Saturday, April 4, 2020

The cat, kitten and the dog

Its been an interesting few weeks at home, lockdown and all, but more so due to the pets at home. So, first of all, a fawn labrador retriever has become an important member of our family. He'll be 4 on April 10th. He's awesome- he understands every word we say or don't say. More about this sweet guy in a later post. But the hullabaloo a few days back was because we had an interesting guest at home. The stray cat who thinks she owns us and our home brought her little kitten who hadn't even opened her eyes! After an exciting photo session, she disappeared. Yet again.

Then yesterday she reappears but without her kitty. But she wouldn't stop meowing. We discover that the kitty has somehow lodged herself inside a tiny rectangular hole in the car!! Dh, quick and dextrous with hands was able to pull her out of the hole in the car. Again, after the mandatory photo op, she was showing off her baby when the mother-of-all-tests arrived. Dhrish, our lab, made an extensive check over the situation through a thorough sniffing test to the new attraction. The kitty passed and we have a consensus at home now. The cat, kitten and the dog are happy together.

Dh has kindly named the kitten. Mitten when she's still a kitten, Mat when she is a cat!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My takeaway from The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Death is a great equalizer.

And when Death decides to narrate a story, not about a jewel thief (which is exciting and which would feed Him well) or a bread thief (which is heartbreaking but which will undoubtedly satiate Him) but a Book Thief, you kind of wonder why.

Is it because she's an innocent little 10year old girl? Is it because of her indelible encounter with Death so early in her tender life? Is it because of her selfless actions that help people around her cope up with the copious amounts of death and destruction around? Is Death in love with words himself that he finds The Book Thief interesting and exciting? Are the solid characters who tempt and tantalize The Book Thief an inspiration for Death? Maybe all of it. I think.

Set in a WWII era in Nazi Germany, the story unfolds the hardships and suffering endured by the Germans themselves as they toil and sweat through the drudgery of war. Though the story is set in melancholic times, it does have a fair bit of fun under the cloudy grey skies, a bit of romance with a person and a thing, a little heist planned and executed, and a lot of pain-killing words in books. A thriller under the Nazi flag under the stairs, unusual bonds from unusual places, strong, dependable unconditional love and a great many insults in German carelessly strewn about add up to make it a breezy read! 

The words were loaded, interesting and metaphorical making it thought-provoking and reflective. I went through periods of gloom and despair along with feelings of optimism and rejuvenation of faith for the human race falling into the depths of this book. But I loved that this was my first read on WWII! I would cool off with a lighter, sweeter Gerald Durrell next though :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Covid conversations

Talking to a workaholic dad about the MOAB virus!
The italicized words are the keywords that we've been hearing day in and day out ever since we've encountered the novel corona virus- covid 19.

March 10th 2020 Primary schools closed in India
Dear dad, this new corona virus doesn’t seem to be relenting
Primary schools have been closed, maybe you should consider social distancing?
Of course, you should look after your customers, you should fulfill your obligations
Maybe you can try out phone call solicitations?
It’s just that the virus is going viral and the epidemiologists aren’t reassuring

March 11th 2020 WHO declares Covid to be a Pandemic
Daddy, you know what? WHO has upgraded covid to a Pandemic.
It is important that you don’t venture out, definitely not to a clinic.
No more hugging your friends, just greet them with a namaste
Nor should we put our lives on the hands of farishte!
Let’s get started with it, dad- let’s stay at home, Let’s protect our rishte!

March 14th 2020 America declares national emergency
Appa, Indians are stuck around the world including Atlanta;
They could have been in Florida, enjoying the fiesta!
No fun and games even though it’s the spring break,
Right now, it is just important we don’t ignore a throat ache.
The number of infections mustn't surge and flattening of the curve we must undertake.

March 19th 2020 X and XII Exams are cancelled
Exams are now cancelled for X and XII and rightfully so;
This covid is a menace, but does it affect places that’s cold and with lots of snow?
No, daddy, no, that doesn’t mean that it won’t affect places that are hot
Better to stay away from information pollution and fake news than not.
The virus is bound to mutate, though, I hope it doesn’t find its epicentre in this spot.

March 22nd Janata curfew
Oh! Daddy! India is trying something new. We are willingly going under a lockdown
No one is to come out of their homes even after sundown.
The infected people have been quarantined,
Masks and ventilators will soon be in high need.
Hope and pray that the people are washing hands and paying heed.

March 25th National Lockdown India
What an unprecedented occasion, to mitigate a death-trap situation
21 days of #stayhome to #staysafe to overcome this condition
No herd immunity technique, not for us,
Oh, Look, Dad, maybe the hole in the ozone layer will close during all this buzz!
And we have more fika and connect with Nature in her superfluousness!

March 29th Exodus of migrant workers

Oh dad, people are staying home, people are hoarding
Every day laborers have nowhere to go except their hometown- all the way, they've started walking.
How can we get them home safe and secure? When can we produce the antigen?
Can we try the Japanese Amabie to scare off the pathogen?
The world's completely gone empty, including the Eiffel tower and the Vatican!

(To be continued)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Changes in the World.

Some people lap on the daily routines, take sanctuary in regular habits, fall prey to the usual conventions. Not me, I thought. I like adventure. I crave change. I want different. Every day, every moment, no routine for me, no siree! Or so, I thought. 

The change the world has brought to us isn't the change I wanted or craved or thirsted for, I guess.  But then, can you have changes that you approve of? Can you set standards or levels for the change you approve of? Changes just barge into our lives. Sometimes as a sweet surprise of a welcome guest or sometimes just as a shocking discovery of an unexpected infestation. Sometimes we let the change in and let it reshape us, our attitudes and ourselves. Sometimes we bang the door on it, resist it and try to alter it. Either way, it gets in. 

This pandemic, it's different, it is reshaping the world, it is scary. Though we have people holed safe, sound and comfy in their homes, it's is a difficult, dangerous, nerve-wrecking world for a lot many. But then, the change is here. 

No point in wishing it away. Just need to do the next thing to do. The right thing to do. Let the changes descend on us and let the world recuperate back to its original glory. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cut your Luck and Draw your Face!

I was just shocked out of my socks when I read this report on today's The Korea Times! The gist being that young jobseekers in Korea have resorted to plastic surgery to look more appealing to the interviewers and now have also started to cut luck lines on their palms to make their palm lines stand out to induce luck. They even have resorted to injecting botox into their vocal cords to make them sound confident!

It is impossible to live in Korea and not to know about plastic surgery: How many times have I seen girls crouching in the corner of the "Chuk" or the porridge shop (typically a restaurant where you go when you are sick) with a bandages over her nose or eyes! It is impossible to miss the sheer number of ads and clinics promising immediate appointments, free consultations, easy payments, state-of-the-art equipment for the actual operations in Gangnam Gu, "the Beverly Hills" of Korea. It is not possible to miss the shocking discounts available enticing you to attempt for surgery on more than one part of your body. And of course, we cannot neglect the power of the "sobeesu" or the free/complimentary items available at your disposal after, you are done with the surgery. Korea maintains the worlds market share of plastic surgery by an astounding 24%. Almost 1 in 5 women have undergone plastic surgery in Korea and the stats are not very for men either. It is accounted that Korean women use 10-18 cosmetic products on top of their already perfected face. The results are not off. Koreans are the perfect-looking people I have ever seen! Even if they are out on the park on a lazy Sunday, they look perfect! All of them look good, all of them look like film stars!

Why all this obsession about looking good, all the time? Why this eagerness to look good for others? Why all this passion to please others? Why go through all this trouble, pain and money to please your interviewer, who might not be the one you will work for ultimately even? Where will this stop? Will you change your chin to please your supervisor, and then nick your nose for your manager? What will you teach your kids? " Don't worry, my dear, just Botox your voice to sound confident" or "Just cut your palm lines for an luckier life!"?

With a teenager about to enter the age group prone to do these stuff, I really feel sad, tensed and scared at the environment these young people are subjected to. Young minds should be raised to be at peace with themselves, confident of their bodies and abilities and be leaders themselves and not mere followers.  I wouldn't want my son, whose nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of our world would have changed, coming in with a shorter cute little button nose. If he did though, he might also have to consider getting his palm lines stand out more, but I seriously doubt if it will help him in anyway!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Unique wedding ceremony in Seoul

I miss the Indian weddings. The colorful clothes, the delicious food, the gaiety of the relatives and friends! It is a wonderful feeling to get together, celebrate the couple, share their joy and indulge in ourselves.Traditional weddings conducted in wedding halls for three whole days, though must be a tense time for the parents of the couple, but a time of delightful cheer for the others. Though I might be missing the most expected weddings of two of my cousins this year :(, I got to witness an interesting wedding ceremony in Seoul. 

It is not a Korean traditional wedding like I would have expected since we are in Seoul for the past three years. It was not a Korean Christian wedding like the one we attended of my husband's colleague before.We were invited to the wedding of the Taekwando teacher of my son, who is an Ethiopian with his fiancee from the US, who is an Eastern Methodist Christian. Now, the odds of me attending another wedding of this nature is probably zero. I was definitely counting on being part of the wedding and was devising ways to convince my boys who are my only link to the groom when, my younger one, excited about the wedding, was all set and ready on time, wearing his collared shirt without any complaints. The elder one was fairly enthusiastic to attend the wedding and was ready at the appointed time with his shirt on too! 

We were there at the church, bang on time. As we knew just one person- the groom- who was super busy, in the entire wedding crowd, it was kind of awkward. But the whole situation was oh! so! worth it. The church was different from the other churches I have visited in my life. Beautiful paintings with  copious amounts of golds on all of them, giving them a royal, venerable air. My elder one did give us a short idea of the Eastern Methodist Christians when the ceremony started. 

The golds and the paintings! 

The beautiful dome.

The altar

The birth of Jesus

The groom all dressed up, in-waiting.

Here comes the bride!

The Eastern Methodist wedding ceremony

The Ethiopian wedding ceremony with a lot of singing. 

And dancing!

Interesting to see the add-ons to the couple's clothing- the white capes and crowns.

There was lavish Ethiopian style feast after the wedding. I really wanted to try it but we were late for another party and had to be off. Surely considering visiting the Ethiopian restaurant in Itaewon! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

All that has been so far... in Seoul

Oh, it has been so long since I wrote in my blog. I blame the awesome food in India, unnatural weight gain because of that and the excellent outdoor weather we are having now in Seoul for my tardiness.

Having said that, the past few months have been so memorable in my life, I just want to preserve it in words.

The India trip was amazing. Met with a lot of people, feasted on all the good things I was missing, spent some time with my parents (and a lot of time shopping) which was so soothing. Bad things did happen, but I am moving on with my life and I will naturally cry about it in the upcoming posts.

I have been keeping myself busy with my new-found passion in life. Drawing. Now I understand all the greats who have said that the Passion is the oxygen of life! Passion is engrossing, captivating and mesmerizing. I really am happy and thankful to have found mine however late in life. Everyday is exciting and energizing! I am learning alertness, patience and humility all over again and I find it satisfying. When your creation is appreciated, loved and rewarded, there is just pure ecstasy. I got paid for a few of my creations and one of it was displayed in a gallery in Jayanagar.

Having at least a 50% claim on the creation of my sons, I experienced bliss from that quarter too. I have never been the President of anything. I have no idea how I would have felt if I became one. Nevertheless, I am positive that nothing comes close to the floating-on-the-clouds feel that I got when my son became the Student council President. I was pushed even more so when his teacher declared him almost unanimously elected among all the contestants and that he is the first non-Korean and first Indian to do so. I was practically in space when I got the recording of his speech from another teacher just a few minutes after he had delivered it. It is quite tough to see him work hard even after I have slept at night and heart-warming to see him get accolades for his sincere work. I am loving the special stride my husband has when he walks into the school as he calls himself the "First Father". I am secretly loving being the "First Mother" too though I have to work on my special walks.

Just when I was claiming to be much fitter than the boys in my home, my younger one gets selected into the school cross country or marathon team and completes running around the football field in a minute and 6 seconds, even on his 7th round! I was able to run 700m before huffing and puffing  down to a heap. And my husband makes 100km on his bicycle every week. And I find it quite sufficient to do 300 calorie workout which measures upto a 10km a day, for 3 days a week (at best) on my indoor bike. But let them try to convince me that I am not fitter than the others... one look from me can kill, baby!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Live and Learn

The last quote of the 3 Day Quote Challenge is to be a special one. One I have read so many times and one I have lived and learned :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Importance of being myself

Another quote which jolted me into activity and put me in the driver's seat of my own life: .

I fully intend to live my own life completely without any regrets and enjoy every moment of it!

I find this 3 Day Quote Challenge an interesting way to reaffirm my goals and set me on the right path yet again. Do join in the fun Archana!

The Rules 
  1. Post a favorite and a different quote of yours for 3 consecutive days, from any book or author of your choice. It could also be your own quote.
  2. Nominate 3 bloggers with each post to challenge them.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Never miss an opportunity!

Thanks to a sweet blogger friend Kokila of Sunshine n Blue Clouds, I am participating in a 3 Day Quote Challenge.

I want to start off the challenge with the quote that came as a shot on the head for me. The missed opportunities, the lost chances, the untried avenues. Never again!

I would like to nominate DNambiar of Tipsy from the Trip to join in!

The Rules 
  1. Post a favorite and a different quote of yours for 3 consecutive days, from any book or author of your choice. It could also be your own quote.
  2. Nominate 3 bloggers with each post to challenge them.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.

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