In the spirit of not letting mental illness define yourself or how you see other people. Diagnosis isn’t a label or an identity. That is what 2016 taught me.
Art and words blend so well and they are two of my favourite things. Now imagine how delighted I was to hear that the Harry Potter series is being treated to a glorious illustrated makeover from Jim Kay! Since Harry Potter started out as a children’s series, it only seems fitting.
With each book in the series’ illustrated edition being published every year, I have six more years of looking forward to these lovely editions.
If you’re one to crib about how the characters in the illustrations look different than the actors in the movies, this may not be your cup of tea. I’d read an article about how Jim Kay drew from real life inspiration, happening upon some children he thought he could base characters like Ron, Harry and Hermione. Kay has illustrated the characters and settings as he envisioned them which is delightful since they feel more true to the descriptions in the book particularly in the case of Ron.
Of all the illustrations, my favourites were the ones containing glowing elements. I was immediately struck by how beautiful the ghosts were illustrated, like a streak of laser lights dancing across the room not to mention the unicorn in the Forbidden Forest reminding me of a lighthouse in a dark sea.
Suffice to say I find the whole process fascinating! The attention to detail is inspiring and brings so much of the series to life.
Not only are illustrations ogle-worthy but it’s been known that they are useful in educating children. At a young age, a child tends to think in non-abstract terms and with the help of illustrations, his or her imagination can develop as well as help them associate words with objects and more complex actions with sentences. They’re also important for capturing the attention of a child because of their visual appeal.
Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.
So it’s Fathers Day and yes, I’m bitter. I’ll be honest, I hate this holiday and Mother’s Day as well (even the woman who came up with Mother’s Day hated what it became). Not that I don’t love my parents but the fact that these days can be tough for some of us. There are those who’ve lost a parent and are reminded of that loss on days like this, forced to scroll through heartfelt messages addressed to a loved mom or dad on the likes of Facebook. Then there are those people who don’t have a good relationship with their parents and may feel forced to say something cliched about their mom or dad so that they aren’t shamed into feeling like unappreciative children. It’s okay to not love a parent simply because of blood relation. If someone expresses hate for a parent don’t dismiss it. It’s not easy to understand but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. My basic point is that not everyone is happy on these days.
But I can’t say stop being so optimistic and sentimental to those who don’t have these issues. That’s where the conundrum lies. How to be happy for others and not be unhappy about yourself. I have to say it’s a hard thread to weave.
It may not be nice or rational or fair but if I’m being brutally honest half of me thinks like this:
I don’t want to see your selfies with your fathers on Facebook, how much you love them and appreciate them, what struggles they’ve gone through to support you or anything at all. Do you know what it’s like to see that influx and not be able to participate? It feels like the void you’ve been working to patch up has ripped open all over again.
and the other half thinks like this:
It must be nice to take pictures with your dad and post about it, tagging him. What would my dad’s Facebook profile have looked like? Would he have one at all or would he despise it? What would I have gotten him as a gift? What would I say to him?
I still don’t know how to deal with this problem when Fathers Day rolls around every year. I guess I still have to work on it.
In actuality this post started out as a generic Happy Fathers Day one, with me looking up quotes to use. I didn’t find anything that really spoke to me. It’s unfair that there are few sentimental musings about fathers but an abundance for mothers. I’ve never liked the inequality in how societies tend to underrate the role of a father in a child’s life and overrate that of a mother’s. Halfway along the way of writing this post I realised I was just doing so to conform to the overall positive norm of the holiday. That’s why I wanted to be honest instead. For god sake we need more of that. Be real.
p.s No offence meant to those who post on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, just what it’s like to see it from a fatherless individual’s perspective. I’d never wish anyone to lose someone and feel this way, not even my enemies. My opinions aren’t meant to insult or offend and I’m sorry if they do but that’s just how I feel and it won’t change.
Dear Kinder Joy India,
I’d just like to say that your new Kinder Joy for Girls and for Boys, is a sore disappointment in the breaking down of gender stereotypes.
Out of curiosity about what’s inside, I went to buy a Kinder Joy egg yesterday and the shopkeeper asked me, “Girl or Boy?” It’s not an easy question to answer because I am biologically female but do not like girls toys. More importantly, if I were a transgender, what answer would I be able to give? None.
I remember when I was a kid how delighted I was to buy a Kinder Joy egg, completely unaware of what sort of toy would be inside that chocolate goodness. We didn’t anticipate a feminine or masculine toy but rather a toy. That was why it was special. But as a child, if I had bought a Kinder Joy for Girls, I’d be disappointed if I received a bracelet like this:
Let me please remind you that there are girls who like to play with Hot Wheels (I was one) and boys who like to play with Barbies. AND THAT IS OKAY. We should be encouraging children to be themselves and if that ‘self’ is not necessarily in accordance with gender norms or roles then there’s nothing wrong with that.
Shame on you for making gender-stereotypical toys, reinforcing that line between girls and boys. As if cooties weren’t enough.
a 20-year-old outraged customer (yes I’m 20)
While a Kellogg’s Cornflakes advertisement reprimands mothers for sending their children to school with just a glass of milk, surely it is far better than being force-fed a biting bullet, leaving the twang of metal in their mouths.
While parents worry that their child will catch a cold because he or she has left their sweater back at home, the cold is better felt than the fiery blaze of pain from gunshot wounds in cartilage. Better to wear no sweater at all instead of sleeves of blood dripping down their fronts, covering fragile exposed skin.
While we students impatiently waiting to finally go home after a long day, it is better to stare at a clock whose seconds tick by slowly than one that does not move at all. For the clocks of innocent children have stopped evermore and they cannot go home at all.
It is a long day. The longest for victims, survivors and the bereaved.
And we do not know when this longest day shall end.
All thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the brutal Taliban attack in Peshawar as well as their families.
Goodreads Synopsis: In Boy, Roald Dahl recounts his days as a child growing up in England. From his years as a prankster at boarding school to his envious position as a chocolate tester for Cadbury’s, Roald Dahl’s boyhood was as full of excitement and the unexpected as are his world-famous, best-selling books. Packed with anecdotes — some funny, some painful, all interesting — this is a book that’s sure to please.
I have always appreciated how Roald Dahl knows children so well (perhaps he was one until the day he died) and I especially appreciated his brief introduction to this book where he wrote:
An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details. This is not an autobiography.
This is not an autobiography. I would never write a history of myself.
I love how he knows how much we despise dry and tedious autobiographies and indeed he has kept his promise by writing light-hearted narratives of significant childhood incidences. There are tales of strict matrons, horrible headmasters, an island where he used to vacation and many more.
If anything, this book would make you feel nostalgic and fall in love with the simpler times of the 20th century, longing to take a time machine back into the 1920’s. The array of sweets described in earlier chapters such as Sherbet Suckers, Licorice Bootlace and Glacier Mints are mouth-watering and make me wish such treats were being made for the children of the 21st century. I wish to feel the empowerment of driving a newly invented motor car in an age where such a thing is miraculous and fascinating. Perhaps this book shall be my time machine, transporting me into an era of no technology. As an old soul, this book was a delight I never thought I would find.
I would recommend Boy: Tales of Childhood to one and all. Even if you have never read any of Dahl’s works, this book may inspire you to. But I’d especially recommend this book to Roald Dahl lovers because you can truly get insight into how Dahl’s own life and perhaps childhood in particular, inspired many of his children’s novels. There is a chapter called Chocolates, wherein Dahl recounts how he and his classmates at school would receive boxes of chocolates, new flavours that Cadbury concocted and wanted feedback on. It is apparent that this experience is the seed from which Charlie and Chocolate Factory grew.
It also becomes evident why Dahl paints children as merciless puppets in the hands of evil adults, a theme that is seen in many of his books like Matilda, since he himself had always been at the mercy of his headmasters and their canes. Perhaps his bold, young heroic children characters are his own wish fulfillment; what he wished he could have done to those punishing and cruel adults when he was a child himself.
Prompt: Write a short poem that a child might like.
The Ogniferous Train
In the station, the Ogniferous Train stood shiny and red
Inside, books about marvellous adventures lined the bed
A few cars were painted with all the colours of a summer fair
Smells of pumpkin pie and candy apples wafted in the air
The conductor bellowed, “We’re about to leave!”
Through the hills and castles of France it would weave
Children’s dreams and wishes to fuel the journey ahead
It was the trip of a lifetime, everyone said
To travel the land and the realm of imagination
No wonder the Ogniferous Train was a fantastic vacation!
This is dedicated to all the kids who pick through the trash hoping to find something magical within it. Because they’re still kids and they still believe in magic.
The Spoilt Spoils (X Marks the Spot and it leads right to the DUMPSTER)
In the outskirts of the city
Lay a mound of treasure
Three boys stood before it
Its value they could not measure
Before their dull eyes, was a sparkling array
Of rubies, diamonds and gold
Gleaming with wonder and promise
For one and all to behold
But no one else could see it
Only these lads went on and on
About how they’d hit the jackpot
And they sifted through it till dawn
And do you know what they were staring at?
A rotting pile of trash
For these boys are rag pickers
Their survival stemming from ash
For those of you who are considering becoming a doctor or wish to know a little about med student experiences, here is an interview of a good friend of mine about the Polio camp he volunteered for 🙂
PULSE POLIO 2014
Zero. That is the number of polio cases encountered in India over the past three years. Our country has officially been declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation and it is thanks to campaigns established by the government as well as NGOs who are dedicated to this cause.
One such initiative is Pulse Polio, an immunisation campaign which was established by the government of India in 1995. The primary aim of this campaign is to vaccinate all children below the age of five against the polio virus.
First year MBBS students of Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad volunteered their services for Pulse Polio and really made a difference. I had the opportunity to interview one such student, Aarish.
Q: Tell me about your volunteering experience for Pulse Polio.
A: I volunteered for Pulse Polio on the 19th and 20th of January and for the first day I was posted at a government clinic called the Urban Health Post in Rakshapuram along with five of my classmates. We administered polio drops called Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to a total of 377 children. For the second day, we went door to door in Rakshapuram including the slum areas to vaccinate the children who could not come to the clinic due to lack of transport amenities.
Q: Albert Einstein once said that the only source of knowledge is experience. Which did you prefer: vaccinating children in the clinic or going door to door in Rakshapuram?
A: Both experiences were equally amazing. As medical students we were fascinated with the clinical setting since we could learn how it works. I remember there was a man who drove two kids at a time on his two-wheeler to the clinic. He made multiple trips so that all the children in his locality could be vaccinated since their parents could not bring them in themselves. Yet, going beyond the walls of the clinic was a good way to learn about the reality of those less fortunate.
Q: Academia and industry are two sides to the same coin. Do you think this campaign taught you more about your profession than college has?
A: Certainly. We not only got the invaluable opportunity to learn from doctors in the field but could gain practical experience that prepares us for our internships and residency. As a volunteer for Pulse Polio we could be a part of a successful campaign that keeps polio at bay and I’m honoured to have been able to give back to our country. It feels amazing.