Day 22 – Things to do before I die – Theme post day

This week’s theme post brief in the December 2012 Marathon Blogging event was – Let us lay our hearts open, and talk about our “Bucket List”, 10 things you want to do before you kick the bucket. It may be a plain and simple bucket list, or a contextual subset, 10 adventures you want to try, 10 foods you want to try, 10 holiday locations you dont want to miss, and the list goes on! Run your imaginations wild and entertain us all 🙂 10 is just a number, it will be easy for people to read and interact, else sky is the limit.


I had made a sticky note for myself about things I wanted to do in the next 5, 10, 15 years here. This was almost a year and half ago.

I am listing the ones not yet completed on that list along with some new ones.

NOTE – This is a work-in-progress list.

– Travel within India – Leh, Jaipur (to get a bandhini saree), Agra (to see Taj Mahal – yes clichéd, but still), Gujarat, backwaters in Kerala (boat house anyone?).

– Travel internationally – Bora Bora Islands (this one is going to be a no-kid-with-the-spouse-only holiday), Italy (for an authentic pizza), London (this time a longer trip), Antarctica, Dubai (to buy gold, yeah right!), be a volunteer at the Olympic games.

– Read books, loads of ‘em and collect all those books for my collection at home. Here is why I love to read?

– Write a children’s book – this one is inspired by my son.

– Take a cruise to Alaska.

– Take N to Disney world. Just once! Before he outgrows love for all those characters.

– Do something that I REALLY LOVE and have natural passion for (money and time not being constraints) – something that makes use of my spatial skills (my friend A says I am good at these), my love for books, decor and photography.

– Watch plays at Ranga Shankara (as long as I’m in Bangalore) and else where too. Addendum to this one – See a broadway show -front row, center 🙂

– Learn to cook amazingly, fabulously, awesome-ly, stupendous-ly and some other -lys. I am such a foodie and love to try new things, eat visually appealing food but I want to be able to make those dishes or at least half of them. Some day!

– And the one dream that I have been harboring since a long time – Live in Manhattan, on the island, even a studio apartment will do or a loft overlooking Central Park (I know I know I am not that rich but it doesn’t cost anything to dream, does it?), walk to work amongst the teeming crowds, watch theatre on Broadway, take the subway, have a picnic in Central Park! – This has been partly fulfilled! I am living in Wellington downtown. The apartment is one of those modern, white, ceiling-to-floor glass windows wala thingies. I walk around to everywhere possible. I use the public transport when needed. The city has a waterfront that I really like and often walk down to. But I am still going to keep this one on the list for sentimental purposes.

What is in your bucket list? 


Books I want to read

My latest list!

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas – watching the TV series based on the book.

the happiest toddler on the block by harvey karp

battle hymn of the tiger mother by amy chua – done!

open by andre agassi – borrowed it from the library today. will get to it soon.

Betsy Brown Braun, author of Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – Done

Raising Happiness:10 simple steps for more joyful kids and happier parents – Christine Carter

Raising an emotionally intelligent child – John Gottman

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Short fat chick to marathon runner – Kerre Woodham

100 shades of white – Preethi Nair – borrowed from the Librarian’s recommendations at my local library – Done


Books we have been reading

N and I have been visiting the Wellington library pretty often – once or sometimes twice a week.

He goes to school 3 days a week. On his off days – Monday and Friday we go off on our expeditions! We visit the library or the indoor play area Capital E (which also has books, sponsored by Gecko Press) or Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, which is super kid friendly and has a lot of educational/fun/interesting stuff on display in addition to the museum-y kind of stuff. Sometimes we just hang around at home and step out for a walk or to play in one of the many near-by parks or just for a mommy and son lunch 🙂

We bring almost 15 to 20 new books every week. N chooses some of them and I pick some. So we have a good mix and have been learning quite a lot of new stuff – a good mix of cultural, moral and fun element!

Here are some books that I really liked. Just for your reference (if you don’t know already) N is 3 yrs and 10 mos as of now.

Topsy-Turvy Bedtime by Joan Levine

 This could be just the story at our place on some nights! The last-minute requests for a glass of water or choosing which books to read or “not feeling sleepy” etc. It was fun reading this with N and he tried out some of the tricks too and appreciated the routine and effort it took to keep that routine in place! A good read if you want to change your child’s perspective about bedtime routine (hopefully it shall help with that).




Benny’s Had Enough by Barbro Lindgren

This is such a cute lil story about Benny a piggy who is fed up of being at home where his mommy keeps cleaning up his potatoes and sticks and then she wants to wash his dirty little rag cloth piglet in the washing machine (How could she even think of that, huh!). He decided that he doesn’t want to clean up and leaves home to find a better one (didn’t we all want to do that as kids sometime). But once he steps out he realizes that home is the best place to be and cleaning up is not that bad 🙂 Good read and N sort of empathized with Benny (yes I am a stickler on clean up after play!). But he enjoyed the read and told Benny “Cleaning up is fun Benny, you can sing a song while doing that.” 🙂 The illustrations are very nicely done too!


Good For you, good for me by Lorenz Pauli

A book about a dormouse and a bear doing stuff that is good for both of them. Also passes on the message about sharing and taking turns 🙂



Green eggs and ham by Dr Seuss

I know this is an old Dr Seuss classic and N has read it long back, but he wanted to read again and so we brought it home. N loved reading it again – the whole rhyme and repetition was “awesome” in his words. And here is some trivia about the book.


Alex Did It! by Udo Weigelt

A book about 3 naughty hares and how they keep blaming an imaginary hare Alex for everything they do, till a real hare named Alex turns up. Was one of those books with a moral lesson hidden and it helped. We have just started having a li’l bit of fibbing at home, along with stuff like “Not me!”, “someone else did it”, “pretend friend did it” etc. Reading this book where the hares realized its ok to tell people if something bad happened and not okay to blame anyone else – real or pretend helped!



Waiting for later by Tina Matthews

We really really needed a book like this. N being at the age he is, doesn’t understand the concept of later! It is just now or never. As of now we have to give him clear pointers/reference points like when you are done having lunch and your bath then you can watch a cartoon. Simply saying “Not now, later” does not work, which is fine at this age but eventually he needs to understand. The book helps to learn the concept of waiting via a girl’s story who has to wait, for later, to play with her family and while she waits she understands that later is not that bad at all 🙂


We have also started bringing books that N can read on his own. So these are small and thin books with not too many words on each page and a lot of repetition of words. They have different levels to suit self-readers of all types – beginners, intermediate and advanced. He reads one of these series every night (or most nights) and then I or S read 2 other books for him.

We have slowly started the journey to read independently, lets hope N loves that and gets hooked on to it!! Amen.

What are we reading these days?

N is reading or rather being read to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. It is one of my ALL TIME favourites! I love seeing the movie too, and it is one movie I could watch over and over again (Normally, I cannot watch re runs, just can’t).

So I was walking back home after dropping N off to pre school the other day and I passed by this local book store chain called Whitcoulls (a la Barnes & Noble in the USA). They have their annual sale going on and on the display section, was this book – ON SALE – NZ $5 instead of the regular $20! The book-lover and sale-lover in me stared with eyes wide open!! I grabbed it lest someone else picked that copy up. Ya ya I was being paranoid, but for Charlie and Willy Wonka its ok to behave like that, right?? I know some of you are nodding your heads 🙂

N is also loving the book. We read a few pages or chapters every night. I love the characters, the simple yet detailed descriptions and language, the fun and quirkiness!!

The love of reading is one thing I would like to pass on to my child (err excuse me Mr Gibran this doesn’t mean I “seek to make him like me“). I have read to him from the day I brought him home from the hospital and even before that. And he does love books now and enjoys our routine of reading a book every night.

I believe books open newer worlds for us, help expand one’s horizon and make a person a better human being in the grand scheme of life! Which brings me to what I am reading these days? I am onto The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Its one of the quirkiest books ever and something that I had been putting off for a long time (still don’t know why!). And I think it is going to be one of those books which grow on you and then stay there forever! A classic in its own sense and genre. I am halfway through 2nd part – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and am loving it 🙂

There are so many books I want to read – to myself and to N! The next one being – Andre Agassi’s autobiography “Open” (have always loved the guy) and then I shall pick something from the Whitcoulls Top 100 books!!!

For N, I would like to start some books that he can self read. He can identify the alphabets and he reads them out from sign boards, newspapers, books etc. But is yet to group them into words like c, a, t makes cat! So I would like to get him some easy to read, self read, big letters books which he can start reading himself. I think some scrabble or phonetics also might help in spelling words. Any thoughts/suggestions/book recommendations for him? He will turn 4 in October!

Have a great week!! 🙂

The Outsider and The Descendants

Finished these 2 books in the last few days and liked both of them. They came as suggestions from friends and avid readers!

The Outsider by Albert Camus, is a light, yet deep and meaningful, easy-to-read book of about a 120 pages. I have not been into Albert Camus and the likes as far as reading is concerned and so when I started reading I kept an open mind. It is written in a simple style, nothing too fancy or heavy. But the underlying meaning is true. Considering that the book was written in the 1940s (in French) I am amazed by how the essence of it holds true even now!

Loved the writing style and more than that the book itself and I could relate a lot to the central character Meursault. As the author says in the afterword “In our society any man who doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral is liable to be condemned to death.”  Intriguing enough for you to grab the book? Go pick it up! My mom who is visiting also read the book and liked it, though she was in slight disbelief about how the book ended 😉

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings is also a book that I liked. It is more commercial, hence the movie of the same name starring George Clooney. Love that guy, don’t we?

Coming back to the point, The book describes people and their emotions in a straight matter-of-fact way. Don’t want to give away too much of the plot here but it’s about a man who has 2 daughters and his wife is in coma after an accident. How the father wants to get his family back together and move on with life forms the crux along with a few twists! A story focussed on human emotions more than anything else! Makes for an interesting read, I would like to see the movie too!

The question now is what next? I have The Ice Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa and A Fine Family by Gurcharan Das. Both of them are based or revolve around the Partition. Am thinking which one should I start with or should I go and pick Fountainhead by Ayn Rand or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – both “famous, much recommended” and on my to-read list for long?? Suggestions??