Read THIS First ..

Read THIS First..
Each word on this blog is the original creation of the writer. You better not copy it!
No comment is directed towards any individual/group.
Happy Reading!

Monday, September 23, 2013


This was supposed to be an awesome post, the kind you feel like writing when you haven't written anything in a long time and you feel like you owe your lovely blog at least one amazing piece of writing, especially as it's always been there for you for your random musings at random times and you seem to forget it when you get 'too busy'. This was supposed to be something mind-numbing, earth-shattering, maybe about something so amazing that it'd draw everyone on the planet to go read it, maybe it could have gone viral, or maybe not, but it was definitely supposed to be 'something'. I admit. I'm still at a loss. This has happened before, in a much milder intensity and I always blame no one but myself for the lack of 'putting down thoughts as well as they deserve to be put down'. I still wouldn't blame anything, even though I am very much tempted to put in 'college' as a major reason. It might be, but I just don't care. I've always been a silent rebel. You give me something that threatens the things I love, I would mentally block it all and never even think the way you want me to. This is why I always dismissed those ideas when other people said they're 'too busy with work' to do the things they like. I thought you could be forever busy and still do it. "I" was doing it, so it's possible. 

But maybe it didn't occur to me until it happened. What if the work or the mental pressure of the sheer amount of nonsense you're subjected to everyday, all things that go against what you as a person believe in, how much effort it takes on your part to grasp any bit of your own beliefs and yourself so that those external forces don't make you lose yourself, drains you of any energy you might have left. What if, despite the 'materialistic' things going right, a nice college and subjects you might find interesting, you still feel horrible dragging yourself everyday? Hoping you'd like the exchanges between people? I thought I could manage it well, but maybe I was wrong. I mean, it's okay. It isn't as horrible as it is for other people maybe, but I'm just looking at what "I" deserve and these nonsense feelings are certainly not part of the package. I'll always fight for what I deserve and what I like, however much these things try to change all that. What would happen at the most? I wouldn't write a nobel-winning piece, I wouldn't have many people commenting, I would lose out on a few readers.

Does that matter to me? At a deeper level, yes it does. I do want to write amazing stuff, things I actually have in me and I know I can. I do wish I get back those readers who said they love what I wrote here. I know no one's gone, really. I seemed to be absent myself. But then it shouldn't matter as much and maybe it does not. Maybe I am more materialistic than I thought, but not as much as I'm thinking, either. This is not 'blogging' for me, it's writing. And I can live with anything but not without this ability to put things down like this. If there's anything I would be willing to rigorously fight for, it's my reading and writing, for without these I'd lose myself. I don't know much about anything apart from these two. What would I be if I am not able to make myself happy with these as well? Nothing. My college degree would hold no value. It would be, in the Indian 'job market' for which you're trained since college, made into machines and made to believe how working nonstop and relentlessly can bring you 'success', but not for me.

So even if this isn't an insanely makes-you-hyperventilate-kind-of-awesome post, one that I was aiming at, it's okay. Because it's just me and this blog and friends who understand. I know I could write that kind of a thing and I'll do it sometime, maybe without even realizing it. But for now, this is really satisfying and I'm happy. Y'know, the reason I feel like it's okay is more so because I do have crore things to do and I'm leaving all that for this. Tee hee! 

A really common quote thanks to social networks,
but it's awesome and true! :)
I had to ask. Did you know that our brains are actually not built for multitasking? I started reading this book last night, called 'Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes' and the second page in the Prelude said this and I went all, "Oh My God! Really? WHY!" Because yes you guessed it, despite having read hundreds of texts, I did not know this thing that my friends seemed to know already o.O I mean, when was it when I was first told how we are "supposed" to multitask to be able to be more awesome? Class 11? Yeah maybe. Definitely in the first year of college and I even remember proudly telling my seniors how good I am at multitasking, during some dumb interview for a dumb college society I was really enthu about (told you, I was completely mental back then). The point is, if because of multitasking, quoting the book, "our memory decreases and our general well-being suffers a palpable hit", why are we told it's something we should be good at? Hello? 
Thank you Sherlock. Now I'm really going to
read your books that I've had since childhood :P

This is why I seriously love books! Because they tell me what is right! People these days, just. can't. be. trusted. I know, it's because that is what 'the market demands'. Fast life, quick decisions, faster profit making. Jeez. But whatever. After reading, books and writing, I'm in love with my brain. However clumsy it might make me, I still am overly protective of its abilities. And if in some real life job interview they ask me if I'm good at multitasking, I'm going to quote this fact to them. Did you know Sherlock Holmes was an awesome observer because of mindfulness? And not multitasking? This seems like just a small fact but I've been hyperventilating about it since last night! It's like those two sentences attacked what I had been thinking since the past *counts on fingers* 5 years. OMG! 

I had to tell. Not any secret, you looking-for-gossip people! I must have mentioned how I love Mint Lounge, the Saturday edition of the Mint newspaper? God, I don't even read the main paper all week, which I should, MBA and all. But anyway, Saturdays? I so look forward to them! It's not business-y or economic-y, but there are views on related things and non-related things, all of them awesome. I don't know. I don't read it all and some Saturdays I don't find much that I'd like to read, but it always gives me that ecstatic feeling. I especially love this column called 'My Daughter's Mum' by Natasha Badhwar. I am not a mom so technically I couldn't have been able to relate to the stories, but I always can. And more than that I always feel so warm and emotional while reading those, whatever aspect of family life she writes on. 

I mean, it's Monday today. I picked up the paper on Saturday evening, when I got home and kept it on my bed along with some books (that really have nowhere else to go. Someone please donate me a shelf?). It was there all Sunday, being shifted from one room to the next as I looked for an opportune moment to read it. It was back on the bed at night. It's underneath my laptop on the dining table right now, where I left Aakar Patel's article on 'Why everything is not the government's fault' mid-way because I got a call from a mast friend and then I felt like writing. I'm always reading it like this, keeping it for a comfortable time because I don't wish to be disturbed and feeling all breathless while reading it. It's just a paper and I wouldn't even remember most of it maybe, but that's just how it affects me. :')

I need your help. To whoever reached here, I'm working on a live project involving opening up of a campus bookstore in our campus. Like a Bond, I took up the responsibility of looking after the inventory. So you know, I'm supposed to think of what would the bookstore actually sell. Important work, you see? So you gotta help me because yessss, I am very close to the deadline, so close that I can't even tell or else you'd think how BIG a procrastinator someone can be. Just know that you're supposed to reply maximum by tomorrow. :P Hey, I have done my homework, I'm just looking for more suggestions. So you're supposed to do this: Imagine you're in college and there's a bookstore in the campus. What would you like the bookstore to have for you, apart from academic books? (Unfortunately, they have to be stocked :P ) Would you like the general kind of Fiction that's available in normal bookstores? Is there something special you'd like to have? Any sort of merchandise? I'm not asking you to think like a business person, okay? Just as a student, what do you think you'd like a campus bookstore to have? 

If someone is very much interested in helping, please email me! If you've got small ideas, please comment. I promise you awesome posts in the future! I do have a list of posts ready for writing, y'know? ;) Till then, hasta pronto! And "muchas gracias" in advance :P (I'm learning Spanish too, you know that. The teacher gave me an awesome idea of having a blog in Spanish. After once laughing it off, I did think, how awesome would that be? It's just the purrfect way to learn the language! :D )

Sunday, September 1, 2013

From the Journal of a self-confessed bookworm...

This piece was published in my college's annual magazine in 2012 (yep, that same year I served as the Student Editor. How awesome were those days! ^_^)

They stood in a colourful row, some with gleaming titles shining in the suffused light in the room, some with dark covers, but equally loved, adored and well-maintained. The shorter shelf held varying combinations and designs in the way I had stacked them; after all space was sparse and the books too many. For years I had dreamt of owning a huge room with wall to wall bookshelves stacked with volumes of a variety of books. This one was just 1/20th of the dream fulfilled and I was proud at the achievement.

Looking back, I saw myself as a tiny kid fascinated by all the colors and beautiful characters smiling out of story books I got from Mom. She was a teacher in the kindergarten wing of a public school and regularly brought those treats for me. I would pore over the books and force myself into trying to understand the written words. I sometimes wonder I could have easily been an autodidact, a self-read person, though I know that could never have happened. My parents not sending me to school, I mean. I knew all about Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel long before they started calling them ‘Disney princesses’ and when kids in my class referred to them as cartoon characters. I loved the cartoons too, but for reasons I still cannot decipher. It gave a weird kind of satisfaction, knowing I’ve read about them before and a personal sense of victory that I knew more than the ignorant kids! Lion King, Panchtantra stories, Akbar and Birbal, The Cat in the Hat, 101 Dalmitions were my friends and it didn’t seem fair that kids who only loved to play all the time would know about them too, with all those funny movies made about them; movies that sometimes frustrated me, for not keeping in sync with the books and tweaking the stories to suit fickle-minded audiences, like the Harry Potter series. They’re good movies, but not good enough! They’re not like the books and I develop a dislike to the people who say it’s a bore when they don’t even read the books!

All through the years, I lived in stories- about little orphans or wizards, about pixies or nymphs, about people who found magical places or people who found magic in their own selves. The written word fascinated me and it wasn’t long before I looked forward to the library time in school. While students gossiped behind magazines, I took out books carefully by their spines and read through them. Charles Dickens became a favourite, followed by other classics that swept me through their vivid descriptions of beautiful places and equally enchanting stories. Mark Twain, Charlotte Bronte, F.H. Burnett continued to inspire me to read more classics and Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene sparked my interest in reading mystery. But I was a picky bookworm. I didn’t like books with violence, with sad endings or with gruesome stories. I still don’t.

That's one shelf I have! 8|
Always being a bookworm came with its share of troubles. I would frustrate kids when I openly preferred books over them, hurting their blown up ego. I didn’t like to socialize and preferred to be alone. I would lose thread of the chats because my mind sub-consciously drifted to the story that was in a crucial stage and I didn’t know what would happen, since I hadn’t read the whole of it. But it gave me much more than I had lost, if I had lost anything, that is. I had a place where I could immerse myself in when I wanted to get away from the boring life and its troubles, emerging a happier person. I knew better than my peers and didn’t need to study for the English subject, knowing I would do well. I wasn’t a victim of embarrassment that many people faced because of their big mouths. I knew things and that gave me a wicked sense of pleasure. I was superior.

If there’s anything I’m sure of, it’s the fact that Indian system of education is hopeless, especially the schools. As higher studies took a toll, I was gently reminded by concerned parents and ridicule-loving-relatives that novels and ‘other’ books weren’t important. Though I was grateful that they’ve always encouraged my habit of reading, learning from teachers that it’s a rare quality, I felt betrayed when my time with those books was cut short as ‘important-exams-that-would-decide-my-future’ came into being. Seasons changed and soon it were whole months before I read those ‘other’ books; but my love for them remained steadfast as I graduated school into college.

I was free, at least metaphorically. I regained my lost time by reading volumes of books that interested me. I spent my pocket money on them, while my peers thought it’s a waste but I didn’t care. Books had been my saviour in all kinds of situations possible and I loved them. Soon I discovered something about myself- that I liked collecting books, a fact evident since I had refused to give away a single book, including the magazines collected over the years. I had graduated to harder-to-uncover mysteries, chick-lit and Young Adult genres. I visited the annual Book Fair in Delhi every year and asked for specific books on birthdays. I got them all and I’ve always been happy and grateful about it.

The only thing that’s kept me sad about all of it is the pathetically small number of people with the same interest. I have always got a group of friends who weren’t interested in books, or at least not as much as I have been. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I’ve always felt gloomy at the dearth of like-minded people. This is no longer true! I mean, yes, the number is a handful but ever since I have been blogging about books and reviewing, I have found friends who share this fascination. And it has been exceedingly amazing! I always felt the need to have at least one person who would understand why I like the unique smell of paperbacks or would argue why I oppose the idea of e-books. I feel depressed seeing kids glued to their iPads, some saying they like to read virtual versions of the traditional stories, some tapping away at some App that’s supposed to make “Alice” of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ small enough to get through the door. Maybe they’re right in their own context. Maybe I’m too ‘traditional’ to accept the new changes.

It was then that I realized that the cold from the marble floor was getting harder to bear. I let my hand hover over the colourful row, deciding which one to pick for the night. I chose a gleaming hardcover, pulled off its dust jacket and curled myself into the bed with the book.


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