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Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

BlogAdda's Book Review Program: Musings of a Wanderer

I signed up for the BlogAdda book reviews program when I saw that this book was up for grabs -- "Musings of a Wanderer" by Shreya Chatterjee.

No, we're not related even though we do share a surname. And no, I didn't choose this book because we share that surname.

I chose it because it's a book of poetry. And I love poetry.

But truth be told, I did not love Shreya's poetry. Not all of it.

Shreya's poetry is mostly an outpouring of her feelings. Now I am all for offerings of these outpourings, because I believe that it is quite central to good poetry. However, having said that, much of Shreya’s work seems to be like a first draft; the feelings that must have gushed within and found an expression in words must have been hurriedly caught and put down on paper before disappearing altogether, for we know how ephemeral a thought can be. But once the thought has been captured, it must be prodded, teased, fretted over and had hair-torn-out-in-clumps until perfection is attained. I know how easy it is to get too close to one's own work and that chopping a word here or slicing a verse there feels like we are butchering a small part of ourselves, but this kind of attachment does not make for good writing. It makes us too sensitive and it makes us stupidly stubborn.

Yes, I identified with many of her thoughts and feelings, after all, poetry is universal and that's what binds us. Some of her insights into the world around us as well as into her own soul are poignant and thought-provoking. You understand what she is trying to say and where she is coming from and you can’t help but smile a little wistfully. What I loved most about this collection is the little foot-notes that she added to some of her poems, giving us a peek into the inspiration behind the poem. Poetry is, after all, very personal, so it's a privilege to be given an insight into what thought, word, picture or moment gave birth to the idea of a poem.

That Shreya has a giant love for poetry is obvious. Unfortunately, that is not enough. She needs to nurture it like a mother nurtures her child and she can't give into it's stubborn, wilful tantrums. She must deal with her poems with a firm but loving hand and do what's best for them. So if words and whole verses need to be dropped, scratched and rewritten, then so it must be, for only then will the end results make us cry with pride.

Shreya has a long way to go, but she has started upon the journey bravely and boldly. Some of the poems written by this Wanderer do show remarkable promise, there’s no denying that. Had she worked on her craft a bit more and had her work fallen into the hands of an editor who understands the craft of poetry, and, more importantly, cares about poetry, this collection would have been far more impressive.

This review is a part of the "". Book Reviews Program at "" Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And so I succumbed...

I just couldn't stand the multiplying strands of white on my head anymore. They had made their appearance quietly enough a few years ago, adding to their numbers slowly and surreptitiously; never meriting more than a second glance or a half-sigh.

They were just waiting.

Last year, Hell's own gift to me, saw me go grey faster than you could say "Boo! Surprise!" Overnight, they attacked and I realised I was on the losing side. But I stubbornly held on, refusing to let them and the Higher Power they answered to, called Vanity, win.

The remarks I received over the past 18 months at my apparently apathetic behaviour towards my appearance ranged from shock to disgust to shattering. What nobody realised was that I was still grieving and while I hated the sad, fat and greying person who stared back at me from the mirror -- sometimes dispassionately, sometimes disconsolately and very often disgustedly -- I was also adamant about not giving in. Not giving in to popular culture's perceptions about beauty; not giving in to what the magazines say; not giving in to my friends's rebukes; not giving in to peer pressure.

I've always known that I'd have to hit the bottle (errr, the bottle of dye) sooner or later and I just wanted it to be later.

But yesterday, I just couldn't take it anymore and so I succumbed.

But it wasn't the bottle I turned to for comfort. It was mehendi. strike one up for Vanity.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frogs and Snails

He stood there in front of me. My seven-year-old son in a pair of worn-out, once-upon-a-time white Crocs, three-quarter pants, an oldish yet very comfy-looking t-shirt, a huge smile on his face revealing an over-sized front tooth next to a gap where it's partner should've been, and a huge bandage above his left eye, shielding his three stitches from the dirt, dust and grime of the world. In his hands, was my iPod; in his ears, were the head-phones.

He was giving me that huge, disarming smile of his because he'd just noticed me standing and watching him jump about while loudly and discordantly singing Jon Bon Jovi's "Shot Through the Heart."

He was the very picture of a boy.

Frogs and snails, indeed.

frogs and snails
and bruises and stitches.
puppy dog tails
and insects and itches.

dirty hands
and skinned knees.
messed-up paintings
and the summer breeze.

those pretend-to-be-brave voices
in the middle of the night.
those cuddles and snuggles
as you're calming away a fright.

those lullabys they ask for,
those cookies they beg for;
those stories they wait for,
those goodies they crave for.

those gap-toothed smiles
and those sparkly, bright eyes --
equivalent to
the cherry on top of the cake.
when those faces crumble
and those tears flow like rivers,
that you can physically
feel your poor heart break.

lots of lovin' and huggin'
and sticky kisses galore.
these things that make their mamma's hearts
greedy for more.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Little Boys Love Their Mammas

Totally let down by a movie that I had gargantuan expectations from and reeling from a sudden and totally unexpected fight that escalated to a barrage of rude SMSes, I felt the picture of depression. I must have looked it too, with my drooped shoulders, smarting eyes and hunched back.

I walked in, looking like this, to a room filled with 'strange' women. My MIL was having a meeting of her ladies' association at home. I knew, of course, since she had asked me if I would please make the dessert. In fact, I was rushing home to put the finishing touches on it, but I didn't count on them already being there.

Before I could straighten myself up, shake the blues off, put on a mask and a fake smile, something happened that drenched my insides and left me a gooey pile of love.

My little one, screaming "MAMMA! MAMMA! MAMMMMMAAAAA!!!" appeared out of thin air and faster than Superman came hurtling towards me, throwing himself at me and wrapping his arms around my legs, his face looking straight into my face, his eyes shining with that heart-melting mixture of love and happiness. Not once caring that he had an audience, he held on tightly and wouldn't let go. Of course, since the audience was comprised of women in the Grandmother Zone, they all melted into a pool of mush.

The tight, (teddy) bear hug probably lasted for ten-fisteen seconds and as soon as he got my big, slurpy kisses, he was gone as quick as he came, like a flash of lightening.

A few seconds, that's all it was, but the consequence of those few moments was so blissful, so uplifting, so rejuvenating.

It's this love of this little boy for his mamma, that keeps me going.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys and Thus Give Their Moms Heart Attacks

Children. They're supposed to keep one young.

At least that's what I'd heard.

Mine seen hell-bent on running me old and ragged.

Once again, due to the antics of a certain almost-eight-year-old, I have aged considerably over the past few hours.

Well, to be fair, it wasn't really his fault. It happened at school and it was a total accident. He was watching a Beyblade match when his cousin ran over, wanting to show him something and excitedly yanked him by the collar. My boy tripped over the tangle of feet underfoot, tried to maintain balance, failed and smacked his forehead on the cement flooring -- leaving a big, deep gash half-an-inch above his eye.

The Nephew was absolutely horrified and traumatised. It was SIL's day to pick up the boys and by the time she went, she found her nephew missing and her son an incoherent, blubbering mess who just kept repeating his cousin's name and showing his mother his bloody handkerchief with which he had tried to mop up the blood.

She called me from the car and I fell off my chair. I called the MIM and he rushed home. We waited for the SIL's call to tell us she was close to the hospital near our home and we rushed there.

It was the Nephew who was a mess; the poor boy's face was red and his eyes were swollen from crying non-stop. And the EO? What can I say? He was a trooper. Still jabbering away, nineteen-to-the-dozen, giving us a full action replay as to what happened along with running commentary. When he heard that he needed stitches, well, that's when the cookie crumbled. Having been the recipient of four stitches on the sole of his foot a couple of years ago, he absolutely had no desire to go through the experience again. I didn't either, of course.

But, go through it he did. There were tears and screams while half his eyebrow was being shaved off, while the anasthesia was being injected around the wound and of course when he got a glimpse of the curved needle and thread. But when the actual stitching started and he realised that he couldn't feel a thing, he was back to his normal, chatty self.

Sigh. He's been in perfectly good humour since he's come back. He's enjoying the attention and the cuddles. He's fast asleep now and I've promised to bring him into my bed tonight.

He's fast asleep.

Me. I'm greyer and wrinklier than I woke up this morning.