Tag Archives: reading

Expressive lemur strikes a chord

It is a rainy day and we are at the zoo. There is a steady downpour. Our shoes make sloshing sounds in the water, throwing back drops of water on our trousers.

We walk around, looking at each enclosure. Most of the animals seem worn out by the rain. They are seated in their shelters. Some, like the hyena, continue to pace, back and forth, oblivious to the rain and the visitors.

We then move on to a series of inter-connected enclosures that house a few naughty monkeys and some ring-tailed lemurs.

In the first room, a fight seems to have erupted between the monkeys and two lemurs. They tease, chatter and chase each other frantically – up and down the branches.

The other ring tailed lemurs also watch this fight, their bodies braced for action. 

We smile and move on. The second room has a few lemurs, the loners, sitting by themselves.

When we reach the third room, we laugh out aloud, for seated all alone, right in the middle of the room is a lemur. Just look at his expression – 

We just love the look on his face. We wonder what he is trying to express.

Seems like he is saying, “Whatever!” 

This expression strikes a chord.

  • This is the expression I wear when I have not had my morning coffee.
  • This is the expression my children have when I narrate a joke that they find boring.
  • This is the expression when one has just finished a difficult exam.
  • This is the expression after a high-thrill ride you have been on (one that your children have forced you on..and you unknowingly said yes to!)
  • This is also me at the end of a long day.

I can relate to the lemur’s expression at many levels.

Bye little friend.

Scratches on the table

I sit on the dining table, working on my laptop. I absently run my hand on the surface of the table, and realize that the surface has become rough and filled with scratches – the result of Bayblades tested on the table, and school craft projects built on its surface.

Picture courtesy – 123rf.com

My eyes scan our home. There is an incense holder that has been around for many years, unobtrusive and remembered only when I light an incense stick. Then there is the coin box, where all members of the family drop coins from their wallets and purses.  There is the fruit bowl, and the dessert tray, the umbrella holder and the kitchen plates, the key holder and the wooden stool, the bottle-opener and the coffee mugs.

All these objects are integral parts of our lives, but we do not stop to think or remember when we bought them or from where. They are mute spectators to our successes and failures, our joys and grief.  

The printer paper, mobile charger, blender, gas lighter – they are our silent supporters and back-office team. Even if one of them stops functioning, there is an impact – the smooth flow of life is broken – it can be as simple as a missing key or a missing bottle-opener.

The scratches on my table remind me that these little memories are what make up our lives – a scratch here, a stain there, a chipped ceramic mug here, a well-worn carpet there. 

Scratches that store fun family memories in their grooves, stains that show that we have been careless and silly at times, doodles on the walls that speak of a child’s creative expression, old fridge magnets that bring back memories of family holidays, dog eared books showing time spent on reading…and many more such.

Life is in simple, everyday things.

A good book

I have not been myself this week. My mind has been sucked into the pages of an ‘unputdownable’ book.

This week, I live my normal life like an automaton. My brain, my attention and my senses have all been hijacked by the complex plot, and the gripping action.

I cook, and I think about what’s going to happen next. I feel as if I am floating in the real world and my identity exists only in the world inhabited by the characters in the book. This is the only reality.

Any small break, and I am nose-deep in the book. I am amazed at the power that words can have over me. Words that, when combined just right, narrate a powerful story. Words that grip me, make me laugh, make me cry and make my heart thud with the excitement of what is going to happen next!

And when the book ends, I am sure I will have difficulty coming back to the real world, where work and school and chores beckon. It will be an arduous task to leave the characters behind, but there are some that occupy permanent residence in my mind. They will probably join some of the other memorable characters, who already live there. People whom I know and love from those lovely books I have read, people who have influenced me and who have opened my mind to new thought.

Image courtesy – http://www.clipartfest.com
Reading a book is an indescribable pleasure. Whenever I finish a great book, I yearn to write one too. This is what reading does to me. There is a  ‘wannabe writer’ in every bookworm’s head. I am no exception.

I dream of dialogues between imaginary characters and look at interesting people, who will fit into the book that I will eventually write. 

The good old newspaper

Every morning, at around 5.30 am, the newspaper man drops the newspaper at our doorstep, with a gentle thud.

In this age of ‘digital everything’, many people I know have stopped buying newspapers. They prefer news apps on their phones. Even I have these apps on my phone, which I use, to keep updated.

However, there is nothing to beat the joy of reading the newspaper.

Mornings are generally so crazy that I only have time to skim through  the headlines, before I rush back to my chores.

My husband then claims the paper and reads it. 

Finally, when the kids and my husband leave, I sit down with a cup of coffee, on my easychair, to read the newspaper.

There is so much joy in reading the news on print – the editorial, world affairs, sport, entertainment and so much more.

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com
The rustle of paper, the smell, the articles, the advertisements – all contribute to the experience. 
There is comfort in ‘not’ knowing the number of ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ or ‘comments’ for every article.  The layout is so beautiful that one can see so much in a single glance, and read or skip at will!

Solving puzzles like sudoku and kakuro or the crossword is yet another experience! Sitting down with a pen, lost in thought, calculating or thinking about a word or number, and sipping strong filter coffee to stimulate the thought process.

Then again, reading the everyday cartoon strip, and smiling, as you realize how cleverly the cartoonist has captured life and our everyday struggles.

After the paper is read, I carefully fold it and put it on the newspaper rack. It has given us all it had. It languishes at home for a month, along with other papers, before it moves on to be recycled.

Do you enjoy reading the newspaper?

A bookworm’s journey

I remember some of the first books I read as a child. I must have been six or seven, when I got two books of the pop-up variety – one was Cinderella and the other was Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.

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Each time I turned a page, magical things happened. I still remember a page from the Cinderella book, which showed Cinderella sitting by the fireplace, looking pensive. On that page there was a broom that popped out, and three small kitchen jars that popped out.

I must have read those books a zillion times. Then started the love for comics, devouring every neatly drawn frame, enjoying the dialogues, more magic.

And then, suddenly my sister thrust an Enid Blyton into my hand and said, “Read this.”

It was the first book of the Secret Seven series. I was initially reluctant to read a book that had no pictures. But my sister  sold it to me!

I had taken an important step in my reading journey. Now, I could read words and imagine the scenes in my mind. This was a whole new experience. I gobbled up the entire collection of Blyton books.

‘Twas time to graduate to a new author, but again there was reluctance to move from my comfort zone. My sister was my role model, soon I was trying new books and new authors and new genres.

The years have flown by but my love affair with books continues to this very day. I love their titles, their smell, the many genres, the plots, the stories.

What’s your bookworm journey like? Would love to know.

Bliss stop

I stand transfixed, like I do each time I am here. I am in one of my favourite bookstores, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of books.

After a mean cup of coffee, a book store is the second best ‘bliss stop’ for me.  I perform a ‘mental jig’ in anticipation.

I am here to pick up a particular book, but my mission takes a back seat as I start at the must reads section, literature section, and then work my way down all kinds of genres, books and authors.

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  Courtesy – publishingtrendsetter.com

My stroll is punctuated by small treats, where I take books and look at them, read the synopsis, and unconsciously start carrying them with me.

Each book alley calls out to me, I keep walking and stopping, browsing….! It is therapeutic. Time is a very elastic rubber band as it stretches for me, keeping pace with my joy and excitement.

There are people like me everywhere, their minds transported into a world of words, their eyes scanning for new journeys into this world. I walk multiple circles around the store. 

Millions of words, millions of thoughts, millions of hours of creativity trapped in millions of pages. So many, many stories, so many emotions and so much power in these shelves to change lives.

I soon realize that I am carrying seven books, and that I need a shopping cart to continue my journey.  I find the book that I had come to buy.

I soak-in the peace of the place for some more time. I pay for my books, and walk out into the hot afternoon, totally satisfied.

Letter mirrors

A few years ago, when my Dad passed away, and my mom was clearing out some old stuff, she chanced upon a bundle of letters that I had written to my parents, when I was in my twenties and  working in London.

She had preserved them carefully, organized by date; each letter safely tucked in its original envelope. The envelopes had frayed edges, where my parents would have opened or torn them to get to my letters.

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          Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

A few days later, when I visited my mom, she asked me if I wanted to keep the letters, because they were filled with my everyday observations of London (one of my favourite cities), to my dreams and aspirations, and lots of photos and humourous observations. Of course, every letter was an outpouring of love to my parents, my aunt, my sisters and to my adorable niece, who was 2 months old then.

I took the letters with me, and sat down to read them. I must have had lots of time, especially in winter, for no letter was shorter than 14 pages!

Through those letters, I relived my life in its twenties. I could see that young woman, with so many dreams and aspirations, looking at her future and its immense possibilities.

I loved reliving London, with its tube stations, and the weather, and the long walks I often took. I remembered the scones and jacket potatoes. I remember how many books I read on my trips in the tube. I learnt so many, many things. I travelled, I walked and I read.

I fast forward to the now. How have I changed? Lots of things are still the same, but I have mellowed. I am a wife now, a mom now. My priorities are quite different.

Many of those dreams are still inside, waiting to be realized, maybe after the kids go to university.

Life was independence, fun, young and filled with lots of possibilities ‘then’.

Life is dependence, love, ageing and filled with dreams and possibilities for the family ‘now’.

Different phases, both beautiful. Wouldn’t trade either.