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?

 

Rape, Force, and Consent

This is actually not a rant because I believe that the difference is on how things are perceived, but for R I want to talk a bit about rape, force, and consent. There was a time when I used to devour romance novels. So I guess I can now half-guess the plot already. One thing that bothered me then and now is how the sex is treated in the books. One can find so many books where forced intercourse and lack of consent is treated lightly. It is all considered as the way to bring women closer to the men.
And in these stories, the seduction and intercourse end up appearing like rape. It is supposed to give the tingly feeling to the readers, but instead end up being so disgusting. The worst part is that the writer wants us to believe that such scenes are okay, that such instances are okay. In fact, in one of the authors that I like, Lisa Kleypas, confronted the issue in her interviews. She confessed that she has used such forced seductions in past, but now she is more in the favor of both male and female characters being on equal footing.
But that is still true in many of scenes that are shown. They practically border on being rapes(Gone with the Wind movie scene, ahem!), but they are never dissected or questioned because they are in the “flow of the story”(True words someone once quoted). But Love is all about respect, even if it is a no. Love does not allow anybody to forego consent. Period. 

It is the duty of the writer to understand this and readers to let not these scenes color their perception. And probably it is the duty of readers to visualize the scene right.

Q=Queen Bees= Bookish Confession#17

We have talked about this earlier as well, I guess, but in a different way. This confession is again associated with the YA novels. In fact, this gripe is more about the stories that are penned down by teens.

Queen Bees are the most popular girls of the high schools. Seriously, these high school stories (and dramas as well) give me a sense of being alien to the world. I don’t recall there was a queen bee in my school. Probably, I had been too much of a nerd to even notice them.

But let us move from my life to the topic of Queen Bee. There is a line in the Netflix show of 13 Reasons Why: The popular people become popular because they treat other students badly. (I am not quoting verbatim but just recollecting). This is what is shown in the YA novels. There is a Queen Bee with a nature, and she is 90% of the time showcased as someone who is mean, cares only about her beauty, and who does not have any loyalty for her “bee-hive friends” a bit.

Now after reading such stories, I really am left to wonder about the popularity of these people. There is a difference between popularity and notoriety. Why will people want to be friends with someone who is that bad of a nature? How does such a mean person, the kind who is not even loyal to their friends, become someone’s envy? Popularity goes beyond the looks. Looks can get you noticed once, but it is the character and the nature that gets you popular. Then how did the concept of Queen Bee really came  up?

If we go to Wattpad and pull out the stories of teens(They are mostly written by teens too), most of them will feature a bad queen bee. I am actually planning to undertake a quantitative research on this—to understand why there are so many such characters.

Like I expressed about Cheerleaders, I have no idea where this comes from. Even though I have not met queen bees, I do believe there has to be some redeeming quality in the people to be that popular. The meanness and bullying does not make anyone stronger, instead these are the signs of the weakness of a character. Why would anybody want to be friends with them is beyond me.

 

 

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.

O= One True Pairing= Bookish Confession#15

For O, I have selected OTP. I know these days OTP is more synonymous with one time password (at least in India it is), but for me, OTP will first be one true pairing and shipping wars. Have you ever been in shipping wars? When you are so into the story that you just want two characters to be together and rest of the characters(character, if it’s a triangle love story) to slink away from the pages of the book?

OTP is a little less heard word in the book world (at least in my limited book world), but it is quite common in the dramaland.  If you look at wikidpedia, there are types of shipping and OTPs defined too.  I have never put them in practice, but it’s an amusing thing to think about the king of OTP I am utilizing.

When I read the books, I tend to ship characters. Sometimes I get so engrossed in the story, that I would be murmuring on my own to be own. Sometimes, it gets so overwhelming that I have to make dialogues in my mind to bring the OTP characters together, and I think the weirdest part is that the character might not be having any romantic association in the story. But then shipping and OTP is an integral part of the story, and giving the life to the characters is an integral part of reading experience (I have been known to give dialogues to villains too, but that’s for another post).

The only thing that I have not done is fight or argue with the people about who should be the OTP of the series. I have seen it happening, but never participated in it. Probably the urge has not been that strong or maybe, I am a tolerant person with the views (This really is a distant possibility).

Do you take part in shipping? Find OTPs in the dramas and books?

M=Music, arts and other creative outlet

I have had real bad news in last few days. The hangover of the trip was not yet over when I got the news. I have been so disturbed, feeling hopeless, moping all around and ranting at the universe in general. But that does not excuse anything.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. M for me equates music . And now, you must be wondering what has music got to do with novels. But it has.
Let me take you to a regency world where almost everyone know how to play music. It is actually considered a  “marriageable” skill in women. First time I read it, it sounded funny. In olden days, Indian women use to showcase their embroidery and cooking skills, while in regency novels, there was the musical talent– singing, playing the piano, etc. I guess skills varies from region to region!

Then there were male characters impressing with their clear and high voice.

I have nothing against music, but I am so glad not to be borne in that era. With my kind of voice and my absent musical talents, I might had been a torture to the people. 😛

Travel and bit further and one can encounter the modern storyline novels especially the ones with focus on bands. So many of bands and rivalries. And all of them dripping with so called hotness. One has to wonder since when did music become associated with looks!
I don’t have anything against music but these scenes make me think how unmusical I am.

I actually get the similar feeling with the other arts as well. I recall a series of Nora Roberts from my college days in which one heroine was an artist, one was a glass maker, and another was a sculptor(I think). I might not remember the profession of all heroines, but I do remember the thought that came with the stories: why can’t I do all that stuff?!

So here I am with my  untalented  self, reading these books and feeling incompetent. Then I look at the stories and words that I have written, and a bit of confidence comes back.

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