 2015

Room - Emma Donohue - Book Review

This book was a suggestion from two friends. It happened at a time when I couldnt spare the time for this genre. Im glad I read it late and I loved the book two ways. This being a true incident - I didnt want to judge anything about the book. Firstly, I liked how the author potrayed the incident through the eyes of a child. Second, I loved the attention to detail given to the book.

The book at one point is overwhelming and claustrophobic. Its unfair to say so because the story is based on this kidnapped woman who is forced to live in a room that is 11' *11'. She gives birth to the boy in the room and he knows nothing but the room. The woman lives a total of 7 years in this hellhole where her kidnapper provides food and electricity. It is painful as u read. She breastfeeds her five yr old son. They follow a strict regime and the boy, Jack hates falling out of routine. To him the materialistic things in the room are also people. He talks to them like to his mom. He watches a bit of TV and that is Outside - something they will never know for a while.

Up until the part where they escape, there is a tight knot in one's throat.  Once in the outside world, the boy's struggles to adjust with vision, hearing, speaking and how he weans from Jack and his Ma to just Jack and his mother is the end to the book.

The book brought about a thinking in me about how the entire world is at our hands and how we take everything for granted. I even got to thinking how much more can be given to children with limited things and space.

On the whole I loved the book. Hated the incident in real life. The book is captivating and scary. Im all mixed feelings about the book.

I do hope no one goes through something like this ever.

28 January, 2015

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes - book review

I'm deeply disappointed I watched the movies guzaarish and khoobsurat before I read this book. Inspite of having Sonam Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Hrithick Roshan flash in my head every time I read the book, I loved it. A well written book with very few characters, no confusing, storyline, heartbreaking tragedy, soulful relationships, love for family and of all, love portrayed well.

The book is based on a girl who takes up a job too make ends meet, being the only bread winner of the family. She is the happy go-lucky kinda girl. Silly, in her own way. Smarter than silly. She is the older sister who sacrifices too much. She is probably a part of every girl in every household. No one can hate Louisa. She accepts the job of being 'company' to a quadriplegic. Secretly she learns that her boss has petitioned to the Dignitas to kill himself because he cannot do much in his wheelchair. The family buys a time frame of six months and that's when Louisa is his company. 

The book is easy to read and is tough to put down. Loisa makes a lot of effort to help him overcome his solitude by starting conversations. Mostly, she is not entertained. Somehow she gets through to him and they become the best of friends. Their relationship is probably the kind where the boy keeps saying 'u silly girl' all the time yet falling in love with her confident silly ways. While she is optimistically herself! 

The story unfolds beautifully when Louisa convinces him to go on a trip and thinks she can change his mind to remove himself from the petition. They fall in love and what happens after is the end to the story. In between, there is a sister one cannot miss. And a boyfriend that no one would ever want. 

The book stays in my heart. After, I did some research about the Dignitas and it makes me shudder that it actually exists. I gave the book 5 stars. And I give five stars only when a book makes me cry.

A beautiful read. Not sure how men will react to the book. 

24 January, 2015

How 2014 turned out to be. What 2015 needs to be.

It felt like 2015 just started but I wake up to realising Obama is already on his plane here. Couldn't they just pack my friends from there and send them across instead? We'll have a great week and send them back, I promise. What a whoosh 2014 was! Went by so quickly like every other year, quick.

I started 2015 with a lot of promises to myself for me and for my family. Specially for Gnan. I promised myself I would read more. I've been keeping that up, thanks to e-reading and recommendations from friends. I started this book called The Happiness Project which is almost everything that was happening in my life. It's a book written by a person who built her own project for a year to remAin happy. She wasn't depressed, she just decided she wasn't happy enough. I was in the exact same zone for a while at the end of last year and this book came at the right time. I had done my own version of cleaning, making space, retail therapy (which mostly included adding western clothes that I no more wear often to the online cart and then closing the browsing tab) - aaah, the joy of window shopping. I almost missed those days of mindlessly wandering around in a Spencer plaza for free air conditioning and window shopping. I still had some place in my head that said, 'well, not enough!' I sprung into buying books at the end of last year and started reading. A few days later I felt better but after I finished every book I would wonder why I wasn't in that world. The Happiness Project almost switched on the lights and showed me the way to get out of the dull hole in my head. I figured out I could do so much more with my time. I wrote down a list of all that I wanted to do and two more lists. (P.s : if u don't like making lists or any kind of written illustration, pls don't bother. My head works this way) 

Notepad out. List one.

What didn't work in 2014. 

1. Switching off early.
I realised I had a plan for 2014 like I have every year but somehow I didn't keep up with them through the year. For example, I had challenged myself to read 12 books that year and I completed that challenge, in May. I had a solid six more months to have read another 12 books, but I didn't make an effort. I could have. I

2. Didn't blog enough
I just don't realised why I don't, or didn't. I spend a lot of time with the iPad in hand browsing random stuff instead of which I could have written. Nothing like the written word. 

3. Didn't exercise enough
Aah, well. Padhu and I end up saying we should, but we never do.

4. Nothing new
In 2014, I did nothing new. I didn't make an attempt to make a new friend also. Well, it's not like I meet a hundred people everyday but I didn't even make an effort. Somewhere, I was comfortable with the atmosphere and didn't make a move. 

5. Travel wise
After a heartbreaking cancellation of the whole Bali trip, I had given up on planning things. I decided I should never plan ahead cause somehow it doesn't work at the end. A series of other trips failed after that, assuring me I was right. 

Turn page. List two.

What worked in 2014

1. Potty training
The happiest days of a toddler mommy. If u r smiling, pls clap also? Thanks! It's that difficult. 

2. Staying out of closet trouble
I'm the one who likes to hoard a lot of stuff. And most of it is stuff I do not need. At the end of 2013, I took an oath to never add anything to the room that we will not use every week. For example - It was very difficult to say no to the nail cutter with the hippo on top. U press hippos butt and hippos mouth open revealing the blades to cut your nails. It took me a lot of effort to say no to that. I removed all that clutter from my room. When I read The Happiness Project, I smiled to myself thinking - haa, that was me - a year ago. It is true. I had to throw out 3 Apple boxes - a phone, iPad, iPod. These three r used on a daily basis and the boxes are such a waste of space. It was a heavenly feeling to throw out chargers. I had Samsung, Panasonic, LG, Nokia, some Korean company and at that point both Padhu and me were using blackberries sharing one charger. (Fighting over who gets to charge overnight was fun though). I kept my 2014 promise and didn't add any clutter to the room. I gave away all of G boy's old clothes, the carry cot and toys. Discarding is fun! 

3. Buying smart
I was the kind of buyer who always bought during the sales. And since I was pretty much stuck at home after the baby, I didn't bother to splurge on clothes. In 2014, I decided to put an end to that silly habit (not entirely) and buy what I like. Padhu hated it when I mentioned prices and silly discounts. I kinda gave that habit away (not entirely) in 2014. I deserve a pat on my back for that (not entirely). 

4. Shed the fighter cock feather
I'm a fighter cock. If u r smiling - either u know me too well or you r one too. I kept out of picking a fight with anyone (mostly Padhu). I never had the last word of any argument. I gave in, listened. Thanks to I don't know who! 


Turn page. List 3.

The third list I had written out was a lot less smaller initially. I added a few bits after I read The Happiness Project. The book helped in a way nobody would. Other than the author, of course!

List before THP

1. Drink 6 bottles of water everyday (up until 2012 I used to) 
2. Read more
3. Blog every week
4. Exercise
5. Wake early
6. Start Carnatic music classes for Gnan and me
7. Change Gnans bedtime stories (I'm sure even the hidden mosquitos inside the room are bored)
8. Start helping out Padhu in office

List after THP 

1. Drink 6 bottles of water 
2. Read more. THP says give yourself a number. So I gave myself 5 a month. If I do, I'd be at 60 at the end of 2015.
3. Blog every week. THP says give yourself a number. I'd rather go by something common to write about every week. Like a book I read, things I did with G boy, new people I've met etc. 
4. Exercise. My mum's orthopaedist has given her a stretchable rubber sheet that is used to exercise. I love and it makes every muscle happy. It a great tool to own for those who cannot afford equipment with three babies running inside the house. It's 220 bucks and I'm buying it as soon as I get out of home next. Did I say I love it? 
5. Wake early. Both Padhu and I have had issues with this one every time. So I set my wake time to 7am for those days Gnan goes to sleep before 11pm. For the days G sleeps later than 11pm, I'm allowing myself wake time till 730am the next morning. And for those nights that we get back home late or end up sleeping later than 11pm, I give myself 745am. I hope to stick to it. Poor Padhu does to.
6. Start Carnatic music classes for me and Gnan. 
7. Bedtime stories. (I bought a new show and tell book which involves his favourite things - farm animals, balloons and colours)
8. Start with Padhu in office - this won't be until June. G starts school and I have time to figure out where to start.
Additions.. 
9. Make an effort to dress well. I find myself being very lazy to wear the right footwear or jewellery. I ended up going to a wedding in my flip flops once because I was in a hurry. Not like anyone noticed, but seriously? Flip flops in a wedding is a wake up call. 
10. Avoid using my phone or iPad when G is awake. Almost all of us parents use our screens so much, we don't realise when our babies are saying the loveliest things. I missed out on Gnan saying 'caterpillar' and the way he explained how honey bees go from flower to flower and give us honey. I realised only half way. 
11. Write short stories. I used to. So I decided to brush that hobby back to life again. 
12. Learn something new - fondant figurines. 
13. Be Pragi. This is totally from THP. Her first rule is Be Gretchen. It makes sense when things go wrong. All you need to do is stop and ask what Pragi would do. Made so much sense cause somewhere down the years, I did lose the way many a times. 
14. Keep in touch. Well, according to my friends I'm the best at that. Well, to me, just not enough. Who says enough to friends? 
15. Gift each other. I used to. Brushing it back to life again, the habit.

Phew. Some lists huh! Hoping 2015 turns out well. 

P.s : today is Jan 23 and I'm done with 6 books this month. Thanks to e reading. I've cleaned clutter, which is lesser than the clutter I threw away in 2014. I still shop during sales, but only for the good ones. Who doesn't! G and I go on our usual evening walks. This week we are collecting flowers a color a day. Not like we live in a botanical heaven, but we are trying. My water levels don't seem to be reached. I'm working on avoiding the flip flops (though they are comfortable as hell and who the hell cares what is hiding under the saree). 

Reminders

Drumming prime ministers exist. 
Purple dinosaurs exist. My son's just said the ABCs.
Clouds will break into chocolate gems. (My niece wants kinder joy)
People buy orange cars.
An umbrella with a hole can still stop the rain some part.
Once a swimmer, always a swimmer. 
Photo frames are the best.
It's okay to want to buy something all the time. Keeps you wanting something in life.
Milk is the magic solution. (G boy says so. And after my grandma's legs condition, I think so too)
Speed dials change. Friends don't. If dad was 2 when u were in college, mum can be 2 after you are married. 
It is ok to finish Nutella in two days. It adds to the waist, the bum, the shoulders, the cheeks and also when shared with a baby brother - memories. 
A phone call is so easy. Visiting someone is easy too. 
When in doubt, always saree. Not fat, not thin - just right. Also, a dash of Kajal.
Happy birthday mags are good. Calls are better. 
For those times in need of space, hand over the playdoh. It's ok. No guilt.
When friends are far, there is always Amazon!
Any kind of therapy ends in retail therapy.. Baaaam. Book therapy too. 
House MD may have ended. Get over it. 
Two little bunny teeth are always smiling. Needs a little tickle to make a laugh! At the end of the day, that is worth a million! 







21 January, 2015

Touch.

There was a realisation phase that happened recently. I hadn't used a touch screen phone until last year. I was a qwerty lover and I relied on typing the hell out of the keys. I guess the touch screen brought about a brilliant change. Every time I would want to exit something on my qwerty, I'd press the red button and instantly I would be out. This happens even during my conversations with people, specially my husband. I would argue or reply and I would make it so sharp that the other person would not feel like replying after that. I loved it at that point and that was my red button to end the conversation. It was like the decision has been made and your opinion doesn't matter. It was abrupt, rude and I knew it. Most of the times, I was right but another opinion would never hurt. 

Then came the day the touch screen arrived. Everyone said it was easy and so I obliged. The thing about the touchscreen is, the touch registers a little slower than the pressing of the button on the qwerty. And when you want to exit an app, there is not button to abruptly leave. There is a back option that needs to be touched. I was fuming when the phone wasn't fast enough for me but later I slowed down. In every aspect. I'd wait to see how long it took and another 3 seconds wasn't hurting. I'd also wait to hear what people and Padhu had to say, consider it and then reply. I then decided that this also works. I've had the phone for over a year now and it's slower than when I bought it but now it doesn't matter. It has given me the strength to accept that everything cannot be controlled and letting go or waiting won't hurt. I tried applying the same in many aspects at home and there came a huge change, a peace of mind and a spotless home. 

Dear Other Realisations, 

Do arrive quicker.

Pg

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