Life or Death?

A couple of days ago, I had gone for some documentary screenings in my college. Some really great documentaries were shown. One of them stayed with me though. It was basically an argument about the death penalty in India.

Recently, there have been many debates on whether death penalty should be abolished or not. The documentary called ‘Blackout’ got me thinking. So I did a bit of research and started pestering my friends and my family for their opinions. I really felt like writing a post about this issue. I am not a lawyer or an activist. I am just an eighteen year old girl expressing her opinion.

The death penalty has been abolished in many countries like France, United Kingdom, Australia, etc. But it still exists in countries like India, UAE, USA, Pakistan, etc.

In India, the Supreme court ruled in 1983 that the death penalty should be imposed only in “the rarest of rare cases”. In the last ten years, there have been two executions in India.

Criminal offences that are punishable by death include rape, murder, waging a war against the country, etc.

In the documentary, some Human Rights activists and lawyers have put forth arguments in forth of the abolition of the death penalty. Some of the arguments I came across in the documentary and in the little I read up are-

– The correct way to prove killing is wrong is to kill the offender?

– The wait for the verdict, the uncertainty is punishment enough.

– Does it really solve the main problem? Like in case of the Delhi Gang-rape case, will imposing a death penalty on the offenders make the city of Delhi safer?

And some arguments pro death penalty are-

– A lot of money is spent on high risk prisoners like Ajmal Kasab. This is basically the taxpayers’ money which is being spent. In a country with a large number of people who are starving, why should such an enormous amount of money be spent on someone who killed the citizens of that very country and also tried to wage a war against the nation?

– Is it fair on the victim and/or the family of the victim to let the murderer or rapist live?

– In terrorism related crimes, the prisoner tries to propagate the ideology among the petty criminals in the jail.

– It does send out a message that such crimes will be punished and the criminals will not get away with it.

– In cases like the Delhi gang-rape case, can the rapists be even considered humans? I mean, the brutality of the rape was terrifying.If a person is capable of a crime as heinous, will that person ever mind his/her ways? I don’t think it will be possible.

I, personally, am pro death penalty but as the Supreme Court states, only in the ‘rarest of rare cases’. The brutality of the crime and the probability of it reoccurring should be taken into consideration, I think.

What do you think about the imposition of death penalties? Please express your opinions in comments.

Lipstick Jungle

So this is my first review for the Book Blogging Challenge Thingie. Whupah!

The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie is a challenge my friend who blogs at A Blast of Random and I have taken up in this new year of 2015. We’ve made each other reading lists with twelve books for twelve months in order to diversify the kind of books we read. Sam’s friend Tanvi also joined us.

My January book was ‘Lipstick Jungle’ by Candace Bushnell.

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The blurb at Goodreads goes like-

Lipstick Jungle weaves the stories of Nico O’Neilly, Wendy Healy, and Victory Ford, numbers 8, 12, and 17 on The New York Post’s list of “New York’s 50 Most Powerful Women.”

But this is 21st Century New York, and to get ahead and stay ahead, these women will do anything, including jeopardizing their personal and professional relationships. Take for example Nico, editor-in-chief of Bonfire magazine, who betrays her boss to rise to the top of the entire magazine division at media mega-giant Splatch-Verner. As president of Paradour Pictures, Wendy may be poised to win an Oscar for her 10-year labor-of-love, Ragged Pilgrims, but her marriage is in shambles and her children care more about a $50,000 pony than their mother. And for single, 43-year-old fashion designer Victory, pleasing tough critics may be more important than ever finding the real relationship she’s convinced herself she doesn’t need.

This racy tale of women behaving badly manages to shrewdly flip the tables to show us how gender roles are essentially interchangeable, given the right circumstances. Whether that was Bushnell’s intent when crafting this wicked tale is another story. –Gisele Toueg

What I think-

Candace Bushnell can write about strong, career-driven women like no one else can. Lipstick Jungle is the written proof of this fact.

Sam suggested the book because she knows I love books with a strong female protagonist. lipstick Jungle had three.

Victory Ford is a fashion designer. She is 43, single and totally cool with it. At the beginning of the book, we see her experimenting with her new clothes line which goes flop. Because of this, Victory then has some financial problems. She also has to deal with her Japanese partner (?) while balancing a new relationship with the billionaire Lyn. I think, Victory to some extent, represents the stereotype of women who choose careers over marriage and kids.

Wendy Healy is the type of woman who takes up the role of the provider in her family and is bloody brilliant at it. But that doesn’t make her any less feminine. She has the nurturing qualities which most women possess, going as far as treating her husband like her fourth kid. He resents her for it and asks for a divorce and the custody of their three children. This conflict is resolved in the best way possible.

The thing about Wendy is that she would have been just as awesome had she been a stay at home mum.

Nico O’Neilly is the calm, composed woman who knows how to play The Game. Throughout the book we see her orchestrate the downfall of her boss. So much of being a woman is how to tell lies.

Yeah, she does struggle with an unsatisfactory marital relationship. And she does cheat on her husband. But that just makes Nico real. She has fears and desires.

Overall, all the three women deal with sexism at work and home. For Victory, it’s at the hands of the Japanese businessman she works with and also her boyfriend Lyn who laughs out loud at her desire to become a billionaire. Wendy has to deal with sexism in the form of her assistant and also indirectly in the form of her in laws and husband. Her husband expects her to earn a shitload of money for him to spend. At the same time he resents her. For being successful at her career? For not giving enough time to the children and him? Quite possibly both. For Nico, it’s in the form of her boss who she leads to his ultimate downfall.

The plot arc I liked the best was Wendy’s. Especially the way she finds a solution to the divorce and custody problem. She finally accepts that her children do need her but not every minute of the day. I hated her husband. Talk about double standards and blackmail. I won’t give away the end but the way Wendy’s story ends is probably more satisfying.

The character I liked best was Nico. She was badass! See, patience pays. So does not acting rashly but making a plan and then going through with it. Nico wants it all. She wants to rise to the very top. And while climbing the ladder of success she still manages to maintain a good relationship with her daughter Katarina. I want to be Nico O’Neilly when I grow up. Although I’m pretty sure I’m not ambitious. Mum says that I lack the killer instinct. But in a world where I do have the killer instinct, I’d love to be like Nico.

I read some reviews on Goodreads and I got the general gist that some readers were unhappy with the happy ending. I personally, was desperately hoping for a happy ending. Not because I don’t like sad endings but because as girl on the brink of womanhood who is probably going to enter the world of jobs, politics and promotions in the few coming years, a sad ending would have been the worst kind of disheartening. As if the statement by Indira Nooyi wasn’t bad enough.

And quite frankly, I do believe that woman can reach the very top and deal with the pressures that come with it. My belief was reinforced by Lipstick Jungle.

Rating- 4/5 stars

Go read it especially if you’re a bit of a feminist.

Also, check out Tanvi’s review on The Lipstick Jungle.

Experiencing Awesome (via The Book Thief)

The Book Thief is one book I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I had recommended it to a friend about a year ago.

He read it, loved it and asked me to read.

Now, I’m finally reading  “The Book Thief”. I waited for the opportunity to get my hands on an actual books. Thanks to a friend, Typo-King (or Ashwin as his ‘rents call him). He let me borrow it  *Happy Dance*

So far, so amazing! I can hardly put down the book.

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Typo-King, I owe you one 😀

(Still reading the book. So no spoilers please!)

Another Blogging Milestone

Yesterday, Diary of an Introverted Schmuck crosses 2000 views.

YAY!!!!!!!!!

The biggest thanks to everyone who has played a part in convincing me to start blogging and everyone who convinced me to continue when I wanted to quit.

The other biggest thank you to every person who has ever bothered to read any post on my blog, bothered to like, to comment and to follow Diary of an Introverted Schmuck.

This is such a big deal because I never believed I would actually last this long. I know I’m repeating myself. But it’s the tenth month since I started blogging and I’m still posting and that us a big deal for me 🙂

There are so many times when I almost gave up. Last month being one very good example.

My shitty scary schedule left me with no time to blog and that made me wonder if my blogging days were over.

But it’s Jan now and I’m back.

The thing that has happened is that blogging has become a part of me. It is something I enjoy and it is something that makes me feel worthy. I love that feeling, of having something to do.

I don’t think I could live without blogging now. It is so important to me.

So thank you, all you great people for bringing me here! 

Denial

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Art and Editing Credits – Netra Mestry ❤

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A New Whovian

I JUST FINISHED THE FIRST SEASON OF DR WHO!!!!!

I AM A WHOVIAN NOW!!!!

Dayum, Dr Who is quite possibly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Game of Thrones is still my favourite show followed by Friends. Then I have Dr Who and Sherlock in a tie.

Just one season of Dr Who and I’m hooked. I’m locked! I’m Wholocked!

(Couldn’t resist)

As a History freak, I used to daydream about travelling through time. I imagined what I would change and the people I would get to interact with. Maybe get an autograph of Jane Austen?

Rose could actually do that! She gets to meet Dickens! How awesome is that?

Yes, if I had a time machine, I would probably pay a visit to many of the literary icons of the last few centuries. Maybe even Shakespeare…

Never denied that I’m a nerd.

Now I have fodder for further daydreams about time travel. They will definitely feature the Doctor and Tardis.

What I liked about The Doctor as a character is that he saves the world. But not on the basis of some kind of a superior physical strength. No no. The Doctor always uses his brains. A polite smile and the enemy is sheesh kebab.

The nerd in me (well, er, all of me) rejoices and does a victory dance. About time that the world recognizes the awesomeness of Nerds.

DFTBA!

Coming back to Dr Who, I can’t wait to start watching season 2. The Doctor has just regenerated. I can’t wait to see David Tennant as Dr Who. And then Matt Smith. He’s the youngest actor to play the Doctor. And finally, Peter Capaldi.

Last month, I had gone to the Comic Con (I never did get around to blogging about that!). I met a couple of Whovians there. They were absolutely mind-blowingly nuts about Dr Who.

Now I know why 😀

The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie

Happy New Year!

And what good is a new year without challenges and resolutions?

A few days ago I was chatting with my friend Sam who blogs at A Blast of Random ( ravenclawsam.wordpress.com ). I have known her forever- forever translates into 4.5 years. She’s seen me through my awkward school years. And I have seen her through her notsoawkward school years. She is one those immensely likable people.

Sam’s the one who got me into the Young Adult genre, way back then when I had braces and a low self-esteem. It’s because of her that I read the Shopaholic series, a bit of Dan Brown and some Cecelia Ahern. Par consequence I started reading Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games and so on.

So basically, Sam has been greatly influential in shaping my book taste.

Last year, I read too much. It was all about the quantity. Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t read anything decent. Because I did. I read many splendid books. But I had to accelerate my reading speed. I couldn’t enjoy the books I read as much as I could have, had I cherished every word.

Another effect of my 2014 Goodreads goal of reading 200 books was that I hardly read any classic-y or intellectual books last year.

I didn’t even finish A Song of Ice and Fire series inspite of owning the books. Books made of paper with the addictive paper smell and Jon Snow. And I didn’t read them.

In 2015, I have decided that I will try as far as possible not read just for finishing some goal. I will read for the reason I actually used to read.

The joy of reading.

So while telling Sam all of this, both of us were struck with an idea. (We’re kind of psychic that way)

What if we made up reading lists for each other in 2015?

One book per month and the certainty that the book would be one we would love ‘coz our tastes in books are pretty similar. And what’s the point of doing something if we don’t blog about it? (Procrastinating, of course. Oh well…)

So lo behold!

The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie

*Cue drumroll*

This is how it goes-

Eins- Only the book chosen for the month from the list can be read.

Zwei- The Book for the Month should be announced on the first of the month and it should be the first book read that month.

Drei- A post about the book should be put up on the last day of the month. It can be a review or a random rambling.

That’s about it.

So Sam’s book for the month of January is Ice by Sarah Beth Durst.

ice

I selected this book because it’s a fairy tale but the protagonist is not a damsel in distress. That always works for me. Also, I believe it to be loosely based on the myth of Psyche and Cupid. Cassie’s love interest is quite unusual too.

Have you read the book? Drop in a comment down below!

You can check out her post about the Book Blogging Challenge Thingie here http://ravenclawsam.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/what-does-the-new-year-hold/

What does 2015 hold for you?

Pain

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Adieu 2014!

Wow! Another year has gone by. I feel quite old. I’m 18 now. Ancient, I tell you.

Is it weird that I miss 2014?

As years go, 2014 was a really good one.

January and February ’14 were spent studying for my HSC boards. Well, more or less. Mostly less.

March was the month of the much-awaited exams. Actually, it was probably the quickest month of the year. Time flew. And I read too many books.

April saw the start of this blog. I had been really hesitant because blogging requires a lot of commitment. Commitment is something that I lack. But thanks to a lot of encouragement from Sam and Shriya, I finally had the guts to start Diary of an Introverted Schmuck.

Best. Decision. Ever.

April was also when I got operated for tonsils. It was a really minor procedure but I have never even gotten stitches. To put it lightly, I was scared. But it was another excellent decision! I can eat ice creams to my hearts content now. And drink Sprite, the drink of Gods.

So April was a month of good decisions.

May was mostly spent blogging and reading. I had also gone for a vacation to the gorgeous coasts of Konkan. Sun, clear seas, great company and mangoes!

Once I returned from vacation, I started my B1 level for French. It was a learning experience that way far beyond French. My Prof Supriya ma’am inspired me in a way great teachers do.

May was also when I started reading Game of Thrones.

Then came along June and it brought along results! HSC board results are a Big Deal. I scored way way way more than I had expected. But that didn’t help me to secure a place in the college I wanted.

After much stress and confusion, I started pursuing BA with the intention of majoring in psychology. Now I had become a KCite. Different college, new people. And terrible timings. I had to get up at 4.30 am. Every single day.

July! My birthday month! Things started to look better as I finally made friends who could actually be called friends at KC. The first half of the month was basically spent obsessing over my 18th birthday.

I turned 18 on the 17th of July. And it was a really terrific one. I felt so loved and cared for. And that was the day I got into BMM.

Still a KCite but now studying a more specialized course, I was once again dropped smack dab in the middle of new people. People who had known each other for three entire weeks. It was daunting but turns out, I adjusted really well. Being a BMM student changed me. I am much more confident now.

It was August that I had my first girls night out. Donuts at 12 am are quite surreal.

I don’t really remember much of September. I think I did the TV anchoring workshop then.

October was basically book releases and Diwali. So many books I was waiting for with bated breaths came out and I read them all. BoO!

The first ten days of November were spent in North East India. That trip made me realize how much I truly love travelling. I also met some interesting people there. Then college reopened and it was fest time. First came Paparazzi. And then our very own Blitzkrieg!

Fests are a big deal in BMM. Go Blitz!

December. Weddings, weddings n weddings. Also the Comic Con. Splendiferous fun.

I started learning Deutsch in December. December was a little difficult because my schedule was so hectic. I barely blogged.

A weekend was spent visiting the Raigad fort. It was a thought provoking trip.

And finally the New Years Eve Feast prepared by Mum. Talk about delicious.

So that was 2014 for me folks! And I bid the year adieu.

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