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!

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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! 😀

 

Harry Potter and The (Non) Cursed Day 

Yes! It’s been a week since my last post and what an exciting  time it has been. It began with Ashu coming over to visit me and culminated with me reading The Cursed Child. It cannot get better than this. Period. 

For a while when you can escape from trivial problems and have hope that everything is okay, that’s when you’re at your mental best. 

I spend the entire day, part of it actually, reading Harry Potter and it felt like coming home, that’s how much you belong here. And Harry! I absolutely love the person you are. And Daniel Radcliffe too. I’m personally indebted to the casting director of this franchise. While the movies may have not done justice to the books, the faces couldn’t have been better. I understand that this play had a lot of controversy going because of the actor who played Granger, it would be a brilliant surprise if the movie cast had reprieved their roles for the play. That’s me being too greedy so I can live with that. The story works out way more beautifully in my head any way. HE Rowling, you… (adjectives fail me here). It’s a pleasure to read you because you instill hope in us. You encourage us to hang in there and I appreciate that resolve when it comes from us humans. 

#ThirtyTrinkets Day 10

Today’s the day of the dragonfly.

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A dragonfly usually always reminds me of Professor Trelawney because of her bejeweled appearance. It’s been raining like crazy on the hills and classes have been a real bore. I’ve slept through three classes back to back and even hid below the computers, in the closely cramped room to avoid having to do anything. I began to re-read The Alchemist and balanced it out with some Archie Comics and an ebook, The Mistborn. I’ve just booked tickets to go home for the week, and I can’t help feeling relieved and glad.
More stuff tomorrow, adios amigos!