Time Out Thursday: Because This Is My First Life: A Drama Review

This is not a office blog meme sort of thing, but this is something I have been wanting to do for sometimes. Sometimes, I come across things that I want to talk about– the weird things, the ones which does not move around in the world of writing or novels, or maybe they do, but they just don’t suit any categories. Rather than curbing my fascination with these things, I have decided to incorporate them here.

This is not the first time I am doing it, but this is the first time it is coming under some category. Today I want to talk about a Korean Drama called “Because This is Our First Life” (Long title, I know!).

This is a Korean drama involving Lee Min Ki  (and a heroine, who was awesome, but whose name I am lazy to pick up. Nobody measures to Lee Min Ki). So this hero is a very meticulous nerdy sort of person who keeps a distance between himself and the world. In fact, his theory is that he just needs his cat and his house.  And to this, our female character comes as a tenant. It is romantic comedy, of course, but it so thoughtful.

It is a drama which is filled with so much of wisdom and nuances. I cannot explain the drama without spoiling it completely.  There was this one episode when everything was so hopeless for the heroine–she had lost almost everything except for will (and of course, she meets the hero of the story then), but this line resonated with me so much!

“When I decided to follow my dream, I thought my life would be like walking through a dark tunnel. But I didn’t know it was going to be this dark. I didn’t know it was going to be this lonely. How much longer do I have to keep going?”

And then there was this poem, which was the gist of every relationship in life

Meeting someone in life is actually something very astonishing.

That’s because they bring with themselves their past, present and future

That’s because someone’s whole life comes along.

The heart is fragile.

It might have been broken.

That heart is coming too.

I know this is not a traditional poem and is translated from Korean by someone who might not have even got the right essence. But it is just so much true, and it is like the true beauty of every relationship on the show.

This is one show which made me jump on the sofa like a kid with a candy. I clapped, I danced, I cried, and then I cried some more. I hated the ending, but yet, it is a drama which is going to live in my heart for a long time. This drama introduced me to a Doris Lessing and her book called “To Room Nineteen”, and I still can’t believe that I  have gushed so much about a drama.

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The Books That Had been My TBR for so long

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there’s a new top 10 theme.

This week’s topic is Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

This is a very difficult question to answer. I have two kinds of TBRs– one that is of the books purchased and left unread. And the second ones is of the books that are not purchased and are lying there in my reading excel sheet. Since I have to give 10 such books, I will take 5 from each for the today’s theme.

The books purchased and which are still languishing in my TBR

  1. Stephen King’s DreamCatcher
  2. Stephen King’s Just After Sunset

The reasons for the above two books is simple. They are by Mr. King and belong to the horror genre. I have this irrational fear of his books. I remember reading Christine and finishing it one page a day in broad daylight because I was too afraid. I have written a whole post for this book here already. So I don’t think this need to be explained any further. Sometimes, I still dream of Christine and wake up paralyzed. The above two books were purchased in a bookfair when I wanted to prove myself that I can be tough or something. Sadly, I don’t think I will ever be able to open these books.

3.  D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love : There was Emma, which I could finish in twelve years. And then there is this book. 8 years and I am nowhere close to finishing it. Or moving beyond first 30 pages.

4. Mr. M.G. Say’s books: These are the bibles for electrical engineer, and when it comes to finishing these books, I always end up recalling that I am not Christian and I don’t need to read Bible. I have them all, but will they ever be read and finished? No idea.

5.  Times of India: The newspaper is not a book; I am well-aware of it. But yet, it is on my TBR for so long now. There was a time when I used to devour paper, but then circumstances became such that I was forced to read the paper for one year  to improve my GK (There would have been pop-quiz, had I allowed it). Since then I have hated newspapers. I have a regular subscription of paper in the hopes that one day I will start reading that again. One day.

The books which weren’t purchased but have been in my TBR

6. My Name is Red  : One day I am going to read this and love it forever. I am just afraid that it might not fit my expectations.

7. My Cousin Rachel: Soon, soon, very soon. My precious, please wait for few more days to be purchased and read.

8. Dracula : Got one copy from Gutenberg once. Either the formatting was bad or something was wrong, it just felt so boring. I have high hopes to finish this. It’s a classic. It has vampires. It cannot be that boring, can it be?

9. It by Mr. Stephen King: I have a love-hate relationship with him. One day I will have the courage to pick this book up and read it without being afraid.

10. My Grandmother Asked me To Tell You That She’s Sorry : Just couldn’t find time for this one. Something or the other keeps me distracting from this.

 

There are more I guess, but these are the top ten for these Tuesdays.

 

 

 

 

February 2018 (Goals of 2018 and Monday Musing)

First Monday of Feb, 2018. I know people generally have a lot of resolutions for the year, and February is the month when all of those resolutions just fizzle down. So, last year, I decided that rather than letting my resolutions end up a slow death at the end of the year, I would actually think about them and realign them with what I really want to do in the year– in terms of the blogging, reading, writing, and personal growth as well. And so, this basic post was written on Evernote in the beginning of the year, with a reminder to go back and go back to it once more (All those office trainings of personal growth seems to be paying off! ;))

So here it is excerpt from the secret vault of my Evernote.

I want to start a small accountability thing. This is like the list of the posts that I  want on my blog. I am not yet sure how successful I will be able to, but one of the resolutions I have this year is to write more, read more (and talk less, perhaps).

1) Monday Musings: They are my favorite things ever. I love being able to recollect and condense my week once a week.
2) Top 10 Tuesdays (This is a meme from http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/ now which I used to follow but then lapsed. It looks like the meme  has also found a new home and the prompts definitely look interesting).
3) Time-out Thursdays are for all the other things in the world which I am always thinking about. They won’t be many such things, but maybe the movies and series I want to talk about. These are also the reviews but will pop only when I cannot resist myself.
4) Reviews are to be scheduled for Sundays.
5) Lastly, I want to post a small fiction once a week. This was the plan which I had last year too, but then the plan failed (badly, since the category doesn’t have even a single post).
I will probably start in February as January is already too packed.
This post is going to be pinned somewhere because there is a long list of the books that I am dying to write about–I wonder if I am going to choke someday on my own thoughts. (I have already run into the glass door in the office due to my lost-in-the-thought-and-thinking-about-the-blog habit.)
Here goes the list to be reviewed:
1) Thirteen Reasons Why
2) Forty Rules of Love
3) A Man Called “Ove”
4) Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
5) A Room of One’s Own: ❤
6) Devil in Spring (Lisa Kleypas)
7) The Make-Belief Husband(Julia Quinn)
8) Adulthood is a Myth
9) To Room Nineteen
10) Chase (Sara Portman)
11) Where There is a Will (Piorre)
12)Paris Capsule
13) From a Paris Balcony
14) Ministry of Utmost Happiness
15) The Giver
16) All the Light We Cannot See
17) It Started with A Tweet
18) The View from the Rainshadow Bay.
The  Second part of the list is the unread books:
1) Remains of the Day
2) Devotions of Suspect “X”
3) Station Eleven
4) The Djinn Falls in Love
5) Teju Cole’s Strange and Known Things
6) Graveyard Book
7) Letters to a Young Poet
8) Mann Cakes
9) We Need to Talk About Kevin
10) Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra
11) The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchet)
12) The Rosie Project
13) The Husband’s Secret
14) The White Castle
15) The Bling Assassin
And that’s the haul that I can see right now. I am sure there are more books lying in some corner of my reading world, but these are the focus for some coming weeks. See you all around as I hopefully make out through the book journey with an expanded mind and a bigger heart.

Monday Musings, Year End, and Merry Christmas

It’s 25th of December. I know it can be read on the top of the post as well, but it’s a special day. It’s Christmas. The days are going to be longer from now (although I know the hours are going to be the same). Mostly because I have time to write again, this day is indeed special. The past few months, in fact, the whole year has been pretty bad in terms of writing. I have been uninspired, and work has totally eaten up my brain (That’s not really an excuse and hence is after an “and”). I know the time for things can be made up, but I am being honest when I tell you I must have slept at least 17 times while writing– my laptop cover on, with my head on keyboard. I was myself bored with the stuff that what I wrote.

I had plans for November, but they are still in my mind only. Not a word on paper and now, the year is on its last leg. I just don’t know where the time flew. That is an old rant now, I guess. So let us come to the real purpose of this post. Before I start making the new year resolutions, I do need to look back on the things that I wanted to do. I might have failed in almost everything, but a clean slate is how I want to start a new year. This is like my year in review in general:

1) My first off-the-chart resolution was to write 750 words daily. I don’t even want to go back to see how many words I wrote–it was that bad. Let us not even talk about the things these 750 words include. The number of times the word “coffee” is mentioned there exceeds the count of days during which I finished my 750 words. (There is a “coffee-worthy” story to it, which I will share once I have pasted back my broken heart and dreams and have written few more “coffee” journals.)

2) My second resolution was to watch a lot of series and movies to inspire myself. I think I did good in that department, and my idea book is filled with the ideas. Now if I can only find the tools to utilize those ideas.

3) Podcasts are now an on-and-off-affair. I have realized that the relationship between me and podcasts is going to be rocky. So, they are no more in my resolution list, although I am still open to listening to good episodes. My favorite will be “Modern Love” for the details it covers. But they cannot be a regular thing in my current scenario.

4) Last and the most important thing on my list has been reading. I have done plenty of that in the past year, especially the past two months. With all the workload that I had, reading had been my only solace. These were not short stories or even poems (there were only a few in between at times) but full-fledged novels. My Kindle is brimming with them. Soon, I need to make the list of the novels–the unreviewed ones and the unread ones– for my 2018 to be in order. I don’t want to be caught unawares again by the next year.

5) Lastly, my health– my knee had been a mess for past 8 months. Before that, it was my foot which was to be rested (Don’t ask– it was a bad time for my legs). But now, I am more or less healed and am undergoing strength training,

This is for the resolutions–secret and non-secret ones too. But there is something else I fell in love with last year. Bullet journaling and fountain pens <3. I like the idea of bullet journaling my week, my month, and my year. I fell in love with planners. I just loved the monthly spreads and the weekly spreads I discovered. They look too shiny. (Let me whisper a secret: I have already purchased next year’s journals too! *grin*).

Also, my love for Korean dramas still continue. I did not watch that many dramas like the previous year, but I did watch a few. I have another favorite drama: Because This is Our First Life. I have another favorite pair of eyes too (Can’t help it. Lee Min Ki is adorable, and his eyes are the stuff of dreams.)

I did travel a lot, and that’s another reason for not making the time for writing. 2017 must have been the year when I could make out time for quite a lot of travels– all thanks to consecutive holidays.

That’s 2017 for me in nutshell. Not too happening, but not too benign either. Thank you, 2017, for being a year of me (and “Woori”). I hope it has been a good year for you too.

Monday Musing 301017–To Nano or Not?

Today’s Monday musing is a conversation with my muse, who has decided to go on strike because I’m not ready to listen to her. The word in italics are of my muse, and the words in normal font are mine. Why are we writing this on blog? So that sometime later we have a reference point to start with, and because today is Monday– a day of Muse-ings. *Evil Laughter*

Are you going to give it up or not, Muse? Enough of your tantrum already.

I am not throwing the tantrum. This is more like demanding my rights. I haven’t asked for much, have I? I just want to participate in NaNoWriMo. It’s November. We do this every year. I am just not getting it why you don’t want to play this year too. 

Oh, come on. It’s too discouraging. And you know it. You’re the one who ends up ditching everything and going into hibernation. I’m the one who have to pick up the pieces, who try to pick up the different threads of the stories left abandoned.

I do not go into hibernation every time. We did succeed thrice. Besides, I am the muse. I  have the right to be contrary at times. 

Not once you commit. You have been contrary for a year. Did I say anything to you? Force you to write? No, I didn’t. I just don’t want to be left in lurch with half a story and no end. The characters are going to come out of the stories and kill us both.

Those characters had no life in them–no shades. They were just the shadows. I had to leave them else they would have kissed the soul out of me. Like Dementers, you see. 

You are not going to win by HP references. Dementors, my foot.

They were, the hidden dementors. 

*Rolling my eyes* Fine, they were dementors. What was the last embroidary piece–the one that is still somewhere in your laptop bag? Voldemort himself? And what was that yarn that is struggling in almirah–the one you brought to make a scarf? Forget about those, what’s this blog? The lost Quiddich match?

You are evil, I knew that. You’re picking up on my failures, while I want to write a novel. The story–the slice-of-life story is waiting for me.

Do you even know anything beyond the slice-of-life thing about this so-called novel that you want to write in this November?

Yes, I know. I know that I want to write in this November too. I want to sit at the study table and see out of the windows, and paint those twinkling light in words. I want to sing and dance and to be the fairy Godmother to the characters. I want to write a slice-of-life story about the characters of a colony, a mohalla who have come together to relive their dreams.

Why don’t you get it? There’s no time. Office is crazy. House is a mess. Life is too busy right now.

Let us at least try. We will take it slow. Maybe target lesser words. 

You want to be a Nano rebel?

No. But let us start. We will change our status to rebel later on. 

No way. I am not letting you ditch me again with the incomplete stories. I am not wasting my time with something which is not going to have The End.

Please. Please. Please. Please… (The voice fades in the background)

(And this is what I am muse-ing musing about on this last Monday of October. To Nano or not to Nano is the question. And I don’t know the answer. Not yet!)

P.S.: For uninitiated, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a creative exercise I have been participating in for past 5 years where one tries to write 50k words of a novel in November. I  have failed twice and succeeded thrice (Third time was a fluke). Check the website out for further details. And no, this is not a sponsored post but a real dilemma right now. To nano, or not to nano. 

 

 

 

 

Monday Musing 09.10.17

Long, long weeks ago, I had thought that Monday Musings will be my solace. They really are way to keep me energized. Yet I had not wanted to be energized. Have you ever been in a slump in life when you just don’t want to get up, you just don’t want to do anything? I mean talking and reconnecting with people feels like chore, reading is just another mind-numbing activity, and watching movie is like fizzled out firework.

No, my life has not been at standstill. I did a lot in past month–traveled (and was excited for it too), rambled, explored, even read the books–but in the end, the idea of sharing those experiences and stories with someone hurt my head. Is this called getting fed up with the people? Or maybe I am turning into an introvert ( I know this is not really true!). But the fact is that everything started feeling superficial for sometime. Probably it is the office drama catching up on me, or maybe it is just that the world around me is changing at a faster pace than I can process– I just don’t know what it is.

I have met few new people on my travels who might or might not stay as friends, so that’s also not an issue. It is just that the sheen on certain interactions have dimmed.

And that brings me to the bookish musing of today. This is coming from a book called “It Started With A Tweet” (and an encounter with a person).

So the book talks about the addiction to social media and phone, and how people might need deaddiction or rehabilitation for the same. It’s weird to hear that people get addicted to social media. I have friends who have denounced FaceBook or Twitter for some period of time because they felt it was eating up their time. I have friends who felt that social media had lost its charm and has gotten old. And I’ve always wondered– why the drastic measures? Can’t it be limited to willpower? I just didn’t treat the social media addiction as the literal addiction and just as a phrase.

But while reading the novel, I was lost in the thought of whether we are truly addicted to social media or phones? Can I live with checking my phone only once a day? I don’t know. I do go off the grid at times, but it is all well-planned thing. I met somebody in one of my recent trips who confessed that he was not on any of social media. It did not put me off, but it was just a weird statement to hear–something not expected.

I also came across an article about the social media addiction rehab. The article is linked here. And the article beautifully iterates the reason why we do go online, and these reasons includes validation, which again brought me back to the question of why am I on blogging or social media. And to this post, back again. Here are my reasons honestly listed down to ponder once again:

  1. I think blogging is because I do really have a lot to say and think. This is like a diary of the impact that the stories that have on me. I sometime like to go back and read from the scratch as well. Physical diary could work well too, but there might not be the like-minded feedback anywhere(and even validation, although it is not much in the blog).
  2. I am on Facebook in my real name, and I have no idea why. I am not in touch with half the people there. I do post frequently (once in two days must be my average), and those are the things that irritate me, makes me happy and stuff. Do I expect people to validate that? Yes, I guess I do. Even one agreement is sometimes enough to let me know I am not crazy. But this is only for few times. Rest of the times, social media is a way to share a part of my life with the people who have drifted off (some of them even my close family members). It is like a public broadcast system for me.
  3. Twitter– is mainly for promotion and to get stuff to read and know about. I am not there much anyway.
  4. Instagram is a newer foray, and it is there for sharing my photography. Validation is the only reason I can think of here (other than the filters that it has). It’s a place for a portfolio.

I am not yet sure whether I will call myself addict or not, and I will still like to think about this. But at the same time, if anyone else is reading it, do think about the reason of whatever social media (or even whatsapp) you’re using and how is it helping you. Comments are not necessary, but they are welcome.

The Stargazer’s Embassy: Another take on aliens

The Stargazer's Embassy

The Stargazeer’s Emabssy

By

Eleanor Lerman

I got this book from NetGalley, and this was the pleasant surprise. My selection of this book was based on the quirky name it has and the description given on the book cover. I mean The Stargazer’s Embassy sounds like an odd concept! I  actually did not even know what to expect, but in the end, it was good that I did not have any preconceived notion. The book is of-course about the aliens, but more than aliens, it felt like a peek in the brains of the different stories that float around the aliens. The book’s heroine, Julia, is an oddball who can see the aliens everywhere. They are the part of her life, but they have always been on sidelines. Julia meets a professor cum the practioner of psychology named John, and that is how she gets sucked further into the aliens.

The books is a different take on aliens. I have read quite a few alien books, but most of these books have been in the field of the romance or intergalactic war. I do carry my towel with me as well for hitchhiking. 😉

But all this paints a picture in the mind where we are able to communicate with the aliens, some establish relationships too(friends, family, romance etc.) But this book is making me think differently. The book talks about a situation in which a few people are abducted, and they carry with themselves the trauma of that experience. The book treats the abduction by the other race in such an other worldly manner. There is a psychiatric treatment for these people, support groups, books, theories etc.

I have always thought about the aliens as a race–either in their romanticized form or probably in their enemy-who-are-going-to destroy the earth form. This book doesn’t take any midway. It is so realistic in its description of the confusion about what the aliens want that I am also with the characters in the story, confused as to where all this is leading to.  I don’t know how the book is going to end, but it has made a home in my mind for now. We all talk about aliens, but we rarely talk about the victims who have to go through the experience of trying to decipher what these aliens are actually looking for and want.

There are so many frightening aspects this novel brought to forefront.

Here is the official summary of the book.

The Stargazer’s Embassy explores the frightening phenomenon of alien abduction from a different point of view: in this story, it is the aliens who seem fearful of Julia Glazer, the woman they are desperately trying to make contact with. Violent and despairing after the murder of the one person she loved, a psychiatrist who was studying abductees, Julia continues to rebuff the aliens until her relationships with others who have met “the things,” as she calls them, including a tattoo artist, a strange man who can take photographs with the power of his mind, and an abductee locked up in a mental hospital, force Julia deeper into direct alien contact and a confrontation about what death means to humans and aliens alike.

What I liked about the book

  1. Characters and idea: The book is filledd with quite interestng characters. I mean, apart from the title, there is a character which can actually click actual pictures of vision in someone’s mind. There are aliens who are so out-of-place in the dimension that they don’t know how to behave like humans.
  2. Details and writing: I generally do not know much about alien abductions, fictional or non-fictional, but the way this book gave a perspective, it was a way which I found quite realistic. I  mean, of course, I don’t know the people who believe in that, but the details were so beautifully woven in the story that it never felt unreal. There was the direct connection in the story.
  3. The plot: If it is not clear till now, I enjoyed the plot a lot. Although I was not much into the ending that the book had, I still was won over by the plot. It is a mix of intrigue, psychology, sci-fi, and language. It just had me there. There were times when I felt that the book was going too slow, but I just could not keep it down because I wanted to know what is going to happen next.

What I disliked

  1. The ending: The ending of the book just did not resonate with me. I have no idea how the book could have been ended in any other way, but that ending just felt a bit forced to me.
  2. The uneven pacing: There were few sections when there was nothing happening. I knew while I was readig the book that things were happening, but it felt a bit dragged because I could not understand why they were happening. There were moments, small ones, when I thought about keeping the book down because I just could not understand what was happening. But I’m glad I did read the end. And if I try to recall those moments when I wanted to stop reading, I cannot recall them.


Final Verdict


The book is definitely worth reading. If yoou start the book, do preverse till the end. You won’t be disappointed. The book is novel in its plot, characters, and writing.

Four Stars

 

 

 

 

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