NaBloPoMo update – When life gets in the way…

I’ve officially missed posting on 4 days so far this month! 😦

I keep trying really really hard to not say “I’m busy.. so I don’t have time for this..”, but it is just becoming impossible. There are always too many things to do, too many priorities to attend to, the daily chores at home, a solid 8 hours at work and so on. Sometimes, in spite of prioritizing and pushing back some important plans, it still becomes difficult to find that 15 minutes to pen something down here.

My shift at work ends at 10:00 PM in the night, and I’m dead on my feet by the time I come back home; so  allocating time for this at the end of the day is a terrible idea. However, the morning is when there are a million things to take care of, at home. And the time in between.. well, for some reason, the WordPress site doesn’t open correctly at work! 😦

So today, because of that, and because my goal has become ‘to pen something down’, and not something specific, I borrowed a leaf from Sophie’s post – on how to blog every day as part of NaBloPoMo, and blogged about how I have no time to blog! 😛

Anyway, let’s hope this is a first and the last. When I took up this challenge, I swore I’d make time for this, no matter how busy life gets. Now, it is time to keep up that promise! 🙂

With love,

Writer on the rocks.

 

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Book review – The Fault in our Stars

It’s Sunday! And that means Book review day! 🙂 Once again, I’m going to review a book that I read because I succumbed to fad reading. As you can see.. I’ve succumbed to the fad reading trend a tad too often lately. But I strongly believe that you must read a book yourself to decide whether you like it or not, popular or otherwise. But before I actively discourage you any further from reading my book reviews, let’s get further into the post. This week, I am going to review ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green.

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I’m not a fan of the cancer genre (as I call it), at all! If you ask me about one book that I like, where cancer played an important role, I would say ‘Love Story’ by Erich Segal. I’m used to reading books and watching shows where two people are in love, and then cancer suddenly rears its ugly head. This is the first time I’ve come across a story where two people, teenagers at that, are already cancer-ridden, know that they’re never going to be “home-free” (they’d die sooner rather than later, and are technically going to be sick for the rest of their lives), meet at a support group, and fall in love anyway!

Hazel Lancaster is suffering from lung cancer; Augustus Waters is recuperating from Osteosarcoma. They share an acerbic wit and a sarcastic vein that bring them together. Hazel considers a book titled “An Imperial Affliction” her bible (curiously, a cancer-based book); however, the author deliberately left the book unfinished, and Hazel wants to meet him to find out how it ends, to get closure. Augustus has a wish left (from the ‘Make a wish foundation’), and he uses it to take her to Holland to meet the author.

And throughout all this, they fall in love, romance in a quaint, cancer-full way, lose their virginity to each other, and so on. Nevertheless, there is a twist – they keep expecting Hazel to get worse (because she is being medically managed on meds), whereas Augustus has already got the all-clear. As it turns out, it is Augustus who gets worse quickly and leaves Hazel with an Augustus-shaped hole in the world.

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It gives you an idea of how cancer affects people, and the people around. That is absolutely the only part of the book that evokes an emotional response. However, you can skip this if you watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ or ‘House M.D’ and already have a reasonable knowledge about how cancer works, and how it destroys people. This book isn’t exactly morbid; but it does give you a pretty clear idea of what cancer-ridden people go through, and how that affects the loved ones around them.

Hazel and Augustus’ relationship is almost believable. However, you root for them because you want cancer-ridden people to get a happy ending; not because you believe they are perfect for each other. You like the simple things in life – like how they share a passion about an obscure book, but you find it impossible to imagine the bigger picture or a perfect happy ending to their relationship, because something is off – like jarring notes in a familiar song.

The biggest problem with this book is that you find it impossible to really like, and identify with the characters – and no, not because they have cancer and you don’t. They are teenagers, but they speak like much-older adults who have seen the best and worst of life. Despite a terminal disease that matures people faster than they would like to, these teenagers’ lines don’t show maturity per se – they just sound freakishly strange. Sample this:

“How did scrambled eggs get stuck with breakfast exclusivity? You can put bacon on a sandwich without anyone freaking out. But the moment your sandwich has an egg, boom, it’s a breakfast sandwich… I want to have scrambled eggs for dinner without this ridiculous construction that a scrambled egg-inclusive meal is breakfast even when it occurs at dinner time.” – Hazel.

Now who talks like that? Really?! This book tries to introduce a world where the children understand life more than adults do. It portrays the teenagers as people who talk like 35-year old adults who have a deep understanding of human nature, and treat adults like they’re the ones who are shallow and irresponsible and need to be ashamed of it. So yes, the author gives teenagers what they want to hear; you can almost understand why this book became so popular.

Well, truth be told, I didn’t cry at the end; I glazed over half the book. Like I said, I’m not a big fan of the cancer genre. But that’s just me. I do know a lot of people who got floored by the idea of two cancer-ridden teenagers finding love. So you know whether you would like this book or not! 🙂

With love,

Writer on the rocks.

How judgey are you?

And there it is – Judgement, which I firmly believe, is the bane of our existence. We are all surrounded by people who constantly judge us on the way we think, the way we act, the way we approach situations.. every minute of every day, and are also unfortunately officious enough to keep telling us what they think we should do! 😦

The problem arises when either of us think that the other is wrong – well, the truth is — There is no right or wrong!  There are always multiple ways of looking at a situation; there are ALWAYS going to be different things that you can do about it..

As it turns out, most people tend to believe that the only way to do anything is the way they do it. If you do anything else at all, they’ll lose no time in pointing out how it should be done. If they’re not doing that, then you can be sure that they’re talking behind your back to someone about what you did, and what you should have done instead! This is an endless vicious circle…

I’m not sure that anyone is an exception to this rule; we’ve all judged someone at some point, and been judged plenty. It starts with the little things (“Look how she is wearing a tight shirt; why can’t she wear a Kurta like everyone else?” is something I hear quite often!) There is nothing really wrong with wearing a fitting shirt, as long as a girl can carry it with confidence. Or maybe that girl is not carrying it well.. so why not help her do that? Does saying that the shirt looks bad on her (to someone else) help either her or someone else?!…

And moves on to the huge things like – “This divorcee married that guy.. and now no one is happy!” What? A divorcee doesn’t deserve to be happy? She is still a woman in her mid-twenties just like you and me.. do you honestly expect her to spend the rest of her life alone? How do  you know that no one is happy? Obviously, she and her now-husband chose to marry each other because they like/love each other, or for whatever other reason. Anyway, is it really any of our business how she chooses to spend her life?

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In a utopian world, people should be able to do whatever they want without the fear of others’ judgement constantly hanging over their heads. Well.. either that, or people should have the balls to do exactly what they want, without giving a damn about the fact that others are judging. However, that is only a temporary (and let’s face it, highly unrealistic) solution; we all know what we ultimately want in life.

Of course, the only thing we can really do is to keep ourselves in check – because, even accusing someone of being judgmental would mean that we are judging them … which I now realise, is what I’ve been doing in this post! 😐 I know this post borders on angsty, but I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m in a toxic environment where everyone is a tad too judgmental, but then I suddenly realised that I’m just in an environment where everyone’s wavelength just doesn’t match mine. So the things that others are so “judgey” about, seem like perfectly normal every day happenings to me, where I won’t give a second thought to it.

Therefore, going forward, I take a pledge to “Live and let live”; I will follow this approach where I agree to disagree, i.e. I understand that we both have different opinions about something, and I’m perfectly willing to allow you to follow yours, while I follow mine in peace. If anything, if I find your method good, I’ll learn and incorporate it. However, I most certainly wont tell you – “I think you could do this.. or you should have done that instead…”.

Peace out,

Writer on the rocks.

 

My eyes scan the crowd for you…

6 days of NaBloPoMo, and I’ve written only 4 posts! This is a lot harder than I thought it would be… but we won’t let that deter us! 🙂

So today, due to err.. the seemingly endless lack of ideas, I decided to take the help of prompts to write a post. The prompt is “By heart” – where you have to write about a poem or song lyrics that has stayed with you by heart, and why. Immediately, my ever-helpful brain threw a couple of lines at me and commanded that I write about them; so I am writing about two such lines p one from a song, and another from a poem.

So here goes- This is from a song called “Ennai Konjam Maatri”, from the Tamil movie “Kaakha Kaakha”. I love this song as a whole, but two lines have always stood out:

Kootathil ennai dhan

Un kangal thedanum

Endrellam ennum paithiyam aanene

To give a little bit of a background into this song, the guy and the girl are slowly falling in love with each other. They go on a small trip, and this song plays during that trip. They haven’t actually confessed their love for each other yet, but are secretly harbouring feelings for each other.

These lines are sung by the girl; they mean – “when in a crowd, I want your eyes to scan for me”.

And that, sums up love for me! Whenever I’ve ever been in love, I’ve always done this scanning for him in a crowd thing. I take it as one of the sure signs of love – of that special attraction which is far greater than a crush or infatuation. This song always evokes a powerful emotion in me, and is permanently in my all-time favourite playlist! 🙂

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The other lines that have a permanent place in my heart are these, from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not taken”:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Being a rebellious and non-conforming person by nature, this poem practically describes my life. I am someone who is not afraid to take risks, who is not afraid to take the road less traveled by, and in every such instance, this has made a lot of difference to my life. Even now, whenever I am on such a precipice where I have to decide which path to go down, these are the lines that immediately come to mind and spur me to be brave and take the less traveled path – to not be scared of it just because few people have gone that route – to make history!

I can’t write poetry to save my life – but I can certainly collect such gems to treasure, and these are just two such lines that have left an everlasting impression on me! 🙂

Love,
Writer on the rocks.

Decisions!

So the wait is over, finally! But now it is time to take a lot of decisions – if you know what you want out of life, and how to get it, then this should be easy. Except, it isn’t!

Most time, we actively make a lot of decisions, but then something else entirely ends up happening. But that doesn’t mean we can sit idle without doing any planning. Which is why decisions become difficult – because sometimes even before you make a decision, you know, and you become mentally prepared for the possibility that things may not work out the way you want them to.

Anyway, so this is the update about my too-boring life now. After a couple of strange, but very interesting weeks, I’ve been left disillusioned. Now I’m just trying to get back to normal, but then I don’t know what is normal anymore! 😐

Adios,

Writer on the rocks.

Waiting…

The waiting is always the hardest part. You do everything in your power… and then you wait. Now is one such waiting period in my life.. and I don’t know what exactly is going to happen at the end of this wait.. but then:

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The wait is infuriating because it makes you a question a lot of things – Did I really give my best? Was this a good sign? Was that a bad sign? and so on. Until you know the result, you’re left second-guessing yourself. But most times, the best thing to do is distract yourself with something that won’t leave any room in your brain to think about this. Or else, you might just go mad by the time you get the result.

So, in my case, we’re just going to have to wait and watch! Until then.. where did I put my book? **goes to search for her thankfully inscrutable book so that she doesn’t have to think about the wait anymore!**

Writer on the rocks.

Book review – Half-girlfriend

This is the start of my new book review feature, that I said I’d start here. I know I said I’ll start it on November 9, because I thought I won’t be in town this weekend. But it turns out that I am, and I just finished reading a book – so why not today?! Plus, it is helping me with additional posts for NaBloPoMo! 😀

So I recently gave in to the fad-reading trend (where you read a book just because it is popular, even though it didn’t really develop any curiosity in you.) One such book that I read was the recently released ‘Half Girlfriend’ by Indian author Chetan Bhagat.

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This book has been reviewed left right and centre in social media; hence, I know this review is a little late, but this is just my two cents! 🙂

Chetan Bhagat is a very popular author in India, primarily because of two reasons – his first book ‘Five point someone’ was very poignant.. and he writes in very simple English that any lay person can understand (even someone who isn’t an avid reader of books, or who isn’t very comfortable with the English language). I believe he has released around 6 books now, and I’ve read everything except ‘Revolution 2020’.

In my humble and mostly irrelevant opinion, his books aren’t masterpieces, or prize-worthy literature; however, nevertheless, some of them do resonate with you. ‘Five point someone’ for instance dealt with the very relevant issue of forcing youngsters to study Engineering or MBA just because that is the fad, without allowing them to pursue their passions. ‘2 states’ on the other hand dealt with youngsters who inter-marry with other girls/guys from other castes, and the resultant pressure that involves their families.

Whereas Half Girlfriend does none of those things. It is a simple story about a low-class boy falling in love with a high class girl – a girl who is confused, can’t decide whether she is in love with the boy or not, agrees to be his “Half Girlfriend”, thus further increasing the ambiguity in their relationship. Then she stupidly enters a marriage of convenience, realises it is a mistake, comes back to the low-class boy, but still can’t decide whether she is in love with him or not, fakes lung cancer etc etc..

Sounds weak. flimsy, filmy and convoluted? It is! Worse, the guy stays deeply in love with her during all those years. I’m not saying that is a bad thing per se, I just personally expect to see more practical characters. The final search that Madhav (the guy) does for Riya (the girl) in New York is long-drawn out and entirely unbelievable.

The best thing about this book is the way the guy channels his time and energy into developing a rural school. That at least, is invigorating! There isn’t even much to write about this book. If you’re really bored on a train or a plane-ride, you can read it and finish it by the time you reach your destination. One more good thing about this book is that it goes fast – you won’t be bored and put it down.

But if you don’t read it, you aren’t really missing anything!