Corporate Circus #4: Loyalty Points

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On the 27th of June, 2017, I completed 9 years in the corporate industry. Also, 9 years in the same company. Roughly around ten years ago, I was placed in one of the biggest companies of the world as part of the campus recruitment. A day after the last exam of my Engineering ended, I joined the company. Looking back, I feel so nostalgic about the whole journey. My joining location was in Chennai and I spent the first four months of my corporate life there and hated every part of it. While most of my problems were with the city I was staying in rather than my job, I still did not get to enjoy the start of my corporate life. My peers were very different from the way I was. I was the odd woman out among a batch of local produce. There were a few others from different locations as well, but our frequencies were not even remotely close.

During the first four months of my corporate life, I hated everything around. I was one of the lucky few to have been placed in a project in the exact domain that I had studied, so technically I was hanging in there. While I cursed the city and the people around, I was still in love with my company and the work that I was doing. The first chance that I got to come back to Bangalore did not materialize and that took me down pretty badly. Thanks to the long distance, my first ever relationship came crumbing down and I was hampered emotionally. I had a few friends around me but none could understand what exactly I was going through. I was away from home for the first time, in a city that I couldn't relate and had people around who looked at me like I was an alien. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong but I still had my work with me to keep me going. Then one day, I got the news that my project was shutting down.

The Rich Puppet Master

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There once lived a puppet master
This story dates back to the days of yore
This woman piled on her vices
For her greed, there was no cure

She cast her charm while she was young
Through her fingers she captured a man
He surrendered to her from day one
Inflicting melancholy on his own clan

Together they cheated and stole
From everyone and everything that came their way
Turning into misers of the highest order
They piled on their riches day after day

Book Review: Like Water For Chocolate

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Title: Like Water For Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquivel
Publisher: RHUK (16 September 1993)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: Rs. 360 on Amazon
Pages: 224

This book was touted to be a magical realism one and I was fresh from the brilliant hangover of 'The Night Circus', so I picked this up gleefully. For a food lover like me, any book that revolves around food is a bonus hit. I had read and loved 'Chocolat' and this one seemed to be on similar lines. It is a love story like none other and every chapter begins with a delicious recipe. I devoured the story, page after page.

Tita de la Garza, 15 years old, lives on a ranch near the Mexico-US border with her mother, Mamá Elena, and her older sisters Gertrudis and Rosaura. It is the de la Garza family tradition that the youngest daughter must remain unmarried and take care of her mother until her mother's death. Tita was born in the kitchen and has a deep connection with food and a love for cooking. This is also due to the fact that Tita's primary caretaker as a child was Nacha, the family cook. Tita falls in love with her neighbor Pedro, who feels the same towards her. When they ask for Mamá Elena's permission for marriage, they are reminded of the tradition and Mamá Elena suggests that Pedro marry Rosaura instead.

Long May She Reign

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Tall and proud she stood strong
Stripped off her every face
Power still lingers in her eyes
As she prepares for the race

An unloved wife but a loving mother
Deaths of her children she couldn't foresee
She'll fight with all that she has
Giving up is not a part of Cersei

Married twice but no man by her side
Dangerously ripped off her innocence
Lost, unaware but finding her way
Slowly, of the war she's making sense

All About The Bling

PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb

My uncle Bob was one of a kind. He was different in his own way, just like me. Probably that’s why we got along so well.

We have just one life, darling. We might as well as sparkle”, he used to say.

He liked shiny things. He used to dress in bright colors and wore matching earrings. He was a happy person, positive and always smiling. But, the family hated him. Maybe they were not used to seeing so much happiness on one person.

The Early Bird Saves More

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What is the best part of a holiday? The destination and that awesome feeling. And the worst part? The planning, of course. Honestly, I am an avid planner and when it comes to travel I leave no stone unturned. My husband and I try to take a vacation every quarter and we plan our year around this. Traveling on a fixed budget is never easy, but if the planning is right, you may even get to save some money from the budget. What the first step in planning a vacation? Yes, choosing the destination. The next step is to decide how you would get there. Air transport has become so convenient these days that you can fly to any destination from any city.

The one thing that troubles me as a traveler is the fluctuating prices of the flights. One day it is low, a few days later it is high and a few days later it is back to being low again. This sinusoidal wave of high and low always puts me in a pickle when I sit down to book my flight tickets. A few years ago, when we booked our tickets from Bangalore to Delhi we paid close to 30,000 for two return tickets. This was because we booked the ticket one week in advance. Next, when we had to travel to Sri Lanka, we decided to book our tickets a month in advance and we ending up saving quite some money. Not much, but something at least. That is when we realized that when it comes to travel, the earlier you book your flight tickets, the better.

But how early is too early?

#FeministMondays | Let's Start At The Very Beginning

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Feminism is a word that came into existence very recently. Better late than never, one would say. But has one thought how it would have been had feminism existed right from day one? If men and women enjoyed equal rights right from the evolution of time, would there ever be a need for the very word? Today, feminism is considered a bad word. Most people don't know what it is and a lot of wrong and unnecessary things are also being done in the name of feminism. There is no denying that. Feminism is about having equal rights for men and women. It is not male bashing. It is not the elevation of the female on a pedestal. It is not about celebrating women's day. Feminism is not about all the million things that it is deemed about. It is only about one thing. Gender Equality.

Still, most of us do not get this. There are quite a lot of women who call themselves "feminists" just to appear cool. These are the same women who succumb to husbands at home and think that as women they should not be expected to be a part of decision making as that's a man's job. Hypocrisy, anyone? Even after so many marches, so many articles, so many speeches, so many Facebook updates why don't we still get the underlying meaning of feminism? We need to start at the very beginning for that.

Why I Love Ranveer Singh

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Ranveer Singh is someone who can never blend with the background. He was born to stand out and he did so right from his first movie! I did not find any of the current crop of new comers interesting, until Bittoo Sharma reached our screen. I loved him right from the word go. No, he's not that good looking. Nor does he have that sophistication. But one thing he has and that is charisma. He's like that roadside Romeo (in a good way) that you cannot ignore. He's enthusiastic and so full of energy. His antics are so adorable and you cannot not love him. But then again, people like him are not everyone's cup of tea. For me, he's the perfect and delicious blend.

He turns 32 today and I'm here to wish him a very very happy birthday! Thank you Ranveer, for all that sparkle.

Action Replay: June 2017

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June was a very weird month for me. As much as I felt that it passed by way too quick, I also feel that it dragged in parts. Half the year is gone and here I am sitting and wondering what the hell have I done in the past six months. Am I the only one who feels that 2017 is not going really good? For some reason on which I cannot lay a finger, something doesn't seem to be right with this year. Based on the FB statuses I have been seeing over the past few months, there are many others who feel the same too.Well, let's just hope that the second half of the year gets better.

June was a pretty relaxed month in terms of work. I had completed most of my projects and only the final finishing activities were pending. This meant that I had some extra time on my hands everyday. The extra me time that I got helped me relax to a large extent. I realized that I am a person who needs some time alone everyday. Else, I just lose my mind and get cranky. I need some time just with myself. I'll either read, watch TV, cook or just sit. But I need that time alone at any cost. It has become vital for my sanity now and I plan my day in such a way that I get this time no matter what.

Why Every Creative Woman Needs A Journal


Let's face it, a woman's life is never easy. We always have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves to others. Being a career woman myself, I make sure I give equal importance to my house and to my interests as well. Sometimes, I feel that the twenty odd hours in the day are really scanty. I need at least forty five hours a day to be able to do the things that I want to. I recently read about a concept called 'mental load'. This is the load we women carry with us throughout the day. The thought of what to cook for dinner, while attending a meeting at work. The random business idea that pops up in the mind while cooking dinner. The silent reminder to pick up the dry cleaning. The omnipresent grocery list. The urgency to reach the market before the fresh vegetable stock depletes. This list can go on and on. Although we do not talk much about it, the mental load remains firmly rooted. No amount of planning eases it. No matter how much you try, something or the other gets left out.

The 'Anything But Books' Tag

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I was tagged by Shantala to take up the 'Anything But Books' tag. The tag is to answer the below questions and none of the answers have to involve books. Initially, I thought this would be impossible for me, since I have become a voracious reader these days (mostly in a desperate attempt to finish the fifth Harry Potter book and move on to other books, I'm done with 600 pages: 200 more to go), but I do enjoy a challenge no matter how hard it is. Also, it has been a long time since I did a personal post on the blog so maybe this can double up as that too.

So, if you didn't know me already, get ready to learn some of my quirks.

Here we go!

Smoke

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I'm not trying to be a tease
Maybe I'm a reminder in some way
I'm something you can never have
Even though you dream of me night and day

I'll intoxicate you every second
In your hands, I slowly burn
I'll toss and lie by your side
But I'll be gone when you turn

Seduction is an art they say
I'll tempt you into temptation
We'll ride the passion wagon together
I'll disappear when we get to the station

Silver Moon

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

"What do you say?" Rohan asks again, kneeling down.

"I'm not sure. Maybe it is too soon."

"Come on, Tia. We are perfect for each other."

"We are so different from each other! It's like the sun and the moon."

"Yes, I am the sun who blazes bright. I can get harsh and hurt sometimes. But you are my silver moon. As bright as me, but your light never hurts. I need you to complete me."

Of Love & Togetherness

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Love is a wonderful feeling, isn't it? That rush of emotions, those fluttering butterflies and the sprinkle of pixie dust, it is miraculous indeed. Love makes you crazy and it makes you do crazy things. Like sit up all night and chat with your lover, or pick up new habits that your lover likes and so on. I do believe that love happens more than once, but when the right person comes along that kinda love stays. Forever. It is not easy to remain in love forever. When the rush of feelings subside and the butterflies decide to rest for a while, reality strikes and you realize that holding on to a relationship is much more than fluff. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, mutual respect and trust to keep a relationship going. And time. It is very important to focus on spending a lot of time together. A lot, but not all the time.

One of the most common misconceptions in a relationship is that everything needs to be done together. That is not called togetherness, it is called smothering. While it is lovely when couples spend a lot of time together, but if they are together all the time it can be frustrating. Couples should also spend time away from each other and do things that they love doing. While it is important to take an interest in your partners hobbies and hang around them, you need not do this all the time. While spending time together is important, spending time away is also equally important. Most couples have similar interests and a common group of friends. But it is also important to pursue individual interests and spend some time with your own friends.

Back To You

image by Sarolta Ban

I still remember that phone call
The day when my life stood still
Since the day you turned your back
The void in my heart no one could fill

The pain pierced through me every second
I let it kill me day after day
I was soon losing my senses
For the heart, the mind did pay

Year after year, I shed a tear
I tried hard but couldn't let go
The more I tried to lock you out
The memories only continued to grow

Book Review: Paths Of Glory

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Title: Paths Of Glory
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Publisher: Pan Macmillan; Reprints edition (18 September 2009)
Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Price: Rs. 307 on Amazon
Pages: 416

I'd read anything by Archer without thinking twice. This book was something that I picked up years ago and forgot about. Last month, I sat down to read it. At 416 pages, this is quite a long book. Even the font was quite small and I thought that it would take me at least a month to finish this book. Surprisingly, I finished it in less than five days. This story is supposedly based on true events and the events that sum up the entire novel is quite something altogether.

Action Replay: May 2017

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We are almost half done with 2017, eh? Wow! 2017 did not start really well for me, but May 2017 more than made up for it. May 2017 has been one of the best months of my life and I am not even exaggerating. This is the first month in my life when I focused solely on one thing. Me. I wasn't in the best of space mentally over the past few months. I've been dealing with demons and various other emotions in my head. This took such a toll on me that I decided that I cannot take this anymore. It was affecting every area of my life and I was losing grip over everything around. One of the most toughest phases of my life. Early May, I decided that I need to make peace with the demons in my head and try to get better. I am feeling totally fine now, but the journey wasn't easy. It happened in steps and I took a conscious decision to give it all I have.

The first step was acceptance. I accepted that I was going through something and I needed to get out of it. Initially, I kept lying to myself that I was fine and all this was just a phase. But this time, I put my foot down and accepted that all was not fine after all. Work was keeping me really busy and I barely had time for myself or anything else. I was suffering from insomnia and this affected day to day activities of my life. When I finally accepted the problem, I sat down to figure it out. I prioritized things, activities and chores. Sleep was still an issue, but when I was awake I did all that I could. It was not easy. That is what took me to the next step.

Three, Two, One

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Three, the minutes left before you leave
Another year of missing your touch
As I count the passing minutes and seconds
Everyday I love you twice as much

Two, our bodies entwined in a dance
Without any music, we glide along
Our eyes form a symphonic melody
As out heartbeats make the perfect song

It's All In The Mind

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

"Stop making up things, nothing is wrong with you."

"Do not over analyse small things. Why over think so much?"

"Why are you so quiet, why can't you just be your usual self?"

"Pray, it will help you feel better."

"Stop this attention seeking."

"There is nothing, it is all in your head. It is a psychological problem."

Corporate Circus #3: Lifted Spirits

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Apart from my desk where I diligently work and seldom resort to entertainment in the form of checking social media, I get entertained the most in the office elevators. Office elevators and I have a love hate relationship. I'm claustrophobic and hate to step into an elevator. Whenever I can, I choose the stairs, but since my work station is at the fifth floor I do not have the luxury of taking the stairs all the time. Whenever I am late to work, I take the elevator to reach my seat quickly. But since Murphy rules my life, the lift decides to stop at every floor. Now, I am not here to talk about my problem with elevators. The problem I have is with the people who I share the elevator with.

Since I work in a huge corporate, the number of people in my office is equivalent to the population of a small country. At times it feels like all of them are waiting in the lift lobby. You should be very lucky if you are able to wade through the crowd and make it to a lift that can accommodate you. In a elevator that can fit in about twenty people, I am more often than not surrounded by at least twenty five of them. That's not my only problem. Some people do not understand that lifts are only to be used to move from one floor to another. It is not a place to hangout and is definitely not a place to check if your belt is fitting you right or not.

Purple Dreams

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I squint my eyes and look closely
The purple field ahead invites me
Confused I slowly set my foot in
Everywhere only purple I see

The leaves brush against my legs
The gentle flowers tickle my chin
I feel happiness envelope me
Through every pore of my skin

Maybe this is what they call magic
I love this warm fuzzy feeling
A butterfly comes flapping its wings
Placing on my finger a purple ring

Book Review: The Memory Keeper's Daughter

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Title: The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards
Publisher: Penguin UK (26 April 2007)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: Rs. 225 on Amazon
Pages: 432

This was just another random book that I found on Goodreads. What caught my attention was the title and the haunting cover of the book. Till date when I look at that frail white dress, it breaks my heart. I hadn't even heard about the author before that. The ratings were pretty good too but I kept going back to the title. It was so beautiful and the blurb was exciting enough for me to place an order for the book. I have learnt to read books with zero expectations these days. I start with an empty slate and work my way up through it. 'The Night Circus' was the first book that I read without expectations and it just blew my mind! I started this one the same way too.

Monday Musings #14

When Wounds Heal You

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We all come with a share of wounds
Teaching us so much in the bargain
While some disappear without scars
They still leave behind the pain

Some wounds never hurt
As a reminder they stay on
The cause of it is forgotten
The relevant memory long gone

Some of them exhaust you
Grabbing your throat, they never leave
They shatter your life in many ways
While you pick up the remnants with a sieve

Action Replay: April 2017

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While February and March was all about hope, April was all about strength and self belief. It wasn't an easy time for me as I was dealing with a lot of pressure at work along with some conflict within me. I was battling insomnia and trying to get past the day like I'd rested for ten whole hours. To top it up, I was a part of the A to Z challenge for April as well. It was chaos, chaos and chaos all over. The work pressure was mounting and that left me little time for myself. I plunged in head first into work like I do always. But this time the reason was different. I was going through something unpleasant within me that I needed all the distraction possible. Like always, I turn to work and office for distraction. The only place I feel sorted is at my work. While my focus was all over the place, at work it fell into place perfectly.

Z: Zoe From 'The Ranch' #AToZChallenge


You all know that I'm a big fan of Danielle Steel and all her books. The reason I love her books is because of the women in them. Her protagonists are normal woman who go through day to day life and the problems that come with it. While some are strong from the start, some slowly find their strength and themselves through the story. There is nothing more awesome than reading about a woman regaining her own strength and believing in herself and then sorting out her life. No matter what challenge comes her way, she gets past it with aplomb and a set of lessons. They in turn teach the reader so much about life and how you can make it. Life's stories are what Danielle Steel specializes in and that's the main reason I love her books so much.

Y: Yes, My Accent Is Real - Book Review #AToZChallenge


Title: Yes, My Accent Is Real: And Some Other Things I Haven't Told You
Author: Kunal Nayyar
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (18 September 2015)
Genre: Biographies, Diaries & True Accounts
Price: Rs. 219 on Amazon
Pages: 272

I am a huge fan of 'The Big Bang Theory' and everything about this show amazes me. The concept is brilliant and the cast is perfect. While Sheldon will remain my favorite, my next favorite would be the astrophysicist, Rajesh Koothrappali. The character of Raj is so adorable and Kunal Nayyar pulls it off perfectly. Right from that hairstyle to the sweaters to his body language and accent. When I heard about him writing a book, I had already made up my mind to buy it. Yes, I did want to know how he landed this role and how he is in real life, but most importantly I wanted to know how this geeky lad got a Miss India Universe to marry him. If you didn't know this earlier, he's married to Neha Kapur.

X: X From 'The Devotion Of Suspect X' #AToZChallenge


How far would you go for love?

While 'The Devotion Of Suspect X' is a brilliant murder mystery, you cannot ignore the brilliant character of Tetsuya Ishigami who later turns out to be the suspect X. There is something about this character that makes the user sit up and notice and then ask questions. A brilliantly written character, suspect X is much ahead of the police and the detectives in every way. He plans the cover up of the murder with precision, putting his life in danger without the blink of an eye. He's not the murderer, well, he didn't kill the victim at least. Those who have read the book will know that Yasuko Hanaoka, his neighbor is the actual killer and the victim happens to be her ex-husband. Ishigami somehow makes sense of the murder and helps her cover it up.

But why?

W: A Walk To Remember #AToZChallenge


I know I said that I am not a fan of love stories, but this one is my all time favorite love story. While the story is simple and the journey is heart wrenching, I love this book for more than these reasons. Knowing that I'm a bibliophile, this is the first book that my then boyfriend now husband gifted to me. While I was travelling for a month. This books holds so many memories for me. The smile on his face when he gave it to me. The pain in our eyes while we had to depart, albeit for a short time. The smile I had as I held the book in my hand all through the airport. For some reason, I refused to put this in my bag. I held on to it until I boarded. Within the next one hour I had finished reading the book and I had a wide smile on my face. And why not? The book was about eternal love after all.

V: Very Very Good Books #AToZChallenge


I'm gonna do the impossible today and come up with a list of my favorite books. I know that it is very difficult to come up with a list like this. It is asking a mother to name her favorite child. Or so they say. I have been an avid reader for more than twenty two years now and I do have my favorites. These are really good books and I wish that everyone should read them at least once. While the concept is brilliant in some, the execution is better in others. While the characters are perfect in some, the narration is better in others. Most of them I've listed below have everything going right in them. So here we go.

U: Unread Books On My Shelf #AToZChallenge


I've been in a meeting since 3 PM today. When I'm not expected to speak or when something not related to my area of work is being spoken about, I browse my phone. I don't check social media, I'm on Amazon looking for books. It's like a subconscious thing. Whenever I'm in a meeting random book names cross my mind and I end up looking for them on Amazon and then buying it. I have more than thirty books lying at home that are unread, and yet I'm constantly buying books. I know its adding on to my collection, but at times when I clean my shelf I realize that I have way too many unread books. And that hurts. Still, I end up buying books as and when I see something online or when I'm passing by a bookstore. Many times I've made up my mind that I'll only buy books when I have nothing else to read, but I fail miserably. Today, while in the meeting, I bought two more books.

T: Tintin #AToZChallenge


Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts are my favorite comics. I hadn't read adventure comics before. The adventures of Tintin was only something that I had heard of, but never read. My husband turned out to be a huge fan of Tintin and got home some movies one day. Once I watched 'Cigars Of The Pharoah', I was hooked. Next began our book collection. At 500 bucks a piece, these comics are expensive and since they are illustrated beautifully, we wanted new copies for the color and the freshness. Slowly, we started buying three to four books a month, as and when Amazon had an offer on them. As they came in, I devoured it in glee.

S: Sidney Sheldon #AToZChallenge


When I was in the sixth standard, a teacher asked our entire class what our hobbies were. When my turn came, I told her that my hobby was to read novels. She then asked me what novels have I read. I said, Secret Seven and Famous Five. She just smiled and told me that they were not novels. They were just adventure stories. I asked her what novels were then. She told us that novels were long stories woven across a concept or a theme with a set of characters. The next day, my sister got home 'Tell Me Your Dreams' from the library. This was the first time that I had heard of Sidney Sheldon. Since my sister wanted to read the book the next day, I sat the entire night to read it. The next day, I told my teacher that I had read a novel by Sidney Sheldon. She then goes on to say that I was too young to read such novels. Well, I just ignored her.

R: Rebecca - Book Review #AToZChallenge


Title: Rebecca
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (30 January 2003)
Genre: Classic Fiction
Price: Rs. 399 on Amazon
Pages: 448

After a blogger friend rated this book a five star and spoke in praise of it, I was intrigued. I hadn't even heard about this book until then. Suddenly there were a lot of friends on my Facebook timeline who were reading this book and giving it glowing reviews. Not one to fall for hearsay, I did my own research. Turned out, Rebecca was a best-seller and had sold 2,829,313 copies between its publication in 1938 and 1965, and the book had never gone out of print. But then again, almost every book is deemed a best-seller these days. But when I read the blurb, I knew that I had to read the book.

Q: Quick Reads #AToZChallenge


I don't know what the actual definition of quick reads is, but for me it is a book that I can finish under four hours or lesser. I choose quick read books mainly when I'm travelling or want to pass time for a small period. When I was working in Chennai, I used to come to Bangalore every weekend. Quick reads are what kept me company during the six hour train journey. I love to buy comics and other books off a railway platform. Tinkle being my favorite book to read during a train journey. I love comics and nothing like these breezy reads to get you through a train journey. Tinkle brings back so many childhood memories every time I read it. From writing to Uncle Pai to saving money to buy the new edition, everything is such a strong memory. Earlier, the stories used to be so meaningful and creative. By earlier I mean like nine years ago, when I had just started work. These days, the stories are really silly. While some do make sense, most of them are shoddily executed.

P: P. G. Wodehouse #AToZChallenge


The only regret that I have when it comes to reading is that I had not discovered P.G Wodehouse until recently. The books belonged to my husband and were lying on my bookshelf and I did not even take a look at them. I had heard about his books and the beautiful use of the English language and his humor, earlier. Humor was a genre that I did not like in particular, as a lot of trash is sold in the name of humor. One fine day, wanting a light read I picked up 'Much Obliged, Jeeves'. I was laughing my heart out with every page. Not only was the writing impeccable, the humor was top notch! Bertie Wooster and Jeeves entertained me so much that it was the best distraction from real life that I'd got.

O: Overrated Books #AToZChallenge


No list of books is complete without the list of overrated books. Not that I have read all the books in the world, but there are some books that I wish I hadn't read. Some books create so much of hype around it that I feel like an outsider for not having read it. Then I go ahead and read it and then I wonder what was so good about the book? This has happened way too many times that I now have a long list. Almost all Indian authors fall into this list by default, led by Mr. Bhagat of course. Apart from these, a lot of other books have left a bad taste in my mouth. Since I cannot talk about all, I have just picked a few pretty famous ones here.

N: The Night Circus - Book Review #AToZChallenge


Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Vintage (24 May 2012)
Genre: Fantasy
Price: Rs. 319 on Amazon
Pages: 512

The one letter I have been waiting for throughout this A to Z challenge is N. I have been dying to talk about this book. I read this in February/March and have been saving it up for this day. Before, I hadn't heard about this book at all. One day while searching for something else on Goodreads, I accidentally ended up on this page. It has a four plus rating and almost all the reviews were talking about how magical it was. Not one for fantasy and magic, I decided to ignore that. But one thing that remained on my mind is the cover of the book. Look, how beautiful it is! One fine day, on an impulse I ordered the book. Yeah, just because I liked its cover. I bought the vintage edition and oh my God the cover was so damn gorgeous. There were times when I used to take the book, sit down with a cup of tea and just look at its cover. I can be cuckoo sometimes.

M: Mrs Funnybones #AToZChallenge


I have always been a fan of Twinkle Khanna. Yes, even before she became a writer. No, I did not think she was a good actress, I just thought that she was very beautiful and had a very good sense of fashion. And I loved her hair. Oh, her hair! Okay, I can get vain at times. Then she went on to get married to Akshay Kumar, a man I immensely respect for being so humble. Then they became like the dream couple in my mind. Anyway, when she started writing columns, I thought it was just one of those things that star wives do. And then, I started reading her work. I was blown away! If there is something that this woman had, it was wit. And balls!

L: Lolita - Why You Must Read It #AToZChallenge


Lolita was a book that really tested my patience. I bought it because of the controversial theme. No, I'm not a pervert, I just wanted to see how it was executed. Also because Lolita is included on TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English language novels to have been published from 1923 to 2005. I have tried reading this book umpteen number of times before I actually read it. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of this classic, the story is about Humbert Humbert (HH) who has a sexual fascination for girls aged from 9 to 14, whom he calls nymphets. He meets Dolores Haze, 12, and is deeply infatuated by her. He then christens her Lolita. To top it, he becomes her stepfather and still nurses sexual feelings for her and later gets sexually involved with her. Their journey is what forms the book. The subject is clearly taboo, but I loved the book. In spite of it testing my patience and hurting my eyes with the never ending paragraphs. I have reviewed the book here. Now, I shall tell you why you must read the book.

K: Khaled Hosseini #AToZChallenge


When I was working in Chennai for a brief four months, I used to stay in a hostel. Worst time of my life, trust me. Anyway, when a Bangalorean moves to Chennai and has bare minimum friends, any free day is a dud. Chennai is not a place that you can explore on foot. At least for me it wasn't easy. My weekends were usually restricted to visiting a book seller near my hostel. This was not a store, books were sold on the footpath here. While most of them were pirated copies, at times you did find very old originals. My eyes always found them. That's how I discovered Jhumpa Lahiri and her book 'Unaccustomed Earth'. I used to pick up a lot of books from here. A weekend meant exhausting two books and I needed new ones soon. During one such tryst to the book seller is when I picked up a book called 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', only because I loved the title. Who the author was, what was the book about, did not matter then.

J: Jeffrey Archer #AToZChallenge


While I had a lot of other options in mind for A to I, J couldn't be anything else. When I moved from Sidney Sheldon to more "grown up" books, 'Kane And Abel' was one the books that I picked up. When one of the libraries near home was to be shut down, they put out all their books on sale. I got two bag fulls of books from there. Most of them were from John Grisham, Danielle Steel and Jeffery Archer. I had never read Jeffery Archer before, I just picked them up on an impulse. Since I was getting the original copies of the books for 50-70 bucks each, I picked up as many as I could. For some strange reason, I decided to start with the thickest book and that was 'Kane And Abel'. The story went on and on and on and took me with it. I sat for two days at a stretch and finished that book. Once done, I was so exhausted but immensely pleased. It was one of the best books that I've ever read and the story was flawless.

I: Indian Authors #AToZChallenge


I must confess, the first Indian author I ever read was Chetan Bhagat. With a start this awesome, you can imagine how the rest of the journey would be. To be honest, I liked his first book 'Five Point Someone'. Maybe it was to do with the fact that I was doing my engineering at that point of time. The book was decent enough and I sincerely feel that '3 Idiots' was totally inspired by this book no matter what the production house chose to say. After reading mysteries and thrillers, a slice of life book felt good at that point of time. 'One Night At A Call Center' was such a disaster that I did not know if I should laugh or cry for choosing to read this book. 'Three Mistakes Of My Life' turned out to be a huge mistake in my life, but I did enjoy 'Kai Po Che'. The movie was a million times better than the book here. I read '2 States' because I was dating a guy from the North back then and I did like the book. It did not work out for me in real life, but atleast the book had a happy ending. The movie was pretty decent too, irrespective of having Arjun Kapoor in it.

H: Harry Potter #AToZChallenge


I never thought that I'll be the one to read fantasy books. Especially after being forced to read Twilight. That book was wrong on so many levels that I cannot start pointing it out. When Harry Potter released while we were in school, I was busy with the Shakespearean classics and had just discovered Sidney Sheldon. I was so in to the mystery and thrill genre that Harry Potter felt way too childish for me. Especially with all the kids standing in line to buy those books. Some of my close friends were really crazy about these books and used to wait desperately for a year for the next book to come out. Even if I wanted to read the books, I would not have had the patience to wait for the next book to be out. So I let it be. Once out of the blue, for reasons I don't remember, I asked a friend of mine if I could borrow the books one by one. She clearly did not want to share them and made up a story about her sister being "possessive" about the books and all that blah. So, I let it be again.

G: Genres I Like To Read #AToZChallenge


'Give me a book and I'll forget the world' - Is a very nice thing to say but the first thing I'd ask would be, "Which book"? Yes, I'm a bibliophile and all that but I prefer to only read certain genres. To start with, I can only read fiction. Non fiction is something that has never appealed to me. While I was good at understanding and sometimes mugging up from school/college books, non-fiction books are really difficult for me to comprehend. I need a book to have a proper beginning, middle and ending. Else, the whole structure seems wrong to me. Fiction makes sense in every way to the reader in me. Stories are something that I flow with. I need characters to imagine in my head and I also like to get into the head of the author to know what he/she was thinking while writing this particular story.

F: Films Vs Books #AToZChallenge


Over the years, a lot of films have been made based on books. While deciding to write on this topic, I just did a google search and the results I got was plenty and overwhelming. That's when I decided to just talk about the books I've read and the films I've watched. Obviously like everyone else, I'm a sucker for books and I scrutinize the movie frame by frame to find faults in it, if any. See, when you have loved a book so much it is hard to accept the fact that someone else was making a movie out of it. You never know what they will do to the original story. Also, when you read characters you form a perception of how they look in your mind. When it is made into a movie you never know who gets to play those characters. Sometimes just the casting is enough to ruin the memory of a book for you. I also hate it when books are printed with their movie covers as the front page. I never buy such books and always go hunting for the original. I'm sorry, but I always like my books in the original format and that way the characters are always better in my mind.

E: Enid Blyton #AToZChallenge


When I was seven, I was helping my aunt clean the house. We were going through a large cupboard filled with old magazines and newspapers. As I helped her arrange the newspapers into stacks and the magazines according to the length (yes, I've been an OCD freak from a long time), I found a tiny book among it. Something about it made me not want to give it away. I asked my aunt if I could have it and she said yes. I kept the book aside and helped her finish the chore. Later that night, when I came back home from play, I sat down to read the book. It was a fairly small book but I sat through half the night to finish it. The mystery enveloped me like fire and soon I was burnt with the desire to read more of such books and be a part of the detective squad. 'Secret Seven Fireworks' was that book. And I had only just discovered the beauty of Enid Blyton's writing.

There was no looking back after that. Right from my school library to the library near home, I borrowed as many books as possible and soon I was done with all the 'Secret Seven' books. Soon, within my group of friends we were using a password to reveal secrets and every dog looked like Scamper to me. I was in love with all the kids, Peter and Jack in particular. There were so many mysteries that these seven solved and each one was unique in its own way. I picked up the 'Famous Five' soon after and then fell in love all over again. Julian and Timmy became my best friends and I dreamt of solving mysteries with them.

D: Danielle Steel #AToZChallenge


I do not call myself a great fiction writer, I am below average on that scale, but the reason I ever thought of trying a hand at fiction was this woman - Danielle Steel. I was very young when my librarian near home suggested I try reading her. Having read only mysteries and thrillers until, I asked what genre she writes. The librarian lady smiled and said that she writes life stories. Thinking of it to be a non-fiction biography kind, I politely declined. She then said that it is fiction, drama, love and everything else put together. Looking at the size of the book in her hand, I declined again. She just smiled and placed the book in my hand and said, "Keep this with you, you don't have to return it. If ever you read it, let me know how you liked it. I'm giving you this because I know you will like it". It was a book called 'The Ranch'.

C: Chocolat - Book Review #AToZChallenge


Title: Chocolat
Author: Joanne Harris
Publisher: RHUK (4 March 1999)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: Rs. 322 on Amazon
Pages: 320

I had only heard about this book thanks to the movie. No, I haven't watched the movie as yet, but I know that Johnny Depp looks like a dream in it. After having read only thrillers for a while, I grabbed the opportunity when a friend suggested that I read this book. An order was placed and soon I received the book. The cover looked delicious and tempting. But I had to wait for a while before starting to read this one as I was caught up with some personal emergencies. But then one fine day, I opened it.