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The wind and the willows and the chimes…..

Photo Curtsey:mentallynaibiting

Nothing rejuvenates me more than going away from the city to the mountains. The sun shining on me, the gentle cold breeze, and the sound of the wind chimes mixing with the wild songs that the birds sing….heaven can wait, this is paradise.

As planned, my flat mate, her parents and I took off for a mountain trip mid this week. This unexplored…. well relatively unexplored and virgin out of the way cottage in the mountain forests is a bliss for all those who love quiet, dig communing with nature and spend hours on doing things they never get time for in the city – reading, writing, thinking, laughing. It’s a quaint out of the way place that reflects the glory of this mountainous land and provides some vintage glimpses into its 140 year old history. The rooms are clean and spacious with antique albeit simple and basic furnishings, the staff is wonderful and to state that the food is yummlious is an understatement.  (Yes, I invented that word and currently hold its sole copyright!) But best of all is its environs – surrounded by mountains on all sides, this 100,000 acre farm ((Yup! It’s a farm in the mountains)  has some of the most beautiful woods, that have been left to nature for their tending without human intervention (I hate pruned and planned gardens!) and have thus a natural and wild magnificence . We spend the days here watching the sun rise over the mountains, trekking up the hills (my flat mate and not me…me not particularly keen on physical activity and I firmly believe one can bond with the various beauties that the nature has to offer from one spot), writing oodles and oodles, listening to forgotten melodies, photographing (again my industrious flatmate) and laughing! In a nutshell, we are having a brilliant time.

Photo Curtsey:mentallynaibiting

 

Photo Curtsey:mentallynaibiting

Which is why, I do not understand the psyche of some of the people visiting this place. The farm’s website screams out loudly that this is not a regular deluxe a-la grandee establishment with disco and bar etc. It’s a place to come away from civilization but some guests simply did not get the point. They reach this place and demand to know where can go site seeing and why does the farm not offer pasta! They want to know if they can have a bonfire party and a night spent at the farm is enough to make them miss the city. I guess they never heard of Mark Twain – “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. These people undertake to travel to further their prejudices, re confirm all their bigotry and impose their narrow minded standards on the rest of the world!!Now don’t get me wrong, I love my city too…I love the home deliveries, the uninterrupted internet services (asking for God is easier than seeking continued internet availability in this place) and my all night parties. But then when I want to get away from all the madness and competition and the hub bub of the city, I come to a place like this – I come here because I don’t want any part of my city life to follow me here as I try and reinvent my thoughts and think about all the bigger and simpler things in life. I want to see the sun rising and hear the sound of the gushing stream water flowing from the mountains. I do not want to watch television or hear Eminem. I want to eat simple, but fresh and absolutely delicious home cooked meals and not Domino’s Pizza. Most importantly, I want to stand and stare and not worry about how I look or who is looking at me (or in some cases, why are they not looking at me!)

Therefore I want to know why people who want their pizzas and discotheques and bungee jumping opt for holidays in these places. I do not understand how one can look at the magnificent mountains (don’t believe me; just look at the pictures below) and say “But there is nothing here to see but hills and trees! Duh! What did you expect a dancing chimpanzee surrounded by 40 belly dancers all moving to Jennifer Lopez’s On the floor??!! Oh! Grow up! If you don’t like it, scoot! But don’t keep loudly complaining all through the dinner! Besides if they ask me, I would suggest that they take a page out my flatmate’s mother’s life – she is a 60 year old homemaker, who loves life and has kind off reinvented herself on this trip. At the age of 60, at this farm, she learnt the joys of a simple swing (yes! She had never boarded a swing before now…don’t judge her; neither did I before coming here!), she wants to try all the various alternative cuisines that this place offers and wants to go for a trek every day though she is not always confident about her walking abilities and her road sense and busts into songs whenever she sees a sight that enthrals her…..she personifies the very  spirit of a true traveller and if at the age of 60 she can still retain her enthusiasm, without the deluxe luxuries of a 7 star property,  the others can shut up and try and listen to the songs of nature!!

The complete and profound “joy” of gift buying

It’s my best friend who also doubles up as my flatmate’s birthday next week. Next week is also another friend’s birthday as well as another colleague’s whom-I-don’t-like- but-have-to like-for-business-reasons. So what all this translates into is a weekend of shopping for appropriate gifts. Now here’s the thing – I do not like shopping! I think I am one of those abnormal girls who really see’s shopping as a waste of time and does not indulge in it unless her clothes have turned to tatters or the house is falling apart and needs new furnishings! I abhor shopping; the thought of it makes me want to cuddle further in my bed and disappear. It brings back all thetraumatic memories of my childhood where I had to follow my mother around in the malls while she shopped and I sulked because I wanted to buy a book and sit in the ice cream parlour reading it while eating through a double Sunday! Thus with such an amazing baggage I abhor birthday/marriage shopping even more.

I think gift cards are the way to go, but several people have told me that personalized gift buying is more kind and demonstrates you cherish the person more than a cold gift card. Now I do not see what’s wrong with a gift card- give me one and I will spend it in a jiffy in a bookshop. I would much rather prefer it, than have people who have no idea which author I like or do not like gifting me something I really detest (Like Ms Meyer) or something I have purchased centuries ago, but they want to gift it to me because they have recently seen the movie and think it’s a new book (Like John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy- why cannot they Google the publication year and save everybody the trouble is beyond me!) I know it’s the thought that counts and I do appreciate the gesture that this non reading population makes in going to a shop and hunting for stuff which they have no idea about but think I will like, but really I do not need 4 copies of Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul just because he won the nobel prize and I said I like his work at some gathering!

Anyhow, the problem is not only with this non reading population that wants to gift me something; the problem also is what I gift to this non reading population. My flatmate is easy – I gift her some Kinglsey Amis and Terry Pratchet and she is as happy as she can get. My friend is also easy – I will buy her Mircea Eliade’s Bengal Nights and I know she will be one contended kitten. But the problem arises for the third one, the-colleague- whom-I-don’t-like- but-have-to like-for-business-reasons. And it’s not about him but all those upmarket people with scintillating lives and vacations in France with their Gucci/Prada bags and what nots – what to gift them?  My biggest strength in the shopping arena is out of the window – they do not read and I don’t want to give a Salman Rushdie that becomes a decorative piece in their drawing room shelf.  I am not sure what Perfume; oops sorry I believe its eau de cologne, to give them. Like my book reading, they might already have something which I choose or worse horror horror for them, the product I bought is too downmarket. I must add a note about gifts of music –even if they do like music, it will be techno or trance or something where I will be completely out of my depth – which is very much western classical and Jazz and of course I will buy something they will can download or do not like. I have tried changing tactics and buying them business utility products like a leather laptop bag only to have found out later that they have already have a designer bag and mine has been designated to the back of the attic filled with some old family papers which no one cares about. It’s the same with crockeries. I buy a dinner set only to realize that the couple already has 7 of them of which three of them are real bone china. I am bad at buying clothes – the shirts I buy are either too large or have too many check patterns for that person to wear. Most of these people are not close enough for me to splurge on a watch or a piece of jewellery (even if they were close enough- my budget does not permit me to buy a watch for myself, let alone gifting one!…remember I am quintessential struggling writer here) One cannot gift shoes, and pens seem to be too much of a  trifle in today’s days of computers. Flowers are very temporary as are food items like cakes; besides they are more of an addendum gift but hardly the main course if you know what I mean. And though Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaims that “The greatest gift is a portion of thyself”, I am very confident that my friends and acquaintances do not want a portion of me (for many of them knowing me even for a limited period of time with all my quirks and weirdisims might is in itself a challenge) and I definitely do not want to part with any part of myself away from me for them!

So I am stuck….what does one gift a person who has practically everything and is not quite into cultural and what I feel eminently more giftable interests like reading or music (my kind). So I am reverting back to the good old gift card – buy it, fill it, gift it and forget about it. I cannot personalize the gift card, but atleast I know the person I am picking it up for will end up using it for something he or she likes or wants instead of me  giving them something they do not like or want!!!

All those “Beautiful” Men…..

I went to watch a movie over the weekend. Never mind what the movie was or who was in it! It was something else that caught my attention and kind of stumped me and kept me wondering. During the intermission, while the world goes out to buy Nachos, popcorn and yucky burgers, I sit through all the ads and trailers of upcoming films. I love watching these and I am one grumpy person if somebody suggests that I go buy a coke during this time.  I do not know what is special about these adverts/trailers but I love it!

So there I sat in all anticipation and then it hit me. For 15 minutes non-stop, they showed one advert after the other for men’s beauty products. There was a face gel to help clear oil and blackheads. There was a face cream to make the man fair and handsome and I think there was a hair gel for the golden locks. Er….what is going on here?

First of all, without sounding like a provincial prejudiced individual, the phrase, men’s beauty product is kind of oxymornonish. (Beauty products anyway leave me cold. I am all for cleanliness and being well groomed but let’s not go overboard here, regardless of the gender. I mean there are more important things in this world that fake eye lashes) I mean I know there are beautiful men, but that is not a term that I would popularly associate with this gender. I mean George Cloony is a lot of things – sexy, suave, charming, handsome etc but not beautiful…..right? Also I grew up on the diet of Captain Alex Randalls (The Shadow of the Moon) and Fritzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) and these men did not do pretty. But over the last couple of years, there is this media led push for men that besides being handsome, rugged, caring, sensitive, intelligent, financially well off, they also have to be fair with smooth skin. I think we are pressurizing the guys way too much! Besides, if he is a great guy, do I really care if he has a smooth skin with no black heads? I mean really, whatever are we expected to do next?

I was sounding these thoughts to a friend of mine and she said that these products are designed to cater for the “metrosexual”. Per Wikipedia again (my most favoured, always there and almost always accurate source), a metrosexual is a term coined to define men who are metropolitan and heterosexual, who invest both time and money on their personal looks. It refers to men who indulge in pedicures and facials, practice aromatherapy and spend freely on clothes like dress shirts (what the hell is a dress shirt- either it’s a dress or a shirt!) and are extremely conscious of their appearances. They might be straight, gay or bisexual or whatever! I am sure, most girls will be extremely happy to find an intelligent, relatively sensitive, funny guy, but they will not go pedicuring with them. I do think that the young mother’s I know will not sing, and here I am quoting Jay Livingston “Now I have children of my own. They ask their mother what wil I be. Will I be handsome, will I be rich?”

Now I am sure there are men out there who the very embodiment of metrosexuals and Wikipedia does after all quote David Beckham, Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum as examples of 21st century metrosexuals; but what I want to know is how many real men…you know the guys you hang out with, your boyfriend/husband, the guy next door or the men you work with actually indulge in all such grooming activities. Again,  I want to state that all of us, regardless of our gender should take care of our personal grooming and appearances, but how many everyday guys really go for aroma therapy that opens up clogged skin pores? The guys I know and this could be an old school thing, actually laugh through such adverts and do NOT want to compete for the Most Beautiful Man of the 2012 award, though many of them are narcissist. And if there are not many such men out there, who are all these adverts catering to? Why is my 15 minutes of vicarious pleasure of trailer watching being subsumed with stuff nobody buys? More importantly, as humanity moves forward in directions away from traditional mores that bind an individual (especially women who are trying hard not to let such equation work anymore), are we not going back in time where appearances more than characters matter, only this time the gal is replaced by a guy!

The Glorious Morn and I

Now there is something absolutely marvellous about getting up in the morning, while the dawn is still breakig (Yuck! I hate that term, Thank You Stephanie Meyer!) and looking out of to the open valley from an 8th floor apartment (that’s where I stay! While it sounds picturesque…..it’s on the outskirts of the suburb of the city…yes outskirts of the suburbs and the only reason I stay here besides its wilderness is because the rents are relatively low. If I could have it my way I would live in the heart of the city, with all its concerts, public transports and home delivery!)Anyhow, as the rays of the sun, move through the morning mist and your hands are warming around a tea mug and you are absolutely fresh and ready to tackle the most difficult piece of your plot and all is right with the world………

Well not quite!

You see while I love the feeling of early morning with the dews still fresh on the grass and sitting under the mild sun to type out the most magnificent piece of writing for the mankind, I am also very groggy!! You see like every weird topsy turvy preferences and choices of my life, I love staying up late. In fact, I thrive in the night time; my mind is alert and active spinning brilliant ideas. I strongly believe that since everyone else is usually asleep in the ungodly hour (why is it called the ungodly hour? I mean God is kinda omnipresent, both chronologically and geographically…must mull over this more!); anyhow since everyone is asleep in that time, it seems to me that all their brilliant thoughts come rushing to my receptive mind. I think, plan and execute the best within the timeframes of 23:00 hrs to about 4:00 hrs. But after that, my mind goes kaput!

Yes. I love tea...

Yes. I love tea... (Photo credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy)

Now here’s the dilemma, every day, I hit the sack diligently at about 22:00 hrs, convincing myself, that tomorrow I will get up bright and early and start closing on my chapters. After about an hour and half of tossing and turning, I get up and meander around the apartment. Then I start reading; at about 03:00 hrs, I am all fresh and perky and I open my laptop to write. After an hour of laborious word play, I start to get drowsy, but me is determined; Me will write through the early dawn! So I make myself a cup of hot and strong tea. By the time, the tea is brewed, the newspaper has arrived and there is something alluring about a fresh, unread newspaper (Yes! I am aware that I ought to be institutionalized; but you do not room with my flatmate who will take the entertainment section and read it cover to cover, after which the freshness of news will be gone!) So I read the newspaper, cover to cover, including backbeat and sports. By then the sun is slowly warming my balcony, so I step outside to enjoy nature in all her true beauty and hence the graphic picture of the valley that my apartment looks out to. My mind is energised and I know that I can make the story happen today. After communing with the nature, which I love, especially at this hour, I again sit in front of my laptop. Then, disaster strikes, my eyelids droop and droop and within 10 mins I am in  my bed snoring away, with a sleepy promise that tomorrow I will take up the pen  or rather er… take up my fingers on the laptop keys , if there is such a term, in the glorious morn!

My mother thinks my bizarre fascination for “night life” (yes! That’s what she call it and it has nothing to do with glamorous parties and all night raves) is because I spent so much of my early adolescent years staying up late studying. I would like to remind her, (if only I was not convinced that breathing a word in this direction, would spark of World War III) that during my adolescent years, I had no interest in studies (though how I became a nerd in high school is yet another thrilling nail biting adventure) and she was the one who forced me to stay up for revising my school work. Of course, by the time I hit college and grad school, I was far gone; studying till late in the night and then getting stressed and partying through the night and then getting guilty and studying through the night….I think you get the picture!

Whatever be the cause, the fact remains, I love early mornings! I love all the rituals attached to that time of the day – the first cup of tea, the fresh newspaper, and the yummy and sumptuous breakfast! Unfortunately, unlike others I do not carry forward the morning and turn it into a great day; I store my energy and hit the sack and then wake up like an owl, who can pen words through the dark hours!!!  Go figure!

Perfection, Blocks and Blogs

For the last couple of days, I have been suffering from what is referred to in a clichéd manner as “The Writer’s Block”!  I want to understand why something that sounds so bloody positive should actually mean a dead end! I mean the idea of a writer’s block should conjure images of 1920’s Paris and the roaring twenties and the Jazz age of Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound. Or it should represent some hill side (or if you prefer a beach side; give me mountains over the sea any day; but then that’s me!) where a writing community meets every year to discuss and develop the “next break through literature”. Better yet, it could refer to a journal, a la, the New Yorker, where all the post-modernist/post colonialists/post realists/post whatever genre is in vogue now publish their posts! (Pun intended). Instead, it actually refers to my sitting in front of the laptop, staring at the blank word doc and twiddling my thumbs, while I drink endless cups of tea! (The way things are going I will soon have to graduate to drinking something stronger!)

Wikipedia (I only go to the best for reference) lists that Writer’s block can be a result of various factors working in combination or independently and includes but not limited to –

  • Creative problems where the author does not have any inspiration and may think that he has conceived a project far beyond his capabilities – My response – I am very much inspired and the narcissist that I am, I am convinced nothing is beyond me except a 10 mile marathon (Physical activity is not my forte; maybe I have a condition called Physical Block or something!)
  • Awareness of an audience can also be a deterrent for the writer and stifle his creative capabilities – My Response – Narcissist argument holds good here  again; what I will write, the world will love (Yes! I know I need to come down from my cloud 9 zone to avoid nose bleeds!)
  • Writer’s personal life may impact his writing capacity – physical illness, depression, financial constraints. – My response – Physically I am fine (I do not consider my inability to run a 10 mile a thon, a serious ailment) Depression – Nope again!  Financial Constrain – Well, that has been my condition ever since I have finished university and is now practically my best friend residing with me and my flatmate!

So after much rumination, I have come to the conclusion, that I have a unique writer’s block condition that no one has experienced before – I cannot think of a absolutely spectacular, stunningly innovative and brilliantly conceived plot, that will be handed down to posterity as the by-word of all matrimony where my male protagonist proposes marriage to my female protagonist.  I know Margret Atwood has said that if she waited for perfection she would never get a word written, but in all honesty, I cannot conceive a believable plot where my hero can propose marriage in an era of chaperoned girls and conservative morality. That’s my dilemma….I am inspired, I am aware of my audience and I am not suffering from any physical or mental ill health! (Unless you consider my eccentricity as a sure sign of madness!)  I just cannot seem to get past this chapter!

Again, per Wikipedia, the cure to writer’s block lies in –

  • Group Discussion – My flatmate alone has suffered enough through my novel high and lows (again! Pun intended and yes it’s a bad pun, but concentrate – I am suffering from lack of creativity) and I refuse to subject the rest of the world with it – I mean if I start breaking down the plot for one and all, where is novelty of the book?
  • Journals – What will I write in the journal that I cannot write in the book? I know the plot; I know the outline, it’s the detail I am struggling with! Ugh! Ugh! In fact this thought made me feel like a goat! (Don’t despair, I will explain, I am suffering from creative disability not correlating inability – Sue Grafton made a very pertinent observation on writers and ideas – “I carry a notebook with me everywhere. But that’s only the first step. Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”)
  • List Making – List of all the innovative proposals through ages? Who is the author of this work again- the whole wide world or moi?
  • Free Writing – Well, that’s why I began this blog because per Julia Cameron  (again Wikipedia) Morning pages, which are three pages of writing without any intention of writing for any purpose, helps stimulate cognitive functions of the brain. I thought this was eminently sensible, so the blog.

But woe is me…my condition is bad……I still have absolutely no idea how to make my protagonist propose marriage!!!!!!!

Everybody needs a Television sometime……????!!!!!!

So I have this mammoth confession to make – It’s like one of those closet secret that nobody talks about and everybody knows and they give you the “look” when you walk into the room. You know what kind I am talking about ….right? Anyhow, I have to make a similar confession and I thought I might as well make it now than later …….here goes!

I DO NOT OWN A TELEVISION!

I mean I do not have a television in my apartment. Have not watched the telly for last 10 years when I moved to college and since then have never felt the need. My crazy flatmate also feels the same way, though there are times when in fit of sheer indulgence, she wants to buy a Plasma Flat screen, but sense prevails and we spend that money on books and yum food.  In the last decade, I have been blessed with the joy of not coming back from work and throwing my bag and flopping in front of “the box” and flipping mindlessly through all that madness. I do not want to change that….I do not want a telly. There I have said it……

I have lost count of the number of times, people (friends and foes alike) have looked at me as if I was sprouting carrots out of my head when I have shared this fact with them. I get loads of “What? Do you know the kind of great cool entertainment you are missing out on?” “Do you know there are some great travel and living shows?”  “They make some awesome series out of the books you read, you might as well watch them if you read em?” (I still have to figure out why I need to view something that I have read as a mandate. Watching Harry Porter on screen will convince anyone that after reading a book, one should never indulge in any visual form of the literary work unless, one ones to tear apart one’s hair and go for the “bald  look”!) But the best is “How can you live without a television? It’s all that reading that’s fried your brain!”

Well I must own I have existed peacefully on this earth for the last 10 years without a television and I honestly feel I have not missed out on real heart stooping world moments! Yes, it’s true that I do infinitely prefer reading, but that does not mean I exclude all other forms of entertainment – I love theatre and live concerts and some movies! But I absolutely refused to be chained to something which has reality show which depict anything but reality and news that discusses the merits of Beyoncé’s daughter’s name versus Tom Cruise’s daughter’s name. I do not care if I am deemed anti-social for not being up to date on such “current affairs”.  The sitcoms are hardly funny now that Friends and Seinfeld have gone off the air and let me not get started on Soaps! The television is the strongest reason to take up reading – I mean the plot lines are way better; there is only a limit to which the author will exaggerate the events and you can make the protagonist look howsoever you want in your mind’s eye without feeling bemused at the fact the so called not good looking character is more good looking than an average individual out on the street (Have you not seen all the mush stuff?) Like Groucho Marx said “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. “

Besides, there is a brilliant thing called Internet that actually keeps me updated on stuff that I really want to enjoy – movies, songs and yes even some series! The great part is I watch it whenever I want and not when HBO/PBS/NBC/BBC etc wants and I can skip parts I like and replay the parts I want. (Yes I am sure we can that with a DVD player, but I am just enumerating the reasons of my not having a television.)Besides my books, my laptop is most precious possession – I write, watch, and hear whatever and whenever, thanks to this most perfect of God’s creation.

I am truly and I do mean truly at peace with you if you love your tellys and spend hours in front of them. Different strokes for different folks and you might enjoy something which I do not and vice versa. What I refuse is to be treated like a social outcast or a weirdo, just because I do not like or feel tempted to buy a television to watch Downton Abbey (Though I do like the series and watch it online on the Net).

Thus, I will continue to thrive and exist without a television as God is my witness, so there!!!!!

The Curious Incident of my Mom at daytime….

My love affair with books is a gift from my parents. I cannot remember a time when my dad did not read out to me and when his fingers moving over the alphabets in those large pop out fairy tale books became absorbed in my mind, for me to read on my own. As far as I can remember, all my birthdays, well done in school presents, dad/mom out on office tour returning presents have always been books. One could easily say that my heritage was books and authors handed down from one generation to another.

My father has always been bit of a scholar and a reader. At the university he was involved in a student politics and from old records and tales, I know he was a popular leader, who read voraciously – fiction, history and politics (especially Marx and friends! To this date, Dad and I debate out the Socialism vs. Democratic debate over family dinners. I know communism is dead….China does not count as a socialist state; but what can I say…like daughter like father …eccentricity run in the family!) Even when he joined the foreign services, he kept up his reading habits and read everything from the newspaper to  The New Yorker to Gorky. Considering all this, his marriage to my mum is kind of surprising.  My dad’s family belongs to an old world family, in fact one of the oldest families of the city, that studied hard and believed in doing work for the greater good of mankind. My Mum was the quintessential uptown girl; my great grandfather, i.e. her grandfather was the man who made it big and the family wealth grew from that. There was not much in terms of culture and though everyone aspired for a summa cum laude degree, it was from enabling a status in the society than pursuit of real intellect motive.  My mom was more or less true to her family leanings and though she was and is an extremely strong woman, who has fought off many adversities in her life, when she gets into her comfort zone, she would revert to her family traits of indulgence and acquisitive extravagance.

Given such a background, it was kind of surprising, that my mom encouraged my love of reading, writing and studies so much. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we did not have mammoth fights where she resolved never to see me again and I told her that I will ensure that this wish of hers is made possible! You know the whole nine yards. She is a strong opinionated woman who unfortunately has raised a strong opinionated daughter! Woe is hers!) She never read out to me nor did she ever recommend a book I should read or buy. But she always gave me money to buy them and when away on office tours or other outings, she would always take a list of books that I would want her to buy. She encouraged me to apply to some of the best universities and when I actually got through one of them, she was over the moon.  Despite all this, reading was not for her and she would rather spend hours on an end in the malls than browsing through books.

My mom retired from work about 6 years ago. I had already moved out of my parent’s place for some 5 years prior to this time.  My mom suddenly found a lot of time on her hands; sure she could cook and she did try cooking a lot of experimental stuff for which she never had time before. She also went out a lot and I do mean a lot with her sisters – mall hoping and shopping and movie watching. But still she found time on her hands. Then one day cleaning my old books, she started reading the back cover of a novel – think it was Jeffrey Archer’s Where the Crow Flies. Not much in terms of literature but a great book to read on a flight. She read the back cover and then she ventured slowly and might I say a bit nervously into the first few chapters. It took her I think 20+ days to finish the novel. She found it interesting, though tedious to plod through the whole 400 pages, but she was eager to find out what happened in the end. She then picked up a Sidney Sheldon and a master storyteller that he was, he kept her glued on until she found out how does Tracy Whitney finally escapes (If Tomorrow Comes). She ventured into a few more such reading trysts. I was not aware of her forays into reading until she came to visit me next year for a couple of weeks. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I do not have crockeries and I do not have furniture; hell! I do not even have a television. What I do have is books, books and more books. I found her tentatively and hesitantly reaching out to some of them and being unsure if she could read them. On delving into the matter I found out that she had started reading but was kind of concerned that she might not comprehend some of my more supra intellectual books (I do not think I read supra intellectual stuff. I think most supra intellectual stuff ends in tragedies and I do not like tragedies!) Anyhow, I was so floored with my mum’s efforts that I sought out some easy reads like Wilkie Collins and Somerset Maugham (Yes! I know different genres, but she was getting started and I wanted to introduce her to a wide range).

That was 5 years ago! Today my mum reads as much as I do and practically all the authors that I read, from Tolstoy to Iggulden to Bulgakov to Pratchett; the list can go on….she is not overly fond of Pratchetts or Rowlings but she loves Iggulden and Kaye and Peter Carey. She is romance freak, quite unlike me and makes me buy her Gorgette Hyer and others such by the dozen.  Her own collection is rivalling my own and she has recently learnt the art of online shopping, so ordering books is now on her fingertips! She battles with me about the relative merits of one author versus another and has even started suggesting stuff that I should definitely read!

What impresses me the most about all of this is the fact that this woman, who so set in her ways and steeped into her family tendencies had the immense courage and strength to take up something she had never done in her life at the age of 60. Hats off Mum! May your reading be as adventurous and wonderful as your daughter’s!

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