March 17, 2015

Cockroaches

The word itself gives me the creeps.

And, here there is a whole new research and use which is thought out for them. I always knew they are hardy and are known to survive in the most unearthy conditions and terrains, but a use for cockroaches... I am not sure I can ever be a part of such a research team. Maybe it is good that I decided to not go the biology route, who knows what anthropod I would have to hold squirming in my hand!

This article brought me to that time during my summer vacations in India, in the midst of the monsoons, where we have all the creepies inside the house, and most often inside the bathroom. And this being the time when I was around 9 - 10 years of age, I was petrified of going into the bathroom to relieve myself, in fear of a flying assault.

And, I know there are many who would not even know of the flying breed of cockroaches, but trust me, they exist. And they do not fly about, rather sprint more is what I would call it, than fly. But since their flight is so short and they do not really know how to manage their flight, its very often that they will come and brush against you or even worse, land on you! And once, just once if they latter has happened, I don't know many who would not have the kind of fear and creeps about this insect.

 Anyhow, I remember this one incident wherein, there was a flying cockroach which had escaped from the usual recess in the bathroom, and entered the bedroom. And, this had to happen only around 9 pm, when there was no way of finding this insect, or creating a overdose of insect killer in the air and leaving the room for a few hours. It was time to get to bed. That one night, with temperatures in Trivandrum being scorching in the summer months, still had be covered from head to toe, with the cover tucked in from all sides, and yet unable to sleep. The next day morning, I woke up with a fever thanks to the extra layers and heat which I had subjected myself to.

Would I do something different today?

I doubt it. 
I still am petrified of cockroaches.
But, being a mother, I am usually the one now responsible for the extermintaion procedures at home
And during those few minutes, I know how my heart thumps and hand become clammy.

Some fears just reside.

January 28, 2015

Book Review: Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua

Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua was shortlisted for the Man Booker 2011, and this on the cover of the book, alongside the woman on the cover, drew me to go ahead and pick up this one.

Every woman who has been pregnant will say that during those months, you fret and worry about how what you are doing affects the small life within, and how you would like to do the very best in your ability to ensure that life is unharmed in every which way. This story revolves around a woman, who is pregnant after many years and trying. And after all these years, her husband chooses to leave her, because of not having a child, or because of the 7 year itch, it is unknown. But he does come bounding back on knowing about the child.

And does a child set everything straight?
Do the mistakes made get washed away with the arrival of a child?
Or is it that what is expected for the want of a family for the child?

It is a book which flows so beautifully, the prose keeps you engrossed to the extend that you are transported to the Brahmaputra in Assam, and the fountain in the park at Richmond Town, Bangalore. The imagery which the author portrays is vivid and most importantly, it reached me. There are some detailed accounts of North east cultures/ rituals / and lifestyle. It is a region of India which holds  lot of surprises and secrets. Many would say there is so much about every region which might be new, but there is really something about the North east and its limited connectivity, which only adds to the charm which is otherwise too, immense.

The book moves across the 9 months the woman interacts, cares and changes herself to her changed life, all in anticipation of her child. It is a very short read, but it leaves you with a calm and peaceful feeling, though it does not really close the plot or give too many answers.

January 12, 2015

Book review: Disappearing Daughters, The Tragedy of Female Foeticide by Gita Aravamudan

The first 5 pages of this book, give you so many numbers, statistics to be more specific and you are left gaping at the words, wondering how and when the world will change.

Mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, everyone of them has played a part in ensuring the many girls in India do not learn how to crawl, sit up, stand, walk or speak. The means which they employ, it seems like they have studied to ensure the best practices and have optimized on the success ratios.

As a reader moves through the book, the primary thought that comes is, "Who is the true perpetrator of this crime?"


The father who wants a boy to take forward his family name?

The mother who wants a boy for a better standing with her in-laws?

The doctor who wants to earn that extra money in spite of doing what is illegal?

Each of them play a role in systematically eliminating the female fetuses across many districts, cities and regions. This is a practice which has infiltrated across strata and the methods might vary, and the complexity of processes, but the end out come is always the same - A Girl Dies.

Before I started reading this book, I had an image wherein the women were helpless, crying and were being forced into it. But, after reading Disappearing Daughters, I view the world through a different outlook. There is nobody who is not involved, but circumstances, or pressure is not always the reason. Many a times, those involved, do not see it as anything wrong, and many ethnic races view it as a tradition.

How does one reduce this atrocity or make people understand? 
By giving a positive reward to those who keep their girl child?

I am not sure.

But, neither is the government, or the many NGOs who are working in this field. There is a fair bit which education can change, and there is another large chunk which will be changed by society and the expectations set by it, and only by this!

But, all said and done, it is such a shame that one gender has been picked and picked repeatedly over these many years.

Is it a time for things to reverse? That would mean revenge.
I do not think that would be sustainable either.

The way ahead is for a change, a change from everything what everyone knows as of now.
New rules, and  new thoughts.

But, again, how long would that last!?

November 20, 2014

A wacky month

November has been a total wacky month for me...

Interstellar is a movie which caught B's mind completely, and being a movie which was made for the 70mm screen, he made up his mind to go all the way to the only 70mm screen which exists in India. Yes, we went all the way to Hyderabad, to Prasad IMAX to watch this movie. It was a total weekend trip, quick, fun and something so new. The movie was totally enjoyable, and the screen was phenomenal!

I am taking a trip, without B or T. Its going to be one after 2 years. A trip to Hampi, with office folks. I am excited and also wondering how they would be managing. But T being older and more understanding I am guessing should be very manageable.

And now with just a month left for the year to end, I am thinking I need to speed up my reading and try to complete the many books I am yet to get to. A month to go this year... and I have way too many books than weeks.



Finished:

A book with a number in the title: The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency
A book with a blue cover: And the mountains echoed
A book by a female author: C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton
A book with a mystery: D is for Deadbeat

The second book in a series: River of Smoke (Ibis Trilogy)  (*this can ideally be for a book with more than 500 pages too. Let me see if I manage to read something else by year end for that)
A book with a mystery: Tides of Memory by Sydney Sheldon ( that is in memory of my school time forbidden mystery ;) )
A book your friend loves:  Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim
A book that is more than 10 years old:  The House of Kanooru by Kuvempu 
A book with more than 500 pages: Fifty shades of Grey by E.L. James
The First book by a Favourite AuthorSessiv Ev by Orhan Pamuk
A book published this year: Once upon a crush by Kiran Manral
A book that became a movie: Fault in our Stars by John Green
A book which you heard about online: Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
A forgotten classic: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A book set in another continent: Still Alice by Lisa Genova 
A book of short stories: Eunuch Park by Palash Krishna Mehrotra
A best selling book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Currently Reading:

A funny book: Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan
Free Square: The Korean word for butterfly by James Zerndt 

To be done in 1 month:

A book written by someone under thirty
A book with non human charachters
A book with a one-word title - Infidel by Ayaan Ali
A book of non fiction
A book based on a true story
A book that scares you 
A book at the bottom of your to be read pile