Reading List June 2017 ( updated )


  1. Murukami 1q84- plodding through this badly translated work. But I haven’t given up hope yet. 

  2. Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s  Tale- Excited about reading this contemporary classic. Recently a lot is being written about this book, mainly in connection with #oursharedshelf and #Netflix drama.

Blake Pierce Once Gone – FBI crime thriller with a Female protagonist , trying hard to balance her commitment to her profession with the societal indoctrinated expectations of being the perfect mother figure to her offspring. 

4.

      Blake Pierce Cause to Kill- Another female protagonist with a failed marriage, a baggage of guilt over her offspring, trying to prove to the world she is redeemable. 

      Happy reading folks!!

      Why is Gifting so tough? 

      When you get married you suddenly have abundance of important dates , other than your own birthday. And since you share some of these with your spouse the whole surprise element comes into play. So there are the birthdays , then the wedding anniversary , these two are the bug ones. Other dates may be the Valentine’s Day or some other memorable dates from your time of courtship. The trouble with these dates are what to gift to your spouse. I tend to believe that a gift is something that the person you are giving it to will love. You have done your homework and you are giving something meaningful to the recipient. A present is more like a on the fly item you pick up when rushing for a party , going to attend a wedding reception or when you are travelling and you pick up souvenirs for people. It’s not as meaningful in your mind. Both a gift and a present can be useful however, the thoughts behind buying each is slightly different. 

      But when you come across about  2 to 3 occasions annually and you have to gift to the same person it become a nightmare. Some people tend to ask their spouse what would they like. I appreciate this because it’s better than ending up buying something undesirable. The other is to go with your guts. 

      I think some people are smart enough to drop hints about what they would like. Unlike these people I prefer to be surprised. My list of favourite gifts include any luxury items like watches, jewellery , perfume, designer bags, destination vacations. I am fairly easy to shop for. I don’t like being gifted clothing because of fits and designs. Otherwise I am pretty much game for anything, even a great dinner or a bottle of Jack  Daniels. I think sometimes my spouse gets a bit hassled over what to gift. Like most men he cannot think beyond technology, so after 3 phones, 1 tablet , 1 sports watch I am afraid of what’s coming next.

      Just wish the spouses would tune into what women want and no that doesn’t mean they Google gift ideas because some the sites have really dumb ideas. If I were to suggest gifting ideas for wives, they would be as follows:

      1. A couples spa day or just a spa day for her where she gets pampered with a relaxing massage , body wrap , a facial and a steam/ shower. 
      2. A staycation in a 5 star hotel in the city with a special dinner with pre orders special dishes and a fancy cake to celebrate with champagne obviously.
      3. A designer sunglass from Dior or a perfume. Anything from the house of Dior or YSL.
      4. A gift voucher or a personal trip with no limits on spending for the brands/ stores she loves to buy makeup, skincare.
      5. A great bag , a tote , a purse, a slinbag.
      6. A great peace of jewellery preferably in diamond. 
      7. If at all clothes preferably expensive silks or a trip to her favourite brand outlets for no limits splurge. 
      8. If at all Gadgets then the newest phone , Bose Bluetooth speakers or JBL headphones , if at all camera , not the entry level model but a intermediate model with additional lenses. No fitness trackers please.
      9. A huge bunch of flowers and handmade chocolates ( never fails ).
      10. A car just in case you are aiming high.

      Go buy some good gifts for the women you love. 

      Mother’s Day Post

      A few days ago I read a web article about a Teacher from a school in the Mumbai Suburbs about the dress code she follows to her work place. The writer referred to “ Many students and ex-students over the generation have written in saying that they have dreamt of my saris.” While reading this I realized this could have easily been my Mother talking. It took me back to memories of her getting ready for her college. I must have been 6 or 7 still going to primary school, and returning early to be able to see her get dressed for work. She also worked in a Girl’s College in the suburbs and took the college bus to work every day. She wore mostly Handloom cottons or printed cottons during summer, on rainy days she wore synthetics ( that’s what they were called then) and during the mild winter she wore handloom silks, printed silks. She accessorised her outfits with subtle jewelry. I know she had a collection of semi precious stone jewelry which I later inherited. She had her glass bangles. But they were rarely worn by the time I could remember. She wore light gold earrings and bangles and a watch with black leather band. She had progressed from the semi precious colorful jewelry to Gold, but the color wasn’t lost, she had rings made with different color stones, and matching earrings and bangles. We would go shopping for these in the city when we visited during vacations. And everyday when she got ready she would match her accessories with her saree. She seemed to do it without a hitch. I was awestruck by it. I thought someday I would be able to do the same. I remember she used to have her leather bags in the Black, Brown and Neutral color which she would pair accordingly. And her heeled Sandals, colorful and dainty but subtle at the same time. She stopped wearing heels after a freak accident at a railway station. But I still remember trying out her sandals all the time as a child.

      She told me many stories of how her students would be in awe of her clothes and accessories. They would discuss amongst themselves what color outfit she would wear on a particular day. In the 80’s and 90’s the students were still respectfully afraid of the teacher so they didn’t talk about it to her in class. She found out from them during their  field trips or excursions or sometimes once they had passed out of the college and come back to join the department as juniors. The millennial student were more forthcoming. They would tell her in the classroom that they liked what she was wearing.

      The day I read the article I posted it on FB and wrote a bit and while doing that I found I had more to say. So, I decided to write this post for her on Mother’s Day. For my mother, who inspired me to dress well, accessorize and show up looking ready for the job every day. I came to embrace this tenet of dressing well pretty in life. Mostly I didn’t care how I looked because I thought my sparkling personality would do the rest. In the past 2-3 years I have moved away from only dressing up for occasions to dressing right Every day. And although my choices and taste are a poles apart from my mother, I know that some part of the love for sarees come from her. I remember I was given I saree every year and slowly by the time I was working I made sure I bought one saree every year. For a young person of my generation who did not have too many occasion to wear saree I had a sizable collection and would enjoy wearing them to Family events much to the surprise of people who thought I was too young to wear a saree. The concept of saree being meant for only rare festivities is ingrained in some and hence they are surprised to see me wear a saree. However, my Mother has definitely inspired me to wear a saree at most occasions.

      Thank you Mom, for the inspiration. As years go by I realize how much influence you have on how I shaped up as a person. Happy Mother’s Day!!

       

      THE END.

      In Memorium

      This is not my story but I felt this needed a platform and hence, I am presenting it. On 27th April, I had a conversation with my mother on Whatsapp. I have tried to keep her words unedited here, adding only what is necessary to increase clarity.

      Maa: Feeling sad My fav handsome actor is no more. Saw him at Manali in1973 with 1st wife and eldest son . All of them were really beautiful just can’t forget talked with him at o ne feet distance​

      Me: Really u had met him   wow… I was wondering who you liked better Vinod Khanna or Sashi Kapoor…

      Maa: We had gone for excursion from University to kulu Manali. After field work we went to a apple juice shop there he was with his family. He is so tall handsome actually the whole familywas beautiful. Akshay(e) was on his ‘kol’ ( lap), we touched the baby took pictures but I don’t have. They had no ‘gham’*(Airs). Sashi is good looking but vinod is too handsome.

      Me: Thats a nice story you should write it on FB.

      There is nothing off great importance in this chat perhaps for the readers. But for me, it had importance, a few thoughts crossed my mind. We are not so different despite what we call the generation gap. My mom reminiscing about her college days is just like how I would look back on mine. I haven’t met many celebrities but may be I would sound as wistful when remembering the first time I went to Eden Garden to watch Rahul Dravid play a test match. 

      Life brings us two choices, one to be happy the other to be miserable. In her sadness my mom still found that memory that glowed in her mind like a beacon. That’s how it works. There are days when we are surrounded by loss or failure or sadness and on those days something bright in our mind lifts us up. I am reminded of a pop culture reference from the movie X MenFirstclass where Charles helps Eric harness his true power and strength by finding the happiest memory in his mind and brightening it. Our strength comes from our happiness. And happiness is not money it’s experiences to be treasured. 

      My mom has not been a teacher for a while now but as I always say, she continues to teach me everyday in some little way how to live a fulfilled life. She is my greatest teacher. And that is why I thought it was important to share her remembering a man who was part of her life when she grew up. Idols like Vinod Khanna touch many lives in distinct ways. And only those who are touched understand the true loss. For the rest of us he may be a yeasteryear actor but to many he means a lot more than just a Cine Idol. In India Cinema and Sports are probably more influential than politics and hence, when a mighty giant falls in those spheres, people sit up , wonder , perhaps even quietly contemplate the meaning of life. I dedicate this post Mr. Vinod Khanna. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE.

      Thank You Mom for sharing your bright and beautiful memory of Mr. Khanna.

      Image source : Google

      Reading List May 2017

      Juggling two very different yet similar books. One a biography and the other a story based on true events.

      1. The Spy by Paulo Cohelo


      2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson