Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 130

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“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael.J. Fox

Well, considering I’m leaving my parents today, after a week with them, to head back home, I think Spidey found a lovely quote!

You all know how much family means to me. My own little family of 5 (Me, Hubby Dearest, two 2 legged babies and one 4 legged one), my parents, my in-laws, and all the rest of the extended family too.

And I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am in life today of it wasn’t for each and every member of that family.

Together, they have helped to mould me into the woman I am today. Stronger because of troubles that have come my way, compassionate because of helping others through struggles, happy because I have always had the love and support I needed right there beside me.

My family truly is everything to me. Without them I am nothing.

Have a wonderful week Peeps!

Beneath The Apple Blossom – Kate Frost #BookReview

Another week of the holidays done, another book read.

A while back (possibly even a year back), I read an interview with an author called Kate Frost. Her then newly released book, Beneath The Apple Blossom, looked to be something that would be of interest to me.

The Blurb:

Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

As I read it I was amazed at how emotional it made me feel. I remembered the time when we were struggling. The anacronyms like 2ww and BFN and BFP flooded back, as I remembered the wonderful forum I had joined when we were struggling with conceiving, and after, for the support of others in the same situation.

It’s true though, not every woman wants to be a mother. And not everyone can make a good one either.

But the pain that accidental pregnancies can cause to others, I’ve experienced that too, while we were in the midst of our own journey. Hearing about someone talking about a baby that wasn’t expected or wanted, was like a knife being plunged into my womb, and twisted. Yes

Yes.

It felt that extreme.

Yet when there were others who were expecting, and it was a much longed for baby, I was overjoyed for the parents-to-be.

Deep down I knew that one day, our turn would come. And it did, twice, with two angel babies in between.

Beneath the Apple Blossom: The Hopeful Years Book 1 by [Frost, Kate]

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My reviews on Amazon and Goodreads:

What a great book!
Having been through fertility struggles of my own, it was amazing how I related to a lot of the issues faced by 2 of the main characters in this book.
It’s very true, that as much as some women crave to be mothers, there are those that really don’t feel it’s for them, and this book explored both sides of the same coin.
The realistic writing brought back some painful memories for me, but also that sense of camaraderie that I too felt in a very special online forum that I had also joined while trying to conceive.

Buy it on Amazon here.

One-Liner Wednesday – Home = #1LinerWeds

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“Back home… Mum’s cooking… bliss!”

Yes, Peeps. I am with the folks for a week, enjoying the fact I can regress to being a child once more, with my parents around me. Days to be treasured. ❤

 

For Linda’s #1LinerWeds Challenge!

Of Brothers and Sisters #MondayBlogs #RakhsaBandhan #HappyRahkri

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Today is a pretty special day for us Indian sisters, blessed with brothers, and vice versa.
Today is a day brothers and sisters celebrate their special bond.
Initially, a Hindu festival called Raksha Bandhan, it then became more widely celebrated around India, and in the North, the Punjab, where my family hail from, it’s known as Rakhri or Rakhriya.

Rakhri is a word which means to look after, and on this day, sisters tie a special thread on their brother’s wrist, and brothers pledge to always be there and look after their sisters. Something sweet is then the exchanged, and usually, the brother gives his sister a small token to show his love.

Way back when, before all this women’s lib and equal rights, it was a woman’s job to be at home, and basically all her life was dependant on the males, be it her father, or husband, and she didn’t have many rights, so it stood to reason, that she needed someone, her brother, to be there for her, through thick and thin.

Nowadays there are all sorts of different enjoyments, and jokes attached. You see, it’s not only your brother that you tie one on, but your cousin brothers too. And male friends who you consider to be like brothers. So, if you don’t want a certain guy to bother you, then you tie a Rakhi on him and declare him your brother! Also, the brothers of today get bankrupt! Gifts are elaborate, for the real sisters, and add on all those cousins, handing out £10 notes (or more sometimes!), a brothers pocket is soon empty! Kerching!!! For the sisters anyway!
The threads themselves can range from small, plain, tasteful, to great big tinselled lovelies! Check out my brother as a little mite, on a holiday to Kenya one year, where he was attacked by cousins he didn’t usually see!
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I spent a couple of hours last week writing letters to my brother and cousins, and for my Lil Princess, to her cousins, sending rakhis (tasteful ones, obviously!) to the four corners of the world, and for some special people who I consider brother like, there will be messages sent tomorrow. It’s not about the gifts or money for me. It’s keeping the connection alive. Like those who say days like Valentine’s Day are contrived, and that you should love your partner every day, I guess this could be the sibling equivalent. But for me, it’s just a special day to make it known again, that I love my brother, and cousins, and as much as I love and appreciate their protection, I have their backs too, I will be there for them, come rain or shine.
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Here is my brother and I at various stages in our lives, always there for each other…
Last year for the first time in many years we were not only in the same country, but the same house, so I was able to tie his rakhri myself.
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This year, we may not be together, but our connection is just as strong. I know he will wear his rakhi with pride, and I also know that he is there for me always… Love you, my dear, dear brother!
And Lil Princess is so excited as her Rakhi has already winged its way over to her  Finjabi cousin brother, who is celebrating his third Rakhri too!

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I will be tying a Rakhi on my brother-in-law, and Lil Princess will be able to enact the whole ceremony properly with Lil Man. Love days like today, they have to be nice to each other !!!! I know it’s only a few more years then they will really appreciate the sibling bond, but until then, one day of peace will be lovely!!!!!

So, to all those who celebrate, Happy Rakhri! Happy Raksha Bandhan!

And especially to my brother, my cousin brothers, and my special brotherly friends!!!

Have a wonderful day!!!

But I Smile Anyway...

A Saree Story #SundayBlogShare

The other day I posted a photo on Instagram

Party Saree! #nanissaree #party #saree #dontscrubuptoobad

A post shared by Ritu B (@phantom_giggler) on

Yes, that is me, all glammed up for an engagement party we attended.

Aside from all the lovely compliments I received, someone mentioned the colour of the saree, and how lovely it was.

I replied that the story of my saree could be a post of it’s own so here goes!

Way back, before the days of me planning to get married, my family went to Kenya to to attend a wedding. It was the wedding of my cousin, my mum’s niece. My dear maternal grandma was still around at that time, and she decided to open one of her trunks (a special occasion indeed! Nanima’s Sandookh(trunk) contained some beautiful treasures!) to gift her granddaughters.

She pulled out some plain chiffon lengths. They were 6-metre sarees, of a quality that is not seen nowadays. One was black, and one was a lurid orangey/peachy colour, Kind of like this . Add a bit more fluorescent orange to it and you get the picture/colour?

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Well, my other cousin chose the black one, and left me sitting with my sweet smiling grandma, and a fluorescent saree. I was never one to complain, or to get my way, if it meant conflict, so I gratefully took the fabric, hugging my darling Nanima too.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t see her after this trip, as she passed away. I handed the saree to my mum for safe-keeping. Even she giggled a little, looking at the colour!

Fast forward to my wedding planning, and shopping in India. I had my wedding outfit planned in my head, and we had spoken to a tailor about that. WE had bought two lengths of good quality chiffon in black and a pale gold, which I was getting embroidered so I had some personalised sarees. After choosing the patterns, my mum flung something else on the shop counter.

Now to set the scene, shopping in India is a whole other world. If you are from a rich family, or from abroad, it is pretty cool. Basically you get treated like royalty! There will be outfits, fabrics and accessories that materialise from God knows where, if they know you are going to buy! The boys in the shop are experts at tying sarees, and becoming live mannequins too, so if you want to know what something would look like, you need no mirror, just your eyes!

You have sofas to sit and lounge on, cold drinks are brought for you at your request, or a cup of chai. and if you were spending enough, and coming in regularly enough, there was food too! It is wonderful to come into an air-conditioned shop after the heat of the Delhi summer, and to have refreshments waiting, bliss! ( The family at this shop were lovely! They even invited us to their home for dinner, and took us out! Yes, we did spend quite a bit with them!)

Anyway, at this particular shop, where we spent the most of our time, and money, mum decided to bust out the orange saree! I had almost forgotten about it, but the colour brought the memory of who gave it to me flooding back. I looked at mum and felt a little teary. I wanted to have something like this from Nanima to remember her, but for the life of me, I wasn’t going to wear that colour!

Mum asked the man what he could do with this, expecting him to show us some interesting designs of embroidery that would make it more acceptable to me to wear. He looked at it, looked at us and said “Good quality chiffon. Why don’t you dye it?”

Dye it!

What a great idea! Why hadn’t we even thought of that? That meant I could still have the fabric from my Nanima, and I would have a saree that I could wear happily too!

My Hubby Dearest, hubby-to-be at the time, had one request, when I had asked him if there was anything I should buy, clothes wise. A dark blue saree.

So the choice of colour was made! We then decided on a same colour flora sequinned pattern which was hand sewn and the saree above was created!

It has been 16 year since that was made for me, and I have worn it on and off. Each time I do, I remember Nanima.

When my mum saw the photo she said ” That saree was nice, which one is that? When did you get it?” I answered her in disbelief! “Mother, can you not remember? Nani’s orange monstrosity?? We dyed it, didn’t we?”

Then it came back to her. She was happy to see me still wearing it too. (Glad it still fit me, to be honest!)

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So there you have it, the story of my Nani’s saree!

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