Category Archives: BAR-A-THON

Go Read a Book

Read a book

As I pack a gift for your friend’s birthday I hear you groan, “A book, again?” I hear it, though you think you’re being discreet, trying to spare my feelings. And yes, it’s going to be a book every time.

When you come to me and say. ‘I’m bored,’ I know you have your eye on the iPad. But all I say is, ‘Go read a book’.

When I start a book club I know you come for your friends (and for the cupcakes!) but I go ahead anyway. I invite your friends, I get the cup cakes and I pick out stories – of thrill and adventure, of children like you. And as we craft and play and eat and talk I quietly squeeze in Gaiman and Rowling.

I do it because I once made a promise.

Years ago, when I was a child like you, I had a somewhat drab existence. Until one day I fell in love – deeply irrevocably. This love of mine swept away the dreariness. It opened up a canvas wide and colourful and so very cheerful. It made me new friends – toys that could talk and little pixies, a Polish boy and a German girl, a mighty magician and a young ballerina – I shared their stories – their joys, their sorrows.

I had fallen in love with the written word.

Then one day, wonder of wonders, I found I could create a world of my own, my own colours and my own friends. And that filled me with such great joy. I was a creator, a little like God!

I had learnt to make up my own stories.

That is when I made that promise: that I’d never stop trying to share my love, that I’d help it touch each life it could, I’d help it help each one get wings and I’d help it make many little gods.

That’s a promise I’ll always keep and so I’ll try to get you to read.

I’ll push and I’ll wheedle, I’ll tempt and I’ll tease. And it’s not going to stop till you open a book, till you begin to read.

It’s the  very last day of the # BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Promise’.
I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

 

 

Tweaking the tales

heart.jpgIf I had a wish to wish for me
I’d go on quite a wishing spree.
I’d ask to get into my favourite tales
Just to make sure they stick to the rails.
A little tweak here, a gentle twist there
And I’d save people from much despair.

When I’d see Romeo at Juliet’s grave
I’d jump right there in time for a save.
And “Thus with a kiss I die” as he says
And to his lips the poison raise,
Stop! Will you! She’s alive, I’d cry
There really is no need for you to die.

And when Darcy’s making his darned proposal
The one that earned Lizzy’s disapproval.
Tread here with plenty of care, I’d advise him
For goodness sake don’t be condescending.
Let your heart talk, the one that loves her
Lose your pride, that really bugs her.

When Scarlett is abandoned by Rhett all alone
I’d tell her he’d be back, he wasn’t all gone.
And while I’m there I’d give her a shake –
It’s him you love though he might be a rake.
Look carefully, will you open your eyes?
it was never Ashley, it’s Rhett who’s your prize .

Perhaps I’d drop by Jeeves for a chat
I’d tell him all my tales and hope for a pat.
He’d give his wise head a supercilious shake
Unimpressed he’d say, ‘That’s a piece of cake’.
Don’t want to spoil your congratulatory party
But I’ve been doing this for years for Bertie.

That’s true of course, his case he does rest,
As a setter-righter of things he’s the best.
All along this time that’s exactly what I’ve wished for
I want to be Jeeves to my favourite characters.

*************

It’s Day 6 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Wishful Thinking’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

Also linking to  Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

The teacher

slice of life fiction

The Teacher

Sangita’s eyes drooped. Who ever said sleep deserts the old, she thought to herself, as she struggled to keep her eyes open. There was a time she could stay awake well past midnight, waiting for her husband to get home from his shift at the steel foundry. But now, come 10 o clock and she was asleep already.

Nani ma you need to pay ATTENTION!” Pia’s plaintive cry snapped her eyes open. This little granddaughter of hers – what a delight she was and how determined, just like her mom… and like me too. She smiled to herself. Oh the wars she had fought with Pia’s mom! There was the great tattoo fight and the late night curfew battles…..

Nani ma you are dreaming again.” Ah Pia..

“Come on. Hold the pencil like this and copy that first letter once more. Remember I told you it stands for the sss sound in your name? And that dot on top – that’s for the nnn.”

“Just three letters Nani ma and then you can sign your name,” enthused Pia, “Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Then you can learn to read. You can read up new stories to tell me.”

Sangita looked indulgently at the eager face staring up at her. She adjusted her glasses. She had been trying but those squiggly letters refused to make sense.
“I am too old for this, darling,’ she said with a sigh.
“But you say one is never too old to learn new things. You don’t know what you’re missing. Come on, take the pencil and try again, please,” begged her granddaughter.

She couldn’t say no to the fervent entreaty in the those honey brown eyes. Struggling to put herself in Pia’s tiny shoes, to feel at least some of her enthusiasm, Sangita wrapped her bent old fingers awkwardly around the pencil and began to write.

It’s Day 5 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Tiny Shoes’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

Fragile Lives

Beat About The Book - fiction

thoughts

It’s crowded in here. The good and bad, small and big, beautiful and ugly, jostle for attention, clamouring for life. Fragile lives, all. His attention means life, his disregard is oblivion, death. I am but a tiny germ, too weak to move – frail, nebulous – a beginning maybe, but nothing just yet. How is he is ever going to notice me?

I wait..

I dream.

Somedays I feel full of possibilities. I can grow up to be anything. A powerful king, a shy little boy, a drifting vagrant, a wily old woman.

Somedays I grow tired of this existence – this half existence. Am I destined to die before I’m born? Will my time ever come? Will he ever know I’m here… waiting? For in his knowledge lies my life.

And I wait..

One summer day as the yellow sun shines, I feel a surge of blood through my veins, red-hot blood. He sees me! It’s here, my time is here. I take a deep breath and I grow with his consciousness. I am growing …… taller, stronger.

He smiles at me. I fill his thoughts, taking shape and form. All others are now mere dwarfs before me. Then I’m walking, running, flying. He gives me wings. And I’m slipping out of my home, into a new world. A world he builds for me.

He is in falling in love with me. The knowledge makes me powerful. I give a triumphant laugh as I take charge. No longer fragile, I drive him now. He forgets to eat and to drink. He loses track of time. He sits lost to the world, consumed by me.

Is it days or months? Or has a year gone by? He does not know.

He looks up one day. “It’s done”, says he, “My book is done”.

That’s me, that fragile thought in his head. I am his book!

 

Day 3 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Fragile Lives’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

Quirky writing habits of famous authors

 

writingquirks.jpg

Have you ever wondered how great authors write? You’d think they would have a routine of some kind, a favourite corner or desk, an old comfy sofa or maybe a particular dress they’d like to wear. What you don’t know probably, is how quirky they can get.

All upside down

Did you know, for instance, that Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code thought the best cure for his writer’s block was hanging upside down? He said it helped him relax. So that’s probably how he found out the Holy Grail wasn’t a chalice at all but a woman. Quite brilliant, actually. But no thank you I’m not trying this one.

Writing au naturel

Then there was Victor Hugo who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When he had a deadline to meet he’d ask his valet to confiscate his clothes so he couldn’t go out anywhere. When it got too cold he simply wrapped himself in a blanket. Going by the length of The Hunchback he would have remained in the buff for a long long time. Definitely not trying this one either.

Sleeping/standing authors

Mark Twain, George Orwell and Woody Allen wrote while lounging on beds and sofas. You would accuse them of being lazy had they not given us such masterpieces. On the other hand there were writers like Hemingway, Dickens and Lewis Carroll who wrote standing at their desks. Hemingway’s work desk was the top of chest-high book shelf. If you’re a Hemingway fan you must read this interview.

(On a completely different note and I know I’m digressing but I must give you this Hemingway tip: Each day he would stop writing at a point in his narrative when he knew what happened next. That way when he took up writing the next day he knew exactly how he had to begin and wouldn’t have to wait to get into the groove, so to say).

And some others..

Among the more recent Indian authors RK Narayan and Vikram Seth offer the greatest contrast:

RK Narayan says, “..between breakfast and lunch I manage five hundred words and while the rice on the stove is cooking, a couple of hundred, and after lunch once again till six.” He makes it sound like such a mundane task.

And there’s Vikram Seth who says writing should flow on its own and cannot/should not be forced. Perhaps that’s why he has such few works, but each of them outstanding.

Among the newer lot  Amish Tripathi likes to listen to music, which is not so strange but he also likes to eat a lot of cream biscuits while writing. I’d only think of the calories I was piling up, leave Ram and Sita to their own devices, and head to the gym.

And lastly I stumbled upon this Durjoy Datta tweet:
My writing process is one part writing, 10 parts YouTube, 10 parts cute dog pictures.

Make what you will of it.

So do you have a writing preference? Or can you write anytime, anywhere?

Day 2 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘What you didn’t know’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

 

Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain – A review

Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain
By George Mahood

Free country.jpg

7.30 am in the morning, Land’s End, Cornwall England.

Two men stand in their boxers, just their boxers. It is colder than what they’d bargained for, the gravel cuts into their feet, and they get more than a few ‘what are the weirdos upto’ galnces.

That’s George and Ben – a photographer and a composer/actor respectively.

So what are they doing, almost naked, at Land’s End? For the geographically challenged, Land’s End is the most South Westerly part of England. This slightly crazy duo plans to cover the length of England, from Land’s End to the top of Scotland, a distance of about a 1000 miles, on bikes without money, clothes, shoes, food …… or bikes. Yeah right, they have no bikes just yet. Or maps to guide them either.

They are counting on the generosity of strangers to lend them bikes, feed them, clothe them and give them a place to sleep each night.

Stranger than fiction, right?

The book traces their adventures as they cycle on a mountain bike and child’s road bike (Yeah they do manage to get those), through the length of England and finish the trip on the terms they’d set out with.

The review

This book is definitely more about the journey than the destination – a hilarious, heartwarming journey. George and Ben wind their way through back roads and tiny towns, giving us a ride through the gorgeous English countryside.

However, what remains with me is the sheer audacity of their endeavour. Being a rather self-conscious person, I can only commend the courage it takes to approach a stranger and ask for a favour. And here are these two men asking not just for food, but also clothes and shoes and bikes, then bike repairs, all for free. They even mange to wheedle out ice creams, free ferry rides and a night in the theatre too. They are ready to wash dishes, clean hotels, sing carols, cook a barbecue and even scavenge rubbish bins.

The other thing that struck me was the positivity in the book. There is very little mention of the physical challenges the journey must have thrown up. For untrained people to cycle three weeks at a stretch mustn’t have been easy. Yet they do not dwell upon hurting knees, going hungry or meeting unpleasant people, not to say about putting up with each other under such stressful circumstances and shared meagre resources.

They bicker and argue ‘like an old couple’ but most of the way it is a laugh-out-loud journey full of ready humour and plenty of wit that reminded me of a Bill Bryson travelogue.

If you like travelogues this one’s for you. If you do not, read it to reaffirm your faith in people, read it to believe that the world is yours if you have the gumption to take it on or read it simply for a few laughs.

Day 1 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is Stranger than fiction.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON