When I started this year with a resolution to “read better” I hadn’t accounted for a lot of things, the topmost being my state of mind because usually I turn to fluff like a junkie the moment I feel stressed out. As for my state of mind, I hadn’t realised the full scope of the phrase “terrible twos”. Spoiler alert: they are truly terrible. At this point I have accepted that dealing with my two year old is nearly the same as dealing with a drunk friend. You can’t reason with either, and despite they inability to do much on their own they still insist on doing things their own way.
So yes, the background score to my life these days is constant whining and litanies of the like “I not want to take a shower” or “I don’t have to be quiet” while crying, which would make sense if I was asking the little tike to take a shower, or to be quiet, only I wasn’t. Any attempt to pacify her is met with further rebellious declarations and so I listen silently while she figures out exactly how she wants my hands positioned (she can never make up her mind) I did get a glorious fortnight where she was the picture of a perfect toddler, but I guess after a while she realised there was no thrill to being predictable and perfect. Enter illogical tantrums and whining and screaming rages that last hours.
With the husband all the way in Dubai, my only other knight in shining armour came in the most humble way: periodically carrying books ordered off Flipkart for cash on delivery. The first batch was three board books for Miss Munchkin, the second was more board books for her and Kunal Nayyar’s “Yes My Accent is Real” for me. The third was two more books for me, and there would have been a fourth and a fifth and an umpteenth batch had not my iPhone decided to have a meltdown and cost me my entire monthly allowance on fixing its screen.
But hey, I am not complaining. For the first time in a long time I am sneak-reading my books while Miss Munchkin entertains herself by running from room to room. So far I have gulped, relished and ruminated over The Help and And The Mountains Echoed, let myself be entertained by the semi funny Yes My Accent is Real, was mildly amused and then not so much by Mrs Funnybones until I finally got my hands on Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” The Help moved me in ways I had hoped after watching the movie; And The Mountains Echoed was a slight disappointment because of all the side stories that seemed irrelevant and distracted from the main storyline. Yes My Accent is Real was okay, and not something I would have read had it not been written by the actor playing my favourite character in The Big Bang Theory. Mrs Funnybones I finished reading in four hours that I wish I could get back although I found one (just one) quip laugh out loud funny. And then I moved to the last book. The book that made me think and smile and call up people to talk about.
To be honest I had just a vague idea about who Mindy Kaling was before I took up the book, but I was intrigued by the title and the blurb and I had decided that if I was to dip my toes into non-fiction, then humour would be the way to go. Although I didn’t get quite a lot of references that were essentially American, a lot of what she’d written about her childhood struck as very relatable. Like I could really “get it”. It made me think about my own childhood, so much that I had a long philosophical conversation with my mother about why my sister and I were such misfits growing up. As if that was not enough I sent a long sentimental message to my sister, because if there’s anyone who knows my childhood the way I do, it has to be her. My favourite chapter though has to be the one on Best Friend’s Rights and Responsibilities and I actually read that out loud to my best friend over the phone. That she found it equally hilarious was further proof that we are indeed best friends. The later part of the book is a lot about Kaling’s time in The Office and her opinion on random stuff that didn’t quite capture my attention but I wholeheartedly admire her candidness. I felt like she would totally get me for walking down the streets mentally dictating a blog post to myself. If there was a person who would understand when I say that being a blogger is a lot like having a constant voice over to the movie of your life inside your head minus the captivating background score, it has to be Mindy Kaling. That’s how her writing made me feel. Like I would love to be her friend and we could be nice weird together. Not many writers have made me feel that way.
It’s back to epubs now, unfortunately. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty is my next one, but I am taking some time to mull over the last books. Sometimes the best part of reading a book is being slightly hungover in its after effects and refusing to move on. But because I am kind of a mean soul that way, there is also joy to be found in reading negative reviews of books I hate on Goodreads. Here’s to binge reading then. To surviving a terrible toddler’s tantrums by disappearing in a good book. To not being guilty about not reading better, because hey, when the tough gets going, the best reading is fluff. Or something like that.