The Love Verb by Jane Green

Steffi is a chef in a vegan restaurant in New York. Being a rock chick, and living a life on her terms, Steffi is the worry of her dad, who wishes she settled down.

Mason is a publisher who frequents Steffi’s restaurant, and is about to move to London. He wants somebody to look after his dog while he is away.

Steffi’s sister Callie, an exuberant mom of two, is busy with her life in the suburbs, happy balancing her family, and her photography business.

Lila, Callie’s best friend, has finally found the man of her dreams, is in her forties.

Walter, Callie and Steffi’s divorced parents, don’t see eye to eye. Walter to the point, where he refuses to be in the same room, as Honor, their mother.

Living their own lives,engrossed with everyday things until Callie is diagnosed with cancer – again. She had battled cancer, four years ago, and they were about to celebrate 4 years of cancer free life, when it hits again. This time even Callie seems scared. Everything changes overnight. Everybody rallies around Callie and her family, and the way the power of love works, is so heart warming.

A touching book, which has you in tears. It makes you realize how life can change in a minute, and when it does, I suppose that is when the power of love truly affects one. The premise of the book is that love is a verb. It’s a doing thing. What love does to Callie and the people around her. How the love that they have for her, changes lives in unimaginable ways.

A very touching read. It broke my heart and then mended it up as well. A sad, sweet, hopeful, beautifully written story.

The book also has recipes, very interesting vegan recipes, which I had planned to try out, but that unfortunately never happened.

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Just because..

..I am too tired to think of a title, but don’t want a lecture from Ashwathy 😉

There are reasons that I tell you that term breaks are pure torture. Reasons like this…


What’s wrong with this? This is a 3D puzzle. The box warns that it takes 2-3 hours to complete – but when we bought it, I somehow managed to miss it. Or perhaps my subconscious must have dismissed it – 2-3 hours – that has to be an exaggeration, right? Wrong. It takes that long and more. As I discovered to my horror.

Last week, Poohi’s school had a Maths puzzle workshop. We had been to it, and they had a little shop. And this was what we picked up from there. Mainly because Poohi loves puzzles, and she is quite good at them. So I thought(mistakenly), that may be it would be fun to do a 3D one. Maybe it would challenge her a bit. Challenge, it sure did. It just challenged the wrong person – me. I know, I know, I should have known!

This week has been a week of broken promises. We had planned to go out for lunch, just the two of us, but it never happened. Today we had planned for it again but there were some last minute change of plans. So we decided that we would go out in the evening. By the evening Poohi was a little tired, so we decided to stay at home and do something fun. That ‘something fun’ turned out to be that 3D puzzle.

Little fiddly pieces, trying to figure out what needs to be done, over the constant chatter of daughter’s(if you have met her, you would know what I mean), eager little fingers which are sometimes a bit too rough with cardboard pieces, with a million and one questions(does the real Tower bridge have giant batteries that makes it open?).. make a deadly combination.

At the end of the  3+ hours, my back is in pieces, I am ready to demolish the whole thing, if I could, and all I want is, for it to be assembled, and out of the way. I can’t help cursing myself for buying the darn thing, when daughter gives me a sudden hug, and says, ‘Amma, that is magic! It almost looks real ‘.

Can’t ask for more than that, can I? I guess a little ‘magic’ does work wonders to soothe a mother’s aching back and grumpy mood 🙂

PS: I haven’t been blog hopping much, haven’t been responding to comments. Come Monday, I will be on it, I promise 🙂 This week has been crazy!

Adjustment – The magic word?

Couple of years back, we had friends staying over, and as usual, we spent the better part of the weekend, talking.

One of the topics that came up was of their niece who had just started working. Apparently, the family was trying to get her married off and she was being rather stubborn -according to them. They were lamenting about how girls these days have ‘fancy’ ideas and have their own demands before getting married. On asking what these demands were, it turned out that she wanted to continue working after getting married. The family was trying to get her to ‘adjust’ because obviously ‘getting married was far more important than having a career’.

I was shocked to hear this from a seemingly modern couple. They went to explain that they even tried to make her understand by giving my example. ‘My example?’ – was my reaction. Apparently they said that even career women like me gave up their jobs and adjusted. I tried explaining that I did not ‘adjust’ – it was my choice – I worked when I wanted to , I took a break when I wanted to, I was not made to ‘adjust’ at all – by anyone. I did not adjust, I just took a decision based on a lot of factors, but I certainly did not ‘adjust’.  All she wants is to have that same freedom. Why should she be expected to give up her way of life? Why not look for a man who has the same expectations as her. Why expect her to enter a relationship starting off with compromises and adjustments that she does not want to make in the first place. Of course, that fell on deaf ears.

It makes me wonder why a man can lay down expectations of wanting a working wife( or a non-working one, for that matter), but a girl having the same(or similar) expectations is told to adjust? If anything, I would think that it makes more sense to have all these thing on the table – right at the beginning, than expecting one person to give up all their expectations, and then have a frustrated life- all their life?

Last time, in India, I met a newly married girl. She had got married within the same community, near her parents. Her mother wanted more for her. She was hoping that her daughter gets married outside the community so that she gets a different life, but that did not happen because the mother does not have much of a say in matters like this. This girl, after her wedding, is now confined to wearing sarees, she can’t ride her scooty anymore, she can’t step out of the house without her in-laws permission. And to make it worse, most girls, apparently get a little freedom when they go to their parent’s place, but because her parents live in the same town/village, she has to go around with a ghunghat even when she visits her parents! And when she voices her frustration, she is asked to adjust, because that’s what married women have to do. She is told that she will get used to all this after some time. It wouldn’t surprise me if the cheerful, bubbly girl is transformed into a woman with hardly a smile on her face, the next time we meet her. Her husband’s life on the other hand, continues just as before.

Another girl, I know, married into a joint family. All the ‘family’ responsibilities came onto her. Including waking up before everybody else, cooking, getting breakfast ready, and even taking a bed-tea to her sister-in-law! On the weekends, her husband would go out with his old friends, while she stayed at home, looking after her in-laws. And this girl, in question was a professional, before she gave up her job because of all the pressure on her. When her husband went abroad on work, she was asked to stay back to ‘look after her in-laws’. I wonder how they would have managed had their son not been married? Oh wait – that is why they got him married! To get a care-taker! Is she happy with her life? Well, lets just put it this way – I would not have heard about all this, had she been happy.

The reason ‘adjust’ and ‘adjustments’ have become a dirty word, so to speak, is because more often than not, it is the women doing most of the adjustments. More often than not, a woman is expected to become part of a new family, take up responsibilities, live life according to other people’s terms, while her partner gets to lead his life just the way it was.

On the other hand, if both partners were to adjust, compromise, and work towards their marriage, one would feel less annoyed with the word – ‘adjust’. Of course, life is full of adjustments, compromises, but people would be happier doing it, if they did not feel forced into it. None of us will get everything on a platter, and we all have to work towards it, in some way or the other. All of us are fine with certain adjustments, but might draw a line at others. I guess a happy relationship is where both partners are not expected to make those adjustments, that they don’t want to make. So if a girl is clear about having a career, then don’t make her ‘adjust’ and get her married off to man who has made it clear that he doesn’t want a working wife. What is the worst that could happen? She might get married a little later – isn’t it better than a life time of unhappiness for both partners?

Like I tried explaining to my friends, if I had been forced to leave my job, I would have felt frustrated and annoyed. Today, because I have the option, I feel at peace with my decision. And if more women want that, the choice, – what is wrong with it? Unless both partners feel happy and secure  in their relationship, it can go nowhere. And an unhappy relationship affect both partners equally. Eventually.

This is my contribution to ‘The Great Adjustment Story‘ at http://www.womensweb.in.

Where the love gets in By Tara Heavey

A sleepy little harbour town of Clare, has an unexpected visitor, a dolphin. Fisherman Aidan is the first to spot her and christens her Star.

The dolphin’s appearance prompts him to give up his fishing business, and star a Dolphin boat tour instead. But before he could get started, he comes across a beautiful woman with her autistic daughter. She, he later realizes, is a famous actress, Sarah Dillon, recovering from breast cancer, had come to the little village, in the hope that the dolphin helps her daughter’s autism.

Aidan is married to Fiona, the GP, of the little town. Fiona, from Dublin, originally, had moved here when she got married to Aidan. Once a romantic, happy couple, they are now practically strangers, living together and bringing up their children, dreading the moment when they youngest, Tommy gets ready to fly the nest.

Fiona and Sarah, both strong women, would have been the best of friends, in another world, but here, things are very different. Emotions spill, hearts are broken, lives get changed, over the span of one summer. Star, the dolphin,almost feels omnipresent, working her magic, in more ways than one.

It was a very different and powerful book. Each of the characters beautifully etched. The internal struggle within Aidan and the dynamics of the different relationships and the way the village reacts to the goings on, is just beautifully written.In the background is Sarah’s daughter Maia, who was the reason, Sarah came to the little village, in the first place. The fragile quality of life, how things we take for granted could change like we can never imagine, of how love can come when one least expects it… how powerful love can be..It was a beautiful read.

I loved the look, and would recommend it to anyone who likes romantic tales, with a difference. It brings you to tears, makes you wish that everything works out. It has a haunting feel to it. I especially loved the way she ended the story.

Crafts and challenges and love

This week’s Thursday Challenge is so perfect for a post that had been languishing in my drafts for a while now. This week, it is all about Crafts((Supplies, Knitting, Crocheting, Woodworking, Pottery, Painting,…) And everytime, I hear ‘craft’, all I(and Poohi and husband) can think of is our dear Crafty. So here goes, a post dedicated to Crafty.

And I also cheat, I have a lot more than one picture. I am not sure what the rules are, but does it really matter?

I was holidaying at home, totally out of touch with everybody else but family, when I logged into my blogging email and came across a very angry email from Crafty, demanding that I send her my address. As you guys know, I went underground when on vacation, so I saw this email rather late, and then managed to get Crafty’s number from Swaram and called her. What a bubbly, happy voice! So different from the low, unwell sounding Crafty I spoke to today. Crafty, please get well soon! Your last post had most of us worried. While we are delighted that you are on the way to recovery, we don’t want to hear of you being this unwell ever. Please get well soon! Hugs! And extra special hugs from Poohi.

So coming back to my holiday story, Crafty had made some lovely, lovely stuff for Poohi and me. See the pic below. That is Poohi’s ballerina. Crafty, she has been inseparable from it ever since she got hold of it . She even took it to school and told every body that Crafty Aunty made it for her. So now, everybody, including family, friends and random neighbours know of Crafty Aunty 🙂

And the lovely scarf that Crafty made for Poohi. You know what? Grey is also the colour of her uniform, so she can even wear it to school! What more can a little girl ask for 🙂

And below are some of the goodies that Crafty sent for Poohi and me:), although Poohi thinks that all this is just for her 😦 Aren’t those clips just the cutest? And the bookmarks! I swear, I end up admiring the bookmark instead of reading the book, a lot of times 🙂

I just wish I had half of her talent and heart! Hugs Crafty, get well soon and please do come and become my neighbour as you have been threatening 🙂 Nothing would give us more pleasure 🙂 Hugs again 🙂

Public Displays of Affection

.. that I love!

Daughter hugging me and planting dozens of kisses on my cheeks in the middle of an aisle in a supermarket buzzing with weekend shoppers, kind of made my day. Even more so because there was no real ‘reason’ for it 🙂 It was just a spontaneous display of affection that she just had to make!

Every time I see her, I marvel at the big girl that she has become. All set to enter the threshold of ‘big school’. Proper school finally, with uniforms and all. Last Friday she had a  story telling session at school, and off she went without a backward glance. Broke my heart and made me proud at the same time.  She had been going to nursery since last year, but big school is big school. Now she gets to go to school ‘everyday’, the thought of which makes her beam with excitement.

As she crosses milestones after milestones, the happiness is mixed with a tinge of sadness that my baby is not going to be my baby for too long. Soon, such public displays of affection will not be ‘cool’ anymore, and I might just have to read this post to remind me of the time when I was so adored by daughter!