Sunday, 31 May 2015

Almost Single by Advaita Kala

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and, the most patient of teachers" Charles William Elliot
I love this quote as it truly describes how I feel about books; books are not judgemental and will never be mad when left unattended.

My last long affair with books came to an abrupt end after the birth of my youngest which was almost three years ago. As I am more settled so did my quest for great books. To help me speed up to pace, I joined a local book club. I am glad I did and the rest is history.

So what do you do with a cupboard full of dusty read books and a low budget for books? Join a local book club and take part in their monthly or quarterly meet-ups. These clubs are a good platform for you to swap away your read books in exchange for some new ones.
I went for my first meet with a box full of books and returned with new interesting reads. It was fun meeting like-minded people and when I saw another copy of a book from my stash, it opened up a whole new chapter for discussion. Connecting with people, had never been easier when you have a common interest.

The first book on my newly acquired list of books was a light read; Almost Single by Advaita Kala (273 pages). A paperback cover with the right size to fit into my handbag. 

Advaita Kala writes about three friends, in their late twenties, on a quest to finding a suitor without giving up their independence in a culture bound by tradition. Independence here refers to their late nights in a bustling and modern New Delhi.
Aisha, a single 29 years old guest relations manager at New Delhi's five-star Grand Orchid Hotel is haunted by the fact that she doesn't have a love life unlike her coterie of friends; a love-stricken puppy who is always in and out of love, an almost divorced girlfriend and a gay couple who seem to have life in a better order than her or her girlfriends. Another important character, her nagging mom that keeps reminding her of her biological ticking clock and dwindling prospects for marriage proposal (because of her age).

This is a typical chick-flick book but I was intrigued to read it because it was set in India. I may not have any experience being a single woman in Delhi but I found it a little hard to digest their lifestyle. 

It was a little too hollywood for a bollywood story line. I often  forgot that I was reading Almost Single or that I was in Delhi because the scenes and characters described sounded so much like an adaptation from an American scene. To bluntly put it, I felt like I was reading another take on Sex in the City; Aisha being Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha and Miranda played by her other two girl friends.

I stuck to this book because I was intrigued to find out more about a young and handsome New Yorker whom she met through an embarrassing encounter, and also her demanding boss (boss from hell) who was having an affair with someone close to his own wife. Everything else was quite standard for a chick lit.
Why did I grab this book?
Because the first page was very promising and I enjoyed how the author introduced Aisha to me.
Would I recommend it?
It is an easy read, something handy to have in your purse in case you are stuck in a bad traffic or someone is running late and need to kill time.
Goodreads rated it 3.15 but I disagree and would give it less than three because I am a little skeptical of the way the author described life in New Dehli.

Book I am reading at the moment (review coming soon)
The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts

Lets get connected:

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

It is a love hate relationship

I loved you
We shared the same bed
You once saved me from a venomous insect
and pranced with pride around the dead insect

I fell in love with a wonderful man
He sneezed, with you around
Then you became an outcast

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts
Lets get connected:

Saturday, 23 May 2015

The game before the game - Girls Footie

Who says football is only for boys? 

Today was my first hand experience at being called a soccer mom and being welcomed to an elite group. It felt nice being part of something though I don't feel anything like a soccer mom. I may have some of her traits but honestly, I am no proper soccer mom. I am just a mom who is crazy about sports.

Today was a thrilling but very tiring day. Kudos to all soccer moms out there who do this tirelessly. Who are still able to keep it together after a footie tournament. By the end of the tournament, I was so exhausted, I willingly handed my iPad to my girls while I napped. A proper soccer mom would have stayed up and cleared the mess in her SUV.

My footie adventures started yesterday itself when I was told my girls, despite being new in the team, were invited to compete in a proper football tournament. After school, I had to rush my tweens and toddler to a neighbouring mall for football jersey that resembled Super Girls' jersey. I also needed to find football shorts, shin guards (my football enthusiast husband said the correct term is shin pads), socks and football boots. Sounds fairly simple but finding these in kids size and for girls was like looking for a needle in haystack. "Why does it have to be pink?!!!" my mind screamed. That is the most unforgiving colour, when in a sports departmental store that doesn't cater for kids' sizes.
Next I threw myself into motherly duties on a Friday evening, making extensive preparation for a proper decent snack that would imply I am coping marvellously on the parental scale. Because a plain peanut butter sandwich made from white plastic bread, has "my mom is lazy" written all over it and I wasn't going to let that tarnish my inaugural participation into this elite team.

For once we made it to a venue 10 minutes ahead of time. So there was no rushing the girls while daddy looked for a parking spot. We even had time to listen to Jungle by X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons, mentally playing the game before the game scene. How cool was that?

It was a beautiful morning and the field was packed with many teams, all busy doing what footballers do before a big game; coach giving one last run down of their strategy, warming up their limbs and keepers practising their diving skill. Some teams looked like they belonged to a professional football clubs with proper paid coaches and their supporting team.
Teams with professional coach

Super Girls was the only all girls team on that field. Some were impressed and genuinely cheered for them but many were doubtful of their football skills. But these girls did everyone proud. Their defending was impeccable and the opposing team found it very difficult to penetrate to score a goal. They played four matches. They lost their first and third match with one nil. They draw their second and fourth match. Rather remarkable don't you think. And most of the snide remarks died after their second match and the all boys team started taking them seriously.
After their first match
Still smiling despite losing their first match; true sporting spirit

There you have it. My new adventure of being an all girls football team mom, thanks to my children. I got to experience a football tournament not just as a spectator but as part of the team. A beautiful Saturday morning and I am ready for more tournaments because we have been invited for more matches organised by all boys academy. Looks like these girls are paving the way for more girls football team. Bravo!
Fourth placing
Penalty shoot-out; deciding third placing

Good spacing

Under nine teams

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts

Lets get connected:

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Has academia taken a back seat?

During my schooling days, getting the grades meant everything in securing a bright and successful future. To be successful meant I had to work hard at becoming a doctor, lawyer or an engineer. That was all I would hear from well meaning family members. I was so conditioned by it that I put these three professions as my ambition since primary school although deep down I always wanted and still do want to be a dancer or perform live on stage.
Fast forward to today, I don't fuss over or blow my top off when my children don't get straight A's. I certainly have not lost sleep or appetite because of it. So when my eldest child revealed to me how her friend's mom had not eaten for a whole day because of her child's poor results, (B is considered poor in this mom's eyes) that got me thinking, deep.

My children are young, they’ll always be young in my eyes, and are still discovering this big world we live in. I don't plan to limit their choices or kill their curiosity by fooling them into believing, their success solely depends on their ability ace'ing school examination, especially not at primary school level. I rather have them watching Discovery Channel or reading story books than mugging their school books days before the exam. Even a monkey can be trained, if you train it well.

My husband and I had decided, to never cause unnecessary stress or grievances to ourselves or the children over education. Instead, we show them the importance of acquiring knowledge, being responsible, accountable and most important of all, being a good person to all; mankind, animals and nature. We give them space the grow at their own pace and intervene only when asked for or if it is serious enough for an intervention, like receiving a call from their teacher.

Learning is a life-long process and should not be confined to being book smart alone. We have never taken full charge of their schooling responsibilities by packing their school bags, labelling or colour coding their books. We did however, guide them and explained the importance of their school timetable when they first started school. I don't even rummage through their school bags or go through their books because they are responsible for their own homework. This has thought them about ownership to one’s own responsibility and to respect boundaries.

A lot of importance is placed on play and they are so tuned to outdoor activities. They must go outside and play in the park every evening without fail. They also know they cannot neglect their role as a student and will work quick and smart in completing their homework. These are just a few examples we practice to show them there is more to life than school, and learning opportunities are bountiful. For instance, being in the park could teach them to be agile, learn to make friends with your neighbourhood children, have safe sporting competition, discard waste properly in the bins provided and together maintain the cleanliness of their own park. These learning wouldn't have been possible if I had scheduled extra tuition classes.
Things you don't learn in school
Like I mentioned earlier, they are still young and discovering. I did not want to limit their self discovery by making a list of professions that I deemed fit for them. How can I do that when I have not done what I thought would make me truly happy but I am contented with what I have achieved. I always tell them “if I had known what I do today, I would have done a lot of things differently.”

So that is exactly what I intent to do with my children. I intent to provide an avenue in which they can equip themselves with a lot of knowledge from books, media, electronic gadgets, outdoor camping, group sports, travelling and from family and friends. They pick up what they like and will slowly begin to realise what interests them the most. It doesn’t matter if they keep changing their ambition as they discover new stuff. In fact that is the whole reason why I feel being knowledgeable is more important than scoring straight A’s.

It would be a shame (but not the end of the world) if mid way through their tertiary level studies, they realised they were not cut out for it and decided to drop out of it. Yes, it would be painful to watch my child being indecisive and the money spent sponsoring a program that did not fall through as expected.

This takes us right back to self discovery, the gel that will hold the building blocks they discovered out of curiosity to the foundation, once they make a decision. With that, hopefully, the chances of them dropping out could be reduced to nil, or better still, they would be well equipped to make a right and informed choice, from the start.

It is very refreshing and I breathe a sigh of relief too, when I hear from other like-minded people who are doing exactly the same as my husband and I. Their words act as an affirmation when I start doubting the learning style my children have adopted. Especially when I find myself in a room full of driven parents who don’t share my sentiment. It bugs me more when I learn the amount of effort they put in; driving miles in traffic jam just to ensure they get to bag the best tutor or educator or their children.

Would I some day turn into that worrying and overly driven parent? Perhaps but not necessarily while they are still in their primary education. I don’t want to kill their learning by forcing them to study they way any see it fit. I want them to want to learn. Has it happened so far? Yes, but their learning is so unconventional that it has not awarded them the rewards they should be garnering. If anything, it has only gotten them into some trouble a couple of times in their school because of the conventional learning environment.

I am praying and hoping that our decision to carry on feeding their curiosity would one day show its success. I do hope that we, the parents would have the confidence to say yes to whatever they decide to be or do, when the day comes. After all, we were the one who decided they needed to be independent and discover as much as they can, even if it is not conventional.

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts

Lets get connected:

My words in ink and paper (local magazine)