Monday, October 29, 2018

Our BLF weekend!

It was the much awaited BLF weekend here in Namma Bengaluru! To me personally, the Bangalore Lit Fest feels more like a Bibliophile's intellectual “amusement park”... there’s so much to experience with so little time ...........when you wish you could turn back time like Hermione in  “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and attend two parallel sessions on different platforms at the same time............ as you juggle between thought-provoking discussions on various issues ranging from literature to social and political issues on three different you scan through the schedule and are unable to decide whether the next one in “Naale ba” is better than the one happening on the “The Red couch” or the parallel one at "Adjust Madi" ............ bumping into other bibliophile friends while scurrying off to buy books and get them signed by authors besides checking on the while checking on your younger ones at the Children's Lit Fest..... Phew!  you are always in that “fear of missing out” mindset!!! 

I must say that the 7th edition of Bangalore Lit Fest had a lot more to offer than its previous editions for children with over 50 sessions spread across two platforms - "Malgudi" for children aged between 5 and 11 and “Narnia” for children aged 11 to 15. It fell short only so far as very young children who only had a trampoline to keep them engaged ... let’s hope they fill out that gap too in the coming year. 

So much so that in my zealousness of making the most out of what can be called  Bangalore's community event ........I was even accused of constantly breathing down Abhay’s neck ( Abhay's dad will call out 'mine too' here!) overriding their choices for mine! :-) I mean seriously, how can one let go when the choice is between "Happy Fox: Illustration time" and "Teen Blues" by Poile Sen Gupta or  “Ma, I want to be a journalist ?” with Barkha Dutt and Mukund Padmanabhan ? 

The highlight for Abhay was a session with Stephen Alter, an author we'd discovered at the Cambridge Book Depot at Mussoorie last year. Though we had picked up "The Secret Sanctuary" last year on the recommendation of Mr. Arora of Cambridge Book Depot, it was not until Abhay actually met Mr. Stephen Alter himself at the CLF that he began evincing an interest in his stories. 

While the focus of Mr. Stephen Alter's session "Cloudfarers: How to run away from school" revolved around his recently released book "The Cloudfarers", we found a similar thread running through his earlier book as well. Abhay couldn't help but wonder if Stephen Alter did not like school but enjoyed writing! Dedicated to  "every student who has gazed through a window and wished that she or he could escape outdoors instead of being trapped inside a classroom", The Secret Sanctuary by Stephen Alter and illustrated by Prabha Mallya centered around the natural environment surrounding the three kids  Manohar, Pradeep and Kamala  and their connect with nature and how it is inter-persed with who they are and how they lead their lives. Abhay who thoroughly enjoyed listening to Stephen Alter talk, his unassumingly friendly demeanor and his tongue-in-cheek humour...........and thus looked forward to revisiting the "The Secret Sanctuary" before scaling up to "The Cloudfarers". Enjoy reading Abhay.....and as one of BLF's theme goes "A good book is an event in my life"....may you come across more such events in your life...... ! Thank you BLF for a cracker of a weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Holiday Adventure..!

September has always been an eventful month for us........but this September has been so busy that we're still trying to catch our breaths from having survived one of the most hectic months of the much so that its only in the third week of October that I have finally found time to put down a post on Onesatoraday!  
One big family wedding, one big birthday, two huge annual family religious events punctuated by my in-between-nannies phase (yet again!) along with our usual attendant responsibilities on the personal and professional front, proved to be a true test of my patience and I can't say that I came out with flying colours!
In fact, I even missed out posting on a must-post-day... my son's birthday that too I'm not sure if that's the way it will be, going forward, considering his transition into adolescence already turning tumultuous particularly with regard to our relationship, off late! If you thought early parenting was difficult, wait till your little one nears teen's as they say full-blown "complicated"! Mind's a confusing phase not only for your wannabe adolescent ..! While one moment you marvel at how grown up or mature he may seem in comprehending the ways of the world, the next moment he can rile you up with his lackadaisical attitude! Whether it's the increasing academic pressure requiring persistent 'follow up', or constant obsession with devices, or their jaded sense of entitlement towards everything in general, adolescent kids can literally drive you nuts..... and it always seems like you are the only one facing these challenges while your contemporaries have it a lot easier!
Anyway, I'm sure Abhay's and my love-hate relationship will continue through his teen years and if not anything else, it will probably yield many such posts on Onestoryaday!   While we marked the completion of his twelfth year, by acknowledging the fact that there are more than a dozen reasons to celebrate, it is also a matter of fact that there may be more than a dozen ways to handle this delicate phase of his life...........but patience is the key......and I'm hoping to work on my patience quotient ....with of course more than a dozen suggestions offered by my loving family! :-) Though it's a little too late to wish you happy birthday Abhay, here's wishing you a conflict-free, initiative-driven and  a contented thirteenth year ahead!  Let's hope your thirteen proves to be lucky for all of us!

Anyway, with Abhay's increasing irritation and my waning patience at home, it was a welcome break (for both of us!) that he chose to spend his Dassera vacations with his grandparents', resulting in the shifting of battleground from home to his grandparents' farm house "Shristi" at Dharmasthala :-) Hehe!....... Grandparents were also parents once....... (and still are!) .....right? :-)
So before he left for his grandparents', we managed to finally finish reading Shashi Deshpande's children's omnibus,  "Three Novels" a Penguin publication, which is a compilation of three of Shashi Deshpande's novels for children aged 8 and above. Incidentally, all three novels revolve around holiday adventures of kids, that too away from their parents. First published in the 1970s, from one of my all time favourite authors, each of these stories is a throwback to the times when life was simple and less equaled more. Reminiscent of   "The Famous Five" and "The Secret Seven" mystery series that we would devour voraciously back in our school days, Shashi Deshpande follows four cousins, viz. Dinu, Minu, Polly and  Ravi in their quest for something exciting during their school holidays leading to uncovering certain mysterious incidents in the big bad adult world. 

"A Summer Adventure", has the kids home alone with their maid in the seemingly quiet environs of their university quarters, recently turned unsafe owing to a string of robberies.  with a string of robberies which they try to solve. "The Hidden treasure" has the kids travel to their father's ancestral home in the village to experience the rustic rural set up, only to discover something valuable hidden from the past. "The Only Witness"  has the kids enamored with big city life in Mumbai as they  travel to their uncle's flat when they stumble upon an unusual connection to a spate of bank robberies. Having been a huge fan of the Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys series, The Famous Five, etc, I found the plots take a predictable turn, however the best part being the inter-play of various characters in the stories, encompassing  various elements like family ties, sibling rivalry, good humoured banter between the older and younger siblings, fostering leadership and responsibility, understanding consequences of one action and of course the thrilling experience of piecing together information to unearth the mystery all  a wholesome read for everyone...... who wish time travel to the eighties/ nineties India.....when life seemed less complicated!! So Abhay....have your own little adventure ....away from your mad momma and come back home all refreshed! Enjoy!