Today’s post is on the book blog – Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
It’s funny how long forgotten memories surface when you least expect it.
I’m on a food group on Facebook. One where I do nothing but salivate at the pictures being shared. One day someone shared a picture of fried eggs being made in a tarka pan and that set me off. My grandmother used to make eggs in a pan like that. Over an old fashioned wood burning oven. It’s funny how I had completely forgotten about it until then.
That picture brought back a flood of memories of that time, when I spent my school holidays every summer in the midst of greenery in Wayanad. One of the earliest memories I have is of having no electricity there. We lived in quite a remote place. My parents’ place, now. , has neighbours not too far away from their house, but my grandparents’ (both maternal and paternal) houses used to be perched on the side of two hills. The nearest house was across large paddy fields on a hill on the opposite side. So it was quite a different (and even scary at times – that’s a story for another day) place for a young child who lived in a colony with neighbours at shouting distance back at home. Without electricity. Being remote, electricity didn’t reach there until I was a little older (perhaps when I was 7 or 8). Actually I might have been a little might have been a little younger than that because I don’t remember reading in the light of lamps. By the time I was old enough to read we did have proper electricity. I have distinct memories of discovering my granddad’s book collection and pouring over them for hours together. The first P.G.Wodehouse I read was from his collection. I do believe my addiction to books must have been inherited from him.
When I look back, I remember is not the inconvenience or any hassle of not having the conveniences that we have today. What I remember is the atmosphere and the fun I had during the time we spent there. Going back to Jamshedpur always l left me sad. Sometimes I wonder if my daughter, so used to the ease of life here, would have been able to live in a time like that. Would she have ever managed given that she lives in a time where everything is so much easier. Then I see her when we are there. She has no telly there (we do have a telly, but none of the programmes interest her), she doesn’t have a tablet or fancy gadgets but she manages just fine. She finds other things to entertain her. Books, playing with pups, going for walks into the plantation with my dad or my uncle, getting her hands on a cocoa pod, or a nutmeg, writing reams and reams of her stories (yes, she loves writing). Not once do I hear her complaining of boredom.
And I realise that she’s doing just what I did when I was her age. Enjoying the moment, adapting to the place and making memories.. Hopefully loads of happy memories that will sustain her and remind of her holidays in a remote corner of the world, quite remote in comparison to where she lives.. Just like me. I do hope many years down the line, she appreciates how lucky she (and I ) have been to have lived in such a wonderful place, managed to experience such contrasts in life and enjoyed it to the fullest.
Also known as ‘What to Post’ syndrome.
Known to affect bloggers such as myself who sign up to NaBloPoMos in a heartbeat only to spend the rest of the month living this syndrome.
I’ve been lucky to avoid this so far this time around, of course it’s only been 5 days, so it might be a wee bit too early to celebrate. I’ve been writing and scheduling posts the day before leaving me with a full day and some more for the next day. The fact that daughter was away on a residential trip helped as well.
Yesterday morning, Deeps tweeted that I had my post ready early in the morning, well, today, I’m the other end of the spectrum. I’m down with the WTP Syndrome. We had friends over for dinner. This was a last minute plan so it was a hectic busy day trying to sort everything out. To add to that, it was really late by the time we wrapped up stuff, by my standards (I’m in bed by 9:30-10:00 on most days). Not just woke late, also woke up with the most horrendous headache.
Today is going to be chaos. Daughter has a performance yo go to. We’ve got to drop her off at 2:30 and then go to see the performance at 6:00. She’s just let me know last night that she needs new shoes. Given that on Sunday shops only open at 11:00, I’m going to have to drive her to the shops hunt for something appropriate and then rush back to lunch, getting ready and stuff. Plus sorting out the laundry, which is practically overflowing.
Husband came back from India last week, so he has a few loads of unwashed clothes. Daughter got back from her residential trip and has a few loads of unwashed, extremely mucky and wet clothes. I’ve been having to plan my laundry cycles to optimise loads with drying cycles and if there is one time I miss the sun the most, its at times like these. I’ve got so many clothes drying indoors that it drives me mad. If only I could dry clothes on the clothesline outside. The weather here is so beautiful that drying anything outside is a sure fire way of ensuring that they end up wetter than at the outset.
Leaving me with lots to do, with a head that hurts when I move and a post to do before the end of the day. To say that I’m going to have trouble posting, is probably an understatement. Or I could just publish these meaningless ramblings. Not that my usual posts are in any way different.
Job done. For today.
…was our state for the last five days.
Actually, child-free is the probably the more appropriate terminology although truth be said, I did feel a little footloose and fancy free..
- No rushing from work just in time to reach the after school club.
- No morning madness to get her ready in time. Actually, all that I do these days is scream all the time in the mornings, all the actual getting ready bits are done by her, but still.
- Lazier mornings, and on one morning when I had the worst headache in the world, I had the luxury of having an extra 1/2 hour lie in rather than having to get up anyway and get on. Pure Luxury.
- Evenings spent outside, shopping, with no worries around it being a school night.
- Husband and I watched a movie together at the cinema last night after ages. A grown up movie that is. Bridget Jones’ Baby if you insist on knowing.
One of daughter’s friend’s mum asked me how I coped, did I miss her terribly, and I had to be honest, ‘Not particularly’!
And yet, I wonder why, I spent the whole day today, checking my email for school updates. Willing them to email that they are arriving earlier than expected.
Wonder why I left work at 15:45 when I didn’t hear any further updates from school.
Wonder why I couldn’t wait in the car for the coach to arrive.
Wonder why I couldn’t help stamp my feet in annoyance when minutes ticked by without any sign of the coaches.
Wonder why I couldn’t wait to have that daughter of mine back in my arms.All the freedom, the fun, the joys of being ‘free’ was forgotten at the sight of her waving at me through the windows of the bus. Her non-stop chattering, her excitement at all that she did at the trip. So much to share from the moment I picked her up. All the shopping, movies, dinners of the world aren’t worth the happiness of having her back at home. Even if all she is doing is sitting and reading a new book her dad got for her from his trip to India. I’ll take that anytime.
God! How am I going to manage when she goes to Uni! And its only about 8 years away!
Another book review and another Kelly Rimmer book, over at the book blog.
Thanks to the NaBloPoMo, I’ve gone and dusted the shelves of my book blog only to find book reviews sitting there waiting to be top and tailed and published 🙂 So do hop over to the book blog for today’s post.
No no, not the kind of break you are thinking about. Not the ‘Friends’ kind of break.
I’m talking about taking a break from regular, hectic life. One of things I haven’t had in the last few months, actually last 2-3 years, is a proper break, a holiday.
Some of you might have known that the last 2-3 years have been tough on me, on the personal front. The feeling I’ve been left with is being on a non-stop emotional treadmill, where my mind is too exhausted to think. Where I’m constantly worried, constantly jittery. I wake up at 5 without an alarm, can’t seem to relax or take it easy. It hasn’t helped that eveything does land on one’s plate at the same time. I’ve been left with very little time to take a break. I have taken breaks from work but they have invariably involved traveling to India and haven’t constituted a proper break.
This has been a blessing and a curse in many ways. Being busy beyond words meant that I didn’t get much time to brood over stuff and get depressed, however it also left me mentally and physically exhausted.
We have just completed a rather taxing phase at work and that kind of, brought home to me that I need a break. A break where I do as little as possible. With everything else going on, daughter has also been one of the affected parties; I’ve had very little quality time to spend with her. Last summer whizzed past with work, her work (she was preparing for her 11 plus and I must have been one of mums who didn’t do much work with her). I feel like I spent very little time with her
Given how busy I’d been, it was rather easy to come to the decision that I need a break. Daughter’s October half term seemed perfect. Husband was in India, and daughter had a half term break. It made perfect sense that I’d take a week off from work and spend time at home with her.
And so it was decided.
Daughter and I spent the time doing just about nothing or whatever she and I fancied. She had some friends over on some days. We went shopping for her residential trip on some days. We baked fun stuff, made cool stuff ( like homemade lip gloss), watched some TV ( The Great British Bake off! and Victorian Slum – if any of you have seen it, do share how you found it). But mainly we did nothing much. A week which was agenda-less. I would read until late in the night, laze around, just relax. While it wasn’t all pure ‘me time’, I did get a lot of time to do what I pleased. From reading through the night to putting together a terrarium.
The best part for me was the feeling of relaxation. Something I had almost forgotten about. That feeling of not working to a plan, or a schedule, not having the flexibility to let things go. Not do things in an order, just going with the flow. It was pure bliss. The kind of joy I had completely lost touch with. And of course like all good things, it came to an end.
While the break came to an end, what has remained is the feeling of rejuvenation, that feeling of being recharged. Though I’m back at work now, I’m much more relaxed, I feel happier. The difference that one week has made is unbelievable. It leaves me with the resolve to take a few more breaks of this sort every now and again. I don’t need a fancy holiday or anything like that, all I need is just some time doing something relaxing, even if it is lounging on the sofa reading a book.
The memories of the last week would last me a while and it has also prompted me to apply for another weeks’ leave in a few weeks time. After all, we can’t discard learnings of this sort, can we?
P.S. This marathon is another fun side-effect of the break 🙂 I’m sure I would have missed the FB update had I not been at home 🙂 One more reason to schedule more breaks in my life!
The title must have been clue enough. Yes, I’ve been roped in to do another NaBloPoMo.
I must get my head checked. Absolutely no two ways about it. Why on earth did I think that this is even remotely sensible. And that’s the problem isn’t it, I’ve jumped into this, tempted by Swaram’s words, feet first, without a thought around how I could possibly do this. And not the first time I’ve done that either. So no excuses really apart from posting what I can, as much as I can, and having fun while doing so.
As usual, I am going to post both here as well as the book blog. Hopefully some of the long pending review posts will see the light of the day. You do notice I say, ‘hopefully’? That’s how much confidence I have in my own ability to see this through to completion, but at the very least I can try, as I promised Swaram 🙂
So all the best, my fellow marathoners. Let the fun begin.
Spring, they say renews life, reminds us that the end of winter is here. The end of the bleakness, for now.
The promise of fresh starts, new leaves sprouting, nesting birds, barren trees starting to cover themselves in their green mantle.
This spring feels a little more like that for me. The last two years have passed in the sort of uncertainty that I find difficult to explain. Ever since we found out that my mum had a terminal illness with a shocking prognosis, it had felt like winter set in, forever. I’ve always grown plants. My windowsills and balconies never used to be without greens. Until the last two years. I remember I had planted some chilli seeds just before I had the news of my mum’s illness. I just let it go. I didn’t water it, couldn’t bring myself to do anything positive of that nature. Of course it didn’t help that we kept traveling to India, leaving our plants to wither away.
We filled our house with artficial plants to pretend it’s all normal. So much so that a friend even remarked that he would have never thought I would have artificial plants in the house.
And that’s how it was. Until last week when I suddenly wanted to plant. I have my mum’s and dad’s genes in me after all. I couldn’t not plant. I’ve now got containers of cauliflower seedlings. Why cauliflower, don’t ask me, I thought it would be fun. Can’t wait to plant some tomatoes and some cucumber. After a long long time, I’m feeling excited.
Maybe spring is here after all.
I’m reading a book about a woman who had big dreams but had to give them up.
She’s stuck in the same place she was born and bred, while all she wanted was to fly far far away. Glamorous places, away from the norm. She is also the main carer for her mum, suffering from dementia. It’s not an easy life.
Yes, not an easy life, and I could understand her frustrations, but as I read it, began to wish I could swap places with her. Live in the place I grew up in, be near my parents, be there to look after my dad, to have been there for my mum.. I wish I could.. How nice it would have been. Of course I know all about the grass being greener on the other side and stuff, but I can’t help feel a tiny bit jealous when I hear my colleagues talk about weekend plans with their families, family weekends, etc. For me to have one of those, I need to plan an international trip!
But that’s life, isn’t it? We get what we get. It feels so unfair at times, while at other times, you feel grateful, knowing that you have been blessed.
Today when my Dad has gotten in that flight back to India, I’m afraid, I’m feeling more than a bit rubbish. All I want is to hold him tight, never let go, be around him.. 2 months of having him here, of having his calm reassuring presence, being there when he needed me, knowing that all the pieces of my heart are together, that comfort, even in the middle of mourning for my mum… I’m missing all that.
All I can hope for, is for his strength and positivity to come through, to help him combat the loneliness that is waiting for him. Hope is all I have…and that hope I will cling on to….