Guest post for the Readify Books blog: Of e-reading apps and the mobile phone

Let me confess at the very outset that I am a dinosaur. I love my print and paper with a passion and eschewed all things digital for the longest time. When the e-reading revolution happened and people ran arms outstretched to e-reading devices, I was the one snarling in the corner, saying Over My Dead Body.

The screen I thought, was too small, the light too distracting, the constant notifications from messages too intrusive. And then I had an epiphany. It came during a doctor’s visit. Like all specialists in India. The appointment was just a token number. The actual time we would be ushered into the hallowed presence of the doctor was anybody’s guess.

And so we sat and waited. And waited. I could feel the roots grow out of my rear end pasted to the seat and reach down into the plastic seeking food and water. At one point, I had run out of conversation and was watching the huge screen set on one entire wall which was helpfully set to the channel with a daily soap that the receptionist at the clinic was watching with her jaw half way to her knees.

I fished out my mobile phone as a last refuge to stave me off from immediate boredom and certain death. On an impulse, I downloaded a reading app on the phone. I found an old classic I had long wanted to re-read and settled down to it. When we were called in to see the doctor I almost snarled at them for breaking into my reading.

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You can download my latest rom com Saving Maya on the Readify books app on Google Playstore. You get free credits on installing the app on your Android phone, which you can use to buy Saving Maya.

Storm in a C-Cup today: How often do you think about sex?

An urban myth goes that men think about sex every seven seconds. That makes it approximately 8,000 times in a day in the waking hours, and we’re not factoring in wet dreams here. Blame this myth on the F1 levels of testosterone careening through the blood stream. Or on Alfred Kinsey, who was probably misquoted from his 1948 study on male sexual behaviour and the improbable statistic, like one of those urban myths, stayed put in the collective consciousness.

I put this to test with my in-house, all-purpose respondent for surveys concerning the male species, namely, the spouse. “Do men think about sex every seven seconds?” I ask. The spouse snorts derisively. Yes. I married a keeper.

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Karmic Kids review in ZenParent: Karmic Kids: a parenting book that tells you only the truth with a twist


Maitri Vasudev

Karmic Kids: a parenting book that tells you only the truth with a twist

What is breastfeeding really like, you wonder aloud when you’re pregnant. Nothing can compare with it, you mother informs you sternly, as she massages your swollen feet in the last trimester of your pregnancy. It’s where the mother-child bond begins. It’s the most beautiful, natural thing in the world – the foundation of all the love that is to come. But what about the pain, you ask. When your breasts get so full because she won’t drink enough. And when she grows teeth. Won’t they bite? Dhat! she responds in a trice. How can you even say things like that?

Well, where your own mother won’t answer your questions, Kiran Manral does, in her book titled Karmic Kids: The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You. The first time she was expected to nurse her child, she says:

A nurse was sent for and the doctor on duty, because well, you might as well have an appreciative audience while you try to figure out which part of you should curl up and die, when you have to reveal in a public situation a breast that is suddenly gigantic with what the mater casually informs you is ‘the milk coming in’…two massive boulders on your chest that might need a couple of wheelbarrows under, if you plan on moving out of the hospital bed ever and navigating the earth again.

No mother who’s ever nursed her babies, she continues, will ever look at her breasts as objects of sexual desire ever again. And why would you ever want to have sex again when you have a human mouth latched to the boobies for more than 12 hours a day?

Author of All Aboard, The Face at the Window and Saving Maya, Manral ventures for the first time into the realm of non-fiction. Karmic Kids is not really a parenting book as much as a tongue-in-cheek account of her experiences as a first-time mother. It explores the narrative of motherhood through non-traditional eyes, accounting for details that those innumerable great-aunts, who cluck time and again about how they got married when they were 17 and had had five kids by the time they were your age, never tell you about. Her talk of mammary glands, libido and mother’s guilt would make even your favourite senior citizens cringe because, behind all that humour, Manral looks social convention in the eye and rejects it by embracing the mother as a human being, instead of as a milk dispenser.

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Storm in a C-Cup today: Of Birth-gasms

The other day I came across a news clipping about a new mom who claimed to have had orgasms during her delivery. I was intrigued. All the retellings about the birth experience from friends and acquaintances have been stories that would make it straight to a horror anthology, blood and gore included, with some so terrifying they could be used for birth control propaganda. Orgasmic childbirth would be an oxymoron, right? Perhaps not.

French psychologist, Thierry Postel, conducted a study asking 956 midwives about the birth experiences they had witnessed. The midwives stated they saw mothers showing signs of pleasure during childbirth in 668 cases. Barry Komisaruk, professor of psychology at the Rutgers University, New Jersey, who studied orgasms, reports that the intense stimulation of the vaginal canal during childbirth might in fact block pain, even though the stimulation is non-sexual. A medical paper, ‘Birthgasm’: A Literary Review of Orgasm as an Alternative Mode of Pain Relief in Childbirth, by Mayberry and Daniel, explores the potential of orgasm as a mode of pain relief in childbirth and outlines the physiological explanations for its occurrence.

Read the rest here

New Column begins at The Married Feminist.

What’s in a surname? Starting The Married Feminist by Kiran Manral

What’s in a surname?
By Kiran Manral

When the fabulous Ms Steinem had made famous Irina Dunn’s feminist slogan about women needing men as much as a fish needed a bicycle, I was a fledgling feminist. The very first time I came across the statement, it quite disoriented me. I was just get about getting my training wheels off the bicycle she mentioned, and here was I being told to question whether I needed men. And then there was the equally fabulous Katherine Hepburn who blithely declared that men and women should not live together but merely visit each other from time to time. The arrangement made perfect sense to me, even though I had back then yet to encounter the dreaded phenomenon of the wet towel on the freshly made bed, and the weekend TV watching coma surrounded by beer can detritus that afflicts the male of the species.

Kiran Manral The Married Feminist SheThePeople

Nonetheless, it eventually happened that I fell in love and got married and, gosh, even changed my surname. Did I even dare to call myself a feminist anymore? The sisterhood eyed me with suspicion. The hapless spouse, on the other hand, had his own battles to fight with his mates. There was sympathy and much back patting, I assume, when they figured that he’d married a woman who had publicly declared herself a feminist. I suppose some of them thought I had a retractable tail and horns, and that I spent my weekends sharpening the tines of my pitchfork.  Well, not much has changed in the over two decades since then.

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Book Review by Tarang Sinha: Switch E Roo by Kiran Manral

“I love reading paranormal stories (not necessarily horror) as they are different from normal, usually gripping and makes me think.

Switch E Roo is a short story so very quick to read – with a totally unexpected end. Since the plot is different and intriguing, it piques your curiosity instantly and makes an engrossing read.

Ms. Kiran Manral is an experienced novelist, so writing is naturally neat. She has expressed Mrs. Bhalla’s panic, restlessness and carefulness (to hide this strange change) well.

If you like short stories, if you like intriguing, unique tales, read this one. You won’t be disappointed. And, it costs you just Rs. 10. You can read it on this cool Juggernaut App (on your phone).”

Thanks Tarang.

Read the entire review here.

Storm in a C-Cup this week: Back in the Dating Game

Disclaimer: Not me

“Few days ago, I was part of a very interesting AMA at the Bangalore Literature Festival titled “Love me Tinder.” Given that my dating experience came to a complete standstill circa 1996, I am probably the dating equivalent of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Back in our time, it was coffee and sweat smell that made matches. I’m guilty of hanging onto a sweat drenched T-shirt of the then to-be-spouse for yonks before he became the spouse, after which I got very prompt about doing the laundry. And of course, there was the “Get me an introduction,” whine on a loop of the newly besotted that plagued the immediate populace.

For much of our generation, dating was a thing of chance and location. You bumped into someone at the bus stop, railway station and exchanged phone numbers. Then, if you were a girl, you grew roots into the chair next to the phone. Sometimes you wondered if you would set the world record for bladder control, because you were terrified to move from the spot in case the phone rang.

Dating today is easier. And then again, not quite.”

Read the rest of the column here