Thursday, October 30, 2008

Choosing books for children

Anybody who was born in the seventies and eighties would surely remember the big poster size books filled with colorful pictures and delightful stories sold at extremely low prices. Available in English as well as local languages, they were a major hit with schools. We used to get those books every year for various prizes we got at school.

Yes, I am talking about the books published and distributed by Soviet publications. I still cherish several old copies of them. In fact, those books were so kid-friendly that I started reading at the age of four.

Ok, now today if I were to buy books for my daughter, what would be on my priority list?
Well, well, I who hate planning and making lists, relished doing this one!
(Now, this is only for English books. For Tamil books, a post will soon come on my Tamil blog!)

From age 5 to 7
Picture books, Fairy tales, Animal fables
Of course, Enid Blyton books - But I would use my judgement to select her books. Some books are really prejudiced. The following would surely make a great read.

7 to 10
The adventures of Mr. Pink Whistle
Mr. Meddle's Mischiefs
The Enchanted wood
The folk of the faraway tree
After 10
The Naughtiest Girl - school series
Malory Towers - school series
Circus series
The Adventurous Four series
Famous Five series

That should be enough of sweets! Now for some real classics, I would like her to read:
Uncle Tom's cabin
Great Expectations
Oliver Twist
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
Little Men
Last, but not the least, Harry Potter!

That's it! from this point onwards, (or probably earlier) she should be able to make her own choices, and most likely rebuff mine!
I hope my little girl loves to read, but it's alright if she is not really an extensive reader, as long as she develops a taste for good books, and most importantly shuns trash. Right? :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Paradise Rented Out...

She discovers the first sprout of life within her body. She does all she can to protect it. She eats and sleeps so that it grows healthy. She takes medicines and essential nutrients. She gets pampered and examined with care, all for the life growing within her.

She carries it and nourishes it with her own blood. She experiences the first ever movement of the life within her womb. She undergoes the pain and agony of labor. She puts her own life in stake and brings a new life to the earth. She gives the little one its first feed after birth.

Yet, it is not hers to claim; and never shall it be. She must hold complete indifference over the child and maintain the secret of its birth. The new-born is but a product of her business agreement.

Why? The egg is not hers; the sperm is not her lover's. She gets injected with both (or may be just the latter, in some cases.) She has rented her womb out for money - of which she is so much in need.

On the other hand, the couple who gave away the egg, the sperm, and probably a great deal of money are the rightful owners of the baby - yes, LEGALLY!

In most cases, I pity both the women. Yes, the latter deserves considerably pity too, if not as much as the former. I can very well understand the plight of a woman who realizes that she can never carry her own child in her womb. It is but a singular grief. She is therefore tempted to the alternative that the advanced medical science offers - to use a surrogate mother. After all the surrogate mother would be only a carrier. The child would have the life and blood of herself and her husband.

But, is it really worth it to put another woman's life in stake for your delight. And will it be a rightful joy, really? Can you hide the fact from the child that it was not you that bore it, but another woman, for your sake? It is certainly NOT like adoption, where the child was not borne for your own sake in the first place. It is a different thing altogether, and much more favorable.

Of course, it is difficult for anybody to give justice on this matter, because it involves two women who both deserve undue sympathy. However, renting out a mother's womb surely does not feel right to me.

Time for tea? Time for two!

Lone lunches have never been uncommon or unpleasant. Even when work has kept your nose to the grindstone all through the morn, if you just...