Writing and Grief

It’s mid March already. I have written ONLY one post this month.

I intended writing many more. Now and then, I clicked on the little ‘new post’ icon and  fervidly typed in a few lines.I found  what I wrote- too personal,too private- a reflection of my current emotional state. I found them silly,embarrassing. I did not publish them.

My father is sick, very sick. I’m trying my best to prepare for the tough times to come.My mind is a muddle. My thoughts are fleeting between happy childhood memories from the past and tough situations that I will have to deal with in near future.

How  does one write in such a situation ? How does one insulate ones’ writing from his inner turmoil ?

What’s on Your Bookshelf ?

Did you know that 3rd March was World Book Day ? I didn’t.I read about it in the newspaper today.

I immediately checked the Amazon website. We know how much online retailers like celebrating ‘Mother’s Day’, ‘ Friendship Day’,’ Valentine Day’ and like by offering heavy discounts on products. I didn’t want to lose any golden opportunity to horde books. A quick check on their website confirmed that there was no such  ‘ super-happy-deals’ this time. Disappointing.

Did Amazon not know that 3rd March was ‘World Book Day’? Or did they chose to ignore it?

 Anyway, I decided to go ahead and celebrate the day by doing something bookish.

How about a sneak- peek into Junior’s reading world?

A little background:

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After a whole day of scribbling on the notepad and staring at the laptop, I came up with these-

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The bars and charts, did not throw me off my seat. I already had an idea of what the results would be like.

Favorite Author- Roald Dahl, as expected, still on top of the list.

New Interest- Detective and mystery stories. Too many Famous Five and Secret Sevens on the shelf.

Surprise- Picture books, like Wolves on the Wall, The Incredible Book Eating Book, still on the shelf.

It was a fun filled, thoroughly engaging activity.

I’m eager to know what’s on your bookshelf ? 

 

Daily Prompt: Drawing a Blank

In response to Daily Prompt: Drawing a Blank -When was the last time you walked away from a discussion,only to think of the Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.

Drawing a blank – that’s happening quite often in my life, nowadays.

Just the other day, Junior and I were watching Kung Fu Panda on TV, munching away on chips, when the realization that I was binge eating struck me.( It must have been the ‘eating Monkey’s cookie’ scene: Po sitting high on a kitchen rack,stuffing almond cookies in his mouth and sheepishly telling  Shifu:”Don’t tell Monkey.” )

I thought aloud, ” I’m putting on weight.”My fingers pinched the flab around my waist. “I need to go on diet immediately.”

“You’re going to give birth Mama. You are going to have babies,” pat came a comment from Junior. He didn’t bother to look at me.

I almost choked on a chip.

“I must tell it to husband when he comes home from work.” I made a mental note, and tried my best not to laugh.

I nudged him.” Do you want a baby brother or a baby sister?” I egged him on.

This time he looked at me, nodded his head and said, matter-of-factly :” You don’t have a choice Ma.Chromosomes decide that.”

I quietly slipped out of the living room.

Is it time for the ‘birds and bees’ discussion?

What’s your story ? How did you discuss it with your kids ?

Have fun watching this video!!

Daily Prompt: Shape up or Ship Out

In response to Daily Prompt: Shape up or Ship Out-Write a letter to the personality trait you like the least, convincing it to shape up or ship out.Be as threatening,theatrical or thoroughly charming as is necessary to get the job done.

Dear Stress,

You stormed into my life multiple times this month.Your presence made me feel uneasy.Yet, for old friendship’s sake, I let you in. The truth is, the uneasiness continued even after you had left. I had to take corrective measures to feel normal again.

I won’t have noticed the extent of the damage you caused, if it had not been for my bank account status-this month, it  has reached a record low.

To take a stock of the situation, I noted down all my expenses for the month. The result was shocking.

I spent  too much, way too much, on rectifying the havoc you caused.

My expense list is ,here, for you to see:

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My friend, you know me well. You know my financial standing. Nurturing our relationship is becoming a burden for me.

Request you to spend more time with folks who can afford your companionship.

Farewell.

Regards,

Mamta

Daily Prompt: Mad Libs

In response to Daily Prompt Mad Libs : Turn to your co-workers, kids, Facebook friends, family -anyone who’s accessible-and ask them to suggest an article,an article and a noun. There’s your post title! Now Write

I looked towards Junior’s room. I knew there was considerable risk involved here- Junior’s creative brain could come up with a weird noun, and pair it with an  even weirder, unrelated adjective.

I called out to him,anyways. He came skipping into my room with a toy helicopter in hand.When I told him about the deal, he looked excited. I smiled;I was sure the noun would be ‘helicopter’ .

“CAT…. FAT…. THE FAT CAT,” he said, after a moment’s thought.

“What ?”I nearly fell off my chair.” Why ‘THE FAT CAT?….’Why not ‘ THE FAT DOG’ or ‘THE BAD DOG’. I know nothing about cats!”

I debated whether I should ask him for an alternate noun-adjective combination.

“But won’t that set a wrong example? ” the mother in me argued.

I gave Junior, who was standing expectantly by my side, a thumbs up. Pleased, he scooted off to his room.

I had no ‘cat story’ or ‘fat cat story’ to share.  So I decided to try out something different : to make a list of all the things in my house that are related to cats.

  • I found these on Junior’s bookshelf:

cat

That pretty much explains the choice of the noun, I guess.

But Fat?I flipped through T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and found BUSTOPHER JONES: THE CAT ABOUT TOWN

‘Bustopher Jones is not skin and bones –

In fact, he’s remarkably fat.’

  • These were in the old cards box:Birthday cards given to my husband by his college friends and his brother.

IMG_20160219_114950946Whoa ! Is my husband a ‘ cat person’? I didn’t know that. Point noted.

  • The fridge magnet: Notice the fish bone. We love eating fish. So do cats. 🙂

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  •   The Cat Chronicles on my WordPress Reader:I enjoy reading Nera, Tabby and Fluffy’s response to WordPress Daily Prompts.

Love to all cats and cat lovers 🙂 🙂

Daily Prompt: Kick It !

What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?

‘Bucket list’ is a fairly new addition to the Indian way of life. I’m yet to prepare one for myself . I do have goals I want to achieve and dreams to fulfill.Must have life experiences and places to visit: I’ve never thought about them.

My mother is very particular about the wall calendars she buys every year: she always picks ones which have beautiful landscape photographs- serene beaches, picturesque mountains, vast deserts – a different scene for each month.

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Once, I asked mother about this calendar obsession.

She replied, ‘Every month, I escape to the beautiful places shown in the calendar – In January I climbed Mount Fuji, in June I enjoyed a camel ride in the Sahara desert.In December, let me check,’ she flipped the pages of the calendar and said confidently, ‘ I’ll ski in the Alps.’

My mother does not know what a bucket list is. If she had made one, travelling to beautiful places would definitely be on her list.

 

Witness Protection

When you do something scary or stressful – bungee jumping,public speaking etc-do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or strangers ? Why ?

The scariest events walk into our life unannounced;at that moment, we do not have enough time to look around and see if we are surrounded by friends or strangers – we just act and do what we think is best.

But, there are some scary events that come with count down timer-we get time to think, prepare,brace ourselves for the dreaded act.

My reaction to these torturous time-bomb-events is very predictable.

The time/days before the event -the waiting period- is the worst. I’m in the panic mode -crabby,snappy.I nag and crib and curse. I plan strategies to tackle the dreaded event. I analyse, at times, invent the risks involved. I go on retail therapy and binge eat in front of the television set. I  WANT my friends and family around me. Patient and all ears. NO ADVICE, please.


At the time of the much dreaded, mulled event, suddenly,I want to be left alone. Poof! I want my friends and families to vanish. Their kind, smiling, encouraging faces make me nervous. I can read their mind. I know they are nervous too. I prefer the company of strangers, anonymity.

I feel like a man at the gallows- I want the to get through the dreadful experience as fast as possible.

I feel like a warrior – I am full of confidence.

And when I’m through with the stressful event, I want my family and friends back by my side again. I’m emotional. I want to thank them. I want to hug them.

Daily prompt: Unpopular

In response to Daily prompt : Unpopular -Tell us about a time when you had to choose between two options, and you picked the unpopular choice.

Sometimes unpopular choice invite awkward reactions. 

We were sitting on the top deck  of the launch(a make shift house boat),cruising slowly in and out of the innumerable narrow waterways of the dense Sundarban mangrove forests.Besides the three of us( Husband, Junior and me), there was another group on the boat – a big group with grandparents, children and adults.

A chirpy, loud, cheerful crowd with infectious enthusiasm. A friendly lot.

The grandfather looked very excited. He puffed on his cigarette and theatrically exclaimed ‘Apurbo !(beautiful)….. Asadharan!(extra ordinary)…. Dekhbar moto!( must see)’ every five minutes.

Now and then,his sons, son-in-laws standing near the rails,shouted ‘TIGER !!’ and pointed in the direction of an island, sending waves of excitement in the group. False alarms.

The children walked up and down the deck. Junior gelled well with them and joined the gang.

I sat near the womenfolk who were busy chatting and peeling oranges. Husband was busy with his camera and away from the noise and din.

Eeesh !( my God) it’s 9 o’clock already,’ one of the ladies sitting near me exclaimed and fished out a mobile phone from her huge hand bag and pressed the keys urgently.

‘How are Rin Tin and Pim Pim ? Did they sleep well ? Are they missing me ? Did they eat properly? Give the phone to them, at once. I want to talk to them,‘ she blurted as soon as she heard a voice on the other side.

Everyone on the deck was all ears – the children stopped playing, the men  turned towards the ladies and listened attentively.

‘Olaay Baba, shona, how are you? Did you take your vitamins on time?Don’t be naughty,‘ she continued. She sounded and looked  miserable.

The doctor in Park Street is excellent. I took my Lucy there. He gave a new diet chart and prescribed strong medication.Worked like magic. I’ll message you his number,‘ said the other lady.

Now I had no intention of eves dropping ,but the lady sounded concerned and the names Rin Tin and Pim Pim caught my attention.

Is everything fine?’ I inquired politely.’Must be tough to leave the children at home?’ I added.

Yes, yes.I miss them so much. they are like my children – my darling dogs – Rin Tin and Pim Pim,’said the grieving lady with a touch of maternal pride in her voice.

The rest of the family joined in- grandfather, the men and the children. Nostalgically,they told me all about their dogs-dead and alive. I told them about the dogs I had as a child.They shared their expert tips on the best breeds and pedigree. They told me how one can ascertain the nature of a dog by looking at its ears and paw. They informed me about the best and worst vets in town.They  recalled the funny stories about their furry pals and laughed. Proudly they showed me hundreds of the pictures of dogs on their mobile phones. The children, including Junior, crowded around the ladies and shouted the names of dogs as their aunt/mother flipped through the pictures.

Then the unexpected happened.

The grandfather turned to Junior and asked ‘ So, what is the name of your dog, son?’

I LIKE CATS.’ pat came the reply.

Everyone froze. The crowd dispersed – the men slowly walked away, the children hurdled near their mothers and looked at Junior is disbelief. The ladies muttered something under their breath.

I  smiled apologetically and pulled Junior to my side.