This is out now.
This year has been like no other. When the year began, it gave us no inkling of what it held. And we end it on a note of bewilderment, not really sure of what happened and what will happen. Hope springs eternal of course, and we await the new year with a curious mixture of weariness and bated breath.
Personally, the year has been kind to me. Things have more or less been on an even keel and changes have been very manageable. I’ve realised that I am truly happiest by myself and suprisingly, life has rearranged itself accordingly.
I am so grateful for everything that’s come my way, and then some.
The happy news includes a story of mine published in this hot-off-the-press anthology. An excellent collection of stories, it is really worth reading. Here’s to more reading and writing in the new year too!
Stay safe and take care. This is the way. 😉
A friend posted a picture of her dad’s head before and after she gave him a haircut.
For a heart stopping moment, I felt it was my dad. It was the very same kind of head and hair, and I was seized with a wave of longing to see him again.
That sparked this poem. 🙂 So here goes
There was a time when we plucked the grey hairs from my father’s head
We giggled –
he would soon go bald
brown shiny mirror framed by typical male balding
reflected his brown comb
He insisted we check if he had got the parting of his long-gone hair right
That he remembered, not us
Secret bits of youthful vanity tucked and folded into wrinkled skin
My scissors snipped at
hair that grew, hair that did not give up
Ironic proof of life in dying embers
White as sorrow black as grief
I have always wondered whether I would enjoy listening to a book as much as reading it, since I am a fast reader and listening seems so much slower.
I had the chance to find out for myself recently. I picked up the Audible version of Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults. Having raced through her Neapolitan Novels breathlessly earlier, I thought this book would be a good test.
I found myself instantly captivated by Marisa Tomei’s brilliant narration, switching from crisp tones to hoarse voices, rolling syllables to elongated ones, suave to stressed words. Vivid images were built up in my head and I felt so much closer to Vittoria and Giovanna. I dreamed about them in Tomei’s voice and I was mesmerized quite completely.
I had never imagined how crucial the narrator would be for audio books. Now I know.
But for the discomfort of constant earphones (which means I can’t “read” a book continuously), I’m now a fan.
About the book itself, it starts off with a bang but weakens midway and peters out to an ending that is as anti-climactic and dull as G’s stepping into adulthood. But the writing reminds me of crochet, digging into holes to create more holes, a beautiful pattern forming along the way. Quite lovely.
It’s been 39 days since I stepped out of the house. I have actually not gone outside even a bit. Other family members have gone out on drives, to stores, to pick up delivered stuff, and so on. I haven’t ventured outside my doorstep, except to keep out the trash bin for collection.
The strange thing is I haven’t felt that I’ve missed out on anything! In fact, interacting with people virtually has been such a relief. The more I see of people, the less I want to interact with them, honestly. Sometimes, I can’t bear the noise levels in the house. It’s not even much – just the husband on a call, speaking sporadically; the daughter in class, answering a stray question; the thumping of the washing machine; the clang of dishes the maid is washing; the drilling, welding, and cutting sounds from the construction site opposite our place… I feel like they are amplified a hundred-fold, and want to dive underwater, where it’s all so quiet.
I like late nights the best, when everything is silent, or blanketed out by the whirring fan. Peace reigns, and I can breathe.
I think I’m finally ready for Vipassana.
It’s been more than a year since I updated my blog. Very remiss of me, I know.
Well, I thought I ought to organize my books in a better way. So I’ve added another page My Books. Check it out.
Pretty cool, eh?
I hope to be more regular here. So many things happening right now – life is never dull.
I hope you have all survived the various lockdowns and pandemic craziness, and hopefully we will emerge into a wiser world.
Lots of love, and take care.
Did not realize I had read 20 books in March. What fun! Quite a crazy mix, so I’ve attempted to categorize them somewhat.
7. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson: The second book of the Reckoners trilogy. Ends on a cliff-hanging note that makes you impatient to read the next (Steelheart, which features in my February list, is the first book).
8. Calamity by Brandon Sanderson: The last book of the Reckoners trilogy. A bit disappointed with the very Hollywood ending. But there’s no doubt that Brandon has now become one of my favourite authors. His construction of worlds is so solid that you get quite completely sucked in. His writing is so competent that the story stays right on track. Creativity at its best!
9. Strange Worlds! Strange Times! Edited by Vinayak Varma: Such a delightful collection of science fiction short stories! Do read, they are quite enjoyable.
10. The Man who was Thursday: A Nightmare by G K Chesterton: What a strange story this was. Anarchists named after days of the week turn out to be quite something else. And the ending is surreal. But the writing, oh the writing! What beautiful, lyrical writing. Reminded me of what I was missing.
11. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa: A YA fantasy set in faeryland, featuring Oberon, Titania, and Puck amongst others, and technology taking on the guise of the villain. The heroine, Meghan Chase (what is with Magnus Chase, Meghan Chase and all?) is not the brightest bulb honestly. Too many times I wanted to smack her. Wish she was a stronger character. Didn’t particularly care for the central male characters either. Overall a good one-time read.
12. 123 Tomorrows by Vaibhav Thakur: A Kindle book that reminded me of Source Code a bit. A terrorist plot, multiple universes, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of main character…ambitious book and quite well-written, found it gripping in parts.
The month is short, but still managed to pack in quite a few, mostly light reads.
That’s it, folks. Onto my March list – what joy!
What a fantastic start I’ve had with books this year! I read a dozen books, and I enjoyed almost all of them.
Here’s the list with as short a review as I can muster:
Hopefully, February will be equally delightful.
When I was young, my aunt, my cousin and her twin girls would visit our home on their annual vacation to India from the US. Every now and then, my cousin would randomly call out to the girls that she loved them. I would watch on, a bit baffled and bemused. Of course we never did that at home. Wasn’t it a tad over-dramatic?
But I obviously thought it was brilliant, which would explain why I keep calling out to my daughter randomly that I love her.
That those three little words “I love you” can have such a profound effect is simply amazing. Entire brilliant and moving sagas have been woven out of them. Sometimes it appears that the entire human species is solely engaged in a quest to hear these words from someone (yeah, survival of the species and all that).
You can survive without food, money, and other stuff (ok, haven’t personally experienced it, but have read enough, I think), so long as you know there’s someone out there who loves you (though now it’s enough if you love yourself, which works for some people, I guess).
I think the most terrible thing that can happen to a human being is feeling unloved. When you feel lonely, what you are really feeling is that no one loves you enough to reach out and ask you how you’re doing. Loneliness is a scourge of the modern world – we are indeed just virtually connected, with emoji hearts and alphabet hugs and kisses. Islands of souls trying to build wireless bridges.
Once the black hole of being unloved sucks you in, there’s no escaping from its gravity. It feeds on itself, becoming stronger and stronger, till it tears you apart.
Spread the loving, people. Spread it. That’s the only way we will keep alive.
Like Harry Potter. 😊