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Showing posts from December, 2012

Touched and Travelling Alone - LBC Post

Last week, I didn't do my usual LBC (Loose Blogging Consortium) post.  That day I blogged for a competition to win an iPad. It was supposed to be a post to make me persuade my husband to shave more, sponsored by a razor blade company.  However, as I'm not greatly into making my husband shave,  I guess my efforts went to waste.

Another reason why I chose to blog other than my usual LBC post was really because I couldn't get any inspiration from the post title either.  "Touched".  I looked at it again and again.  Positively (or rather negatively) zero inspiration.

I got my inspiration over the Christmas however. That's why I'm blogging on the double this week - two topics, 'Touched' and 'Travelling Alone'.

One of Ireland's favourite Christmas songs is "The Fairytale of New York" by the irreverent Pogues.  Sung by Shane McGowan and the Pogues, accompanied by Kirsty MacColl, it's actually about  a fight between an Irish immi…

Shave or Crave - Choose or Lose?

Apparently there is a new social movement going on in India - the 'Shave or Crave' movement.  Indian women have decided to get together and pressurise the men to shave their evening stubble or face the consequences.  I'm never one to sit on the sidelines when there is something exciting going on, so I've entered the Women Bloggers Shave or Crave drive.  So I'm here to tell the man in my life that he'd better shave off his stubble - or else!
Yeah, there's nothing like a nice, clean shaven man to snuggle up to on cold winter nights - I suppose.  As you might have gathered,  I have a slight problem here.  My man, such as he is, is not great for shaving during the winter months - simple and straightforward, that's him.  No nonsense and straight to the point.  Just the way I like it.  He disappears behind a beard for the course of the winter months.  After Diwali in November/October, his visage transforms.  He becomes unrecognisable and I get this new husba…

Review - Indian Fiction - Love, Peace and Happiness by Rituraj Verma

I remember reading a couple of years ago that authors should restrain themselves from writing short story collections.  Apparently, they never sell.  I'm not so sure if the goalposts haven't changed.  In today's world,  short fiction is on a definite upsurge.  I'm not talking about print media or books.  The truth is that there is tremendous scope for short stories in a fast moving world where readers need a quick fix of satisfying fiction.  While print media seems to be on the decline and writers are taking pay cuts to stay in print (yeah, you should have seen my last pay check!  Or rather, you shouldn't see it.  You'd die of shock), the world of digital publishing is opening up and offering new, improved opportunities.  There are many short story collections for sale on Amazon and even short books, with stories (novelettes, rather) as short as ten thousand words.

This short story collection by Rituraj Verma, Love, Peace and Happiness is a seriously innovativ…

Risk - LBC Post

When I was growing up in Ireland, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay in school until completion, unlike my parents who were forced by economic circumstances to leave school early to go and find work. Back then, in my time, the dream of any person serious about their education was to stay on in school until their education was complete and then land a nice, secure job in the civil service (government service).  The job had status and security and as far as anyone I knew thought, you really couldn't ask any more from a job.

I didn't land such a job, however.  I ended up getting a job in a freight company run by a family.  That is to say, the family head's name was on the company and his various children were involved in the running of, or worked in the company, alongside employees like me.  The relationship between the family who owned the company  and their employees was a little uneasy.  We employees liked these people and enjoyed their presence in our lives yet no…

Indian Fiction - Monsoon Wedding Fever by Shoma Narayanan

As a reader of romance fiction who lives in India, I had to read this.  Shoma Narayanan was one of the winners of Mills and Boon India's contest to find new Indian writers in 2010.  Her novel, Monsoon Wedding Fever got an international release and is now nominated for a major romance fiction award.

Harlequin Mills and Boon are known for their 'formula' romance novels.  Feelgood romantic fiction which has a happy ending.  There's usually the main characters meeting in the first chapter, the conflict, the misunderstandings, the black moment and finally, the moment of commitment.  Romance fiction is read by women the world over for its tranquillizing effect.  A good romance novelist knows how to give her reader a good time, how to make her laugh, cry and sigh in one book. Contrary to popular illusion, you can't just whip up a romance novel.  The challenge for the author is how to make the positive ending credible.  A whole generation of bad romance novels put the gen…

The Power of Music

Music can change my mood. Possibly because I know that I am governed by my ears, that is, what I hear.  You can basically say what you like to me, but use words I dislike or (shudder) the wrong tone of voice and you will lose me.  Perhaps forever.  Before I realized my true psychological make up, life could be hell.  A well meant piece of advice could reduce me to tears, particularly in my early youth.  I lost more than one friend through tragic (at the time!) misunderstanding.  My husband, like many Indians, has a blunt manner of speaking which can freak me out at times.  I remember a rare, longed for letter arrived during our long courtship during one of the longer separations and it read something like this:

Dear Maria,

Thank you for the letter and photograph which you sent me.  It was nice.  The only problem was you look a bit plump but otherwise you look fine.  Especially in that dress.....

I'm not sure how the letter didn't end up in the dustbin and our romance with it.…

Cultural Differences

My online friend Indu Jalali, an Indian woman living abroad with a keen sense of human rights, brought this article to my attention on Twitter yesterday.  If you have the time and patience to follow the link, you will read the report that an Indian couple has been arrested by the authorities in Norway for attempting to discipline their son.  Reading this report made me shake my head in despair.  The world is getting smaller.  Why is it that there is such a lack of understanding of different cultural norms?  Apparently, the boy is now in protective custody while his parents are under arrest.  This is madness.

Worse - the boy's parents apparently threatened that they would send him home to India if he didn't improve his behaviour.  What's abusive about that?  I shudder to think what would have happened to the Irish mothers who I saw around me when I was growing up in Ireland.  Some of us in Ireland (not all, lest I make the mistake of generalizing) have the habit of using g…