Opening the locked door . . .

It is raining. My black Mary Jane shoes—part of my uniform at Mater Dei School—are squelchy and wet from the puddles I found on the street. I ran blindly as thunder clapped and lightning rent the air, fleeing from monsters who lurk in hidden alleys —men of unsound mind who flash their private parts at innocent school girls. This is what Mamma cautions me about every night as she tucks me in, and I snuggle into the comfort of her smell—a mix of Himalayan sandalwood talc and sulphuric acid.

Why Go? 10 reasons to visit Portugal this year!

Every year there seems to be one vacation destination among all others that becomes the one most-sought-after, whether by the glitterati, weary parents lugging toddlers behind them or sun-and-thrill seekers. In the last few years, Portugal has become the trendy place to visit. History, great food, and picturesque scenery are just the beginning. Here are 10 reasons why this country—forgotten for decades in the shadows of European giants like France, Italy or Spain—should be on your bucket list.

With my mom's blessing, there's more good news . . . novel excerpt published!

I recently lost my mother (read: http://www.anoopjudge.com/blog/i-brought-you-into-this-world-and-i-can-take-you-out-an-indian-mother-speaks) and mother-in-law in the space of three months (read: http://www.anoopjudge.com/blog/mummy-tell-me-one-more-story-). But I know they’re watching over me, because the good news just keeps coming!

A 10,000-word excerpt from my unpublished novel titled ‘The Awakening of Meena Rawat’ has been published in Litbreak magazine. Click on the link below to get a preview of the novel:

http://litbreak.com/the-awakening-of-meena-rawat/

Thank you, Mom and Mummy!

I brought you into this world, and I can take you out . . . My Indian Mother

The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude - Thornton Wilder *

My mom was a force to be reckoned with when she was angry with my brother and I, a frequently-occurring event in our household. We often got into trouble . . . ‘just wait till we get home’ was an oft-repeated threat of hers. It happened right in the neighborhood supermarket called Super Big Bazaar. My brother and I got into a scrape over a bag of Cadbury’s chocolate eclairs. I pushed him, he pushed me back . . . smack-a-dab into a Haldiram’s can display. I went sprawling and so did the can of rasogullas, tumbling everywhere like the walls of an old haveli attacked by a bulldozer. I regained my upright position and disappeared into the shelves of food just as mom’s eyes went wide with horror, her lips thin with anger. “Just you wait, Missy,” she shouted at me, cuffing the back of my brother’s head who was not so quick to escape.

My Week at Hedgebrook . . .

We began calling what we do at Hedgebrook—the practice of nurturing and nourishing women writers in residence—’radical hospitality’ about ten years ago because we needed a way to describe why we do what we do. To help others understand that taking care of a woman writer so she can focus on her work is still, even now, a revolutionary, radical act. As is giving her time to focus on her writing instead of taking care of others.” -Hedgebrook flyer

As a wife, a mother, a daughter to an aging parent, a daughter-in-law to another aging parent, and an active volunteer in the larger Indian community, the demands on my time are endless. I relish my role in my busy bustling life but my writing— a passion I discovered late in life—often falls by the wayside.

Mummy, Tell Me One More Story . . .

The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude - Thornton Wilder *

Long before I became a storyteller, my mom used to tell us stories. Stories of a mighty king, and a sweet-faced queen who fell in love, who had a beautiful bonny girl, whose kingdom was invaded by marauding armies, by aliens, by vampires . . . stories that had me at age five, jumping up and down on the couch and asking with bated breath, “And, then what happened?” My mom gave me the gift of stories, and I honor her memory by writing them. (Read my latest published story here: http://moonmagazine.org/anoop-judge-fury-2019-05-04/ )

My mom was always stylish, elegant in the saris she wrapped around her lissome figure, and the tasteful jewelry that adorned her neck and ears—a string of pearls, tiny diamond studs, thin gold bangles on each of her wrists. Thumbing through old albums after she passed away, I come across a black-and-white picture of my mom and dad when they lived in Scotland for the first five years after their marriage. In it, my mom wears a cape with large, round buttons over a sari. Her hair is pulled back at the nape of her slender neck, her hands folded one over the other in her lap, while her eyes smile at the world in wonder.

I wasn't ready to let you go . . .

Two days before my mother passed, the temperature in Delhi— my hometown—was 104 degrees. Not a leaf stirred and the aerial roots of banyan trees in our backyard hung down limply, and languidly, immobile. The day my mother passed it was raining. A welcome healing rain that cooled the scorching, heat-baked earth. I saw poor children dancing in the street in joy, their upturned faces creased in smiles as their tongues mopped greedily at the raindrops. It was as if the heavens had opened their arms to welcome my mom into its embrace.

For ten days, my mom struggled for her life in the ICU—a sterile room with white walls, beeping machines, and a smell of Dettol antiseptic hanging in the air like the thick smog that blankets the congested streets of New Delhi in the wintertime.

Visiting Costa Rica : Top 10 Reasons, Why?

Let us step on a hanging bridge for a moment,

as the filtered rays of the sun break through low hanging clouds,

and shine on new green vegetation,

and breathe the new damp air.

Cloudforests:

You’ve heard of rainforests. But have you heard of cloud forests? The Costa Rican cloud forest is a special kind of tropical forest that grows at high altitudes. Costa Rica is the wettest place on earth and as a result, everything is SO GREEN! There are 3700 variety of trees in Costa Rica. In the rest of the world, there are only 375 varieties. If you want to see unique plantlife or actually immerse your body in the cloudforest canopy when zip lining, Costa Rica is the place to visit.