Begin Again?

The Lockdown has got most of us hooked to the internet and I’m no exception.

When I’m not procrastinating, I’m usually scrolling on my phone. Today however felt a little different. I accidentally woke up early – at 6:30. Which let’s be honest, is my usual waking up time. Except, I generally just turn up the covers and try to dive right back into an unfinished dream. I’ve had a lot of those off late – I dreamt I was about to sip into an exciting cocktail, and there was something nagging me to wake up – I don’t know what that was, but I couldn’t go back and taste it ever. Ugh.

Anyway, today I woke up early and got to take my scooter out for a short spin. I’ve always been a D-Mart fan since my first encounter at Powai. And having to shop for them groceries in the lockdown is a privilege no less. So that was a beautiful start to my morning, and then there was fish for lunch. Sunday Sorted indeed!

I then watched ‘Begin Again’.

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Image source – http://www.mposter.com/begin-again-movie-poster.html

I’ve probably not watched too many Mark Ruffalo movies before. But I recently watched Shutter Island, and now this and I can’t stop raving about him!

Close friends know how face blind I am – I just can’t seem to recall faces or place them appropriately. So please excuse me for confessing that I didn’t recognize the main lead, although I’ve watched Pirates of The Carribean (If you were born in the nineties, who hasn’t – right?)

Begin Again is a delightful breath of fresh air. Music, rather making souldful music, is at the heart of it. And the premise is rather simple. You have the legen–wait-for-it-dary music heartthrob Adam Levine and the cast couldn’t be better. A simple script with beautiful performance, moments of tension when you’re rooting for them lovely peeps, and a warm glow after.

And whether or not you watch this movie. You have to listen to this beauty! Dive right into the depth of the song, and tell me what you think of.

Begin Again.

Will you?

Panchgani Pyaar

A photo journey of a ride from Pune to Panchgani

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!

 

#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 – 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!