20 October 2014

the end of my 'authors of colour' trip

i am reading the marrying of chani kaufman by eve harris, and totally enjoying it. orthodox judaism is a totally new world for me, so i am enjoying the journey. however, there are many things one can relate to in the novel--religion and its role in life, the need to cross boundaries, personal space, marrying someone you don’t know all that well, the fear of spinsterhood. being able to relate, in whatever way, to a novel, whether to the characters, the place, the issues or the time, is crucial in determining how much you will enjoy it.

some time ago i decided that i would try to read only authors of colour this year, and while i still have another two months to go, i am stopping. very simply, i am yearning for books from my old favorite authors, some of whom are authors of colour, and some who are not. i kind of feel like i took a long around the world vacation, i had a great time, but now i want to come home. i am tired and over stimulated, and i just want to lie on my sofa and read some chick lit. switch off my brain, put away my explorer wear and just be comfortable in my pajamas. 

i am glad i did this though; i have come across several new authors who i want to read more of, such as anne cherian, anita nair, marsha mehran, ruth ozeki. i also want to go back to reading books by jojo moyes, john green, barbara kingsolver, kate atkinson. (it is interesting how i seem to read more women authors these days.. food for a future post perhaps!) 

#microblog mondays

14 October 2014

writing, doodling and 'what is this'

my university notebook margins were filled with doodles. in a variety of colors. green, purple, turquoise, orange. i LOVED colored pens. gel ones in particular, with fine nibs. i had a pen fetish you could say.. i loved to write. i kept a journal for years, wrote letters and cards to friends frequently, took copious notes in and outside the classroom. with email, the letters gradually stopped. with blogging, my journal stopped as well. and now the note taking has stopped too. 

now that the twins have started scribbling with crayons, i find myself doodling again, in their books. i draw flowers and buses for them, which metamorphose into exotic doodles and geometric designs. before the twins, i don’t know when i last held a crayon in my hand!! it is fun, creative and oh so therapeutic. and it makes me miss writing, and my journal. writing down your thoughts, pen to paper, can never be eclipsed in sentiment by typing. just as reading on my kindle will never bring the same joy and feeling as reading a paper book. i want to do more writing and coloring and note taking! must come up with some projects to aid this.. ideas are welcome! 

the twins are smack bang in their ‘what is this’ phase. it started out as super cute and amusing. it is now giving me a headache. they scream, whine and cajole these three words on repeat mode. ‘mama will read’ now means that they will ask me ‘what is this’ to the gazillion pictures in their books, and i must answer immediately, or put up with increasing decibels of ‘what is this’. and if if don’t understand that they are pointing to the yellow tshirt being worn by bunny and NOT bunny’s tummy, well then, clearly i am not paying attention to ‘what is THIS’. sigh. i recall that at four, my niece was going through her ‘why’ phase… still some time to go.. ! 

i may be guilty of buying way too many books for the twins. i can’t help it though. i love books, and children’s books are so cute and colourful and CUTE. but i need to stop. really. i love that a will look through his books on his own.. with such an intent look on his face. ahh, may you both always love your books. (i emphasize this because reading is not really prioritized here, and no one in h’s family is a reader. my in laws term all the twins’ books and reading as ‘studying’.) 

01 October 2014

not knowing what to read and single parenting

i finished reading david mitchell's the bone clocks last week, and for a few days after, i was adrift.. all i wanted was to continue the adventure of horology, with marinus, holly, mo and l. i could not figure out which book to read next; nothing appealed to me. that is the worst feeling ever, when i simply don't want to read anything on hand. it is like those days when nothing in the wardrobe appeals to you, but you have to get dressed and go to work regardless. and so you wear something, and the whole time you just feel bleah.

i am thankful that this does not happen all that frequently.. there are times when i don't know what to read, but that is not because none of the books are as good as what i just finished..

finally, i reread the e-sample of pomegranate soup by marsha mehran that i've had for ages, and slowly felt like it would be good for my soul, healing, and foody, and foreign! it was a good choice, although i am now craving middle eastern food!!

with H away, i am parenting the twins alone. i cannot imagine how single parents manage. apart from the hands on, physical aspects of it, there is also the mental load--how can you carry all the anxiety and stress alone? when i found myself exhausted after dropping the twins at playgroup on monday morning, i realized that even though i do the same routine everyday, taking care of the twins alone (my MIL is there, but that is not the same as having my partner parent around) from 7am-7pm, just knowing that H is a phone call away makes so much difference. sigh. another three days to go.. so far i have intermittent headaches, shoulder pain and poor appetite. huh.

22 September 2014

parenting lows

i had all these happy, random thoughts/posts lined up for today, but with three sleepless nights, all i can do is yawn at the screen right now.

the twins being sick together just sucks. not only am i worn out taking care of them, but i inevitably get sick myself. and the lack of sleep is just getting harder and harder. suddenly, i cannot imagine how i used to wake up numerous times in the night to feed them/put them to sleep in their first year and a half. sigh.

people say that you learn patience as a parent. maybe, but i have also learnt rage. those who think of me as calm and unconfrontational would be surprised at how quickly the twins are able to rile me up. i am surprised myself at the anger i hold inside; at how many times i just want to throw objects across the room or shake the twins hard (no, i do not act on these thoughts).

i miss my mom. and the 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep i took for granted, in another lifetime.

15 September 2014

reclaiming the hijab and femininity

"my femininity is not for public consumption"
this is such a gorgeous line, from this article on women reclaiming the hijab to counter patriarchy and fundamentalism.

if i had been so articulate at 18, this is what i would have said to all those who questioned whywhywhy. it is so so liberating to not be seen by what you wear, your figure, your hairstyle. yes, at first, i felt like i was suddenly this asexual being, and many many guys (and girls) would simply shy away from me, or would treat me as they would an older, married lady. this was okay though, as i got my bearing as a freshman in university, in a different country, a different planet perhaps. 

being 'me' suddenly had so many more facets, such as what i studied, where in cairo i lived, who my room/flat mates were, what i read, which city i had come from. i am not saying that these facets are not there to people who are not veiled. i just felt that they came much easier now that my femininity was out of the equation.

today, some 20 years later, i am totally 'me', and my femininity is definitely not for public consumption :)

#microblog mondays

12 September 2014

the indian definition of 'pastry'

so we went to a couple of bakeries/cake shops yesterday on a quest to find me some cheesecake, which i have been craving for quite some time. it was a half hearted quest, as kandivali is honestly not the place for cheesecake, but i figured i would just get something else in the worst case scenario. all i could find was a slice of  red velvet cream cheese cake, which was yummy, but not the cheesecake of my cravings. i have always wanted to taste red velvet cake however, so i was quite happy.

what i wanted to note, and what has struck me since i moved here four years ago, is the lack of pastries in bakeries, and the use of the term ‘pastry’ to mean a slice of cake. fruit tarts, chocolate danishes, eclairs and pies are all missing in most bakeries/cake shops here. they will have whole cakes sold by the kg on one side, and slices of the same cakes in little plastic containers on another side. these are called ‘pastries’. i was initially very bemused by this. traditional indian bakeries will sell a wide variety of indian biscuits, puffs and breads, and a few varieties of sponge cake. i know there are a few bakeries that do have danishes, croissants and so on, but these are situated in the more posh areas of the city.

similarly, the indian use of the word ‘souffle’ is totally different to the original baked dish.. it refers to a dessert that is a type of jelly/pudding with a scoop of ice cream in the middle!! hah, i wonder what would happen if i actually served someone an original cheese souffle?! come to that, even the word ‘jelly’ is used differently here -my MIL refers to any fruit puree i make for the kids as ‘jelly’, and i was once offered some ‘mango jelly’ that was in fact, a concoction of fruit and milk!!

there must be many other words and terms that have totally different meanings here.. i will try to note them down as i come across them!

08 September 2014

shower versus bucket

i got to use the shower today after EONS, and it was pure bliss. it actually felt like a micro massage!! i am getting used to taking a bath with a bucket and mug (as is the norm here), but showering under a warm spray of water will always be like coming home. and yes, i know that using the shower is much more wasteful, but still, it feels so darn good. unlike hk and other places, here water is not provided to individual apartments directly from government water pipes. instead, government water is provided to each building in its storage tanks at certain times of the day, and this water is then distributed to all the apartments. in our apartment building, this occurs only twice a day, for an hour each, so we have to fill our own internal storage tanks to ensure water is available to us 24-7. 

anyways, the point is that there is simply not enough water pressure for the shower to work with individual storage tank water, sigh. the shower only works when the water is coming from the building water, and that is the time i need to take the twins to playgroup. today being a holiday, i was in the shower :))

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