Unloved

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 live 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. 😊

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In a Blink

2018 has gone by too in the blink of an eye. I barely remember what happened.

What I can recollect is a fun year with great friends, albeit with some rather surprising hiccups. A milestone year for my siblings and a year in which I’ve become a grand-aunt. Health issues have been minor, I think.

I’ve read some lovely books, and am ending the year feeling rather restless and hungry for some really engrossing reading. Writing has become rather incidental to my life now.

I am harboring my usual ambivalence towards the year gone by, and the year that is rising over the horizon. At least that has not changed!

A Very Happy New Year to you and your loved ones, in case you are still reading! ☺️

Back to Books

I was having a conversation with a couple of friends regarding some of the books we had read. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton cropped up, and I remembered I had written a post on that, comparing it with Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pahmuk. I searched for that post, and when I read it, it brought back vivid memories of both the books.

I have read so many books this year, and I guess jotting down my thoughts about them will keep them fresh in my mind in the days to come.

Some of the most lovely books I’ve recently read include

  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • Shaya Tales by Bulbul Sharma
  • Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
  • Leela: A Patchwork Life by Jerry Pinto
  • The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love by Per J Andersson

…I could go on all day! 🙂

The book I just finished reading is Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a saga about the lives of Korean-Japanese folks.

It was fascinating, for it provided a glimpse of how universal the issues of migrants to a different country are. In the book, people of Korean origin are treated often with suspicion and disdain by the Japanese in Japan. Nothing they do is ever good enough to make them sufficiently Japanese. Sound familiar?

In many ways, the book reminded me of Jasoda by Kiran Nagarkar.

Both feature a strong matriarchal figure who is the rooted anchor of the entire family tree. Both feature brilliant eldest sons who hunger for more education. Both feature America as aspiration. And both showcase the strong, silent, entrepreneurial women who run families with little or no support, and do the best job they can.

Both novels are also written in solid styles with no gimmicks. They tell a competent story and enclose you in the comfort of traditional story-telling.

In short, I enjoyed reading both books.

And another year goes by

I have not visited or updated this blog for nearly a year now. I’d even forgotten the passwords! But I was determined to put up a new post on this last day. So here I am.

2017 has been a mixed bag. If there’s one lesson I’ve really internalised, it is to live in the moment. Letting go has been the only choice many times. So I’ve let go, without any qualms or regrets. So many things we don’t understand, so many things we cannot control…

Let’s see what 2018 brings. A mixed bag it will be, I think! 🙂

Little Drops – 2

On a whim, I decided to join a writer’s workshop Anita’s Attic, run by author Anita Nair. It was a good experience and I met several absolutely amazing young authors, some of whom were less than half my age!

Late last year, a call came from Anita’s Attic for short stories. I quickly wrote a short story in a burst of inspiration, which I was quite happy with. I sent it off, and yesterday, it came up on Quillr, a new pay-and-read platform.

Here’s the link to the story Running, if you’re interested.

 

Little Drops

A few drops in a drought are always welcome, even if they make you hunger for pounding rain.

So, in the barren wasteland of my writing last year, there were a couple of fat drops that made me happy.

The children’s library we started is such a source of joy, even though I’m unable to do full justice to it in terms of my time, thanks to the various health crises that popped up regularly. It’s an oasis for me, a haven of peace and happiness, to be surrounded by books, fantastic partners, and the sweetest sight of all – kids deeply engrossed in books. It never fails to move me, and I feel so grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity.

Last year, for Karnataka Rajyotsava, we came up with an idea of writing a picture book that introduced some common Kannada words/sentences. I wrote the story itself in a very short time. However, I had the most fun with the illustrations. Not having Photoshop or any other appropriate software, and too lazy to sit and draw out everything, I used PowerPoint. I had such a blast doing the pictures, and it gave me such a high!

We printed one copy of the book, and read it out to the kids. It was a hit, and the best part was kids coming up and telling me – “Tumba chennagide!” (very nice in Kannada, which was one of the phrases introduced in the book). It was really such a wonderful experience!

Here’s the cover of the book Aane Mari’s Feast (Aane Mari meaning Little Elephant, though quite a few call it Anna Marie :D)

aanemari

New Beginnings

So, 2016 has been reviled enough for me not to add to it. However, I must note that it was a spectacularly shitty year health-wise.

I kicked it off with a particularly nasty bout of shingles, the remnants of which still haunt me every now and then with twinges and sporadic itching.My dad’s dementia grew worse, my mom was at the end of her tether, and then the Grim Reaper harvested his soul without so much as a by your leave. My sisters had horrible mysterious afflictions that saw them in and out of hospitals. One of them is still in so much pain that she, the strong one who can bear everything, actually breaks down and cries.

The final straw was my daughter, my darling D, who came down with severe abdominal pain. She is pretty strong, my D, and bore the numerous pricks for IV and blood samples and bodily intrusions and what not, with magnificent equanimity. But then, one terrible evening, she writhed in unbelievable agony, screaming for over an hour, and we stood by helpless even as she begged us to “do something”, while the doctors buzzed around. Those horrible moments are burnt into my memory. It’s most probably abdominal migraine (yeah, everyone reacts with “Never heard of it!”), and she’s back, albeit weakly, on her feet. But the holiday season and all her (and our) plans have been pretty much ruined.

So, if there’s one wish I could make for 2017, which is, as several people have opined, a rather arbitrary division of time, it would be for good health. 2017 has so far not showed any signs of respecting my wishes, but it’s early days. It’s just getting warmed up hopefully, and as the days go by, here’s hoping that good health shines down on us.

And you, of course. Good Health and Happiness to you too!