#WhatIRead – The Other Woman

Hello Readers,

My review of this book is as different as chalk from cheese compared to this one:

Fast as a bullet, hauntingly beautiful, and filled with stunning double-crosses and twists of plot, The Other Woman is a tour de force that proves once again that “of all those writing spy novels today, Daniel Silva is quite simply the best” (Kansas City Star).

It took me several days interspersed with a binge session of The Umbrella Academy 2, the slow rendition of A Marriage Story (A Divorce Story – might have been more apt), and the Daniel Radcliffe starring movie -What If, to finally pick up this book midway and see it to its fruitful end.

The book begins apodictic descriptions of characters, places, and history with little focus on the plot. There are so many characters who pop up with such randomness every five chapters, that it took me a while to figure out our primary protagonists. Perhaps, that’s meant to confuse the readers. So you never know who’s the focus of your page. The story line doesn’t pick up well until you’ve crossed halfway into the novel, and that was really disappointing. I debated giving up half-way but my reader instincts clearly forbade me.

On the plus side, there’s a definitely well-written novel with the most accurate descriptions that help your imagination shift between the grim streets of Europe, to the shady neighborhoods of the Kremlin, and back to the prominent sights of Washington and London. I believe the book could have been spiced up well and truly to make it a far more entertaining read. I’m definitely riveted by Gabriel Allon, and perhaps just for him, I might try another Daniel Silva.

Are you a fan of his work? If yes, do recommend one and I’ll take you out for coffee when this pandemic is over!

Cheers ❤

#WhatIWatched – What If

To get over yesterday’s Monday Blues, and to deal with the monthly chronicling of pain in the uterus, I took an off from work and spent time sleeping and watching.

I finished the second season of Umbrella Academy and then moved to the Rom-Com, What If.

Daniel Radcliffe who plays Wallace looked to be in his element, if looking fidgety, uncomfortable, and confused are to be the benchmarks, he aced it. It was like seeing him re-live the awkward boy wizard once again, trying so hard to profess his love for Chantry, who’s very much his intellectual counterpart. They spend an insane amount of time talking shit, literally! You get to know a whole lot about poop that you may just end up clicking the forward button.

It’s a cute and predictable movie that relies on the cliché of falling for your best friend.

This movie didn’t leave much of an impact on me. I know I’ve got a soft corner for Dan, and that’s definitely why I clicked on this movie recommendation. I also kept thinking of how short he seems to be. I also learnt how to make Fools Gold. The actress Zoe does a decent job, and she’s cute too. But didn’t leave a lasting impact.

Let’s spend a moment talking about Chantry’s Boy Friend, Ben. Man is he threatened by Wallace? Well, what can you really say. If there’s no mental stimulation and connect, can you really sustain a relationship? Perhaps if you work doubly hard, and aren’t continents away!

All in all, don’t watch this movie if you want something new. But if you want to just while away some time, while reliving your childhood crush on Daniel Radcliffe, be my guest.

Adios, amigos!

Ramblings. No- wait, Musings! In the end, does it even matter?

Undoubtedly everyone you know is cribbing about how 2020 has turned out to be such a disaster for them. It’s ironic because this was the year that was to change several lives! A special year, the kind that literally happens once in a Millenium! 

And here we are, washing hands, sanitizing, and cursing the fates that messed up so bad! 

If there was no Coronavirus, would there be anything novel about 2020?

Perhaps there would be a lot of mundane nothings, no break from your routines, several more canceled Goa plans, and maybe an unplanned trip would have taken place. Or maybe it would have been just another year – of highs and lows, and expectations, and disappointments, or maybe some happiness. But, we’ll never know, shall we?

What would you be doing if there was no COVID-19 to put a dampener on your spirits?

What are you doing now?

Are you one of those productive people who can transform their lives in such constrained times? 

Or are you simply cocooned in the warm confines of your room, letting the concept of time rollover you like the Brownian motion of dust?

Are you fighting your inner butterfly as she remains caged by her surroundings?

Or are you a reckless dragonfly, alive and happy, enjoying May for all its offerings?

What are you? And how are you surviving? 

Because if I had it my way, I’d say, ‘Wake me up when September Comes’, for these three months that are yet to pass, they’re bound to be the hardest months yet. Could I perhaps disappear into a novel and stay sane? Or could I discover a series and remain there? Whatever I do, could I just escape this? For frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Panchgani Pyaar

On the so-called most romantic day of the year, Boo and I decided to visit our bestie in Pune, so Valentine’s could be spent in the cozy and chill atmosphere of Panchgani, living up to the moniker.

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So that’s me and Boo at the airport! (Our first trip together, if I may add)

I was so disappointed to see the oily stains on the window. 

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Naturally, my inner Monica had to be channeled!

 

We landed in Pune at midnight and drove straight to Bee’s place, and after some midnight munchies, crashed int other night. 

We woke up, showered and dressed by 6 and were off to Wakad to begin the Great Valentine Adventure – The Bike Ride to Panchgani. We were to hire a cruise bike – an Avenger 220, and Bee was to borrow his friend’s Pulsar. As most trips go, they get onto a rough start and this one was no different. After Waiting, Eating, and Fighting and Letting go in that order, we began the much-awaited ride!

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We were finally psyched to be off!

 

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And when we hit the highway – Oh Sweet Jesus!

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The wide roads gave way to breath-taking, winding roads among the hills

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After multiple pit-stops, and a gut-clenching worry that I may have forgotten to book the Zostel, we stopped at an idyllic village scene for fresh sugarcane juice. It was so heartwarming to see this!

 

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We reached our destination – the Zostel around 12-ish and were amazed at the view!

The Panchgani Zostel was simply superb! The compactness of these container rooms and the view out of those mini balconies was so damn nice! Definitely worth a visit once-in-our-lifetime!

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And then we began doing what we came for – Sightseeing of course! Just look at this beaut.

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And this …

 

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And another one…

And then we reached so many viewpoints, where yours truly did her magic… 

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With some dogs

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And a Puppy!

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And posed for some horrible photographer who doesn’t know any symmetry.

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While I got an amazing and artistic picture for him. *BRB – I’m still crying*

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What pure bliss… I think this was Sydney Point – and I feel bad I don’t know why it’s called thus!

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My boyz at the tableland – Harrison’s Folly!

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And yes, we went to the famed ‘Mapro Gardens’ although it was too late to tour the garden.

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Did some touristy things like act surprised at seeing so many hues of flower babies.

Mapro is a huge strawberry farm that encourages visitors to go and pluck strawberries during the fruit season, but they’re mostly renowned cause of their range of jams, fruit syrups, and jelly-based chocolates but if the store at the premise is anything to go by, they’ve ventured into an exhaustive range of product lines right from dark chocolate, cocktail flavours, tea-flavour infusers, and the ubiquitous Gujrati Khakra! 

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Mapro is also famed for its club sandwich, a massive combination of vegetables and cheese which can easily leave 2 foodies stuffed! I, however, wasn’t such a fan! Ooh, and you ought to try the Strawberries with Fresh Cream if you love desserts.

After Mapro, we pretty much crashed and missed the night-walk organized by Zostel. I was so glad to know that it got canceled because no one showed up. 

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I sneaked out early next morning and basked in the light morning solitude.

 

 

 

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And it was so serene and nice.

As we woke up and rode around, yours truly was the navigator and might have missed a bunch of turnings, but guess what, it led us to a temple that Bee was looking forward to visit but we hadn’t factored it into our plans. So basically, the Divine does work in mysterious ways!

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Mandir Bohot Pehle Ban Gaya Tha

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The rest of Day 2 was spent Monkeying around at Arthur’s Seat

 

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And because it was Valentine’s, Boo clicked my pic with Bee!

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This was also the trip where remakes of ‘Pati Patni aur Woh’ could originate.

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And there’s a lot more of those…

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Bidding Farewell to our Container Home – the Zostel!

Day 3 had a rather interesting start. As we were having a cuppa chai after a sumptuous breakfast, a random stranger walked up to us and began to insist that we allow him to read our hands! After some convincing, the 3 of us gave in and got our so-called ‘future’ read. Never done that before, so that was a first!

So we bid goodbye to some terrefic memories and rode back through the amazing roads, stopping by for Sugarcane just as we had earlier.

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And that was that, folks! Hope you had a good read 🙂

 

Trip Me Baby, One More Time!

2019 has seen me through a lot of dilemmas and it’s perhaps a good time now to succumb to the realization that I’m bound to be a chronically broke person in life. How much I make may not have had much effect on me if it didn’t come with the gut-wrenching realization that I’m about to say No to another pre-planned trip. If you dream of traveling the world, and are always penniless or permission-less, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve had to start my year by refusing the biggest trip that was remotely possible in my imagination, and it looks like I’m about to end the year on similar lines.

How does it feel you ask?
It’s akin to an ache that you never knew existed! It begins discretely, like your regular mosquito bite – you acknowledge it, and you ignore. Only, it doesn’t like being ignored, and slowly, it grows into a scab that threatens to disturb your very peace of mind.

I may be able to bid adieu to a future trip well into the initial stages of planning it, oh wait. I don’t think its counted as planning if all you had to do was say yes and get on. The irony isn’t in bidding adieu. Goodbyes are pretty easy for me if I haven’t gotten attached to you, and chances are that unless you’re Katy Perry or Enrique Iglesias, what I’m doing tonight in my skin-tight jeans is really none of your business.

What I fear for is basically this: that journey which began without me, well, it threatens to suddenly develop into a one-track film reminiscent of a one-sided love affair, which doesn’t want to let go of me! And that’s where it all goes wrong.
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If you are a well wisher and have any love to spare, Oh Hogwash – I don’t believe it myself. Well, My Birthday has just come and gone, so do me a favor and wish me a future when I never have to say No to a trip. And I’ll wish the same for you! Deal?

#WhatIRead – Pyjamas Are Forgiving

So, I just finished Twinkle Khanna’s third book.

I knew when I sat on the bus this morning that I’d treat this read as I do with chewing gums, and that’s pretty much what transpired. Two hours, one bus, and two cups of chai later, here I am, spilling the beans.

A breezy book with a relaxed pace that has little content to put you in a reminiscent mood, Pyjamas are Forgiving caters to a niche readership group which makes the book less enjoyable to others.
The writing is peppered with poignant thoughts about relationships, and you’ll cherish reading about the little nothings that you cannot brush off between couples. The inclusion of funny Punjabi aunties, the weird procedures at the Ayurvedic facility will have you in guffaws at some scenes, but the book mainly dives into the relationship between an estranged couple, who definitely haven’t moved on from their toxic past.

I love how Khanna makes it so easy to digest things. Perhaps, it also helps that you’re reading about so much the Vatta, Pitta, Kapha of Ayurvedic treatments and funny smelling medicines that it makes it easy to down this as a shot itself!

Although there’s so much going on in these pages, it still feels fairly insouciant.

My mom read about three pages and brushed the book aside – and told me its trash. Perhaps it’s one of those rare times that we actually agree on something.

Moral of the story: Pyjamas may be forgiving, but I swear I’ll pick my videsi jeans any day, every day!

Happy morning, you all and wish you a Terrific Tuesday!

 

Somedays…

Somedays, I want to write.

I want to write about the many wonders of life that exist beyond my four walls –of the air-conditioned, monotonous office buildings.
I want to write about the struggles of the fruit-seller on the streets, or the bus driver’s mental state while navigating through the most crowded routes of Bangalore.
I want to write about the dreams and aspirations of the artist who sits next to me, his crafts waiting their turn as his mind is busy, engaged on the screen for hours together.
I want to write about my dreams – those that I’ve conquered and the many that are left unsaid and unknown – awaiting their chance in the shadows like specs of dust floating around – not knowing if they will keep wafting about or find a place to call its home.
I want to write about the freedom that the wind experiences – as it breezes across oceans and swarms through cities, gliding gleefully atop mountains, and plunging restlessly down into the valleys. I want to listen to its thrilling stories of people encountered, of animals fierce and friendly, of its rendezvous with trees, colorful flowers, and broken leaves, of billowing for hours on treacherous territory until it’s found its way to me – oh the stories untold!

Somedays, I want to write.

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! 🙂 

#WhatIRead: Memoirs of a 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!