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.
Advertisements

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.

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.

 

 

N=Never ending series

I am catching up with the missed letters. I should be on schedule by tomorrow. Let us continue with the letter N. There was no need to think about N. For all those who have heard my rants in past are aware about this rant.

N is for never ending series. There are so many of them out there. They start with a bang–a perfect world, beautifully different characters, and interesting storylines– and then they go on and on and on. Thee comes a time when all the books start merging into one another and each book start feeling like a repeat of other.

The novelty of the new stories end. I am not talking of the books with 10-20 books, although even they can be tiring at times, but series with 40-50 books. I remember a series of Janet Evanovich which I read way back(They were available for Rs. 10 near mh school, and they could be returned for 5 bucks them). The book had some 17 books or so, but all so similar. I could fast forward some of the scenes to get to the meatier parts of the story. Even the sass of the heroine lost its joy.

That happens with so many series. And that’s why I believe that the series needs to end. They should be written with end in sight. It is easy to cash in the success of the series for an author. I truly get how difficult it is to succeed in writing world. But in the end, authors end up alienating the readers by diluting the quality of books.

Probably this is I being high-and-mighty about things I don’t know, but I am talking as a reader, and I definitely know what I don’t like.

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.

 

Monday Musing: Happy 2017

A whole year has passed. Time just flies away. The past year has been quite a dud in terms of blogging, and it was all my fault as I was not able to give it enough time. Too much of workload, too much of negativity in life, and too many of the worries affected me and my writing time. I am so glad to be feeling better.

A new year is meant for a lot of resolutions, but I really don’t have many resolutions. I am so off-the-wagon that I first need to find my feet before charging ahead. The past two months have been quite eventful for the books and the movies.

i) Netflix: I purchased the membership to the Netflix. For many of you, this might not be a big deal, but Netflix came to India quite recently (around a year and a half). I have always read the people watching things on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and now both are in India, I feel a bit spoiled for choices. Mind you, the choices on Indian versions are still less compared to the Western world Netflix, but still, there are many things. Moreover, they have regional movies too with subtitles. As I said I am so totally spoiled for choices.

ii) Kindle: I have had the Kindle for some time now. Six months or so. Initially, I wasn’t able to get a lot of stuff our of it, but now it has become my permanent companion of sorts. I have many books on Kindle (apart from the hard copies) which I am reading these days. And yes, I am stoked about how I have started the year.

iii) Podcasts: I am really into Podcast these days. While traveling, I enjoy listening to the podcasts which make me think. I don’t have any particular podcasts genre that I love, but my phone has quite an eclectic bunch of podcasts that includes romance, crime, daily stories of the strangers, some poetry etc.

These are so many stories and essays dwelling in my mind. Now if I just can manage the time to write as well in 2017, the year will be all perfect.

A Monday Musing, A Tuesday Tantrum and Turning into an Accidental Wallflower

I did tell you once that I won’t ever remember writing the musings on Monday, didn’t I?
Today is not Monday, but this is still a musing or more like a tantrum. I should call This Mumbai Tantrum, although again it is not really the fault of the city.
Recently I read a book called Diary of An Accidental Wallflower. In the book, the main heroine somehow twists her ankle and then has to sit on sidelines while her friends dance and try to take away her chance with the Duke of that time. And she ends up realizing that she liked her physician more than she loved the Duke, and that those she considered her as a friend were actually backstabbing bitches.
This post is not about the romance, but about being a wallflower. I have never been a wallflower (except probably when I was in Class 11 and 12, but I am not sure what people’s perception was at that time!) I am the kind of person who can speak non-stop and to everyone. I do not join the crowd because I hate to be the part of unnecessary drama, but I never felt that I was someone ignored or not seen or not talked to.
But since I shifted to Mumbai, I have this feeling that I am shrinking away from the world and more into myself(Verdict is still out on whether I am expanding or not!), especially in my new office. I know you will be thinking that it is a new city and new people and things like exclusion are bound to happen. But the problem is that I have stopped liking the people.
We are bunch of around 60 people who shifted from Delhi, some of them seniors, some of them juniors. If I guess the number of my-age-group people, there are around 20 such people. And I have none–not even a single one to invite for lunch or to sit beside to share my lunch. Part of the problem is that all my friends changed the jobs and this bunch of people never became my friend during my Delhi stint as well. But there is another part of the problem too.
During lunch we have a restaurant type cafeteria where each square table has four chairs. Now one will expect that the people will settle themselves  and occupy four or five tables. But what ends up happening is they all adjust themselves on two tables. Each table has some six to eight people(the table size is not changed because we are not allowed to move those tables). I initially sat in these group and ended up either elbowing people or being elbowed or once, even elbowing a glass of water. Worse than it was the conversation which always circled around the point how much better we were in our initial location and how Mumbai is too expensive and how company is still mistreating us and how bosses are not doing anything etc. etc. I can bear cribbing, but hearing the same thing daily is a pain.
And that is why I stopped being the part of the group. I started sharing tables with the random strangers from the office. These strangers talk among themselves and I just let the noise wash over me. Initially I felt bad about how my colleagues from the previous location did not call me when they were going to cafeteria and used to wonder if I should join them. But now, over the period of three months, I have realized that I really don’t like sitting with them. I feel as out of place with them as I am with those random strangers–more so because I feel guilty that I am not adding to the nonsense complaints being voiced out. At least with the strangers, I am not required to make unnecessary small talks.
Dictionary defines wallflower as “a shy or excluded person at a dance or party, especially a girl without a partner.” I am not shy, excluded, yes, but that is more of a mix of multiple reasons.
Does that mean I am wallflower now? Or am I truly shrinking? Is that how the wallflower used to become wallflower? Because they were different, and because they were not really interested in the activities of the ton?

And this just reminds me of another book I loved, “The Perks of Being Wallflower“. Now I am still struggling to know whether I am a wallflower yet or not, or if it is good to be in that position or not, but I do feeling that Charlie’s lines from the letter suited me too.
I will end this post with the though from the book itself: “I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everyone was, especially me.”