Friday, June 27, 2014

What's your comfort read? Here's mine...

Everyone has what i call a 'comfort read'. A book/series/author which we keep coming back to, to escape the rigours of real world or to simple de-stress. There's something so tempting to snuggle between those familiar pages and be in the company of our favourite characters. It’s like stepping into a world we know and are friends with people in that world. We can enjoy the twists and turns that much more because we know that it’s going to be ok in the end. These books are so close to our hearts that we go back and read them again and again knowing that we have nothing new left to discover. 

My comfort read is mostly to lull me into stupor at the end of the day. When i want to disconnect from the real world and want to put myself to sleep. That is the time when i cannot read new books which require me to be alert. Wrong timing! So, what i really need is the comforting arms of a familiar book whose words I can sub-vocalise in my mind as i read it. 

My first comfort read was when i discovered the Harry Potter series. i would love to lose myself in it’s magical predictability at the end of the day. It was the best way to tame my wandering thoughts before i went to sleep. The earlier books are less complicated and my general preference to read. i can never forget the hilarious descriptions of Uncle Vernon’s invisible neck and Dudley’s chubby hands. i could almost imagine Hagrid’s enormous frame squeezing into the little hut. (It was a delight to actually watch the movie!)

And then came into my life the wonderful Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella! i couldn’t rest till I dug out ever single book in the series. (i have pdf versions of all books, now, to dig in at leisure!) It was such a great read right from the beginning. The adventures of Rebecca Bloomwood, an obsessive shopaholic, as she falls into new troubles of her own making in every book and how she emerges from those situations every single time. So every book moves towards a crisis only for everything to fall into place n the end through Rebecca’s ingenuity. 

The more you read a book the more you start to analyse. Sometimes, i hate Becky for being a scheming, lying, obsessed shopper that she is. And it takes her to the brink of disaster time and again. i have a problem that she has no honesty and communication with her husband, Luke. This irks me. But by the end of the book, you want to forgive her all her sins and look at her excessive shopping just as a foible she cannot help! That is the essence of the whole series. 

Two of my favourite quotes, both from “Shopaholic takes on Manhattan”, the second book in the series. You can look feel the genuine emotion in each and can understand why Becky is forgiven by the readers every single time!

This one is her reaction to a phone message from her parents supporting her in the middle of a crisis:

God, I love my parents. If I told them I'd committed murder they'd soon find some reason why it was perfectly justified and the victim had it coming to them.

You see, you can’t help smiling at it even though Becky is in tears wondering what to do.

And this is her first step towards taking things in her control:

I'm not going to let all this defeat me. I'm going to wash my face, and put on some makeup, and get my life back in order.

This time i have randomly picked up “Shopaholic and Sister” and i am lost in its pages. In-between-books is the best phase to fall prey to comfort read because it’s my break from using my brains. i know i should be starting a new book. But soon as Becky becomes friends with her sister again!

What is your comfort read? i am sure you too have a book that pulls you into its folds time and again and you fail to resist every single time! Tell us about it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thank you, Miss!

The best days in life are times spent in school. And our favorite teachers are from that era. Of course, that’s before real life takes over. But it was pretty fascinating to go back to one of my school teachers, 20 yrs after school and learn a very valuable life lesson! 
My sister and her girls outside the classroom
This happened as a part of my sister and i exploring the city of our birth together after 2 decades. One important stop in our sojourn was visiting our old high school. Most teachers have, of course, retired except some of them from my time which was 4 years after my sister finished school. On some asking around, we found out that our class teacher from class 10, Mrs. Bhaskar, lived close by and that we might be able to meet her. We got her number, called her up and were happily invited to drop in.

i never ever imagined i’d be sitting with my teacher 20 years after school! It was exciting and humbling at the same time. We found her living in a small apartment. There was just about enough space for us - 2 adults and 2 kids along with her. She seemed to have put the chairs together for us after she knew we were coming to visit her. She lived alone because she doesn’t have kids. Her husband, who she said she had married late in life to have companionship in her old age, had also passed away. Despite that, the zeal and positivity that she had, at 73, about her life and situation was definitely inspiring. 
With Mrs. Bhaskar

She was thankful that God had given her good health and she could move around as she pleased. In fact, she felt blessed that God chose her to give a long life while her other siblings had passed away. I think most us in a similar situation would loathe a long, lonely life while she took it as a sign of being the chosen one! 

Lesson learnt: Attitude is what makes your life what it is! Forget old age and loneliness, i crib about so many things despite a healthy body, a very caring spouse, the freedom to do what i like with my life and the resources to make those dreams come true. We take all that we have for granted and complain about what we don’t. To find one of my favourite teachers live with limited means felt sad since her students have prospered and call her from different parts of the world, still. But her attitude of taking life in her stride is what put my optimism to shame. In my most depressing times, I will always remember those five minutes of my life.

Thank you, Miss, for still being the best teacher and giving me such a precious lesson.