8/26/2016

Turning Thirty

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You know how well my creative juices have been flowing thanks to the cliched title of this post. So yeah, I turned thirty this month. Also, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the busiest one can get, I turned thirty on that one too. I've been wanting to write this post since my birthday on the 8th, but with 12 hours of work a day and working on weekends, it was almost impossible. Not that it is all done now, but things are definitely better and stable now. So now let's come to my birthday. While I did have a Joey's moment as I cut the cake at midnight, I did not wake up with any blues in the morning. It was a Monday and both Cal and I had taken a leave to celebrate the day. Not having to go to office on a Monday was a gift in itself. For the first time ever, growing old did not bother me. I'm not the one to think much about age and try to act young. For me, when life is going on smooth, I have nothing to complain about. Not even about growing old.

Cal and I spent the whole day together and went to fabulous places for lunch and dinner. Good food always sets the mood right and soon we were lost in conversation. I got some really wonderful gifts that included the entire collection of ''Harry Potter", along with the eighth book. I think it is about time I give this a go. I know it was written roughly around twenty years ago and I'm reading fantasy fiction at the age of thirty. But hey, what's to lose? Once I'm done with the current book I'm reading (at snail's pace, thanks to all the work bestowed on me), I shall pick this up. Rest of the birthday was super fun as Cal and I reminisced about all our birthdays together. It was my fifth birthday that we were celebrating together and we opened the box of memories and fell in love all over again. Turning thirty couldn't have been better.

Growing old obviously leaves you with a few lessons. If there is one thing that the past few months have taught me is to let go and sit back. At least once in a while. I'm that sort of person who cannot sit idle even for a second. I need to be on top of everything and make sure everything gets done the way I want it to be. Life is not that simple too, right? When I had my eye surgery last month and was stuck with clear boredom, I wanted to break open my invisible shackles and try to conquer the world. But the doctor had advised me rest. Cal was working from home for a week to take care of me and he did take care of me like a baby. And I was one cranky baby to say the least. He cooked all our meals and cleaned up after that. He sat and listened to my tantrums and held my hand through it. I wanted to help him out in the kitchen, but he didn't let me. He told me that when I'm getting the chance to rest I should and that at times it is okay to let others do things for you. Well, valuable lesson learnt.

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When I was considerably younger, thirty was the age I had in mind to get married. I don't know why, but I felt that was the suitable age for me to get married. I got married at twenty six instead. Earlier it was about the right time, but at twenty six I realized that it was about the right person. When you have found the right person to spend your life with, why wait? Today I'm in the fourth year of marriage and I couldn't be happier. I love the man I'm married to, but I'm not too big a fan of marriage as an institution. I don't like the added responsibilities and forced relationships that comes with it.

I'm not a person who likes to adjust and Cal was very clear that I should never have to adjust. He did not want me to change even one bit. He fell in love with the person I was and he wanted nothing of it to change. So did I. The first two years of marriage was hell for me, but I could get past it only because of the person who was standing strong next to me. He's been my rock. He's been supportive of everything I love. When I was working non stop over the past few weeks and on the weekends even, he just let me do it without complaining one bit. Of course he wasn't happy with the fact that I was over working but he knew that it had to be done. Like I said before, it is all about the right person. And I couldn't be more happier about being married today.

Life obviously is different when compared to a few years ago. I've let go of a lot of so called friends and am very happy with the tight bunch that I have now. I have also become more aware of people and their antics. I don't let anyone take me for granted anymore. I respect people based on their deeds and don't bother to interact with the people I have no respect for. It's my choice after all, isn't it? I have also let go of a lot of old grudges that I had held within me. It doesn't affect me anymore. I continue to believe in karma and act accordingly. I lead a peaceful and content life today and I couldn't be more happier. I have also turned wise over the past few years. Naah, not that age does that to you but I have begun to understand life better. I know what suits me the best and what kind of people I need to stay away from. But I cannot deny one thing. People will always continue to be my nemesis.

I just stepped into a new decade of life a few weeks ago. For now, I'm thirty and I'm loving it.

8/07/2016

Sealed Promise

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"Promise?", little Joel asked his father who was leaving him for the second time this year.

"I promise, my son. I'll be back in two months just in time for your birthday. I'll run through the door and come in with your birthday gift."

"Double promise?" A tear escaped Joel's eye.

"Triple promise!" His father picked him up and gave him a long hug.

The promise was definitely fulfilled. His father was back on his birthday along with his birthday gift, a bicycle. He did not come running through the door though. He came in a sealed box, having lost his life in the war.

This post is written for the #BarAThon Day 7. Prompt: Promise.

8/06/2016

Workoutaholic

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It definitely was not easy
But I knew I had to do it
In spite of the chaotic pain
Burning me bit by it

I had signed up for this
I want to get till the end
I want my body to behave
To extremes I want it to bend

I stretched more than I ever had
Slowly I was able to move an extra inch
I hadn't taken care of my body well
Now's when I began to feel the pinch

Soon, the dumbell and I were one
I was able to smoothly glide up and down
There was a rising spirit in me
Even though my sores were black and brown

The toughest hour of my life
All about weights and me alone
I know this was the price I had to pay
To see my body shapely tone

I had to be strong in my mind
Wishful thinking sure did help
Even though at times I gave in
Let out a few tears and a yelp

Fitness is a top priority now
Enough of the ice creams I did lick
Sweets and fatty foods have bid goodbye
Now I'm happy being a workoutaholic

This post is written for the #BarAThon Day 6. Prompt: Wishful Thinking.

8/05/2016

Ray Of Sunshine

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They had tried for five years now and yet Sneha could not conceive. They had visited the best of hospitals but there was no good news in store for them. Raman's parents were unhappy. They blamed Sneha for being barren. Raman knew that the fault was within him, but his parents were not the one to listen. When they had decided to adopt a child two years ago, his parents had threatened to kill themselves. "We will not accept somebody else's blood", they had said. They had even suggested for him to go in for another wife who would bear them their grandson.

Now as Sneha walked into the house with their grandson, they were ecstatic. All they cared was the fact that Sneha had got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby. Their son's child and the heir to their family. They did not know about the sperm donor whose identity was safe with the hospital. Raman and Sneha had sworn to take that secret to the grave.

All that mattered to them was that now there was a ray of sunshine to fill in the tiny shoes they had purchased on an impulse years ago.

This post is written for the #BarAThon Day 5. Prompt: Tiny Shoes.

8/04/2016

Code Red

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The bathroom. The only place I don't feel his prying eyes on me. Whenever I feel I've had enough, I make an excuse of having to use the washroom and give myself the two minutes to be alone. I don't know what happened. I married the man I love, and now two years later I just don't recognize him anymore. He doubts my every move and wants to know what I'm thinking every second. If I'm quiet for a few seconds he questions me as to what I'm thinking. I go out to meet my friends and he calls me a hundred times. He doesn't abuse me, but I feel mentally tortured in every possible way. He's loving, caring and a very kind human being. But his love is now smothering me.

Today. I opened the laptop we share at home to give the finishing touches to my article. I saw a document pop open. I looked closer at it only to check if it is a part of my folder. It did not take me long to realize that it was my husband's note. He had been making points and notes to himself. The last paragraph read "I know it's a lie. She says she has a call at 7 and will answer my calls only after 8. That's the time I leave work. What does she intend to do in that hour when I'm not allowed to contact her? I know some one's been coming over when I'm away. She's been exercising to lose weight these days. Maybe he likes her slim. I'm not going to let them get away with this. I'll come home early to catch them red handed and then....."

The note was unfinished. I realized that the battery had died out and the system had shut down. When I rebooted it and wanted to open my document, this document had opened asking me if I wanted to save the changes. If not for this, I'd have never known what was going on in his mind all this time.

Red. I wore red after my evening shower. I said my prayers and dropped a mail to my agent saying that I'll not be able to take the call at 7. I looked at the mirror and saw my eyes let go of the tears they were holding. I ignored them and smeared a line of vermilion in the middle partition of my hair. I wore the red bangles that I had last worn at our wedding. Oh! What a happy day that was! Probably the best day of my life. No, maybe not. Today has to be the best day of my life. I day I find freedom from him. The day I am at peace. At last.

He walked in by 7.20 pm slowly inserting the key into the lock. He looked into the study and saw the laptop lying untouched and the phone was still in its place. That bitch was lying, he knew. Time to get it done with. He slowly opened the door, it was dark. He could make out an image on the bed and yet nothing was clear. He switched on the light while still looking at the bed. She sat there motionless, dressed in red. She looked frozen. Without a word he walked in to the bathroom to check if anyone is hiding in there. Next, he searches the balcony. Not finding anyone, he begins to breathe easily. He looks towards her and notices that she's not alone after all. She had two packed bags with her and a hand bag next to her. She pulls out a file from it, flings it at him, and walks away.

It was he who was caught red-handed. With his insecurities. 

This post is written for the #BarAThon Day 4. Prompt: Caught red-handed.

8/03/2016

Fragile Lives

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Blood relatives
Comparison high
Emotions buried
Ruled by a lie

Envy survives
Love remains lost
Blood turns thin
At every cost

Walls built
Relationships die
No share in joy
No shoulder to cry

One life
Each wants best
Nothing is left
For the rest

The delicate thread
Breaks apart
Intricate links
No longer in the heart

Contempt triumphs
Soul doesn't know
Fragile lives
More fragile ego


This post is written for the #BarAThon Day 3. Prompt: Fragile Lives.

8/02/2016

What You Don't Know

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Earlier, the blogging space was very sacred with genuine writers wanting to share their work. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry has a blog of their own. Most of them create blogs to get free samples of products or free vouchers or anything else that comes for free. Honestly, it hurts to see a scared place like this get tainted. But then again, maybe this place was not so scared after all. Most of us write for passion, some of us write to share something with the world while some of us make a living by writing alone. However, there are a bunch of pseudo bloggers who don't know the head or tail of blogging but make their presence felt in the loudest way possible. Like my friend says, "Everyone can write, but everyone shouldn't". Couldn't be more true.

This post of mine is dedicated to a set of bloggers who think that they are the crème de la crème of the blogging world. Trust me, they are. But not for the reasons they think.

~ Dear pseudo fashion blogger: You think fashion was made for you and that your future lies in it. What you don't know is that even that little finger of yours is not aware of what fashion is. Wearing everything you get for free (no way anyone would pay money for them) and clicking poor quality pictures (where one can see the shadow of the photographer) is not fashion blogging. Reviewing each and every product on your makeup stand in a separate post just goes on to show how jobless you are and doesn't connect to fashion in anyway. While we are on it, what you also don't know is that your breasts point west and south and looks like a defunct compass in your photographs. Fashion is not your calling, my dear. The only thing calling you is a good lingerie store. Or are you expecting that for free too?

~ Dear pseudo food blogger: You visit every place in the city and rate every place a 4 or a 4.5 or a 5 out of 5. You are either really kind or really unaware of what a food blogger is expected to do. What you don't know is that people only call you to visit their restaurants because they know you would give them a good rating in exchange for a free meal. Not because you are famous or know your food really well. Also, if you claim to be a fan of Masterchef Australia the least you could know would be who is Gary and who is George. And no, Matt Preston is not their father.

~ Dear pseudo creative blogger: What you don't know is that, when your blog is filled with book and product reviews, it is not called a creative writing blog. No matter how creatively you write (in the future, I mean), it still would be a review blog.

~ Dear pseudo poetry blogger: Congrats on your nth poetry book release. What you don't know is that I know the blogs you have stolen your poems from. Including two of mine.

~ Dear pseudo beauty blogger: Where do you store all the free samples of makeup products you receive? Put on all the foundation and concealer you want. What you don't know is that the foundation and powder needs to be extended to the neck area too. Else you end up looking like a floating head in a dark room. Also, there is no need for you to review every shade of a particular nailpolish brand. What you might also not know is that the base remains the same, just the shade differs. If that is what your are reviewing, then great job!

~ Dear pseudo travel blogger: It is nice to see you cover a lot of places and have more than a 1000 posts on your blog. What you don't know is that a visit to your neighborhood park is not necessarily called "travel". Do correct me if I'm wrong.

~ Dear master of all trades blogger: Have you heard of the word "niche"? What you don't know is that there is a wonderful creation called Google where you can look up this word and try to find yours.

~ Dear blogger turned author: I heard your debut book is doing really well. Good for you. What you don't know is that I know the set of people you forced, to give your book a five star rating. *Slow salute*

~ Dear blogger turned best selling author: Congrats on being one of the best selling authors of the country. I have read one of your books and found it to be pretty decent. While you do know a thing or two about writing, what you don't know is modesty. Or smart marketing for that matter. Backlinking almost every word in your blog post to the buying page of your book is so not cool. Yeah, you might be a best selling author. But do you have to sign every blog post of yours saying that?

~ Dear ass kisser blogger: Why do you so desperately try to be in the good books of all the bloggers around? Leaving a comment with a million hearts will not take you anywhere. I know you think that this would make them come back to your blog and leave comments. What you don't know is that is not how the blogging world works. There are quite a few sensible bloggers out there who know a good blog from a make-believe one.

~ Dear genuine bloggers: Please continue writing for your passion. What you don't know is that I have immense respect for you and I will always hold you in high regard. Or maybe you do.

Okay, I'm done.

This post is written for the #BarAThon Day 2. Prompt: What you don't know.

8/01/2016

Stranger Than Fiction

Love they say is like a breeze
You cannot see it but only feel
It has the power to break you apart
It also has the capacity to make you heal

Love stories are in every corner
You see them all around
You'll hear it in some one's heart beat
Else in an other's eyes it will be found

Is it always as rosy as it looks?
Is love the happiest thing ever?
Will it stay by your side always?
Will it hurt you never?

You've read about Romeo and Juliet
Lived the life of Jack and Rose
Love stories have a tune to them
You sense it in poetry or prose

Will it always have a happy ending?
In love will things never go wrong?
What happens when you're left alone?
Will you scatter or emerge more strong?

What we see and what we read
Are brief examples at its best
You'll only know when it happens to you
You'll feel it in your gut or your chest

It is not always easy
You need to live it to experience it
Love comes with many other emotions
Slowly at first then it will strongly hit

Read about love and then fall in it
Don't make "happily forever" an addiction
When you look at the truth deeply
You'll see that it's stranger than fiction


This post is written for the #BarAThon Day 1. Prompt: Stranger Than Fiction.

7/29/2016

Action Replay: July 2016

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Well, the seventh month is soon bidding goodbye and paving way for my birthday month. Yay! July was a very good month for me. In terms of professional and personal life, and everything else in between. Lessons were learnt too and realizations dawned upon. You know, I really like it when I have a take away from life. I'm not complaining that it is happening every month. I'm not changing as a person, but I'm becoming well learnt. I'm more aware of people and the situations around me. I've also become more wary of people. Or the human race in general. The day I wrote 'Misanthrope', I'd seen a car run over an innocent dog and a cab driving abusing a woman with golden words. No sir, the dog was not in the middle of the road. The car driver had to move a little left to let the dog sleep peacefully, but he decided against it and ran over the dog's hind legs. The poor thing yelped and yelped and it just broke my heart. The cab driver who was abusing the lady on the bike was no less. She didn't understand the local language, but I did. He called her a whore for blocking the jam with her bike and not allow him to move 0.5 inches ahead. This is called being human, you guys. Yes, all this buck buck.

The highlight of this month though is the fact that I got freedom from glasses and contact lenses. I cannot thanks the doctors and team of Prabha Eye Clinic enough, who helped me get my clear vision back. For all those who are still struggling with glasses or lenses, trust me LASIK is a boon! The procedure was done in under 30 minutes and I was back at home in a couple of hours. Some sleep later, I was all up and fine. My vision got clear the very day and touch wood I had no pain or any other issues. A couple of routine follow ups and I was seeing life all clear. I was asked to allow my eyes to rest and stay away from dust, sunlight and anything that could hurt my eyes. So basically I was on house arrest for a week and it was so painful. The surgery wasn't, but the taking rest part was. I was consumed by 'Clear Boredom' and I couldn't wait to get back and do my regular stuff.

The next day after my surgery I decided to read to pass time. Much against the angst of my husband I picked up a book. Although it was clear, after a few minutes I felt the stress on the eye. Not wanting to give up, I picked up my kindle and increased the font so that I could read it more easily. It could have been read from the other room too, that's a whole other story. So yes, I began reading 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' albeit not at my usual pace. I took my time with it and finished it a couple of days back. Absolutely loved it! Detailed review coming up soon. Prior to the surgery I had read three books. I was blown over by 'Lolita' and finally found time to indulge my inner child and read Agatha Christie and Roald Dahl. I cannot believe I hadn't read Roald Dahl until now. I will be picking up more of his books now. I'll save them all for my Godchildren. Or my own, if I decide to have any later.

People who visit my blog always see the honesty in it. But most of them don't get the underlying meaning of it. I'm not a preacher and definitely not a spawn of Satyaharishchandra, the guy who only spoke the truth. While I'm not a staunch believer of religion or spirituality, I do believe in Karma. I do not want to do something that would come back to bite me in the ass later. These days when something bad happens to someone, instead of sympathizing with the person, people say that he or she or the family deserved it. It is a sad state no doubt, but it is karma alright. 'As you sow, so shall you reap', they say. This is what I believe in. My desperate need for being honest and doing right comes from this. And yes also because I'm a nice person. Not like those human beings mentioned above.

In the list of the priorities of my life, two things feature pretty high. Good friends and good food. A few days back I had the chance of indulging in some delicious continental fare and some great conversation with my bestie/BIG little brother Sid. As we spoke non-stop in between chewing non-stop, we realized that a year ago we hardly knew each other. Of course that didn't stop me from making fun of him. I guess that's another thing that brought us closer. We're as different as chalk and cheese, but with our heart in the right place. I'm loud, dominant, brash and diplomacy doesn't exist for me. He's the exact opposite. The yin to my yang and the sweet vanilla to my bitter-sweet chocolate. A great person to explore food with too. Cal, him and I had a wonderful time at a recently held food fest. We make fun of each other's "first world problems", but stand by each other all the time. Friends like these make you much less of a misanthrope. You know you have the right best friend when he matches your "ooohs" with "aaahs" while devouring a plate of absolutely delicious tenderloin strips! And a creme brulee. And some mash. And some cheesecake. Okay, you get the drift.

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I've had a really exciting July and I know that August will only be better. I turn 30 in ten days and I could not be more excited. Am I worried about growing old? I'd be lying if I said no. But when you can't avoid something, it is the best to accept it and move on. I was mostly sick last birthday, so I have two birthdays to make up for this time. I can already feel the celebration and happiness in the air! Do come back to wish me.

Okay that's enough about me. How was your July?

7/27/2016

Book Review: Lolita

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Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Publisher: Penguin UK (25 August 2011)
Genre: Literature/Fiction
Price: Rs. 319 on Amazon.
Pages: 368

**Might contain spoilers**

My eyes always widen when I hear the word "controversial". This book was supposed to be one of the most controversial books that is still banned in many countries. This was enough for me to buy it immediately. I knew the blurb really well, as well as the forbidden subject it speaks of, and yet I wanted to read it. One fine day I started and within two pages I was getting nowhere. I found the writing too tedious and chunky. I was bored and dropped the book. But it continued to haunt me. I picked and dropped it thrice, over a period of a year before finally making my way through it. It definitely is not an easy read or a conventional love story. Lolita is included on TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English language novels to have been published from 1923 to 2005. Well, it sure is.

The protagonist is a middle aged literature professor, who goes by the name Humbert Humbert (HH). He has a sexual fascination for girls aged from 9 to 14 whom he calls nymphets. After the death of his childhood sweetheart Annabel, he goes on looking for her in every nymphet. He is aroused by nymphets and spends most of his time pretending to read in a park while being surrounded by them. He then meets Valeria, an adult who behaves like a nymphet and marries her. But when she runs away with a taxi driver, HH moves to the the small New England town of Ramsdale. It is said that he is here to write but his main agenda is to find another nymphet whom he can seduce. He finds this nymphet in the 12 year old daughter of the family from whom he is to rent an apartment. When he gets to Ramsdale, he discovers that this family house has been burned down and he has no place to go. A lady called Charlotte Haze offers him a place to stay. He goes to check out the place with every intention of refusing the offer. Then, he meets Dolores Haze. The landlady's 12 year old daughter and he immediately sees Annabel in her. He's deeply infatuated and secretly calls her 'Lolita'.

Then begins his quest for Lolita and how he can have her. Turns out Dolores has a crush on a playwright, Clare Quilty whom HH instantly dislikes. As days pass and when Dolores is away, Charlotte Haze writes a letter to HH declaring her love for him and asking him to stay if he loves her too. Else, he's asked to leave immediately. Consumed with the fear of never being able to see Lolita again, HH ends up marrying Charlotte and becoming step father to Dolores, while still nursing feelings for her. When Charlotte finds HH's diary and learns of his true feelings she is disgusted and runs out of the house. She is killed by a passing car and HH drives to Lolita's camp to pick her up and tells her that her mother is ill. He takes her to hotel and sedates her hoping to rape her. But he is in for a surprise.

When HH tells Dolores that her mother is actually dead, they decide not to go back and drive around the country instead. They move from state to state and motel to motel indulging in their individual fantasies. After a year of touring they settle down and Dolores is sent to a new school. She ends up having an argument with HH and decides that she wants to go on another road trip and this time she gets to choose the place. While on the road again, Dolores suddenly disappears. And then begins HH's search for his Lolita. Who abducted her and why? Will he ever see her again?

There is no way you can get past the first few chapters without cringing. There are no breaks in a page and at times paragraphs go on for pages altogether. This is what makes the reading process so difficult. My eyes were exhausted every time I read this. The language used is far from simple and has ample French in it. The story is clearly taboo, but the execution of it is nothing short of brilliant. While it may seem that the book is all about carnal pleasures, it is not explicitly mentioned anywhere. This is a love story at the end of the day. The love that HH had for his Lolita. While you hate HH from the start for being a pervert, towards the mid of the book you realize that he's not the offender here. And towards the end of the book, you clearly end up feeling bad for him. Dolores on the other hand is like most young girl children. Rebellious, stubborn and girly. HH presumes her to be innocent, but she is anything but that. She has her own secrets and achievements.

While the story mainly revolves around HH and his Lolita, it flows really well. Right from his obsession that turns to love and then loss and betrayal. Their travels are described really well and takes you along the journey. Something that I least expected with this book. The prose, though complex is magnificent. The book might have her name, but the real hero is Humbert Humbert. His dangerous passion for Lolita leaps off every page and makes the romantic in him a murderer. He's creepy at times and so innocently love lorn at other times. His patience with his nymphet is quite astonishing considering what a tyrant she is. I actually thought that this book is about a sex maniac who sleeps with a young girl and discards her when she grows up. I couldn't have been more wrong.


Verdict: This probably is the my longest book review, but I had to set the tone right about the story and then talk about it. Verdict? Read it. Just for the sheer brilliance of the story and the writing.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

P.S: The minus 0.5 is for the difficulty in reading. I would not flaw this book otherwise.

7/25/2016

Black Magic

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You and I have been together for years
And now we're expected to stay apart
How do I make myself do this
When you hold a piece of my heart

You've stood by me through thick and thin
As I played with you the way I want
You made me an artist in a way
Without you, those memories now haunt

I know the separation is temporary
Yet I find it hard to step out
I feel a part of me missing
Somewhere within me I nurse a doubt

I still am confident and strong
I feel really happy and good
But I cannot forget all those times
When you and I together stood

You were such a close part of me
I hope these few months pass by soon
We'll make up for all the time we lost
Drawn across me, I'll make you swoon

This time apart is important they say
It is for my own good, that I know
But once you have an addiction
In front of it, you have to bow

For now, let my eyes just heal
Then I'll paint you in different hues
I'm sure you'll make me see and feel better
Oh black magic, my dear muse

7/21/2016

Clear Boredom

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This is the fifth consecutive day that I've stayed at home without stepping out much. Yeah, no office or anything. No, I haven't gone crazy but I soon will if I don't do something productive. So, here I am. What happened you ask? Okay let me start from the beginning. It was the year 2000 and I was in the 8th standard. I was the class topper and once I was asked to read out something from the blackboard. I stood up in pride and then realized that there was nothing written on the board. I squinted my eyes as the teacher looked at me with a puzzled look. She asked me to step forward and come right in front of the class and read. As I walked ahead, I could see the poem 'Silver' written on the board in faint handwriting. I loved that poem, but that was when it struck me that something was wrong with my eye sight. I read the poem and walked away really sadly.

When you study in a convent, you have a lot of privileges. We had regular health camps that spoke about puberty, acne and other "growing up" stuff. One such health camp was a sight awareness camp where all of us from the school had to get our eye tested. First embarrassing moment of my life, my dear friends. I couldn't read anything on the board apart from the first line. Of course that was only because that line was written in such big letters that it could have been read from Jupiter. Within the next five minutes, the doctor there gave me a note that I was supposed to give my parents. It read "Vision problem, please consult a doctor". It also had some random numbers written on it. For me it just meant one thing. If I gave this note to my parents, I'd have to wear glasses. When you are a rebellious teen, you know how insulting that could be. So I hid the note. If I squinted my eyes at a particular angle I could see the black board albeit not very clearly. But still, something was better than nothing.

I passed 8th standard as the topper and was awarded the 'Excellence In Studies' award. I walked up the stage to collect it and could only see a few hazy bubbles in the audience. I couldn't come back to find my mother in the audience as I couldn't make out faces properly. That was when I realized that I had a serious problem. My mom managed to find me and when we got home, I gave my parents the note from the doctor. They were sad at first that their youngest child had eye problems, but I was taken to an eye doctor immediately. Now comes the second embarrassing moment of my life. Sitting on the stool, wearing glasses that could easily be used to sight UFOs and reading out letters and numbers in front of me. Finally it was established that I have myopia in both eyes and I was asked to select a frame and collect my glasses the next day.

Fast forward to 2004 when I had to join my engineering. That was the major growing up phase and it was also the time to have crushes and boyfriends. I decided that it was also the time I switched to contact lenses and ditch my glasses. My parents obliged and soon I was glass free and loving it. The first day I wore contact lenses to college I felt like the world was my oyster and I could breathe rainbows. Years passed and I was happy with the fake eyes I was using. But while travelling it did become a pain. Wearing them and taking care of them now and again, replacing them every month was becoming a tedious affair. Just before I got married I wanted to correct my vision surgically, but my then boyfriend and soon to be husband was not very happy with the idea. He was scared for me and I continued to wear lenses. Last month when I getting ready for work and wore my lenses, my eyes started burning terribly and I had to sit down for twenty minutes to let it cool. He couldn't see the pain I was going through and decided that it was time for me to get rid of this for ever.

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So last weekend, I got a LASIK operation done and my vision is now clear and sorted. The procedure was not painful but scary as hell. I held my cool and it was over in 15 minutes. They asked me not to see light or use the phone/laptop/read and stay away from dust/water for 8-10 days. Then began the real ordeal. Everyone knows that I suck at taking breaks. But this time I had to be on a break and NOT do anything! I couldn't cook, watch TV, read or use the phone. I would have loved to be dead instead. Cal is working from home this week to take care of me and administer the eye drops timely and my agitation is not making it any easy for him. My vision was sorted and I could see everything clearly a couple of hours after the operation itself. I wanted to keep myself busy and I found myself in a helpless situation. Not going to work was enough to make me feel worthless, but not being able to do anything at home was driving me crazy.

But I'm not the one to take things lying down. I picked up my kindle and set it to a larger font and started reading 'The Girl Who Played With Fire'. I was reading a book prior to my surgery but the font posed an issue. I could read it but I was not supposed to stress my eyes, so the better option was the kindle. I was wearing the safety black glasses while reading though. It made me look a lot like Karunanidhi's kin, but it was either that or not doing anything. Gosh, I seriously am horrible at resting or doing nothing. I visited my doctor yesterday for a followup and he told me that I could do anything I wanted to as long as I don't stress my eyes much or not let water or anything else touch them. But I still am not fit enough to stare at the laptop for a whole day. That would take another week or so he told me, but I'm going to start work from next week. Else I'd definitely go insane.

I'm happy I got the surgery done and it will definitely take me sometime to get used to the fact that I can see things clearly without lenses or glasses. I still try to adjust the glasses on my nose or rush to remove my lenses before a shower. But there is nothing there. I couldn't be more relieved. But I will probably be more happier once I start going to work and doing my regular chores. Seriously, a time out is definitely not for me.

I want to feel normal again and this post is the perfect start.

7/14/2016

Book Review: The Devotion Of Suspect X

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Title: The Devotion Of Suspect X
Author: Keigo Higashino
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (2 February 2012)
Genre: Crime/Thriller/Mystery
Price: Rs. 264 on Amazon.
Pages: 488

Like most of us, I heard about this book after news spread that the movie 'Drishyam' was loosely based on this book. I absolutely loved the movie and the screenplay blew me over. I'm the one who always prefers books over movies, so I had to buy this one. After years, I walked into a book store and picked a book. Thanks to online shopping I had forgotten the thrill and satisfaction I get when I walk into a book store. Okay now about the book.

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced single mother who stays with her daughter Misato and works in a restaurant to make a living. Her neighbor is Tetsuya Ishigami, a maths teacher who harbors feelings for her but doesn't tell her a word about it. He visits her restaurant everyday to buy a lunch box though. And by everyday, I mean days that she works there only. They live mundane lives and go about everyday with their routines. One day Yasuko is visited by her ex-husband Togashi who threatens to kill her if she doesn't give him money. A bitter fight takes place and Yasuko and Misato end up killing Togashi. Hearing the commotion Ishigami comes in to inquire and makes sense of the entire situation and offers help to Yasuko. He disposes the body and trains mother and daughter for the police interrogation that would soon come.

When the body turns up and is identified as Togashi, the primary suspect is the ex-wife Yasuko. Detective Kusanagi is investigating this case and is convinced that all of Yasuko's alibis, even though sound, are manufactured. Yasuko seems to have the movie tickets that she went to the day Togashi was killed. She also has an alibi in the karaoke place she visited with Misato later that night. Kusanagi still smells a rat and confides in Detective Galileo aka Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and his college friend who frequently consults with the police. When Ishigami's name is revealed as the neighbor of the prime suspect, Yukawa recognizes him as his college mate who has exceptional skills in problem solving. He visits Ishigami and after a brief talk is convinced that he has something to do with the murder.

A cat and mouse chase begins and Yukawa goes out of his way to prove that Ishigami is involved in the murder too. Will Ishigami break? Or will Yasuko? How long will Ishigami hold on to the love and devotion he has for Yasuko? Especially when Yasuko gets close to a male friend of hers. Will jealousy make Ishigami give her up to the cops? The ending will leave you spell bound.

The writing is fairly simple with minimal characters. I like books that move fast and in this one the murder and the murderer is revealed within the first three chapters. What follows next is the cover up. The story is absolutely brilliant and the pace is just right. The silent love and devotion Ishigami has for Yasuko couldn't be shown much better. Yasuko does come across as a strong woman even though she piggy banks on Ishigami for almost everything related to the case. Kusanagi is annoying but when Yukawa comes into picture, this becomes as thrilling as it can get. Yukawa's analysis of Ishigami's plan comes in as a surprise as does the twist in the end. The writing is brilliant and there is now way you can predict anything in this story.

Drishyam was a fantastic movie, but apart from the fact that this movie and the book involves a murder cover up, nothing else is similar. This book has been made into a movie too. I would be watching that really soon.


Verdict: Absolutely brilliant writing and hands down the best mystery I've ever read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

7/13/2016

Misanthrope

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Most of them will hurt you
Some will only push you down
You might be the queen in your world
Yet tongues will tarnish your crown

Humans are a scary species
Their own emotions they don't know
No matter how much love you sprinkle
The seeds of hatred they will sow

Jealousy comes so easily to them
Comparison is in their every breath
Such people will never change
Their will be ugly inside till their death

Blood is thicker than water they say
But pointed fingers first come from them
Gossip becomes the main agenda
From where their insecurities stem

If you do good, they turn green
If you do bad, they complain
Some people can never be happy
All your efforts will go in vain

It is better to stay away from them
No matter how close they are
If someone is only causing you harm
It is better you just move away far

Their problems are not yours
Your problems will only belong to you
Do what you want and do only right
To yourself you need to stay true

Tongues will wag and eyes will stare
You walk ahead with head held high
Break the convention, challenge the norm
Do not bow down to every how and why

Have a plan and grow with it
Don't let anyone kill your hope
Sometimes I feel that it is good
That I'm turning into a misanthrope

7/07/2016

Book Review: David Days Mona Nights

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Title: David Days Mona nights
Author: Andreas Steinhifel/Anja Tuckerman
Publisher: Tara Publishing
Genre: Romance/Young Adult
Price: Rs. 175 on Amazon.
Pages: 158

Recently, I've only read books that have left me disturbed. After The Girl On The Train, Sharp Objects, Dark Places and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I wanted to read something that would not curb my sleep. I wanted a breezy read and just browsed through my book collection one day. David Days Mona Nights was a book that belonged to my husband and was something that he had read a decade and a half ago. As I read the blurb, I realized that it was a young adult romance story. Initially I thought I was a bit too old for that and decided to look up reviews on Goodreads. Sadly, this book wasn't listed there. Looks like there are a lot of people out there, who, like me had not even heard of this book. The concept was about a girl and a boy writing a series of letters to each other and then falling in love. Cliched much? Yeah, I thought so too. But I decided to read it anyway.

David and Mona both live in Berlin. Mona lives in Kreuzberg, in the centre of the city, and David lives in the suburb of Spandau. Through letters they talk to each other and fall in love. Mona is seventeen while David is fifteen. Their age difference becomes a matter of concern for David, but only for a while. David is hesitant at first to communicate only through letters, but Mona insists that they talk only via letters. Every detail about the city and their lives is discussed only via their letters. Even when they decide to talk on the phone and meet, the details of this is known to the reader via the letters only. No other descriptions, no other narration.

This book is really well written. Had I read this book years ago, I would have fallen in love with it. This definitely is a better book when compared to 'The Fault In Our Stars', although there is nothing tragic about this one. Mona has a secret and comes from a dysfunctional family and David spends most of his time taking care of his little brother. The writing is simple and effortless and easy to read. The way these two discuss their surrounding is surreal and you get a glimpse of Berlin in your mind too. Their writings mature as time goes on. When they are convinced it is love, as expected by the reader, the story takes a different angle where David realizes that Mona is not opening up completely. The book has an open ending, although one can predict how it would end.


Verdict: A breezy read. If you are a Mills And Boon lover, you will love this too.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

7/06/2016

Action Replay: June 2016

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I know I'm a bit late in writing this, but I was caught up way too many things. To be honest, June was not a very good month for me. Personally, that is. Health issues coupled with insomnia did not do me good at all. I know that half the year has just whooshed by, but June just felt like a drag to me. Work was hectic as usual, but there was something else that bogged me down this time. I cannot put a finger on it exactly, but I'm glad that June is over and done with. Having said that, June was a month that left me with a lot of learnings. Now that I think of it, maybe it was not that bad a month altogether.

Apart from work, the prime focus for June was reading. I read six books this month and I couldn't be more happier. I read a diverse books this time. Reading back to back thrillers was leaving me disturbed and agitated. After P.G.W's 'Galahad At Blandings' which by the way is beyond excellent, I picked up the short story 'The Grownup' by Gillian Flynn. I have come to love her style of writing so much that I just cannot put down her books. I finished this one too in a single seating and loved every bit of it. 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' was what I picked up next and it is safe to say that it was the most disturbed book that I had read till date. The violence and torture against women got to me and it left me troubled for a long time.

That is the reason why I chose a breezy book for my next. 'David Days Mona Nights' is an unheard of book. This is one of Cal's old books and comes under the young adult fiction/romance category. Not being sure of wanting to pick it up, I looked at Goodreads for its review. Sadly, the book wasn't even listed there. I created a new entry for the book and decided to read it. It is a really small book of 120 pages. It is about David and Mona who only communicate via letters and fall in love in the process. A detailed review of it is coming up soon. I finally read 'Who Moved My Cheese' and loved it! Such a simple story and yet it made so much sense. 'The Devotion Of Suspect X' was what I picked next. Being sick at home one day, I finished the entire book in one sitting. What a beauty it was! I'll definitely be doing a review of this one.

I like doing book reviews, but only of those books that I have loved/liked or some book which I think people should know about. I'll try not to crowd this place with book reviews, maybe one a week will do. What do you say?

June also showed me all the sycophants that I have around me. People who praise me on social media and not think of me otherwise are people I've put in my 'ignore' bucket now. I normally don't let such things affect me, but when I've invested some time in building a friendship with someone and then not being acknowledged about it does trouble me. Such people do not deserve another second of my time. Now I also am able to differentiate the people who are happy for my success and those who are plain jealous. While the former is just a handful, I'm happy to have them in my life and I hold them very close to my heart.

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Another thing June taught me was how to handle failure. Of course like most of us, I'm not the one to take failure or rejection well. I normally handle it better, but this time I let it get the better of me. I let anxiety get ahead of focus and screwed it all up. I did not deal with it in a very good way. I was angry and pissed with myself and blamed everyone around me. It took me a while to realize that it was actually my fault and I should have been calm and gone ahead with it instead. Once I was able to accept this fact, it became easy to put it behind me and prepare more better for the next time. Failures are a part of life and without them how would you have experiences? I'm glad I finally was able to understand this.

In terms of writing, I didn't do too bad in June. Ten posts out of a planned twelve is pretty good I think. I wrote posts that mattered a lot to me this time. From 'Treating Food Right', 'His &His' to 'The Corporate Homemaker', all these are topics that I have been wanting to talk about for quite some time now. I'm glad I was able to write it down this time.

Okay I've managed to have done a lot of things in June and have got a few priceless lessons as well. Wait, June was a good month after all.

How did it treat you?

6/27/2016

The Corporate Homemaker

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Today, I complete eight years of corporate life. Yes, eight long years with the same company. During the third year of my engineering, I was placed in the big blue and a day after my final fourth year exams, I joined the company. My joining location was Chennai and I hated the place from the time I set my foot into it. I was away from my family for the first time ever and for a true blood Bangalorean to survive in a place like Chennai is really difficult. I cribbed and complained and cribbed some more. Plus, since I was away, my long distance relationship went kaput and I was not in the right frame of mind to stay in an alien city. After four grueling months, I got a transfer and I was back in Bangalore. Since that day, there has been no looking back.

People say that work is worship, I don't know that exactly. But work for me is a lifeline that I cannot do without. My job might not be the greatest in the world, but I love it. The feeling of being financially independent is wonderful and I am really glad that I do not have to depend on anyone else for money. It just feels like yesterday that I drew my first salary and here I am having drawn close to a hundred salaries by now. Of course the amount has varied over time, and to be really honest I do not care much about how much I make. I know I give my job a 100% and I get paid in return. That is all that matters to me. I have friends who have jumped a lot of companies and make twice the money that I do today. These are the same people who crib non-stop about how horrible their jobs are how much they hate it. I get paid to do a job I love. So, who's the winner here?

Over eight years I have changed six projects. The first five was in a location close to my mother's place. I worked there until I got married. After marriage I moved to the other side of town and changed my work location with a new project within the same company. It has been three years since I moved here and I couldn't be more happier. Marriage did not change my perspective towards work and my husband knew that my job would always be my top priority. He loves me for being so serious about my job. I am not a procrastinator. I need things to be done when they have to be done. I plan my work first and then everything else around it. Be it vacations or medical follow ups. I would never compromise on my job in any way. It is important that I stay true to my job. Else there is no way that I could stay true to myself.

While I'm so focused on work, I do not compromise on my home either. I am a working lady yes, but I also am a homemaker. And I'm very proud of this fact. Most people I know call me a "working lady" and put a big full stop at the end. It is automatically assumed that she sucks at managing a home. Utter bullshit. I've been managing a home for more than a year now and we couldn't be more happier. I am the homemaker who has a place to go to every morning. I am the homemaker who finishes chores at home and then goes to office to do her job. I am the homemaker who doesn't have to wait for her husband for the basics. I am the homemaker who has contributed to the making of this home financially. I am the homemaker who takes care of the bills on time and can pay it from her own pocket. I am the homemaker who sees to that that her kitchen is full and the home is well maintained all the time. And yes, I also am the homemaker who manages a demanding job along with this.

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Of course you cannot do this without the right support. If there are people around you cribbing about the fact that you can't do a few things because of your job, it will only bog you down. Over the past one year my husband has been a great support to me and together we manage a home beautifully without any help. We even financially support both our set of parents along with taking care of our own expenses. My husband knows the love and respect I have for my job and helps me make it easy. A couple of years ago, this was just not possible due to the burden of expectations. Since the time we moved to a place of our own, we have been able to manage everything effortlessly. I know he's got my back, so that helps me give a 100% to my job and a 100% to my home as well.

I am not trying to blow my own trumpet here. I am tired of listening to the words "working lady" time and again. The societal definition of such a woman is one who is ambitious and is only bothered about her work. In that case let me get the definition of a homemaker right too. A homemaker is someone who takes care of the home and the people in it. She takes care of all the chores and handles the bills and everything else on time. She has a clean house and also keeps the family members close and brings the family together. I know of so many women who have failed as homemakers today. These women have maids to do all the chores for them and yet they miss out on so many things. Let's face it, we're all human. So, let us make it clear that a homemaker is not someone who can take care of a house better than a so called working lady. It all depends on the type of person one is. Being complacent and lazy does not help either kind.

In my opinion, every woman needs to be financially independent. Be it at a steady job or working from home on your own. While a lot of woman are happy staying at home and watch soap operas, there are a lot of woman doing something for themselves in any way that they can. They are earning enough to support their own needs. With the advent of the Internet, so many women have gone online with their home business and many of them are conducting cooking/art classes on you tube. It feels so nice to see something like this. Last week I saw a show on TV that showed a 82 year old woman entrepreneur famously known as the knitting nani. Her daughters have helped her set up a company and she's running it successfully now. A woman is strong. Be it a working woman or a homemaker. But it is important that they realize their strength and do something about it. Pick up a talent or a course to earn some basic amount, that's all they need to do. For themselves, not anyone else. Trust me, the feeling is something else altogether.

I've clocked eight years of being a working lady and more than a year of being a homemaker today.

Forever to go.

6/24/2016

Neverland

copyright-Rich Voza

"Is it that important for you to go and settle in the US?" Ria asks Rohan with tears in her eyes.

"Absolutely. You know how hard I've worked to get here. I'm going and I want you to come with me."

"I can't leave my parents behind, you know that. I'm all they have."

"We'll come visit them every year. Come on Ria, once we're married I think it's better we settle down there."

"But this the place I belong to. I do not want to leave."

"I will have to."

"Do I have a say?"

"No."

"Okay then, goodbye."

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 24th June 2016.
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