My Musings on Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

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By the end of the book, I was assured that Eleanor Oliphant was fine and so was I, in knowing that somewhere down the timeline of our life we all will embrace the words “I am fine”, as though it sums up everything we would want to say to ourselves and the world out loud, even if we have no listeners.

Shamefully, I wandered off in between as I found a forceful coalition of situations was created to lead Eleanor to the point where she starts to understand and deal with her trauma, though I couldn’t find any other way to make her question her true identity!

The pace picked up for me or rather I was too much of wanting to read about how she dealt with her past memories. This is a good read, Eleanor grows upon you. We immediately feel sorry for her, as we understand what she is missing and she being oblivious to everything around her. We sympathize with her scars and wanted her to find a way out of the protective cocoon she made for herself. We would want to embrace her. Even at the beginning, we are rooting in for her which brings me to Raymond. A perfectly ordinary guy and most importantly a friend who stuck long enough. That one person is what we all want in our life. That changes the equation of life, not necessarily by that person.

I wondered if only she had not met Raymond, what would have happened? There are so many people who cannot form any sort of bond with anyone. People just don’t include a person like Eleanor to their circle because they believe this person does not like to be involved. What would happen to them? What if they are too fragile to help themselves? It’s very easy for anyone to tell, just do it but for overcoming any traumatic event in their life however small it seems to need a lot of courage and a little bit of help!

This was the first read of the year and I want to keep the momentum going.

Title – Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Author – Gail Honeyman
Format – Kindle
And, I Loved!

2 / 52 – 52Books52Weeks

Are we fundamentally sane or insane.? If you take away everything from a human and ask him just to rest, why does he mostly turn insane, though he very well knows he is there for a resting period and is there to heal, by doing nothing at all, yet he imagines, weave stories, finds proofs to substantiate his strange theories and finally turn in to insanity ?

The Yellow Paper is a downfall of a young mother, Jane, into the abyss of her mind, far from being able to come out of it. She was prescribed for a short restful period, where she was forbidden to do anything at all by her physician husband, who wants her to recover soon! His intentions were clear and he tends to her lovingly as any husband would do. And yet how a simple thing like a yellow ornate wallpaper with its enticing patterns is all needed for the mind to go berserk.

Being confined to a room, at first Jane was troubled by everything or the lack of anything to do.Left nothing to explore she stares at the wall paper and starts studying it.The torn corners, the patterns, and the smell from it on the foggy days.She was fully convinced that there is someone behind the patterns and causes them to move.She believes its a woman and she wants to see her or get rid of her (?) before she moves out!

This is such a terrific short story, packed in just a few pages which literally blows your mind on how seemingly small things becomes active when our mind works on them.I was always enticed by patterns all my life. I find weird connections in patterns and most of them usually tell me hundreds of stories. I wonder now, is it my activity and life, in general, that keeps me at this brink of being sane? 😉

Everything I Never Told You

    It’s literally about everything the characters in this story never told each other.!! Reading through the book, I kept yelling in my head, for god’s sake woman just talk to your child for once!! 

This is a sad story of Lydia, who tragically plummeted to death!Though it was ruled out as a suited, no one in her family wanted to believe so.The rest of the story is how each member of her family gets torn apart to finally find some peace.

Even though the story is set in the ’70s, it is still relevant in our times.It reemphasizes, at least for me , the need of families to have real conversations with each other, especially with children. Even if its just the dinner talks about school or daily news or even weather, we as parents must actually show our interest and listen from our heart, to the little things and imaginations of our children has to offer us, else this story is a reminder of how ignored kids finally end up.

   Children are far delicate, observant and absorbing of things that happen in front of them, even without parents realizing. They are little adults with their beliefs and worries which are very real. Loss of parent which is one the main cause in this novel’s very scary. Anyone would blame themselves for such a situation, no wonder what kids do and they make amends or compromises with themselves.

When we become adults especially parents, we try to do multiple roles together and sometimes may forget what that really matters. We may fully be involved in the child’s life but still, fail them by being able to see them only through our eyes and maybe they became a constant reminder of your failure and somehow we need to overcome those. Sometimes we must resolve our issues before we even want to be a parent. Its so intimidating to me as a new parent that our troubles and problems can affect our children and demolish their little world which must be full of colors and hopes growing up.

Just as we grow up our compromises with life becomes bigger and bigger confrontations at every walk of life. We may fret over our decisions of the past and compare the output in our present life. What we forget is that we all have only one life, which can be lived in the way we choose to. Sometimes a little compassion is all needed for a person to pull back, maybe just a nod or a caring touch would have helped, which is what Lydia missed.And yet, she was this strong minded girl who was determined to find her own place, resolve her conflicts and be herself, but fate let her slip away.

Are you smart?

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So it all started with the app that helped me plan my pregnancy. Due to very uncertain, ahem…menstruation dates, my most important task was to track them. I started off with the old calendar method at first, being the forgetful person I inadvertently forgot to mark the correct dates especially if I were at the office during the visiting times!!. Then I tried to note down the same in my Evernote using my mobile as it was available most of the time. I did a very close track but yet, I missed some golden days!! I had to bear a lot of loud staring (if staring could talk) from my husband*

That’s when I downloaded the Flow app, which helped to track my dates and most importantly helped me with reminders for a pregnancy planner. And now, it was all hassle free. This was the first real smart help I got from using a smartphone. Not being interested in social media as such and my use for a smartphone was the most to simply phone or use google maps or read in Kindle app, this became my actual and most helpful/smart use from my smartphone.

Ha…finally came the baby and along with her the baby weight. I tried a lot of apps to lose weight but none of which never really motivated me to pursue the art of dropping of layers of fat. Add the irregular food timings and junk food habits. There were so many apps for beginners to experts to lose weight but nothing stuck with me. It was then my husband bought me a smartwatch which at first I loathed. I didn’t want to give up my Titan Raga. On my husband’s relentless persuasion, I decided to try it on for a week and decided to return and save my valuable money but the end of the week came and I really was hooked. The Smart Wearable helped me in tracking every movement, my heartbeats and the most importantly the associated calorie loss.

Watching those numbers turn on in the watch monitor really pumped me to keep me in tracks. Even the smallest of walks and activities being added to calorie monitoring helped me in keeping up with the weight loss! I am not sure if I lost a huge amount of weight but I must admit, that this smart wearable does keep me on my toes along with my baby and I now love every session with my girl as it gives me the double joy of being with my girl and also being active and also see the numbers drop.

Smart Watch I own

It was during this time my father had a mild attack and the doctors asked us to be careful. Though I put up a brave face, I was really scared for him. I bought him a Smart Wearable from Flipkart which provided quite a range of such devices, the best in the industry. This helped to track his heart rates and activities after his scary attack. He too likes it really well as it tells him when to slow down during his morning walks or keep monitoring his normal heart rates. And now my mom is also pestering me to buy her one when I showed her the product listed in Flipkart, with her only demand that it doesn’t look too old for her age. Perks!!

Fit Bit for my father

I was dumbstruck to see smart cameras on all four sides of a new home of my colleague, where I visited for its housewarming ceremony. I believed my colleague was paranoid. I thought the smart cameras were only for shops or offices. He said, “Well, I could really see every person who comes and leaves and basically made me panic free, especially since my kid and my wife are alone at home.”. He sends me this link of unlimited Smart Camera from Flipkart which has a wide range of latest products which made me wonder, maybe I was too trusting!!. I did make a mental note to install the smart camera and monitor to our new home as well.

In my mind…

Along with the smart cameras in Flipkart, I also checked out their Smart lights. That section reminded me of our last vacation. I still remember how childlike I was when I started into an impromptu dance and claps to switch on and off the lights. I was also amazed that I didn’t have to turn on the lights when I needed to carry my girl for a quick bath run at the nights.At home, I would mostly step on one of her favourite toys, either break it or it makes the noise that woke her up. You don’t want a crying child in the middle of the night. Anyways this too was definitely going into my list of must haves in our new home, to make it moodier!!

And what’s more convenient than having Google home helping me control all of this. Though I bought “her” before the smart lights and camera. With google home, everything is just a command and it feels so hearty to have someone take commands.

“Google, the reminders for today?

Google can u play the nursery rhymes?

Google can you open Netflix? And so on and so forth.

I am still discovering the new things that can be done using it. Though it makes you lazy, it indeed makes ur home smart, Smart Home. And it is not that only Google home will make your home a smart one. There are indeed a lot of options in Flipkart, just quickly check over!

Every one of the smart devices has grown so well mostly because of the convenience it provides. A lot of our time-consuming activities that were mostly keeping track of things were removed from our list which helped us to savour time for us and for me mostly tie for my girl. So why wait, join the #SmartHomeRevolution and #GetFitWithFlipkart and make this new year count for you, your loved ones and your home!!

How I became a Tree – Book Review

How I Became a Tree

 

It’s been some time since I read a book and I am glad I choose this gem by Sumana Roy.I have been nodding at various passages in sync with the author and at times I was marveled at the way she was able to draw a parallelism between being a human and being a tree.
Trees have always fascinated me.Their long trunks as a testimony to their strength, their deep roots, their ever hugging nature by the branches.Sumana was able to put words into my thoughts that had always marveled me.
This is a book I will always remember reading. 🙂

 

Em and Big Hoom

Em and the Big HoomEm and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you go to a home, you knock and wait for someone from the home to open the door and let you in.There is a certain premise to enter the home, make oneself comfortable and then have a chat.And when it’s finally time to part, you might or might not have understood the reality of that home or the family.But that was not the case with Em and Big Hoom.

When I started reading this book, I was literally put in the middle of the lives of Em, Big Hoom and their family. I felt warm and welcomed to their home.Not one time did I feel I was not a part of their family.I literally lived and breathed with them.

I felt the burning and suffocating smell of beedis in my eyes and nose.I understood the bits and pieces and was able to read in between the lines from Em’s talks.I felt ashamed at the same time intrigued at her adult talks.I felt the silent, yet the roaring presence of Big Hoom.I sensed the tender love between these folks.I could hear all the thoughts of em for endless hours.I also shivered when she tried to let go of her life.And I was part relieved and a part sad when she finally left.I knew I was somewhere becoming the shadow of the narrator, who has poured his hearts out!

Our mothers are very dear to us.She somehow has been bestowed with the power of holding all the members of the family.Now, it’s very scary situation if something happens to such a strong link.And even scarier if it related to being mentally disabled.Imelda, aka Em, is one such person, who slowly and at times looses the grip of reality.

‘After you were born, someone turned on a tap. At first it was only a drip, a black drip, and I felt it as sadness. I had felt sad before . . . who hasn’t ? I knew what it was like. But I didn’t know that it would come like that, for no reason. I lived with it for weeks.’

‘Was there a drain?’

‘No. There was no drain. There isn’t one even now’.

‘It is like oil. Like molasses, slow at first.Then one morning I woke up and it was flowing free and fast. I thought I would drown in it. I thought it would drown little you and Susan. I got up, got dressed and went out onto the road and tried to jump in front of a bus. I thought it would be a final thing, quick like a bang.  Only,it wasn’t.

I don’t know if there is any better way of defining depression.It’s akin to drowning in one’s sadness, though we don’t want to be drowned and we know how to stop oneself from being drowned but yet, yet simply could not help but sink down.That’s depression.

And how can one forget Augustine, the Big Hoom ?. When there are people who simply choose to stay out of trouble by avoiding ill people from their lives, here a man who stays and fights for a normal life.His love for Em, cannot be said in words.It can be known only from the heart.

“Love is never enough. Madness is enough. It is complete, sufficient unto itself.”

Such a brilliant portrayal of a dysfunctional(?) family amongst us describing the vivid emotions and the broken thoughts of a depressed, bipolar, suicidal mother but more importantly reading this book showed me the difficulties, that sort of numbness and the absence of normalcy in the lives of the caretakers of these mentally ill people.

I wonder if one day, I fall as hard as Em, will I be lucky enough to be surrounded by folks like Em’s family?

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My Husband and Other Animals

My Husband and Other AnimalsMy Husband and Other Animals by Janaki Lenin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What made me reach for this book was the title,”My Husband and Other Animals”.Since I had never read any of Janaki’s columns in The Hindu, I didn’t know what the book would be about.While reading this book, a bunch of articles gave me a totally new experience.
We live either in a city or in a village or in a flat or a good old mansion.We make god friends and enemies with your neighbours, relatives, friends etc.But we never would have given a thought about the various “other” beings around us.Reading this book made me literally me sit up and think about the toads, cats, dogs, birds, worms, flies and even mosquitoes[the beings around me].It did make me wonder about their conversations :).

Ms.Janaki favourite and recurring topic in her articles is her husband, Mr.Romulus Whitaker-who is an herpetologist and founder of Madras Crocodile Bank. They together have been living in Madras Crocodile Bank, and later on moved to a farm house near Chengalpet.While reading through the experiences of the author I was quite envious about her adventures and most importantly the fun she had while on them.Be it “always finding a way back to home toads” or “cyclone crocs” or “trekking deep forests”, she has had a great run which we can only imagine.

Laughing and giggling to myself, I finished the book in no time.It was a quick and hearty read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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