Friday, July 24, 2020

existence

solitude

Have a healthy period!😊



"When a little gets her first period, the last thing she is thinking is- let me eat right" says Rujuta Diwekar in her latest book Women and the Weightloss Tamasha. I still remember the day when I got my first periods. I was in the eighth standard and school had just started that week. I overheard a conversation that happened between my mother and my grandmother. my grandmother said, "Don't we have to give her some special food?" and my mother answering in the negative that I might not like the traditional recipe. The result was that I stayed undernourished till the age of 28 when I started putting on weight after childbirth.

Story apart, I was just wondering about the role of comfort foods during periods. We all know a lot about comfort foods during pregnancy as this is something that the popular culture celebrates with special credits to raw mango. Cravings are caused by deficiencies and you can stay healthy if you literally listen to your gut feeling. At this age, I find that I lack that traditional knowledge needed because I was brought up different but at the same time I have grown curious about foods that bring monthlies right on time to foods that keep you happy during that time of the month.

However, from what I have read I am attempting to list out a set of food items that can relieve menstrual pain and give you a healthy period:
Chocolate preferabky dark
Fresh fruits
Dry fruits and nuts
Fatty fish
Red meat or iron rich foods
Bananas
Leafy greens
Sweets
These comfort foods help in the production of endorphins also known as happy hormones. Though not in the list of healthy food, it is advisable for women to eat fancy food that they crave during your monthlies.So whatever catches your fancy this month, satisfy your food cravings  and have a healthy period!

Akshay 'Kumar's Padman

periods

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad

When I was reading Twinkle Khanna's The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, what I found is that the writer shows an amazing perception of the character's needs without being so obvious about it. But googling about the work, what I saw is a kind of patronising attitude to a writer just because she is a celebrity daughter and wife apart from being an actress. However, the short stories are quite readable and the story that I loved tbe most in this collection is "The Sanitary Man from a Sacred Land".

The first among the four stories is "The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad" is about Lakshmi who wants ten jardalu trees planted for a girl child so that the child's future is secure right from her birth-"ten trees like the ten fingers which we women can hold our own destinies firmly in our hands". Thus begins the ritual of the jardalu, which is celebrated in her village with the birth of a girl child, when people from any caste, even those with no land of their own can plant trees for their daughters.

The second story "Salaam, Noni Appa" is about love that transcends all barriers. Noni Appa and Binny are two elderly women who live a life of seclusion. The elder sister Noni Appa is rather sweet on their yoga teacher Anandji. What starts as an eagerness to meet him, ends up as her sole reason to live. When Noni Appa is ill, Anandji leaves all his business aside, packs his luggage and comes to live with her. This story is very touching for one remembers the ambience of love that breaks all rules though the other stories are much more conventional.

"If the Weather Permits" begins in Kerala and is about Elisa Thomas, hailing from traditional Malayali Christian household. When forced to get narried, she marries a photographer friend of hers but is disappointed when the bridegroom turns suicidal. Divorced, she gets married to Chacko, from a wealthy Christian family and shocked into a sense of deja vu. All she wants to know is whether she has to return to her ancestral home that smells of fish moilee.

The fourth story, according to me, is the best story of the collection. Ms. Khanna has based this atory on Padma Shri Arunchalam Muruganantham who is a social worker who works hard to remove the taboos associated with menstruation. Bablu Kewat loves to bring surprises for his wife -"four bagles, a packet of orange bindis, a 5star chocolate". Saddened by the rag that she uses for her monthlies, he brings her pads and new kinds of experimental pads that are made of absorbent material. He questions the women of his acquaintance about their monthlies and this earns him the name pervert. His friends tease him that he should have been born a woman so that "it would have been so much easier to just test the pads yourself". But his determination wins and he becomes the inventor of the low-cost sanitray pad making machine.

The stories are varied in their themes but very endearing to the reader. What I feel is that the last among them is the most touching, of a man who wants to bring happiness to his wife and ends up being a hero to many Indian women from the nearby villages.

Have an ecofriendly period!




Have a happy period says the Whisper  advertisement. In the olden days, "those days" meant that you could hardly get out of your room or do what you want. Going out of the house was forbidden in the case of most women. But with changing times, there has been a sea-change in the general attitude to the monthlies. Sanitary pads and their focus on comfort have liberated women from much of the taboo associated with menstruation.

With studies that show that the disposal of sanitary pads can be hazardous to the environment, there is a need to shift to ecofriendly and healthier versions such as reusable cloth pads or menstrual cups. These are conscious choices that can be made part of the monthly schedule. ecofemme is a leading brand that sells products that implement sustainable menstruation. These products are available online . Join hands to reduce your ecological footprint!

Make Periods Normal Again

Period

Wind of Change: Menstrual Leave for Women Employees





Happy to read that two companies Culture Machine in Mumbai and Mathrubhumi in Kerala have announced period leave for women. What I felt is that after hearing so much about the kind of inhibitions associated with pregnancy and periods, one is lucky to have a non-compartmentalised and holistic view regarding women's health concerns.


It was only recently that I did a write-up on ecofemme and my perspective was that of a surprised consumer who is happy to discover new ecofriendly options. However, a female colleague was of the opinion that one shouldn't post these in groups where there are men. My perspective was that it was a general post (more an armchair philosopher post too) about reducing your carbon footprint. Hope the ladies will also become broadminded to understand that there are men too among activists and that women are not to be bound up in cultural taboos any longer especially if you have no fear talking about your periods or pregnancy or desires.







Success


Days of hard work and burning the midnight oil were rewarded by a grand success that few could even dream about. Still, this foolish heart was not sure how to move ahead leaving behind its little troubles and worries. The rain of blessings that heavens poured out did not help at all; instead created floods that destroyed the land.

The dream is still there. But to climb that summit once more, it needs more than hard work or time; for this heart can never forget the pain of losing the power of dream to an illogical frame of mind. Victory was mine; but the feeling of a victor never came for the heart had its reasons and illusions.

Now when the same summit that the traveller climbed though unacknowledged looks far and hard to reach, all I can do is just wait for time to reveal life's reasons in not being able to taste the fruits of victory; rather like a soldier who lost his precious life in the last battle of his life, I remain lost, with a cowardly heart that cries at its losses and an illogical mind that takes pride in missing opportunities.

Your words

Spin me not one but many yarns,
I would read it with real interest,
With full understanding that you,
With a loving heart made them,
So I can turn to them for comfort,
When with an ailing heart or pain,
On any day, when I need support,
And smile upon reading your words!

Note- Written in response to Swapna's As I Spin a Tale

spirit animal

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

TRY

Reading Agatha Christie



Reading detective fiction has been one of my favourite pastimes since childhood. Many of these still remain my favourites because of the fact that they are so readable and at times so forgettable. Among such books, Agatha Christie’s works stand first and foremost. 


Her detective fiction gives a kind of “aha” feeling, which can be compared to the exhilaration that one feels on putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Now wonder, the historian Romila Thapar advises her research students to read Agatha Christie to enhance gestalt thinking or the ability to see the whole picture. As these books belong to the category of popular fiction, they are easy to read and intellectually stimulating at the same time. 


Her most famous detective is Hercule Poirot who has been immortalised on the small screen by David Suchet. Poirot is a retired police officer from Belgium who is known for his penchant for detecting crime. He is described as short, with his head the shape of an egg, moustache always well-trimmed and shining, and with good manners. He is shown as obsessed about neatness and order, be it solving the case or his attire. The most famous among Hercule Poirot novels are Hallowe’en Party, Five Little Pigs, Elephants Can Remember, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Appointment With Death and Murder in Mesopotamia. 


Miss Jane Marple is one of Christie’s detectives who views human life everywhere the same as in her village of St. Mary Mead. She is an elderly spinster who is very observant and manages to ask the right questions at the right time. Some of the books with Miss Jane Marple as the detective are The Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, A Murder is Announced, They Do It with Mirrors, A Pocket Full of Rye, 4.50 from Paddington, At Bertram's Hotel, Nemesis  and Sleeping Murder. My favourite is At Bertram’s Hotel, which is about a nightmarish world where some very innocent people are framed for crimes they have not committed and the police recognizes a gang of lookalikes who manage to get away with it.


Though not so numerous as the Hercule Poirot mysteries or the Jane Marple stories, there is the couple Tommy and Tuppence. Her true names are Thomas Beresford and Prudence Beresford and they appear in stories such as Partners in Crime, The Secret Adversary, N or M?, By the Pricking of My Thumbs and Postern of Fate. Tuppence is shown as a charismatic young lady who manages to keep her head in cases involving mafia or espionage. 


Though there are chances of reading an earlier read Agatha Christie by mistake, most of the time, it goes completely unnoticed. 

friends forever

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

time for everything

Timing

positive affirmations

New Woman















 

This soul was once like a huge flame leaping to the skies,
Then it withered, dried and drooped to the very earth;
Sometimes, like Icarus, it leapt out of its many mazes,
But burnt out in the heady dash for total freedom.

Then she brought forth a new-born, a swaddled baby
She sang her magnificat of newly found motherhood;
The soul forgot its troubles for a joyous interval
And learnt how to escape the many mazes again.

Yet mostly this soul was a single-celled organism,
Cowardly and crawling in this huge universe,
Too silent, too shut out and too withdrawn,
Incapable of learning or making its way around,

Sometimes, it longs for the crazy days of yesterday,
When the sun of total freedom had burnt its wings.

Pic Courtesy: Icarus and the Sun by Serena-Moretti

Monday, July 20, 2020

Trojan Horse



















I, dweller of a modern city loves to wander in yours, 
In that enchanted world you collaged out of lores,
The worlds have changed but man is the same ever,
So do your ancient words resonate in my ears.

A Trojan horse means not the same for you and me, 
For you, it was a false step, a free gift regretted.
For me in an age of virtual lives and technology,
It’s a sign that soul is dead, so are god and love.

Starting from an ancient stealth trick of war, 
The modern free gift is across the world,
In the guise of one world and friendship
 To steal, to harm and never to feel remorse. 

What lessons do we learn from Odysseus,
Are the lessons most needed in this world.

growing up

Sunday, July 19, 2020

wuthering heights

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”

“He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” 

“Nelly, I am Heathcliff - he's always, always in my mind - not as a pleasure, any more then I am always a pleasure to myself - but, as my own being.” 

~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

A perfect life



If life was perfect, I would never have lost you to silence,
Or you thought over what an innocent smile really meant,
It would have been a celebration of our mutual silences
With a huge degree of understanding, not hide-and-seek.

If life was perfect, it would have smelt of fresh coffee,
Your perfume, glowed with your glaring new blue shirt,
Your movie-star good looks and impeccable manners,
Along with those caring ways, never with another.

If life was perfect, to laugh would have been easy,
To cry easier and to trust and confide the easiest,
It would have given freely, not full of tragedies,
Which were between the cup and the lip always.

If life was perfect, I’d be what I am in my dreams,
Putting words into perfect little sheets, bound to books,
Or teaching children to sing rhymes and poems,
Or loving my little voices that mingle with mine.

Still if life was perfect, I would sit at night on the seashore,
With you gazing surprised at how beautiful I’m in black,
Talking of sweet nothings to remember and treasure,
That would be a perfect moment, for years to come.

Garden of Eden

















Let's hold hands and walk in the garden
Search around for the four-leafed clover,
Walk around till we find the true mystique
Of a clover much-searched for and found.

One leaf for faith, hope, love and good luck,
Good luck, the most needed of them all,
From morning till night, we could pluck
And learn from the leaves of a four-leaf,

When the magic of the purple riot falls off life,
In a sunless garden where the flowers are dead,
A four-leaf clover might bring in a warm smile
Memories of bright sunshine and summer rain;

An Eve in the Garden of Eden plucked a clover
To know if Adam is her one true faithful lover.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Togetherness



After the days of humdrum, you and I have met,
Savourings days of togetherness and promises;
After the sleepless nights of sad separation,
You and I have made recompense with our lives.

When the others have chosen the easy crossroads,
We have been foolish in not seeing the obvious;
The lessons that our elders gave every single day
Much to our dismay and feeling of righteousness.

We have not been lucky at the crossroads again;
You and I parted ways more than once in life;
While time ravages youth and leaves us feeble,
Broken, old, lonely, sad and too tired to talk.

We have been fools who missed the obvious lessons,
But when we come together, it is like spring again.

Friday, July 17, 2020

heathcliff

                If all else perished, and he 
               remained, I should still continue to               
               be; and if all else remained, and he 
               were annihilated, the universe w
                would turn to a mighty stranger.”

                He's more myself than I am.    
                 Whatever our souls are made of,      
                  his and mine are the same.” 

                   Nelly, I am Heathcliff - he's
                    slways, always in my mind - not   
                   as a pleasure, any more then I                            am  always a  pleasure to myself -                   but, as my own being...

Wuthering Heights 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Euphemistic desire: Dear Diary



Today, I heard a transgender writer speak of her genitals as if it were the most natural thing in the world, her lips curling to the words my vagina, my breasts, my body and the crowd listening as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I don't know how many among the men would say my penis or how many among the women would dare to say my vagina or my breasts except in a very clinical sense.

Our world has ways of putting words to complex things but not something as simple as your sex or mine or theirs, your desires or mine or theirs. Stronger than the feeling of finding nicer labels for all private parts was the feeling of curiosity about how she has lived with courage when many a man or a woman with ordinary lives might have crumbled before life's ordinary struggles.

Thoughts listening to Kalki Subramaniam

Chingam


When the much-awaited Chingam is around
You and I enjoy our days of togetherness,
The scent of sweet jasmines on our bed
Your fingers undoing my long-braided hair.

The long heaps of my kasavu sari all crumbled
Along with your two yards of shiny kasavu mundu
The sweetness of these long waiting years
That finds its way into your limbs and mine.

We rest together after a sumptous onam feast
Amid smells of childhood and old boatsongs
That you sing in your sweet mellow voice,
To the snake-boats across the River Green.

When the spring is finally around for us both
We reign an ancient king and his demure queen.

Summer Tedium



In the midst of this summer tedium, one longs for the rain;
In the orchards, water drizzles are made to battle the heat,
The ripeness of guava fruit permeate the evening air
While heaps of watermelons call your sole attention.

The songs that you play on your guitar in summer time,
The melodies that captivate the audience under a spell,
While you try to figure me out, to fix me somewhere
Within the matrices of your growing understanding.

One sole glance from your sprightly eyes full of laughter
One smile that could restore the energy lost this season
The longing that fills your heart in the summer nights
To be with the one you love and to be his companion.

Part illusion, part dream but this growing understanding
Of an affection brings back life in this summer tedium.

A story


A story grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf mould of the mind:out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has been long ago forgotten, descending into the deeps. 

Daily

Let me watch the stars with you;
The warmth of a lovely sunrise;
Let me travel with you once again
To a home near the River Green;

Let us play in the shallow waters
Like always in a lost sacred childhood.
Let me stand with you near a grave
Lost in renovation and forgetfulness;

Let me find love once again with you;
The lost beauty of love and smiles;
Let me sit beside you in a snakeboat
As it floats across the blue waters.

Let me colour this circle of life again
With a spot of red from your hands.


Pic: ndtv

Meghadutam