27 August 2014

missing my parents, and writing

the twins are two! i started writing a post about this milestone a week ago (knowing that it could take me some time to get my thoughts down, and to 'find time' to write!!), which of course i haven't completed yet. but today, on their second birthday, i am missing my parents. i know how much they must want to celebrate with their grandsons. at this time last year, my mom was here. during every phone conversation, my dad invariably asks me when i am going for a visit, or tells me i should just send one/both of the twins over there. i truly envy all those people who have their entire families in one country, or even just one city. i don't dwell on this too much usually, as it could get quite depressing, and also because anyways, i am just thankful to have my family, even if they are far away. today however, i want my parents to be with me :s
"First there was nothing, then I was born... Yet that is not so. Human lives are not pieces of string that can be separated out from a knot of others and laid out straight. Families are webs... A birth is not really a beginning. Our lives at the start are not really our own but only the continuation of someone else's story... [the thirteenth tale, by diane setterfield]

i want my family, my parents and siblings to witness the twins' lives, which are also the continuation of our collective story.. 

a random career test was making the rounds on fb, and i succumbed to it expecting nothing but humor for my troubles. the screen told me that my destined career was to be a writer, to use words to tell a story, describe the world around me. huh. while not bowled over by its accuracy, i did see it as a sign from the universe, nudging me back to the path I had chosen so long ago. just yesterday I wrote that work is taking a back seat.. perhaps one reason for this is also because I am suddenly thinking of it as ‘work’. I need to make it my passion again, which is actually important to me as a person.. without it, I will be adrift.. additionally, i will be a better mom for it..

26 August 2014

david mitchell's new book, being 'that' mom and other random stuff

again, i have been meaning to write for ages. there have been so many thoughts crowding my head, which i needed to just put down, so i could process them later, and move on to other things [thoughts]. there never seems to be that right time though, or the right energy, or the perfect flow of words to screen. and so here i am, just vomiting it all out, in the 20 minutes i have before needing to go pick up the twins from playgroup.

** ok, first of all, i randomly saw an online banner yesterday announcing the release of a new novel by david mitchell -the bone clocks, which is reviewed to be even more awesome than cloud atlas. OHMYGOSH. i simply don't have the time to gush over my love of david mitchell yet again.. but i am ecstatic to read his new book :))))

i never imagined that i would be that mom, with those kids. you know, the harried moms with the kids who run around screaming in the mosque, or attempt to board every escalator they can see, or sit and have a tantrum in the middle of the mall. the ones who laugh and run faster when anyone tries to grab them or stop them from sticking their finger into a moving fan. 

i have tried time outs, locking them in the bathroom, shouting, scaring them with the sound of the blender/drill/bogeyman. all to no effect. everything seems to be a game for them, like they inhabit a huge amusement park. they are constantly running away from me and my restrictions- a now even tries to get out from the wrong side of the rickshaw, directly in the path of other vehicles.

the other day, at the doctor's office, they were creating so much havoc that the doc called out for an injection to administer to them, resulting in m immediately climbing onto my lap and demanding that he be given the injection first. i don't know whether to laugh or cry. 

trying to decide on a school for them is taking up a lot of mental energy. more so because i feel they are so young right now -i want to delay the world of routine and discipline and structure as much as possible. i just want them to play and discover things on their own. i just read this post on homeschooling, which made me even sadder at the need to put them in nursery from next year, when they will be just short of three years. i hate the entire system, and i hate that if i don't put them in nursery next year, they may not get into the school of our choice later on..

work is taking a back seat right now, which makes me feel super guilty. if i was more disciplined, organized and not so lazy, i am sure i could do better. i see so many moms who say that they get more writing/work done now, after having kids, and i am sooooo envious. i seem to have so little free time, and in that little time i want to read novels, play words with friends and catch up on whatsapp. i need more hours in the day. argh.

ok, 20 minutes are up. gotta go!

08 August 2014

friendships based on kids

a very long time ago a high school friend voiced her mom’s opinion that it was harder to make friends as you got older, and having kids was thus one way of making friends. what a surreal thought, my teenage self scoffed, sure that i would never be put in such a position. sigh. little did i know how true these words were, and how they would shine my later life path. since moving to india, friends have been pretty non-existent. without work or any other social ‘in’, i found it largely impossible to make friends. having kids to ease the loneliness was something i admit i thought of more than once. 

and now that i have the twins, i am suddenly part of an ‘in’. the entire past ramadan, i sat with other moms and kids in the masjid, and made more acquaintances and was included in more conversations than in my entire two-year-no-kids community life. i now have friends who i chat with regularly, even though scheduling playdates or adult dates is still a little difficult.. i have all the moms at the twins’ playgroup for random conversations and commiserations. in fact, now that the twins go to playgroup, i get out of the house everyday, i go shopping, i run errands, as opposed to just vegging at home. 

it’s like the twins gave me a whole new life. my new friendships are different from my old ones, my new ‘out and about’ routine is different to when i was working and single, but hey, i am so thankful to just feel alive, connected and useful again!! and i look forward to the blossoming of these new friendships, different and all :)

07 August 2014

books by authors of colour

so, my journey along the path of books-by-authors-of-colour is now three book old. the first was anita nair’s ‘lessons in forgetting’, totally wonderful. i had read her ‘ladies coupe’ a long long time ago, and although it impressed me, i totally forgot about nair. she is good. she writes well, her characters are real people you can identify with, and she combines that indian localness with global taste and experience very well. her india is not crass as that of chetan bahgat, and that is a relief! i am left wondering why she is not more well known.. will have to do some research into that. 

anyways, ‘lessons in forgetting’ was haunting. the plot and the characters are wonderful, and as you turn the last page, you are rooting for smriti, for jak, for meera. there is apparently a movie made out of the novel as well.. am not sure how i feel about that right now.. 

the second book was nadeem aslam’s ‘the wasted vigil’, and while i am tempted to say that reading the novel was also a ‘wasted vigil’, that would not be totally accurate.. the book has many redeeming factors, such as some of its prose, descriptions and some of its characters, such as marcus and dunia. one thing that really interested me was the perspective of those indoctrinated by ‘jihadis’; i would have enjoyed more conversations between casa and dunia, and seeing casa’s rigidly held beliefs crumble slowwwwly, as crumble they must, totally lacking in depth.. the end was hardly unexpected. my main problem with the novel was its slow pace.. and perhaps its cyclical nature. i want a story that goes from a to b, with characters that develop accordingly. i would not recommend this book, but i think i will try one other novel by aslam before deciding whether he is my cup of coffee or not.. 

i tried helen oyeyemi’s ‘the opposite house’, but really could not get into it. the symbolism is beyond me. i like her writing, but have no idea what she is writing about. that was a disappointment. 

to indulge my african craving, i am currently reading ‘we need new names’ by noviolet bulawayo, and it’s great. written in the voice of a child, food, parental/adult behaviour and childhood friendships and games are featured prominently, with little mention of politics or socio-economic factors. it is refreshing to understand a country, a time, and its people through these benchmarks (the games played by children are uncannily representative of the society they live in: ‘find bin laden’, ‘country-game’). bulawayo’s writing is striking and beautiful, and totally makes the zimbabwean/african experience come alive. 

my next read will be korean, which i am also eagerly looking forward to :)