March 31, 2012

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards opens on a cold snowy night in 1960s when a doctor and his wife are expecting their first child. And, it moves through 25 odd years in the lives of all those around this family and their children.

The doctor finds out they are having twins, but he decides to give away a child, a girl, who has Down's syndrome, and keep only his son. He himself had a sister who had a heart condition and he knew the difficulty he faced while growing up. He did not wish the same for his son. A understandable reason? But, he was not prepared for the turmoil this would unfold in his else peaceful, happy life.

He lies to his wife that their daughter died, and she grieves but he is unable to even look her in the eye and cry for their loss. She grows distant, she does not understand him, she starts to have affairs, she  starts to seek freedom.

He immerses himself in his work and photography. He almost distances himself from his wife and does not want another child, in the fear of another daughter with Down's Syndrome. Their son is a silent observer to all that passes between his parents and as we see he is affected in his own way.

The story brings out the helplessness experienced by the nurse to whom the doctor hands over his new born daughter, how a relationship is completely broken apart with a secret always standing between the doctor and his wife.

Personally, I felt it also portrayed copious amount of courage from the doctor's wife in dealing with her grief. In spite of the topic being completely pushed under the carpet by her husband, she learnt to carry her daughter who she assumed to be dead, with her all through her living years.

The story moves through the years of the twins, living completely different lives and how one man's decision for the better of all did not after all work out, or maybe that was how things were meant to be.

Image courtesy: MemoryKeepersDaughter.jpg

March 29, 2012

Its easy to complain, so let me start...

There are so many things which I always never do right. I thought, why not list some here and maybe... a very far fetched MAYBE.. I will be able to get these towards the right side.

1. I have been eagerly looking to buy an oven and start baking some goodies. I thought maybe a course would help me put myself in pace with my idea and also help me get about it. But, I have not yet got the oven even though I have been looking out for options. Now I feel that I need time at my disposal and with so many things to do through the day, I have no time and moreover, no time for me to do anything peacefully. Most of my chores are done in such a planned out manner, and they are all chores. I have no time to browse through anything and I want to get this oven after a good research. That might just be the issue, but that is the way I am.

2. When I moved to my current residence, the only thing I was at peace with was the small patch of a garden which existed and at that time it just truly existed. I had to take out so many weeds, get the whole place sorted out and what not. But, now I have some plants... have flowers on and off, but I need to get myself to devote myself to the garden if I want to see it truly ' bloom' ( for the lack of any better word).

3. I never seem to take out enough time through the day. It is not because I do not have the time, but just that I end up browsing the web, or reading a book, when I know there would be many things which are pending. The issue is I have so many things which are forever to be done, that I want to just relax and take things lightly, rather than move from one to the next. But, if I do get myself to finish off all my chores/tasks, will I be free to sit around? I doubt it. I am sure there will be a another few items added to the list by then.

4. I have been forever trying to get on to some part- time work schedule, and I know I can do it, but I just do not. I have these above chores to finish with all the lazing around also involved, which results in the part- time work not figuring in anywhere. 

At times I wonder is this a by- product of having a kid, I doubt it, I think I am just a lazy person. B says I have a true leo... who likes luxury and lazing around, and the two do go well hand in hand. ;)

March 10, 2012

A day

Some days you just sit and try to figure out whats wrong

Some days you just try to reason out

Some days you try to do anything to make things better

And, some days you just feel beaten.

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March 1, 2012

Tea for two and a piece of cake by Preeti Shenoy

A book set in Mumbai and Pondicherry, about the life of a middle class girl, who marries a rich man and then seeks happiness in being the perfect mother to her two children. The rich man though has different plans and walks out on his wife and two kids for a younger woman. He is unhappy about the way his life has panned out and he is set to make amends. He believes it was not his calling to be a father and that too at such a young age when his career was the most important factor. The girl, now a woman, a mother, decides she needs to get a grip on her life, move ahead and moreover she is also set to prove that she is capable of making a success of he life, which he has so easily mocked.

I will not detail the entire story from here, but only what I thought was most striking in this book. Preeti has touched upon many topics which affect many women in India and all make this a book where you will find yourself silently nodding your head as you read through the pages.

A single mother and her dilemma on what the society and world will talk makes her go into a cocoon and not trust even the most trustworthy souls. Friends play the most important role in helping her gain strength and show her that she has it in her to succeed and put her pluses to her benefit. This is all easier said than done and a friend who stands by you as a pillar only goes to show how important you are in the person's life.

In India, trust is something which is built very slowly, and here we see that there is an elderly lady who has opened her heart and house to these new comers on her floor. And this turns into true trust and love when she takes care of the kids when the girl has to go and earn her living. How many of us can trust our neighbors completely to leave our kids with them for hours? As she also says, it is much better an elderly lady than a house-hold help.

And finally, love the second time around. Completely shunned by many in this land, a woman has a role to play as a wife and a mother, but not as a wife again if the first time does not work. A man on the other hand is not seen to have any societal restrictions, and he can take a lover, marry and settle, all very easily. When a woman does the same, there are so many questions on what would parents say, those around say. Preeti has never really expressed these thoughts openly, but the many occasions where the girl is happy on the world seeing her as a happy family with her lover only shows how she is looking for the society acceptance and how it is an unsaid requirement.

And the very sweet mind of a small child, who yearns for her father to return. The many instances where she is sure her father will come back for her, and he could possibly not have left her.  But, a small dessert, yummy food and a book to read in bed helps her adjust to her new surroundings without a whimper.

The book is a very easy read, and I did sit back and think of how we all sit back at times and take on the role of the pillion rider of our very own lives and you need something to come by and hit you for you to sit up and think straight. At the heart of the book, its about sweet love. Love when it seems inappropriate, the love for a child, the love one showers those who are not even blood related, and most of all, the love that you need by your side to live life completely.