Monday, May 13, 2013

Zeus Lawrence Makes Five!!

Meet Zeus Lawrence! Our new bundle of joy. I still can't believe he is here! But he is and the kids are in heaven. They are having personal sessions with him in his room. He is almost 10 weeks old and has some white streaks which will be more apparent as he grows. He is a Maine Coon mix we adopted from the rescue shelter. If he is not the cutest kitten in the world then I don't know who is! He was born on February 28, 2013 and came home with us on May 11, 2013.

My little girl loves cats. Come to think of it she is a little kitty-cat herself. My son surprised me with his love and adoration for the cute bundle the moment he set his eyes on him. He was the one who said with clarity,  "Mom, let us get him, I like him".  Must have been love at first sight. He didn't like any other kittens. In fact we had gone to see an orange tabby and met with this one only because the tabby was already rescued.  I don't know if you can tell but I am in love. I am generally indifferent to cats. We had many cats in the attic of my childhood home. I remember going up the steps to the attic in search of the new kittens and finally being able to take a peek braving the fury of the mommy cat! Cats were always shooed off to the attic especially when they came down the steps looking out for fresh chicken and fish being prepared in the kitchen. They kept the attic rat population in check as we had our granary for rice and other crops up there. Part of the attic served as a pantry for dried foods and yet another part stored old furniture and other knickknacks. When the book shelves began to overflow in the house, we had a few moved up there too! As kids we loved playing hide and seek among the many dark nooks and crannies. Before I discovered the beauty of the outside world that existed in our land, I used to go up to the attic with a book and some snacks in hand and sit right under the randomly placed transparent tiles that gave away plenty of light to read. It was plain awesome to sit in the attic and watch the water trickle down the tiles when it rained and to feel sheltered yet so close when storm winds raged outside. Of course you will find me snug under the covers next to mom once thunder and lightning descended in full crescendo:-)

So.... as I was sayin' the lively kitten has taken over the house in just two days. He was sitting next to me just now with doleful eyes begging to be petted. So I had to stop a few times to do that till he fell into a nap. Earlier in the evening when H and my boy left for karate, Zeus played with me and my girl for a while and then all of us separated to do our own things. Then he jumped up onto my computer (my brand new apple macbook pro, mind you), walked on it and around it, climbed onto me, put two little paws and his head on my shoulder and looked up at me. I wasn't sure what to do so I looked at him too and stroked him gently and he just closed his eyes purring all the time! Like Emperor Akbar tells Birbal after a mystery is solved, "you have opened my eyes little kitten, I never knew that a cat could be this lovey dovey." As for his name, the kids loved the name Zeus unanimously and Lawrence was the name his foster mom used till we got him and so he is Zeus Lawrence. Ingenious, Eh? I actually liked how it all fell into place. So we are five now and hopefully will stay there.

Now Reading:
Elizabeth Strout's new novel,  The Burgess Boys. I have just started, but only a few pages into and it is already looking promising. Ms. Strout's got my back as a reader. I look forward to curling up on the sofa tonight with the book and Zeus for a relaxing read.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Couple More...

Remnants of the India trip are still with us in the form of memories. The silly song that my littlest nephew had acted out keeps invading my kids’ heads, the bunny that her cousin gave my girl and of course the phone calls home that revives requests for a visit in summer. It was great to see the littlest nephew for the first time. On other news, my Mom now is a great-grandma 6th time over. Wish I could have seen the new little one too before I left but babies are not born according to our schedule. On the book front, here are a couple that caught my fancy.

The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean

The book is all about DNAs laid out in layman’s terms. It unravels the magic of the DNA and the scientific studies that led to its unraveling in a fun and down to earth style. This author has successfully carried off similar daunting subjects before. I am thinking of buying his Disappearing Spoon for my Periodic Table lover of a son. We do have to take some of the things in the book as his personal opinions but that gets the book going in a personal narrative form for an entertaining read. Wonderful book. Got me excited about DNA!  I believe Sam Kean, son of Gene Kean and Jean Kean, can entertain us about any subject that interests him.

The Last Runaway by Tracy Cavalier

I watched ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ quite by accident while flipping channels late one night. Having no reference point I started watching it reluctantly but stayed glued on all through to the end. Having had that appreciative sigh one gets after watching something satisfying the movie had stayed in my mind for a long time. Scarlett Johansson played the lead but I wasn’t familiar with her name at that time. When I saw this book ‘The Last Runaway’ as written by the author of ‘Girl With the Pearl Earring’, two things hit me. One, this book’s got to be good; two how could I not know that movie was based on a book! The book proved to be all that and more. Tracy Cavalier surpassed herself! You will enjoy it even more if you have read ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and aware of the Underground Railroad and the Quakers who helped the slaves fleeing from their bondage. Told from the point of view of a Quaker woman Honor Bright who came over from England, the story is woven gently through the settler/immigrant’s life in America amidst the strong undercurrent of slavery. I found myself looking for each of the characters in 'Uncle Tom’s Cabin' in the faces of the many runaways that Honor helped. It was a totally rewarding experience and I did not put down the book until I finished! Considering the grave subject and the general thread of the story this was surprising. Such is the prowess of Cavalier’s story telling. 

A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama

A Hundred Flowers is yet another gently written story on a powerful subject and time in history. The time when China’s Mao Tse Tung declared a new openness with “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend.” Many feared this to be a trick but slowly were attracted enough to be open about their ideas and eventually fell right into the trap set for them. Tao is a young boy in China who enjoys life and brings much joy to his family. His life turns upside down when his Dad was arrested for writing an open letter critical of the existing regime. While looking out for his Dad’s return from a tall kapok tree he fell and broke his leg. The story revolves around this event and Tao’s Grandpa’s role in his dad’s fate mingled with his Mom’s struggles. Gail Tsukiyama's deft handling of this deeply affecting story shines throughout the book.