#TBRChallenge2020: My Reading List

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Following up on my previous post for the #TBRChallenge2020, here are the books I've chosen for the prompts. I normally do not plan out reading this systematically, but thanks to this reading challenge, I came up with the list. 24 prompts, 24 books. Of course, these are not the only books that I plan to read this year. I've planned to read a total of 50 books this year and this would cover 24 of it. The rest of the 26 will be my free choice. God knows that I have more than enough books to cover it.

Inaya | #ThursdayTreeLove - 9


This is another tree I see everyday. Just outside our community, she stands tall looking graceful day after day. I'm so happy that I now live in a place that has a blanket of green around. I feel blessed.

#TBRChallenge2020: Let's Get Reading, Shall We?


Reading has been an integral part of my life since I laid my hands upon a book decades ago. Reading calms me down and gives me a sense of purpose at the same time. Reading takes me to so many worlds and teaches me so many things that I wouldn't have come across otherwise. Reading has taught me so much about life and people that I am a much better and a much calmer person today because of my reading habit. I'm a person who has varied interests and passions. But, if you ask me to choose just one, it would be reading.

Reading Recap: 2019

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After struggling to finish reading sixty books last year, this year I set myself a realistic target of 30 books. I thought this would be pretty easy, but then again life has this habit of showing you the middle finger when you least expect it. 2019 has been a very busy year for me with high-demand work, a lot of travel, moving-in to the new house and managing a lot of other expectations. It has been a good year no doubt, but I did not find enough time to read. I did pretty decent and was able to complete reading 31 books this year. Yes, one more than the challenge. That happened in November and then I took a break from reading in December. I'm doing a book challenge this month on Instagram on my book handle @she_booked_it, so that's keeping me pretty busy. Do check it out here if you haven't already.

Heer | #ThursdayTreeLove - 8

Bangalore - November 2019

Remember diamonds are created under pressure so hold on, it will be your time to shine soon.

~ Sope Agbelusi

Sixty Thoughts That Crossed My Mind While Watching SOTY 2 #NotAMovieReview

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The last post I wrote for #NotAMovieReview, was also a Karan Johar production. As is this one. I clearly have a thing for him looks like. When I sat down to diss a movie, my first choice was Kabir Singh, but I ended up loving that movie. The next and the obvious choice was Student Of The Year 2. Let me be honest here, I quite liked Student Of The Year 1. The movie was terribly unrealistic and cliched, but it gave us three newcomers who could actually act. It was a decent enough college romance although it reeked of KJoism in every frame.

The Old Man & His Cart

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The old man and his cart
I see them day after day
He's always at the same spot
Looking so happy and gay

He sits by the busy road
Under the share of a tree
Just minding his own business
Looking far as the eyes can see

The Masks We Wear | #WordlessWednesday - 10

Friend's Home, Bangalore - November 2019

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. 

~ Oscar Wilde

Action Replay + Gratitude List: November 2019

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November has been a really peaceful month and I couldn't be more happier. I've had a insanely busy year so far and finally in November I was able to put my feet up and rest for a while. By November first week, I was done with all my official work and it gave me some good free time to focus on my interests and passions. Weirdly, as thrilled as I was to get some time off, I started missing work after a day. I'm someone who is used to being busy all the time. Suddenly, all the free time was making me claustrophobic and I just wanted to get out and do something. I suck at taking breaks from work for his very reason. I have spoken about it before here as well. Still, I managed to hold on to my sanity and kept myself busy by doing things that mattered to me.

Gloria | #ThursdayTreeLove - 7

Home, Bangalore - October 2019

My apartment community has so many trees that I can do a Thursday tree love for every week of the year. Last month while we decided on a road-trip to Goa, we left early in the morning. The sun was just coming up and the sky was tickled in shades of pink and violet. Just as we were exiting our parking lot, I saw this sight. Honestly, I had never noticed this tree until then.

Book Review: The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides

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Title: The Silent Patient
Author: Alex Michaelides
Publisher: Orion (15 July 2019)
Genre: Crime/Thriller/Mystery
Price: Rs. 342 on Amazon
Pages: 352

Social Media has introduced me to so many books and I cannot be more thankful. While not all books have lived up to the hype, most of them have and that is exactly why I pick up books based on the reviews and recommendations it receives online. I was a mute spectator to all the talk around 'The Silent Patient'. I went through the blurb and found it to be quite common and hence decided to stay away from it. With praise piling on, I couldn't ignore the book anymore. I wanted to read it, even if it disappointed me in the end. Did it? Read on.

#DecBookLove: Calling All Bibliophiles


Everyone here is aware of my love for reading and books. I have written enough posts about my love for books, so I'll not be getting into it again. Last month, I started an Instagram page to showcase my love for books. That page is solely dedicated to books and I share book reviews, book recommendations and just about anything that has to do with books out there. Thanks to that page, I'm finally giving some importance to photography and spend some time and effort in setting up a good layout for the books I want to talk about. I've been getting a lot of appreciation for the pictures and it makes me feel so good. Social media is a nice tool for encouragement and inspiration, if used right.

Broken But Beautiful | #WordlessWednesday - 9

Coorg - December 2016

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.

~ Ernest Hemingway

Book Review: Where The Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

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Title: Where The Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Publisher: Corsair; 01 edition (8 November 2018)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: Rs. 299 on Amazon for the Kindle edition
Pages: 379

This was another book that I picked up due to high praise it received all over social media. I had never heard of the author or the book until then. I've been taking such risks quite often these days and my to-be-read pile has surpassed my read pile now. I have no regrets though. I always planned on buying a second book shelf that went from the floor to the ceiling. Looks like I have to get to it soon.

Why I Loved Kabir Singh

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Like I said in my last post, I have a lot of unfinished posts on my laptop, but I chose to start with this one. I know this post would be controversial and I might lose some readers in the bargain. But, this is something I have to say. This is not a sponsored post and is just an opinion from a person who is a lover of movies. That's why I'll start by saying, as a person who appreciates good movies and good acting, I loved Kabir Singh. Yes, I did.

Action Replay + Gratitude List: October 2019

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So we're officially in the last two months of the year now? Wow! How soon did 2019 pass by? I still remember the first day of the year and now I soon need to start planning another new year's party! The past few months have kept me insanely busy and I just don't recall how the time passed. October was all about work and trying to stay afloat amidst it. The first fifteen days of October were swamped and I barely had time for anything else apart from work. I even wrote my first post of October pretty late into the month. I'm surprised I managed to write and publish four posts. I have quite a number of unfinished posts which I hope to complete this month.

Frida | #ThursdayTreeLove - 6

Home, Bangalore - October 2019

Although you can only see a branch of it here, on the right, this tree has to be my most favorite tree in the whole world. This one is a huge and mighty Peepal tree that envelopes the entrance of our apartment. It is almost impossible to capture all of her in a frame. One of the reasons why we decided to buy a house here, was this tree.

Light | #WordlessWednesday - 8

Home - October 2019

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

~ Rumi

Book Review: The Golem And The Djinni - Helene Wecker

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Title: The Golem And The Djinni
Author: Helene Wecker
Publisher: The Borough Press (15 August 2013)
Genre: Fantasy/Myth/Legends & Sagas
Price: Rs. 230 on Amazon for the Kindle edition
Pages: 675

Honestly, I wasn't a fan of the fantasy genre. Exactly why I stayed away from the Harry Potter series while growing up. I was very happy with my Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel and Jeffery Archer books and thought that I would not enjoy fantasy fiction. A couple of years ago, coaxed by friends, I read the Harry Potter series with absolutely no expectations. But, I fell in love with it. While it was more to do with the author's imagination and writing prowess and less to do with the genre, I still felt that fantasy was interesting.

Action Replay + Gratitude List: September 2019

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Fifteen days into October and this is my first post of the month, so, you probably can tell how busy I was. Travel and work had me tied up. Anyway, more on that later. After a not so good August, let's see how September fared for me. Thankfully, September undid all that August did. To a large extent at least. Sleep was better in September, thanks to the discovery of Lavender oil! No, it doesn't sedate me or anything, but a few drops of it on my pillow helps me calm down and relax. This in-turn turns to sleep and I have been sleeping with minimal disturbance these days. I have also been staying away from caffeine post 7 PM and try to hit the bed at the same time each day. While I have been sleeping better, I'm having difficulties waking up early in the morning. I think with time, this will get better too. I just need time to form a habit.

Eva | #ThursdayTreeLove - 5

Home, Bangalore - September 2019

My apartment community has a lot of greenery around it. After living in an area which barely had any flora around, my current home feels like heaven. We have many tress and plants around the entire community that give a beautiful element of green and surrounds the blocks of concrete. We even have quite some plants at home that we tend to with a lot of care and concern. Plants, like humans, can only grow well in a happy atmosphere. They need to be nourished, nurtured and appreciated.

Random Lessons From Life

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While posting my daily quote on Instagram today, I realized that we are in the last 100 days of the year. 2019 has moved with the speed of light but not without leaving behind a few lessons. Over the last month or so, I have been looking at life closely and the people in it. A few incidents that occurred and the situations that I got into, taught me a lot about life. Most of you might find this post silly, but this is something that I had to get out of my system. These incidents had a huge positive effect on making me a much better person. So, here we go.

Book Review: The Unlikely Adventures Of The Shergill Sisters - Balli Kaur Jaswal

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Title: The Unlikely Adventures Of The Shergill Sisters
Author: Balli Kaur Jaswal
Publisher: HarperCollins India; 1 edition (30 June 2019)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: Rs. 310 on Amazon
Pages: 320

Bridge | #WordlessWednesday - 7

Chain Bridge, Budapest - March 2018

We build too many walls and not enough bridges.

~ Isaac Newton

Dorothy | #ThursdayTreeLove - 4

Promenade Beach, Pondicherry - August 2017

10th September was World Suicide Prevention Day. I often wonder what goes through the mind of a person who has decided to end their life. It wouldn't be easy and yet they go through with it. Why?

Book Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite

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Title: My Sister, The Serial Killer
Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Publisher: Atlantic Books (10 December 2018)
Genre: Crime, Thriller & Mystery
Price: Rs. 336 on Amazon
Pages: 240

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019, Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019 and the Winner of the LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller 2019, and yet, I bought this book solely for the intriguing title. It is not very often that you come across a book where the story is given away in the title. I wanted to know more about it, hence I sat down to read this one.

It Is Okay To Not Be Okay

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Feeling lethargic, upset and low?
You are not the only one 
We all go through phases like this
Sometimes, it is okay to come undone

To rise from the arid ashes
We need to sometimes burn
You may not turn out to be a phoenix
But many a lesson you will learn

Action Replay + Gratitude List: August 2019

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August was my birthday month and I was thrilled to see what it had in store for me. Unfortunately, August was a month of unrest and turned everything upside down for me. No, it wasn't a bad month as such, but something about it just did not feel right. I had severe issues with my sleep cycle this month, and that's what caused a lot of problems in the days to follow. I have always been a light sleeper and I battle insomnia at regular intervals, but this time it was severe. I barely slept at night and this due to this I couldn't wake up early in the mornings. This caused me to miss my fitness classes for almost a month, not carry home cooked meals to office, irregular timings of eating, exhaustion and more exhaustion. This obviously did not go down well for my state of mind. As someone who has an innate need to have everything under her control, this took a heavy toll on me.

Karma | WordlessWednesday - 6

Shiva Cafe, Dharamsala - July 2019

Enough said.

Celeste | #ThursdayTreeLove - 3

The Golden Palms Hotel & Spa, Bangalore - July 2019

Why do we work so hard to fit in, when we were born to stand out?

The Impact Of Motivation

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Two and a half years ago when my mother went through her life altering surgery, I was in a terrible state of mind. My father was broken from the inside and I had to manage everything alone. I was drained physically, emotionally and financially. All my savings was wiped out in one shot! That took a terrible toll on me. The insurance barely covered one fourth of it. I know what mattered was that mom was doing fine, but that was like 10 years of my hard work. This one incident also showed me the true colors of people and that was not a easy thing to digest as well. After a month or so, mom was better and was recuperating at home, but it was getting tough for me to get past each day. Of course I had my partner with me to support me through it all, but inside I was fighting a raging battle and was losing my grip on life. Just as I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown, I decided to pull the reins of my life back together and get better. For me second, but first for my husband who was watching me break day after day. That is when I stared a self-project called "Project Getting Better".

Faith | WordlessWednesday - 5

Lake Tsomgo (Changu Lake), Sikkim - November 2017

Without faith, nothing is possible
With it, nothing is impossible

~ Mary McLeod Bethune

Combust Stories #NotAMovieReview

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A friend and I recently watched 'Lust Stories' together and we were going "What the F*ck" every alternate minute. Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar come together after the mind-numbing 'Bombay Talkies' to create another anthology that highlights lust! Okay, if it was not clear already, it focuses only on the female side of the story. The idea was to talk about how the sexual desires of women are important too and a woman should do everything that she can to feel, err, satisfied. It is a nice thought, no doubt. About time people recognize women as equals in every sphere of life, not only sexuality. What bothers me, however, is that every time a movie is made on independent women or the concept of feminism, it always revolves only around sex. There is so much more to a woman than her desires and sexuality. I agree sex is really vital for both men and women, but one cannot be defined just by their sexuality. What about humanity then?

The Curious Case Of The Indian Tourist

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****Long post ahead****

Let's face it, not all of us needed the Bali video to show us how Indian tourists are actually like. I do agree that not all Indians are like that, but a large sect surely are. While the debate is on that not only Indians are bad tourists, most people claim that all Asians are, since my knowledge is only limited to the Indian clan, I'll talk about them. To start with, Tripoto recently put out an article which said that Indians do not travel to explore, but to show off their social status. I would agree to that to a large extent. You don't believe me? Take a look at your social media accounts to see the multitude of check-ins and pictures! It is really sad that something as refreshing, educating and life-changing as travel is reduced to a check-in or an album. The purpose of travel, unless it is work related, should only be to explore and have a good time.

Killing Anxiety Softly

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What has to happen will happen
They say that it is all written
Yet, we worry at every step
Always shy, always bitten

Excessive thoughts, unwanted worry
It is not easy to live with this
Every day is a battle for survival
You win some, some you miss

Action Replay + Gratitude List: July 2019

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Yay, July is over! Okay, I probably am more excited about entering my birthday month than bidding goodbye to July. As much as I'm looking forward to August and the beginning of a new year of my life, I cannot ignore the wonder that July was. July calmed me down to a large extent. It was all about retrospect, sorting of priorities, reflection on the physical and mental health and keeping the momentum going. My battle with anxiety continues, but I have been able to bring it under control to a large extent. Ever since I took a step back from work sometime last September and put myself first, things have improved immensely. Thankfully, work hasn't been too stressful and I found quite a lot of time to relax, breathe and take care of myself.

Brianna | #ThursdayTreeLove - 2

Musandam Dibba, Oman - March 2019

While on our holiday to Dubai this year, we wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Dubai is known for its bling and buildings and all the extravagance in the world. A three hour drive away from Dubai, lies Musandam Dibba. It is a part of the Sultanate Of Oman and the drive is highly scenic with curvy roads and mountains for company. Not many are aware of the existence of this place and hence it remains one of the best kept secrets of the Arabian world.

The Key To Balance | #WordlessWednesday - 4

McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala - July, 2019

The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you've lost it. 

~ Anonymous

Sixty Thoughts That Crossed My Mind While Watching 'Kalank' #NotAMovieReview

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It had been a while since I wrote a #NotAMovieReview post. With the shifting, work and everything else in between, I barely had time to watch movies. One day when the husband was out working late, I found some time to browse through Netflix, Prime and Hotstar. When 'Kalank' was being advertised on Prime, I was like wasn't this the movie that got really harsh reviews? Also, wasn't this the movie that Karan Johar said was his late father's dream project? Could it be that bad? Well, there was only one way to find out!

Aurora | #ThursdayTreeLove - 1

Bangalore, India - July 2019

I'm happy to have finally jumped on to the bandwagon called #ThursdayTreeLove. Can you believe it if I say that I did not be a part of it earlier as there were barely any trees around for me to click pictures? Of course one might argue that I could have taken pictures when I travel or visit other areas where there are plenty of tress. But, that would feel contrived. For me, pictures are about an impulse. That instant of seeing something differently and assuming a meaning of your own. That's the beauty of a picture, isn't it?

Book Review: Men Without Women - Haruki Murakami

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Title: Men Without Women
Author: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Vintage (27 September 2018)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Short Stories
Price: Rs. 350 on Amazon
Pages: 240

Magic | #WordlessWednesday - 3

Home - July 2019

Those who do not believe in magic will never find it.

~ Roald Dahl

Action Replay + Gratitude List: June 2019

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We are done with half of 2019, really? Here, I haven't even started half the things that I wanted to do in 2019 and the year is just swooshing by! Having said that, 2019 has been fast paced yes, but it also has been wonderful. Speaking of wonderful, let's talk about June. To sum up what June was to me, I'd use the word 'sorted'. June raised my anxiety levels to the peak and yet by the end of the month it helped me calm down. June kept us insanely busy, but by the end of the month we could relax happily. June tested our physical and emotional strength and in the end we came out with flying colors. Now you know why I used 'sorted', don't you?

Sands Of Time | #WordlessWednesday - 2

Arabian Desert, Dubai - March 2019

You can't leave footprints in the sands of time while sitting down.

~ Nelson Rockefeller.

Why Broken Friendships Hurt More Than A Heartbreak

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This is something that has been on my mind for a really long time. There is no denying that every kind of relationship is fragile and care needs to be taken by all the parties involved to nourish and nurture it. Every relationship takes time and effort and if it is worth it, people will do everything in their capacity to keep it going. When you fall in love, sometimes friendships take a backseat. The new rush of love, the need and want to spend every second with them, the goosebumps, the conversations - it is very easy for all these to topple friendship. But, when the love goes kaput, the very people you turn to for the purpose of healing are your friends. They take you in wholeheartedly and help you get over one of most toughest phases of life. That is the power of friendship! But, who do you turn to when a friendship ends?

Book Review: The Color Purple - Alice Walker

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Title: The Color Purple
Author: Alice Walker
Publisher: Phoenix (1 December 2010)
Genre: Classic Fiction
Price: Rs. 378 on Amazon
Pages: 272

I have no idea how I came across this book. When I was looking at books to read during breaks at work, I found a PDF copy of this one in my ebooks list. When I started reading it, I did not know that it would one of the best reads of the year for me. This book tugs into your heart and soul, breaks you into a million pieces and then puts you back together again. Albeit differently.

Solitude | #WordlessWednesday - 1

View From My Balcony - June 2019

“Tea is just an excuse.
I am drinking this sunset, this evening.
and you.” 

~ Sanober Khan, A Thousand Flamingos

The Dependency Doldrum

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There are three things that I loathe the most in this world: Infidelity, Insecurity and Dependency. These are something that I just cannot stand or understand. The first two are self-explanatory, but people find it weird that I have a problem with dependency. From as long as I can remember, I have always been an independent person. I hate having to depend on someone for something or have someone depend on me for something. It creates a vicious cycle that I do not want to be a part of. While some think that depending on someone else makes the other person feel important, I honestly find it really annoying. Every one should be independent in whatever they do and help others become independent too.

Life Is Beautiful

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It is not always easy
But it is not always tough
You are trying your best
Trust me, that is enough

Let people talk
That's what they are good at
You do what you have to do
Give yourself that much needed pat

Book Review: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne

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Title: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas
Author: John Boyne
Publisher: Vintage Children's Classics (2 August 2012)
Genre: Children's Historical Fiction
Price: Rs. 177 on Amazon
Pages: 256