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The five and a half people still sticking around to read this blog, a big hello. Also, thank you for reading the crap that I choose to churn out regardless of the respite you got in the form of a break.

Well.. I never really intended to come back. It was not that I was repulsed by this baby of mine. Just that there were a few other things that were pulling me from the other end. First, it was the golu and its underlying social commitments. Although it wasn’t as much as it is supposed to be in Madras, I still had enough on my plate (sundals and sweets!) to get back here. Once, it was over, the repacking of the dolls and putting them back in their original spaces had to be done. Phew. Every year, I generally put up pics of the golu (however small it’s been!) on the blog. This year, though, all those who read (well mostly!) had seen it either on my Facebook page or I’d Whatsapped them. Right. ‘Blog friends’ had become ‘friends’ over the last few years. Happy happy!

Then, why did I come back. Well.. I had to, right. One, because I’ve got no where else to go. Two, ‘cos of such lovely people who’ve been crying that I’d deserted the blog. (Well.. although ‘lovely’ doesn’t describe me much!) And three and more importantly, ‘cos of the death threat of a certain someone; She’s has given me a ‘if you don’t post by five this evening, then…’ I am sure it’s not hard to guess who she is. Thagararu Tharani, she will become it seems. Heh.

Now, you might wonder why I’ve been away even though Golu got over a fortnight ago. Because I’ve been reading. And doing almost nothing else. Before I get into what I’ve been reading for the last two weeks (although by now the world and it’s cousin knows about it ‘cos of all the trumpeting done by yours truly at various other places), there are few other books that I wanted to share.

One, Udaiyaar. I started reading Udaiyar in April when I was with my parents. It totally consists of six parts and speaks about the adult life of Raja Raja Cholan almost like a continuation to Ponniyin Selvan. This book though is written by Balakumaaran. It’s a beautiful book which gives a lot of insight about the Chola culture and the king himself. Basically, it talks about the obstacles Raja Rajan had to overcome in the building of the Tanjore Big Temple. Now, people who’ve read Ponniyin Selvan would expect Udaiyar too to be a page turner like that. But no, this book is not so. This one needs to be read leisurely savouring every word, taking it in and absorbing the reasons behind every action of Raja Rajan. Also, it gives a brief glimpse about Rajendra Cholan, the successor and son of Raja Rajan, which is a very interesting read.

Yeah.. I began reading this in April, read the first three parts by May, gave a huge gap of two months in between, picked up the fourth part in July and finished the series in August. It is a slow book. You cannot expect a Ponniyin Selvan in Udaiyar. But. Udaiyar is a must read. Balakumaaran with all his recent spirituality has filled the book with philosophy and the reasons behind Hindu rituals and culture. For that, it is a must read. There are portions which kind-of tests your patience but then, there are some brilliant parts which will make your hair stand on end. For that, it’s a must read. And, lastly Raja Rajan is one who NEEDS to be read. He deserves so much more than what we are currently giving him. For that, Udaiyar is a must read. I was about to leave for my cousin’s wedding in August and had about two hundred pages left on the day before leaving. I had the option of going to the parlour for some basic stuff before a wedding or completing the book before leaving. I chose the latter. That will give you glimpse of how good the book is. Period.

A book should make you emote with it. That’s when, IMO, a book becomes a good book. A book that makes you cry can make me laugh. A book that gives you immense pleasure might trigger the opposite emotion in me. Yet, the book turns good when it transforms itself from being a bundle of printed paper into an emotional being. When I was talking to a fellow mother the other day about this, she was shocked. ‘Do you really cry reading a book? I mean, how can you ever feel the emotion with some writing? I generally do that only on watching movies!’, she said. I do cry on watching movies too. But, the impact is much more when the characters that I emote with are given shape with my imagination.

When I tell people, particularly fellow mothers, that I read, their first reaction is, ‘How do you get the time? I’ve read when I was in my College but after that, I just can’t find time to read at all!’ I have just one answer for them. Where there is a will, there is a way. I really want to read and I find time for it. Period.

Also, I learnt a couple of days ago to never judge a book by its cover. No, really. All the hi-five moms that I meet at the park or skating classes who speak English so well back out the moment I talk about books. ‘Books? I’ve read Archer long time ago. Now, I don’t read much!’ That’s the general reaction. But, a few days ago, I was talking to a mom who has a slight Telugu accent to her English and to my surprise discovered that is an avid reader. Our common point of liking was Devdutt and we hit it off from there like anything. I gave her few book suggestions and she gave me a few. And, I’d never thought I’d find a reader in her. So lesson learnt.

When I got the Harry Potter books as a gift from the husband, a friend of mine had come home. She asked, ‘the CDs or the books?’ When I said books, she said the films are good and easy on time. I couldn’t deny that the films are good ‘cos I haven’t watched the films. But, for me, a book does to me a thousand other things which a film can never do. Even yesterday, Jayanthan and I were discussing about it. While I was very clear that good books shouldn’t be made into movies at any cost, he said it would reach a large audience if the books are converted into films. May be, he has a point.

But, my point is that books which trigger a lot of your imagination wouldn’t work when turned into films. For instance, Ponniyin Selvan. What Vandiyathevan looks to me might be vastly different from how he looks to you. Yet, we would’ve read the same description as written by Kalki. Your Vandiyatevan is close to your heart as is mine. Only you can see him with your imagination. Well.. When a Vijay (cringe!) is chosen to play the part of Vandiyatevan in the film, it would do absolutely no justice to the Vandiyathevan that we’ve been clinging on to from the day we read the book. It would no justice to the words of Kalki or the confidence Kalki had in his readers’ power of imagination. The biggest reason why I wouldn’t want such classics to be made into films.

Well.. Now, the reason why I’ve been absent, not only from the blog but from the cyber space in general, for the last two weeks. Harry Potter. No! I am not here to write a review or my thoughts about the book. Just want to share my experience of Hogwarts. It’s more than two days since I finished the entire seven books but still, a part of me is living in Hogwarts. The last seven days almost seemed like a blur for me. I didn’t know what time of the day it was. The husband was asked to eat out for lunch. The children were fed whatever could be done quickly. Laundry that was piled up for a week are now slowly seeing the light of the day. The last time I ever would’ve done this could be while reading Ponniyin Selvan. Thankfully, I was at my mother’s place then and menial chores such as taking care of the kids were done by my parents. But now, while reading Harry Potter, I had no choice but to do stuff ‘cos I am an ordinary muggle. Sigh.

But that was not the pressing problem. The more important problem was that I had no one who I could share my thoughts with. I couldn’t find someone to cry when Dumbledore died. I couldn’t find someone to laugh with at Fred and George’s antics. I couldn’t find anyone to share my excitement with when Harry and Ron got together after a long stint of cold-shouldering each other. Which meant, I spoke to my kids about it. ‘You know what.. Dumbledore has died!’, I said to my son while wiping my eyes. He looked at me in disarray and said, ‘It’s ok, Amma!’ Then, thankfully, in between I pinged R’s mom and told her my progress. I could feel her excitement even in her messages. And, when I completed reading the book on Saturday, I pinged her again. Her words were as if she was hugging me in person. Thank you so much, RM! Like I told you, I don’t think I would’ve ever read the book if not for your constant posts about the Boy Who Lived.

And well.. Over the last two days, I’ve been trying to decipher who my favourite character in the entire book is. And, I can’t make up my mind. I loved Hermione. Although she annoyed me in the first two books, her unconditional support to Harry till the end was just awesome. I looked up at Dumbledore. Yes.. He had his faults but his calm demenour and his conversations with Harry are my favourite parts of the book. I loved Ron for the way Rowling has conceived his character. You know, practical. Also, I have a big leaning towards Lupin. If not for him, the Expecto Patronum wouldn’t have worked so much for Harry. I just just adored him. He was all what Sirius Black wasn’t, in temperament I mean. And, finally.. Snape. I get goosebumps and a lump wells up in my throat even now when I think of him. So much of shades of grey and yet how he overcomes them all in the end; all for love – unrequited love. Sigh.

And, finally, take a bow JK Rowling. I know I am very very late in tipping my (virtual) hat at you but you rock, lady. Your imaginary world of magic and muggles will last as long as this real world does. You are AWESOME!