Dear Opposite flat Aunty,
STOP IT! I want to scream but I want to be polite and just write bravely to you. I know you are deeply religious. I agree that it is your choice to express your love to God. But these daily two hour bhajans are getting on my nerves. Initially, I thought this is a one day phenomenon but after a few days, I realised this could be a week. I can grit through it. That’s when a friend told me that this is the festival of Hindola. It is not only alien to my Kerala sensibilities but also my Maharashtrian state base. I was informed that this will last for a month. It is generally held at a temple or an open ground. Bhajans (devotional songs) are sung for Lord Krishna by rocking his baby swing. Continue reading
Movies and TV Serials are exaggerations on life. The movies have toned down a bit now, but the TV Serials in the popular TV channels are still in a different world and era. I have seen TV serials across Hindi and in Malayalam too. And some friends tell me in Tamil too. They are simply outrageous.
Typically, the serials revolve around a woman. She is usually a daughter-in-law(DIL). She has no other identity. Her duty is to take care of the rest of the family. She is an educated person (mostly). She may be working too (God forbid).
She wears impeccable designer clothes with sober make-up. A delicate chain or a string of pearls around her neck. Then there is the mangal sutra (symbol of marriage). The red sindoor on her parted hair is always in place with the bindi on her forehead. She also wears kangans which is another married woman symbol in some societies. She is adept at looking after the family. She understands them, helps them and does everything for them suppressing her own wishes. On top of that, she is also a great cook and can dole out food in a jiffy. She is deeply religious and fasts on every occasion. Life is good for her. But, then who will watch the serial if everything is hunky-dory.
Enter the mother-in-law. She is the supreme commander in the house. The poor father-in-law is relegated to his office briefcase or newspapers. Occasionally, he goes out for walks too. But, the mother-in-law(MIL) is the soul of the house. Everything revolves around her. Unlike MILs in real life, she is always well turned out. Mostly, in rich kanjeevaram silks with a spiffy hairdo. The hair is held together with a diamond studded head piece and some flowers. She wears a diamond nose-ring. She spends the initial hours of her day with getting her face ready. Why bother about the rest of the family when DIL is there! The MIL applies heavy makeup. The bindi is an art in itself. Red lips, kohl eyes with wings, designer bindi, silk sari, heavy bangles and rings, designer neck pieces and earrings and she is ready to face the world. Continue reading
I visited the Meenakshi Amman temple of Madurai in April this year with my parents and sons. I have still not recovered from the beauty of this magnificent temple town and its surroundings. I feel, I have not yet seen it all completely and plan to revisit the temple again.
This was a plan I made for close to a year ever since I saw a post from a fellow blogger. My maternal grandfather had visited the temple in his youth and had asked my mother to visit it atleast once in her lifetime. It is incredibly beautiful. The pictures I took do absolutely no justice to the beauty of the place.
Tamil temple architecture is different from Kerala temple architecture. The layouts are similar with an outer periphery, an inner periphery and the sanctum sanctorum with the idol inside the inner periphery. Everything is laid out as per the shastras with the idols placed as per directions. Kerala temples are sombre, serious affairs with the stone walls left in its natural states, minimal decorations, quiet atmosphere inside the temple with the smell of sandalwood paste, flowers and coconuts. Continue reading
The digital age has exploded the resources available for a reader. A decade or so ago, we had limited choices. We would know about books through word of mouth, or the small limited columns in newspapers. Piracy was rampant. Choices were limited to paperbacks only. The Internet has been a great leveler here. And so are the apps and websites. A reader is never deprived of his read, even if we forget to carry our paperbacks, or the Kindle.
Here are some of the Android apps/Websites I use as a reader.
- Kindle App – For reading all my Kindle books. Also, the innumerable resources available online for Kindle readers like newspapers, magazines, free Kindle books.
- Wattpad – This is an app which is for the reader and also the writer. It allows me to write my own stories. We can read stories written by others. They can vote for our stories. It has a social media like feel with having followers, news updates from followers and even weekly and monthly writing contests. It has some great reads for inspiration.
- Pocket – If you have no time to read or is not having sufficient net connection on the phone, use Pocket to bookmark your reads. You can get to it later. Here also, you can follow other people and see what they are reading. You can also recommend reads to your friends who follow you.
- Instapaper – This one is similar to Pocket but with the whole social networking thing. It lets you book mark and read it later. I love this better than Pocket for its clean screen and no-nonsense interface.
- WordPress – WordPress needs no recommendation here. I use it to do pretty much everything we can do on the WordPress website. It is simple, easy to use. It lets you see comments, respond to them, read new blogs. It is a must have for a wordpress blogger.
- Feedly – Feedly lets you follow blogs across WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or anything else. You can create groups for bloggers like we can do in Twitter. It lets you see the unread blog posts of a blog. You can surely not miss another entry from your blogger friends. I have created groups for BookBloggers, MomBloggers, Writing, Prompts. Easy to segregate and use with a neat interface.
- Bloglovin – This one is similar to Feedly but with slightly more social interaction wherein you can follow other bloggers and have followers for you. The webpages open with a Bloglovin overlay. It is good but I find it a bit complicated as it keeps reminding to follow others and the overlay is a turn off. I love Feedly more.
- Audible / AudioBooks / Librivox – If you are a fan of audio books, then these are some of the apps to use. Audible is an Amazon entity and comes with the might of Amazon behind it. Audiobooks is also good. Librivox is free audiobook app with the reading done by volunteers. It has mostly classic books whose copyrights have expired. We can also download from Librivox and listen to the clips later. It is my go to website/app for classics. For Hindi audiobooks, there is ‘Suno’.
- Goodreads – Another Amazon product. I keep track of the books I read on the app. It provides recommendations of similar books. I can also see what others are reading and if they liked it or not. It is the Facebook for readers. The app is a bit on the heavy side, but useful to keep track of your reads. I mostly access Goodreads website.
- Netgalley – This is one of the best websites I discovered through some other readers. Netgalley gives you ARCs for free. All you have to do is, read them and give your feedback. The more consistent the feedback, higher your chances of getting more ARCs. It has the latest and some of the best books. They give out Kindle, Nook, PDF copies. Create an account on Netgalley, browse for books in the genre you like and apply for them. The publisher may /may not allow you the ARC. But using Netgalley, I have read some famous books like Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Currently, I am reading a Salman Rushdie book called ‘The Golden House’ whose publishing date is 5th September.
Do you use these resources? Which is your favourite resource? Is there a resource if you want to share?
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6.
At the beginning of this year, I had chosen the word ‘discover’ as the word of the year for me. One of the concepts I wanted to discover more was the Joy of minimalism. I have been consciously inculcating it in day-to-day life leading to many subtle changes. I discovered there is no joy in possessing more materials. I no longer feel the urge to rush to sales or the home decor shops. The real joy is in treasuring our relationships, our memories and our time.
I believe in using my time to make more memories. As that is what will remain with us throughout our lives. Tell me, do you feel happy when the bank sends you an SMS saying ‘Salary is credited’. Of course, you do. But, how does it compare with an SMS/Whatsapp from a friend, or that phone call from someone in the past.
“One day, your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”
I do not want to be on my death bed to think about a cherished life. I want to think about it now. It has to be the face of my sons when I saw them for the first time, the heady days of an innocent love, the crazy outings with friends. Everything to do with a rush of emotions, a moment to treasure forever.
As we grow older, we become more practical and cynical. And we wonder will we ever feel the same heady rush of our teenage years. Our outlook on life is now tinged with our life experiences. We hear of exhausted or divorced friends who will make jokes about relationships and forward them on Whatsapp. The friends who try to look younger with each passing year, competing with their children. Friends going on fabulous vacations around the world.
But, what I really treasure are memories. Some are downright silly. On Sundays, I like to wake up before the family. I like to simply watch them sleeping peacefully. I tip-toe onto my children’s bedroom, pull the curtains closer, watch them for a while. My elder son with his one hand on the ubiquitous mobile. The younger one with the blanket covering his head. Sometimes, running my fingers on their hair. I know this will change soon, in a not too distant future. Then I tip-toe back to my bedroom to see the husband snoring away to glory with hair sticking out on the pillow. I know this will not change. It is the loveliest sight and my most treasured one.
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6. Today’s prompt is to write about a treasure.