Confessions of a Compulsive reader

If your idea of an eventful evening is finishing a great book,or better yet,attending an author event;If you like cancelled plans and love when it pours down so you can read; If you have given up food and sleep to finish a book; If you have cried hugging a book after finishing it,because of its sheer excellence,or because a beloved character died(yes,we all cried when Augustus Waters died,d’uh!);If you have done any or all of the above,welcome to “Club Nerd” aka “Club Introvert” aka “Booklover’s club” aka “We don’t care what you call us as long as we have a book and some peace.”

The first novel I laid hands on was “The count of Monte Cristo” from the college library. It was a tiny book,with illustrations on every alternate page. Yeah! probably not the original one Dumas had written,but it was neat. I had a few hours to kill while traversing back home and decided to binge on it. Finished it by that evening. Excitedly started narrating the brilliant plot to my mother-who after letting me finish said “This is the plot of ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ that you just narrated. Maybe it was inheritance then. My mother was a compulsive reader herself,binge-reading crime novels and thrillers and here I was,finally starting my inevitable journey into the kingdom of books. Then I picked whatever bestseller I could lay my hands on. Saving pocket-money and buying cheap/pirated and sometimes,even torn second-hand books. Boring classes turned into under-the-bench reading sessions which a couple of times,become an inconvenience to the classmates(IT-A,Sorry guys!)

Then there was no stopping me. I remember finishing up Sidney Sheldon novels in a day and trying to guess who the villian was. Got them right a couple times,which took the thrill out of them. Then-switched to master of plot twists-Dan Brown and still hanging on those cliffhangers. Did a bit of soul-searching with Chicken Soup for the soul,but only found them in Khaled Hosseini books. And the journey went on and on.

Keeping up with the social life got harder. In the process of finishing up a book,I almost lost a friend. Almost-because all these books have taught me to never lose hope! Ran into an old girlfriend,who I still absoutely love and adore,and made plans to catch up the next evening. Earlier that afternoon,as I was lazily reading The girl with the dragon tattoo,I was met with a major plot-twist(Yeah,where *** discovers that *** is the serial killer!) and it became absolutely impossible to put it down. Since the said girlfriend shared a similar passion for reading,I politely and honestly cancelled on her mentioning my cause and she for once,did not believe me. Irony here, the said girlfriend is famous for cancelling on every single plan(cancelling used as a polite term for “no show”) that was ever made and ended up blocking me on all social media without even giving me a chance to explain! (Dear girlfriend,if you’re reading this,I was genuinely hooked on that book;Still am,reading The girl in the Spider’s web right now!)

And now that I have all the time in the world to kill,reading has turned from a hobby into an obsession. The more books I read,more books I want to read. Books mentioned in the books,books recommended by friends,books whose titles seem catchy,books that I ought to read before 30,books I ought to read before dying,books I have been wanting to read since a while,and more books that are nominated for prizes,books that have won prizes,books by people I like,and the list goes on…It is true what they say ” So many books,so little time”. Making a reading list keeps you focused,but if you’re a rebel or a compulsive reader,you might end up picking random books in between your current reads and extending the list by a large number. But it is also true what they say” A love affair with a book will never end in a heart-break(unless of course,Chetan Bhagat!) I’ll leave you to it then,and get on with my pile of books…

Happy Reading! 🙂

Ciao…

Advertisements

Things we need to talk about

I don’t know how many of you will read this and how many of you will think about this,but this piece is really really important,for me,for my generation,for the society.So I come from a society where women are still fighting for equality,for education,for better rights,and after each passing year,when I look back as a woman,I can see we have come a long way. Women these days can do things men can do,even better,we can do them in 6 inches of heels,but jokes apart,today I will not be talking about women.

Today,in fact,I will be talking about the men. I am a firm believer in equality. If I believe that women are indeed as capable and as efficient as men,which they are, why is there so much burden of expectation from men? Why does the average Indian man have the pressure of “settling down”? Why are my colleagues and friends still struggling to settle down? What is this “settling down”? Does it mean having a stable job that provides for your family? Having a decent house? I don’t know.

So,I attended a co-ed school. I took classes with boys and played with them. I did engineering with boys who grew up to become men I work with. The men in my team almost have the same annual income that I do. And then when it comes to getting married,they all seem to fuss about the pressure of having a bigger house,a better income. On the other hand, nobody tells me that I have to buy a bigger house or upgrade my job to the one that pays better.

I just don’t get it how the society puts the entire burden of household on the man. If we are so much for equality, why can we not share the load, share the burden? Why does a man need to buy a big house before he marries someone who would move into the house with him? If she is educated and independent, why can’t they both share the burden of the house loan? Why is it always so important that the man have a greater income than women? Why do we,as a society expect so much out of our men? Why do we still see them as our sole providers. Why does a girl have to be his responsibility? Why can’t we be equals? Why can’t we be partners? Build things together, build a life together.For once ladies,put yourselves in their shoes. They haven’t descended from Mars,they are only human. Support them,encourage them,be a helping hand,not a spread out palm.

Life never gets fixed.

So on this lazy Saturday afternoon, I am working on my laptop and it’s thundering and raining crazy outside, I hear the familiar tip-tip noise. I go to the window to check, and guess what? Yes, the window is leaking. Yeah, life gets that way. Normally I wouldn’t mind my window leaking, I am a genuine lover of the rain…at least Mumbai rains. My only concern was the box-air conditioner that is right under that window. I see water dripping onto the AC and later into it. I did not want my merry weekend to turn into a Final destination scene. So I quickly called my landlord and asked him to take a look at it.

And there my knight in shining armor arrives to save the day, with a bunch of towels and a step-up ladder. So he did some research as he scooped out of the window, onto the lower floor, he figured it required some what he called “cocking” or “corking” (not sure cause of the accent.) So anyway, when he came back into the room, he gave me this very important piece of advice or teaching, as he would put it.

So he took what I would assume would be his teacher stance and said: “I am old enough to be your grandfather.” And then we started a debate about his age.  And after a few dialogues, it was settled that he indeed was old enough to be my grandfather. He was exceptionally fit and athletic for a man of 71 years of age. He continued ” And in all these years, there’s one thing that I have learned.  That is, life never gets fixed. You fix the washer, the dryer breaks, you fix the dryer, the car breaks, you fix the car, the relationship breaks, you fix the relationship, the refrigerator breaks. Life is a circle of things breaking apart and us fixing them. So you should never get tired if something breaks.”

So well, yeah, life is indeed like that, a non-stop circle of us fixing something or the other and things breaking apart..and that is how we learn and evolve.

P.S This man was a teacher all his life, so he is very organized. And within a matter of around 30 mins,he fixed my leaking window for good. Cheers!

Life out of 2 boxes..

So after three long and not-so-tiring flights, I finally arrived in the US…I was filled with excitement, fatigue, stress, hunger, too many emotions at once. Thankfully, my good landlord came to receive me at the airport and drove me home. It was not until after a couple of days that I started to unpack..

I was astonished at how many things I had brought along,and a little disappointed in the things I had to leave behind. Now and then,I would get these attacks,wherein I would remember a certain tee-shirt,or my fav pair of pjs,or this or that and go on a crazy frenzy of digging my suitcase. So on one not-so-happening evening,I unpacked and set all things in their slots in the tiny room I would now call mine for some months. Unpacking gave me a sense of realization of all the stuff I had got along. While I was carefully checking my stuff and putting them in place,I realized that life in itself was nothing but a series of packing and unpacking. And the one’s that didn’t do that enough became stagnant,rooted to the same place,like a tree.

And when I was done sorting and wanted to sit and relax and maybe pen down my thoughts,I realized I didn’t get a book along. I carried a pen to fill out forms,an entire packet of multicolored and decorative pens,but not a single book where I could use these pens..I thought about the journal I left back home,how it would be a disaster if somebody flipped through it..dried flowers,photographs,poems,all would spring out as memories into the air..

IMG_20170423_185821

So I collected and collected and collected all my thoughts in my little head until I could find a book to pour them all down. And then I went to the zoo,and found a book made out of elephant dung,by elephants in Sri Lanka,being sold to me by an American! So I got this eco-friendly cute little diary and went about my musings..

Life in 2 boxes…

So I recently moved to the United States of America. I say move here,because it’s gonna be a while before I get to go home. So me,this pampered,spoiled little girl who had never been on even a solo trip,came all the way to another continent to make a life out of it. Anyway, moving away from home meant extensive planning and packing..I pushed and pushed for the list(the inevitable list) for a couple weeks before flying,for good or worse,I don’t know yet. And then the time came. To pack. Somehow I had to fit all the things I held so dear to myself in two suitcases. I couldn’t decide what books to take along and which one’s to leave behind. For the girl who chases feathers and collects dried leaves and sea shells along her way, my box of special souvenirs was pretty heavy. Then came in all the love that everybody gifted,in the form of more books,cards,jewelry,chocolates etc. Mom packed all her love in pickle jars,jars of ghee,chutney and her hand-picked spices. Then came in the pressure cooker that I must carry to the US,to prepare our beloved daal.

75376198

I packed,and unpacked and re-packed and this went on for hours together,stretching them into days. I had sleepless nights for fear of losing out on something important. And then I had fear of missing my flight-my first ever flight. On the morning of departure,I was still unpacked,full of anxiety and freaking out in all manners. I just could not fit all of my life into the two large boxes in front of me. There were so many things that I could not leave behind,so many people I couldn’t let go off. I had cried nights and nights into my pillow dreading this day. The thought of leaving,and leaving him behind sent shivers down my spine and sent me into uncontrollable fits and sobs. Then,I would either fall asleep tired and exhausted or convince myself that it is for the greater good,for our careers,our responsibilities towards our families,that we could do this,we were stronger than that,this will all be for good. I spent weeks after weeks going through this cycle.

And the moment came. After all the jokes and the laughter and advice had died away,came the time for me to walk away,from my family,and from him. Some goodbyes were easy. Some were not. The problem that comes along with being the only child is that your parents are way too protective over you and attached to you. So,on impulse my mom started crying into my shirt when I hugged her. Like how she used to console me as a child,I started consoling her,that it’s okay,it was fine,I’ll be back soon. Parting with Dad was rather easy. He displayed all faith and confidence in me and was okay to let go of me into the outer,real world,hoping and praying inside that all will be well.

And then I went to him,to bid the hardest adieu of my life. I had an entire night and the following day of travel ahead of me. I was tired of all the chaos. I had hardly got enough sleep through the week and here I stood in front of this guy,and my only pain right then was slipping through my eyes,threatening to drench my cheeks. I froze in that moment,not knowing whether to take a step forward or not,to turn around and look at him on last time. I don’t remember saying a good bye at all. The lump in my throat wouldn’t let me speak anyway. So we just looked at each other,trying not to make each other anymore weak. And then it was time…

The Unbroken Train

A beautiful piece of writing by my dear friend…

Junaid Ali Kazi

Although the journey had already begun long ago but my sense of existence declared the commencement of my maiden voyage.

It wasn’t tough at the beginning. My father would get down at every possible station to buy us food and clothes. Days and nights rotated perfectly. My mother would cover me with a silk shawl when it became cold. There were times when they would leave me in a different berth to spend some private moments. I was contended with the fact that the bogey was designed especially for the three of us. It had a little living room with all the amenities and a wonderful kitchen that had everything to fulfil our taste buds. I would often go to different compartments to meet my friends and spend time in their bedrooms full of toys. My bedroom was small but I considered it the best place in the world.

Years…

View original post 993 more words

The overrated search for perfection: let’s all just get silly and have lots of fun instead! 

Little Grey Box

I love sharing these personal posts with you each week and really enjoy reading the comments you guys post, especially when you feel something written here has resonated with you. There’s nothing better than connecting with someone who has felt the same way or thought something similar to you. Even though I share a lot of what goes through my mind and things I’ve learned and experienced, I want to keep things real by letting you know I’m far from perfect and am still learning every single day! Some days I’m as happy as a cow at a vegetarian food festival and other days I’m exhausted or feeling a little lost.

Over the weekend I was speaking with someone and was telling them how much I love reading things that are relatable and real. It’s always more inspiring to connect with or follow someone who shares the truth about their…

View original post 1,084 more words