Read THIS First ..

Read THIS First..
Each word on this blog is the original creation of the writer. You better not copy it!
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Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On life, books and learning. :)

Hola gente! (Spanish for 'Hello people!'. We've started with Spanish in college and to me, it's about the only useful and exciting thing. You bet I'll write in Spanish too sometime, once I learn how to string sentences and paragraphs. I've even thought of doing some reading, if downloading a book titled 'Spanish tales for Beginners' counts). Oh, by the way, Eid Mubarak! Not that I celebrate the festival, but I do like it, thanks to it being a gazetted holiday, which is a long, wonderful weekend for a stuck-up-with-crazy-college kind of a poor thing girl like me. Before I begin, did I mention I've been to Amritsar and back in the past two days? I guess not. No one asked how it was. :| I'll write a separate post for it (maybe, because I want to write something detailed, as it was more than awesome. And that would be too long to be a blog post!). 

Okay, back on track, there was a time a few months ago when I read a couple of interesting books and wanted to write about them. Not a review, but other things that kept swirling around in my head because of those books. And I had a row with my brother (as is our daily routine. Don't worry, I still love him. Kind of), because of which I was so mad that I was stuck in my own room, without the laptop, with an overwhelming urge to write. So I began writing in a funny notebook I have where I jot down things I need to do, mostly about blogging and crafts and similar stuff and none of which ever gets done (cursed notebook?). It's not really surprising that what I wrote that day stayed there till today (Yes! I finally had the time to type it down here. Eid Mubarak people! :D). What's crazy about this article (or whatever) is, it spans 7 pages (3 and a half pages back to back) and the variations in my handwriting is mind boggling! I vaguely remember a new year resolution I made for this year where I said I'd use more paper and pen. I'll scratch that right now. Okay, here it is (just as I'd written). I'll blabber about New Year Resolutions in December; believe me, it'll be really funny, so do stick around. ;)


At first I thought I'd include these thoughts into my review of some books that did an awful lot of things to my insides. Not anything bad, but emotional stuff, really. But I wanted to talk about it at length, so I'm putting this here. Maybe I'm in such a state myself, where every book I read goes way deep in my head, perhaps even more than the author intended. Or maybe I'm in a really lucky phase of my life where I've been having this great fortune when it comes to reading books. Or anything remotely book related. I mean, I just completed 'Underworld' by Meg Cabot, among my favorite authors ever and overwhelmed, I posted about it on her FB fan page that has an awful lot of fans and I've seen about a trillion bare posts but guess what! She replied to my post! In her own words, it was 'like I'd died and gone to heaven'! That too on a day when some 'not-worth-my-time' people had been pissing me off, so that this was what caused the first real flutter of happiness. And what happens when I get pissed off or too happy? I read like a log.

I know that's not even a proper metaphor, it's 'sleep like a log', but hey, if logs really can't sleep then they really can't read either, right? Anyway, after the longest introduction ever, I'd like to get to the point (finally). The two most recent books I've read are 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth and Belle Teale by Ann M. Martin. Both are completely different kind of books, one a YA fantasy, set in a dystopian world with a sixteen year old protagonist fighting for herself and her family, and the other picked up from the Children's section of the library on impulse, about a ten year old girl living with her Mama and Gran in a small house up a hill. The common thing in both is that they really, really touched me somehow, in their own different ways.

Really! :D

The protagonist for Divergent is Tris, raised to think, believe and act in a certain way. In her case, selfless (if it doesn't make much sense to you, read its review here). For me, Tris represents every human being as they would be if they were in her situation, like we all are when we're young. We're taught a zillion things right from the time we show up all new and raw in the hospital (or trains, in some dramatic instances). What elders supposedly feel is right or wrong or bad or terrible or good or beautiful or ugly or happy or sad. And if we're living where Tris is (which is a society in Chicago, that's divided itself into five different factions, each representing a trait all faction members must have and a certain way they should act), we'd understand. Tris and her family are Abnegation- the selfless and that's what she learns to be. However, as she grows up and nears the Choosing Ceremony (where 16 year olds are free to choose the faction they want to be in for the rest of their lives), she actually considers what kind of a person she is and finally chooses what her heart says.

The point is, however we're taught to behave or think like, there's always a part of us that's what we really are. We're really not machines, after all. We're freaking humans with brains, with the ability to feel and think and have some characteristics that define us. And what reason is big enough to not accept that fact? Sure, I'm usually polite and kind too, but that doesn't mean that's all I am. Sure again, I take pride that I've inherited these characteristics, but I'm also not my Grandmom or Mom or Dad or even my bugging brother. I'm someone new, someone different and even though it's not related, I happen to be a Scorpio girl. (The astrology sign!). Scorpios are generally thought of as proud, haughty beings and if you're in that group who believes this, let me tell you the words actually are 'powerful and intense'. Anyway, how I act doesn't mean I'm not really how people see me. I've heard things like, 'You don't seem to be a Scorpio' and then they drift off probably thinking I'm some fakey. Which isn't true. I happen to have been raised by the gentlest, politest person ever (my Grandmom) and environment does have an impact on how one turns out to be. 

So yeah, I'm a gentle Scorpio; with a built in J gene, I might as well admit. Despite all those lectures about how not to feel that way, it sure comes out sometimes. The point of all this blabbering is, just learn to accept yourself the way you are, like Tris did. It's up to the 'people' to accept you that way. :)

On to the second book, Belle Teale. The best thing about reading a book with a child as the protagonist is that it gives such a fresh, clean and beautiful portrayal of the world, where they have the sense and desire to notice beautiful little things around us and narrate the story with everything as they see it. Belle Teale comes from a poor family living with her 'now-getting-forgetful' Gran and struggling Mom. Her school's getting 3 negro kids (whom the adults call 'colored') and one of them, Daryll is in her Grade 5 class. Now, the thing that affected me was how the author puts across the differences in the way children and adults think and the different kinds of upbringing each family gives their kids. 

The parents of 'white' families protest outside the school, resent those kids and it's natural that their kids would feel the same too. On the other hand, Belle's Gran and Mom specially ask her to be nice to those kids and all she can think of is, why wouldn't she be nice in the first place?'. All this shows how kids learn what adults teach them, otherwise who would care if their classmate isn't white? The story dates back to the 1950s but the message is quite clear- hatred breeds hatred and love creates love. Your children learn what you yourself believe in. Make them learn to love everyone and trust me, they'd learn every other thing so much better. Children's minds aren't all that warped, not even those who're bullies. It's what their parents and elders tell them, how they're expected to behave (like a boy gets beaten up by his father for talking to a colored boy. Why would he continue talking to him anyway?).

I'm just too enthused by this book, I can't think of any more to say (not that I've just written the world's biggest blog post by a nerdy-durdy ever!) Whatevs.

Point 1: I am what I am (No, not Reebok)
Point 2: Reach out and touch someone (Not AT&T either)

Signing off!

Is it just me or do you too, feel the above thing was too emotionally charged up? And some places it didn't even make sense :P Doesn't matter though. One thing from the funny notebook is out! It might not be that jinxed after all. ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Morning Sunshine award! :D

I realize my last post was about an award too. What can I do though, if awesome bloggers are showering their awesomeness and kindness on me? :D

This time the award is from a blogger I highly respect, not because he writes great stuff (oh yes he does. The stories can take your breath away!) but also because he happens to be a really kind person. The going-out-of-your-way-to-help-you kind of a kind person. ;)

Thank you so much Usama for this custom award: Morning Sunshine Award!  I appreciate it very much. :) To know why Pages from a Young Diary received this award, click on the link above! 

Now, the reason I'm creating this post immediately after receiving the award (I know, I can get a bit shameless :P) is that I find the questions Usama has asked, so exciting! Without any further delay, here they are!

1. Name one superpower you'd definitely like to have, if you could.
I guess it'd be the ability to fly. Not speed flying, as I'd most probably hit trees or buildings, considering how clumsy I can be, but yes, definitely flying. There's also a reason behind it. I have quite vivid dreams and since a long time, I get these dreams on and off where I'm far above the land, sometimes in a flying chair (and I'm not kidding) and sometimes making huge leaps over the sea. I even like watching people from the upper floors, I guess it's a fixation with being somewhere from where I can spy see everyone. ;) It'd be totally cool to be able to fly! 

2. An amazing clear-water sunset beach with cool breeze & exotic fruit trees OR a beautiful green hillside with a landscape of close cropped gardens & a breathtaking waterfall, choose. 
Oh God, this is so hard. How about both? Okay, I should learn to make hard decisions, it's about time. I'll go with the hillside then, because of two reasons. One, I love hills and mountains anyway (the being on a high plane fixation?) and two, the waterfall! I'd absolutely love that! I want to go some place like that right now! I mean, have you seen real waterfalls from hills? Not that I have seen any (except for one in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh), but still. They're absolutely beautiful. And oh-so-majestic. :D

3. Are you a morning person? If not, would you rather be one?
I used to be a night person, right before I joined this new college I currently attend. Now I just don't have the strength to keep upright till late night. :P However, I don't think I'm still a morning person yet, as I get up pretty close to a dangerously-late-for-college time. Still, I'm happy being a night person. If there's something to be done, I'd rather stay up at night and do it. There is absolutely no guarantee that I'd get up early in the morning. Besides, there's something comforting about the night-time reading (what else do you think I do?). Even though if it gets scary (Harry Potter gets scary by night, trust me) and I do that weird switching-off-the-light-in-a-jiffy-to-avoid-monsters thing, it's still something I like. 
4. Do you read books? If yes, which one took you longest to complete?
What-e-question! Yes, I do. I've been reading ever since I could. Usually, I pick up fantasy books (as those are the ones I've been with since childhood) and I finish them pretty quickly. I take time with the other books, those dealing with human issues, family stories or stuff like that. I can't recall any particular book, because I've read a lot of long books, but they've been those I read very quickly. There are some books I didn't continue reading, like 'My Experiments with Truth' by M.K. Gandhi and Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery. I'm reading a book called 'In other rooms, other wonders' by Daniyal Mueenuddin, which is taking a lot of time. Not that it's bad, but probably not the kind of book I usually read. It's a family drama, a rich family based in Pakistan. I'll write a review soon. ^-^

5. You have a time machine, you can't change your past, which year would you like to go to and why?
I'm not particularly fond of the past. Sure, I adore my childhood days (only those related with family, mind you. I hated school) and I also like how Delhi and life in general, was back then, but still. I'd rather go see a bit of the future. You know, just a sneak peak, because I don't want to spoil the surprise either. I would just like to know if I'd successfully be what I actually want to be. That way I wouldn't have to worry much ;) Let's say year 2030. I'd be 38 years old then, quite the time when I should be able to achieve what I wish for. :)

6. If you're given an option of getting one post from your blog published in a magazine or a journal, which one would it be?
Umm, I think it'd be 'Born to Climb', a short fiction completely based on my imagination of how it'd be to mountain-climb. It's not the best-written post (because I think there are better ones) but it's close to me, as it is a near perfect replica of what I want to experience. :)

7. Is your blog a window to the world or a window to your self?
Both. When I began blogging, it was just for me. My blog wasn't even open publicly. I simply came here and wrote stuff I had been thinking about. Gradually it became a virtual diary-of-sorts, long after I realized I cannot really maintain a physical diary (I tried a couple of times. Irregularity was persistent :|). After a while I decided to let others see it, with a lot of expectations and anxiousness. I'm a very private person by nature and value my privacy way beyond anything else, so at first I only showed it to my friends. Facebook helped. I got good reviews (it's always great to know people like what you write and that definitely is an encouragement in itself!) and then I opened up a bit more. I began writing more about personal stuff, which is how it becomes a window to the world too, I guess. I learned a lot with blogging, met amazing people and learned new perspectives, which is something I think is very much important. I learned a lot by writing and that's how it's a window to the different faces and aspects of the world. :)

I wish there were more questions. It's such fun to be thinking about this stuff! :D Once again, a heartfelt thanks to Usama. :) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

More Awards Shawards. ;)

Anddd it's a Liebster award! Privy Trifles at Memoirs of Me generously presented this blog with a Liebster award. 'Liebster' is a German word for 'lovable'. Aww, thanks Privy! :D

There are a few questions asked by Privy that I have to answer. Without much blabbering (don't you think I'm blabbering less these days? :|), here they are!

1. Define yourself in one word.
Yeah, that answers right about everything I do. Or if you don't want the 'confused' theory, I'll say 'honest'. Believe it or not, that's a virtue I value. Highly. :)

2. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
That is a scary thought, you know. I've been paranoid with the idea of eternity since forever, multiplied a thousand times since I saw the movie 'Tuck Everlasting' (where a certain family drinks from a spring from where magical water gushes out that makes you immortal). Really, being the thoughtful kid that I was, I had cooked up a very scary scenario about what might happen if I stick to a certain age forever. Not even Edward and Bella have been successful in changing that perspective. :P

Okay, I shouldn't go away from the topic. Especially as I have about 15 minutes to write this whole thing. (Admitted. I'm in the computer lab because a lousy metro train took double the time to reach my college station, apart from the horribly loong line at the check out, so that I was undoubtedly late and the class was locked. Yes, we're actually treated like criminals. Anyway, that's life).

O-K-A-Y, the age at which I'd like to be stuck, not forever, but for a certain time maybe. 25? Someone told me people look their best from 25-30 and I'd be old enough to be doing whatever I want, like crazy, mindless mountaineering. ;)

3. If you knew the world was ending in 2012, what would you do differently?
I'd leave college right in between and get out and do all those adventure sports I've been dying to do. Did you see that guy yesterday, Felix Baumgartner, who set a record for the highest freefall? He jumped from 1,27,000 something feet! You know, crazy stuff like that. Or maybe from a lesser height. That guy was right in the stratosphere and it looked incredibly lonely and high from up there. I'd probably chicken out.

4. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
Considering what an ancient bloke person I am, I think I'd go way back in the past to the time when the first Olympics were held in Ancient Greece. This has nothing to do with the recent super-thriller I read, based on Olympics (Private Games by James Patterson). Okay, maybe it is, but still. I'm kind of obsessed with things that are hard to find in reality. ;)

5. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Hermione! Totally. One, she's a witch, and a very smart one at that. Two, I admire her for her courage, wit and confidence. And oh! She has muggle parents, just like I have. :P

6. If you got a magic wand and could change only one thing, what would that be?
Isn't everything changing too much already? :| I would do something to stop the unpleasant changes, probably. Okay, being 'rational' and considering current circumstances, I'd change the education system of the world, not just my country. I mean, at least the institutions shouldn't produce machines, right? Help kids get a perspective. And oh, also that every single person in this world starts loving reading. ;)

7. If you could ask your future self one question what would it be?
"Did I do all that I had wanted to do?"
"Did I stand up to those who didn't believe in what I said?"
Oh, that's two questions. :P But I'd want to know if I will be able to stick to my own self and not get bogged down by others, which is something I actually try to do. :)

8. What is your most prized possession? Why?
Not one, but all books I have (fiction and interesting ones, strictly). I believe they're really powerful and not just fantasy stuff that takes you to a different plane. Sure, it does, but it also opens you up to a lot of things you could otherwise never know. 

9. What is the one thing you feel is most mis-understood?
The importance of work/career. People sometimes misunderstand work life as their whole life, which is in no way true. Why should we spend all our life just focusing and fretting over our 'career'? There's a lot more to life than just what you're doing for a living. 

10. One thing you would like to tell Me.
Here it is, right in the picture. :P

All in good humor, people!
I'm supposed to pass this on to a few bloggers too. Get ready, awesome people! (I'm not awarding this to those I've already presented with some award or the other.)

1. Anisha at Not Just My Allegories
2. Rinku at Mosaic
3. Sukku at Thoughts on Platter
4. Saloni at Onomatopoeia

There's no compulsion for you guys to make a separate post out of it. If you want to, I'd like you to answer the same questions I answered, asked by Privy Trifles. They're really interesting and I enjoyed thinking them up, half in the free time in the morning, some in a lab class and some at home. ;) Thank you so much! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

A random update on a funny life!

Hello awesome-people-who-I-hope-are-kind-enough-to-not-have-forgotten-me! Ugh, see? I don’t write for a while and there goes my ability to string a simple sentence. I swear, if my college or this ‘professional’ degree does anything to hamper my style or my ability, I’m going to sue them. After I get the degree, of course! ;)

This again is a random post, borne out of the desire to do something rebellious. Rebelling against the stupid and incredibly huge amount of boring stuff we get as ‘homework’. I know I’m going to be slogging hours after this, doing Google searching (because I learned in the first semester-about the only useful thing I learned- that Google stuff is better, because it gets you more marks than if you do the work on your own), but at least I would be satisfied, as I’d have done something I like doing, like complaining talking about college and stupid stuff. It’d basically be an update on life. I know, my life’s too boring, considering I remain at one place a.k.a. college practically the whole day, but still. I’m still the good, old, funny me.

1. Kindle!!! And book related stuff!
Notice how I've cleverly included The Casual
Vacancy in the pic? ;)
I FINALLY got around getting a Kindle for myself! *Dances* I wanted it for my birthday, but considering all the mental pressures I am subjected to on a daily basis (read college), I couldn’t wait. So it’s an advance birthday gift. Of course, the good thing is, I will be able to ask for a book series as a gift on the actual birthday (I think I’ll go for the Vampire Academy series), as I’m pretty sure my family would feel that thing, about how you should have at least something on your birthday. It’s totally an Indian thing, I guess. Anyway, I got my hands on the Kindle yesterday. It’s the basic model, which is about the only model introduced in this country and the experience wasn’t really good. I mean, the salesperson was so enthusiastic about suggesting I get a tab instead. Crazy people, I tell you. See it in the picture. As simple as it is, I so love it already! And this in no way suggests I prefer e-books over paperbacks. This is only for the free e-books or those I desperately want to read but they're not available in India, and for reading while travelling and while in class.

You know how it is. Bedtime reading is obviously still reserved for paperbacks. Which reminds me, I’m one book short of completing my reading challenge goal (Goodreads reading challenge of reading 50 books in 2012. I’ve read 49! :D). I think the last book for completing the challenge should be something really major. Like The Casual Vacancy by JKR! :D Also, my family people surprised me with a new, small-and-much-needed-bookshelf. Say yay! It still isn’t enough, though, to fit all those books. I’d be needing a new one next year.

2. Sports day!!!
Yeah, really. The college sports day, where we had different schools from the University participating and competing in various sports. We had a real fun of a time! Adorning our college t-shirts, our group really did stand out from other schools, not to forget we were so awesome in so many games! I just want to end this here, you know. I don’t want to talk about my role anywhere, but anyway, how does it matter? No one reads this crazy stuff anyway. I might be re-reading this when I’m some old granny living in Iceland to have a good laugh. With real teeth, I hope. I did have fun (cheering in every game), but if you know me, you know there must have been something weird. Let’s see.

I was officially participating in an event called ‘slow cycling’. You know, like you have to go real slow and the one who reaches last wins? A day before I thought it’d be helpful to at least practice it once and so I went out and borrowed a bicycle from a sixth grader (no kidding. Though, her bike was totally my size). I practiced well and then thought of riding the bike for some time to hopefully rekindle those memories of the awesome time when I was younger and not had to worry about things like college. I was actually thinking of all those wonderful things when I had a small ‘accident’. No, I didn’t fall, but had two crazy dogs run after me so that I was in another lane speeding on the bicycle, shouting ‘aaaaaaaa’ at the top of my lungs, with two dogs barking and running after the bicycle. Not getting into the details of what I did to stop those mad guys, I was safe. And the funny thing? As soon as I safely got into another lane, I couldn’t stop laughing with the absurdity of my life. Yes, I’m totally insane. Anyway, coming to the Sports day, the cycling event didn’t even happen. You can say it’s alright, I got something to laugh about, but what about when I was shouting, people would have definitely seen me? I mean sure, it was night and it was pretty much deserted, but still. Everyone isn’t deaf or blind. I mean, my brother heard me. And he was playing volleyball or something. On the totally opposite side of the park!   

Next, I decided to participate in ‘Carrom’ for fun. It’s not exactly a sport, I know, as much as it’s a game, but it’s India and anything can happen. ;) The initial round itself took two to three hours! My game lasted for about 20 minutes I guess. I won, of course. The second round was less fun. Yeah, I lost, but the bigger thing was, I had to leave watching the awesome game of kho-kho just to play this dumb game. After that, I didn’t even know if I had qualified for the next round, as I had left the place by then. Finally, tug-of-war! I had promised myself that I’d do my best and not give in to the physical strengths of the huge guys in the opposite team. So when sensible people saw we’re losing, they let go of their end of the rope so they wouldn’t fall. I? I was in full mood and enthusiasm, so much so that I didn’t give in, as a result of which I went travelled about 10 feet. With the rope. On my belly, sprawled on the ground. Okay, it sounds funny and maybe it was, but I’m so used to such stuff that I could only burst out laughing at the whole thing. I’m that weird.

3. Other stuff!!!
So we had the second picnic for fans of the awesome HT City editor, Ms. Sonal Kalra, at Lodi Garden on Saturday. It was absolutely wonderful, of course. Apart from meeting Ms. Sonal (who’s incredibly charming, by the way) and my other friends I actually made because of her, I really liked the place! I had never been there before and I so loved it. If I lived anywhere nearby, I would have spent all day there. And I’m not even remotely kidding. It’s peaceful, there are tombs and mausoleums with amazing history, there are a variety of birds to be found and I love the trees!

And these birds are cute too! ;)
These are about the only interesting things that have happened so far, which is a lot if you consider my life’s present status. It almost seems like I’ve had a nice holiday or something. And really, it feels so good to be rebellious. I mean, we actually have GDs tomorrow. On four topics. I haven’t even started preparing and honestly, I don’t want to. I hate speaking. It wears me out and not just mentally. Desperately waiting for 5 more semesters to end, so that I’d finally be living my dream of mountaineering and if it doesn’t work out, I’m turing into a sanyasi in the Himalayas (about the few things I like about India), at least for the time I get my real self and my senses back :| If college keeps it up this way, be assured I’ll be posting here a lot! ;) I’ve an award post pending (Privy at ‘Memoirs of Me’ gave me a Liebster award! :D) and of course I miss my Theandric Thurdays!

Have you been up to anything interesting lately? (Answer if you actually reached here, I’ve written one hell of a long post!)


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