Thiruvananthpuram-kari

Thiruvananthpuram-kari

21st February is International Mother Language Day and Pratham Books blog hosted a celebration of languages. A series of blog posts by people from different walks of life – sharing their thoughts on languages, memories and more. International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.  Here is my contribution.  


Malayalam is my mother tongue and I consider myself almost fluent in it. Unlike the generation today in Kerala, where Malayalam is mixed with English and called as Manglish, I can speak better. All thanks to the two and half months we stayed in Kerala during every summer vacation. I even taught myself to read Malayalam with some help from aunts and cousins. I was proud of my language skills till I got married almost 19 years ago to my husband from Central Kerala, Kottayam.

Little did I know how ignorant I was about Kerala.  Read more here.
If you liked it and have similar experiences,  share with me in the comments section,  over a cup of kaapi, of course.
These Circuses that sweep through the Landscape by Tejaswini Apte-Rahm #BookReview

These Circuses that sweep through the Landscape by Tejaswini Apte-Rahm #BookReview

Many of my friends and fellow bloggers stay away from short stories.  But I enjoy reading them.  Writing a short story is an art in itself.  It is difficult to create a world, pull in the reader and make him care for the protagonist in so few words.  But a good story writer does exactly that.  And when you read a good story, you want to linger a little longer,  to stay in the same brief world and savour the beauty of it.  It should leave you with more questions as you begin to care and feel for the characters.

Tejaswini Apte-Rahm’s book is a delight.   The writing is top-notch. It reminded me of Jerry Pinto’s writing.   The book has 10 short stories.  Each story is unique.  All the stories are excellent.  But I will highlight the stories I loved.

The Mall :  A rich female shopper gets lost in a shopping mall.  She goes to the mall to buy things she doesn’t want which is a pea colored dress.  She gets it and then decides to get pea colored shoes to go with it.  She gets lost in the mall trying to find a way out.  She is directed by people to go to the 5th floor or the 3rd floor or to find a door at the end of another shop as there are no other exit doors.  Unable to go home,  she lives in the mall for months.  Since she has money,  her daily wants are taken care of.   She calls her friend who is in the mall to rescue her,  but she too leaves after some time.  The shopper then follows someone who is on the way out only to be roughed up for stalking.  She even feigns a medical emergency assuming the ambulance people will take her out,  but fails again.  The narrator’s antics are funny, desperate and sad at times.  You are reminded of the “poor little rich girl”.   She has all the money in the world to buy whatever she wants,  yet no one loves her or misses her enough to come and look for her.   Does it remind you of Facebook and Twitter followers?   Continue reading

Book Blitz : Her Secret Husband by Sundari Venkatraman

Book Blitz : Her Secret Husband by Sundari Venkatraman

 
HER SECRET HUSBAND
(Marriages Made in Heaven Book #3)
by
Sundari Venkatraman
 
Blurb
The Maheshwaris are back, a little secretly this time!
 
What do you do if you find a man who looks like chocolate, speaks like warm syrup, looks at you like you were the most precious cake ever created, and he can bake too? You marry him, even if in secret.
 
Ruma Malhotra falls head over heels and a little more in love with Lakshman Maheshwari, but her parents insist that she marry a rich businessman of their choice. When Ruma’s only option is to marry Lakshman in secret, she is left torn between her love for her parents and her passion for Lakshman. Is a secret marriage the solution or will it lead the way to a public disappointment?
 
Lakshman Maheshwari falls in love with Ruma Malhotra the first time he sets his eyes on her in Ranveer’s office. Will he agree to marry Ruma in secret even if it means betraying his parents?
 
Psst… Those who have read THE MALHOTRA BRIDE might be happy to reconnect with Sunita & Akshay Malhotra in this one. 

 

*MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA is a five-novella series that revolves around the characters you have met in The Runaway Bridegroom.

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Read an excerpt from #HSH
“What’s up?” he asked, trying to keep the situation light.
She winked at him. “Shouldn’t I be asking that question?” she asked, looking pointedly down at his lower body.
Reacting to her flirtation, his manhood immediately sprang to action, making Lakshman swear. “Cut that out, Ruma,” he growled, sidestepping her as she would’ve wrapped her arms around him. “I need a shower,” he insisted, not meeting her eyes. He went into the bathroom and locked himself in. The place smelled of Ruma. Cursing, Lakshman stood under the cold shower to tame his libido. She looked like she meant business. How could he convince her to wait till they got married? He dried himself with the towel that was on a rack, glaring at the mirror. He needed a shave. But no, they weren’t going to make love, so it didn’t really matter. Just then he realised that he would have to step out in the towel as his clothes were in the wardrobe. Swearing again, Lakshman walked into the bedroom.
“Laki,” called out Ruma, eyeing him avidly. Fascinated, she got up from the bed and walked up to him. He appeared like a Greek God with his chiselled body that was still damp from the shower. 
She stood close to him and raised her left hand to caress his rough cheek. Her right hand was hooked into his towel as if she was going to pull it off him any second. Lakshman clamped his hand on hers, his fingers holding the towel firmly. “No!”
“Huh?!” She looked deeply into his eyes, her brown gaze like melted cocoa, inviting him to make love to her. Her mouth was pouted deliciously, glistening wetly, begging for a kiss. Lakshman groaned deep in his throat, letting go of her hand to wrap his arms around her. He placed his lips on hers, sucking her upper lip. She tasted as sweet as honey, driving him crazy. His right hand moved down the curve of her hip to touch a thigh. He traced the curve, working his way under her nightshirt to encounter her bare bottom.
“Ruma.” He deliberately removed his hands off her and raised his head to look at her.
She stared back at him with slumberous eyes. “What?” A small frown puckered her forehead.
“We’ll make love after we get married,” he declared.
“What if I don’t agree?”
“I’ll have to beg, right?” he grinned weakly. “Please, my love. You know your parents won’t agree to a marriage between us. Doesn’t it make sense to wait until after the event?”
“What if I want you desperately?” She nuzzled his neck, her teeth taking a sharp nip.
Lakshman groaned again, his arms crushing her to his chest. “Do you love me or just lust after my body?”
“Can’t I do both?” 

 

 
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About the author
 
 
Her Secret Husband is the tenth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #3 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India. Book #1 of the series is The Smitten Husband & Book #2 is His Drunken Wife. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjali—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic shorts called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books are on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK, Canada & Australia under both #romance & #drama categories.
 

Books by the author

 
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Book Blitz : Thwarted Escape by Lopamudra Banerjee

Book Blitz : Thwarted Escape by Lopamudra Banerjee

 

THWARTED ESCAPE: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey
by

Lopamudra Banerjee

 
Blurb
 
 
How far can one truly go away from his/her ancestral roots, filial ties and the claustrophobic grip of traditions and the reminiscence of an emotionally fraught childhood and puberty? The book begins with this particular quest, and it is this quest which gains momentum as a woman seeks the essence of herself-identity ten thousand miles away from her Bengali hometown.
With the lens of a time-traveler, her narrative journey encompasses her first sexual abuse, her first tryst with death, austerity, the strangeness of rituals, the inexplicable feelings of puberty and also her surrendering to love, procreation, motherhood. In herself-chosen exile in the US, she discovers that deep within; her ancestral roots are also the wellspring of her psychological, spiritual existence. In the process, she keeps on oscillating between assimilating and disintegrating, which forms the core of her journey.

 

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About the Author
 

Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet, editor and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She is the co-editor of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published by Readomania in collaboration with Incredible Women of India. She has also been the Creative Editor of Incredible Women of India and Deputy editor of the e-zine Learning & Creativity.Thwarted Escape, her debut nonfiction novel/memoir has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC, USA. Her literary works have appeared at numerous literary journals and anthologies (print and online), both in India and the US. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction and also translation works are regularly published in Setu, the international bilingual journal, Cafe Dissensus, Different Truths, Readomania.com and other publications. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook.


 

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We should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have to travel to a different city this month for work.  And my first thought was what will I wear to the meeting?  I was more worried about what time I will reach there,  where will I stay,  will my clothes be in synch with the trend there.  I realised,  I did exactly what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in her book ‘We should all be Feminists’.  If I was a male,  I would have prepared my notes,  set up my schedule for the meeting.  But,  as a female,  I thought about that last.  Isn’t that how we are all wired to think?  Isn’t it a bit unfair that we have to worry about our appearance,  an external, superfluous facade while the men can just go in crumpled suits and bad hair and get the work done?

We should all be Feminists is an essay prepared by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,  a Nigerian author, for a TedX talk in 2012.  It was published as a 52 pages book in 2014.  You should all read it, atleast once.   Or listen to the talk which is available on the net.

Chimamanda talks about the differences we apply when treating women,  just because they are women.  She says in her own words, ‘by being born female,  she is guilty of something.’    We women are victims of our own society,  in the way we are raised.  It is in the way we are asked to dress, not to appear too smart in front of a prospective groom,  look down when we talk,  do not raise your voice against men.  Well, we can have whole chapters on honour killing, female foeticide,  child marriages, sati.  Many of our laws also do not grant equal freedom or financial security to women.   We even have some famous phrases in Malayalam like, “when men are talking,  there is no need of a woman to give her views or concern as it is insulting to the men.”.  In fact,  when searching for a bride in the family,  we are put off if we have to speak with a woman even over the phone.  Comments like,  “the woman seems to be the decision maker in the house”  is passed and looked down at.  We have to put on symbols to show that we are married like the mangal sutra,  sindoor.  What about the men?  They do not have to declare their marital status so blatantly.  One of my woman friends started earning more than her husband.  I remember her mother was so concerned that the poor husband will feel bad about it.   Bad for what?  For being successful? For having an intelligent, educated and well-earning wife?  If it was the man,  the woman would have been proud about it and may have flaunted it.

Chimamanda has pointed out that we are doing a great “disservice”  not only in the way girls are brought up but also boys.  She says, ““We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them.  We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”  As the mother of two boys,  I whole-heartedly agree with her.  Boys are automatically expected to study harder and earn better than their spouses.  It is mandatory that they should be a success financially.  It pressurizes the boys to get better jobs without giving a thought to what they want to be.  There is not much of creative freedom for them as well.  They have to be these aggressive,  strong and successful human beings who have to protect and support the females.  Why?  We do not want to be protected or supported.  Just let us be.   The recent suicide of a young man shook me.  He was successful in his studies and seemed a gentle soul.  But,  he was a failure in getting a job.  Ultimately he gave up.  If it was a female,  he would have worried about just getting married instead of feeling like a failure as she has the choice to remain unemployed.  But a man keeping house is somehow considered inferior or unsuccessful.  I wish we can stop gender stereo typing and let people be.  It is bad for the boys,  but worse for the girls.

When young, we give the girls wings to fly and tell them to reach for the stars.  As she grows older,  we tell her to fly slower than the boys and only take those stars left behind by the boys.  Further ahead,  we also tell her that she should not go for the stars. She should be glad that she has a place on earth.  Every day we kill her dreams one by one.

This book is full of similar thoughts,  things we take for granted never realising that we are contributing to the gender problems.  Read or hear this book.  Let it make you uncomfortable and change your ways in bringing up the next generation of boys and girls.  Highly recommended for all.

 

#MondayMusings