Monday, September 12, 2016

STRONG

I was quite amused to see a picture of myself from Jan 2011, when my Mom sent it on Whatsapp. No, am not sharing it here. The twins and Peanut are sitting with me, all nice and chubby, but there's no one chubbier than me.

Sure, it is to be expected that a woman bloats up during pregnancy - but this was seven months after the twins were born. I always put on too much weight during my pregnancies - 22 kilos the first time and 25 kilos the second time, vis a vis the recommended gain of about 14 kgs ( if I remember correctly, that's true even for twin pregnancies). 

The first time I worked it off completely -it was a normal delivery and I was working full time after several months, and used to climb up eleven floors each day to get to the office. It worked beautifully, I don't remember much else about how I worked out at that time.

After the twins, with the C-section, the following surgery post a complication and the general chaos that happens when you have twins, it was SO much harder. I managed to lose some of it, but it was the Zumba program that actually helped me get back into shape. 

Still, after a couple of years of Zumba-ing (learning for a year and then teaching), I realized that I had hit a plateau yet again. My weekend classes weren't enough to give me the required  toning; even adding Yoga didn't help the belly area (that C-section pouch is an a-hole!). I was contemplating what to do about it when...Strong by Zumba got launched!


This is a high-intensity Tempo training workout; it's different from Zumba in that it is reverse-engineered - a team decided the right High intensity moves that make for a great workout and THEN they designed the music for it. I love the concept - signed up, went for a training on August 7th, was blown away by it and have been practising since. In just a month, I see a big difference in my strength, toning and energy! It's not a cakewalk but it is very, very doable. 

There's a whole bunch of us in Delhi who were trained by the very fit and very professional Prateek Kundial, and only a few of us have launched the program so far. I feel ready to do at least a Demo session of it and am trying to see if I can get enough people ( ideal number - 8) near my locality in Gurgaon ( MG Road) in order to do it tomorrow i.e. Wednesday September 14, 6.30 p.m. 

I'm writing this quick post just so that more people become aware of this program. It is NOT dance-based, so for those with two left feet who drop out of Zumba classes because they feel they can't keep up, this is actually a great alternative. The choreos are not left up to us 'creative' instructors because the one-hour class is broken up into four separate Quadrants with varying and carefully designed levels of intensity to really get the max out of the workout. 

The other thing we've discovered is that many non-licensed instructors are either already teaching this program OR dismissing it as 'not for everyone - only for young folks who like gymming' - neither of these are a good thing, so that's the other reason for this post. If anyone talks to you about Strong By Zumba, first ask if they're trained or licensed. 

Okay, that's it!  Watch the videos to know more - the one above that explains the concept in a minute; and the other that showcases a very cool song 'I don't waste my time' by the very cool Ai Lee.

And lastly - none of this will ever take away for the love of us Zumba instructors for the core Zumba program, excellent, fun and effective in its own right! I feel that if I were doing more classes of even Zumba in the week, it would work brilliantly - but now that there's an option for variety - heck, why not?

Find a Zumba or Strong by Zumba class near you! And if you're in Gurgaon, find mine ;)! 


Friday, September 9, 2016

Papad the Little Wise Man

One of the downsides of being a twin has to be the constant comparison you're subject to. This one is smarter, that one is faster, he's more of an athlete, he's better behaved yada yada yada. As Pickle and Papad grow up and their individual personalities now shine through more clearly, I see this happening less. It helps that even though they're genetically identical, they don't look the same - I don't know how that works. But at this age, when they've turned six years old and Peanut is nine, it's interesting to see their differences.

Vijay's always had this thing about Papad not being the brightest bulb on the planet. Earlier, he used to piss me off by suggesting that Pickle was the one who was least like the two of us and had perhaps been switched in the nursery after birth. But of late, he's come to the conclusion that it's Papad who we will need to save for.

'Poot Sapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?
Poot Kapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?'

After this dramatic announcement from him, I asked him what the heck he was blabbering about. 'What Kaput, Shaput, Man?'

'It means.' He said in a superior manner. 'If your child is good, what's the need to accumulate wealth for him, he is capable. And if he is bad, why would you want to accumulate wealth for him? He doesn't deserve it.' He then looked over at Papad who was playing innocently with a set of toothpicks trying to make them stand up on the carpet. 'But...what if your child is a buddhu?' He announced fondly. 'We'll leave you some money, Papad.'

Papad smiled at him and I glared. Not funny to label your child like this.

I know Vijay's only kidding about this stuff, but Papad doesn't really help the cause at times.

'What words start with Q,' he wonders out loud while doing his homework. And then. 'I know! CUCUMBER.'

Actually a most natural mistake, if you think about it but I don't miss Vijay's head-shaking and quiet murmur 'Don't worry, we'll leave behind the money.'

Or when we were preparing the kid for Show and Tell last week.

'So, this is a pot that is used for planting...tell the class why it has holes in the bottom? You remember, right? So that the extra water can come out. Right? So....why does it have holes in the bottom?'

'So that the mud can come out.'

'No, we just discussed this...so that?...the...?'

'The air can come out.'

'NO! I mean, no, beta...so that the...?'

'The hole can come out.'

'NO!' I all but clutch my hair.

'What was the queschun?'

I've run out of time and bundle him out of the house to catch the bus with the others. Vijay takes another sedate sip of tea and looks satisfied.

But there are times when the little boy comes up with fairly profound insights. I think all kids do, and he's no different. He is sensitive especially to my feelings; he watches my expressions a lot and responds intelligently many times. We share a special bond, me and that skinny little kid and I think he's going to do just fine. He was cuddling with me last week and then a thought struck him.

'Mom. What is more important. I or my Family?'

'What?'

'Am I important or is Family important?'

'Well...' I struggled. 'What do you think?'

'I think' He pursed his lip. 'That I is more important. Then is Family.'

'Um-hmmm.' I had to admit. 'I think I also feel that way. But what do you think about how your Dad would feel?'

Vijay walked out of Papaji's room. Papaji is a Parkinson's patient and in a condition now where he needs twenty four care and even though we have an attendant, Vijay is up several times a night to help him to the bathroom, and so on.

Papad gazed at him 'I think Daddy thinks Family is THIS important.' He raised his hand above his head. 'And that he is THIS much.' He dropped it down almost to his knees.

'What?' Vijay frowned. I explained the queschun and the answer.

'So Papad.' Vijay said. 'You think family is less important? But if there was no family - there would be no you, right?'

Papad thought about it for a bit. 'Yes, but if there is no ME, then how can I have any family?'

Vijay didn't really have a rejoinder. And I figured I really did agree with the logic that young Papad spouted. You have to take care of yourself first. Your own oxygen mask on before helping someone with theirs. I've often tried to tell Vijay that this is how it has to be - the self-sacrificing can only take you so far in life.

I gaze triumphantly at Vijay. Papad runs off and my husband stares after him for a bit. I figure he must be duly impressed with the child's reasoning and philosophy.

'Hmmm.' He mutters. 'At least he's good at sports. Maybe he'll be okay through Sports Quota.'





Saturday, July 9, 2016

So Much SmartAssNess in First Half '16

I had this feeling that I've got a lot of mini-stories about the kids on my Facebook page here; and the feeling was right. Below is a compilation. I feel much better now that I've got them here for posterity ;). But join the Facebook page for more regular doses of randomness and the occasional brilliant flash of insight (rare).

*****

Papad beats Pickle in a swimming race and gasps proudly 'TodyaCRUSHya!'
I turn to him and say 'What?'
Peanut sighs, treading water near me 'Oh, he just copies my motto. Everyone copies my motto.'
'What's your motto?' I am amused.
'It's kind of a song I made up. It goes -
I told ya, I'd crush ya,
I crushed ya, I win!'
'Peanut! That's ...' I'm impressed, but I try valiantly to be a good parent. 'Not very sporting. Where did you come up with that?'
'I was playing tennis with Anusha and I beat her and then when I was shaking her hand over the net, I whispered it to her - I told ya, I'd crush ya, I crushed ya, I win!'
'Well, you're supposed to be saying 'Good Game' at that point, right?'
'Right!' She gives me a bright grin. 'But it was more fun this way.'
I struggle with it for a while and then give up. 'You mind if I use it on your Dad?'
She shrugs wearily 'Go ahead! Everyone uses my motto anyway. I bet even the President of the United States will want to use it.'
Inside I'm thinking, yeah, maybe not the current one but sounds about right for at least one contender. But I refuse to let that thought spoil it for me.
I Told Ya
I'd Crush Ya
I Crushed Ya.
I WIN!

******

Pickle and Papad are watching the 'Finding Dory' trailer.
It finishes and then a Spanish version of the trailer starts, with baby Dory speaking to her parents.
Pickle (with a frown of concentration): What they are saying?
Papad (with an air of great wisdom about him): Pickle. It's FISH language.

*****

After watching Football, some match between Italy and Spain, for an hour with my husband, my kids run out of the room shouting
'Guess what? Idli won! Dosa Lost! Yesss!'
How educational.

*****


From Peanut's diary. How interesting.
"My mom is an author and a famous one." I smile at that.
"We are not really that rich like I expect other famous authors to be."
Smile gone.


*****

Me, getting angry because he's not listening to me: Pickle, now I've told you enough times that you're supposed to brush your teeth first thing when you get up and now you're asking me for things to eat without doing that and ...
Pickle, in the most biting and spiteful and mocking manner that the words have ever been said: Baa, baa, black sheep, have YOU any wool?
(Sweeps out of the room with impressive dignity)

*****

And this is how I'm misrepresented at home.
Papad walks up to me and shows me the bandage I tied on his foot 'See I am bare-footed. That means hurt, right?'
I correct him. 'No, bare footed means you're not wearing anything on your feet.'
'But I am wearing the bandage.'
'Yes, but not shoes, right?'
'So what is that word for hurt?'
'Wounded?'
'Yes' He says with inordinate pride 'Wounded. I have a wounded feet.'
'Foot. Yes, wounded foot.'
'Mom! Will I have to take this off if I go for a swim?'
'Well, I guess it would come off anyway, so yes I suppose so.'
He nods sagely with complete understanding and then trots out of the room on his wounded feet and I hear him tell his twin. 'Pickle! Guess where Mom says we can go? For a SWIM!'

*****

My daughter, the one with the sense of humour. She sees a certificate from Micromax "To a Colleague who was awesome till the last mile..."
Turns to me and asks "Hey mom! What happened to you in the last mile? Why were you only awesome TILL it came?"

*****

Me: Peanut, just help Papad finish his homework please...
Peanut: How? He is just copying the letters...
Me: I don't know! Just... Cheer him on or something.
Peanut (yelling right into her little brother's ears): Papad, Papad, He's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!

*****

'Will you kids please stop shouting?'
'Why?'
'Your Tau is sleeping. He doesn't sleep at all at night, so he's sleeping during the day.'
'Why?'
'Because he's still on America time.'
Peanut shakes her head and chuckles. 'Americans are so weird!'

******

"Do you know what they're doing?" My husband asks me.
"Nope."
"They are playing music on the laptop and waiting for birds to come..."
"What music?"
"That Mary Poppins song... What is it?"
"Feed the birds, Tuppence a bag?" I guess.
"No, the other one... With that robin..."
"Ah... " I get it. "Spoonful of sugar?"
"Yeah, that one." Vijay is very amused. "And they are wondering why the birds aren't landing up!"
Childhood. Such innocence. Such wonder.
Such little Bhondus they are.


*****

I look with interest at my husband's new profile pic on Whatsapp. That's cute. When was he on a boat? And hey, it looks familiar but-
Waitaminute.
I message him furiously "what the heck? Did you cut me OUT of your profile pic?"
A few moments of silence and then watch him typing back.
"Of course. If I didn't cut you out, no one would look at me."
Well saved, buddy.
Well saved.

*****

We are sitting and watching Frozen.
Princess Anna and Prince Hans fall in love and sing their duet "Love is an Open Door"
Peanut sings along word-for-word.
Pickle covers his ears and protests "sing in your MIND!"
Papad beams beatifically and then wonders out loud "How do the prince and princess know the same-song-words?... Why you laffing Mom?... Tell me!!"

*****

Peanut stares out the car window and since I am not paying attention either, we almost miss our turn to the music class.
After correcting the driver, I unfairly mutter to my child "Why are you dreaming?"
"Why shouldn't I dream?" she says calmly.
I am chastened. It's true. She is but a child and I expect her to do a lot of things with the maturity of an older person. These are the days she must enjoy and cherish, and if one isn't allowed to dream now, by George- when?
"I'm sorry, Peanut." I whisper.
"It's ok Ma" she beams "you know nowadays if anyone asks me why I am doing something, I just ask them why I shouldn't do it! It works very well."
Now I'm a little pissed. It was just a trick.
"Bit of a smartass, aren't you?" I sneer.
Another peaceful smile with just a hint of smugness
"Why shouldn't I be a smartass?"

*****

Random statements by Random Kids:
Papad: (excited) ...and it's the best in the WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSITY!
*****
Peanut: (wonderingly) Mom, if I am trying to adopt someone when I am 21 and I write 50 instead of 15 by mistake - (now panicking) what will I DO if I end up with a child OLDER than me?

*****


*****

I am doing my yoga this morning before work, in the privacy and sanctity of my bedroom.
BANG. My son shoves the door open and potters in, waving a piece of paper excitedly. 'Mom, mom, I made DIS.'
I resist the urge to ask him to retreat and look at his picture. It has a tiny creature drawn in the centre that looks like a cross between a camel, a baby elephant, and if he insists, a mouse.
I am in Ommmm mode, and thus I remember that a child has to be appreciated for the effort he puts into his work. Criticism is to be avoided at all costs, as is the natural desire to correct his efforts. And at the end of the day, he is clearly doing this for the love of art, and it's good to see that he's interested in something besides breaking his toys and the house.
'It's great, Pickle.' I enthuse. 'Well done! And you even wrote Mouse.' I can't stop myself here.'Well, you wrote Muse, but that's great too!'
He looks up at me with a crooked smile and says in a brisk, businesslike way. 'Wanna buy it? Only fifty lupees.'
I stare at him for a moment. Get out, get out, get out of my loom, I want to scream. Oommmmmm.
(I ended up buying it for fifteen lupees.)

*****

It's a possibility that my kids may be watching too much TV.
Papad, spotting my husband coming home, shouts ''Daddy's BACK...!'
And then adds 'On NICKELODEON!'

*****
Pickle brings me his homework sheet after I come home from work, saying 'What we have to do in dis?'
I turn my bleary eyes towards the sheet.
Peanut barks at him 'Bring ME your homework. Let Mom relax.'
I turn my teary eyes towards my 8 year old daughter.
If I'm dreaming, don't nobody DARE pinch me today.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Little Lemonade Bottle

'Well, I was here at 1 p.m. for my appointment! You've kept me waiting for 45 minutes already! It's the doctor who should adjust...'

Vijay and I watched with some bemusement as the hapless doctor's assistant struggled to formulate a response. The typical aggressive Delhi-type scene played out again and again, with many irate patients taking their anger out on the assistant. We waved at him timidly again to remind him that we were still there. 

'Three more patients before you.' He murmured. 

I was feeling hungry and suggested to Vijay that we go and grab a bite at the nearby Haldiram's. We felt a lot better about life once we had some Papadi Chaat and Chole Bhature in our tummies, not to mention the Badam Milk and Rasmalai ( My no-sugar experiment is going really well these days). As we pushed our plates away, my husband said thoughtfully -

'I bet the Doc hasn't eaten.' 

'Yeah, I'll bet he hasn't.' I agreed. it was 2.30 p.m. already and judging by the commotion outside his room, it was unlikely he'd had a bite. 

'Poor fellow. He's probably not eaten since morning.'

'Yes.' I wondered where this was going. 

'Shall we take something for him?'

I stared at him. 'What, like Chole Bhature? No!'

'Why not!' Vijay cried. 'He'll like it.'

'Vijay, please. No! We can't take a smelly parcel into a doctor's clinic. That's just...'

He looked a bit deflated. 'Maybe Lassi? He might like Lassi.'

'I don't think so, Vijay. It's a bit weird. Anyway, let's get going now, shall we? It's time for your appointment.'

I ducked into the loo for a couple of minutes and when I came out, I noticed Vijay was carrying something besides his MRI report. 

'What's that for?'

'What?'

'That Nimbooz?' I demanded. 'You already had a nimbu-pani with lunch.'

'Oh.' He said carelessly. 'That's for the Doc.'

'Vijay! Seriousy?' 

But the husband's jaw was set. So I gave up. 

We were signalled in by the hassled assistant and the Doctor today looked rather hassled. It was only the second time we were meeting him but it was clearly a bad day for him, even though he greeted us with enthusiasm. 

Vijay put the Nimbooz on the table. 'This is for you, Doc. We thought you might not have had lunch?'

'What? No, no, not for me.' He indicated a packet to his left that lay unopened. 'No time, I have to rush for an operation.' 

Despite two interruptions from his assistants and a call from the Operating Theatre which he answered with a 'Coming, just coming.', he managed to give us the instructions to do with Vijay's knee report. 

'...so make sure you do the physio exercises diligently and I'm sure you won't need a procedure.' He finished. 

'Thanks doc.' We said, feeling sorry for him. We stood up and then he told Vijay, signalling the Nimbooz 'Don't forget this!'

'Oh, no, Doc, it's really for you.' Vijay pressed. 

'Really?'

He paused for just a moment and then shrugged his shoulders. 'Well, actually - I think I might just need it.' With that, he picked up the bottle and stood up. 

We went out of his room and in a couple of minutes, he overtook us, hurrying down the hall towards the OT. 

I watched as he opened up the Nimbooz and glugged from it without breaking his stride. And then he disappeared around the corner. Vijay saw him too but said nothing. 

Later that evening, several hours later, Vijay received a text message from the doctor with 'Thanks for the Nimbooz. I really did need it and it put a smile on my face.' Vijay read it out to me with a smile. 

And I stood corrected. 

It doesn't matter whether something you do is weird or unusual as it long as you mean well. In other words: 

It's never out of place to be nice. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Baniani

This Saturday morning did not start well. About two hours earlier than I was going to wake up, Vijay opened the door to the room, managing to make just enough noise to startle me awake. And that was not good.

One thing led to another and a few hours later, we were on the verge of a major fight, led entirely by yours truly who was intent on blaming the husband for everything in the world that's wrong, including the melting of the polar ice caps. The poor man, recognising that I was in a more hormonally-inflicted state than usual, managed to keep his cool throughout, but no matter what he did, I was not calming down. This went on for a long time, well past mid-morning.

That's when he hit upon an idea. 

'And another thing...' I was spewing when I noticed that he was cackling to himself. 

'What is it now' I said through gritted teeth.

'Oh honey.' He smiled widely. 'I just remembered. M (Our elder nephew) is upstairs right now.'

'Okay' I growled. So? I figured M, who lives in Mumbai had arrived because it was his parent's anniversary. Vijay's sister lives two floors above us in the same apartment building, so it's all like one joint family scene some days. 

'You don't understand.' Vijay protested. 'he's sitting upstairs...wearing a girls' banian. You know...' 

'A camisole?' I wondered, inspite of myself. 'Why would he do that?'

'I don't know!' Vijay burst out. 'But he is. I somehow controlled myself from laughing at him. I thought you'd like to see him. You want to come up now?'

'What? That's ridiculous. Why would I want to do that?'. Ridiculous. I knew this was just an attempt to distract me from scolding him. 

*****

10 minutes later, upstairs, Vijay and I stood just outside R. Didi's flat. 

'Now remember.' Vijay warned. 'You're here to wish her a happy anniversary, just like I did. We're not here to see M in his camisole.'

'Of course not,' I scoffed. 'This is silly anyway. Don't know why you dragged me here.'

The door opened and it was R.Didi. 'Happy Anniversary!' I bent down and touched her feet. My eyes scanned the flat for M. Yes, there he was in the living room reading the paper. Good. 

She was delighted to see me. 'Ah Yashodhara. Perfect, we were just talking about where we should go tonight.'

I walked in further into the room, saying 'M is here? Let's see - M, hi!'

'Hello, Mami.' said my handsome young nephew, lowering the paper. I stared in disappointment and looked at Vijay. Vijay looked equally dismayed. M was wearing a pale green shirt over his shorts. 

'You had a bath already?' Vijay demanded.

M looked a little taken aback 'Yeah...just had one.'

Vijay and I looked at each other while R didi peered around. Vijay mumbled. 'What was the hurry? Why couldn't you have waited a little longer? It's not even 11.' 

'Er...what happened?' M asked suspiciously. 

I was looking sullen. 'Nothing.'

'Yes, what is it?' chimed in Rama didi.

'Nothing, nothing.' said Vijay. 'It's just that...there was no need for him to change so quickly out of that...'

'You were wearing a girls banian and I wanted to see it!' I burst out before I knew what I was saying.

'Huh?' M looked flabbergasted. 

R Didi stared at us for a moment and then began to laugh. 'Yes, that thing he was wearing? I thought so too - I wondered where he'd got that banian-i.'

'It wasn't a baniani.' M said, clearly torn between irritation and amusement. 'It was just a normal banian.'

'No, no.' Vijay protested. 'It was a spaghetti-waala-straps-waala top, the kind Y sometimes wears for Zumba.'

'Huh!' said M. 

'Where is it?' I demanded. 

'In the wash!' said the hapless nephew. 

'Put it on and show us.'

'No way!'

'I'll get it.' Vijay went into the bedroom. 

'I didn't bathe in there!'

'Okay, this one?' he headed to the second bedroom. 

'No.'

'Fine, here?' He went into the third. R Didi was now busy laughing loudly at the proceedings, while in the meantime trying to tell M that he should fetch his banian himself instead of making Vijay-Mama do it. Within a few seconds, though, Vijay was back, triumphantly holding up a white banian with dark blue border.

I examined it critically. I had to admit the straps did look the spaghetti-waala type. But otherwise...

'It doesn't REALLY look THAT much like a girl's banian.'

'You have to see him wear it.' Vijay turned to M. 'M, come on, put it on for a sec.'

'You must be joking!' M burst out and seemed to realize something. 'Wait a minute...is this why you brought Mami up?'

'Of course not.' I said piously. 'I came up to wish your parents a happy anniversary.'

'Hmmm.' said the young man, entirely unconvinced. 

'Are you putting on the baniani?' I ventured.

'No!' 

'Where did you get this anyway?' Vijay asked, with interest. 'Is it your girlfriend's?'

'No, okay? I don't know where it came from! I got it out of P's cupboard!' 

He was referring to his younger brother, our younger nephew. There was a moment of stunned silence and then R didi, Vijay and me started guffawing. 

'You mean.' I gasped. 'I might walk in here one morning and see P wearing the baniani?' 

Oh happy day. 

None of us really had any idea why this was so funny, but somehow the prospect of seeing at least one of my strapping young nephews sitting around in a girl's banian filled my heart with glee. The day had totally turned around for Vijay and me, and we went home in an inordinately companiable manner.

Later that evening, M and P were like the rest of us, dressed all spiffily as we headed out to the celebratory dinner at the club. 

I whispered to M 'I hope you didn't tell P about the baniani thing. It would ruin it if he suspects we're all waiting for him to put it on.'

'No, I didn't' he said drily. 'But I don't think it will remain a secret for long.'

'Really?' I was disappointed. 'Why?'

'Because.' he sighed. 'Pickle and Papad came up today and were shouting all over the house - we know you have a girlfriend and you wear her banian. And also her jeans. And shoes.'

Damn. I shrugged and shot a guilty look at Vijay.

NO idea where they'd picked that up from.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

When Breath Becomes Air

It's not often that I talk about books on my blog (yes, yes, I know, but my own books don't count here!)... but Paul Kalanithi's 'When Breath Becomes Air' is one that took my breath away. There's a pun in there somewhere, but you must excuse me. It's a rather facetious way to start a post about a really great book with a message of profound importance.


Paul Kalanithi is working towards becoming a fully qualified Neurosurgeon - after having been in training for almost a decade, he discovers that he's got lung cancer and it's clear he has only a few months, or at best a few years to live.

In his memoir, which is written with great honesty and feeling, Paul comes off as a very promising and caring doctor and essentially a really nice guy. He loved literature and his use of language is is lyrical even as what he writes about is immensely relatable - strange that few of us have ever been neurosurgeons. Even the use of medical terms doesn't throw a reader off.

Essentialy, Paul talks about his experience of dying, or rather living with the knowledge that he's got anywhere from a few months to a few years to live. I find myself struggling with how important I think this book is, given that for so many people I know, including myself, our so-called problems just pale by comparison to that of a young man faced with the pain of a debilitating disease and the certain knowledge that death is around the corner.

Paul with a colleague in Stanford Hospital in Feb 2014
One of the things that I'm amazed with is that the book contains nothing or very little that I could sense of irony. Paul always had a desire to understand death and to relate to it - the fact that it crept upon him so quickly even as he spent years in training as a neurosurgeon responsible for saving so many lives himself - it seemed like it would have been potent material for a lot of bitterness and irony. If there was any, Paul left it out of his book, and given how honest the book is, I think he possibly chose to let it out of his life.

Paul and his wife Lucy decided to go ahead and have a child, which was the other surprising thing for me - they knew they had a host of problems and limited time with each other, but their choice was to create another life. Even though the other side of the argument is equally rational, which is the simple desire to experience that type of love which comes with having a child of your own - I still feel that it was ultimately a very brave thing to do. On the other hand, it's usually the brave things that are most rewarding, and Paul's note to his daughter at the end of the book is what had me in tears. I would have reproduced it here, but I think it's best discovered in the flow of the book.

Paul never got to finish his book. That is to say, he became too sick to complete it but his wife Lucy took over and she actually completes it for a reader in a beautiful, poignant manner that describes Paul's end and how they took it as a family.

Paul died at the age of 37 in March 2015 ( It strikes me hard - I'm 36). The book was published in January 2016. I've always disliked the word 'posthumous'. Seems to me so pointless - something of note happening after the person has died. But this particular book, published posthumously seems anything but pointless. The exact opposite, in fact.

I read a few reviews of the book before I bought it and I recall the one that said it left a reader unsatisfied because it didn't quite have the 'answers.' But as I read the book, and closed the pages with sadness, I thought the answer was intrinsic in the pages. Yes, life is brief, it is ironic, it is painful, and yet it's incredibly beautiful. The answer is in not losing sight of love.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Box of Love & Laughter!


So here's the deal! I get my own brand new 3-box set...and you get all my books in a neat package at a highly discounted price from Amazon!

Also, check out this cool new feature called Kindle Instant Preview - click on any of the covers below to get a preview of the books, in case you still need convincing about why you need to buy. Makes for a very good gift for anyone who appreciates intelligent humour laced with romance!



P.S - I'm very kicked by the cover design. Check out the pic below!
P.P.S - please don't be like my friends and post smart comments i.e. ''I already have the books, can I just get the box?'