My name is H and it has been 26 days since my last post. Ouch!

Two days ago I received a message from a friend on FB asking whether and I quote, “the Blog was a ‘THING OF THE PAST’…waiting.” Then today I finally logged on to the Blog and saw the message from my first Blogging buddy Maura who ‘hoped I hadn’t quit Blogging and that all was well’. All is Well in a manner of speaking Maura, and No I haven’t quit blogging and I’m sorry I made you think I had, and here’s the post to prove it! The Universe conspires…how many times have I heard that. A long conversation with a BFF, this morning (quite a morning I’ve been having eh?!), also began similarly…”Where have you been? No posts, No pictures?! What’s happening?!” With so many people missing me and hopefully missing my writing…well it made me very happy but not a little guilty. In fact, I’ve been living with separation anxiety and dealing with the massive guilt of not having written a line in a long while, for the last few weeks. I started revamping the Blog a while ago…sorting through posts, streamlining categories and generally trying to make the Blog feel more cohesive. I should have realized the futility of starting such an exercise just before school closed for Summer holidays! All I can say to that now of course, is Live & Learn! What with Ishaan’s Annual Day, yet another wedding in the family (It’s almost like the new code in town – a wedding is not a wedding unless it’s spread out over 3-4 days :P), the start of Ishaan’s holidays and my loss of those 4 priceless hours of freedom, two huge Birthdays in the first weeks of April (Ishaan’s & Hubby’s) – my Life has been one, crazy, mad rollercoaster of a ride!! I have a lot to say with no time to say it in…and it’s left me edgy, nervy and not a happy camper.

Some things will not change for a while…the Holidays stretch looooooooooong & eternal (You know you feel like this too Moms! Don’t you deny it!), and my time will not be my own until School finally re-opens. Until then, the best I can do is snatch a few minutes here, an hour there and try to scratch together a few words. The reason this post is titled Confessions, is because this crazy time (like most crazy times do), has taught me a few things about myself. These are not startling revelations, rather stuff I always knew but have had reinforced recently! And since I have to start somewhere and there’s no time like the present, I thought I would just list a few here.

  1. I SUCK big time at multi-tasking. I know it’s supposed to be a skill we women are born with, an in-built universal genetic code, but I must have been elsewhere or drunk while the Good Lord was distributing this particular skill-set! Juggling is not a skill I have acquired nor one I plan to acquire anytime soon 😛 I’m at my best when focusing on one thing at any given time, two things…I can usually handle, three things…I can still manage, but beyond that…amnesia, lethargy, procrastination and indifference, set in, leading to general chaos and resultant discontent!
  2. I’ve had my FILL of Weddings!! Truly!! In my opinion, the only people who enjoy them are the Bride & Groom (if they’re lucky!); people who love dressing to their T’s no matter what the weather (which I observe includes all the teens and twenty-somethings); people who love eating a rehash of the same menu every season; young couples in love who either fantasize or have nightmares about their own nuptials; people who have the energy and inclination to make conversation with the same set of people over a period of 3 days; and busybody ‘aunties’ masquerading as matchmakers! Needless to say, I do not qualify in any category 😉 I’m not good with sameness and the amount of time I’ve been away from Goa has done nothing to endear its weddings to me. Au contraire, I’ve attended three family weddings in the last two years (more than I’ve attended in the last decade!), and I can honestly say – Give Me A Break!
  3. I tend to live my Life in Phases. Perhaps it has something to do with being the Moon Goddess in a previous incarnation 😉 At any given time, I’m usually deep in the middle of one of these; the ‘Book & Reading’ phase, the ‘TV’ phase, the ‘DVD’ phase, the ‘Writing’ phase, The ‘Mad Photographer’ phase, the ‘Farmville’ phase (though in all honesty, this one is not a phase, more an addiction :P),  the ‘Leave Me Alone or Risk Your Life’ phase (this one often runs concurrently with most of the above!)…you get the picture. While I’m in the midst of a particular Phase, everything else takes backseat, and I mean backseat. I can be very obsessive about whatever it is that has my fancy at the time and ignore most everything else. So when I’m in the ‘Reading’ phase, I have no clue what’s on TV, I don’t feel like taking pictures and I don’t write. I can’t! (Refer to 1). I’ve discovered over the years that this can be a fabulous if rather unpopular and uncharitable existence 😛
  4. Disorganization is the one constant in my existence at the moment and it looks like it’s here to stay for a while. Thoughts imitate Life and though there’s a lot of buzz and static and noise…there’s very little coherence and productivity. It doesn’t help that inspiration always seems to strike when I’m least prepared or deadbeat, usually post midnight when I’m physical exhausted but can’t seem to silence the brain 😛
  5. I live in what can only be termed ‘The Henhouse’ 😉 But that’s a whole other post!

I know the list sounds like a litany of excuses, and honestly it is that too. But it is also the unfortunate reality of my Life at the moment. I know people with much busier lives than me, with no support, still manage to get the stuff they need to get done, done. That leaves me wondering about my priorities. I know what they are, but I have a tough time sticking with them. Perhaps it’s my inherent flighty, easily bored nature? You think?! And yet, ever so often…someone or something will remind me of how much I love to write and of how I’m a much better version of myself when I do it regularly, and some force will propel me to sit down and write…like it did this post!

And so this post is dedicated to M, and to Maura & to A, who jolted me out of my laziness & complacency 😀 Here’s my reply to M’s short, succinct message, “Actually, the Blog is a Thing of the Future…soon!” So here it is, my comeback post of sorts. It’s not great but it’ll have to do. And you know I cannot sign off without thanking all my friends on & offline who haven’t given up on me and who have been patient beyond the call of duty. I love you all and I couldn’t do it without you 😀 And no, I have not given up Blogging and I hope that makes you as happy as it makes me 😉

See what writing does to me? As I write these last few lines, suddenly All is Well with the World and I’m smiling at the screen 🙂 Ishaan is outside playing cricket. Later tonight, a quiet birthday dinner with Hubby and hopefully tomorrow…a new post. Sounds like a plan? Now if I can just stick with it!! 😛

Happy Monday People 😀

Something’s Gotta Give!

Last week I forgot a birthday. That in itself is unremarkable. I do it all the time. I’m one of those people who remembers a Birthday months in advance and usually up to a week of the actually date…only to have it slip away entirely from memory on the Day itself! Truth be told, I have now reached a stage where I can’t even remember that I’ve forgotten (if you get what I mean!), without someone reminding me, like my friend did a few days ago! You know those nagging sensations one relies on…the ones that warn, ‘You sure you’re not forgetting something?’ or ‘Wait a sec, isn’t it so & so’s B’day today? What’s the date? Geez is it March already?!’…turns out those dim with age too (lets hope it’s just age and nothing more serious!). So you see, the whole thing is pretty hopeless!

With the advent of memory-enhancing tools like Facebook, one would think forgetting Birthdays, Anniversaries and any number of important dates and events would be a thing of the past…apparently not! Turns out, the mind only remembers what it’s focused on in the moment (at least mine does!), and so I am perfectly capable of logging on to FB, ignoring all important reminders, and heading straight to my farm for an hour of relaxing, brainless activity 😛 I know! That’s just me! These last two weeks have only served to make matters worse. It’s almost like 2011 has ushered in a period of frenzied activity. There’s been some cosmic shifting of gears and Life is taking on a rogue treadmill-like quality…repetitive, unending & perpetually rushed! Maybe I should just blame it all on Saturn? The scariest thing (to a lousy multi-tasker like me), is that it doesn’t feel like a phase. I look into the future and all I see is more of the same. When did Life turn into this giant hamster-wheel??

I know time-management is the key…whatever you may think, I’m not an idiot! But lets face facts here…I suck at it! I do! Being a ‘go-with-the-flow’ kind of person has it’s advantages but one of the biggest cons is that I suck at planning and sticking to schedules. I generally let my interests of the moment consume me to the point where I’m neglecting important but boring stuff, like helping Ishaan with his homework (although in principle, I don’t think toddlers should even have homework!), doing groceries, deciding menus (ugh!!), doing laundry, collecting laundry, returning calls and the like. Unfortunately, this level of involvement doesn’t affect my fondness for food, enhancing it instead to humongous proportions! There goes that particular weight-loss mantra 😛 No, what bothers me now, is that in all of this constant running around, the tables have turned and I haven’t even noticed! Suddenly I’m swamped in the mundane and it’s leaving me no time to do the things that keep me from losing my mind…writing, reading, taking pictures, having fun, breathing!!

But it isn’t just the physical activity that’s draining. The frenetic brain-buzz’s the real killer! There are many changes happening and innumerable decisions to be made…it’s causing serious brain-drain. It seems these days as if I’m always weighing pros and cons, considering alternatives, anticipating problems and researching solutions…whew! Who would have imagined ‘thinking’ is one of the most exhausting activities there is! Most days I live in a kind of fugue, moving from one thought to the other, one task to another, mechanically. Something’s gotta give! This is not a state of mind I want to be in for long, as you may well imagine. Who would?

Prioritize…that’s the key, but I find that easier to do with chores and the physical stuff than thoughts. Have you tried it? It’s much more difficult, given that, thoughts don’t obey any rules, popping in and out of the mind with irritating nonchalance! It demands an extraordinary amount of discipline and a steely resolve, none of which I seem able to drum up right now. So forgive & forget if this post irritates you as much as it’s irritating me right now! I’m just trying to write myself back into…writing. Trying to build up the discipline and gather the steely resolve, bit by bit, one post at a time. This post has been in my head for a while now, jostling for space with a million others, and I’ve only just managed to get it on paper, in short bursts of free time, over the last couple of days. It’s been frustrating, but I’ve got it done. I know I must find time (somewhere, somehow), to write at least 3 posts a week or suffer insanity. I think I can. I know I must.

Thanks for listening, People.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

My Edition

I finished re-reading this book last week, while in my cotton-headed state. Perhaps it’s what prolonged that state of being for a while…the book is wont to have that effect!

I remember feeling confused, moved, restless and uneasy after reading it the first time. It was unsettling then and it is unsettling now. It is one of the few books that will haunt me forever, never leave my consciousness, probably because of the way the author deals with issues that interest me – the resilience of the human spirit and its will to survive in the face of gargantuan odds, the power of faith, the intricacies of the human mind, boundaries in the physical & ethical world, and the healing power of love that allows us to survive the worst of our nightmares, whether physical, mental or spiritual.

Love the flying fish on this one!

There are so many things I treasure about this book; it’s hard to know where to begin. An excellent story, fascinating characters and a strong interplay of science and religion (my favourite), all make for an amazing read, but if I were to start at the very beginning, I guess I would start with Pi – his name and how he got it! Piscine Molitor Patel – with a name like that, it’s almost criminal to expect a life on the straight and narrow. A name like that begs adventure, excitement, a life less ordinary! I love the author’s descriptions of the diverse environments in which the story is set. Pondicherry & the Zoo. The Sea. The Human Mind. With minimum fuss and deft strokes, he sketches each to perfection! Love the Zoo and its animals – how they live, interact and survive their cages. He explodes many myths about zoo animals, especially with regard to their need for freedom and I love how every animal story he tells (and there are many) has a lesson for us humans in it! Great writing!

I also enjoyed reading about Pi’s forays into religion and the fact that he does so more out of curiosity rather than compulsion, interested me. I appreciated the way the author has approached the subject, keeping his language, Pi’s motivation and the followers of different faiths that he encounters, simple and clear and almost one-dimensional, rather true to life I thought. Loved the nonchalant way his parents react and the dialogue that follows between them and the representatives of the three faiths that Pi has espoused, after the outing of his ‘multi-religiousness’, is delicately yet superbly done. The author manages to avoid offending sensibilities by keeping the dialogue matter of fact and to the point and I like that he doesn’t let Pi back down in the face of societal prejudice. It is one of the high points in the book for me.

The shipwreck, is so clinically described, that for a while, like Pi, I almost disbelieve that it has indeed occurred! The events that follow are gruesome, tragic and surreal, making for an awesome read, if you’re not squeamish. The description of the Sea in its various ‘avatars’, is fascinating and only fitting I thought, in a tale where it is a major, if not ‘the’ major character. At the end, when Pi hits landfall at last, is when the geography really hit me. He’s drifted from somewhere near Manila to Mexico! Incredible, unbelievable, astounding! Without giving the story away, suffice it to say, that my reactions mirrored those of the men that Pi tells his stories to in Mexico, and the fact that they did taught me something about myself, while offering important insight into the machinations of the human mind and the extreme measures it can take to ensure survival. This book reaffirms my belief that humanity is geared to survive. It is our strongest instinct and though most of us thankfully will never have to go through such extremes as Pi did to know it exists, nevertheless, it’s what keeps us going through all the petty trials and tribulations of our everyday lives.

Love this cool illustration of Pi & Parker 🙂

And so I come to Richard Parker, one of my favorite characters in literature, brilliantly imagined and written, and for me, the single reason (if I had to pick just one) this book is extraordinary! In turns abhorred and beloved, in turns friend and foe, in turns devil and savior, in turns tiger and man – he is unforgettable! Enough said 🙂

This book will offer fresh insights every time you read it. It is a many-layered story that will engage your imagination and intellect on many levels. Yet it is neither over-written nor over-thought and at its core, it is still about the universal battle of ‘good versus evil’ and relationships…with self, the rest of the world and the Almighty.

A must read!

The Writing in my Head…

So…here I am, at the computer at the ungodly hour of 5 am. Yes, yes, I know a lot of you are awake for a myriad reasons; my aunt in Bombay has already been awake for an hour waiting for her tap to drip water! For me though, 5 am is not a decent hour at which to begin the weekend. And yet more and more often these days, I find myself waking earlier than I ever have before, no thanks to my 2 yr old who thinks nothing of calling out ‘Mama’ from his crib at all hours of the night!! He gets up all chirpy, eyes still tightly screwed shut, arms stretched out, wanting to be cuddled, asking for his sipper of milk, which I provide bleary-eyed, and then promptly falls back to sleep! Go figure! Another advantage of extreme youth and of extreme age, this ability to drift in and out of sleep with ease, from what I’ve noticed by the way, so I have something to look forward to! But since I am at the moment, neither extremely young nor extremely old (I refuse to say the M-word! Oh go on – you know you know it!), I’m left semi-awake after these little episodes at odd hours of the night or day, staring at the computer screen (coz what else is there to do when you’re up at 5 am and sleep is as distant as Mt. Everest?), with time on my hands and the writing in my head.

Let me explain…this post for example…it isn’t about anything at all really…just me, passing time writing stuff that’s floating around in my head. Sort of. Oh alright, you found me out! This is actually a carefully thought out post that I am writing at 10 am and pretending I wrote at 5 am just to see if I can get more comments from all those silent readers out there! Gotcha! Forgive the inanities…they are all I can come up with so early in the morning before coffee kick-starts my stodgy brain.

Ok, on to the good stuff 😛 One of the things I discovered after I began to start blogging, was how I’m never out of ideas but always out of time and energy! A lot of it has to do with my natural laziness (a very Sagittarian trait!), for which I have as yet no antidote 😉 So, I find myself writing in my head…poems, ideas, thoughts, titles for the books I plan to write some day, lines of imaginary dialogue…you get the drift. While this may seem romantic, let me reassure you (before your jealousy over my secret romantic rendezvous’ gets out of hand ;-)), it is nothing short of agony. I exaggerate not! For one, all the stuff is vague and nebulous at best, ‘dream-like’ if you get what I’m saying; and if it is coherent, I don’t always remember it in the clear light of day – again an irritatingly ‘dreamy’ quality, so that when I sit down to write seriously, I’m…uh huh you guessed it – BLANK!

I can just hear all the tut-tut ting you guys are doing right now, thinking, “Is she for real? Can anyone really be so stupid? ” Yes and Yes 😉 The inconvenience of inspiration for me is its ability to strike best when my readiness level is at an all time low. So my best thoughts, arrive suddenly, thoughtlessly, when in my semi-awake, low-alert state, there is no paper around to capture those elusive, much awaited lines of an incomplete poem or scribble the title of my magnum opus and other assorted flashes of genius! It’s a cruel World! I discussed this with my aunt, ‘coz that’s what I do when I need clarity. She understood (she’s like that, my aunt – she gets me J), was suitably sympathetic, even offered practical suggestions which I should have thought of myself – a simple matter of having a book and pencil on the bedside table ready to capture said flashes! I tried, I did. I just kept knocking the book and pencil off, as I fumbled in the dark, along with a hundred other doodads (bottles of lotion, my glasses, a bottle of water, the sipper I mentioned earlier, ear buds, a nail cutter, several novels…the list is endless and gives me an idea for a whole other post ;-)). It was hopeless. I wasn’t ready then however, to do the logical thing. Yes, I’m like that – I rejoice in the irrational and resist the logical for as long and with as much vigor as I can muster! I have since surrendered (this post is ample proof) to the inevitable. When it occurs (it always does, it’s inevitable remember?), I do what I’m doing now – get out of bed; tiptoe downstairs in the dark for fear of waking the peacefully sleeping house, (untroubled by said flashes of genius, lucky dogs!); switch on the microwave and the laptop; start the makings of an extra-strong cuppa while waiting for the appliances to do their thing; and finally, fortified by the coffee, attempt to transcribe the hotchpotch of ideas, thoughts and words in my head, before they disappear like so much early morning mist.

Now that I’ve accepted the craziness that is inspiration, I’m beginning to enjoy these odd sojourns with myself :). I enjoy the quiet of the house (you would too, if you lived with a toddler and several opinionated adults with loud voices, myself included, of course ;-)), the feeling of solitude (I’m telling you there are times when human contact is highly overrated!), and the peace that allows me to think cohesively. I enjoy listening to the first signs of dawn – birds chirping, the rush of fresh air that enters the room, when I first throw open the window, rich with the earthy smell of moist soil and the fragrance of dew-laden grass and flowers, the slow beginnings of light on the horizon, the misty beginnings of a new day. I’m beginning to enjoy it so much, this might just become a habit. As habits go, I’ve had worse 😉

There, all done, just as the house begins to stir. Really, timing is everything!

See you, when next the writing strikes!

Have a good weekend people  🙂