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Words without brakes

It is surprising how reading a book inspires one to write. A fountain that was dried up seems to want to send out water again. A tap that ran dry seems to be waiting to be opened up and let flow. Poetry seems to be flowing out. Can there be magic in a pen and can magic transfer from one writer to another ? It would seem so.

When I post, usually I read and re-read and sometimes trash my posts because they have been written over days and the day I am ready to publish, the post does not resonate with my inner muse anymore. Time has changed my outlook on the same issue even though much time has not gone by. Even seconds can change one’s way of looking at the same thing. Writing a post for me is like capturing a moment on a photographic plate, slicing through my life at that point in time. In epidemiology, cross sectional studies are defined as those studies that report events as they are at a particular point of time- such are my usual blog posts. A few days later, the same post does not seem right enough as it did the day it was conceived. Am I driveling ? Perhaps I am. But I continue to write in order not to stop the flow of that muse that has seen drier days and lonelier nights.

The book I picked up at the airport on my way back is my inspiration. ” Second Thoughts” by Navtej Sarna. It is a book which should be a reader’s dream book. A book that speaks of the writer’s travels through the circumstances and sometimes the places where the writers of his choice once lived or wrote. Imagine having the freedom to go to places or sit on site at tables or in rooms where writers once wrote and imagine the thoughts that went into those writer’s minds as they wrote. Writing should be the most honest of crafts for if written as words are born in the mind, it should be a thread that connects the soul of the writer with the soul of the reader. When I began posting I was such a writer. Over years, a veil seems to have clouded my writing, I seem to go back and read over my words and decide certain words must go or some thought removed( often to not offend) and then the post becomes presentable. In the process it becomes far removed from what it should have been. I see now, that my posts in recent days have been dishonest.

I am inspired to look in my library for many of the books written about in ” Second Thoughts”. The book describes the book ” Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote,which probably will be the first book I will be looking for. And another book- Landour Days by Ruskin Bond, which I might have read before but am inspired to read again. Seems like Landour Days is like a collection of Bond’s ” Morning Pages”, if such can be, a rambling through his days in Landour, a hill station in the Himalayas. The words the book quotes from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” are the ones that have inspired me to look for the original –

“Never love a wild thing. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get.Until they are strong enough to run into the woods.Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you will end up— If you let yourself love a wild thing. You will end up looking at the sky.”

As a mother who is probably going to lose her treasure to another, these words seem prophetic to me. Is that funny ? Is there even a comparison between a wild thing and a child ? Giving your heart to another living thing until one day that living thing leaves you and you are left looking at emptiness. If what remained was the blue sky, I would take it. If what remained was memories of good times together, I probably don’t want it. Does that mean one should not love to not be left holding the kite strings, once the kite has broken free ? When did I become a mother like this ? When did I change ?

Where do my rambling thoughts take me ? Mothers are funny creatures. They love and love and love, until surprisingly one day, the love seems to be a chain, a burden, a heavy weighted vest, which has to be cast off.

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Artist Date -first week of December

Per Julia Cameron’s book ” Its never too late to begin again”, I started writing the morning pages 6 days ago. The second item recommended by her in the process of knowing oneself is to have an artistic date with oneself. Take off on something that brings out the child inside a person. Its easy to wish an artist date and think about things I did as a child but have not been doing for a long time now.

Smiling, feeling free, no burdens or very few, jumping for joy when a happy something happened( I find it very difficult to jump now with my creaking knees) and so many more things. 

Feeling overwhelmed with the artist date, I decide to google it and look for ideas and there are so many sites that give out ideas- most of them doable. 

Started the clock at 12:15 pm yesterday and decided to stop at 1:15 pm- one hour. I took off to my office garden where  I keep a few plants on the balcony of the third floor which is the only outdoor space on the floor. Cut off a few withered rose flowers, trimmed some plants and cleaned up some flower pots. This is a date without social media or a phone- so I went without any electronic media to document my date. Fifteen minutes later,  I was done. 

What would I do for the other 45 minutes  ? I thought of the stacks of yarn sitting under my office desk and decided to start a crochet project. I have not been able to crochet for more than a year now- I can’t think of starting a project with an unhappy frame of mind. So I took up the book which I got a couple of years back – All American crochet Afghans- edited by Laura Scott and started off on a beginner project- by the time two rows were done, my 45 minutes had passed and without a care in my mind.

This artist date stuff seems to work. 

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My inner censor

I am reading ” It’s never too late to begin again” by Julia Cameron recommended by a blogger whose writing I love so much- Molly Stevens.

I have had at least 3 blog posts started but not completed. I have carted all my yarn to my office, so I can keep my fingers busy and not stress over what might have been ( readers will know what I mean). In many unknown ways, my not going to do my Master’s has affected me- the first being my weight gain of over 10 kilos( 22 pounds) and my don’t care less attitude. There have been other stresses all of my own creation and nothing seems to count any more. I don’t have that positive attitude I used to have before that said I can do anything. Everything I try an inner censor comes and says – Oh, what’s the point ?”

Julia says that during work, there have always been colleagues who were critical of our work but as we near retirement, there is another stronger critic, our inner censor. In the chapter two, she says, when we say

” I’d love to design clothes” 

Censor says ” You can’t -you are too old to learn fashion design.

“I’d really love to design clothes”

Censor ” You are not fashionable. 

I’d really like to try, says you. 

Censor : ” What a terrible waste of money”.

” I can afford it”

Censor : You really are a fool

From Julia Cameron’s ” Its never too late to begin again”.

I have an inner censor too. The conversations in my head go on like this :

“I really want to study further, become somebody, make a few publications, become famous. I want to be able to go to my college reunions or school reunions as “somebody”.

Censor : You can’t do it. See what happened last time- you tried to get the visa and the visa woman rejected you. You had all the documents, the money everything in place, but she rejected you. You can’t do anything right. 

” I think I should try again. After all, they are holding my admission for me. Or I should apply to Harvard this time. If someone wants something strongly, the whole universe conspires to give him that said somebody famous. So I should try again.

Censor: No point trying. Even God is not in support of this venture. Your husband will be alone when you go.

” I’ll try to go for the summer course and come back after the summer”.

Censor: Even that won’t work. Just watch how you bungle even such a small thing up.

This weekend, I picked this book up again. I didn’t complete the first reading, though the book has been with me for ages, ever since the library bought it for me. Even reading a book has become a chore these days. If you ask me, am I depressed? Not outright but inside there is a deep, gnawing hurt that doesn’t seem to be going away. I pretend everything is ok and the tears don’t fall anymore but it is there.

Julia tells us to “shrink one’s censor”- describe it, how old is it, what does it look like, what are some of its favorite remarks, or even sketch it. Julia recommends that we name our Censor and this way, we can have conversations with a real named person and make a joke of it, if you will. 

I like this strategy. Over the weekend, an old senior plagued my dreams- her stinker and the way she bullied people around our hostel as Hygiene Secretary came back to me. I decided to name my censor ” Banani” and it is an apt name for my censor is not one- there seems to be a multitude of them, a veritable forest. “Banani” means forests. 

From the book :

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced”. -VINCENT VAN GOGH

What are things I cannot do ?or says Banani?

Banani says : 

” You cannot crochet again. Your left thenar area hurts so much.

” You cannot lose weight. You cannot control your appetite, even gluttony.”

” You daughters will not get married.”

” You will never return to your home country”.


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Thursday Thoughts

Its been two weeks since that day.  My shock day for 2018, I am going to call it. Where I pummeled down to the lowest a man can go.

I have stopped thinking over it. Today I met my supervisor who is back from holiday. Meeting her would, I thought, be embarrassing. I was losing sleep over it. I had said all my byes and said, enough and all that and then now I am eating humble pie. Life seems to be about eating humble pie often. It just goes to show where man thinks he/she is and that that position is not at all stable. It is perhaps better not to soar too high, so the fall is not too great. Arrogance – I must have been arrogant or I would not feel like I am eating humble pie, right? Well, it is a lesson, well learned.

Image result for humble pie

The meeting with the supervisor was not too bad. She seems happy to have me back. I am grateful for the money from the job. I am grateful for the freedom of spending again but of course, I wish life had taken a different course. In a way I am glad, I am here, yet, to support my family while they are making changes in their lives but when I get an email from my college- I still call it that, there is a certain wistful thinking, of things that might have been. Maybe older women are not meant to study and are just meant to mind the hearth. I feel like Jo of Little Women when she returned from the boarding house home and found that everything looked the same but nothing satisfied.

Image result for little women

For the past two months( since April), my diet and watching over my weight has all gone for a toss. With daughter 2’s exams looming on the horizon and the family predicting doom about her admissions, it took all of my positive spirits and bucking up to keep things up. Exams done, she did well, she secured admissions to good colleges but the midnight oil that burned during the process and the sleepless nights, the leptin and the increased, never-ending appetite and the eternal hunger pangs and the consolation, albeit temporary from eating food, even icecreams( which I have never even liked since childhood) and sweets( which I haven’t eaten since 2004), all goes to show how much of a toll the constant pushing of my limits was taking on me. I have not been taking care of myself.

Image result for Baskin robbins icecream

I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t. Really, I mean, what is the point of living so long anyway? If I eat well and exercise and look well, what is the point? At some time, I am sure to get some lifestyle disease or some cancer or something else. See my thoughts. There was no rhyme or reason to them- was it the beginning of the empty nest syndrome?

Image result for empty nest syndrome

Anyway, the thing is, this week, I have taken time to read and write and look well- put makeup on. I know makeup makes me look, well, made up and I am someone who loves the natural, no make up look. Still, I did some blackening of my eyes, some color on my face, smoothening up some holes, dental work, and hair care. I have rubbed lotions and oils on my body and put vitamin E cream on my face. This last because there was a tube of this very expensive cream lying on my dresser, I had never used before but must have bought some time in a trance and never used. The day after using the cream, I looked at my face and it looked different. By that time, I had forgotten I had done something to my face the previous night( applying the cream). My face shone like it used to when I was younger. Suddenly it struck me that I had rubbed some of that cream last night on my face. So the second night in a row, I applied some more of it on my face. Today, this morning, I looked at my face, and I notice, my face shining. This cream seems to be working on my menopausal skin.

Image result for vitamin E cream

This seems to be a good time to take care of me. No family, plenty of time, only my cat to take care of. Well, the point of this post – at last.

I am going to do the keto diet- this diet seemingly works for me as I am not very fond of carbohydrates anyway and can eat all I want of fats, what is not to like?

It is a 24 hour fast today- only lemon water, black coffee, tea allowed. This is a detox to get rid of all the sugars in my body.

 

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Day 25- June 8- writing identity

A weekend day. Light work. Hot as an oven. Hubby planned to go out to the shops in the morning but came back with wings on his feet. I am laughing to think of hubby as an angel- an angel with feet wings.

Lunch was leftovers heated up. Breakfast was the usual fare- rice and lentil pancakes with lentil curry. Seem to have a severe protein deficiency. So consuming hemp powder by the spoonful.

Going out now when the call for prayer goes out- this is a good time to be out- the traffic is in control and the roads are relatively empty. The days get longer and longer. No emails from college so far- no news is probably good news.

Hubby is worried about getting a job in the home country. Sometimes opportunities come and we don’t see them as opportunities but as obstacles when in fact they are disguised opportunities. The human mind is so idiotic – sometimes it takes decisions like letting sleeping dogs lie, liking the status quo when a good shake up of the status quo is just what we need. The status quo is good for the present but not good in the long term. Change is the order of the universe.

Write, write, write says Natalie Goldberg, the author who I am reading now. Write bookfuls of junk out of which junk will come up a lotus plant, tall and beautiful- that spreads its fragrance about it. Writing keeps us honest and honesty needs to come out of good writing. Often I write and then I edit because I think of how the writing might impact someone who reads it. What I have edited out is what I truly am.

The pursuit of who I truly am is my connection to the creator, God and my deeper self. Writing gives me the path to identify who I am, without any pretences. I hope to reach that inner space of honesty, the true me.

A story starter · About me · Better World Books · Book Reading · Book Review · History · L M Montgomery · Louisa May Alcott · M M Kaye · Truths and Inspiration

On a quest- little known books of the famous

I was one of those readers who used to read books recommended by others. Sometimes I selected books if I had read other books of an author before. Often times it was what I had heard about a book that led me to look for it and read it.

I have been bored with the choices of books I have in recent days. The books I have been reading are hardly worth even one read. I have been exasperated with some writers. I have wanted to shake a few.

I wished there were modern authors like my favorites- M M Kaye, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery. Ones whose stories we could read and read again and wonder what happened to its characters long after the book was put down. These are books I have collected. I must have read “How green was my valley” at least 25 times- or ” The Far Pavilions” fifty. Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s boys and all the rest of those have been stories I have stored in the recesses of my brain, though I have not copies of those books now. Sometimes I long for the ” good old days”.

Recently one blogger, whose writing I love – therabbitpatchdiary.com – wrote of other books of Louisa May Alcott – Under the lilacs. I had never heard of this title before.

Thus started my quest. I work in a university with a very large collection of books- mostly digital versions but some hard copies too. I looked through Amazon and Good reads and looked for other titles written by Alcott and found quite a few. I soon found ” Eight Cousins”, ” Rose in Bloom”, Behind the mask and ” An old fashioned girl”. All delicious, scrumptious books. The writing magnificent, and the stories though time tested, told in a different way. I have with me a copy of ” Jack and Jill”, which is locked up in my draw to read when everything is quiet for I do my best reading then.

Then I looked for other titles by M. M. Kaye- to be honest, I had read a few already- Shadow of the Moon being one of them. There was no harm in procuring a copy through my library, which was so happy to have one reading asking for its little- borrowed titles. This quest let me to another period novel – The Zemindar, which spoke of the ” First Mutiny of Indian independence” like all the other titles did. Reading them was a week’s work for me. When I read books I like, really like, I find I take time and am not a fast reader any more.

Finally I am now on to the L. M. Montgomery books- I just read ” A tangled web” yesterday and now have started on ” Emily’s quest”.

I am grateful to have access to a library that allows me to read and enjoy books at my will and at little or no cost.

Have you looked for the entire collection of books written by an author ? Do you find differences in the writing between books or is there a commonness you find among books written by one author ?

On my 25th wedding anniversary, there could be no better post by me than one on books and hence this one.

 

A story starter · About me · Awaiting the weekend · Being honest · Book Reading · Truths and Inspiration

Reading out loud

We spent about 14 days in hospital- entirely. Mom and I almost fully and dad went home a couple of times to check on the house and my other sister who was at home with her baby. We established a routine of sorts those days.

5:30 am was waking up time when the nurses came in, to change sheets and check Blood pressure and do blood tests if any.

Between 5:30 and 6 am : Mom got hungry once she was out of the Intravenous fluid and we tried to give her tea but she wouldn’t tolerate it, so we took to giving her Horlicks which she liked

Between 6- 7 am : We tried to sleep some more

7 am : Usually the onco surgeon came  on his rounds at this time, so we needed to be up. Mom would have combed her hair and put on her dentures by this time. My mom has long locks of hair.

7:30 am : Breakfast for mom

8: am : Dad went to have his breakfast at the cafeteria ( canteen) while I waited with mom

8:30 am : When dad came back, I went to get my breakfast and buy some things that we wanted, like a newspaper, or fruit or sugar or a new towel or anything that turned up. Its amazing how little my needs were during these days.

9 : 10:30 am : waiting for various doctors to come on rounds and checking of drains

10:30 am to 11 am : we set this time apart to help mom with her bath. Months of being sick, had limited her ability to take a bath. Now that she was relieved, we had to establish a pattern for her daily showers. In the beginning she would just sit and I had to do all the work but later she learned to take her shower herself. I saw myself as she might have seen me when she had given me a bath at various periods in my life those days.

11 am : After the bath, was reading time. Mom could read but she preferred that I read for her. She wanted me to read from her favorite vernacular magazine and I revamped my reading skills in my native language through these reading sessions. I think sick people enjoy being read to. I have only read about people reading for old people and this was a first for me. Reminded of Jo of Little women reading for her Aunt. We grew close during these reading sessions. Sometimes mom would prefer just to talk- or pass on gossip. They were enjoyable times

Between 12 : 12:3o : Lunch arrived but mom preferred to eat later. The initial days she would refuse to eat. Nothing seemed to taste the same anymore. I despaired of getting her to eat anything. I nearly cried but in secret. I prayed with my whole heart to help her keep a mouthful of food inside. Those were desperate days. Out of the blue on day 4 after the surgery, she said, she could drink Horlicks if I wished. We clutched at the straw she threw us and got her what she wanted.

After lunch, all of us dozed for a bit till tea time.

From tea time, we started watching TV, read books, and when she was able walked mom with her walker around the room or even outside the room. The stitches hurt and it was painful to watch a once active woman struggle to walk.  The vein that had been cut inside her abdomen led her right leg to have swelling, in addition to the deep vein thrombus she developed in the ICU.

Try reading out to a person in need. It really gives you a feeling of fulfillment. They don’t mind what you read, its like they just want to hear a human voice.