Monday, October 31, 2011

Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Okay, don’t laugh but I’ve challenged myself to write a novel in a month. Yes, you read it right folks. I, mom of two little kids, believe that despite the lack of time to breathe in a normal working day, will be able to write a novel in the 30 days that are November. Ha! No, I’m serious. Really.

As the badge to the left of this page proudly states, I will be participating in the NaNoWriMo 2011 challenge. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then go click on the picture which will take you to the website. If you are too lazy to do that then read on.

I heard about NaNoWriMo last year. But I had no way to probe further and see if I could do it since I had just given birth and was still in the hospital when the event began. But then when I saw it being talked about on facebook this year, I decided Ahh, why not give it a shot. And I registered on the site.

The deal is that one needs to write a 50,000 (at least) word novel in the month of November. Those who reach the 50,000 word mark by the end of November will be winners. What a challenge, huh? I needed something like this to push me to write.

I registered over 2 weeks ago but it wasn’t till today that I actually decided to do the challenge. Since the event is open to writers from across the globe, there are various chapters within each region holding events to support participating writers. I heard that there was going to be a kick-off party in Mumbai and I decided to attend it.

And boy, am I glad I did. We were a group of 7 writers meeting at a cosy coffee shop. Most of us were first timers but we got a whole lot of tips on surviving NaNoWriMo from a seasoned participant. I realized one important thing that would take me through the month. I need to look at it as an exercise in letting my mind go free, in letting the words flow, in releasing those words that have been jumping up and down inside me for the longest time… They’ll be plenty of time later to chop, edit, rewrite, link, etc. But November will be about writing my heart out.

People who know me closely would know that I currently have almost no time to write. My kids take up all my time. It’s only when they are asleep is it possible for me to sit at my laptop, in the dark, and write. That means compromising on sleep, which is very very difficult. But thankfully I have a really great support system at home. Everyone wants me to do what I want to do (except the kids, perhaps, who want me to do whatever they want). That’s probably one reason why I really want to push myself this time and do this. For myself and the people who believe in me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to blog about this yet because it will look really lame if I chicken out of it midway. But then I thought, the more people I tell about my participation in NaNoWriMo, the more real it will become and the more motivated I will get to go through it. You know?

So what I need right now it a wealth of encouragement, guys. I know ultimately it all boils down to me. Do I want to do this? Yes, I do. Can I do it? Sure, I can. So here goes nothing. Thirty days and nights of literary abandon, here I come!

I shall keep you all posted on the progress. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Birthday Boy

I wrote this post a few days before Zaid’s birthday but forgot to post it.

One year ago…

I had only one child. I didn’t think too much about the second one growing in my womb. Maybe because my daughter took up all my time and energy, I never got much time to ponder over what the second one would be like.

One year ago…

I was 9 months pregnant, and I knew this time was going to be different. I wasn’t scared and jittery. I knew exactly what I would be going through physically. The c-section, the pain, the recovery, the loss of control for a while, the needles… they didn’t scare me this time. I was thankful that I wouldn’t have the labour pains. But my fears were made of other stuff.. how would Zainab manage without me? How would the new baby affect her? How would I explain to her the baby’s need for Mamma’s time?

One year ago…

I wished for another daughter. I always missed having a sister and I wanted Zainab to experience it. I knew how it felt being a mom to a girl and I didn’t want unfamiliar territory. I even wondered, how does one change a boy’s diaper, with all that external plumbing?

One year ago…

I wondered how it would be possible to love another child as much as I love Zainab. I didn’t feel I was capable of it.

One year ago…

I realized the baby I was going to give birth to was going to be very different from Zainab. When I was pregnant with Zainab, my belly would do spontaneous dances. It would jump and twist and bounce in all direction, like she was having a football match in there. Even today when I see Zainab burst into song and dance or even into noisy tantrums, I think about how she was doing all this before she was born as well. But during the second time my belly didn’t jump and twist and bounce. I worried about it and spoke to my doctor. She said, “No two babies are alike.” And she was right. I guessed at that time that those gentle graceful movements, that felt like a ballet dancer in there, were hints that I was going to have a child with a temperament very different from the little rainstorm I already had.

One year ago…

I was lying in an operation theater. It was 8 in the morning (Bahrain time) and my husband was miles and miles away in India. My parents were waiting outside the door. My wonderful anesthetic (what an angel!) was talking me through the surgery and checking if I was as comfortable as a pregnant woman being operated on can get. I wasn’t jittery. I was as cool as a cucumber. Until I heard my son cry. Nothing prepared me for that moment. I’ve always felt bad that I didn’t feel very maternal and emotional the moment Zainab was born. The shock of the surgery and everything that preceded it seemed to overwhelm me so much, that I couldn’t place the maternal instinct within me.

But Zaid was a different story. Through eyes brimming with tears I saw my son, my beautiful little boy. And God whispered in my ear, “It is possible to love another child, isn’t it?”

One year ago…

I fell in love with a tiny, frail baby boy who seemed to throw up more milk than he drank.

Who slept in the day and stayed up all night (thankfully this lasted only a month, after which he slept like a baby all night).

Who had the most curious and beautiful black eyes. People having conversations enthralled him. They still do. He looks like he is absorbing every little syllable you are uttering (which is a scary thing, actually).

Who is crazy about his sister. Zainab is the only one who can have him splits by the merest sound she makes. From when Zaid was around a week old, we noticed that his expression changes when she is around, he is suddenly alert and excited. Today, he never misses opportunities to kiss and hug her or just be around her.

Who has the naughtiest little impish smile. He’s getting naughtier as he grows, but it’s so cute to see how he gets away with it all by flashing that disarming smile of his. *sigh* He is going to be a heart breaker for sure.

This Friday, my little boy turned one.

Happy Birthday, Sunshine! Thank you for lighting up my world every morning, noon and night. Thank you for the tiring workouts you make me do throughout the day, with all that crawling around and messing up you do, which is helping in keeping me slim and trim. There’s lots more I need to be thankful for, but let’s save that for another post.

Happy Birthday, my darling doll. May you always stay happy and healthy! Ameen.