#BookReview Poetic Rituals @RituBhathal #Poetry #TuesdayBookBlog

When a beautiful review of your book has you in happy tears, first thing in the morning!
And who knew…. My words turned someone to poetry!
Thank you to my dear friend Lucy ❤️

Head on over and leave any comments there 😊

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This book of modern day poems did something miraculous: it made me start reading poetry.

It is safe to say that up until this point I was a poetry virgin. Can you believe this? At forty-five years young I had not properly experienced poetry.

Everyone around me was raving about the delights of poetry, how it could take me to new heights of creative pleasure and how useful it would be for my writing. Even though I was curious, I was also a little bit scared to pop my poetry cherry.

Poetry felt like the next level up for me. I didn’t feel like I could fully appreciate it and so it was something which I actively avoided. Until I read Ritu’s collection of poems, that is.

Turning points in one’s reading life, like this, need to be recorded and this is why I am putting Rita Bhathal’s Poetic…

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One Word Inspiration #OneWordInspiration #OWI

I set up a new twitter challenge today… (because, you know, I have nothing better to do! 😜)

And thought those of you on Twitter, or even those not, might like to take part!

It’s a one word challenge.

One word to inspire a tweet-length (240 characters) story!

Head over to my newly renamed twitter profile to follow and join in!

@ritubhathal

Have fun creating!

Stories For South Asian Super Girls #BookReview @PinkLadoo @Rajo_rani

I know I have been reviewing books on a monthly basis, but sometimes a book comes along with a background to it that just begs to be singled out, and I came across such a book this week.

I was extremely excited to take delivery of this inspirational book, by an equally inspirational woman.

Raj Kaur Khaira is a British-born, raised in Canada woman of South Asian descent, Sikh by religion.

Image result for raj kaur khaira

At ten, she was horrified at the reaction to her sister’s birth by other family members, who were saddened that there wasn’t a boy this time.

Over the years she became a true activist for women’s rights, and her interest in the harmful impact of sexist South Asian and non-South-Asian customs and traditions on both boys and girls spurred her on to do something more.

Raj founded The Pink Ladoo Project in October, 2015.

Pink Ladoo

This project was a mission to encourage families to celebrate the births of their little Princesses, as well as their little Princes.

Traditionally, at the birth of a boy, orange sweets called Ladoos are distributed to family and friends, yet nothing for the birth of a girl.

But why?

The Pink Ladoo Project strives to challenge this belief, and they asked for Indian sweet makers, and families to make/purchase/order pink ladoos, so that the arrival of a girl could be celebrated equally. Pink, not just because of the Western link with girls, but also because the colours pink, and red, signify Strength, Power, Luck and Celebration in our culture.

The Project has taken off hugely and there are many thousands of followers. It not only lauds the births of girls, but also celebrates and shares stories of female empowerment, from the story of a mother giving away her daughter at a wedding, to an occasion when three granddaughters carried out the traditionally male ritual of carrying the casket at their’ grandfather’s funeral.

I truly applaud this practice and have my own personal story to share…

When my mother was due to give birth to her first child, she was in a country away from her own family, the UK, so her mother flew over from Kenya to be here to support her.

The pregnancy hadn’t come about easily, or as quickly as some wanted, but finally, the big day arrived and so did I.

A girl.

My Pops was overjoyed. He was the first one to hold me as I had been born by c-section. I was his first child, and the first thing he could truly call his own.

My mum and grandma were so happy too.

Except, joy was marred when a woman arrived at our house, pretty much mourning the fact that I had been born a girl, especially since my grandma had flown all this way…

My Pops gave her a piece of his mind and told her she should be ashamed, being a woman herself, saying those things.

He went on to give sweets out to the family, even though eyebrows were raised, as 43 years ago this was not the done thing… But that’s my Pops. ❤

They went on to have the prodigal son, my brother, and no one complained then!

When my own first child was born after a long struggle with fertility issues, a boy, my mum did whisper to me, “We were happy with what ever grandchild you were going to bless us with, but I am secretly glad it was a boy, so no one can put any pressure on you at all…”

They would never think negatively, but were so aware of the thinking of the majority of the community.

I went on to have my Lil Princess, and actually, she was celebrated by everyone, as the first girl in two generations within my in-laws family, so her arrival was a blessing of a different sort!

Ritu

Read more about the Project here.

From this project, for Raj, the idea stemmed to create a collection of phenomenal South Asian women, from the past, as well as the present, to inspire the South Asian Super Girls of today.

What a fabulous idea!

Raj collated the details of many women, some already known, some lesser known, but no less inspirational, and created this collection of biographies coupled with some absolutely fantastic artwork from a team of amazing South Asian women artists.

What I loved about this book was that each woman is discussed in short snippets, easy for a child to digest, and at the end, there is a page for the girl herself to write her own biography, and draw her own fantastic portrait, because we all have it within ourselves to be Super Girls!

Lil Princess is reading it now. I devoured it in a sitting, and learned about women I had admired in the past, as well as some I hadn’t heard of. From the old school royalty of India, Noor Jahan, Jhansi ki Rani and Razia Sultan, modern day celebrities, like Jamila Jameel, Lilly Singh and Meera Sayal, we are introduced to Pritam Kaur Hayre, a woman who emigrated to Canada at 50, and with no English, helped to gain rights for workers on farms, and was even vice president of the Canadian Farmworkers Union, and Jayaben Desai who also instigated protests against the working conditions in factories, and so many more.

I thoroughly recommend this book as something for all South Asian young girls, (and older ones too,) to readm as well as women from outside of the Asian community, as we definitely need to be reminded sometimes that the Female of the species is pretty damned special!

Honestly, I think each school should have a copy of it!

And there are so many more out there…

I want to mention our home grown Super Girl, Sukh Ojla, who is an extremely funny female Indian comedienne who also talks about her own anxiety and depression via her Social Media…

And within my own life, I count my own mother as a huge inspiration to me. She has taught me so much about life, and how to live it to the fullest. Her greatest advice to me was to “never lose yourself” and she has been there, my biggest supporter in my blogging and writing adventures too.

So, if you want to see a review by me, here you go…

Stories for South Asian Supergirls

Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An absolutely wonderful, inspirational collection of biographies celebrating the South Asian superwomen out there, some already known and some lesser-known, but no less inspirational.
What a brilliant book to show our girls what they can aspire to be!

And it is available to purchase far and wide, in major book sellers, and from Amazon too. Click here to purchase.

Chai And A Chat #32 #ChaiAndAChat

Hey there Peeps! Time for our weekly catch up, get that drink ready!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d remind you that last week I had already said I’d probably start the week tired, and boy, was I right!
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Yup… Yay for Friday 🙄 #mumslife #fridaywhatfriday

A post shared by Ritu B (@ritubhathalwrites) on

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that on the night before leaving Brum, my Pops checked the car, as he always does, and the tyre pressure was low on one tyre. Upon investigation, there was a little damage to the tyre and the possibility of a slow puncture. So we went to change it to the spare for the long journey back, but there was no jack in my car! Or my Pops’ vehicle, as he has one of those new fangled foams you put into punctured tyres to make it safe to drive until replacements are available. Neither was there one in my brother’s hire car. Apparently they never give one as most people (myself included) can’t change a tyre, so they recommend you just call out the AA! And as it was bank holiday weekend, nothing was open before I was due to leave, so no tyre change, but the advice that I drive VERY Slowly… Background info here: I haven’t had the best luck with tyres and cars the last couple of years. Two years ago, driving back from Brum, my car suffered a blowout on the motorway, and I had a horrific accident. Then last year I got a slow puncture on my way to Brum, when I was going to be nursing my Pops after his op... So, understandably we were all a bit nervous about me driving back. But we did it, slow and steady, with a couple of stops to check the pressure and top up air on the way! I got it checked in the end and it wasn’t a puncture, the ‘tear’ was just surface damage, but the rim was very dirty, with corrosion, so it was cleaned and sealed, and so far, seems okay!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that the pressure of the drive, and tiredness from the busy weekend meant I arrived back with energy from a second wind, unpacked, started laundry off and went to the supermarket with my Hoppalong Hubby, so he could get a change of scenery too. Got back, unpacked the shopping, and then I just collapsed into bed and slept for an hour! I was so dissorientated when I woke up. I could have slept for 24 hours! But there were still plenty of things to do, to get ready for the next day…
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you the school week was pretty smooth again, thank goodness, though we are trying to plan school trips and my being in different places means that it looks like I miss out on the fun of the trips, unless my head of dept agrees to be swapping days so I can go!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d mention that Wednesday was a rather sad day, as I went to attend the funeral prayers for my Tootie Frootie BFF’s dad. It is always emotional, and though I was unable to be there for the whole ceremony, I wanted to be there for her in some way. Then on the Saturday I was woken by my mum on the phone, with more sad news of a cousin of mine losing her husband. She was much older than me, and her daughter is my age. Another girl losing her daddy… It pulled at my heartstrings even more. And all I wanted to do was to hug my own Pops closer. Thankfully my parents popped over for a visit on Sunday, as they wanted to see Hubby Dearest, and make sure, for themselves, that he was okay. Many hugs were exchanged. ❤
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d let you know that though school was quiet, home life most definitely wasn’t, what with Hubby Dearest starting to get quotes and ideas for renovations at our house, and the children’s endless trainings after school. Tuesday was maths tutoring, Wednesday was cricket, after the funeral, Thursday was Badminton, and Friday was a shopping trip, followed by a late one at the in-laws. The weekend was no different… Saturday – swimming, followed by badminton. I squeezed a trip to the nail salon in whilst they were there! Then we went out with my Brother in law and his wife for dinner and a cinema trip. They all wanted to watch The Avengers – End Game, but Lil Princess and I have NO INTEREST in Marvel and Superheroes, so we watched Little, which was fun, and we had time for a sneaky ice cream after the film, whilst waiting for the rest to finish their film! Sunday, I was cricket mum taxi, taking Lil Man to his first match, then dropping one of his team home as well, followed bu lunch at the in-laws and my parents popping in. The evening was filled with me being exhausted, while the boys watched football… again. It’s all about the football at the moment, isn’t it? The UK clubs are doing so well (apparently… I have no clue!)
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you I don’t know how I got through Sunday. The exhaustion had hit big time. We were up early for the cricket match, which they lost, by a very small margin, though Lil Man bowled well, being given 3 overs to bowl on his first match. Pops and Mum popped over and we had a couple of hours together, then once we got back, I was pooped! I just about got through the afternoon and evening, had a bath, and collapsed into bed by 9.30pm…
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d tell you that I can’t wait for the weekend again, but I have no clue what it will hold as the match/training schedules are to be sent out to us as yet… fingers crossed it’s a quiet one!
  • If we were sipping that chai togetherand possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d mention that I am getting rather excited for the Annual Bloggers Bash too! Not long!!!

Have a wonderful week, Peeps! Let me know how your week went!

Finish The Story 2 – @Tanmay_and_Jain @darling_sascha – Writers Block

Sascha Darlington has set the first prompt, for which I have been selected as the first responder!

A New Design - Made with PosterMyWall (1).jpg

Prompt – A non-risk-taking writer has writer’s block, so they decide to do something they’ve never done before to inspire them.

Writer’s Block

Okay.
So, here I am.
Standing on the edge of the world.
Well, it feels like the edge of the world, but really, it’s just a very steep drop off a cliff.
What am I doing, standing here?
I’m afraid of heights…
And I thought I’d face my fear.
They say that if you find yourself stuck, at a dead end, creatively, that you should do something totally different. You know, outside of your comfort zone.
I’ve never had that problem before.
Usually, my fingers fly across the keyboard.
Stories just come to me.
But for the first time, I was up against a brick wall.
Nothing.
No ideas, no bursts of inspiration.
Nothing.
So, here I am, tentatively looking over the precipice.
It all looks rather small down there.
Very far away.
Got to take care not to lean too far over.
My insides are churning.
I can feel my breathing getting more and more shallow.
If I just focus on something…
There.
I see movement in the bushes below. Something causing a ripple in the greenery that sweeps the ground beneath my gaze.
What could it be?
Slowly the wheels start turning as inspiration seeps inside my mind.
Ideas start to fizz and pop in my brain.
Stories, plots, characters…
 
They were right, you know.
Sometimes you just need to push yourself, and the block will disappear…

Ritu 2019

Sascha is a tech writer and creative writer at Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored. You can find her on Twitter here.
This challenge has been set by Tanmay Jain of Bookinton Blog.

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