Finals, Heat and March wrap-up

I’m sweating like a pig right now (Do pigs even sweat? That’s something I need to google.) It’s just too frickin’ hot here. The fan’s whirling around at top speed and nope. No relief. That basically sums up summer in Mumbai.

And on top of that, it’s finals week. Normally, I don’t mind studying. i like it even, depending on the subject. I loved poring over Kahlil Gibran’s poems for Literature and I loved discussing Freud’s theories for psychology. Marketing pretty much sucked until I tried to apply it to some advertising campaigns going on currently. Then it was cool.

But, after a point, the point being the moment when the air conditioner is switched off, it becomes too much. It’s too hot. The portion is too vast. Summer vacations seem too far away. And it sucks that it’s already summer but without vacations.

Summer might actually be my least favorite season. Mumbai summers are hot, humid and sticky. Did I mention stinky? Because stinky is what happens when you sweat like a pig. Sometimes I actually feel I’m going to end up as a puddle of sweat. And God forbid if I have to travel someplace. Even travelling within the city sucks. When I leave from college in the afternoons, the trains are heated up to the extent that my bum actually burns after sitting down on the seat.  Makes me wish that the metro network passed by my flat.

But it doesn’t and a little part of my brain melts away everyday.

It’s Saturday today and my exams end on Wednesday. Only four more days. I can survive that much, can’t I? And I know that the vacations are going to be awesome!

Diary of an Introverted Schmuck turns one on April Fools’ Day. *Happy Dances into a crazy frenzy*

It is a biiiiiiiig deal. I know I keep on repeating this but I never thought I would get this far. Yeah, there have been moments when I thought I sucked; there have been moments when I, in reality, pretty much sucked but I persisted and perseverance is rare for me.

Announcement time! Get the trumpets and the loud speakers! (well, not really)

On the occasion of my Blog Birthday, I asked some of my friends to guest post on my blog and they actually agreed! Like they actually wanted to! I didn’t even have to use my crappy puppy-dog expression.

I’m going to be posting a guest post every week starting from the first of April for as long as I have posts to post. Yay! I’m so excited! I am not bragging, all the guest posters are brilliant writers and whoever’s reading these posts is in for a treat.

That already makes April awesome.

As months go, March was pretty good too. So far, I’ve read five books and ten volumes of La Corda D’Oro. Manga is a really good read during exam time. The chapters are shorter somehow. They’re these quickie reads.

The five books I read are-

1) Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer- I read about Georgette Heyer’s books in a book I read last her and ever since she has been on my TBR. Powder and Patch was just what I needed after Behind the Beautiful Forevers. It was a light, humorous read. I actually lol’d a couple of times. It didn’t hurt that the book was set in an era when they still wore dresses and had balls.

2) The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London#3) by Maureen Johnson- I started the series last year and had been desperately waiting for the next book ever since. Cliff hangers,meh. Now, I’m waiting for the next book. Again.

3) Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi- I love graphic novels all because of this book (and it’s prequel). My next birthday, I’m going to demand all my friends to gift me graphic novels. I even have a list of all the books i want.

4) Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee- I still haven’t completed understood this book. God, there are so many layers to it. Pretty much brilliant.

5) Love and other foreign words by Erin McCahan- Love and other foreign words is just one of those books you end up recommending to all your friends on Goodreads. It was really cute and funny with really unique characters.

And there’s the whole Ed Sheeran concert that happened. That was pretty cool too (Read: SUPERMEGAFOXYAWESOMEHOT).

Also, I might just pass this semester. All my exams so far have been pretty okay. Not disastrous as I had expected them to be.

And the vacations are going to be awesome! I have so many projects and collaborations planned. I am going to start a Tumblr blog with my friend Dee who blogs at The Vocal Wallflower. I’ll put up a link here once it’s up.

I still haven’t made up reading list for April. I’ll do that once I’m done with exams.

Just come quickly, April. I want  vacations.

The Epic Reads Tag

Thank you so much Ravenclawsam at A Blast of Random for tagging me! I had the biggest fun in writing this post.

1) If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you like to invite and what would you serve them?
I love this question! Well, what I would actually love is a full scale tea party with all my favorite characters and authors (Jane Austen-Elizabeth Bennet, J.K. Rowling-Luna Lovegood,  Meg Cabot-Princess Mia, Sophie Kinsella-Becky Bloomwood, etc).
But if I have to choose, I’d go for Scarlett O’Hara and Margaret Mitchell from Gone with the Wind.

First thing that I will probably blurt out will be-
Do you and Rhett finally end up together??????????? (Raised to infinity)
Because, c’mon folks, who doesn’t ship Scarlett and Rhett?
I definitely do.

And Scarlett O’Hara is badass. She’s a survivor and a fighter. I love her.

With Margaret Mitchell, I will basically try to test a theory I have. It goes like every character is in some parts the author. So I’ll probably end up comparing Scarlett and Margaret.

Also-

Maybe I could dress up too?

The Civil war era dresses are so pretty! Maybe I could dress up too?

As to what I would serve them, it would have to be whatever my mum cooks. Probably cakes.

2) Which book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?

I’d go for the Marauders. But there’s also the whole Ned Stark backstory. I would love to read in detail about the Greyjoy Rebellion and Robert Baratheon’s overthrowing of the Mad King. There’s some serious action and bloodshed there.

And we might finally find out the truth about Jon Snow.

Credits- Vogelspinne from Deviantart

Credits- Vogelspinne from Deviantart

3)  Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

I don’t know! I don’t want to risk sinking ships!

Maybe Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter and Rachel Elizabeth Dare from Percy Jackson? Both of them have really unique personalities. Luna and Rachel could be one of those funky couples who do their own thing. Their own thing includes defeating Dark Lords and Evil Titans and buying blue hair brushes and radishes by the dozen.
I can literally imagine them living in New York and being all artsy and weird-cool.

4) If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and could only say one sentence to them who is it and what would it be?

I will fall to George R.R. Martin’s feet and say “Please don’t kill Jon Snow!”

5) What book made you a reader and why?

I don’t really remember the exact moment I fell in love with stories. One of the earliest memories of books I have is of my beautifully illustrated book of Hansel and Gretel. I used to stare at the picture of the chocolate house for hours!

But the first book I read all by myself was ‘The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters’ by Enid Blyton. I was in the hospital for some viral fever and infection. Mum normally read out the book for me but that afternoon she was at home. I was bored (contrary to Grey’s Anatomy, hospitals are pretty non-dramatic) so I started reading it. Never stopped.

6) Your bookshelf just caught fire. What is the one book you would save?

That’s literally my worst nightmare! I won’t be able to stop at one book; I’ll try to save them all. But I will start the rescue mission with my copy of Persepolis followed by my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and then Stardust and Sheets because I have an author-signed copy with a really cute message.

7) Which dystopian world would you want to live in and why?

Definitely none. The word ‘dystopian’ scares the horseradish out of me. I don’t think I’ll survive for a minute in the Hunger Games or anywhere in Panem for that matter except maybe the Capitol. Divergent is pretty crazy too.

I guess if I had to choose, then it would have to be the world of The Selection trilogy. It’s relatively safe and I’ll at least have my head on my shoulders.

The world of The Giver Quartet seems pretty okay too. Except for the fact that it’s colorless and too regularized. What is the point of the living in a world without colors or happiness or love?

So definitely, The Selection. It doesn’t hurt that Prince Maxon is pretty hot.

8) What is your most Epic Read of all time?

This question spells dilemma. I honestly can’t pick one. I’ve read so many amazing books.

Maybe the Harry Potter series?

Probably the Harry Potter series.

But A Song of Ice and Fire series is getting there. I’ve read just two books and I’m already so obsessed. I am pretty sure I’ll lose my sanity once I complete the series.

***

This was so much fun! Thanks again Sam!

I further nominate-

The Vocal Wallflower

sherlockianbooklover

Infinity reads

By Hook or By Book

A Geek with a Passion for Stage

Anyone else who wants do this tag, go ahead! It’s the most fun thing I’ve done in quite some time (other than reading Manga).

Drop links to your Epic Reads Tag posts in the comments below.

Cheers and have a phenomenal day (or night depending on your timezone),

Mia

Things you should do with my books

I love recommending books to people. Recommending goes hand in hand with lending books.

When I let my friends borrow books, I get the feeling that my book is fulfilling its greater destiny.

But lending a book to someone comes with its fair share of risks.

How do you know that your copy of Pride and Prejudice is actually going to find its way home?

How do you know that by the time that friend returns your Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, it’s still going to be a book and not a jumbled heap of pages?

How can you trust someone to not write a random phone number (or anything for that matter) on your book?

My English Literature Prof, Dhruti (who is awesome by the way) is super paranoid about her books. I totally understand her. I have to confess that there are times when my unwarranted concern for my books keeps me awake at night.

You see, I am Gollum and every book I own is my Precioussssss.

So, in order to procure some semblance of a peaceful state of mind, I made a list.

Cue drumroll.

Things you should do with my books-

One

The first thing I want you do when I lent you one of my books, is to actually read the damn book!

Seriously. There is nothing more irritating than waiting for someone to actually begin reading the book so that it can come back home.

In case you can’t get into the book,you don’t enjoy it, just return it. Borrow something else. But at least make an attempt to read my book! I’m allowing you to take my baby dragon precious  away from me, so yeah, I expect you to read it.

Read!

Read it!

 

Read!

Read it!

 

Read!

READ IT!

 

Two

So did you finally finish reading it? Awesome! Let’s discuss the book over a cup of coffee.

Also, bring the book to this coffee date. You’ve read it and now it’s time to return it. Remember that you’ve only borrowed the book. No matter how much you love it, you have to give it back.

Or I swear to God, I’ll go Gollum on your ass.

 

 

Give back my preciousss

Give back my preciousss

 

 

Three

Do not damage the book.

This one should be a given, right? I mean, when one borrows something-it could be anything, it is one’s responsibility that the object in question is returned to the owner as it was.

People just don’t get it. They say it’s just a book. What does it matter if a page her and there is torn?

IT MATTERS TO ME! IT’S MY BABY DRAGON PRECIOUS.

You just don’t damage my precious and get away with it.

 

giphy (1)

 

Four

Okay so you borrowed my book, read it and enjoyed it. We even discussed it over chat. There was some heavy fangirling going on. Cool.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to meet up for a couple of months so you can’t return it to me just yet. Cool.

Then keep my baby dragon precious and treat him or her like the queen of books. No tea parties though.

Do not lend it to a third person, be it a common friend or my (nonexistent boyfriend). At least not without asking me.

 

giphy

 

Five

The thing that you are reading, it’s my baby dragon precious. It is not, I repeat, it is not a note pad where you can jot down telephone numbers or addresses or details of your rendezvous with someone.

 

no you don't

 

The only permissible written matter on my baby dragon precious is my name so that it does not get mixed up in anyone else’s books.

That’s it.

 

Did I sound like a neurotic control-freak? Well, I guess I am one when it comes to my books.

Do you feel the same way about your books? What else is a strict no-no while dealing with borrowed books?

I love being a woman

I really love being a woman. Yeah, now I can be considered a ‘woman’ and not a ‘girl’. Well, I have turned 18 ie achieved physical maturity. The mental or psychological maturity? I’m getting there.

But, my point is that I love being a part of the female half of the human species.

Why is that such a big deal?

Because I’m from a country like India which has for most part a misogynistic society. You’ll know if you have seen the BBC Four documentary on the Nirbhaya Rape Case. If literate men  proclaim that women are inferior to them, what should we expect from the other 36% of the of the population?

I am not in a position to crib though. I was lucky enough to be born in a family that actually wanted a girl child. I was fortunate to not be one of the millions of souls silenced even before they could enter this world. Nor am I denied the basic human rights and freedoms I deserve because my worth is not chained to household work and childbearing.

Don’t get me wrong. Homemakers are superwomen too. But not working should be their own choice and every woman and man should get educated. After all “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.” (Malala Yousafzai).

The crimes against women are rampant in India. Not a day goes by without reading of a girl/woman being raped or attacked. And there is variety in ways they are attacked. There is the use of acids or the use of brute force. Words are used sometimes- cruel words that savagely kills the light in her eyes, the spring in her step and all the self-esteem she has.

These are just the extreme cases. Sexism is obvious in even the most normal matters of the everyday life.

Gender role conditioning begins right at birth. Girls get pink. Boys get blue.

What if the girl grows up to love blue and the boy grows up to love pink? Is there something wrong with that?

Then they grow up a bit and are given toys to play with. The girl is given dolls and kitchen sets while the boy is given cars and action figures.

What if he grows up to be a chef and she becomes an auto-mechanic? Nothing’s wrong with that.

Then comes teenage and oh God, it is one of the worst period to be a girl. There’s periods which is just plain horrible.

Then there’s the whole boobation thing. It’s awkward.

Finally, there’s the whole behavior thing. Sit in a proper way, behave like a girl, be docile and blah blah blah. I really don’t get why I cannot sit with my feet propped up against a wall in my very own home. And why are we even stereotyping girls by deciding parameters according to which they are supposed to act?

Another thing I really hate is that girls are expected to cook. Whenever I enter the kitchen, my family starts acting as if I just got my first period. Every potato I cut or every slice of bread that I butter is revered. That’s the height of my cooking expertise. I did make brownies once but my friend mostly did all the work. I hate cooking. I just do, there’s no explanation as to why. But I am expected to cook. That’s what sells in the marriage market. A girl who cooks.

There is sexism at work. There is sexism at home. There is sexism in school. There is sexism at travel. There is sexism everywhere.

Inspite of this, I love being a woman.

Women are just so awesome. They are beautiful in their resilience, their wisdom and their love. I personally believe that a woman can love in a way that is truly infinite. They can forgive and they can heal. They can also mess up your life big time if you get in their bad books. Just sayin’

I have been surrounded by so many amazing women all my life. Right from my mum, to my grandmum, my aunts, teachers, friends, my lil diva of a sister-everyone.

There is a beauty in the silent strength that they have displayed time and again. There is a beauty in every outburst that is hurled at you with a hurricane-like fury. There is a beauty in every tear that makes its way down her soft cheek and adds salinity to her sucrée lips.

A woman can be delicate sunshine or the wrath of the storm. She can be the loving touch of a mother or she can be the embodiment of Goddess Kali.

We worship so many Goddesses. Kali, Parvati, Saraswati, Lakshmi and millions of others. Kali is the goddess of Power. Parvati is the goddess of love. Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and learning. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. All these qualities are found in women.

So yeah, you dudes who think women are inferior to y’all, you couldn’t be any more wrong. Women are goddesses.

 

I love being a woman because my smile is as powerful as my hugs which are in turn as powerful as the sharp wit of my tongue.

I love being a woman because I have a greater choice in the type of clothes I can wear.

I love being a woman because I am soft and cuddly.

I love being a woman because I can bleed for a week and stay alive (credits -Utsavi)

I love being a women because I can cook and be a terrific mum.

I love being a woman because empathy comes naturally to me.

I love being a woman because I can touch unicorns.

I love being a woman because I can have sparkly nails.

I love being a woman because I am awesome.

I love being a woman because I come in all shapes and sizes.

I love being a woman because I come in many colors-all gorgeous.

I love being a woman because another person lives inside of me for nine whole months.

I love being a woman because I can eat an entire carton of chocolate chip ice cream all by myself.

I love being a woman because I cry, freely.

I love being a woman because I have awesome hair, be it straight or be it curly.

I love being a woman.

It’s time to March

It’s March already. The wretched and eagerly awaited month has arrived and entered.  March basically translates into exams for me. I hate the concept of finals. Who doesn’t?

 

This is going to be me in March

This is going to be me in March

 

But! There is a silver lining! My BBCT book of the month is something that has been on my TBR for ages. It is also a book, the awesomeness of which I’m sure of.  Sam recommended it here.

Last few months, I’ve found myself venturing into the genre of middle-eastern literature and a movie.  I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi for my lit class.

Both the books got me googling and thinking.

There so much of suppression and violence in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and others. The people have almost no human rights. This is so especially in the case of women. They are forced to struggle; forced to fight.

So when women fight back, it’s very inspiring to read. I especially felt that with Persepolis and Not without my Daughter by Betty Mahmoody.

My first memory of Not without my daughter is of it lying on mum’s dressing table. I remember asking her about it. She told me, “It is a book every mother should read.”

Then I asked her when could I read it. She said not now. I was about 12.

Then I grew up, passed out of school and started travelling all by myself to college. Once, on my way to college, I saw a bookseller with a copy of Not without my daughter. That night, I asked my mum if I was old enough to read that book now.

I was. I read it and discussed it with mum. This book has a part in me becoming a feminist.

I respect Betty Mahmoody. She is a very good example for  the mental strength and the inborn endurance that women have. The courage she showed was quite frankly, rare. But it gives me hope.

 

So the Book Blogging Challenge Thingy book for the month of March is one that in a way, is a milestone. My mum acknowledged me as a matured young woman for the first time.

notwithoutmydaughter

I hope you enjoy it Sam and Tanvi (if you’re reading this book). By enjoy it, I mean I hope it makes you think.

Happy Reading!

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I am so sorry that late BBCT post of Feb. But here’s it now.

This month, we decided to read nonfiction. The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie is basically about broadening our reading horizons and since all three of us (Sam, Tanvi and I) are new to the genre of Nonfiction, we figured it would do us good to read that genre for Feb.

My BBCT book for the month of Feb was ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ by Katherine Boo.

 

The book cover

 

The blurb at Goodreads goes-

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter — Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” — will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers  is about the lives of the residents of Annawadi. What I really liked about the book was that the author Katherine Boo had actually made a proper effort to get to know the characters so much so that when I finally checked out their pictures, they looked exactly like I had imagined them to. The book also gave me the feeling of actually walking around in their shoes for a bit. Of course I, being a spoilt brat from the high-rises of Mumbai, cannot even begin to fathom their lives. But I can surely say that the book remained with me.

For me, the book talked about the loss of childhood especially in the case of Abdul. Due to his father’s sickness, the responsibility of the family fell on the young shoulders of Abdul and this strikes me as being absolutely not fair. He deserved a childhood. I respect him a lot because he never cribbed and almost singlehandedly sustained their business. To actually have a successful business while being a teenager, no matter how small the business is, is something astounding. What if he had gotten a proper education? He could have really excelled.

How many such Abduls are losing out on opportunities?And then we crib about why India isn’t growing.

Another character I adored was Manju. I am  actually curious about what is happening in her life right now. She is smart, hard-working and just so terrific! She stayed with me after the story.

Asha was complex. I respect her. She did what she had to in order to survive-not only survive but thrive. Yes, what she did to Mr Kamble and others was wrong. There is no excuse for that. But Asha is a fighter.

BTBF did not show the slums or its residents as something pitiable. Annawadi was a community, a mini-city and an economy-all in one. BTBF showed the residents’ struggles, fortunes and misfortunes but it potrayed them as so human. We, the overcity people, tend to the slum-dwellers off. We don’t even wait to consider them as a part of the same species. BTBF taught me empathy.

The book also talked about corruption in India. I was aware of its presence but not the degree of it. Corruption is everywhere. It scares me. What future are we going to have if this continues?

Since it was a nonfictional book, it did seem to drag on at some point. But that could also be due to the fact that I am not accustomed to reading nonfiction. Nevertheless, I did get bored somewhere in between.

I rate the book 3.5/5 stars.

Have you read Behind the Beautiful Forevers? What do you think of it?

Also, check out Sam’s post on Seriously…I’m kidding here and Tanvi’s post here.

 

 

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