Friday, 27 January 2012

Oh Happy Days!

This post is going to be a random rant. As usual :)
So, 2012 is now well and truly on its way. Most people seem to be quite happy with it, thus far. I am not complaining either. No major upheavals (as yet!). The kidlet has moved up to the next class in school. We have more or less settled into our new house. My weight is, errr..not going up atleast?... It is actually this type of typical hum-drum that this year has brought with it, that is keeping me awake nights nowadays - sigh!
I really need to be do something with my life now - and the feeling of 'being on the threshold' of something new, bright and mind-numbingly exciting is hanging around my neck - not like an albatross- but like a - a nudging presence if you please. Not trying to be too poetic or anything - but it really is how I've been feeling this past month or so.Hopefully the subsequent posts should be the bearer of news about my 'bright new future'.
Until then, I have one thing to rant about -Toys-r-upon-us : I am so damn furious with these totally age-inappropriate toys that have flooded the market from wherever it is that they are mass produced. More disturbing is that fact that parents are actually buying these things for their children. Please tell me why 3 yr. olds need mani-pedi sets, hair curling irons and make-up however non-toxic!! I am telling you, everytime I go to the toy-shop I am filled with a very bad feeling at the pit of my stomach. How long am I going to be able to shield this little kid from these temptations? She already goes to playdates where dress up is played - and not with mommies old togs - but with kiddie versions of ornate ball-gowns and high heels. And like I said, there are people who find it perfectly fine to buy make-up sets for kids. How long before the kidlet starts asking for her own ?
And what is it with this personalised 'return gift' culture. Sure, this 'Have money will throw ' attitude sits well with those who can afford it - and what goes of my father etc. Yet, I find it really annoying when people send texts asking for correct spelling of child's name, so that the name on the child's return gift is correct. And then? Then they proceed to gift your child something which not only is ghastly (usually a bag, runs colour, made of itchy material) but also has the wrong spelling! And then what do you do with these things that you do not want, yet cannot give away/throw because it has your kid's name on it (albeit spelt wrong!)?
I am telling you - I've hardly seen a kid - any kid - more excited by personalised bath towels than they are with really sasta dinky cars/funky erasers/hairbands etc! Till date my daughter's most favoured return gift is a flip-flop she painted herself. And a whistle.
Am wondering why we are hell bent on complicating things for ourselves and our kids already. It can only get worse with time, no? Simplifying and un-complicating would be much easier - and rewarding. Sigh! That indeed is the wish I have - for my child and my family. Hopefully we will soldier on - without relenting - to the temptations that seemingly abound all around!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Reading in the New Year :)

Okies - since my NYR - new year resolution (yes, its still January na!!) included - errr..reading more (by far the easiest resolution to keep, esp. since it does not involve rigorous movement of any muscle group other than perhaps jaws?), heres an update on all that I've managed to trudge through so far :

1. The Marriage Plot - Jeffery Eugenides
I had read Eugenides' first novel, 'Middlesex' just after having my kid - I can possibly blame post-partum depression on the not very pleasant feelings that I had about the book. But one thing was for certain, depressing or not - I did not put the book down before finishing it. The writing was as arresting as the controversial subject matter it covered! But that did not mean that I picked up my copy of 'The Marriage Plot' without a sense of unease - Eugenides is not for the laid back reader. But the the blurb was interesting and I took the bait. TMP, on the surface of it is the story of three individuals caught in a love triangle sort of situation wherein nobody is loved back by the one, one loves - you get the drift. The story spans a time of but a few years - between the time they graduate (or don't) and the next few years of self discovery before reaching a sort of resolution for each of the three main characters - it is a coming of age story cloaked within interesting philosophical takes on the meaning of love, religion and as always the past that haunts us all! Though a bit tedious in parts, what I loved about the novel, really, was the description of life in a college town and all the characters therein - very very nostalgia invoking ! Indeed, there is something for most of us to relate to in this book (Including an almost de-riguer element in bestsellers nowadays -a discover India trip!) , which is why it will be a recommended read by me for sure. Do read it if you have a few large lazy chunks of time in your life!

2. Oprah - Un-authorised biography - Kitty Kelly
This is quite a tome - be warned! Kitty Kelly has been biographer brutal to many celebrities - including Liz Taylor and The Royals. So you more or less know you will be subjected to some unkind controversial stuff even before you start. Much of it you already know - thanks to the deluge that is 'Oprah' yet there are things that are new - and they are mostly unpleasant :( Indeed it is the greatest pitfall of the book - it may be un authorised but need it be so judgemental. I came away from the book feeling Kelly was single minded in her pursuit of portraying Oprah as somebody none of us actually knows (which is saying a lot considering the image Oprah has!). Which is also fine with me, since that is the reason one typically reads a biography - to get to know unseen facets of a public personality. Yet, yet , yet....lets just say it is difficult to believe that there are parts of Oprah - still not public - yet not unpleasant - which Kelley did not find to put in this biography! Read it if you love the Queen of the talk show like I do - else give it a skip.

3. Beautiful Thing - Sonia Faleiro
To be honest - I did not want to read this book. I did not want to buy it. Why? Last year I had read a book called 'The Mafia Queens of Mumbai' and that left me with a deep sense of dread and desperation about the city that I live in. I started looking around my surroundings with a new sense of wonder knowing that I know nothing about the people who live within breathing distance of me. Yes, call me a prude and weak stomached - but thats who I am. It took me time to get over that book - even with all its grit gilted glamour - it hit me hard. I found it hard to read! And hence I decided not to read any book about the so called underbelly of Bombay. So it came to happen that even though I read a lot about 'Beautiful Thing' in the papers, I did not feel like reading it. But then guess what : Twitter happened!! And I 'followed' Ms.Faleiro and she came across as being a forthright and non-sensationalist person and I just had to read her book now, hadn't I? And boy, am I glad I did. Beautiful thing is essentially the story of Leela a bar dancer in Mumbai - yes one of those tribe, that ahem - dance at bars. Yeah - those places which types like you and me don't haunt - hmmmmm. The thing about beautiful thing is that Sonia writes it with absolute truthfulness and it comes across - I could imagine Leela in my eyes as I read the book - I felt like I had known her intimately by the time I finished. That in itself is what makes the book reading - especially given the fact that, the life that Leela lives is so grim it accounts for so less, that it can be wiped out without leaving a trace. Dont be squeamish - and read this book!

4. Confessions of a serial dieter - Kallie Purie
Bought at the airport - finished in flight on the Chennai - Mumbai sector. Absolutely enjoyable if you are a serial dieter like me :) Read it if you are in the perpetual diet trap or not - you could even learn a trick or tw0 ( which would be the champagne diet and NOT the Bulimia!).

5. The Gospel according to Coco Chanel -Karen Karbo
This is not a biography, but a rather tongue in cheek look at Chanel's philosophies in 'how to get ahead in life'. Cheekily titled with 'gospel' like Chanelesque , this book is surprisingly interesting and a must read if you are overwhelmed with the pressures of living a 'branded' life. Think Chanel like is my new mantra now :) You have got to read this book to know more about what that is!!

6. The Reluctant Detective - Kiran Manral
Finally, the last book I read yesterday was blog and twitter personality - Kiran Manral's debut novel - The Reluctant detective. Like the lady herself (as she comes across on her online platforms) her book is witty and engaging. Even though it has a stiletto on the cover - the book steers clear from predictable bustledom of romance/no-mans and ensuing hormonality. The book is about a lady who lunches (apparently a lot ;)) is stuck in house-wife-land and all its predictability until there arrives a corpse..and then another. How Kay Mehra bumbles into almost solving the case is just part of the fun; There are 'Star' studded parties and buffet lunches attended, dietitians and friend circles dissected, and husband/kid/maid quagmires..not to mention 'society' going ons. This book is for us so called Urban moms who know that there is mystery and intrigue even in the most mundane! A good fun read - especially if you know what it feels like to have a friend whose waist is the width of your thighs!!

Well, there is still a bagful of books from the strand book sale to dip into now - hopefully I should have a post about them in a month from now! Till, then - happy reading :)

Monday, 2 January 2012

What? Its a New Year altogether? Already ??

Oh how ungrateful of me. I totally forgot to thank 2011 full and proper! It was by far the most fulfilling year of my married life :) As yet!! This was the year the kid started going to a proper school, we moved into the much craved for 'nice apartment in nice building complex', husband was by and large traveling less than usual and I finally succumbed to getting more helping hands to navigate the madness of bringing up baby. 2012 - really - you must, you really have to, I insist do better :)
As they say very rightly too, happy times flash by faster than those not. I also will remember 2011 as being the year of the - protestor - what else? If TIME magazine has deemed it so who am I to protest ;) Jokes apart, it was liberating (even if tempered with fair bits of outrage) to see the common woman find her voice again. Full respect to all the women in the world who fought back for their rights - all across the world - especially in the arab world - some of the accounts which filtered in from there were freaking bone chilling!
And of course how can one not thank Anna Hazare. One might agree or disagree with the man on many points but he deserves FULL credit for getting the civil nation back on its feet. How the protest plays out is anybody's guess - but the fact that it was started at all is a winner for me. Oh, and not to forget Anna Hazare made the nation realise that we have a houseful of learned and mesmerizing orators and thinkers in Parliament. Even if it begs the question that even with such stellar elected reps and such an impeccable leader how do we still manage to flounder!
In the final reckoning, the year gone by was most notable by its headline making presence both in my personal life and that happening outside my doors but affecting me no less. Ofcourse there were some days/months/weeks that I filled like the pits of the earth, but the silver lining was within visibilty. And I am really grateful for that. That indeed is my new year resolution (just thought it up actually ;)) - BE GRATEFUL!!
There are just so many things to be grateful for. Even if the argument of the 'less fortunate to remind us' is getting old - it does beg the question - what the f*%#$ am I getting worked up about. Nothing (mostly) is invincible. And even if it is then it most likely is not meant to be. No?
On that philosophical note - I send my love to all - a very happy New Year to you - may it be filled with lots of hugs, happiness, laughter and love!!