Monday, May 30, 2016

The show must go on. #MondayMusings.

Imagine that one picture, maybe taken on a birthday or an anniversary surrounded by all your loved ones and all your presents. Your zenith. That moment when life is brimming in goodness. And then suddenly the universe decides to 'photoshop 'something out. Not that favourite watch or that expensive necklace or that silk Saree or that Corelle dinner set.

But the person sitting next to you. The person who held your hand and made a promise of 'forever'.

I cannot even imagine the depth of this pain.

But I spent the weekend with some one who did. Some one my age who was thrust into a life of luxury and wealth and charm. Only to be left there alone after some years.

Death can be the biggest show stopper. But not in the way show stopper's are meant to be. Suddenly luxury can seem like a burden. Wealth can seem meaningless. Charm can go back to the books. 

And you begin to wonder what the purpose of anything was anyway?

But the sun rises and the sun sets. The earth rotates and the earth revolves. And flowers bloom again. The show must go on. Slowly.

And its also fascinating to see how the universe laser-cuts you through this process of pain. Giving you new form and new perspectives and new strengths. More charm and more grace.

Dedicated to all the people who have suffered the loss of a loved one...

PS: This is my first post for  #MondayMusings on hosted by Corinne Rodrigues at

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Written by... Illustrated by...

As a kid, I don't think I got to read enough picture books. Which is why I love the fact that I have kids. Not only can I read to my heart's content, I can also read aloud!

Come on, think about it, unless you are a writer or an illustrator, how many of you (without kids) would actually go check out children's picture books from the library?

When reading to my kids, I make it a point to read the name of the author and the illustrator. Sometimes, I even make them repeat it. Why? Because I want them to know that 'someone' lovingly wrote this beautiful story and 'someone else' lovingly drew it for them.

Kids respond best to visuals . 2 to 6 year olds most likely cannot read much on their own. So definitely the pictures speak to them first. And as we read aloud to them, they begin to connect the pictures with our words and the tone of our voice. And suddenly the story comes alive.

This is when I realize the importance of the illustrator. The reason a book is picked up and taken home. The reason why a quick silent reading and or a even a cute giggle is guaranteed before mom is urgently summoned to the reading rug.

Last night, my kids and I read 'More pies' by Robert Munsch (and illustrated by Martin Martchenko). We pounce on Munsch's books whenever we can, even though I haven't got my hands on the famed 'Love you forever' yet.
His stories are simple, heart warming and sometimes outright hilarious because how can a boy eat a large bowl of cereal, 2 milks shakes and 3 stacks of pancakes and still be hungry enough to win a pie eating contest.

But Martin Martchenko is the reason I picked the book. The details he adds, does it for me. You should see the expressions a fireman, a lumber jack and a construction worker, all have when they notice a small black kid eagerly competing with them for the Prize Pie.

May writers always find great illustrators, so we can have tons and tons of great picture books. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Doodles of fun!

On Mother's day, I got to do something that I would not normally dream of doing on a Sunday morning. I went for a sketching workshop. 

If you are a stay at home mom with small kids, you know how Sundays are. Even the earth cannot seem to rotate unless you are up and about on your toes. And now you can understand why this post is coming in long after mother's day... I just could not grab some time to post...

I love to draw and I do draw a lot for my kids and my craft projects. But not having taken any training or any practice of any sorts, I know I am more of a amateur doodler than an artist. 

I read by this feature in the local newspaper about a studio called 'Kokaachi', couple months ago. The name totally got me. 'Kokaachi' means monster or scary person in Malayalam. The quintessential boogeyman of our childhood. That monster that nobody can perfectly describe but anyone can imagine. The one that lurks under every child's bed and in every dark corner. The one monster that is conveniently summoned by parents to get chores completed, home-work done and vegetables eaten. I know, I know definitely not a best practice for parents. But our parents used it on us.. and I do catch myself calling the 'Kokaachi' at times when nothing else works!

Amused by the name, I hopped on to their website and Facebook page only to further amazed by their work. Run by a very creative couple - Prateek and Tina,  they have taken on the task to tell the world all 'the untold stories'- through drawings, graphics, comics, doodles. 

I was interested to know  that they had a monthly sketching workshop ('Vara')  for 'anyone who loves to draw'. 

I just needed to go. 

But my mind was scattered. A 100 questions. What will my husband think? What about all the tidying up that needs to be be done? The laundry? I'm not even an artist, and so what if I make a fool of myself? Will I look like I'm old and trying very hard to be cool? How does a mother validate the urge to want to go sketching for a few hours on a Sunday when her whole world depends on her. A mother puts everyone else first. She facilitates everyone else's plans. I was feeling guilty even wanting to go

After a few hours of beating myself up I managed to tell my husband who sounded super enthusiastic and agreed to babysit. 

I felt like a rebel. Borrowing my 6 year old's colours and an sketchpad I got as a birthday present 7 years ago, I went for it.

It was exciting to realise that Prateek was  junior from college and we knew each other at some point. And he assured me that the session was just a bunch of fun activities to think out of the box and express oneself through drawing.

The three hours was a real refreshing mother's day present. Met some super talented people and had lots of fun. (even though my drawings were amateur... LOL). But overall I felt great. And I was reminded of how much I really love to draw.

So to all the other moms out there.. you rock. Yes your little world depends on you for everything. That said, if you can get some help once in a while, take it and go do something for yourself. Do it. Don't forget who you are. 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

#AtoZChallenge- Reflections

I read about this challenge when a fellow blogger posted about his participation and shared it on the Indiblogger community. 

The first thing that amused me was how perfect the month of April seemed for the challenge. 30 days minus 4 free Sundays and so yes... one alphabet per day. 

Considering how infrequent my blogging is I decided to let it pass.

Then I saw it again and again while blog hopping. More bloggers were posting about it and suddenly I was curious.

I was intrigued that someone created such a challenge. I was impressed that it has been running for years. Well planned and with hosts and co-hosts and teams. I was nervous that the linky list was growing. I was intimidated there was a theme and thousands were participating. I suddenly realised that there is a big big blogging world out there...outside my corner window. And something was urging me to take a better look.

But my persistent pessimistic gene reminded me that this would turn out to be another unfinished project. To close that window and draw the blinds. That all the others were much better at this. They had all done it before. That they already had 100 plus followers. That I was right- there was no way I could do this. Especially with house chores and kids on vacations and other errands.   

I think I oscillated for a week. And finally signed up on the last day. I nervously posted about my participation and started thinking about a theme.  

Well being a 'new mom' was technically all that I have been doing since the last 6 years... so that decided the theme.

The writing was fun. Somedays were like staring into a brick wall. I felt great if I was done with the post in advance. The time management was challenging. I stuck to my blog visitors and increased my blog visits occasionally. It felt great to post content daily, something I had never done before. And nothing compares to the victory of completing a challenge. 

So amazed by the amount of effort and creativity that bloggers are putting into this. Found so many gems that I am holding on to .. :) Loved it from start to finish.