Tag Archives: blog

In An Anthology

26 Feb

A post I wrote on this blog more than 7 years ago took on a life of its own and first made its way to an online journal. I have the vaguest memory of receiving an email from the editor last year, mentioning it was going to be published in an anthology, to which my very enthusiastic response was:

“Oh, that’s wonderfzzzzzzzzz…..”

And so, when another emailed arrived two weeks ago, saying the book was now out, I had the pleasure of surprise all over again. It could be my family history of Alzheimer’s. Or the fact that I haven’t slept in 15 months. But yes, the anthology of which my piece is a part:

our stories too

 

 

Here is the link to the Amazon page. And here’s what the book is about:

Our Stories, Too is an eclectic collection of personal narratives by women from around the world: America, South Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. You will see in these stories how the very ordinary threads of our lives are interwoven with the grand tapestries of world history. We are all, the famous and the unknown, part of the fabric. Gathered from 2013 – 2015 on themes of home, place, belonging, trauma and life change over time, these stories will take you behind the scenes into the lives of thirty three women.

Among my deepest beliefs is that we are made of water, cells, and stories. This, combined with my lifelong interest in gender, makes me honored to be a storyteller among women sharing their histories.

Okay, thank you, byebye! See you next week with Truesday Talezzzzzzzz……………..

Turning 10: 2006–2016

26 Jan

Truesday Tales is on break this week, for the following reason:

I’m trying to remember whether there was snow on the ground that day. I know it was bitingly cold, the sky was a glorious winter blue, the sun shone like a superstar who couldn’t acknowledge his best days were behind him, and my biggest concern was fitting all my precious shoes into two suitcases as I readied to begin a new chapter in the country of my birth.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I casually wrote a post called Shoes Blues. I even uploaded a picture, because that’s what you were supposed to do, nobody only read words. All of two people looked at the post, not counting myself. Who knew what this whole blogging thing was, anyway? It was January 26, 2006, and life was about to change big time. Only, I didn’t know back then that it was the blog that would propel the biggest changes of all and remain my steadiest constant over the next decade. A page I goofily christened Wisdom Wears Neon Pajamas, after the bright orange Eddie Bauer pjs I happened to be wearing that very minute. Yes, imagination has always been my strong suit.

It would be interesting to look back at my journey since: the amazing highs, the stressors only a twenty-something can handle without turning grey, the lessons that chiseled away at me, the teachers, nasty and kind. But I’m on a tight clock with a wakeful baby and don’t want to sound like a granny reliving her heyday. I’m a steady sort, a creature of habit. I’ve had the same bestie for 21 years. Ditto favorite authors and hairstyle. I like my coffee exactly the same each morning, and only the Boy’s surprises aren’t stressful for me. So it’s not really a whoa moment for me that this blogaroo baby has lasted a decade, because it’s been such fun! Really, such fun. It married words and community and fresh ideas from some terribly sparkling minds. And gifted me friendships. A solid, warm, sustaining sisterhood. So much gratitude to the universe for it all!

This blog isn’t going to last another decade. I have my doubts about the end of the year. But that’s okay, because everything has its time, and other platforms were bound to shunt out this early form of self-expression. So pardon me if, between the books I race to catch up on and the simmering something on the stove (hey, can’t have a birthday post without an alliteration!) and Herr Toddlemeister’s shenanigans, we don’t exactly party here anymore. But thanks for all the fish. For reading, chiming in, telling me that you exist. For seeing the heart on my sleeve and treating it gently. Funnily enough, only a clutch of folks in my offline life know that I have a blog, and that’s exactly how we’re going to keep it, you and I. 😉

To 10! It’s been a whopper of a journey. See you next week for Truesday Tales?

Bear hugs and neon confetti,

Still in Pyjamas

 

A Month of Milestones

15 Jul

I’ve been terribly remiss about blogging (as is apparent, how clever of me to point it out!) and am going to blame it squarely on eustress: good stress caused by positive life changes, in this case a new job, a visit from family, travel, several celebrations, and the contradictory urge to romance my couch and see no one but my Boy.
With that long-winded excuse out of the way, let’s collectively acknowledge some fun milestones in this, the best of months:

  • July 1: A bloggy birthday! Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas turned 6 and I did nothing but blow my blog a kiss. Finally, I understand all those couples who have to halt a moment and calculate how many years they’ve been married. The ones whose limbs are extensions of each other and those who think in twos. Not-so-Little Blogette and I, we’re at that comfortable juncture. I love her like an old shoe. She knows I’ll be back. I’ve been coming back for 8 and a half years. But in the meanwhile, there are sparkly heels to be tried. Oh, and speaking of heels…..
You likey?

You likey?

  • July 7: On this day in 1994, a girl tapped my shoulder as I sat on a class bench in front of her. “Excuse me, are you OJ?” she asked. “No, I’m Janice!” I replied huffily, knowing full well that she knew my name. What didn’t penetrate my thick skull was that she was trying to start a conversation. A lesser mortal would’ve run for the hills. She, she came back, and for the last 20 years has been my dearest friend, soul sister, and rock of Gibraltar (no connection to the one I couldn’t visit!) Her name means “Jewel of the World” and my lord, how she has shone me through my darkest hours. We now know why we weren’t given sisters: having each other, a birth sister would be a mere appendage.
  • July 9: Daddy blew out a ring of candles on a cake brought by SOMEBODY ELSE. HMPH. That’s right, snatch cake-sending rights away from your first-born now. That dethroned monarch business just never ends. But my Daddy, he had a birthday, and oh how the world is wealthier because his goodness dwells in it! (Still throwing that corner tantrum, though. )
  • July 25: SO excited about this upcoming birthday, not only because hell-0, it’s a BIRTHDAY, what’s not to be excited about, but also because it is another important milestone. Champagne and cake all around! Would it be terribly inappropriate to wear a huge party hat, get one of those tooter horns and be my very own one-woman parade? No?! See, this is why I love you guys. :mrgreen:
Here, make do with the cake our SIL baked on July 4

Here, make do with the cake our SIL baked on July 4th

~

In Other News…
When the Boy’s brother got married last year, I heard a strange word for the first time: “co-sister”. Apparently, in the south of India, this term denotes women married to brothers. Being a similar combination of un-Southern and irreverent, my sister-in-law (the one of cake fame above) and I cracked up over the term, came up with instagram hashtags for it, invented a co-sister ghetto sign, and even harmonized “Hey sister, co-sister” (Lady Marmalade). Can you tell I love her? Will I be forever banned from kanjeevarams and mallige for this? *beats chest at the thought of no more bisibele bhaath in her life and eyes some Angus divinity in its place*

~
My 18-month-old niece called me this morning. She is currently visiting family in Texas, saw her mother’s phone lying around, found my contact on it, dialed, and chirped “Hi OJ Mami!” When my uterus finally un-puddles itself from the floor, I can’t wait to watch her in mid-toddlerhood-almost-preteen action.

~
We’ve been taking visiting friends and family to this Gujarati thali place that serves the most amazing shrikhand and khichdi, among other delicacies, but I won’t be going back for a bit, because the last time I had 5 helpings of khichdi and they started looking at me funny and avoiding my gaze and I’m mortified that I might have eaten them out of business. This redness of face isn’t rosacea, my friends, it’s ignominy.

How do you solve a problem like more khichdi?

How do you turn a seventh helping down?

How do you walk away from yummy khichdeeeeeeee?

Ignore the glutton, she’s just being a clown.

 

~
Swimming: I’ve been the resident hippo lately, breast-stroking gently through cool, turquoise waters on these warm summer days while our American neighbors wear toddler-sized swimwear, chug beers, burn themselves to a crisp, toss their hair and pose, and do everything but swim. Most puzzling, this behavior.

~
Books: Sindh: Stories From a Vanished Homeland, by Saaz Aggarwal, and To Marry An English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol McD Wallace. Both recommended for history buffs, albeit very different eras and geographies.

~
Heard in the OJ-Boy home:
Me: I think I’m getting food-averse. I don’t think I’m so interested in it anymore.
The Boy: Good. Now we can buy a house next year.

How large can I make the font for HMPH??? 😡

Adios, my friends, pardon my future busybeeness, although I will put up a recently-published article before the month is out and would love to hear your thoughts!

Together

24 Jul

At the beginning of this month, I announced an unusual ‘giveaway’, where we were jointly involved in contributing and none of you knew who the recipient(s) would be. To my base pledge of $50, I would add $1 for every comment received on this post.

67 unique visitors to that post left their comment (one squeaking past the midnight deadline by 5 minutes 😉 ) and together, we raised $117. Sadly, 80% (yes, you read that right) of the unique visitors to that page chose not to share our enthusiasm, and I can only hope it was a logistical issue vs. one of attitude.

Why did I open this up to everyone when I could have quietly slipped my check in the mail, you ask? Why did I invite people from the blogosphere to share, knowing there would be some cynics, naysayers and indifferent folk? Put it down to a case of chronic optimism. Of knowing that it may be my money, but I need it to be OUR attitude. As much as I dislike being preachy and usually save my rather strong views on citizenship for other spaces, I know that alone, I am merely one person contributing to another’s life. Together, that effect multiplies manifold. You may not dash out with your checkbook or sign up to build stacks of sandwiches for the homeless just because of this small effort. You may already be doing things far greater than I will ever dream of. The money you may have raised for worthwhile causes will very likely have exceeded this humble amount we have gathered. But if I got you to think–for even a minute–about sharing yourself with the world, planted a seed about doing something similar or paying it forward in other ways, I’m going to bring out my giant feathered boa and do the chicken dance in circles. (No, I’m not ridiculous in the least, why do you ask?)

Our $117 will be pledged to Ummeed Child Development Center in Bombay, India. The stellar multidisciplinary team at Ummeed (consisting of physicians, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, mental health counselors, special educators, caseworkers, etc.) works to serve the needs of children with disabilities across all economic strata. Not only do they work with existing disabilities, they work toward early identification and remedial measures, since disability is a gradient. Nobody is turned away for their inability to pay, and a sliding scale based on income helps families give what they’re comfortable paying. Autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional/behavioral concerns, attention deficit disorder, and occupational and speech disorders are among a wide range of disabilities they assess and assist. Inclusion is a goal, as they aim to integrate children of all abilities into the social mainstream. Ummeed serves the needs of thousands of families in my home city that have nowhere else to turn. Try this statistic for size: One therapist can comfortably manage a caseload of 35 clients. In the city of Bombay, a megapolis where levels of healthcare far exceed the rest of the country, there are 500 children with disabilities per available therapist. The need exists acutely, yet funding is hard to come by.

I have worked for Ummeed in the past. Some of my closest friends continue to serve there. Which is why I have an insider’s view of a truly wonderful organization that has, for the past 12 years, been the ‘ummeed’ (hope) of so many families.

Thank you for visiting my blog, for joining in, for inspiring me with your comments, and for being the vocal 20% that acted to make a difference.

Together is better. Together, we’re better. Give yourselves a round of applause. And now jump in for a group hug! 😀

Turning Five + A Birthday Giveaway

1 Jul

Five eventful years ago, Little Blogette (a moniker so creative and original, it blew rings of neon smoke from the ears of all who heard it) made her debut with this post. As is wont to with a newborn, plenty of well-wishers came to oooh and awww and tinkle silver-and-pink rattles by her cribside. As is also wont to, by the time you’re done attending the 5th birthday party of a child whose cutest years are past her, you stagger out, topped up with delicious but predictable cake and a lame return present that looks suspiciously recycled.

So you’re off the hook with all the cutesy things fond parents expect to hear about their snot-faced little wide-eyed monster. But wait! I’m not quite done. If I have reaped the joys of connecting with so many of you over the years, if only through the limited interaction of a comment, a friendly email, or “Hi, I’m a lurker, okay bye!” kind of message, it’s time for me to pay it forward.

As a small gesture of gratitude for the sustenance of this blog and to show my appreciation to those of you who come back, year after year, I will be donating $50 to a non-profit organization of my choice, one whose work and cause I believe in and support. But HERE’S WHERE YOU COME IN:

For every comment received on this post, from the time it is published until midnight on July 15th, I will add $1 to the base amount on your behalf. So feel free to say hello, tell me you’re a lurker in your tiniest font and then vanish forever, share your favorite birthday memory, or….only if you want now, no pressure….wish this blog a happy, meaningful birthday. Multiple comments from the same IP address will not be approved, and yes, I’m so magical, I can tell. 😛 Comments are moderated, so don’t be concerned if you don’t see yours right away.

What do you get out of it other than warm fuzzies? I’m hoping it’s a chance to band together to offer the world a little humble something. And something is more than nothing, even if only in the number of letters it carries.

So tell your friends and family, sign in as Rumpelstiltskin-does-the-Hula for all I care, but don’t be shy, send some dollars this way! There are some fab organizations out there who could do with a leg up. And I’ll be sure to share details of the donation with you.

Oh, and before you leave, have a slice of lime tart, specially baked to celebrate the occasion.  You know what this means, don’t you? The Happy Hausfrau will be along to share the recipe soon. 🙂 Bon appetit, my friends, thank you for reading Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas and get clicking on that comment button!

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Guest Post: by The Mad Momma

8 Feb

The Mad Momma needs no introduction. But way back when, my Daddy did the honors, and I can’t thank him enough for it. This is a first-rate second-generation friendship. And here’s the story, in MM’s inimitable voice.

~~~

Jab We Met

It was my parents’ college alumni meet and they’d insisted I fly out to meet their old friends. It’s not the sort of thing most kids would happily do, but then you’ve not met my parents or their friends. The event was perhaps one of the best times of my life, and I have to admit, not in small part because it was where I met OJ.

Her dad was senior to my parents in college, and he and his camera were omnipresent. A joke a minute, a big smile and the most endearing way about him, it’s easy to see where OJ gets it from. Thrilled to see that other ‘kids’ (erm, all well past our teens, thank you very much!) had turned up, he immediately introduced us. Shiny, enviously magazine-cover-worthy hair was my first impression and I decided I was going to hate her for it. Except that she smiled, and she had Uncle’s smile and it was over before it began. I could see we were going to be friends. Angels didn’t play harps in the background, but it was pretty close.

We’d barely got around to introductions when we ‘kids’ were asked to put up a dance show and the look on OJ’s face was worth a thousand words. She had an excuse though – she had two sprained ankles; I unfortunately, had none. To this day, I’m convinced she came along with those and a cane to avoid being coerced into something like this. I maturely decided to make the most of a bad thing and began to train a bunch of girls I’d never met before to dance to “Chunari Chunari”. OJ played the most important part in this – rewind, play, rewind, play. Yes, that’s how long ago this was.

The dance performance was put on that night. And in between tripping over skirts, sarees, lehenga hems, bumping into each other, and getting our moves wrong, we got it done with. Of course, our beaming parents thought it was a brilliant show. Apparently, that doting blindness never ceases. And all this while OJ smiled encouragingly from the sidelines and turned a blind eye (also!) to our dismal show.

Like all disasters, that event brought us together and there was no looking back. We compared notes on planned elopements, unwilling parents, great love and other things that girls our age did. Hers are the only emails I don’t delete when I empty my inbox for the mix of humour, compassion, warmth and sheer practicality they burst with. And I have about 15 years of those now.

I’d like to say I knew her pretty well before she started blogging, and I think I would be right. But there’s nothing like a well-written post stating your stand to show you for the person you are. A peep into your life, a slice of your beliefs, a taste of what you believe in. Throw in some the power to weave magic with your words and you have OJ’s blog right there. So yes, I knew her well. And then I read the blog and knew her better. And to know her is to love her. I didn’t think I could love her more than I do, but I do.

Here’s to many, many more years of taking a stand, making it worthwhile, and living by your own rules. Big hugs.

Guest Post: by Thinking Cramps

6 Feb

So remember I mentioned cramming gouda toasties in this post? Yeah, those were with her. She let me show off about my city, AND there was a background score of bread and cheese involved. How can I not love her?

~~~

The OJ Redemption

It was an imprisonment of sorts in a desert country that led me to discover Orange Jammies, and to rediscover the blogger world.

I’d just begun to know Bombay – newly married, newly moved – when Anando and I moved to Dubai for a 3-month assignment. He worked in a glass-and-concrete office. I freelanced out of our monochrome serviced apartment. We had wonderful evenings and weekends – discovering new places and people. But during the day, it was 48 degrees outside, there was nothing to do and no one to meet, and only endless corridors in shining malls to walk around. So it was my room, my computer and me – heat outside, air-conditioning inside, and thick white walls cutting me off from the noise and colour that had always been my world. I was homesick, and I didn’t really know what I was missing. Was it Delhi – where my parents lived, where my life had been till 4 months ago? Was it Bombay – the city I’d chosen to move to, where I was a wide-eyed tourist and new resident? Or was it just the feeling of “home”? Where was home? I remember the smell of fresh curry leaves at the antiseptic supermarket making me nostalgic for the bustle of a kitchen filled with love and warmth.

Stuck indoors during the day, with the internet my only link to the outer world, I longed for human interaction. I befriended Albert, the young Goan who came to clean our room each day. And I started writing limericks on Yahoo 360. My page had all the colours Dubai lacked – a rainbow background and Vincent’s Starry Night for my profile photo. Back then, that’s where OJ blogged too, as did Aunty G and many others. And before I knew it, we were virtual friends – united by a love for words (and in OJ’s case, also a sweet tooth). OJ wrote tenderly, fiercely, truly and funnily about Bombay – a city I longed to return to and belong to. She wrote about Bombay the way I felt about Delhi but had never really put into words. She made me even more impatient to return.

Enthused by daily comments and appreciation, I eventually revived my Blogger page as well. I’m sad to say the Yahoo 360 account died soon after – due to my neglect and Yahoo’s decision to shut it down. So I’ve lost those prize-winning limericks. Sorry, those prize limericks.

Nearly 6 years ago, then, I discovered an ever-expanding circle of bloggers – limerick-writers, foodies, kindred spirits, angels and wise-asses. I love them all. I don’t blog as often now, but the www was there for me when I needed to shout out to the wider world to drown out the silence all around me. The world shouted back, and still does – pushing me to think, to feel, to fight, to debate, to joke and to write. And OJ, you’ve been an absolutely vital part of this force-field. Cheers to your blog-life, may the 7-year-itch be one that makes you write more, more, more.