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 :))

more info on microblog mondays here

04 September 2014

random list of books

something else making the rounds on fb (i spend too much time there, i know) is making a list of 10 books that have stayed with you, without thinking too hard and in no particular order. how could i not do this?
 
1. the fountainhead, ayn rand
2. cloud atlas, david mitchell
3. burnt shadows, kamila shamsie
4. the poisonwood bible, barbara kingsolver
5. harry potter series, jk rowling
6. the gift of rain, tan twan eng
7. the notebook, nicholas sparks
8. an equal music, vikram seth
9. me before you, jojo moyes
10. life of pi, yann martell
11. the da vinci code, dan brown

i put 11, i just can't take out a single book from the list. and there are dozens more that keep coming to mind, so this is totally random, but these are definitely great books that came to me at different phases of life and stayed with me for various reasons :))

it is so interesting to note how different books appeal to different people.. and how even good friends can have such different tastes!

micro life

mel, awesome person that she is, has started 'microblog mondays', to reclaim our blogging spaces, and hosting our thoughts (status updates, tweets and so forth) on our own blogs. since it only needs to be a few sentences long, it is a great way to get back into blogging. many a time i find myself composing a status update in my head, and i think that eventually i will blog about this. eventually never occurs, of course. i am so excited, and have so many thoughts running in my head, that i could theoretically write several of these microblog posts right now :))

**
had a long overdue conversation with c last night, it was good. and it was pleasantly surprising to hear that she is suddenly moving along in worlds close to mine (work wise). it made me feel a tad less alone (i cannot recall the last time i used 'human rights' in a face to face conversation with someone), and also shed some glimmers of light on a world that i could eventually slowly maybe step in myself, here in india/bombay..

**
i have been reading ruth ozeki's 'a tale for the time being' and enjoying it. good writing, good characters, interesting plot and structure. i told z that it was 'good but not great'. i won't give you any definitions for such praise, as it is totally subjective, and varies from my mood to the time etc. more than half way through the book however, suddenly last night, it got great! the reason was the appearance of the personal diary and letters of one of the characters, a kamikaze pilot in ww2, which are totally awesome. now i simply have to finish the book before i can concentrate on anything else. this occurs with greater frequency nowadays.. to the detriment of so many other things i should be doing!! i have no self control when it comes to reading fiction.. i remember the very first time this happened, was book four of harry potter. i began in the evening, read into a good part of the night, and then simply could not go to work at my summer internship the next day. i called in sick and finished the book :P total bliss. if only i could get paid to read all these amazing novels!!!