Old Post Alert

I found my old cellphone and several drafts of unpublished blogs. Here’s an attempt to revive some of those with a slight edit towards the end. 
Circa 2016

A few months down the line, there is probably a lot that I’m going to miss. Walking downhill all by myself and treating myself to coffee is probably going to top the list. I don’t want to look back and say why didn’t I do this more often? 

I want to do this everyday if I need to. Just to make sure that I did it when I could. 

There’s a dilemma in my head. About my career. It was probably always there but inexpressible. Now that the time for placements is here.. It’s resurfacing,  and in a big way. What’s the answer to that? Do I have the courage to follow through? Without knowing what is the destination, is the journey worth embarking upon? 

Circa 2019

It’s  been exactly two years now since I grabbed my accidental degree and I’m now on my third job after a few freelance gigs. 

Truth be told, I got placed in what was my dream company then, one of the world’s leading market research firms but life at my dream company wasn’t the stuff that dreams are made of. I was insanely Happy and proud of my achievements – lone girl from Bangalore, armed with an MBA in media, living in the city of dreams with my best friend, it was the stuff I had dreamed but not believed in. And life was good, or as good as it can be with plenty of working weekends and a work life that I didn’t enjoy, and with my loved ones far away. But I was exceedingly Happy at being away from home and couldn’t think of having it any other way. But you gotta believe in destiny right, and let it unravel its plans the way it’s meant to be. Despite more than a few pressing concerns, I made the shift home, for the love of my people. For I’d realized one thing, a place is only as good as its people. A lot has changed from then to now, my perspective to things is different and my reactions are far less emotional and more pragmatic, and that has made all the difference. 

As for whether the journey is worth embarking on, well the road is never monotonous and you’ve got to decide this for  yourself. 

Maybe it’s meant to be difficult and incomprehensible, enough to drive you nuts. But just hang in there bud, and keep faith. It gets better. Always! 🙂 

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#WhatIRead: Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha is an unforgettable read that transports you to Japanese life during the second World War and offers a glimpse into the enigma that are the Geisha

Hello Folks!

If you’re a loyal reader, I wish you a hearty morning and hope your soul feels nourished like never before!

If you’ve come to this page for the first time, I certainly hope I’m interesting enough for you to keep returning! What can I say, one man’s catharsis can be another man’s entertainment? At least that’s what’s been driving me all these posts!

Today’s section of #WhatIRead focuses on Memoirs of a Geisha. This book was on my list for the longest time but I’d never gotten around reading it because all the paperbacks I found had really tiny font and you know how annoying it is… There’s two things I can’t stand in a book, tiny illegible font and those horrible pirated copies, which seem like fake paper. I’m not as staunchly against piracy though because I believe ebooks have revolutionised the game and fortunately, a lot of then are available for free! If you want to know where I do my free ebook reading, feel free to drop a msg. Always glad to have another member in the reading club 🙂

Memoirs of a Geisha had me stumped! I expected it to be a drab retelling of what the Geisha are given that it’s been penned by a man, Arthur Golden. (No bias against men writers but I just didn’t think they’d do so much justice to a female protagonist’s voice). I wasn’t prepared for a disturbing and thought provoking marathon that this book offers.

It started off splendidly – the deprecated and desolate tipsy hut overlooking a cliff, a tiny pond, Chiyo San’s overtly optimistic thoughts and her description of her parents… There was so much innocence there and then the story became progressively darker…

I won’t mince my words.. The journey takes you from curiosity, to disgust to desolation, and finally leaves you feeling sympathetic and helpless… And you’ll be hooked to it as a moth takes to flame… A definite page turner!

In the middle of the narrative, I got so involved that I had to know more.. Was it a real story? Who are these women? Are their lives really as intriguing as its been painted, or is it much worse!? I looked up tonnes of information and came to the conclusion that the fiction must be based on a majority of real life events and happenings, although the former Geisha who was interviewed declined a lot of things and even went on to sue the author. (Here’s a link if you’re curious about the lady in question: Mineko Iwasakiwhose life forms a large part of this book)

Did I mention that on the days when my eyes were too strained to read (given that work involves a whole lot of laptop screen staring), I found a YouTube play list of a fan curated audio book. That served the purpose too, and I absolutely adored the orator’s voice.

Without further ado, get on your reading glasses and dig into this soul stirring narrative!

Happy reading guys.

🙂

#WhatImReading: The Time Traveler’s Wife

This book has been on my wishlist for a really long time but somehow I’d never gotten the opportunity to read it. After finishing two intense books, Sister of My Heart and American Gods, I started the ebook version of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Reading this makes one fall in love with being in love. How can you not? It’s so simple an emotion and so entwined with life that maybe it’s easy to miss but you have to remember, it’s there!

I absolutely love how the plot weaves in and out of different time zones. And Henry? Oh well. If I had to put him up there in the list of fictional people I’ve fallen in love with, he’s right beside Taariq and Sirius. It doesn’t help that Henry is a librarian! If I had to redo my life again, might I not choose to be the purveyor, peruser and protector of books!?

I was inspired by my friend Nat, who I think keeps going back to The Time Traveler’s Wife, to pick this up and give it a read. I’ve still not finished with it. It’s a paradox. I want to read and I want it to never end…

I love how little Clare and big Henry meet. I Love the romance in the little things which so often we take for granted. It’s funny that it takes an external factor to remind you that all the details are in the little things.

It’s weird how I cannot give you a review of this book and I can just tell you to enjoy the feeling that it leaves you with. So few books have this power of making everything seem pleasant.

If you’re in love and need a reminder of those happy carefree moments, pick this up. If you’ve never been in love, pick this up to know it’s never ever too late. For Whatever it’s worth, need a good book to unwind? Pick this up already!

#WhatIRead – Cut Like Wound Review

After reading Anita Nair’s famous work ‘Ladies Coupe’, ‘Cut Like Wound’ is only my second tryst with her writing. I had no expectations from the book but had surmised from the title that it’s a mystery.

I finished this book in record time in comparison to my reading schedule because it was an epic page turner.

I love how Anita sketches her characters. She gives them enough flesh that they appear real as if you’ve known these people all your lives, like the neighbor who lives down the lane. You’re both smile buddies who don’t do much talking yet you seem to know almost everything there is to know about each other.

Cut Like Wound is set in Bangalore and the plot crisscrosses around North Bangalore. This novel introduces us to Bangalore’s previously famous fictional Inspector, Borei Gowda, who in his youth was known for his ‘saakath sense’ but is now a fat and grumpy inspectors who isn’t ailing well. The readers are treated to the protagonist’s personal and professional existence and one can almost feel the despondency as mid life crisis hits him where it hurts hard. A series of murders carried out in signatures style, a corrupt politician, and a whole lot of transvestites make this book a fascinating read. It‘s also got scope enough for a movie if you ask me.

There were a few places where I felt that the edit could be better yet otherwise, in keeping with the style, this is an interesting read!

#WhatIRead – The Sialkot Saga

Hi Folks,

Wish you all a happy Wednesday morning. Isn’t it sublime to know that you’re in the mid of another week and you can almost sniff the excitement of the weekend? Well, I’ve reached my workspace pretty early today thanks to the opposition’s call for a nation-wide Bandh. Man, I used to love being in school for all these unpredictable holidays… Anyway, it’s not too bad being grown up, you can get used to getting your salary. The trouble only strikes when you start evaluating your goals vs your money, and then shit gets real! 

I digress.

Here’s what you came for! 

So I recently finished Ashwin Sanghi’s ‘The Sialkot Saga’, and I couldn’t quite make up my mind over it. I definitely liked the read but there were plenty of loopholes so I’ll just treat it like a dose of Bollywood entertainment. 

capture

a. The name has barely anything to do with what transpires in the book… And the cover is definitely a giveaway of sorts if you know what I mean! (wink wink)

b. I have always looked at Ashwin Sanghi as The Indian Dan Brown but after reading this particular novel, I’m inclined to also refer to him as The Indian Jeffrey Archer. Need I say more? I bet you’ve already guessed the plotline!

c. I quite liked how he’s tried to sketch over the characters of the protagonist. It was a real page-turner, I won’t deny that but there was something missing – like a good soul. 

d. I absolutely loved how the author integrated almost ALL important events that occurred in Indian History post Independence. You’ll read about the political scenario of India right from Nehru’s times to the chaos of the Gandhi era, to Vajpayee’s unsuccessful stints. It’s not just politics, owing to the economic interests of a certain protagonist, there’s a whole lot of connection to India’s foreign policies, trade unions, et al.

e. It’s also interesting to note that the major terrorist attacks that happened have found mention in the book in one way or another. You’ve got to give the credits to the author, in between weaving from the past and the present, he’s certainly tried his best to keep the plot as real as possible. 

Final Verdict?

To be honest, you aren’t missing out much if you give this a skip but if you’re remotely interested in Indian history and politics, then it’s a good refresher and you may even spot out some erroneous gaps in the timeline! That said, every book deserves its due. So, pick up this, or pick up that, and stick to it! You’ll always be better off after reading! 

So long, then!

Adios, and Happy Reading! 🙂

#WhatIRead – The House That BJ Built

Anuja Chauhan’s sequel to ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ reemphasizes the same thing through the entirety of this book:

‘I won’t sell. My jhuti won’t sell. Even my Ghosht won’t sell ‘.

Now you know exactly what the story is about – a love story set in the backdrop of an ancient house that’s got a complicated history. Throw in a handsome hunk with Bollywood connections complete with the hot bod and aqualine nose(My assumption of Chauhan’s nose fetish is confirmed for sure!), a righteous but arrogant voluptuous protagonist who keeps chamchamming her way through the storyline, and 4 annoying af cows, er, I mean aunts.

Bonita Singh ‘s name has many synonyms to upp the entertainment quotient. Bonus.. Bonu..Boner.. You see where it’s going?

It’s a fun read given some trademark Chauhan’s Hinglish, her ability to provide offbeat humour, some incredulous Bollywood-like Tamasha, and well-placed mush. (We’re sucklers for old school romance, aren’t we?)

The ending becomes somewhat of a drag and you can think of so many alternate scenarios that could have finished the plot a few pages early.

Nevertheless, if you’re in the mood for a light and entertaining read, do pick up this one and guffaw your way through it! 😂

The Class

I just finished with Erich Segal’s award winnings and popular book – The Class. As with any of Segal’s works, I expected there to be situational conflicts with the protagonist and yet a whole lot of TLC. I wasn’t disappointed but I must say, I expected more.

After having read only 2 other books by Segal, I must admit that what he does is rather smart. There’s not 1 but 5 whole protagonists who share page space in this novel, and once you wait for your readers to be invested in each one’s story, that’s a brilliant way to keep the pages turning!

However, Segal’s characters fail to connect with you emotionally unlike in Doctors. Here, you just passively read the exploits of the different (un) heroes and exalt at their victories or admonish them for infidelities.

Read ‘The Class’ if you want to know more about life behind the wrought iron gates of Harvard.

One of the best lines came about during the end when Segal talks about how all the boys of batch 1954 entered Harvard as rivals and now, for their 25th class reunion, there’s a solidarity that transcends trivial emotions like enmity – Indeed life doesn’t spare even the supposedly most successful ones from its throes.

So long, Happy Reading!

Of Pop Culture Books & Series

Has it ever happened to you that at some phase of life, you felt that your thoughts and actions were mirrored by the universe, manifested outwardly as a book or a TV Show, a song that takes on a real-deep meaning for you, or even a commercial blockbuster movie that strangely resonates so much with you!?

I found this happening to me often with the books that I read while growing up. I am a firm believer that you are what you read. If that is truly the case – I’m one part fantasy, one part crime, a little bit of romance, and some amount of adventure. I am however only fiction, thank you, but definitely have the ability to create non fiction.

Looking back to the correlation between life and books, on the days that I craved some adventure and friendship, there were Enid Blyton’s various books to turn to – whether it was The Secret Seven, Malory Towers, Famous Five, or Five Find-Outers, she really helped widen our imagination as kids and made us crave for the joyous freedom that her characters experienced.

It’s no surprise that JK Rowling’s Potter Saga appeals so much to the pre-teens – it’s got everything that a teen can relate to. Whether it’s about fitting in with the world, criticized for being different, finding and holding on to best friends at school or developing crushes, feeling rebellious, name the emotion and she had it all. I know some of us wished for a bit more romance to add to the sparks but our author knew just how much was too much. Is it weird that I’m counting days for more Potter Mania to resurface thanks to the Fantastic Beasts 2!?

For those of us who were lured by the mysterious and weird stuff, the Twilight Series was a Godsend. I now agree that reading it was utter Trash, but it set our hearts racing alright! I was always Team Edward but for some incidents that made me really sad for Team Jacob and I never looked at Twilight the same way again. Despite all those internal conflicts, I finished the series, even read the leaked chapters of Midnight Sun and I wanted more. That was the age for Drama.

After a while, I caught on to Grey’s Anatomy. My normal Engineering Life was so boring and yet at the same time so much happened that I often kept comparing life’s crappy quotient to the doctors’ drama unfolding on the TV. First, they killed George, then Danny, then Mc Steamy, the cute sister, and Arizona’s legs were chopped off. I still continued hoping that somewhere things would be alright. I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy after Christina Yang left and Mc Dreamy was killed and oh so brutally! Goddamit! Thinking about it still makes my blood boil.

I discovered a lot of Indian author books around this time – Preeti Shenoy, Durjoy Datta, Ravinder Singh, etc. While the quality of language didn’t impress me much, the stories were poignant, slice-of-life stuff that could happen to anyone. Perhaps that’s what made it endearing and abominable at the same time.

A chance reading of Ladies Coupe made me so sad for womanhood in India that I instantly started respecting women around me at least a little better.

There is one dog-eared copy of Mills & Boons that belonged to my Aunt, that I have preserved safely for it became the benchmark of love and respect for me. A story set on a cruise ship between a 22-year old smart and grounded  girl, who takes her first trip abroad and the stern yet reliable captain of 35 years taught me that it wasn’t about money, age, or physique, although those things definitely spice it up. Events in life have also taught me discreetly that a lot of what you think love is, is really nothing but the admiration and respect you feel for people. Sure, your potential friends could still be waltzing in and out of your life, confusing you and enticing you while you look for your Ms/Mr Right on matrimonial sites but I understand now how companionship can work – it’s about whether upon meeting, you both match the same intellectual frequency and have similar emotional needs or are you vying for bigger egos and has/has-nots!?

Coming back to pop culture influences  – it was only after I started my post graduation that I could, in the confines of my room, and with my first-ever laptop really watch FRIENDS and understand the emotions behind the characters and dialogues. You see, it was only there that I understood and appreciated the friends that I’d had and made for life.

There was also a phase where Sex And The City made the biggest impact on me. I just loved how much liberty these women enjoyed and what they really thought of relationships because you have got to admit it, things on the Indian dating scene are not as they were in our parents generation. Watching Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte make crappy decisions, break up with the baddies, and continue to wait for Mr Right, while all the time working on themselves and waltzing through professional life – that heady rush and motivation is just what you need sometimes!

Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, The Middle, SATC, The Mindy Project are just a few series that I can recall currently that made it a relatable treat to watch. For now, I’m taking a break from the popular stuff and bingeing on Sharp Objects / Strike / How To Get Away With Murder. I’m not planning a homicide, don’t get me wrong, I’m just waiting for a good breeze to blow my way, as it often does before I can pick up on something as good and understand the message behind. Until then, so long!

Patiala Date

There I was, seated outside the mall, with my voluminous bag and helmet, waiting for my friend to show up when I saw her.

She was dressed in a pair of violet patialas, her long hair tied back and she’d worn dangling silver earrings that complimented the attire. Every bit the quintessential Punjabi kudi right out of Bollywood – and I’m not kidding, this was actually my first reaction!

In between looking for my friend in the sparsely populated road, I kept an eye on this girl. I saw her in the midst of a face palm – she hit her forehead and probably berated herself for something. Eventually, this girl came very close to where I was seated and asked the person sitting next to me if she could use her phone for a moment. The person refused and I could see disappointment etched on the pretty girl’s face and she made to move away.

The face-palm gesture explained itself and I quickly called out to her, took my phone out and asked her to go ahead and use it! She looked relieved, thanked me and spoke over the phone.

(The fact that I was in a similar situation barely half an hour before meeting her only added to the urgency with which I lent her my phone. Yeah I basically used a stranger’s phone to reach out to Boo with whom I’d accidentally left my phone. I knew exactly how weird she was feeling about her stupidity )

After the call she thanked me and sat waiting next to me. Having nothing better to do and being thoroughly fascinated, I struck up a conversation. In the course of our discussion, she admitted that she was here for a first date and told me about the year-long secret glances and unspoken conversations that she’d shared with Mr Potential who in fact ticked all her boxes. (Woh checklist jo hata hai humara!?)

She confessed to being super nervous and a tad bit annoyed that her exams were around the corner and she never wanted to commit to these things.. I tried to assure her that things would be good, give cupid a chance… My pretty in pink friend made two more calls of which I overheard the sweetest and most respectful – Tussi Kaha hai?

She’d dressed up traditional cause she really liked him and that he loved this attire… She spoke of how his hands were shivering when he made the first move to talk to her and hang out and laughed glibly. It melted my heart and made me feel so happy for her! Small joys in a big bad world, ain’t it!?

I caught her credentials just in time before I parted with a wink and wished her luck.

Just caught up with her on social media and got to know that despite Mr Potential’s Late Lateef act, for which she wanted to slap him, She said Yes!

Sharp Objects – A review and some pangs

I set outside my home much like Camille Preaker dressed in jeans, tee, a windcheater despite it being a hot evening and my sling bag for company.

My hair is free flowing and loose like hers, it moves lazily with every small burst of wind that encounters me. I feel this immense energy in me to write and I head to the closest park that affords some privacy because of its size.

I reach the nearest bench and I collapse with my phone.. Trying to bring my head together over what I just watched and discussed.

Sharp Objects isn’t like any other TV show. It was short, sweet and dizzying. Where shows like ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ can’t get into intricacies of characters, this show had an alarmingly real protagonist and very real characters essayed so beautifully that you’re convinced that you were just in the living room of this pretty mansion, in countryside America. Except, you suddenly wake up when your dog licks you and you’re home, your perceived comfort zone, far away from baby killers.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this show is the use of flashbacks at just the right scenarios. You’re confused about the time line, you take a moment to register what’s being shown and suddenly your hair’s standing on ends compelling you to realign your position with the screen.

I thought Amy Adams was a fantastic actor after American Hustle, which isn’t saying much but after Sharp Objects, I can’t stop raving about her.

Also, Gilian Flynn you’ve done it again. After Gone Girl, just when you thought shit couldn’t get creepier, lo and behold. This woman is the mistress of psycho thrillers and there’s no two ways about it!

While I’m still reeling under the trauma of the thriller, I’m eager to get my hands on the book for my friend just told me some of those subtle nuances that the show didn’t do justice to and I want more closure.

So if you find yourself craving a thriller, albeit slow paced and all of 8 episodes, I’d recommend Sharp Objects.

Give it a watch and let me know your reviews in a comment below!

Adios!

P. S. Bless your heart.