The Book Nook

Yesterday was a day full of chores. Most of the important people in life were away and I had all the time that I needed to work on some chores of my own.

I went to the saloon for a haircut only to know that the regular professional wasn’t there. Since I didn’t know if I’d be able to get away anytime soon, I went to a different parlour and got fleeced royally. So much for the occasional saloon visit.

On my way home, I decided to casually check if this tiny old book shop was still up and running.

What a delight it was to see that not only was the shop standing the test of time, the owner was pacing about the shop and instantly recognised me. He enquired about my welfare and whether I was back to the Garden City. We spoke about my stay away and the move back. It was nice to know that he remembered my journey.

It’s been about three odd years since the shop began. I enquired about his business ventures and our common interest, the books around. I was saddened to know that the building that he’s currently housed in was going to be demolished soon. Hence he was going to wrap up from here and move the bulk of his business to the online model.

He wistfully added that he’d look into opening out a similar nook at his residence, if he succeeded in getting a house of his own.

During the course of our conversation, we discussed work, life, balance and emotions. We talked about how it’s sometimes difficult to explain your choices to people, especially when they’re not just exactly rational yet you know that it makes you a happy person.

There was not one moment of awkwardness while discussing so much at a personal and professional level. This connect I personally believe is quite hard to establish even among people you know quite well.

The highlight of the conversation actually occurred when he handed over a printed bookmark with a QR code and explained that he had compiled a series of short poems and had been persuaded by his daughter to publish it as an ebook. He remarked that his wife may have been a little skeptical as those poems were on the romantic front, but he was honestly happy to be showcasing his work after so many years of effort.

He handed the bookmark to me and said that this was the first time he’d given it to someone apart from family and that I was welcome to review, purchase, and share feedback if I wanted to.

I could see the sense of achievement shine out of his shy demeanour and I was both touched and inspired by him.

Here’s a man who’s unconventional by the world’s standards. ( He is part-time owner of the bookshop and part time freelancer as a transcriptionist while his wife works a full-time position. He’s got his own struggles and is slowly emerging victorious.)

I just purchased the ebook and I’m enjoying the verses. More than that, I’m just happy that he’s happy.

Art maketh Men, eh?

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Click It To Collect It!

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Growing up, I never had a camera at home. My Dad would borrow his friend’s camera for special occasions like my birthday party or family get-togethers, we’d then get the negatives printed and store all the photos in those fancy albums. It was only when my brother was born in 1999, that we bought a camera after much deliberation. It was a no-frills, Olympus camera. I had a ball just clicking the plush button and seeing the flash arrest the images for posterity. When my Dad bought an Activa some twelve years ago, I excitedly got the camera out and captured my baby brother and Dad on the bike. Without even knowing my frame, Dad chided me for being in a hurry. He explained how symmetry is a very important component of any image and how I had cut off half the Activa and had more of the plain sky foreground. I remember feeling very stupid and have since followed his advice when it comes to selecting my frames and subject placement.

We then graduated to a Panasonic Lumix – to stay abreast of the digital trend. It’s been a few years now since we stopped using the Lumix – we had to replace the battery. Just like a million other chores on the To-Do-List that never actually get done, the camera awaits its resurrection to life.

 

Then came the millennia of smartphones and with it, a progressive upgrade of cameras. My first phone was a Nokia Express Music, gifted to me by my Grand-Dad. It had a great sound system and a fairly decent camera. I then went on to use a Samsung Chat (The least useful phone I’ve had). I graduated to a Lenovo – which despite being a smartphone had the most grainy captures ever. When I bought a Moto E2 with my earnings, I was most impressed with the camera – especially in natural light. I’m currently using a Redmi Note 5 but there are moments when I miss my tiny Moto E2 for its scenic captures.

I have a passion for the ancient – take me to a heritage structure and I’m going to be the happiest – noting, clicking and trying to create the perfect story in my head. Having said that, I’m also awed by nature and have a beautiful collection of nature at its best – trees / leaves/ flowers / clouds/ name it, and I mostly have these clicks. It was while I was en route Ajanta Caves that I decided to start an Instagram Page dedicated to the photo gallery that I have curated over the years.

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Just an assortment of images from my Insta Page.

Despite the magic of photography, there are moments when I’ve resisted the urge to get out my device, because the lingering beauty is so transient, you’d rather live it out and experience it than attempt to capture it and spoil the experience. It’s a call that every one needs to take on an individual level.

More on the link to the page in the next blog.

Adios!

🙂

Photo Story – Mumbai Memories

My last post was a riot of negativity. I don’t really believe in deleting posts but perhaps sometime down the line, I may remove it. Today, let’s talk through pictures.

I have amassed quite a few gems that I haven’t shared on social media and I’d like to take you through the maze.

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Let us start with a picture of an all-time favorite. Indian mothers’ love-hate relationship with this brand will continue forever and yet the kids will continue to love it! Here’s my attempt to rid myself of the guilt of indulging in this bowl of goodness. I haven’t had Maggi for more than a month now because I’m home and home means wholesome meals!

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Continuing the trend of love-hate relationships is this girl – Baman who’s like the Salman Khan of my life. There are phases when I love her, phases when I want to throttle her, and there are moments of pure ignorance. Inspite of all these phases, she’s that rock solid support system – always there. Baman – you be my bro man! Two months will be up soon, so I hope you’re going to want to talk to me soon!

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If there were people in my previous organisation that I’d want to spend hours with – it would be the two of you – Meow and Woof! I can’t stop marveling over how you just click with some people and that gets carried on!

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This lady up here has energy level that can give serious competition to your childhood’s favorite toy – the Crazy Ball. Yep, she’s here, there, everywhere, and rocking at it. Didn’t think we’d become fast friends but man, here we are!

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Mandala colouring is an all-time hobby and I love doing this while watching something. I know this might mean that the series does not get 100 percent of my attention, but I’m okay with that.

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Swag kids getting ready to eat breakfast on a holiday. #NuffSaid

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Faking a wedding pic because Madam Bestie had lied to her friends about the real reason why she came to Mumbai, instead of going on a trip with the latter. (Bestie just missed me and wanted to shower some love!)

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Just casually trying to show off  a tonne of things out here. My mirror image aka the grumpy cat, the feisty nails, and the cute little bag gifted by Boo.

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A pretty reminder of nature – notice the symphony between the soil and the sky.

This was taken on my first trip to Haji Ali. It’s a soulful place and one that is immensely calming. I took some tough decisions out here, sitting on the steps and watching the waves go on till infinity.

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Haji Ali – In all its Friday splendour and glory.

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TBH I also did a double take when it came to this picture. It’s not the finger you imagined!

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Any season, any time, and with anyone (read no one) – Mumbai’s Marine Drive is a favorite and has seen me in different phases of life and emotions.

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Any takers for fluffy flowers!?

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Washroom selfie when you think you’re dressy? Check.

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To Harry Potter – for being the constant companion in life and to ever-growing friendships in life. Also, special thanks to Ashu – for initiating me into our cult, and for being my Padfoot, Always.

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To good hair days and colleagues-turned-friends.

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A pair of earrings that have been on the wish list for a while. In other words, Barielly ke jhumke abhi tak aaye nahi.

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The second time at Haji Ali. Before heading out to Noorani cafe for the best Chicken Tikka Biryani there can be.

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Of goodbyes to the city of dreams…

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To more bends in the road,

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To waking up to a morning full of limitless possibilities….

Adios Amigos. 🙂

 

Maasoom – Of Emotions Warm and Milky

You know that there is a blog post coming up soon when you’re swamped with words and are at a loss to record them. The past week has been one of tumultuous emotions for me – two months ago, I took a decision which brought me to a new stage in life – that of acceptance and of facing reality. Now I don’t know how successful I will be in NOT running from problems (Yes, I know. Escapism seems to run strong in my generation these days!) but I know that I must face the consequences and I know I will.

I was lounging about the hall when a vaguely familiar tune caught my attention – My /mum had just switched on Doordarshan (Did you know DD still has some viewers left?!) and I was intrigued by the film. I spent my evening watching Maasoom.

Now this movie brings up a lot of anecdotes in my head – Let’s go chronologically. I remember my parents watching this movie when I was a kid and I remember thinking – Why would someone watch something so boring that despite featuring 3 kids did not make it entertaining for me.

Much later in high school, I had the good fortune to meet a Social Science teacher – Ms Rachna Ma’am, who reinforced my belief in general knowledge and discipline. I will always remember her chiding me for not knowing the capital of Chattisgarh, for not knowing where which state was positioned and for being a slouch in general. Her arrival into the classroom caused a dissension among most – she actually meant business when she assigned tasks to us and it was different from the norm that we were used to. Rachna ma’am soon became a favorite – not the direct and favorite one, I didn’t want the others to think I loved her. But I did approach her for some issues – read teenage drama. In hindsight – what really stands out was that – my love for knowing and acquiring general knowledge took off from there. She always told us that an Atlas had more knowledge about the world, while costing so less, and all we had to do was absorb and be willing to learn.

Also, Rachna ma’am’s first lesson was to stop calling the subject Social Studies an instead of referring to it as Social Sciences.

Rachna ma’am had to leave our school due to some personal reasons and it was her farewell time. We asked her to sing and she sang – ‘Tujse Naraaz Nahi Zindagi, Hairaan Hoon’. I didn’t understand the depth and complexity of the emotions described in this song until today. Partly because I need to really dissect the lyrics of songs to get their hidden meaning and also because to be frank, I had never thought about it.

Watching Maasoom – the movie, the emotions, the teacher, everything brought up the intensity of the lyrics.

Watching Maasoom also reminded me of a tête-à-tête with my aunt. She constantly emphasizes that it is ALWAYS the woman who can make or break a family. It is always the woman who has to make scarifices – and she must understand this, accept it,and take it upon herself without feeling remorse – it’s the only way that life will be easier for all. I have been contemplating long and hard about this and I feel like she’s onto something.

And here’s the link to the movie if you’re up for some mellow, thoughtful piece of art! Did I mention the brilliant acting?

If you just want the song, here it is:

If you watch Maasoom and are faced with a dilemma that the protagonist in the movie faces – how would you react and what would you feel like?

I would be very keen to know your views. Do write, comment and leave your thoughts while I go get some rest.

Adios amigos.

Stay stong! ❤

Guide

Hi there,

Hope the preceding week had been good to you folks. This weekend, I had plenty of time on my hands to watch movies, finish my coloring, stir up some dishes in the kitchen, and sip coffee from the not-so-cosy, yet alluring confines of the balcony.

I watched Padmavat on the big screen yesterday and was mesmerized by Ranvir Singh’s power-packed performance. He is really something else.

A lot was talked about when Shahrukh Khan’s ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ released of this character called Raju, the guide. I admit, my interest was actually kindled then – I wanted to know more about this movie that the media was referring to.

And so, today. I watched R K Narayan’s film adaptation of the novel, ‘The Guide’. It has Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand in lead roles and it was released in 1965. I’m actually quite surprised at my interest in these old movies. My roommate insists that I’m probably adulting but I think I’m getting old without the adulting bit (Whoops that reminds me, Have I paid my dues for them month?!).

Anyway, this was an engrossing movie. It has some of the best songs that will feature in your collection of yesteryear’s favorites if you have the ear for good, soulful Hindi music. I like that a lot of these movies tried to depict social stigmas and turn it around, an attempt to shift society into progressive lines of thought and action but I can only guess if they were successful or not.

If you’re not doing anything or are doing too much and would like to multi task as you figure out your way through life, this is an interesting movie that is worth a watch!

Enjoy 🙂

Mili

Often in life, it takes one Bollywood movie to get your sentiments rolling.

I was faced with one bleak-looking Saturday and thinking about how I’d rather not meet anyone, I set up my laptop to stream this old movie on YouTube – of Amitabh and Jaya Bachhan, titled Mili. I remembered seeing it as a child but as with most things then, my memory wasn’t at its strongest. All I could think of was kids dressed up in fancy clothes parading on a terrace with the gay Jaya in the lead.

I colored my Mandala set of coloring book as I watched this movie, sitting on the dining room, which has rarely been used for the said person. It ended with a lot of tears and emotions. Mixed, bottled up, and repressed feelings and sentiments that are so common these days.

Cinema mirrors life, or the vice versa. This phrase could well be the successor of the perennial, ‘What came first – the egg or the chicken!’. We Potterheads would just leave the discussion with a comment about how it’s an infinite circle without a beginning or an end.

Movies have immense power – but you already know that don’t you? Or you wouldn’t see little kids literally scared to death while there’s a mob threatening the school bus outside because they want a film to be banned.

But movies have other powers as well – those that enable you to look deeper within yourself and realize a few hard things in life. I had been struggling with some decisions in the past few weeks. I have asked my friends, family and colleagues. knowing fully well that their answers would never give me that clarity of thought unless I arrived at them, myself. I think I know now what to do. The universe is your friend – it’s cruel, it’s kind, it’s funny, and it’s basically there for you. Maybe sometimes you gotta wait patiently and listen in.

Watching Mili was a reminder about our life.

I lost my grandmother to cancer. I always thought I’d write about her, but then I decided I couldn’t or shouldn’t write about her. Did I have the authority to do so? Did I love her enough?

I never showed her my emotions when she was going through her toughest phase. Most of us didn’t. You don’t go breaking hope by being weak right? When she was really weak, I just went to the terrace and cried my heart out to my best friend. I told her, just please come. Just please come because you are so brave and because you are so lovable and so cheery. Just please come and meet her? She needs your spark and cheer. How have I never introduced you to her, babe?

The call satiated me. My friend was in a whole different city but she promised. She’s always been that positive, beautiful and pragmatic source of inspiration.

Despite living in the same city, we were far – my gran’s house and mine. We used to kinda meet once in a fortnight. We tried to make weekly visits, but I don’t think we were regular.

Can you imagine her pain and sorrow that she prayed for mukti. To be liberated from all these trivially hurtful word-ly things.

When I met Grandma that final time, I knew she said goodbye to me.I knew it was the last. She took my leave with a kind of apology. The I can’t do it anymore. I touched her feet, went to the car, shed some secret tears and then we tried to act normal.

That was that, you know.

That was that.

She knew.

I knew.

And strangely, that matters to me.

 

 

 

 

Pause

Today was a mentally taxing day. 

I had a training where in I couldn’t pay attention, and I blurted out the absolute wrong theory in front of a batch of newbies (No, I wasn’t taking the training)  I was trying to buy a phone online(unsuccessfully), I got some morbid messages, and I was feeling gloomy all day. I wanted to do something I was contemplating for a long time yet I thought I should hang in there for a few  mor days.

Some more days, some more time, some  moments, a second.

Such mundane struggles we have. An acquaintance I had met on the last nature trail I had been to, texted me on Instagram today. He thanked me for my pictures, in fact, my captions rather than the pictures and told me he was amazed at my interpretation of life. There was a lot of sadness because I knew he was having problems on the health front and he told me, he’d try to be back but for now, it was a goodbye. I had mixed emotions really. Being a fairly private person, I take a lot of time and definitely keep those  people away who I think, come on too strongly. And here was one such person, expressing his wish to have known me better. 

I couldn’t do  more than thank him and said I wish the best for his health. I really do. I hope he continues to inspire all. 

There are a lot of people we meet, but it’s just not possible to let everyone in. And that’s a sad fact. But for those who are in the inner circle, what have you done for them? 

What have you left them if not good memories and kind words, in case this transient life plays its cruel cards. 

Do what you can and try to make a difference in someone’s life. We Indians mostly just suck at this kind of emotions. It doesn’t have to be a daily reminder of I love you. No it doesn’t. When I was in fourth standard and I went for a sleepover at my friend’s, I was appalled and amazed at the same time when the entire family was having a light moment and confessing their love for one another.. I come from a family when love means pulling your feet and sharing a joke, often ending up on the verge of a fight.  Such weird family dynamics right? 

But even KJo can’t help change some things. Can keep trying though. After all, you will eventually succeed or that’s what they tell you anyway. 

Pride and Prejudice

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife”. 

The beginning of Jane Austen’s novel could not have been established on a more superior note. It was the succinct combination of the style that would follow in the pages thereafter. With expressions so apt, and emotions so detailed, it’s amazing how Austen portrayed the nuances of the time peppered with mild sarcasm and a general tinge of enjoyment.

After having re-read the book many a times, I resorted to listening to the audio book this time around. On one of those days when I give in to the inner child in me and resort to coloring mandalas to feel soothed and calm, I decided to listen to Karen Savage’s rendition of Pride and Prejudice. Whether it’s Mr Collins’ adulatory voice or Mrs Bennet’s high-pitched, dramatic expressions, Savage has done an admirable job with this one.

Despite knowing the story line and the dialogues in some scenes, I couldn’t help feeling awed at this piece of literary genius. I thought myself to be addicted when I couldn’t help myself to another chapter, even when it would be pretty late and I had to doze.  If you’re a fan of books and are looking to start something new, I would recommend this audio book to you so that you may be as fortunate as myself and sing glorious praise of it thence.

P.S The only cons I can think of after you having listened to the audio book is that you may be tempted, like me, to write in a slightly archaic manner and leave your readers puzzled.

Happy listening, folks!

🙂

Hiraeth

Ever since I can remember, I recall feeling insufficient or incomplete in life. It’s like I have always been seeking and searching for something that seems elusive. Even while living with family, I longed to get out and discover my true identity and to ascertain for myself what it is to feel independent. I wanted to leave home, move cities, be that girl next door who’s got everything in her favour. I’ve been away from home for close to three years now, I’m living alone in a different city, struggling to lead and make choices that pertain to day-to-day living and chores, but something still eludes me. I’m not that chirpy girl next door, I’m a cynical and hopeless maniac, struggling in the rat race and trying to tell myself that there’s more to this. Hang in there. I compare my mental and monotonous struggles to the labourers hard at work and tell myself that I do not need to do such hard physical labour to fill my tummy and what’s more, I even get a few extra bucks.

The only time I didn’t have this feeling of inadequacy was  when I was living the life of an MBA student. I was living away from home, could smuggle some food from home, could ask for tickets to be booked by the parents and run home every time I needed to get a break in life, or when I was feeling broke, and I could just enjoy that solitude that my situation had to offer me. It helped that I had some very non-intrusive room mates and friends. We all just loved our space. I loved that space, and I loved me in that space.

Despite living in a big city, with happening people around (who I never meet, and when I do meet, end up regretting) I don’t have my space. I don’t have the opportunity to come home after a long day and feel like I’ve truly done something amazing. What usually happens is that I come home and feel sad because I have to do this again the next day, and the day after . It doesn’t make sense to me. And for me to be truly living, I need to know that I make a difference. It’s true that your job will not think twice about replacing you. What do you do then? How do you find something to do that will give you the respect you deserve and the space that you need to flourish?

I tell people that some things aren’t your cup of tea. Because honey, you’re a coffee lover. Who’ll tell me that and show me the way?

I keep waiting for someone else to give me that push. Deep in my heart, I know that none can do it except for one person.

And that person, I’m afraid, is me.