Category Archives: The Bookworm

L is Live just really live the moment.

You know that moment when you are looking at an amazing sunset and then decide oh wait let me click it, then Instagram it, then share it across media and remember to hashtag it well.

That’s when you break the moment. The beauty of the moment and the thoughts you had are broken.

I read of this concept in the Dalai lama’s cat – mindful consciousness. It’s being totally aware and in the moment.

In today’s times of social media and so many distractions we lack that. Even now while I type this blog, I have the TV on.

When was the last time we drank a cup of coffee and enjoyed it as just that a cup of coffee. Early morning grogginess doesn’t count because you are not fully aware.

I for one just can’t do one thing. While I cook, rather than enjoy the process of smelling the spices and watching them mix, I switch on the washing machine, fill water, Google recipes, clean up.

Even while watching tv, I can’t just do that so I play games on my phone or chat or iron or google something which has caught my attention. I can’t just sit and watch TV.

I know it’s not just me. So many times you are out with friends having a great time when you either stop to capture the moment, check with friends if they like how they look, upload it and wait for comments. Or someone gets a ping on their phone and is visibly distracted by what’s happening on their phone. The moment is effectively broken.

I wonder if we are scared of being truly in the moment. And if so, what are we scared of ? Are we scared to really having those intense moments of peace and happiness.

Or are we just an extremely distracted generation. It’s not just us. It’s our parents too. They too have been dragged into this social media, too many things to do at once phenomena – though I do think they handle it better maybe because they are more responsible .

I admire the peace I see on my grandparents faces as they sit in the balcony in the evening and just look out. Together – watching the eagles soar, the sky change colour and the birds head home . Every single day.

I can’t stand at my balcony for more than 5-10 minutes before i am distracted and feel the need to click or check my phone or go back in.

We need to switch off other distractions and really live – live for the moment .

Maybe the reason we are so stressed is not because we have so many things to do and lead a fast paced life. Maybe it’s because we have too many things jostling for our attention and we think we to allow it all in.

Switch off your tv – it’s like another baby vying for your attention. And when you do watch TV- do just that. Maybe we will find TV a lot less junk if we reduce our exposure.

Refuse to check social media – it’s like the irritating person who cuts into people’s conversations or keeps interrupting your thoughts. Schedule some time everyday maybe twice where you take our 20 mins to check be on social media.

And even if you are one of those not into social media or TV – I bet you are in a minority if you know just how to exist in the moment.

We need to learn to breathe – breathe in and breathe out.

Live – just really Live every moment.

this is my entry for the April blogathon for the letter L.

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F is for funnybones – I mean Mrs funnybones

Let me start off by saying that I love her – like I want her to be my friend – I want her man of the house to hang out with my man of the house. I want her children to call me Maasi, I want her mom to call me beta — you get my drift right?

And mainly coz I love her humour – sarcastic, wry wit. I love her tweets and love her columns. And so when a friend tweeted that she loved her book I bought it.

2 hours into our 3 hour aeroplane ride and I was done with the book.

It did keep my interest, and I wanted to read more of the book – though I am not sure if it is because the I still had another hour on the flight or because I honestly wanted to read more.

The chapters (for lack of a better word) are funny no doubt – some of them laugh out aloud funny but I felt let down. Maybe it’s because she is a celebrity and a super stars wife so I wanted to know more about her life you know the starry one. Except that what she has narrated is very unstarlike. It could almost be our story except way funnier.

But What disappointed me was that most chapters had no insights you know the ones that make you think – they were just narrations and I did feel like I have read some of them before.

When she writes about her family you can feel her soul through her wit. Chapters like the one about her son’s potential girl friend, karwachauth and rakhi( the festival not the one who wants to ban ceiling fans) leave you with a lingering feel good feeling . The rest I already don’t recall what they were about. Maybe in the attempt to make the chapters alphabetical, a few chapters were forced.

But she does write well and she is funny funny funny ! And i still want to be her friend.

So Mrs funnybones if you do read this – while I can’t give you the raving reviews the others have – do remember it’s because only your closest friends are the most truthful with you.

And even if you don’t want to be friends – please don’t send the man of your house to beat me up. It won’t be a fair fight.

This is part of the AtoZchallenge- unofficially of course

B is for Book Clubs

Soon after I started my sabbatical ( yes yes that again), I very enthusiastically joined “meetup” and signed up for multiple clubs for people with similar interests. Right from entrepreneurial groups (yes yes one of my many plans which i am to work on) to trekking clubs to spiritual clubs. Most of them my enthusiasm for joining has gone and now i spend a lot of my time wondering what was i thinking when i joined them and wondering how to stop them from clogging my inbox.

In the midst of all that signing up, i apparently signed up for a couple of book clubs and as luck would have it, one of them was happening very soon – a ladies book club. Very tentatively, i went to meet these women. Not knowing, what kind of women I would be meeting – would they be far too intellectual for my tastes, what books would they read.

It was the first meeting of that book club –  4 of us who met then – Wow, i was like a founding member and all. Today we are a group of 13 woman – we feel its a great size. I have read books that I would never picked up on my own and enjoyed them, also read books and hated them, recommended and discussed my favorites. It has exposed me to so many authors I hadn’t heard of . The books are great, the discussions are lively,fun and intelligent.

You know as a stay at home person, I have met a lot of amazing women beating the stereo type of stay at home women that you usually hear about. But eventually we all have one thing in common – we are all mothers and our worlds are kind of similar.

So for me meeting these women from my book club was amazing – coz we are all so different from a young girl just out of her MBA institute to a yoga guru with elderly daughters, from single women to married women – from analyists to people studying for a PHD in english literature.

Its fascinating to see how books resonate differently with different people basis where they are in their lives. It’s interesting to talk about various aspects of our lives and I have loved to get to know them. The length of our discussions have gone up from an hour to 2 hours.

And As we come close to completing a year of being a “book club” , I want to thank these lovely ladies for that one awesome Sunday afternoon every month.

While I have always loved to read, I truly understand now how the love for books can bond you with complete strangers

They don’t know about this blog but maybe someday they will.

This is a part of the April #AtoZchallenge

Update on my sabbatical 

So it’s been more than 4 months since I started my sabbatical. I thought I would write everyday or at least every other day – but who am I kidding, it’s been 66 days since my last post. In my defence it feels like week.

What have I been upto

I have joined a book club and joined Zumba classes. Both of which I have kept upto. 

I have enrolled for an online course -I am in module 1 of it, so yup just started. I have decided to  change professions, change the course of what I do. More abt it when I am more comfortable. But right now, assignments and studying again is stressing me out. These assignments are like nothing I have done before. I actually need to think and can’t google or phaff my way out of it. Stressful. But dude I am loving it! So let’s see how that goes.

I have also made friends – and even managed a night out with 8 ladies none of whom I am Facebook friends. That last happened in 2005 – that’s right before the advent of Facebook,

I like my routine as a “house wife” but I need to get more organised. But who am I kidding I am just not a domesticated soul.

I have my moments of loneliness and wondering what I am doing with my life

But mostly now – I am at peace !

I say this with pride -I know the author

Review of “A Calendar too crowded by Sagarika Chakraborthy”

To tell you the truth, i didn’t want to review this book. For a couple of reasons, one i am not a big fan of short stories, two I really don’t “get” or “like” feminism overdone and a book full of stories about women sounded just too much to take. But the main reason was that this was written by a dear friend and i didn’t want to be dishonest if i didn’t like it.

But read the book I did! This was not about feminism. It was stories, stories of women. Yes it dealt with topics like rape, prostitution and the like but there were stories of women just like us. I read the stories slowly savouring them, slowly not wanting the book to end. Some characters stay with you and you wonder what happened when the story ended. You feel the optimism, the despair, the happiness the characters share. Some maybe more than others.

Like Sagarika told me you will identify with some of the characters. I loved the fact that none of the characters had names (explanation being that it could be the story of any women). The stories which particularly touched me was the young widow who escapes – (Sags, i need you to tell me what happens after she escapes :-), the ideal mother (i was pregnant then and the women seemed to be narrating my thoughts) and i loved the story on adoption, knowing how close the topic is to the author’s heart.

What stayed with me was the thought that how did a 27(??) year old managing to get into the head and heart of so many characters. How did she have the strength to do so.The book is hard hitting, at times disturbing, it’s the topics we like to sweep under the carpet. Go ahead read it, it isn’t a light read but savour the book story by story!

My only grievance was i wanted more stories !!!

I can’t being to tell you how delayed this review is. I think i read the book close to 100 days ago. I have no excuses, nothing ! Hangs head in shame.

On my bookshelf

For me books are sacred. I barely ever venture to give a person a review of the book if i have enjoyed it. Mainly because i don’t think i will do the book justice. I don’t think telling a person the story or words can capture the essence, spirit or romance of the book.

But i have ventured on a review – mainly because i think it is *ahem* my duty to let people know of these two books. I think that they are not as well-known as they deserve to be.

Both Books – Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk and Chowringee By Shankar – capture the essence of society at a point of time.Coincidentally both are translated into English. The translation is smooth and at no point do you feel that the language is not doing justice to the book which is often the case with a lot of translations.

Chowringee takes u to Calcutta probably sometime after independence…where u can explore Calcutta at a time where foreign liquor was not so easily available, where even “modern” indian still women wore sarees even though they have moved to chiffon, where foreign dancers were a rarity.

A young not so affluent boy takes up a job in one of the best hotels in Calcutta where he observes society – the rich who come to stay or dine at the hotel, the people who work in the hotel – their lives and relationships are depicted. The characters in the movie- Sata Bose, Marco polo, and Karabi Guha remain with u much after you put down the book. I read somewhere that the book mirrors to some extent the life of some of the socialites of that time.

While the book may not have an obvious story line, it very beautifully weaves the thought process of this young boy, his sensitivities towards people and relationships against the backdrop of a newly independent india.

Museum of Innocence is set in Turkey in the 70’s and 80’s and tells the story about a young man from a rich family in Turkey, who falls in love with a distant relative from the impoverished part of society. While the story is about how he pines for this girls – i love the tit bits on the turkish society which is the background of this story. Like the bits on the civil wars in Turkey, the curfew, the affluent turkish woman’s thought process on losing their virginity. It beautifully weaves in Turkey’s passage into modernity and the thought process of youth battling between modern thoughts from the west and their traditional learnings.

In MOI, the narrator and hence the *hero* of the story who is engaged to a suitable girl from the society falls in love with a not so suitable shop girl. He continues to remain engaged while he collects mementoes of his love with the shop girl. He loses both of them and continues to work at getting back the shop girl for eight years – visiting her family, attempting to fulfill her dreams hoping she relents while continuing to pick up little mementoes of their love.

What happens next would give away the whole story…but to all around, his life would seem that of a loser, a person who pines and lost both the suitable girl and the other one – an unfulfilled love and life…but on his death-bed, he says – Tell all that i lived a happy life.

The book is beautiful – the language depicts thoughts which u might have had, it simply portrays the turkish society and you can see it all in your mind’s eye. Like Chowringee, the characters remain with u for a long time after u put it down.

Disclaimer – these are my interpretations of the books and i might not be accurate…but accurate or not these are fantastic books…to own and re-read.

p.s. please clap for me i have learnt to upload images into a post