Sunday, 1 November 2009

Excuses, excuses

It's the longest ever since I've posted - the longest since I started this blog.

Now, one of my fellow parents on the school run mentioned a while ago that he (in this case, a father being the stay-at-home half) wondered why people read blogs. "They must be pretty bored or have plenty of time to waste!", he quipped.
I replied to him, to the implicit question contained in his question (the subject of the conversation being my blog) - for me, it's not about boredom ("and I cannot speak for my readers" I added, diplomatically!). Myself, I'm aware that it's human nature to read and be interested in lives, stories, emotions, information. And has been since the storytellers of the street squares and tents of yore started to ply their trade (even then there was an element of commercialism about it - pennies in a hat, or a bowl of rice). And, writing a blog, for me, is about discipline. About plying my trade as a wordsmith every day, or at least regularly. Don't believe that there's an inborn skill in existance that doesn't need nurturing and won't require practise to maintain a certain standard, and then, to increase proficiency. There isn't.

So, I am pretty ashamed that I haven't posted for, what, 3 weeks? Well, folks, I have once excuse, paltry as it may be. I've been in India for just over two of those weeks. But, then again, only 10 of those days were involved in travelling or living without internet access (but, not without a notebook, note). I could offer up the feeble excuse that I find it easier to type my thoughts than write freehand, true as it may be - but then that's like saying Tiger Woods would only ever practise in perfect conditions (not that I'm comparing my skills to his - god forbid. God forbid! Genius sadly escapes me.)

I have to add here, on the self-flagellation session I've embarked upon, that my five-year-old did take his violin to India. And practised more than I wrote. He only missed a week and that was due to the impracticality of taking a minature musical instrument (one-tenth of a fully-sized violin, for those curious) to an indian country village: which bar the randomly-strung bare bulbs and a couple of butane-gas-bottle-powered-stoves, is still stuck in the middle ages. A home-built-raftered-barn, 100 years old, with one side reserved for the water buffalos and wandering chicks, rogue dogs and meandering cats, and opposite, space for my husband's extended family (the farmers whose house this is) and us to sleep on charpoys - stretcher type beds. Or sit on the bare stone, and eat in a circle. Hand-milled rice. Curry fashioned from beans harvested from their fields. Oven-baked gritty flat breads hardened 'mongst the flickering flames of a chimney. Peanut and chili seasoning (ground in an immense granite hand-hewn mortar, larger than my son, as large as a small well, with a wooden mortar of a couple of metres long). And, the family's only meat meal in six months: an unfortunate rooster from their yard, conveniently killed just down the road by Muslims in the Halal fashion, "so as to pass the blame on, so Hinduism remains unsullied" my husband remarked, with ironic crook of the mouth.

Anyway. I wanted to write a post on what entrepreneurial lessons one can learn from the sullied, chaotic and quite exhausting mess that is India (we all need a holiday now, the whole household is sick with colds and fever on our return!) - the India of the supposedly 'developing' cities, I must add, as the villages I mention were a refreshing and inspiring break for all of us, especially memorable my son sitting on the floor with a slate and chalk, taking part in a lesson in the open-air country school. To my credit, I've already written it - scribbling a lone page of notebook on our very last night in India. In a tiny sand-beige airless apartment in Bangalore, to which my in-laws have happily migrated, leaving their large million-dollar mansion in Sydney (you could take them from their birthplace, 30 years ago, but not their birthplace from the hearts and souls of my in-laws, as it's turned out) and where they live in a space proportionate to their former entrance hall, in absolute frugality - and peace.

But that post will be for next time - for tommorow. For now, I reflect on what home means. And for me, to some extent, it means the freedom to sit at my desk at my pre-determined hours (I'm a creature of habit, when it comes to production) with my favourite mug of steaming soy milk and raw cocoa, and write. And look at my wallpaper which has trees stretching out to infinity. And wonder why I prefer it to the dust-stained real-life trees of India. Maybe I'm not that different at all from my in-laws, in some ways.

And, Oh, P.S. To all those experiencing marital disharmony. If you get on with your parents-in-law, if you have that warm glow of affection for the family of your spouse: it could very well save your marriage. Good night!


  1. hhhmmm- marital disharmony is probably the reason I am not married!!!! Not nice really, but I guess that's why I'm a single mum.

    Just out of interest why did your parents in law decide on Bangalore?

    Lots of support,

  2. hhmmm - marital disharmony - this is probably the reason I am a) not married and b) not with my ex!! No it's not very nice!

    Just out of interest how come the parents in laws decided on Bangalore?

    with positive thoughts and support for your creative endeavours and any disharmony! : )