Friday, May 24, 2019

Shatter me series SHATTERED ME.

I can't explain it! I want to inhale the pages of this book, grind them up, and snort them right up my nose! I want it placed directly in my brain, my very bloodstream! Mafi's words make me feel just like Nicole Kidman in that scene in Moulin Rouge where she is rolling around on that fur rug in her negligee, moaning and writhing in pleasure and saying "Yes! Yes! Dirty words! More! More! Naughty words!"
Although Mafi's words aren't so much naughty and dirty as they are prismatic and mysterious. You'll either absolutely love her writing style or detest it, there's no in between. I wish I could weave her sentences unto a rug to roll around on. They're magical and mystical and they break my heart. I've just started reading the whole series and I'm already afraid to finish it.
In Tahereh's words itself:
//I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction. My eyes are 2 professional pickpockets, stealing everything to store away in my mind.//

These books are full of words I'm dying to be a part of. I'm licked by a thousand flames and I'm inhaling a million more. 🌟

Friday, November 2, 2018

The old veranda.

"Idhar aao, chhoti. Juuon ko nikaalna hai baalon se ke nahi?"

I would run out of the house and hide in the park, behind that old banyan tree, as soon as ma said these words, asking me to sit silently for at least half an hour. It wasn’t the time so much as the process of de-licing that made me do so. If I stayed, ma would sit on a chowki and make me sit on the mat, take her special fine-spaced comb, apply that god-awful-full-of-stench oil on my head, and go through every layer of my hair. As soon as she found a lice, she would keep it on the nail of her right thumb and press it with her left thumb nail until a crackling sound killed the brown dot. Crack. Crick. Crack. So much for the exoskeleton. The process would go on until she was satisfied there are no more of them alive and my head was free of the autocracy of those blood-sucking monsters.

"Ma, ab ache se champi bhi kar do na, please."

Of course, I would benefit twice as much from this deal. The ever-so-boring extermination was followed by the ever-so-pleasing head massage. And boy, was that a wonder! (Except for the stench of that oil. Eckh!)

Sometimes, I think about her hands – how, after completing her morning (and afternoon and evening and nightly) chores for so many years, they would still be ready to do some more work. It was as if that work was the one thing keeping her sane, that routine, that repetition of things. How could one be so dedicated without getting anything in return? I used to wonder while looking at her rush from door to door, a ladle spilling drops of daal on the ground, running behind behna with her homework, fetching a glass of water or tea for dada or dadi.

In the odd moments of rest, she would sit in the verandah and chat with Kanta, our house maid. Kanta would sit behind ma and untie, oil, comb, braid her hair. For her hair, they used to use champa oil and it used to fill the house with delight. Behna would sit on the swing, close her eyes, and just breathe in all the air her lungs could afford. Was perfumed air expensive? I didn’t know what Kanta and ma used to talk about but one day I heard her telling Kanta how lucky she was, getting paid for the work she does.

"Jab main tere jitni thi, tab se yahi kaam toh karte aa rahi hoon. Tu doosron ke ghar sambhaalne mein madad karti hai, main toh apne mein hi itni uksa jaati hoon. Aafat hai. Lagta nahi tujhe, humein bhi koi pagaar milni chahiye?"

"Memsab, aapko pagaar milne lag gaya, toh aap mujhe kaahe bulayega?"

"Arre pagli, is umar mein koi na koi toh chahiye na saath mein kaam karwane ke liye. Aisa toh hai nahi ke zindagi bhar bas jhadoo hi maarti rahoongi."

I didn’t understand the ways of the world back then but it made sense in my head. I tried connecting dots. Pa sells soaps and detergents and makes money. Kanta does housework and gets money. Even dada, who sometimes conducts meetings for people of his age, gets money. But why doesn’t ma? Who would pay her? Pa? Dada? Dadi? I think my head started hurting after so many dots. It’s easier to colour an already formed drawing rather than connect dots and create something that makes sense, I guess.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Do you know english? No, I'm a Bihari.

Chetan Bhagat's latest “blockbuster” has arrived : Half Girlfriend.
On this occasion some smirked, some tsk-ed and some just plain ignored because no one wanted to be dismissed as intellectually challenged to show interest in Chetan Bhagat's book. So out of sheer curiosity and pity (not really), I bargained it at 90 bucks on my way back home from college.
After 2 hours and 260 pages later, I quite liked and disliked it. And here's the reason why:

He's written it like a film. A typical hindi masala flick. And it doesn't pretend to be anything else.
Madhav Jha, Bihari boy from “the most backward state in India,” lands in the most prestigious ans snobbish St Stephens's College on a sports quota. Meets a beautiful, rich, all english Delhi girl. Falls in love. Befriends her, and it agrees to be his occasional-kiss-only type girl. Thereby becoming hus half girlfriend. Bihari boy loses his patience, says something horrible (The famous line: “Deti hai toh de, varna kat le” ) ; ans do loses his half girlfriend, only to realise she was his one “true” love.

The too much predictable haapy-happy ending, I don't mean I would like a sad ending 260 pages later, but the obvious kind of makes me sad. Also emphasing the fact that Biharis and good engish don't go together makes it a cliche and not to mention very stereotypical. Mr. Bhagat we would like to tell you that not all Bihari's have disastrous english and not all Delhiites have impeccable english.
Chetan Bhagat's self-plugging at the start, in the middle and at the end of the novel is exemplary and worth noting in your What-not-to-do-ever-if-you-write-a-book list.

Irrespective of what we say about your book, remember sir we secrectly loved your book. After all who doesn't like gooey hindi movies?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Passion. Intensity. Harm

Every now and then, a reader may be lucky enough to find a book that changes his or her life. I read Wuthering Heights when I was 15, and my perception of the world has never been the same again. If I had to chose only one classic to read for the rest if my life it would be, without a doubt, Wuthering Heights, a novel that can be read again and again, with different insights each time.

Wuthering Heights is realistic, but it also deals with ghosts and grave and a love that transcends time. In many ways the book is a mystery. Why do people self-destruct? Make the wrong choices? Marry the wrong man? Betray the people they love the most?

Catherine's  frantic and fevered declaration-I am Heathcliff- is as chilling a moment as it is brilliant. Is that what love is? To lose yourself completely? Does it add to who you are or take away your identity? These are the questions Wuthering Heights asks, and the answers are left for us to mull over.

The heart of the story unfolds slowly, as though it were a take told directly to you as you sit beside the fire on a dark and stormy night. At times it can be difficult going: the distinction between the two Catherines, mother and daughter, the convoluted family ties. Catherine's choices may seem foolish or selfish but these choices makes her more real. Break people after all, make mistakes, are haunted by doubt, take revenge, die before their time, love two people in different ways.

When I first read Wuthering Heights what affected me the most of all was the fact that this incredible masterpiece was written by a young woman with very little life experience. She was 29 when the book was published and died the following year. Surely no one thought that a mere girl can create Wuthering Heights, a universe where the moors are wild and love never dies.

I have come to believe that the real hero of Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë. Her great accomplishment is a timeless story of love and loss. Once you have read it, you will never forget it and that is the real magic of the book.

7 reasons why Fifty shades series is a wild success

         ( This one is for you Aadya)

Yep. I read it.
If you haven't heard about the popular erotica series Fifty Shades by E.L. James, you are probably living under a rock. But why has a series that started out as a twilight fan-fiction become a worldwide obsession?
 Here's the top seven reasons why:

1. The perfect on-paper man.

   Christian Grey is the dream man of every girl. He is rich, successful, good looking and charming. He treats Anastasia like a princess. Women wonder what it is to be like taken care of.

2. Taming the bad boy

   What women doesn't dream to be the only one to reform a bad boy? By the end of the series Ana was able to convince Christian that he's not fucked up after all. Sounds like a dream come true.

3. A life of luxury

 Which women doesn't want to showered with presents? Christian Grey has ridiculous amount of money and spends whatever for the girl he's trying to seduce. Be it brand new Audi, diamond earrings, a new laptop, trip to Europe, walk-in closets or one of a kind of a book, Mr. Grey has it all.

4. It is a sex novel, not a novel with sex in it.

     The series focuses on the BDSM lifestyle, where one partner is submissive and the other is dominant, which is not exactly a new thing.  But El James had made it at least a little more mainstream. Women everywhere are reading explicit sex scenes and then wondering whether they can try out some of that stuff themselves. It may not be well-written, but Fifty Shades of Grey may be helping make women more open about their sexuality, and that definitely isn’t a bad thing.

5. The dominating factor 

   Many women are used to taking care of everything all of the time. We raise children, run households and run businesses — it’s exhausting. Sometimes, we just want someone else to take over.Most women would kill for a man who instead of asking, “I don’t know, where do you wanna go?” simply says, “I made reservations for us at this restaurant tonight." Christian Grey makes it so that you, can sit back, relax and let the man cater to you.

6. Danger & pushing your limits

  For some, the fantasy of potential danger can be a turn on. Christian Grey pushes the limits of his lover(s) in a fantasy escape from more routinely practices. 

7. Monogamous relationship.

  The fact that after meeting so many girls, Christian wants only Ana, is enough to make every girl crave Ana. After all which girl doesn't wan't her partner  to love her only? 

So I must leave now for you are going to read it. Ofcourse you are going to read it. You have probably already read it ;)

Deadly ever after

Have you heard of happily ever after? I'm sure you have. But what about deadly ever after? What if the all the fairy tales you know are wrong?

In the series "Grimm diaries" Cameron Jace, brings a whole new version of our beloved fairy tales. Where, the evil snow white wicked queen is not so evil, and the snow white herself is a beautiful blood-sucking vampire. the Prequels! I liked them. A lot.  

I think we should all agree that Cameron Jace is one creative writer. He took the fairytales we all know and spun them, twisted them, combined-tangled-reinvented them until he reached a mind-boggling result… or almost mind-boggling, because some things are still a bit confusing and should probably be reconsidered and reedited. But, leaving the small flaws aside, he managed to create a pretty exciting and clever series that I will gladly read up to the very last book, so please write faster, Cameron Jace!

Before I begin, here is the list of all thePrequels that have been published so far:

Snow White Blood Red – narrated by the Queen of Sorrow
Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder – narrated by Alice Grimmu
Beauty Never Dies – narrated by Peter Pan
Ladle Rat Rotten Hut – narrated by Little Red Riding Hood
Mary Mary Quite Contrary – narrated by the Devil
Blood Apples – narrated by Prince Charming
Once Beauty Twice Beast – narrated by Beauty
Moon and Madly – narrated by Moongirl
Rumpelstein – narrated by Rumpelstiltskin
Jawigi – narrated by Sandman Grimm( spolier alert: the evil queen!)
Happy Valentine’s slay – narrated by Willie Winkie
Children of Hamlin – narrated by the Devil
Tooth&nail & fairytale – narrated by jack madly
Embers in the wind – narrated by the match girl
Jar of hearts – narrated by the queen of sorrow
Welcome to sorrow – narrated by Igor the magnificent.

Laddle Rat is one of the badass girls of this series, and I get excited every time she is mentioned. 

Mary Mary Quite Contrary was interesting for two reasons. First, I must say that the Devil is my first all-time favorite character, and I definitely want to see more of him in the series. He’s absolutely hilarious! He’s fun, witty, he clearly loves his Hell kiddos, and overall is doing a great job as a devil, even though he sometimes thinks he’s pretty lousy at it and he should quit. Someone should grab him by the shoulders, shake him good, and tell him he’s the best devil the Dreamworld has seen. That would raise his spirits when Hell gets boring. Have you noticed how dull and uninteresting is Prince Charming in most fairytale retellings? I say most because I, obviously, haven’t read all of them. It reminded me of how dull and annoying he is in the Once Upon a Time TV show. I was glad that I met Jack Madly in this one, because he’s my second all-time favorite character. He’s simply perfect and someone should write a book about him! Jace makes us ponder if evil is just a point of view.

What more we want in a fairytale than vampire, ghosts, werewolves, and boogeyman? Cameron Jace puts all these together in one book and we simply loved it. 
And I will conclude here by quoting Cameron Jace " I would like to see them( diaries) as poisoned apples once you eat them, you will never see the fairy tales in the same light again." 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The dwindling young reader

On my way back home from school in a dingy van, I would often take out a book, and start reading. The journey in the van was like a vacuum the only time when my mind was not preoccupied with the mundane battles I had to fight at school or the lessons that awaited me on returning home. It was the ideal time to take out a novel and read.

I was 11, and had recently discovered Agatha Christie; it would set my pulse racing, and make a pleasant distraction from the sultriness of the days and the noisy bullies in the van. On the first day, as I was reading I noticed an uncanny silence in the van. I lifted my eyes and found every girl staring at me, one of them trying to figure out the title of the book. Their eyes were brimming with astonishment and as I like to imagine, the allure of seeing something mysterious. But when I looked back at them, they broke into a dismissive laughter. Apparently, they had never seen anyone reading before in the van.

Being a teenager who loves books( reading, buying, collecting and talking about them), I feel disappointed by the exoticism with which many young people perceive reading. Reading is as natural as breathing to me, and that's why I didn't realize that for many people in my milieu, taking extraordinary interests in books was bizarre.

Most Indian youngsters, on being asked which books have they read or are reading would give the following answers: The Da Vinci code, the Twilight series and everything written by Chetan Bhagat. Literary fiction is by and large unheard if and remains a unexplored territory. While there is nothing wrong in reading about Potter or vampires, why should young people restrict their choices to such narrow options?

 Looking back at the days when my reading habits would surround me by circus of curious students, I don't think things have changed much. Parents too would rather have their children study for the umpteen entrances, success in which would ensure a seat in a top professional college, rather than waste time reading novels , from which in their opinion little can be gained.

As long as teenagers do not openly express their love for reading, these irrational attitudes won't change and my generation will have to live with the label of being ignorant to the pleasure of reading and cherishing books.

When people ask me why I love reading, I run out of words. How do you explain something that is a natural occurrence? How do you explain your existence?
For me, books opened up a mysterious world, one that I couldn't help but fall into, one that saved me from myself. Words filled my days with laughter, stories kept my storms at bay, fictional characters became my best confidantes and pages filled my head with wonder.
Growing up friendless was a hard thing, so finding solace in reading wasn't surprising.

In a nutshell, BOOKS SAVED ME FROM MYSELF. Words ignited my soul and Reading consumed my very breath, I do not regret it