Friday, December 08, 2017

DELIGHTFUL BLYTON

I read to my son every night, and it has become a ritual I have come to enjoy as much as he (hopefully) does. I have (gladly) crossed that stage of giant picture books with just three words on each page and no proper ending. I recently started books with less pictures and more words (and better 'actual' stories), and have introduced Enid Blyton to him.

Enid Blyton was my favourite author growing up - I started off with her magical world of fairies and pixies and goblins, toys that came alive at night, little children who were such characters and eventually moving to detective stories. There was something unique about her characters, her narrative, her language - that created a fascinating world for me - that I remember fondly to this day.

After decades, as I read them again (for my son), I realise it contains such magic that none of the other children's authors have been able to match.

I still find it hard to believe her books were banned by the BBC for decades for lacking 'literary value', and also that America has almost never heard of her - Dr Seuss (whose work I've just not been able to enjoy) seems to be the king of children's books there.

My son seems to love her stories too, and that says a lot about the timeless quality of her books. I look forward to devouring other books of hers that I never read as a child.

Friday, December 01, 2017

ONCE TASTED, TWICE SHY

I wonder how people re-read books.

As a consumer, there is so much available to me - books, music, food, movies... I look at 'Before You Die' lists on the internet, and even assuming I live to be 75, I don't know how I can fit in most/all of those things listed in these lists.

I struggle to visit a restaurant twice, because there are so many different ones to try! I hesitate to watch the same movie twice, for the same reason. Songs are an exception - perhaps because they go on for ~5 minutes and repeated listening doesn't seem to eat away THAT much time.

I wonder how people re-read books.

Friday, November 24, 2017

MIDNIGHT FLICKERS

After the kids have gone to bed
And a more tired partner has called it a day
After the bills are paid.

That need to stay up longer
(though my brain says go to sleep) -
And read a book
Or watch YouTube
Or browse the news.

A bit of just-me time.

What's your purpose, pesky guilt
You appear in the morning
Yet vanish when it's night?

Friday, November 17, 2017

THE LAST BITE

If I have to unintentionally bite into a piece of ginger or cardamom or chilli (that ruins my taste/tongue for the whole meal), why does it have to be in the very last morsel? Every. Single. Time.

Monday, November 13, 2017

FAMILIAR FLUFF

There is a certain joy in seeing the old in the new.

Amongst other simple joys of my childhood was that of eating soan-papdi from a newspaper cone. The ringing of a bell indicated a soan-papdi wallah with his pushcart full of fluffy, flaky, white goodness that melted in the mouth in its sugary glory. A cone cost 50 paise (in the late 1980s) and we ensured we picked out every needle-like flake from within the folds of the newspaper cone. Flaky soan-papdi disappeared from my life for many years after that - to be replaced by store-made soan-papdi blocks. It tasted great, but missed the texture of the disintegrated version.

Recently, Ma bought me a jar of flaky soan-papdi from Chennai - and it brought back a pleasant whiff of a bygone time.

As I said at the beginning of this post, there is a certain joy in seeing the old in the new. Made a cone for my son (who wanted it in a cup with a spoon anyway) - who may never feel the joy this treat bought to me - but made my heart smile with inexplicable delight.

Monday, November 06, 2017

THE TWO-DAY BLUR

The total gusto with which I respond "Ohhh.. it was gooood!" when the first person asks me on Monday morning: "How was your weekend?" and the UTTER AND COMPLETE brain fade when the follow-up question hits: "What did you do?"

Saturday, November 04, 2017

MO REASON TO GROW ONE

I've always had mixed thoughts about whether I like my face with a moustache or without. I've received different responses from people each time I've tried to experiment with one. Mostly, I've agreed with "It makes you look older. Why do you want to look older than you are, until you are older anyway?" Now I am 35. I wonder if I've hit that breakpoint of "older anyway". That aside, my wife (who is most directly impacted by changes to my upper lip contours) detests moustaches - and especially my efforts to sport one.

Several years ago, I grew a moustache to be ready for a dear friend's wedding in Kerala. Now this friend was also a master in experimenting with his facial hair, but told me he was ensuring a thick moustache for his wedding, because in Kerala, "You are not a man if you don't have one!" Other than wanting to assert my masculinity in God's own country, I wanted to support my friend on his special day where I was the unofficial 'best man'. The look was a hit. My wife had no option but to glower in silence.

The look is coming back. This time, for Movember. It is a cause that needs attention - raising awareness about men's physical and mental health and potentially lead to contributions that fund over a thousand men’s health projects across 21 countries. Not enough is discussed about men's well-being. Even by men themselves. And that is what needs to be changed.

P.S: Mo is Australian for Moustache.

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