What we are… (Nov. 11, 2020)

We used to post this every Wednesday, and we thought why not begin blogging again by recording what we are upto. So, currently,

Here’s what Madhurya had to say-

Reading: Get a life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

Watching: Movie “The bridges of Madison County” and series ” How to get away with murder” on netflix.

Eating: All the dishes I prepared for the pre-diwali get-together we had with a couple of friends.

Making: Diwali diy decorations and Advent gifts for Christmas.

Wishing for: a white christmas, a better ending for 2020 and a great start to the new year.

Learning: to pick my battles with Neel and to take it one day at a time.

Thinking: about how our life is going to change with the arrival of another little one. Excited and nervous!

Listening: to many kannada and tamil songs.

Loving: that the holiday season is here. Let’s make the best of it!!!

Here’s what I had to say-

Reading: Oh! So many- The monk who sold his Ferrari, The lady of Bolton Hill, Don’t Overthink it and How to be a writer, depending on my mood and whats closeby. 🙂

Watching:  True Detective on hotstar. Just love Matthew McConaughey’s character, his negative but wise observations about life and the small-town America shown in the first season.

Eating: lots of veggies that are available in plenty at the local market. I’ve become quite the expert on meal-planning and preparing after all these years of cooking for my foodie family, and also because I’m always short on time.

Making: videos and props for my online classes.

Wishing for: this new work+life balance to continue. I don’t ever want to get back into the pre-covid rat race!

Learning: that it is all in my mind. I have the power to be whoever and however I wish to be. I have more energy and time for the things that matter to me. And the same goes for you too, my friend.

Thinking: of where to travel to, next. What would be safer, Goa or Andaman? Or a jungle? A girl can dream right?

Listening: to Office ladies podcast and laughing along. Angela and Jenna (actors on the show) dissect the episodes of The Office, and share the backstory and facts and tidbits. I simply devour them, being such a fan of the show, especially the first few seasons.

Loving: having friends or family over for dinner on Saturday nights.

Love,

Madhurya & Manasa.

30 Things to do in 2016- February update

February was crazy and not just because of Medha’s exams; I was feeling kinda crazy too. I lost my appetite, felt tired most of the time, lost interest in everything that normally excites me; In short, I wasn’t myself! And not being yourself is the worst thing you can be, I tell you. But I got through it, gradually, with help from family; And by giving  myself time and space to heal.

I found that for the duration of working on a hands-on project, like Scrapbooking, I felt sane, relaxed and, even, joyful. Giving my hands something to do and my mind something other than itself to focus on, is the best way to calm my anxieties and get me out of a funk, I realized.

I accomplished quite a few things, despite the dullness. Here’s an update of my “30 things to do in 2016”-

1. Buy a sewing machine
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall
5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit This one brought me such joy!
6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.
7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav
12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert Had saved this one for the end, but HAD to dive into it. I was desperate for some Magic! And boy did I find it!
13. Read a kannada book – this one is taking me forever to finish!
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourseFinished this one and mailed Kam, its author, too, to let her know my thoughts. She’s awesome and the course is awesome. It did help me rekindle my lost “Spark”.
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse– working on this one now.
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog did you see the new “about us” on the sidebar?
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are) this one gave me such joy. I am who I am because of these people and a few others too. I can’t possibly write to each one of you, right? But hey, Thank you!
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park read about it here and here.
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
23. Watch a play
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90) – 3 more to go.
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha
27. A plush doll with Medha
28. A garland with Medha
29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling – Doing it On and Off. But I’ll still consider this Done, if I don’t give up on it completely.

More to go. Wish me luck!

Love,

Manasa.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I love books with female protagonists. If a book has a female central character and the story revolves around a book club as well, then no kid can attempt to divert my attention from it with his/her cuteness! This happened as I read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” written by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. It was about a woman, Juliet Ashton, a writer in her early 30s,just after the end of WWII, in search of an idea for her next book. As she restores her life from the rubble of a ruined London, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a man from Guernsey, in search of a book written by Charles Lamb(He finds her name and address written in one of his books). She procures the book for him and begins correspondence with him and through him the other members of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. An unusual name for a book club, isn’t it? Intrigued, Juliet wants to learn more about them.

As she delves deeper into their lives, she unravels the origin of their book club and learns about Elizabeth McKenna, the woman who gave birth to the society. Through the letters from the Islanders, Juliet learns that Guernsey Island had been under German Occupation during the second world war. Their stories of hardship and sorrow sow a seed of an idea in her mind for her next writing material. She falls in love with the people that correspond with her (except a Miss Adelaide Addison, who abhors the society and its members!). On an impulse she decides to visit the Island. From the moment she spots St. Peter Port (capital of Guernsey) “rising up from the sea on terraces, with a church on the top like a cake decoration, and I realized that my heart was galloping”(pg. 159), she is enamored. She goes about interviewing people about the Germans and realizes how each story leads to Elizabeth McKenna, who has been sent to a German prison for helping a slave worker.

This book is a compilation of letters exchanged between Juliet and the members of the Literary Society as well as her publisher Sidney Stark. Even though it is just letters, you won’t miss a thing. The plot is linear and gives the whole story.I loved the idea of a bunch of letters conveying a story.

Juliet not only finds idea and material for her next book but also finds the love of her life. I sped through the book to know the ending, which I haven’t done in a long long time. A novel that keeps me hooked amidst the distractions and disturbances caused during the rearing of 2 active children is so hard to come across. I had to navigate a few bumps which caused me to pause and think about German atrocities. How could they inflict such pain on a large scale?!Did I know the German authorities made no arrangements for menstruating women- no soap, no extra clothes- and just mocked away as they bled? No! It just tore my heart and made me desperate to hug them. And how the slave workers (called Todt workers) were treated! They were made to work without food and were let out from camps at night to beg or steal food. Abominable! Such things were hard to fathom but I read anyway. I can’t keep evading hard realities and be. satisfied with the rosy picture.

The rosy part about the book was learning about Elizabeth McKenna. She was an epitome of strength, positive spirit and kindness in the face of such barbarism. Also, the society, their love of books, the discussions they had and the members themselves were a pleasure to read about. I’d love to read it again (& again), slowly, this time , absorbing every little detail.

Power to Read

With the Power to Read!

Medha is elated to possess her own library card. It is in her name and helps her access books and the children’s-room computers. We are yet to see what those computers hold but I’m told they have educational games and other knowledge-enhancing programs for kids. I think she’ll love it; she has already sort of mastered the use of our ASUS Epad.

A card wont make her an independent reader just yet. I will still have to read her a box full of board books myself for the 2 straight hours that we are at the library (I can’t fathom her capacity for reading or her love towards books at the tender age of 2!). Yet, it is still poignant, this transfer of power as I see it, like I’ve bestowed her with a credit card. Actually she uses it as one, trying to swipe it through ATM machines or at the check-out counter of stores. Whatever, I hope we put it to good use.

I have one more news to share. To take my love of the library a step further, I have begun volunteering there. It isn’t much; I just shelve the books in the alphabetical order of the author names or as per Dewey Decimal System in some cases. But it is something. It helps me show my gratitude to the library and meet some really interesting and friendly people. So shelve I will, until, maybe, I find a real job…