Ten Tantalizing Reads

Hi readers,

I’m departing from the usual rants and observations and copying this from a Facebook Post from a year or two ago. There was a fad going on about ten books that left a lasting impact on you and these are mine. I’ve got to say that it does not follow a serious order and some books are just there because you know, it happened to you at a certain phase and the memories of that phase are stuck with its name, a nostalgia that is not necessarily beautiful, yet a part of you.

1) Harry Potter- J.K. Rowling.
For gifting me three best friends for life, and for making me a part of an alternate reality. And for Sirius. Yes, I believe in Magic.

Backstory: I began the Potter series at a house party when I was in 6th grade. I was a book lover, a nerd and I hated the mention of Potter because a certain friend had painted too vivid a picture. Being cynical since 1992, I was all ‘meh’. Why, I even ended up not understanding bat shit in the movie and returned the Casette (Yep, the VCR was a thing then). But at that bored party, once I read a few pages, there was no going back. #HarryPotterForLife since then and a #SiriusLoyalist too.

2) Inheritance series- Christopher Paolini.
I just loved the world he created. It was beautiful to travel with Saphira and meet Arya and yet remember that Eragon was a mere mortal once.

The Inheritance Cycle has mixed emotions. It started off so well but there was a lull in between. As usual, the movies didn’t do justice. I remember watching it with a group of friends in the theatre and there was absolutely nothing riveting about the adaptation on screen. However, being a part of the fantasy world was amazing.

3) The famous five series- Enid Blyton.
Sincere thanks to this woman. I think I fell in love with reading because of Julian, Anne, Dick, George and Timmy and their (mis) adventures. It’s made me an adventure freak!

I just remember sitting immobile for hours together just so I could be done with one book and go back to library for more. My librarian had to literally slow me down and barred me a few times.  I really wished I had such friends and that I could take off on adventures. To think about it, I guess my quest for wanderlust also took off around this time.

4) Thousand splendid suns- Khaled Hosseini.
For being simply splendid. I did a marathon with this book and it ended in late night tears. Mariam inspired me to write poetry.
For mariam and Tareeq. Love does conquer all.

It was in the 11th or 12th. It was horrible. I was a sobbing mess and I kept telling myself that there had to have been a way to save Mariam. I read this book when I was not doing so well in life. There was a lot of bull shit to rote learn, a feeling of hopelessness, not too many friends I could call mine, and well, the book was a beautiful reminder of hope. 

5) Gone with the Wind- Margaret Mitchell.
I read this way back in 9th grade. Not very pleased with the storyline but Scarlet ‘O Hara’s fierce arrogance has made for some interesting thought process.

In hindsight, I should not have started this book so young. It took me a really really long time to finish and it’s been one of the few books that I have cheated on. (Read two books simultaneously I mean).

6) The Shiva Trilogy- Amish Tripathy.
I just loved the way he broke it down to a message- Good deeds can make a Man God. Shiva’s journey from an ‘uncouth barbarian’ to the ‘Neelkanth’ was quite amazing. And the heartbreak at the end, So sad, yet so serene.

I remember reading this and explaining it to my extended family so fiercely that my Uncle actually was super impressed. This is one series I plan to read and re-read every few years just to understand and appreciate the beauty of life truths.

7) The crystal mask- Katherine Roberts.
I think I loved the exotic names that characters had in addition to the unique storyline.

8) Godfather- Mario Puzo.
“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Nuff said. The mafia bug bit me quite late and while I’m not an ardent fan of Narcos, I like to think that Godfather is still the ultimate in this category.

9) The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho.
It’s self explanatory…………….. And finally…

I am pretty sure I read it in one sitting because I really wanted to find the treasure. Don’t you all?

10) To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee.
It is meticulous narration from a child’s point pf view but it deals with so many complex problems. Well deserved Pulitzer..

 

Every time people ask me what’s my favorite book, I have a couple on my mind but it’s usually To Kill A Mockingbird that I reply. I read this a few times and I feel like I can relate to Atticus and I’m so proud of him. Not planning to read the sequel, sorry.

 

Do tell me what’s your favorite book of all times? May be I should get my hands on new categories and titles! 😀

 

Advertisements

Another day in the city

What are the odds of starting your day with a  compliment about your writing, to progressing through the day explaining why you cannot commit to a book, to finally indulging in a stimulating conversation with Author beloved to culminate a long day’s work, inspired to do some writing at least.

Yep, the odds are few indeed and I cannot even recall what led me to this moment. I may seem over excited about a small interaction but I cannot believe I just shared the room and even spoke to Mr Amish Tripathy, author of the best-selling Shiva Trilogy. (It irked me in a manner of sorts to see that on stage best and selling were not separated with a hyphen.)

IMG_20160420_231153
Even with selfies and pics, a meeting with your Favorite author is usually incomplete without their autograph. #OldSchoolThoughts

Like most of the things that I love, my tryst with Shiva began in a weird way. My two besties from school gifted the first two editions of the trilogy on my Birthday and I had mixed feelings about them. Sure I had seen hoardings and Crossword best-seller lists but nothing had piqued my interest and I stayed away from chatter about the Nagas.

When I finally began the odyssey of finding evil with Shiva, it was a beautiful journey that shattered some pre-conceived notions and amalgamated myths into a seemingly believable story. The characters were sketched so beautifully that I was soon propagating them to my relatives. I remember indulging in a debate with them when I took a moment to marvel that I felt so passionately about this, if  only I felt the same about what I was studying back then – engineering.

Anyway, today when I rushed to the National Gallery ofModern Art, I was berating myself for not having left office earlier. I reached in time to catch Amish discuss how Shaivites tend to be slightly anti-elitist.

Some habits die hard and soon I was taking notes in my little orange journal. The topic then shifted to the observation that myths in India are alive despite there being a mix of different cultures and traditions. The author remarked that one of the reasons why this happened is that old stories have been re-invented and delivered in a new bottle of wine.

That’s perhaps the main reason that several myths have survived till date and with every passing generation, there will be more additions to that list. The interest in our history and culture is being revived slowly but surely.

A person in the audience had a brilliant question – he asked why Indian people were not as accommodating as our neighbours. To this Amish quoted a small incident from the Mahabharata during the battle, in the field. He spoke about the instance when Arjuna fired an arrow on Karana’s chariot and as a result, it moved leagues away from their original position. When Karana fired an Arrow at Arjuna’s chariot, it only ended up moving a few feet but Krishna commended his opponent. This angered Arjuna and he was keen to know why. That’s when Krishna had to elucidate the importance of context. The chariot that seated Arjuna also had to bear the weight of Krishna (the lord himself) and Hanuman. If Karana’s arrow could cause any displacement at such a heavy vehicle – was it not something to bemarveledd at?
This is a life lesson – every time you judge a person, you have to look at all their circumstances. You cannot make a comment without understanding the true depth of these things.

It would not be wrong to state that our 200 years of colonial experience has shattered our country’s morale to a great extent and caused intensive damage to the cultures of our society however, change is in the air and by actively fighting and believing in who we are, we can herald this change.
Schools here study Shakespeare and O’Keats instead of understanding out own legacy of Gibrail, Rumi, or Mirza. Our own gems are foreign to us. What use is studying the American andFrench Revolution, the Queen who was despised by many, and of wars that plagued the world, if we do not know our own roots?

Did you know that a lot of Persian history was wiped off mainly because the Arab invaders took some stringent measures wherein they punished people who spoke or wrote Persian. That is why it is said that culture can be killed by killing a language.

On the whole, it was a remarkable session wherein I got insights from two other interesting people. I got an autograph from Amish and managed to get a photo as well. Oh yes.

 

IMG-20160420-WA0001
Yeah, we’re all smiles!

I loved the sheer positivity exuding from him and grateful to that one moment of destiny when I chanced upon this event and decided to go.

 

What I take away from Mumbai will be these insightful little discussions and memories that will remain with me long after the beer in your mug is over.

Here’s to more of my kinda fun.