Hola gente! (Spanish for 'Hello people!'. We've started with Spanish in college and to me, it's about the only useful and exciting thing. You bet I'll write in Spanish too sometime, once I learn how to string sentences and paragraphs. I've even thought of doing some reading, if downloading a book titled 'Spanish tales for Beginners' counts). Oh, by the way, Eid Mubarak! Not that I celebrate the festival, but I do like it, thanks to it being a gazetted holiday, which is a long, wonderful weekend for a stuck-up-with-crazy-college kind of a
poor thing girl like me. Before I begin, did I mention I've been to Amritsar and back in the past two days? I guess not. No one asked how it was. :| I'll write a separate post for it (maybe, because I want to write something detailed, as it was more than awesome. And that would be too long to be a blog post!).
Okay, back on track, there was a time a few months ago when I read a couple of interesting books and wanted to write about them. Not a review, but other things that kept swirling around in my head because of those books. And I had a row with my brother (as is our daily routine. Don't worry, I still love him. Kind of), because of which I was so mad that I was stuck in my own room, without the laptop, with an overwhelming urge to write. So I began writing in a funny notebook I have where I jot down things I need to do, mostly about blogging and crafts and similar stuff and none of which ever gets done (cursed notebook?). It's not really surprising that what I wrote that day stayed there till today (Yes! I finally had the time to type it down here. Eid Mubarak people! :D). What's crazy about this article (or whatever) is, it spans 7 pages (3 and a half pages back to back) and the variations in my handwriting is mind boggling! I vaguely remember a new year resolution I made for this year where I said I'd use more paper and pen. I'll scratch that right now. Okay, here it is (just as I'd written). I'll blabber about New Year Resolutions in December; believe me, it'll be really funny, so do stick around. ;)
At first I thought I'd include these thoughts into my review of some books that did an awful lot of things to my insides. Not anything bad, but emotional stuff, really. But I wanted to talk about it at length, so I'm putting this here. Maybe I'm in such a state myself, where every book I read goes way deep in my head, perhaps even more than the author intended. Or maybe I'm in a really lucky phase of my life where I've been having this great fortune when it comes to reading books. Or anything remotely book related. I mean, I just completed 'Underworld' by Meg Cabot, among my favorite authors ever and overwhelmed, I posted about it on her FB fan page that has an awful lot of fans and I've seen about a trillion bare posts but guess what! She replied to my post! In her own words, it was 'like I'd died and gone to heaven'! That too on a day when some 'not-worth-my-time' people had been pissing me off, so that this was what caused the first real flutter of happiness. And what happens when I get pissed off or too happy? I read like a log.
I know that's not even a proper metaphor, it's 'sleep like a log', but hey, if logs really can't sleep then they really can't read either, right? Anyway, after the longest introduction ever, I'd like to get to the point (finally). The two most recent books I've read are 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth and Belle Teale by Ann M. Martin. Both are completely different kind of books, one a YA fantasy, set in a dystopian world with a sixteen year old protagonist fighting for herself and her family, and the other picked up from the Children's section of the library on impulse, about a ten year old girl living with her Mama and Gran in a small house up a hill. The common thing in both is that they really, really touched me somehow, in their own different ways.
The protagonist for Divergent is Tris, raised to think, believe and act in a certain way. In her case, selfless (if it doesn't make much sense to you, read its review here). For me, Tris represents every human being as they would be if they were in her situation, like we all are when we're young. We're taught a zillion things right from the time we show up all new and raw in the hospital (or trains, in some dramatic instances). What elders supposedly feel is right or wrong or bad or terrible or good or beautiful or ugly or happy or sad. And if we're living where Tris is (which is a society in Chicago, that's divided itself into five different factions, each representing a trait all faction members must have and a certain way they should act), we'd understand. Tris and her family are Abnegation- the selfless and that's what she learns to be. However, as she grows up and nears the Choosing Ceremony (where 16 year olds are free to choose the faction they want to be in for the rest of their lives), she actually considers what kind of a person she is and finally chooses what her heart says.
The point is, however we're taught to behave or think like, there's always a part of us that's what we really are. We're really not machines, after all. We're freaking humans with brains, with the ability to feel and think and have some characteristics that define us. And what reason is big enough to not accept that fact? Sure, I'm usually polite and kind too, but that doesn't mean that's all I am. Sure again, I take pride that I've inherited these characteristics, but I'm also not my Grandmom or Mom or Dad or even my bugging brother. I'm someone new, someone different and even though it's not related, I happen to be a Scorpio girl. (The astrology sign!). Scorpios are generally thought of as proud, haughty beings and if you're in that group who believes this, let me tell you the words actually are 'powerful and intense'. Anyway, how I act doesn't mean I'm not really how people see me. I've heard things like, 'You don't seem to be a Scorpio' and then they drift off probably thinking I'm some fakey. Which isn't true. I happen to have been raised by the gentlest, politest person ever (my Grandmom) and environment does have an impact on how one turns out to be.
So yeah, I'm a gentle Scorpio; with a built in J gene, I might as well admit. Despite all those lectures about how not to feel that way, it sure comes out sometimes. The point of all this blabbering is, just learn to accept yourself the way you are, like Tris did. It's up to the 'people' to accept you that way. :)
On to the second book, Belle Teale. The best thing about reading a book with a child as the protagonist is that it gives such a fresh, clean and beautiful portrayal of the world, where they have the sense and desire to notice beautiful little things around us and narrate the story with everything as they see it. Belle Teale comes from a poor family living with her 'now-getting-forgetful' Gran and struggling Mom. Her school's getting 3 negro kids (whom the adults call 'colored') and one of them, Daryll is in her Grade 5 class. Now, the thing that affected me was how the author puts across the differences in the way children and adults think and the different kinds of upbringing each family gives their kids.
The parents of 'white' families protest outside the school, resent those kids and it's natural that their kids would feel the same too. On the other hand, Belle's Gran and Mom specially ask her to be nice to those kids and all she can think of is, why wouldn't she be nice in the first place?'. All this shows how kids learn what adults teach them, otherwise who would care if their classmate isn't white? The story dates back to the 1950s but the message is quite clear- hatred breeds hatred and love creates love. Your children learn what you yourself believe in. Make them learn to love everyone and trust me, they'd learn every other thing so much better. Children's minds aren't all that warped, not even those who're bullies. It's what their parents and elders tell them, how they're expected to behave (like a boy gets beaten up by his father for talking to a colored boy. Why would he continue talking to him anyway?).
I'm just too enthused by this book, I can't think of any more to say (not that I've just written the world's biggest blog post by a nerdy-durdy ever!) Whatevs.
Point 1: I am what I am (No, not Reebok)
Point 2: Reach out and touch someone (Not AT&T either)
Is it just me or do you too, feel the above thing was too emotionally charged up? And some places it didn't even make sense :P Doesn't matter though. One thing from the funny notebook is out! It might not be that jinxed after all. ;)