06 September 2016

an ordinary life

Some days ago, I was thinking of book recommendations for my 16 year old niece.. I tried to remember what I was reading at her age, and although I came up with jane austen, nancy drew, little women, I am sure that I read much of this earlier. No one suggested stuff for me to read at that time, I just went into the school library and browsed for stuff.. and usually found lots of things to interest me. My niece does not have this option in India (libraries here are very different to what one would expect. Sigh). 

At the same time, I think everyone has their own book journey. Like people, I think that books come into your life at a time you need them.. for this reason, the books that I recommend may not appeal to my niece at all. Regardless, I will still insist that she at least try austen, judy blume, john green, paulo coelho.

The trip down memory lane also reminded me of one of the nicest, most meaningful compliments i had gotten: my passion and enthusiasm in discussing books inspired others to read too! I recall thinking that I lived a small, ordinary life, with no great feats. I was no role model material, but it was nice to know that I had inspired one person, at one time, to do something :) 

#microblog mondays

26 July 2016

fangirl

I just finished Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, in a quick two day stretch. It was lovely! The book was light, but good. The characters and plot just made me want to immerse myself in their world and never get out. The main girl, Cath, she is a writer. And her descriptions of why she writes, how she feels when she is writing, is how I feel when I read! (why oh why doesn't someone want to pay me to read?!!)
Why do I write? Cath tried to come up with a profound answer… 
To be somewhere else… 
To get free of ourselves 
And it was doubly awesome, because I picked up Fangirl after three aborted books. After I finished sacred games by Vikram Chandra, I was totally off my game in knowing what to read. Then I had headaches and dizziness issues, which meant I couldn’t read much anyways. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr is one of the most awesome books ever, a book that I will recommend to everyone, one of those oh-my-god-you-have-to-read-this-at-some-point-in-your-life books. So I thought I would try another one of his novels, amazing grace. But I just could not fathom it at all. The prose, the plot; none of it made sense. Then I tried human traces by Sebastian Faulks, which had been sitting dormant in my kindle for at least a couple of years. I like Faulks’ writing (a week in December and birdsong are my favourite novels of his), but I am not into the subject of human traces –psychiatry. So I gave up after a couple of chapters. Next was zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald, which all the reviews said was like an m m kaye novel –well, m m kaye was my absolute favourite for a few teenage years, so I thought why not. But I couldn’t get past the first few pages! (I am hoping that if I pick it up again in another frame of mind, I will enjoy it..) Finally, after much upset at not having something great on hand to read, I got fangirl. And it was exactly what I needed. It just sucked me in, whirled me around in its lovely world, and then threw me back out again :) 

I found the whole fanfiction thing interesting. I know it exists, but that is really all I know. I learnt of its existence during the harry potter era.. I found it weird-fascinating-cool that people were so into harry potter that they were writing up stuff themselves and having conventions and whatnot. I love harry potter, and I love discussing the books and movies, but that is really it. I may dream of going to Hogwarts, but no further. I didn’t want to read what other harry potter stuff people were writing –j k rowling’s work was enough for me. So I found cath and her addiction to the fictional characters of simon and baz fascinating. That she would rather write about them, then turn in something original for one of her classes –wow. But most of all, It was nice to be immersed. Why else do I read, if not to get caught up somewhere else? I will happily play host to cath, Reagan, levi and others in my head for the next few days :))

#microblog mondays
 

12 July 2016

these are the days

just a few days ago, i told my favourite aunt, reminiscing about all the summers i used to spend with her in bangkok, that 'those were the days'. i spent most of my teenage summers there, and i was lucky that my flights to egypt were always enroute bangkok, so even my uni summers were partly spent there. in those days i had no idea that later on (now) international travel would no longer be so easy, that exchange rates, the cost of four plane tickets and different school schedules would largely nix getting out of india and meeting up with family around the world. sigh. those were the days.

then yesterday, i read this article about parenting, and how an old man commented to his wife, 'those were the days', when he saw the author with her young kids and husband. i constantly tell myself that all this craziness and busyness and tiredness will pass as my toddler twins get older. i know that all too soon they will not plead for 'one more' story to be read, they will not jump so happily into my lap for the millionth kiss and cuddle. i look through their baby pictures and videos and already find myself yearning for the days gone by -i cannot imagine how much more poignant the feelings will be ten years down the line. 

so yes, these ARE the days. while i wait for getting some time to myself again, wait for being able to have a meal in peace, go and watch a movie, go shopping!, i am mindful of the blessings of today. my boys are kids and i will enjoy this phase with them :)

#microblog mondays
 

04 July 2016

i have a dream..

Since moving here six years ago, I have not thrown a party for myself (or anyone else for that matter), or even just invited friends over (what friends?!). We have had family over on different occasions, but that is not really the same thing. I want to be able to decide who I invite and what food will be on the menu, and which cutlery will be used and how the sofa should be arranged. 

Every year on our birthday or anniversary, I dream up get togethers that I could theoretically have.. they all remain in my head though! I am the kind of person who is terrified of inviting people over –what if no one comes? What if the food I make is terrible? What if people come but no one talks? And so on.. 

In the midst of planning a joint family celebration for Eid and the twins’ lunar birthday, I find myself really wanting to invite some girls over for my birthday later in the year. And so the past two days I have been obsessing over who to ask and what to cook (limited options available for both!) and how to politely evict the other house occupants :P Inshallah, this time I will be brave and will make the dream real..

#microblog mondays

milestones

My babies are learning to write. For the past two years, I have watched them scribble and color and scribble. On paper, books, walls, doors. Ever since they held their first magic slates in their hands, they have been fascinated by being able to scribble. They learnt to hold a pencil/crayon early on, by themselves. I have spent countless hours drawing pictures for them to marvel over/colour in. And then suddenly, yesterday, A takes out one of his school books, and starts writing 1 in the empty boxes. He finished the page in a matter of minutes, and I only needed to erase two of the boxes for him to redo. I was stunned. When did he learn this? How did he get so responsible? 

Later in the evening I was playing Ruzzle on my phone. M took the phone from me, wanting to ‘play’ as well. And he started sounding out the letters to me. I spent a few frustrating months earlier trying to get them to read out the alphabet, but they never cooperated. Their nursery teacher assured me they knew their letters, so I just let it go. 

Suddenly, I find they know their numbers and letters, they are beginning to write, and they can finally color pictures without going out of the boundaries. Wow! I am thrilled and proud and grateful for all these milestones :))

20 June 2016

kinds of smart


Reading this post on different kinds of smart made me laugh. It reminded me of the first time I had to apply for a travel visa.. i was going to Egypt for undergrad, and I nearly went to the embassy without my passport, because never having made my own travel arrangements until then, i didn’t realize the visa application needed to be submitted TOGETHER with my passport :P

That incident raised a lot of laughter, especially from my dad. It was funny, and it did not make me not smart. I lived in Egypt for four years, did a whole lot of other stuff, and I never felt not smart. Until I moved to India. The first time I used an ATM here, I had no idea that I had to remove my card immediately after sliding it in the slot, in order for the machine to function. So I just stood there with my card inside, like I would in HK and all the other countries where I had used ATM machines. The situation did not incite laughter, but just comments on how I did not even know how to use an ATM machine. There were many other such incidents, all of which left me feeling quite low on self esteem. Even today, I think only my twins see me as an authority on anything, and their certainty is great soul balm :)

Alhumdolillah for the twins, and for the small online community (work, friends and family) that keeps me sane and my self esteem topped up!

Speaking of the twins, their smartness and the way their minds work totally fascinates me. My conversation with one of them yesterday-

M: Mumma, are you old? [old right now refers to people the age of his grandma]
Me: Not so old..
M: Will you become old?
Me: Yes, slowly, not right now..
M thinks for a minute, then suddenly gets a little panicked, and says: No, don't become old, if you become old, then who will be my mumma??! 

i love my boys :)


07 June 2016

ramadan kareem

Ramadan is one of my favourite months, and this year, i am setting a few goals for myself. Just three simple things that I need to work on generally; what better time to start than Ramadan, the month of blessings and mercy.

- I need to be more patient. With my kids, family, myself.  This whatsapp forward made me smile:

‘patience is not about how long you can wait, but how well you behave while waiting’. i can wait awhile, but am usually quite sullen about it! Also, some time ago, the church nearby had its quote as ‘patience is the best prayer’.


-I can be nicer. There are many times when I react too fast, when the moment would be served better by just smiling and remaining silent, by being nice. So, whenever I want to shout, I will try to smile instead :P
-Reading more Quran. I used to be so regular with this, and it is time to get back on track.

Three small things. Inshallah!

#microblog mondays