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Archive for December, 2011

I wish I had more time in hand, S keeps telling may be 24 hrs is not enough time for a day and it does seem true at times. I read so many books and of them there are many books I want to note down for posterity! I am hoping S and A would grow up to be avid readers and ask me for suggestions and I would have all my notes to readily share with them! Books indeed are the window to the world and my perception undergoes immense change with every book I read. Even the dumbest book can give you brilliant insights into stuff you would have stopped to think of. So there is no bad book, just books that move you and those that do not, but still may teach you a new thing or two!

This post is about the two books:

Room by Emma Donoghue and

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

My initial plan was to discuss Shogun, but I recently completed another book, Taipan by James Clavell and I would rather discuss them together in a separate post.

Room by Emma Donoghue – I waited for this book for close to 2 months, when I reserved the book I was 218 in line and even forgot about the book till it became available for checkout. What can I say, this book really moved me and stayed with me for a long time even after I finished it. Not that the plot was any unique, a teenage girl kidnapped and held as a captive without anyone knowing for years together. We have known in recent times that many such freaks exist in this world holding strangers or even wives and kids as captives hiding them for eternity and harassing them. This is a story of one such girl who was kidnapped and held aloof from outside world and she ends up delivering her son in that room and after that life changing event, she makes the purpose of her life to equip the son with all the knowledge she knows and make him strong and eventually with his help escape the “prison”.  The story is narrated by Jack the 5 year old son in his simple words and within the first ten pages of the book, you would be captivated by his narration and your mind would adjust to his thinking ways, addressing inanimate objects in the room as persons.

Within the confines of that room, it is amazing to see the maternal relationship bloom between the duo and how the son literally thinks the WORLD about his mom, after all according to him the world is made of just three people including the nocturnal visitor. The mom’s sincerity in creating a normal life for her son in the form of routines is admirable and she is such an excellent teacher as well. It just goes to show how someone can spend productive hours with a kid with very limited faculties as well, locked in a room. It made me think about the quality time I spend with my kids and how i can improve, and I am not talking about academic skills here! For someone who has spent all his 5 years of existence with his mom, Jack has such good manners when he is outside and treats everyone with respect!! I had to say this for to me, seeing a 7 year old turning into a little rebel right in my family, I am impressed of any kid with good manners,even in a book!! 🙂

The author has captured the effect in the little boy when he is exposed to the outside real world in a holistic manner and it just would move you, when you learn that the boy would rather go back to the safe world he knows, THE ROOM instead of experiencing the real world. The same room is both a heaven for Jack and hell for his mother. If you have not read this book, please do read it!!  It is a must-read kind of a book.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

This book was also reserved by me and I waited for a long time to get hold of it and I had the book for just a week, but I did not need a week to complete the book. Once I began this book, I hardly took any breaks in between, every waking moment when I wasn’t attending to the duo in my family, was spent with the book. It was really un-put-downable for me!

I cant wait to read other books by this awesome author and I hope he writes many many more!! This is his debut novel and you need to read the book to understand the Verghese effect I experienced. His narration of the plot and the depth he brought in every character in the book is amazing. The book revolves around the life of conjoined twins(separated at birth) born to an Indian nurse Mary Praise and a British surgeon Thomas Stone. How the birth of the twins Shiva Stone and Marion Stone bring people together and how the lives of the twins is influenced by their foster Indian parents is narrated in a seamless manner and as you watch the twins grow, you also notice the rise and fall of regimes in Ethiopia and get engrossed in the lives of immigrants in Ethiopia. The story begins with the disappearance of the father of the twins after the mother dies in child birth and their father’s disappearance haunts the twins all their life, in particular Marion’s. The foster parents happen to be Doctors as well and the kids grow up right there in the hospital and Shiva even without attending medical school is acclaimed for his successful medical procedures for a common condition in Ethiopia.  The magical relationship that Marion experiences rather imagines with his childhood crush Genet and how the same relationship takes him to death bed and destroys one of the twins, Verghese does have a style in tying all characters together. I loved the characters Dr. Hema and Dr. Ghosh and the influence they had on the twins upbringing. The US stint of Marion was interesting in many aspects and you would be surprised at how even the gory surgery details escape your attention when the story is so heart warming  and you feel kin-like with every character.

This book is another must-read according to me!! I do admit I am not too much critical of any book, I hardly ever say anything bad about a book, to me a book would fare excellent if one doesn’t read the book just to finish it but enjoy along with the characters and feel involved,and hear the author talking. And of course apart from all the good books I put down in my blog, I do read many other fiction books simultaneously but I only write about books that move me, so no wonder I have nothing but praise for the books in my blog! The other books, I just read them till the end before returning to the library! 🙂

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Fun and Frolic with A!!

A’s vocabulary has zoomed from just oohs and aahs to intelligible words in just a span of a week! I had this little toddler who was adept at using his sign language to express himself. He was such an expert at it that you will not even realize he is not using his words!!!  Now when I hear this sudden words from him,it is like I don’t even know who is talking!

It is funny and of course quite predictable considering these day’s need for survival for kids at daycare that his first words were

Mine,

Mo and

Go away.

The moment you try to take even his jacket off when he is back from daycare he would shout, MINE, and would refuse to part it away! Same goes for any of his belongings!! You offer him food, the standard response is a vehement Mo with a head shake to support it. As one would have guessed, Mo is No in his language! How much ever we correct him, he still says Mo to even our corrections and sticks to his ‘Mo’. I have to wait and see if he is actually going to use M for all the N words..  When I used to be a toddler, my mom said I used to substitute Ka for Va. May be in just this thing, hez taking after me for the mazhalai! 🙂 And he says ‘Go away’ so cutely when he decides it is time to move away from that place. It is not aimed at us, it is like ‘lets go away’ kind to move from one room to another! When we are all set to call it a day and end up in the bed, he would say ‘go away’ and try to climb down the bed!

A also got this sudden enlightenment about all the Disney characters around him, especially the CARSH, BUZZZZ and POO.. I dont think he realized he had a Toy Story blanket till recently, now he cant let go of it, he goes around the house lugging it along! He points to Woody and Buzz and calls them by the same name Buzzzz… He is equally fascinated by Lightning McQueen and even more by Mater, both go by the same name CARSHH for him. We knew about his interest in Disney CARS only when we went boots shopping for him. He flatly refused to cooperate getting into a trial boots, but the moment V picked up a CARS character boots, he started meditating CARSHH and was more than happy to try them out and we were not able to take it off him even for the billing! He then decided to wear his heavy snow boots even for pleasant days, the teachers had to force the boots off him at daycare. So we went shoe shopping again to find him a Buzz Woody shoe that again had his sudden liking. Now he is happy to wear that all day and on colder days, we are planning to show him the CARSH boots.. 🙂 The day after we got him the toy story shoe, he got up in the morning, went in search of the shoe first thing and was contentedly moving round with the box in his hand! How easy he gets attached to stuff!! And this reach the Disney characters have on toddlers, it is amazing. Only now S is out of all her Disney idols and has moved on to real rock stars, which again is not quite right.. I quite bear to see her in a JB or a SG night suit.. 🙂 Now the Disney character promoters have A to thank for making us spend our money over the Disney stuff for few more years to come!

A’s other favorites are ‘SHTOP’, ‘SIT’ and ‘TATA’. He also says ‘SHEESE’ for Cottage cheese and wants to begin his day with cottage cheese! 🙂 He starts and ends every meal with cottage cheese. He also says ‘THEETHAA’ for water and when he doesnt drink it, he uses the water he gets to keep his bath toys afloat in any container of his choice. 🙂 When you are home, you can never be too careful when handling his toys! Anything can be his container and you might wet the carpet if you are not careful!

The bed time ritual has also underwent some changes; once he decides to call it a day he would not stop nudging me till I take him to the bed, all the while telling good night to V and S pointing his hand at his head. Incase he forgets that, I would ask him to go back to the living room to say good night and I would hear him shout AAAAAH in the living room to take everyone’s attention and point good night to all at the same time and he would rush back to the bed. How can I miss the most important part?? Even before he settles himself, he would tirelessly lug all his CARSH into the bed, arrange them next to his pillow, get his CARSH blankie and only then he would be ready to sleep. During weekends, we would bring his Toy Story blankie from his daycare, so weekend ritual would include getting that blankie as well. This little one will be bundled with two blankies!! 🙂

A has always been fascinated by anything on wheels, but lately his excitement reaches peaks when he sees cars and he plays for hours together just with them! I guess boys will be boys and girls, girls! Somehome my kids have compartamentalized both their interests and if I draw a Venn diagram for their interests it would only be two separate circles! I remember getting S, cars when she was little and at the end V and I would end up playing with them and she just ignored them totally! Same with the Thomas train tracks we got her, may be we should have saved them all for A!

Apart from Cars and Toystory characters, Winnie the Pooh fascinate A. He shouts Poooo when he sees Pooh. He loves watching Pooh cartoons any time of the day. He also seems to prefer rock bands already! He loves Wiggles, the children band. We even have the Wiggles audios saved in CDs, to play them during our day trips to engage him. He dances so cutely and repeats any action the song would expect of the kids. I thought he was a little early for Wiggles, but apparently he doesnt think so! Just the Wiggles VCD cover excites him, he even attempts to sing the Laaas and Aaahs in few songs!

It is such a joy to watch him grow and he adds twinkle and sparkle to our lives!!! Cant wait to see what all he has in store for us!

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