Monday, October 1, 2018

Day 1 - Where I talk about my twins, finally

Day 1 of my return on the beanbag. May it be long-lasting. Amen!

It's not that I don't get little windows now and then during the day to write. It's just that somehow, after managing the twins most of the day along with juggling everything else in life, the brain refuses to get into creative mode. As soon as the twins doze off in the afternoon, my brain, too, goes into sleep mode and avoids any task which requires thinking/pondering/creating. Which is the reason why I've not come back to my writing even after a year and some months have passed since I've had my twins. 

Who are my twins? N & Z. Sister and brother. Two little bundles of energy, curiosity and of course, joy! Though when they sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night, joy is the last emotion I register. Being a parent is an experience unlike any other. It's the one job we don't get any formal training for even though it is the most important one we ever do. Taking care of a tiny being - of a minuscule human life who is completely dependent on you is the stuff of, honestly speaking, nightmares. Yet it somehow comes so naturally - or at least it did for me. I won't deny that it wasn't daunting and at times, frustrating, confusing and very tiring but I never really had to refer to a book for advice after the twins were born. Not that there is any shortage of advice in our society - from the mother-in-law to the maid, everyone is an expert when it comes to babies.

Alas, time is passing by too quickly and my babies are already 14+ months. I'm trying to capture their childhood in a little notebook which I've been keeping since their birth. It's a diary I'm keeping for them of their milestones, special events, achievements etc. I hope to give it to them on their 18th birthday. The problem is that there is the one notebook and both of them will want to keep it (or so I think!). Well, they can get copies made 'cause Mommy Shark gets to keep the original. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

reading nooks are over-rated

If you meet someone who sings praises of his/her 'reading spot/nook', beware! The reading nook is just a marketing gimmick. It may not appear to be so but eventually all roads lead to consumerism and our insatiable appetite to buy. This advocate of the reading nook (or RN) will exclaim in delight how they've managed to read so much more because they now have a dedicated place to read. You need the right vibe around you while reading, they'll lecture, and no ordinary corner of the house will suffice. The chair needs to be right, with a side table of the correct height and width to accommodate both your book and cup of tea. If you show curiosity about the tea they'll go into another tirade of how the whole flavour of the book changes when reading it is accompanied by a steaming cup of tea or coffee, whatever your preference. Besides the chair and table, there has to be a lamp and foot stool for night time reading. They'll also add that you must check out reading nooks on Instagram or Pinterest for inspiration. The whole conversation will end with them showing you the pictures of their nook. 

Of course, when you'll ask them the number of books they managed to read while comfortably ensconced in their nook, they'll probably mumble something incoherently or state a single digit number or tell you they were so busy setting up their nook and putting it up on social media that there was no time to read. 

Don't fall in the nook trap. Read anywhere. In the car, in the toilet, in the bedroom, in the living room, on your balcony (with or without a cup of tea), in hospital waiting rooms, at the  airport (I once read a book while standing in line for an eye scan in Dubai). Read in the park or at the beach. Carry a slim book (or a heavy one depending on the size of your bag) on you or your Kindle and just take it out when and where you get time. 

Books are cool. Read them. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The belated 2018 post

I have notebooks in which I scribble all the time. I've had notebooks all my life but most of them, fortunately, I destroyed. Those that have survived are of various sizes, shapes and thickness. Why I'm talking about notebooks is because a dear friend of mine is on a decluttering mission these days and her efforts made me think of the various clutters in my life. Which aren't many, mind you, because I constantly give/throw away stuff. Except for notebooks. And here I'm not just talking about the ones which have the secrets of my life inscribed in them. I am referring to the ones which have such mundane entries like travel lists, to-do lists, random doodles made while talking on the phone, minutes of meetings etc - you get the gist but I feel that these notebooks or notepads are also important. Why? I don't know. I'm not someone whose papers people are going to go through diligently after I die. I highly doubt the twins will be interested in them. Unless one of them becomes an anthropologist and wants to know how life for an ordinary woman was in 'those' days.

Being ordinary is not that bad but it's a label I'll like to change sooner or later. More sooner than later. I don't want to become an Instagram sensation, oh no! It's more a lofty goal of contributing to the society in some way. I think the only way I ever did that was when I taught MBA/BBA students but that too is such a distant memory now that it feels like it never happened. 

What else feels like a distant memory is 2017. N and Z are already six months old. Where did the time fly? It seems like only yesterday when I was tossing and turning in the hospital bed after my surgery and thinking to myself, this too shall pass. Well, it passed and is passing mighty quickly. I had a friend get me Matt Haig's new book, How to Stop Time. She, being a non-fiction reader, took the title a little too literally and boy, was she in for a surprise when she sat down with the book on the plane. Time does stop  - it's just that we're in so much of a hurry to reach our next appointment, or get done with some routine task that we will it forward. Always looking at our wrist watches or now, at our mobile phones.

So how to stop time? I find reading a good book is a great way to stop time. Watching a great movie is another way. Reading to your kids also works as a time stopping device. Keeping the mobile phone away from you is a super way of making sure time stops. It is also very detoxing. I've been forced to not keep the phone on me because of N and Z and I find it extremely refreshing. Try it this year. Put some physical distance between you and your phone. Have a no-phone policy during meal times, even if you're eating alone. Above all, please delete the Facebook app. 

I've started this year with no resolutions. Maybe if I have no agenda I might just end up clearing up the clutter that previous unfulfilled resolutions have created.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Back on the beanbag

I'm back. And though not with much of a bang but back, nonetheless. This hiatus in writing was due to two reasons. I gave birth to two beautiful babies in July this year (thus, two reasons!) and they have, as babies do, changed my life and turned it upside down. 

N and Z are lovely babies, especially when asleep. They bring the house down when they're both in a cranky mood together which is, thankfully, very seldom. I won't say that each day is full of surprises and discoveries as all these motherhood magazines and apps claim, but almost every other day I learn something new about them. Has having them changed me? Hell, yes! I can't fit into a lot of my clothes without spandex is the one major change! They have given me a crash course in time management though. It's amazing how seemingly ordinary things like reading, taking a bath, and even watching television are herculean tasks now. 4 plus hours of sleep in one go at night is a super luxury! 

Getting time to write a post here and re-do the blog's look is also a super luxury. So here I am. Back on the beanbag. And from now onwards, I'm not alone here! 

The new look of beanbagtales. Z (top left) and N (top right)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Perfect Fairy tale

"You are a born storyteller," said the old lady. "You had the sense to see you were caught in a story, and the sense to see that you could change it to another one. And the special wisdom to recognize that  you are under a curse - which is also a blessing - which makes the story more interesting to you than the things that make it up. There are young women who would never have listened to the creatures' tales about the Woodman, but insisted on finding out for themselves. And maybe they would have been wise and maybe they would have been foolish: that is their story. But you listened to the Cockroach and stepped aside and came here, where we collect stories and spin stories and mend what we can and investigate what we can't and live quietly without striving to change the world. We have no story of our own here, we are free, as old women are free, who don't have to worry about princes or kingdoms, but dance alone and take an interest in the creatures."

(The Djinn in The Nightingale's Eye - A.S.Byatt)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Book shots

Presenting the first 11 reads of my 100 book reading challenge for 2017. Keep a lookout for more book shots and read all about why I'm undertaking this mammoth task again this year here

Beanbagtales is also on Instagram and I'm posting pictures of books recently read with mini reviews or 'book shots'. For more clicks follow @beanbagtales on Instagram. 

100 books. 365 days. bring it on!

I have, yet again, embarked on the crazy journey of reading a 100 books this year even though I failed miserably last year. I managed to read around 40 books only. Okay, 39 to be exact. It might look like a decent figure and I thought so too till I saw some readers on social media who had finished, brace yourself, 200 books. 200! Instead of doing the intelligent thing and getting off social media or unfollowing these super readers, I added 'read 100 books' to my new year resolutions list again. 

So, why am I doing the undoable? 

One, to prove to myself (and my loyal blog readers) that I can read 100 books. Which, I hope, will encourage others to read also. If not 100, maybe one book? That’s still better than no book, right? And in my own little way, I will have made a small contribution to increase love for books in the world. *violins start playing in the background*

Second, I need to reduce my TBR pile. Firstly, because I’m sick of hearing people asking me (especially those who come to my house for the very first time) if I’ve read all my books? Seriously? Is that the only thing you can think of when you see my book collection? Sheesh! Secondly, I need to weed out the books which are collecting dust since the past who knows how many years and the only ethical way to get rid of them is to read them first and give them a chance. (Not liking a book cover, the sound of the author's name or the blurb are also very ethical methods.)

Thirdly and most importantly, I read so I can escape. Try it. It’s a better way to forget reality and is completely harmless unless you’re reading in bad light or are reading 50 Shades of Grey or both. 

How far am I? Considering that the third month of the year is almost at an end and events in the near future will probably digress me from my reading, I’ve just managed around 11 books to date. Stop rolling your eyes. How many have you managed to read so far, huh?