UBC1: And it rained!

I am at my parents house in Mangalore, in the middle of major packing. Major because I’m moving to Manama on Friday and can’t believe I have so many things, especially when I never seem to have anything to wear!! But, just when I was getting nice and comfortable in Bangalore, I’ve had to say goodbye and walk down a new path. However, that’s another story…maybe for tomorrow.

Packing, for those of you who don’t know, is tiring work and I don’t mean just physically. It is mentally exhausting. The sorting and the deciding –  things to take, things to leave, things to give away and things I can’t believe I actually bought! I did so much clearing and cleaning up that I saw the back and bottom of my cupboard for the first time in over a decade and it was not a pretty sight!

Mangalore has also been unkind to me. There have been regular annoying power-cuts, the heat and humidity have been almost unbearable and to top the list there were no rains!!! I was hoping to enjoy the monsoons this year and the cool weather it brings. But, the weatherman said that the rains had been delayed till Saturday, the 5th, and wouldn’t you know it…for once, he seemed to be right! Till yesterday, there was not a cloud in the sky. But today…today, look at what rolled in!?!

Clouds!!!! View outside my house at about 2 in the afternoon!!

They are my favourite kind too! Dense, grey and water laden. It has been raining almost all day and the weather is finally pleasant.

Thank you God for giving me one last beautiful rainy day to enjoy before I go to the desert on Friday.

Time to curl up with some hot tea, fried munchies and a good book….mmmm….
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My favourite reads…

One of my favourite things in the world is to sit relaxed with a book in my hand lost in a world that the author has managed to pull me into…

So, diving in to my list of favourites now:

1. Roots by Alex Haley

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Intrigued by the stories his grandmother used to tell him, Haley set out on a journey to trace his roots back to the African boy who was taken from his homeland as a teenager to be sold as a slave in America. He traces his ancestry from that one man, Kunta Kinte, all the way down to himself….spanning generations, the book is a masterpiece. It is a beautiful and moving story of suffering and importantly of how the human spirit cannot be broken. Roots is one of my very favourite books ever.

2. The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy M. Montgomery

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“It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”

The books are full of great lines like that. 🙂 I read the first book in the series when I was about as old as Anne in the story. It’s the tale of an orphan girl who is adopted by a pair of siblings and who is pure and always getting into trouble and a “kindred spirit”. There are eight books in the series and they tell her life story…from her days at school to her life as a principal, wife and finally a mother. I have read and re-read all the books so many times, I’ve lost count! They’ve made me laugh and cry and hold my breath in anticipation….I thoroughly enjoyed the magic Montgomery wove into Anne’s story.

3.  Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you.”

What beautiful lines to tell yourself when you’re at a low point in your life. Repeating them like a mantra could help you pick yourself up and face life again. This is a story of healing and I loved reading about Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to a happier place. Gilbert’s story takes you from Italy to India and finally to Indonesia with each stop adding something vital to her existence and helping her find the happiness that had been so elusive before. The great part of the book is that you will find that you have grown as a person as you turn its pages. It truly is a must-have in your book-case.

4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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Okay…so I know this sounds like a rather clichéd title to make my list…but, I have to admit that I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. I love reading the books…(I’ve read each of them so many times I’m embarrassed to share the number) I love being so familiar with the stories that I can skip pages I don’t want to read and move to parts of the book I really enjoy reading. They are my go-to books when I want to do a little light reading 🙂

5. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Genius! That is what Tolkien was. To think of such an elaborate storyline and to come up with a whole new language and such complex characters…I was beyond just plain amazed when I read the books and I don’t really know how to describe the books except maybe to say they were unbelievably fantastic.

6.  The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

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“They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.” 

Not everyone can write lines as wonderfully as Lahiri does. What a book the Namesake is! I read this book for the first time fairly recently and it stole my heart…I fell in love with the characters and the story and I’m so very glad that I read it instead of watching the movie.  It’s become one of my favourite books and I think I’ll probably read it again some time soon!

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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“For you… thousand times over…”

I don’t know anybody who has read this book and not loved it. In my opinion, this is Hosseini’s best work. It is such a beautiful story about love and relationships…If you haven’t read it already, please do yourself the biggest favour ever and read it! I don’t even want to say any more…just go out and read it!

So, there was my list of favourite books…do any of them feature on your list of favourites? Let me know please!

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

Write Tribe
All the images are sourced from Google Images

Things to do before I die

So many things to do and so little time!!! Well…not that little I hope 😛

Here are seven things I-just-have-to-have-to-do from my bucket list in no particular order:

1. Learn how to belly dance. When I was sixteen, my parents and I went to Istanbul on a holiday and on one of those evenings organized by the tour people, we went to a restaurant where there was live entertainment. One of the acts was a belly dancer. I remember that she wore a blue outfit and I was fascinated by how that woman could move her hips…one hell of a sexy dance form and I so want to learn it! One day I will find an instructor and I will be able to call myself a belly dancer… 😉

cello-143788_6402. Learn how to play the violin. My parents ensured that my brother and I learnt how to play musical instruments as children and I can still play the organ a little bit. But, I always wanted to learn how to play the violin. I think the urge got stronger after I listened to a couple of Vanessa Mae songs…man could that girl play! But unfortunately, I grew up in a very small city where the only person we knew who played the violin was the priest in the church we went to and I doubt he would have taken music classes 😛 So, one day, before my fingers get all stiff, I hope to learn how to play.

3. Learn to speak Mandarin. Yes…I know…it’s awfully challenging…but, I really want to learn how to speak it. I want to be able to visit China and be able to converse with the locals. Perhaps one day I’ll find a teacher…

4. Visit Venice and ride in a gondola. Venice has the most romantic appeal to me. When I was in my teens, I pictured going there on my water-29216_640honeymoon and listening to a deep voiced boatman sing romantic songs while my man and I lay in our gondola. Sadly, I didn’t get to go for my honeymoon, but I WILL visit someday…sooner rather than later because global warming will probably cause the waters to rise and ruin the city soon…sigh…

5. Go to the opera. Okay…so this is not such a hard one to do…except there are no opera houses in Bangalore! But, I really want to see what all the hype is about.

6. Get 1,000+ followers on my blog. I started this blog almost two years ago at the insistence of a friend (one of those great kinds that always believes in you and encourages you) with two subscribers. My readership has slowly been growing since and each new follow I receive is like a ray of sunshine in my heart. (Thank you to everyone who is following me…you don’t know how encouraged I feel!) My hope is to one day have more than a 1,000 followers…WOW! What a high that would be! 🙂

7. Write a book that people other than my family will want to read. I like to believe that deep down inside I’m a writer and the dream is to one day write a story so beautiful that my books fly off the shelves and people love what they read. That’s the dream…

What’s on your bucket list?

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

Write Tribe

Book Review: The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri‘s first novel, The Namesake, is a story of many things. It is about a Bengali boy who grows up2013-07-15 14.51.25 in America. It is about the struggles of trying to keep your cultural heritage alive while learning the traditions of a whole different race. It is about choices. It is about family. It is about finding your identity. 

Ashima and Ashoke are a Bengali couple who have left all they love behind to make the move to America in the hope of a better life. With impeccable attention to detail, Lahiri narrates all the effort involved in adapting to a world so different from all they have known. Brilliantly, she also manages to map the internal struggles of Gogol Ganguli, Ashima and Ashoke’s first-born who is not Bengali and not quite American either…

As you turn pages of the book, you get more and more involved in the lives of the Ganguli’s and feel their sorrows and joys. You start to identify with their problems and connect with the reasons behind their choices. Lahiri is a wonderful story-teller and in an almost magical way, she gets the reader to fall in love with the characters and root for them.

The Namesake has something in it for everyone and is an absolutely worthy addition to any bookshelf. A true delight to read.