My Reading Journey

Spent a hundred dollars and some change on the...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

I recall with fondness the day my mom kept my brother and I home from school to read to us. I was about 7 years old. We had gone home for lunch as usual but there was an unusual treat for us. We had the most delicious dessert – fairy tales! My mom had borrowed a book of fairy tales that was on a short-term loan. She started to read as soon as we were through eating and I guess because we were so fascinated with the stories, she allowed us to play hookie that day. Although I cannot recollect any other such story time reading with my mom, she did a lot of home work type of reading with me.

We did not have a library in our Primary School. There were no shops around us that sold books, and even if there were any, we would not have been able to buy them. Books were luxuries my parents could not afford. As a result, we did not have any story books at home. However, we did have the “grandfather” of the neighborhood who kept us riveted on burlap sack mats as we gathered around his knees under the afternoon shade of a tamarind tree. His awe inspiring storytelling planted the seed for a lifelong love of reading – the groundwork for my journey as a reader was set in place.

When I was about 9 years old, I discovered the Enid Blyton books through a friend whose aunt often gifted her with books. Shezida didn’t think twice about lending me her books. I remember turning the pages slowly and savoring the time I spent with her books. What a beautiful time in my childhood.

One of the most treasured memories I have of my childhood is the time when I got the gift of a book from my dear friend, Sharon. The message on the inside cover read, “Congratulations on passing the Common Entrance Exam”. I was most excited because I held in my hand the very first book that I could have called my own. I was 10 years old. That precious gift was “Hello, Mr. Twiddle by Enid Blyton”. My relationship with books and my journey as a reader had only just begun.

My friends and I borrowed books from each other and with each book I read, my appetite and passion for reading grew and grew and grew. I smile when I think of how much I longed to be like the characters in Enid Blyton’s adventure stories. When I was through reading my friends’ books, I was fortunate that a young mother who lived on our street started a book exchange business. I gave her a book, paid her a dollar, and selected another book from her small collection. She got a lot of business from me!

All my life I’ve read- sometimes passionately where I’m shackled to the pages and at others with less zeal. My reading journey gives me glimpses of worlds that I might never experience. As an adult, I have easy access to bookstores, libraries, my own collection, the internet, and the world of blogging. Now, more than ever, I feel that my journey as a reader has only just begun…

My Ma’s Hand

In June of 2007, I had the wonderful opportunity of spending a week with my grandmother. It was the last time I was going to see her beautiful smile or hold her soft, aged hands. My Ma, as I call her did not write her life story in pen and paper, but in the way she lived her life. Today’s daily writing prompt is on helping hands. How fitting this topic is for me because I have a beautiful photo my Ma’s aged,  soft, wrinkled, helping hand.

My Ma’s hands…

They nurtured and raised eight children

Worked in the sugar-cane fields, weeding the grass by day

At night those hands tended to her eight children’s needs

From sewing her daughters’ school uniforms to laying down the law

Her hands held and welcomed several grandchildren

Those beautiful hands gently touched and bestowed blessings upon my own children

And in the golden years of her life, when they became old and frail

Her wrinkled hands wrapped around me each time I visited

As if to say this is the last time

The time did come for the final embrace

And that early morning in June as I packed my bags to leave

I knew in my heart that it was the last farewell

The final time I would feel the warmth of my Ma’s hands on my cheeks

And bury myself in her feeble embrace

The memory of my Ma’s hands brings

Beauty to my smiles and laughter in my eyes

I am grateful for my Ma’s helping hands.

My Ma's hand on top of mine

My Ma’s hand on top of mine

Beautiful Things are Meant to be Shared

Patterns, patterns, and more patterns. We are surrounded by patterns. Our lives are made up of patterns. Our daily routine is punctuated with patterns.

This week’s photo challenge, sent me back to my collection of photos taken in 2010 at the Buddhist Temple in Miami, Florida. I was beyond delighted with the mandala sand paintings by the monks.

I remember standing as quiet as a mouse, eyes fixed on the monks as they patiently created their works of art. I was truly in awe. I took these photos with my Nikon Coolpix L3.

Beautiful things are meant to be shared!

Mandala Sand Painting

Mandala Sand Painting

Art in Action

Art in Action

Creative Monk at Work

Creative Monk at Work

Mother: Nurturer, Teacher, and Friend

Today’s daily prompt asks us to write a letter to mom. I gave my mom her letter yesterday. This post is a short reflection.

Every day is Mother’s Day and frankly speaking, we should not wait for this specific day in May to celebrate our moms. Having said that, although I do not tell my mom daily how much I love her or what a blessing she is to me, I am eternally grateful for all she has done to raise me into the woman I am today; the mother I am today. I am thankful for the many lessons she taught me directly and indirectly.

My mother- nurturer, teacher, and friend has helped me to recognize that…

Nothing is a coincidence

Each moment is unique and precious, and once passed it cannot be recaptured

When we ask for something, we ought to ask with the intention of receiving

God places people, situations, and circumstances in our paths to make our lives easier

Each disappointment, hardship, or setback we have, ultimately makes us stronger

People have the ability to collectively channel their thoughts for the greater good

Keeping the spirit of hope alive will make that which seem impossible, possible

Daughters do not truly understand their mothers until they themselves become mothers.

I am proud to be my mother’s daughter!

English: Mother's Day card

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Game of Cricket: Here to Stay!

Two weeks ago, I watched a cricket game between The Starlite Cricket Team and The Miami Royals. Cricket in South Florida is played mostly by immigrants from the Caribbean and Guyana. As I watched the game, warm, sweet memories of my growing up years came rushing back and for a short time, I was a care-free child once again.

My earliest memory of the game of cricket is of a group of children playing “bat and ball” on the street, in the school yard or any open space we could use. We had so much fun! This bat and ball game, called cricket was one of the highlights of my childhood and continues to be even today. What is cricket?

Cricket is the second most watched sports in the world and over 100 countries officially play this game. There is no exact date as to when this sport started, but it is said to be some time in the 16th century in South-East England. Over the years, the game spread throughout England and to the shores of other countries. It was introduced to North America in the 17th century and was popular for a short time, until the early 20th century when it became endangered, but never completely extinct. How is this game played?

To the casual onlooker, cricket can be long and monotonous. However, don’t say this to the millions of die-hard cricket fans out there. In trying not to bore you, I will keep the description short. I encourage you to do some additional research on the game if your interest is piqued.

The game is played on a pitch surrounded by a grassy field. There are two teams with eleven (11) players on each time. One team fields and the other team bats. Two batsmen are on either side of the 22 yard long pitch with wickets (stumps) on both ends. The bowler, from the other team bounces the ball to one of the batsmen whose job is to defend his wicket from the ball. The other batsman (the non striker) is inactive until his partner strikes the ball. When the ball is struck, the two batsmen run across the pitch and touch their bats down at the end to score a “run”. Confused yet?

Game time Photo credit:Google images

Game time
Photo credit:Google images

The fielding/bowling team runs around to catch the ball to throw it back to the bowler or the wicket keeper to stop the batsman from scoring more than four runs from that single hit. Runs are made in singles, fours or sixes. If the batsman hits the ball all the way to the boundary, the umpire calls a six. If the ball bounces before it gets to the boundary, it is a four. In both instances, the batsmen do not have to run.

There is more to the game of cricket, but I promised to keep the description short! More here. As stated earlier, cricket was a much loved sport in the U.S. until the early part of the 20th century, but almost perished. It is making a comeback though- slowly but surely. American College Cricket is helping to keep this sport alive. Cricket is now played across the country in schools, local clubs and in universities. Last year, the John Bart King Award winner was Nick Mancino of the University of Pennsylvania (John Bart King is known as the greatest American cricketer). The University of Pennsylvania is a key part of USA cricket history, its first cricket team was started in 1842.

Bart King Photo credit: Google images

Bart King
Photo credit: Google images

President Obama is getting some batting tips from Brian Lara of the West Indies team.

Photo credit: Google images

Photo credit:
Google images

President Bush is intensely focused!

Photo credit:  Google images

Photo credit:
Google images

Cricket history was made last year at Central Broward Regional Park – it was the first official professional cricket match to be played in the United States. The match was between the West Indies and New Zealand.

Here’s an interesting fact: Central Broward Regional Park is the only International Cricket Council approved stadium in the U.S. Although Florida boasts a cricket stadium, local teams don’t often play there. They rely on the support of the public schools to loan the school grounds for weekend cricket and this can be a challenge. Often, you will find two teams sharing one ground. They play concurrently on the same day or alternate the weekends. Historically, cricketers wear white, but nowadays teams can be seen with colorful uniforms.

Posing for this photo is the Starlite Cricket Team in their new uniform sponsored by Tina Doobay of Choice One Real Estate and Raj Doobay of Choice One Mortgage.

Starlite Cricket Team with sponsors Tina & Raj Doobay

Starlite Cricket Team with sponsors Tina & Raj Doobay

One of the most influential and famous West Indies cricketer, Clive Lloyd, once said, “Cricket is the glue which keeps us together”. Indeed, the game has stood the test of time and has proven to unite people, communities, and nations.

Clive Lloyd Photo Credit: Google images

Clive Lloyd
Photo Credit: Google images