Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Up to the abandoned railway line I go.

Dear Friends and Care-Givers Everywhere,

This is something they don't talk about in the movies. It ain't hip. It ain't cool. There ain't no romance.

After the pandemic gone, there won't be cafes and restaurants for some, no travels to exotic lands. No selfies to show off to envying pals and strangers ooogling, Whaa, beautiful, oh wow.

When the pandemic done, there gon be men and women, still at home, fulfilling the needs of our elderlies, struggling to understand what it must be like for them, why they do and say the things they do and say, what is causing that unhealable sharp pain in they spirit, why some o' them give up.

Instead o' trekking up hills that flaunt they white scarf-mist like lovely ladies, we gon be here down below, trying to pull wesselves up from the land running deplete.

I feel like me writerly-self shrivel and fall to the ground. 

It is love that make me stay, right here on the ground, waiting for the rain. It is love that make me try to refresh meself, right here on the ground.

And right here, on this foreign ground, I pick meself up, go for early morning walk to the lake after the rain from the night before. The breeze full o' the promise rain, it beating a song. 

This morning, I walk the other way, under the tree with the jasmine perfume, to the big plot o' land with a glorious fragrance from somewhere else that I can't remember. I hope them folks who live across that plot o' land full o' bush don't think I crazy when I stop to smile and inhale in the morning light. 

Towards the abandoned railway line I go, I stare along the rail and smile some more.

One day, I gon get a car, I gon pack up food, and Ma painkillers and back brace, and me and she gon go to the sea. 

Friday, 18 June 2021

English ain't the only language: Boonga is the real thing!

Dear Friends & Foodies!

How de doodie?

Yesterday, Sis mention that she want to buy crab meat. Then she say, "Tang's Bakery useta make the best stuffed crab backs!"

Tang's useta fry the crab meat with plenty seasoning...onion, garlic, shallot, that sort of thing. (What a treat for we the young ones, sitting on the wooden stools in the shop, eating one stuffed crab back each. Ma was well-versed in the art of finding tasty snacks for children).

Now, I with me wicked self tell Ma and Sis, "They musta find some fish that taste like crab and cook that and serve it."

"No," Ma say. "They take out the crab meat, especially from the boonga, that had plenty."

We can never talk about crab without me remembering. "Crab and boulanger curry!" I announce.(Boulanger, also known as baigan).

Every Saturday when Ma cook that, we kitchen useta be pack-up with all of we teenagers...cousins and friends...around the pink table. The noise and the laughter make the roof vibrate. 

To this day, we still talk about that curry and use the local names.

I mention this 'cause some people from we lovely native land suffer from such deep shame, they would never-ever use the words boonga, baigan or boulanger. I ain't know what they would say instead of boonga. But baigan or boulanger would be aubergine. 

Wot a shame to be so ashamed of words!

I bet you any bet, if famous cooks and artists and writers did come to we home, they woulda take much delight in learning the local words! I think musicians especially woulda love the riddim of boonga an' boulanger or baigan.

Bon apetit, me hearties.

Plenty lurve, neena. xxx.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

I know how cats think.

Mah dear Friends, I want to confess plain and straight up...some o' the suburbia in this here developed territory can surely numb you skull and dull you' brain. 

Lawn after lawn after yawn.

Row upon row of windows and doors and roof and walls cut with a cookie-cutter.

Good thing I got cat-genes. Y'know how, to a cat, everything is up for inspection?

Come, lemme show you what I mean.

See this here?

What you see?

Look, Ma say, somebody can take this and make coconut broom.

Now, what you imagine when you hear coconut broom?

My friends, it is a good tool of shame.  If you broom somebody with it, if you hit them with you' broom, ohhhh the shame, especially if anybody witness the brooming.

You can condemn a girl you dislike to unmarried-life with a broom too. Sweep she feet with it, she gon never marry.

One more thing. You can chase ol' higue, that vampire, from you' home. Beat she with you' broom.

Oh, wait a sec. One more. Wave the broom over a body possessed by bad spirit to do a li'l exorcising.

Me and Ma, we stop and consider this branch. We joke about dragging it home and making the broom. But only to sweep the rooms with, okay? I promise.

Lemme show you some other fascinating things we see.

Now, imagine what a cat would think about if he see all o' these, eh?

Long story short, me friends, is that, most of life is mundane. Even if you's a thrill-seeker, a super-model, a rich man, wealthy woman, super-star burning bright, you got to face the mundane-ity of existence some time or the other. 

The secret, me friends, is to be a cat. 

I hope you have a day loaded with lovely things to explore. 

Plenty lurve, neena, xxx.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Guyana and London again.

Dear Friends and Fellow Travellers,

When we wuz teens, my mother decide that she 2 daughters must see something of the world. She take me and me sister off to London, then to Canada. Even though it rain most of the whole darn time in London, we did see some marvelous sights. Canada been cold and brown, but we had a fairly good time. I got some happy memories.

Over the years, Ma return to London a few times by sheself, visiting me big brother and he li'l family in England. 

Every now and then, she would say to me, We gon go to London again.

And these days now, away from she lovely native land, she does say too, I gon go to Guyana again. 

She does talk, with longing in she voice, about the people we gon visit, and how we gon go to the seawall, sit in the morning sun and watch the light play on the waves. We gon go to the Pegasus Hotel, nestle under the  trees and drink coconut water. We gon...

I write with sorrow down to me core, that the pain in Ma back is worse. All she can do is rest.

She is craving to go outdoors, catch the beauty and fill she spirit with the sunlight, watch leaves skitter, and flowers flutter. 

Look, some o' the places we been walking here in Florider.

One bleak Saturday afternoon, it was oh so wonderful, strolling with Ma, and dreaming.

Freezing cold, but the sun was bright and we were happy.

One sunny afternoon, cool breeze. We stopped to look at everything.

The bike lane was the most magical place of all. Oh, the things we saw!

The moss! We would describe it as curtain, as hair, as beard.

The birds are not afraid of people.
But, in a hurry, they would not slow down for us.

Ma is resting now.

The veggies and fruit delivery is here, so I got to wash them, clean the fridge, pack them away.

Ahhh, the never-ending routine of daily life, of pain and longing.

But, as we say, Once there's life, there's hope. 

And gratitude. We got food and bed, books and music and films, soap and water, bread and jam and tea, and all kinds of wonderful blessings that we take for granted.

Cheerio for now, my dears.

Plenty loooove, stay safe and happy, neena xxx.

Friday, 4 June 2021

The birds and the bees and the trees.

Dear Friends, Wanderers, Travellers, Explorers of this good ole Earth,

I miss straying about with me mother along empty pathways, she holding on to she roller-stroller with the seat, and me waffling ahead, then going back to she.

As per normal, the conversation would go something like this:

Me: Look! Black sage.

Ma: That ain't black sage!

Me: But you tollllllld me it is.

Ma: I never said that.

Me: But that is exactly like the plant that you say is black sage.

Ma: Nooooooo. That is NOT black sage.

Me: Well, you tooooooold me........

After we finish getting vex, we would walk on, stop, admire a wild flower. A bee. The trees rustling. A li'l red bird flittering. Sunlight on leaves on the ground. 

As you can see, we love nature. 

And, we is...well...curious...hehe...

Now, pain blasting Ma from shoulder to back, so fierce, she struggle to go for walks. They say it is arthritis. It trouble me like hell to see she hurting. 

I hope, after she do some tests, they can decide for sure what is causing this awful pain, and maybe they can treat it. And we can go back to straying and...(cough cough)...discussing (ahem) what we see.

She teach me this word for walking about: choochwai. The "ch" is like in 'chair', and the "wai" is like 'why'.

Once I sort out me photos, I gon show you some o' them things we see in Florider.

Have a lovely weekend, stay curious and happy and safe.

Plenty lurve, neena xxx

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Interview on Smashwords

Hello Mellows,

I like how that rhyme, so I sticking to it. Mellows. Mellow people and other fellows.

I realise I didn't share this piece of self-questioning interview I did do on Smashwords here, so, at the risk of looking as if I pushing up meself like some show-orf, I gon share it anyway. (You see, I love blogging, it feel peaceful, like a li'l oasis, and I feel that anything I put anywhere else shoulda been here first. But it ain't always possible).

Y'all please don't giggle. Okay, go ahead, if it make you giggle and you happy giggling, go ahead and giggle.

Plenty, plenty love, neena xx.

Interview with Neena Maiya

Published 2020-01-15.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Home definitely ain't a boring place to be.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A popular literary agent once said that he longed for books like Anna Karenina to be written again. He hinted that books today were mere shadows of such a great book.

I felt diminished.

Then I was incensed.

How dare he decide, like those petty gods in Greek legends, whose voice was worthy and whose had no value?

I became even more determined that I would speak the way I wanted to. I would use my language, my dialect, my songs, to tell stories of people who, to the Great World, might seem insignificant but, in the world of humanity, are people of infinite value.

To quote Miriam Makeba:

I shall sing,
Sing my song,
Be it right,
Be it wrong.

Indie author I would be.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

Playing with words sets my spirit free.
What are you working on next?
Another in the series.

The first begins in the home.

The second takes the Reader-Traveller out in the streets.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember the first story. But I do remember an essay I wrote about a favourite teacher who died when I was 7 or 8 years old. I had to read it to the entire school.
Describe your desk
I like to lie in bed writing. No clutter.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up surrounded by books and storytellers in the family. I grew up speaking Creolese and English.


Words were all I wanted to play with as I grew into teens and adulthood.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.