Grateful and Guilty

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Dear Twilight,

You might be a little surprised at hearing from me. Even worst, you might find my letter as part of a pile and not even glance at it with interest, for you it may be just another adulatory missive.

But, at the risk of sounding similar to many, many others, let me confess that I found you addictive. Just picking up the book was considered foolish in my circle, you see, I am surrounded by the so called ‘sensible’ age group. Even though we are still on the right side of forty, all of us have graduated to reading serious fiction and informative nonfiction. My book club regularly discusses Booker prize winning authors or Nobel Laureates. Or the newest regional pick. We don’t read teenage romance/fantasy/vampire tales.

Frankly, I am not much taken by vampires or monsters as such and have not even shown any interest in the Twilight series movies. I did not understand what all the fascination with vampires was about. I thought it all pretty outdated. So, I just picked this book from the local library the day I could not settle on anything. Anyhow, all that is past now.

The first few pages and I was hooked. Reading you was like a breath of fresh air. It smelt of youth-innocent and pure. It talked of possibilities, of people flying over at the last moment to save you from a car crash. There are gorgeous looking students in school; some of them vampires. There is passion, without the cheap undertones of the physical kind. Oh yes, girls do go weak in knees and handsome hunks are around to rescue them at every step. It was the thrill of a dated Mills and Boons romance wedded to the myth of Vampires. Even when they are vampires, they are inherently good, which is what makes them so endearing. I loved the witty repartees, the well threshed out locales ( forests, clearing in the meadows…).

I think, all through my heart missed as many beats as Bella’s did. Edward, the vampire is absolutely endearing. I simply cannot wait to read more and more… I am aware there are sequels to you but I shall be forever grateful to you and your author Stephanie Meyer for introducing me to this wonderful world of yours.

Besotted,
Writenlive

This letter was written in response to the Daily Prompt.

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Sometimes I clutch my head…

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Let Parenting be a Joy

Sometimes, even a couple of kids at home can be a handful. They may be doing their own thing and still drive you up the wall. Fighting amongst themselves, playing musical toys with only one key being pushed insistently, making a grand mess with blocks, soft toys and other assorted entertaining contraptions that you bought in a moment of indulgence ( or sometimes, to assuage your guilt) starts your brain ticking away at a dangerous speed.

Parenting can be such a great challenge even when you love your kids, want to spend quality time (and also quantity) with them and help them become responsible and emotionally mature adults. There are times when our human failings become all too apparent even though deep in our hearts we want to be just good parents.

I am not an expert in academic terms but still I act as one because I am a long time parent ( and this long time seems very, very long in my memory) and I learn every day by being in the battlefield. I keep observing what works and what does not. You learn every moment, with every child because all children are different and you are a learner forever.

A couple of things I would still like to share, that in my opinion work well across ages and temperaments.

Be Attentive.
Cast away your worries and day-to-day stresses every once in a while and be attentive to your child. To his/her needs, whims, moods. Let us start with young children. Mood tantrums, fussy eating, destructive behaviour? Pay attention to what are the underlying reasons. If you take out a little time and do things as your child wants done, the child would become reassured over a period of time of your love and care. Your instructions and suggestions would be better received.

Lead.
This could be expressed in many other ways. As in, “Set an Example”. The important thing is to acknowledge that you are the parent at most times, a friend and a co-conspirator only for very little time. You need to decide about acceptable behaviour, limits and the values to be inculcated. Sure, you need to do the same things to set an example but most of the times and especially in formative years, children need to be guided gently, again and again. If they slip up, the course correction needs to be on your side as well as theirs.

Yes, I know this actually sounds harder than running a marathon but that is how it is as all parents would testify. As for would be parents, this post would get ignored and tossed in the bin (if it is possible to toss an electronic device) with a shrug.

Salad Days

“My salad days. When I was green in judgement: cold in blood.” Said Cleopatra, the words put in her mouth by the bard Shakespeare.

In language, the phrase denotes a time of youthfulness, inexperience and innocence, enthusiasm or even idealism.

So, I thought hard about my own salad days. When was it all? Youth, ages ago, for sure. But as they say, age is just a number and you are as old as you think. I decide to think and act young at all times. Change Facebook status frequently. Upload selfies…

Wait a minute! I am an idealist even now. I believe in equality across socioeconomic backgrounds. I believe in gender equality. I believe in education for all. I believe in…sufficient to say I still believe in lofty ideals and work towards doing my bit. The only difference from my twenties would be a better awareness of reality and of life’s problems.

Enthusiasm, yes! Four months back, I discovered WordPress and was absolutely struck by the ease of creating a platform online. It had been a decade since I had actively done anything related to hardware or software. I was surprised that I did not have to know HTML or write code to create a presence. Leaning how to put up a blog was a Great learning experience that has been an incredible high. Now that I feel settled down in WordPress, I am thirsting for newer challenges.

My inexperience in many many spheres of life make these my best salad days. ‘Green in judgement’, of course I am. I even get the weather talk wrong. Just this morning, I chatted idly with my jumper-knitting, shawl-wrapped neighbour (oldish, in other words, which I am not!) And remarked how the cold weather had been late in arriving this year. To which I was served with a sermon on a dry spell vs rains; the importance of having an early snow and how the local forecast had been calling it the severest winter in a decade.

Innocence! I am nothing if not innocent. Who else would put in a picture of a salad platter in a post for salad days!

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Salad Platter/CC BY-SA 3.0

Posted in response to the Daily Prompt.

Followers, followers everywhere…

Just a few days back, it seems (maybe a month and a half), I was jubilant at getting followers. I promised my friend a huge party when I got 10 followers.

I started my blog because I wanted to write; because I wanted to share. Sure, once you start, you find what things you are good at and what things are better left unwritten (for now). So, I had started because I wanted to write lots and lots of book reviews (only a very very few got done). And also because writing, just writing gives me an unparalleled level of pleasure (there, I have put in this lofty sounding phrase).

As WordPress says, most of us begin blogging just for the love of it. Getting followers is like icing on the cake. It is a different kind of high when we realize we have people who read us regularly. A question nags at the back of my mind.. Do they really? Do our followers really read us that regularly? Many of them really do care. They not only encourage us but also act as radars for our writing, directing us towards better pastures.

Others, I am not so sure of. I think some follow because they want you to follow them back. There is no word from them, either at the beginning or ever after that. Plain silence. Many want us to check them out; for they are sure they have a product or a service that can help us.

I am quite clear about the different categories of followers. All are welcome and I am grateful to every one of them for even stopping by and taking a look. Even if just once.

The only real surprise I got the other day was when I saw the name of my latest follower. Plutonium Spray Paint!! Now, how on earth… what did they think? I hope dear Spray Paint likes all the photo assignments I am doing for Photography 101.

Waiting for other inanimate things to follow me now. BMWs are welcome!