Top Ten Tuesday: 2021 Goals

Days ago, if you back to blog, there would be links to Top Ten Tuesday. It is a bookish meme where we share a list of 10 as per the topic. These days, it is hosted by That Artsy Girl. Then, past few years happened. I underwent through A LOT of changes. Things took backseat. Today, I missed those lists, so I went back to find if the meme was still active, and I was so happy to see that it is something which is still followed.

So the first Tuesday for me with the list is about my goals and aspirations for 2021. I do not have many, you know. This time, when I was filling my dream book in my planner, there were not any goals. It all felt so bleak and tiring. I did spend almost 45 days trying to think of them, and yet there I was, so totally blank. But maybe not the dreams per se, I think I can find 10 things that I think I want, bookish or not.

  1. Focus on mental and emotional well-being. Past few years have been very, very tough. I have tried to battle a lot of negative thoughts and feelings, which isn’t like me. And 2020 was particularly bad. I hope there is no further bottoming out than that and that worst part of my life has already passed now.
  2. Flush out toxicity. This, I think, is self-explanatory. Toxic cycles of action and reaction, toxic relationships– this just needs to end. Is it my target for 2021? I am sure that it is not at all feasible.
  3. Write regularly for more than 150 days. That is a lofty target for someone like me who has almost given up on writing. But my love for writing hasn’t diminished. The ideas in my mind are still chattering around like birds returning back. It is just the words which are lost, and maybe it will be possible to find them.
  4. Read 52 books. This is a small target, and it is something which is absolutely feasible. But, this is one goal I will give up if need be. The S. No. 1 trumps this goal.
  5. Find kindness again. This is associated with S.No.2. I have been around people who have so much of vitriol in them in past few years. The politics, the religion, the region– everything has been an issue for these people. Even though I have tried to distance myself from these thoughts, it would be wrong to say that I have not been impacted. These days, I am afraid of getting a door repaired because some words come to my mind. I just want to find that strong vein of kindness which has helped me navigate everything in past.
  6. Find a stronger social support system. Again, very self-explanatory.
  7. Travel more (Very vague, but Covid means no or lesser goals)
  8. Save more (Again, very vague, but that’s it)
  9. Focus on health.
  10. Explore more regional cuisines.

And that makes it a list of 10. I feel like giving a hug to myself because I was able to think this much. See you all, on some other day, with more book related post. 🙂

Update and a small Hold

I haven’t forgotten that I am supposed to be posting for A to Z. This is a one week’s break. My brother is getting married tomorrow, and I am a bit busy. I know I should have scheduled the posts and all, but life has its own plans.

Please bear with me for a week and then I would have caught up the past and the present.

I= Ireland of Nora Roberts

Have you ever visited the place in your dreams and imagination so much so that you feel that you will recognize it just on sight? Ireland is that place for me. I know I am running late, and “I” was supposed to cover “I” yesterday, but better late than never, right? (And I’m truly sorry, but I was healing.)

I equals Ireland, the Ireland I saw while reading Nora Roberts. I know people think of romance as fluff writing and a thing of teenage fantasy or frustrated women. But I am not ashamed to say that I love good romance. If it would not have been for romance books, I would never have seen so many things and places (And no, I am neither a teenager, nor frustrated).

Nora Roberts has a trilogy which is called as Concannon Sister Trilogy/ Born In Trilogy. I have to Google it to find the name of the series, but these books cover Ireland so beautifully. The first book of the series, Born in Fire, is a book which has a female character who is a glassmaker. After reading the book, Ireland became my dream destination and being a glassmaker my dream profession. Sadly, I don’t have the book with me to quote from it directly, but I still have the lines from Nora Roberts Ireland from other book of hers.

“Ireland is a land of poets and legends, of dreamers and rebels. All of these have music woven through and around them. Tunes for dancing or for weeping, for battle or for love.”

I remember the beach and the way the waves crashed over the cliffs in Nora Robert’s Ireland. I can see the color of the sky if close my eyes and think about the story. I can even feel the spray of the water on me. I know there will be a pub where all the locals will sit and share their stories. And when I will travel to Ireland, I will live in a Bed and Breakfast Inn.

I am actually afraid of finding the books and quotes for this place, lest my dream be shattered. What if I have made the place larger than life based on the memory of the book? What if it was just a bad day when the book consoled me and Ireland presented an escape from the reality? The thought terrifies me– that the Ireland which I read in book might turn out to be just an illusion of my mind.

So, dear readers, go and read Nora Roberts “Born In” trilogy. And if by chance, you find it not as beautiful as my dream, please don’t let me know. I want to keep that dream safe. But if you find it as breathtaking as the book describes it, grab a cuppa, drop me a line, and we will journey through that sky, sea and roads together.

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. 





T=Time Travel=Bookish Confession#20

Time travel, anyone? If you can get the chance to travel in time, will you? I know I won’t, and this is my big confession of today. I am fascinated by time travel. I love to read the stories where the experiences are bring forth from the time. One of the book that has haunted me for quite sometime is Time Traveller’s Wife.

I enjoy the hijinks of traveling in the time as covered in different novels, and even the serious issues that the time travel can create, but the science of it which fascinates me the most. When I get a book about time travel, either fantasy, sci-fi or even mythological one, I just am lost in the rules. I will turn page after page to understand the logic and the rules of time travel. They vary so much. In some, no conversation will be allowed with the past self, while in some advice will be handed out by the future self. Some of these rely on time traveling machine, some of the will of gods and faeries, and then there are some in which time travel has no reason. It just is there.

The time travel is one of my favorite tropes, after letters. I can read any book on the time travel and be lost in it. But yet, no time travel for me. I am afraid what will I do if I meet my past or future self–afraid of both the scenarios. This proves that I am not really an adventurous type of person.

S= Second Chances=Bookish Confession#19

I am running so behind the schedule that I wonder if I will reach Z by 30th April or not. But that’s me– the last minute person. At least I am feeling better (mentally) after all shocks of last week.

For S, I wish to talk about second chances. As I said in my last post, there was a time when I was a romance novel junkie. My tastes have diversified since then, but a good romance is still one of my getaway kind of book. The romances very usually showcase the second-chances. And I do not mean the second chances with other people. I am talking about second chances with the same person.

It might be my personal perception, but again it is a thing that I cannot relate with. You know once a relationship goes sour for one or the other reason, there is this bitterness that comes in, which is quite difficult to forget. I have seen people forgetting those bad moments in real life too, but I just cannot comprehend how the trust develops in such cases.

I guess I have talked about this story earlier. I have a friend who reconciled with her domestically-abusive husband. It has been 3-4 years now I guess. The guy promised to improve, and he did improve(or so my friend tells me). Their life looks happy.

I am so glad for my friend, but at the same time I am perplexed also. Won’t the doubt and fear creep in everytime? I wonder if sleeping in same room with such a person won’t become difficult? I asked my friend this, but she shrugged this off. I guess there is no reply for this curiousity of mine.

But I get this similar niggling feeling when I read about the second chances happening with the same people. I think I am too sceptical, but I have been in that boat once. I decided to walk away rather than take a chance. Perhaps it is just that I am not brave enough! I  have no regrets as such, but this burning curiosity  of knowing how the second chance thing works. How can someone have such strong motivation to forego all the negative things and take a plunge in dark again?


P=Prince Charming=Bookish Confession#16

P=Prince Charming=Bookish Confession#16

For all those who grew up reading fairy tales, they know about Prince Charming. I recall watching a sponsored YouTube video on Facebook which told how wrong these stories were! Here is the link for it.

My confession about these stories is somewhat different. It is not that I did not grow on up on this story, I did grow up on them too. But I was given a healthy dose of reality too alongside by my mother who made me “fiercely independent”(I do recall comparing her to the evil stepmother sometimes).

These are the stories where there is a damsel in distress, and then there is a prince charming. I have a gripe against damsel in distress thing too, but that gripe is comparatively smaller the one I have against the way the Prince Charming is shown in the stories: handsome, polite, courteous, the best conversationalist, the understanding person, and of course, brave and persistent.

I don’t think the Prince who will come to the rescue is charming. Charming ones are too engrossed in themselves, eh? Either he is not a Prince, or even if he is, he is the one with obnoxious mood swings. Then there are the princes who have verbal diarrhea and can speak utter nonsense (One has to really wonder whether the distress was better than the prince). The rock princes are there too whose mouths have to be pried open to get a word out of them. There are princes who are control freaks. And these are just the people I have encountered. I am sure if you think hard enough you will find a non-charming prince of your life too.

Most of the time, either they are prince, or they are charming. And I don’t think there is anything wrong in this. We all have our faults. Princes have their own too. Rather than showing them as a perfect person, why not show them as a real person with their own faults and rewrite the qualities that make them a prince.  All the stories need not have a charming prince. The presentation of the children’s stories shall be a bit grounded in reality. Not everyone might have a mother like mine who believe in making the damsel independent.

As for me, I never had a chance to dream like all the girls about the Prince Charming . Like many of the girls who thought about being saved by the Prince Charming, I did think about them from time to time, and in the end I just ended up saving the princes rather than being saved by them. I never had to learn the lesson hard way like many of the other ladies.

L=Letters=Bookish Confession#12

The people who have followed my blog for a long time, or those who know me can vouch for my fascination with letters. I think this comes with being the writer myself.

I belong to the messaging generation. XOXO, LOL, b4, u, luv, etc. have been my regular vocabulry for so long. In fact I had to practice writing in full forms in 2011. Such was my addiction. I recall a time when we used to 1500 text messages free for 15 days after paying some amount. I am a person who finished those in 1 day (and no, it was not a one-sided conversation). So, I get texting, IMing an Whatsapping. I truly do.

But then at the same time, I am in love with letters. The letters carry a part of the writer with them. The messages are the quick way to tell something, while the letters are the planned ways to express, to speak, and to tell the story. Letters are not mere words. They are the culmination of feelings, a bundle of emotions, and a harbinger of the news.

I know this is romanticizing letter, but then also, I cannot stop myself. This is the case with the books too. I have to read the book which says that it has letters in it. The conversation via letters is my favorite kind of conversation. I am truly embarassed to say that the author has already won me halfway if the book has the theme of the letters.

Despite this, I have encountered some awful books based on letters, but these have been few. This makes me question my reviewing hobby, but we all have our guilty pleasures. Letters are mine.

P.S. I do get some cards and letters from my pen pals, and I guess they make me happy in real life too. One of the regrets I will have forever is that there is a letter somewhere which never reached me and which I will never get to read. So I guess letters get to me outside the book world too.

K=Kidnapper andd stockholm’s syndrome= Bookish Confession#11

With K, I would like to bring the most perplexing theme for me– the kidnapping stories and the Stockholm syndrome. The first time I read about it was in the book, a fiction romance or something. I ignored the word (no dictionary or internet at hand then).  Second time I encountered in another forgettable Indian novel.

Then I read a story on Wattpad. This story talked about Stockholm syndrome and how the character fell for her kidnapper. I was interested in understanding why and what was happening. Why would somebody fall for their kidnapper; the life was not supposed to happen like that.

Next came the book called Stolen: Letter to my captor. The book is written in the form of a letter to the kidnapper and explains how her feeling moved between desire and anger. It is a weird book, the kind which you need to keep down after a few pages so that you can think about what is possible or not. The reality and mirages blurred together for me after reading the book.

I am still perplexed with this syndrome. I have read a lot on it. I have read essays, heard documentaries, and podcasts about it, but then I still remain perplexed. Probably it is something which victims can tell better, and I as a spectator(or a reader) cannot get. Probably it is just an attempt to turn another “bad person of life into a good memory”, but I still don’t get the “why” of it.

I met someone once. Her story was unbelievable. She said she was kidnapped and kept captive. I met her in an online community, and she told me she was afraid for her life. She had run away from her kidnapper after 20 years. I was a reviewer for her novel where she described her story. To say I was disturbed would be an understatement. I had no idea how to help her, whether she was even telling the truth, or even the country she lived in. She was secretive, and I was actually busy in my non-trusting mode (One of my online encounter gone wrong in real life at that time).  That further enhanced the Stockholm Syndrome weirdness for me. As I read more into the novel, I wondered more and more about this “love for kidnapper” thing.

Stockholm Syndrome


The psychological tendency of hostage to bond with captor

I have no idea where this online person is now (her novels are all gone!). I do believe that Stockholm syndrome does exist, but if anyone ever asks me to explain the why of it, I will probably just shrug; I don’t think I can answer this question still.


H=Heroes=Bookish Confession#8

Everybody loves a good hero– the one who leaves everything and works tireless to save the world.  Perhaps everbody except me (or the people who think like me).

I am more of a relationship person. When I read about the heroes in fiction and in biographies, I sometimes question their motive.

I remember there is a podcast about history which questions how much of the history is truly the history of motivation. The podcast questions that whatever we see heroes or history-altering characters have achieved is the byproduct. The motivation was something else, and achievement at that time was something else. For example, we may recall the victors of the wars as someone who changed the course of history, but in the end these were the people who were responsible for the mass destruction of cultures.

I will give an example. There is a book called Lajwanti by Rajinder Singh Bedi.  It is about the partition time of India and Pakistan. The Female character, Lajwanti, is kidnapped in the book during partition, and the Male character, Lajwanti’s husband, starts working in India towards rehabilitation of the kidnapped women in the hopes that he will find his wife. He becomes a hero, but when he actually finds his wife, he is unable to touch her in any way. So he makes her a Goddess, his muse. He becomes a hero in community for his respect for the women, but his respect was basically a byproduct of his inability to accept his wife.

Similarly so many heroes in the books become heroes not because of their true achievements/mistakes but because of their byproducts. They leave behind a trail of people who are waiting for them to finish their heroism and come home.

And that is why I hate heroes. They might be heroes, but in the end they are heroes because of the “byproducts”

P.S.: The story Lajwanti is a masterpiece. What I have presented is only a small section of the story.

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