Tag Archives: literature

Literature Awards 2014 Nominees

With only a day to go for the next year, it is time I look back on all the black and white adventures within fat books I went on and contemplate their affect on my subconscious. I can claim that this is definitely the year I read the best books (quantitatively and qualitatively), I submerged myself into a variety of genres I hadn’t tried before- some I couldn’t resurface from (Indian mythology) and others I am vary of trying again (non-fiction and short stories). My bookshelf is overflowing, my mindset has broadened and my faith in literature has restored. I had a rough year personally (I’m not going into details) and these book, all of them, at some point provided me with the solace I craved.

Half the books I read this year (other half in a library)
Half the books I read this year (other half in a library)

So I decided to give them the recognition and gratitude they deserve and organised the first ‘Pink Is The Wildest Colour Literature Awards 2014’. I will be shortlisting various books I’ve read this year (irrespective of which year they were published) and select winners (which will be announced at midnight on 31st December). Before we go into full ‘competition mode’ I wish to clarify like an aged Grandmother that I love all of these books. But these awards are necessary because all books are awesome, but some books are more awesome than others (sorry Orwell) hence the nominees are:

1) Best Narrator:

The nominees in this category are not only fantastic characters themselves, but it is their narration that propels the story forward. Both part dramas, part mysteries- the narrators themselves are just as interesting as the plot itself.

'Room' by Emma Donoghue and 'The curious incident of the dog in the night time' by Mark Haddon
‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue and ‘The curious incident of the dog in the night time’ by Mark Haddon
  • Jack from ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue

Donoghue’s decision, of using an innocent 5 year old boy to narrate the story of a brutal kidnapping, repeated rape and ultimate arrest was a risk- but it was this decision that made her international bestseller ‘Room’ a worldwide phenomenon. It is through Jack’s 5 year old innocent eyes that we see a story of his Ma who is kept imprisoned inside a small room. But it is Jacks loving and sympathetic view of his Mother, who is trying to raise a son in the most cruel circumstances, and the unique relationship that the two share-that makes ‘Room’ memorable.

  • Christopher John Francis Boone from ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time’ by Mark Haddon

Christopher a 15 year old autistic mastermind, who is a mathematics whiz but a terrible conversationalist narrates the story of how a dog’s murder led him to truth of his mother’s disappearance. This novel puts us not only in the claustrophobic mindset of a mentally challenged protagonist but also offers a sympathetic view on how challenging it is to raise a child with special needs.

2) Favourite book on Indian Mythology:

Unlike all other Indians my age, I did not sleep every night listening to my Grandmother telling me stories of Lord Vishnu’s Dashavataars, neither did my parents feel the need to educate me on my culture. So I set out to do so myself, reading as much as I could on ancient Indian history and how it’s social vibrations can still be felt thousands of year later. I found myself drowning deeper and deeper into this ocean of folktales, every version different than the other and it is this modern literature based on ancient legends that has made me proud of my ethnicity.

'Asura: Tale of the Vanquishe' by Anand Neelakantan, 'Palace of Illusions' by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and 'Ajaya: Roll of the Dice' by Anand Neelakantan.
‘Asura: Tale of the Vanquishe’ by Anand Neelakantan, ‘Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and ‘Ajaya: Roll of the Dice’ by Anand Neelakantan.
  • ‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’ by Amish Tripathi

I think it has been my several personal meetings with Tripathi at numerous literature festivals that has made me respect his take on Indian mythology even more. His version of Lord Shiva’s life, which portrays him as an ordinary man who did extraordinary feats (now over thousands of years of diluted facts they are called ‘miracles and he a ‘God’) is by far the most believable portrayal of an Indian God. The plot explains all the ‘miracles’ he did in his life with a convincing logic and gives other characters in the story-line a clever arc, but it is the charismatic personality of the Neelakantha that keeps you glued to the ‘Shiva Trilogy’.

  • ‘Asura: Tale of the Vanquished’ by Anand Neelakantan

When I first heard that Neelakantan  was going to narrate Ramayana from the perspective of its infamous villian Ravana, I thought it was the oldest trick in the book. But this book exceeded my expectations, it portrays it’s plot and characters without an air of divinity around them. Just like Tripathi, Neelakantan also portrays Gods as ordinary men who did legendary feats. Looking at India’s beloved Lord Ram from the perspective of his nemesis will make you ask some severe questions about India’s culture and age-old beliefs. But it is the story of two warriors told from the perspective of a civilian Bhadra that gives this version of Ramayana a new twist.

  • ‘Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Finally a fiery narrator worthy of telling the tale of brothers out for each other’s blood, Divakaruni’s book tells the story of Princess Draupadi- the universally hated central character who instigated the Kurukshetra war that destroyed millions. We Indians know Draupadi as a short-tempered, vengeful egoist who drove her husbands to killing their own family. But in ‘Palace of Ilusions’ we see her as she truly is, a pawn in the hands of destiny, meant to behave the way in which her saviour Lord Krishna commands. For the first time we see how the mighty Pandavas treated their own wife like mute property, how the internal politics between her and her mother-in-law made her merely an object though she had a powerful position, how her faith in Krishna led her to choose a man he wanted her to marry rather than a man she loved and how in spite of getting her revenge, she only died with regret in her heart and Krishna’s name on her lips. For the first time, we pity Draupadi. It is her feisty temperament and misplaced sense of justice that drives the plot forward, but it is her silent longing for the tragic hero Karna that will make you weep.

  • ‘Ajaya: Roll of the Dice’ by Anand Neelakantan

History is written by victors and hence for thousands of years Indians have praised the Pandavas for their righteousness while regarded the Kauravas as power-hungry corrupts. But Neelakantan’s book narrates the legendary epic from the silenced voices of those who lost- Suyodhana (who fought for the throne which he thought rightfully belonged to him), Karna (who fought for Suyodhana who treated him like an equal when the entire world insulted him for his low caste), Eklavya (a poor low-caste victim of manipulative politics) and Jara (a civilian beggar who bears the brunt of the war no matter who wins). The book presents its main characters as humans who did both good and bad deeds and ultimately did not deserve their cruel fate. But who can win against Lord Krishna?

Favourite Dystopian Novel

'1984' by George Orwell, 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood and 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell.
‘1984’ by George Orwell, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood and ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell.
  • ‘1984’ by George Orwell.

A literary classic? A dangerous warning? An inevitable prophecy? What is this book? I was tired of reading unbelievable accounts of teenagers single-handedly overthrowing totalitarian regimes (looking at you Hunger Games!) so I began reading this highly recommended foretelling. The depiction of a dictatorial government masked with communism is dreadfully accurate, the emphasis on the political ideals of Oceania being a star attraction of the book. My favourite aspect of this novel is that the protagonist rebels against the oppressive government but does not succeed. A bunch of unorganized militants do not stand a chance against billions of worth of Government set-up (Take a hint Suzanne Collins and those who wrote Divergent and The Maze Runner).

  • ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.

The most terrifying part of this novel that tells about our protagonist living under a misogynistic regime that only uses women for reproduction, is that the Government is actually convinced that it is a ‘feminist’ regime. By keeping women veiled, constantly surrounded, they think they are protecting these women when actually they are imprisoning and oppressing them. This will open your eyes to how incriminating misplaced feminist ideals can be and how toxic it is to live in a circumstance which forces women to make a particular choice against their wishes.

  • ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell.

Read over a 2 hour long train journey, this political satire about how animals drive out their owner and take over the farm, hoping to abolish inequality but only get sucked into the corrupted tentacles of power is hilarious and horrifying at the same time.

Best Historical Fiction

'Confessions of Katherine Howard' by Suzanna Dunn, 'The Red Queen' by Phillipa Gregory, 'The Penelopiad' by Margaret Atwood and 'The SealedLetter' by Emma Donoghue.
‘Confessions of Katherine Howard’ by Suzanna Dunn, ‘The Red Queen’ by Phillipa Gregory, ‘The Penelopiad’ by Margaret Atwood and ‘The SealedLetter’ by Emma Donoghue.
  • ‘Confessions of Katherine Howard’ by Suzanna Dunn

Based on the life of Queen Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, Dunn follows her protagonist from her scandalous early teenage at Lady Norfolk’s household to her beheading for adultery. It is a spicy tale of royal court drama, misunderstood love, uncontrollable passion and above all, politics.

  • ‘The Red Queen’ by Phillipa Gregory

Gregory tells the story of Margaret Beaufort, a Plantaganet who established the House of Tudors by putting Henry VII on the throne of England. Beaufort is a mesmerizing character, highly religious but committing heinous crimes which she is convinced are for righteous reasons. It is her clever stratagizing, manipulative mind and dirty politics that makes her one of the most feared women in history.

  • ‘The Penelopiad’ by Margaret Atwood

Atwood tells the story of Penelope, wife of Odysseus who waited for him to return from the Battle of Troy for 20 years. It tells us how faithful she remained while Odysseus was courting nymphs at distant islands, how lovingly she raised her son while Odysseus was busy making more and how in spite of her unwavering loyalty she ended up in Tartarus.

  • ‘The Sealed Letter’ by Emma Donoghue

Based on a true case of divorce that horrified London, Donoghue traces the paths of two friends- one who works relentlessly for the rights of women, other who misuses these rights to have affairs outside her marriage. This is the true story of Emily ‘Fido’ Faithfull a women’s rights activist and publisher, who supported her best friend during her sensational divorce, a friend who often forced her to confess horrible things that never happened so the result could be in her favour. Why was Fido trusting her so blindly, was this simply friendship, or something more?

Favourite Marital Mystery

My incessant hatred of the concept of marriage has made this genre the most exciting one for me.

'The Sealed Letter' by Emma Donoghue, 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn and 'Before I Go To Sleep' by S J Watson.
‘The Sealed Letter’ by Emma Donoghue, ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn and ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by S J Watson.
  • ‘The Sealed Letter’ by Emma Donoghue.
  • ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn

The most talked about book of the year, ‘Gone Girl’ tells the story of Amy Dunne who gets kidnapped from her house on her fifth anniversary. The police, law enforcers and the public immediately target her husband Nick Dunne but halfway through the book the tale takes an ugly twist. This book explore’s the psychological effects of matrimony- the meaning of loyalty, pride, betrayal and above all justice.

  • ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by S J Watson.

Our middle aged protagonist is married to a man she loves, but due to an accident she is suffering from short term memory loss. She can form new memories during the day, but when she sleeps at night her brain erases those neurons. She lives her life the way her husband tells her but a stranger tells her that he is hiding something, she then finds her diary that warns her not to trust her husband. More and more secrets are revealed as the story follows her in her quest to find out her identity.

Favourite Book Of The Year:

In this category I have specifically put the books that have not been nominated in the above categories.

The Best Ones
The Best Ones
  • ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden.

A mesmerizing book that transports you to the richly cultured Gion, Kyoto- Golden tells us the story of a Japanese dancer right from the poverty and family tragedy that forced her into the world of courtesans to finding love in the most difficult circumstances. The most powerful aspect of the book is that the characters, the settings, the culture begins taking shape around you, pulling you into world of endless mysteries and unforgettable magic.

  • ‘No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ by Alexander McCall Smith.

Smith tells the story of Mma Ramotswe, the first resident of Botswana to own a detective agency and follows her as she deals with the troubles of loneliness while solving crimes. Smith’s narration transforms Africa’s barren land into an exotic place filled with unexplored thrills.

  • ‘Guernica’ by Dave Boling

I had never heard of this book before I randomly picked it at a local book sale but it is a fascinating read. It tells the story of three generations of a family, as the paths of several characters intertwine, the fates play their parts in bringing them closer and separating them- in the backdrop of war.

  • ‘Salem Falls’ by Jodi Picoult

The only book to have the honour of having a review posted at Pink is the Wildest Colour, read the full review here.

  • ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ by D H Lawrence.

At a time when all my friends were shamelessly addicted to that shit of a book Fifty Shades of Grey, I picked out this classic erotic drama. The story of a woman,who bored by her marriage seeks affection in another man was infamous when it was published in 1940s and is equally titillating today .

  • ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Seabold.

No book has ever made me cry and feel apologetic to my parents more than this one, the story of a 13 year old’s rape and murder will make you paranoid about the young children around you.

So now that the nominations are out, who are you rooting for? Which books did you read this year? Why don’t you do so similar awards at your blog and tell us your favourites? What do you think of our nominees? Tell us in the comments below!

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The Bookshelf Of A Young Girl

“There’s a movie of that too!”, a stranger on the train said watching me read ‘Memoirs Of A Geisha’ today.

“I know”, I said trying to hide my irritation at being interrupted.

I was 10 years old when one of my closest aunt’s gave me a pocket edition of ‘David Copperfield’ with pictures on every second-page. It was tattered, yellow with the front cover torn and the back cover illegible. I read the book simply to follow the link of the pictures and before I even knew my mom asked ‘Are you going to read that book 10 times or what?’ This was the first book I ever read and from then onwards there was no looking back. After that I read Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and needless to say it changed my life. This way every important moment in my life was marked by a book.

I feel you Tyrion!

I had my feminist ‘awakening’ at 14 while reading Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ late at night in bed. Today I just started another blog on WordPress that is ‘feminist as fuck’.I realized that I belonged in New York City (a place I had never been to mind you!) after reading ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I have every intention of going there for my higher education. Most of the books I read were written by British authors and I often dream of watching a Shakespeare performance at the Globe Theatre or drinking in the same pub as J.M.Barie.

*EYE ROLL*

Over the years my bookshelf has grown but it is not as big as I want it to be. I guess that is the problem with me, I always want more. I buy books I have always wanted to read every month but due to college and life (and people, ugh!) I never get to finish them at the same speed. I have never actually read any non-fiction and I don’t intend to but there are certain books like ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ by Friedrich Nietzsche and ‘The Communist Manifesto’ by Karl Marx which I wouldn’t mind paging through. But my shelf is proudly bursting with fiction- Phillipa Gregory, Dan Brown, Paulo Coelho, Amish Tripathi, Jodi Picoult and Emma Donaghue have majority of the books there.

Those cheekbones but

I mostly refrain from picking up books by Indian writers because well, I’m Indian. The stories and events they write about are the conditions I’m facing everyday and I personally read books to escape reality not relive it. There is also a fair amount of John Green and Suzanne Collins there (the young adult best-sellers) but I balance it out with classics like ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ by D.H. Lawrence and ‘The Scarlet Letter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne. There are also a couple of children’s books like ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time’ by Mark Haddon and ‘Journey to the river-sea’. The only kind of genre I haven’t yet delved into are comic books (superhero and others). As my unhealthy habit continues  now that my exams are over I will rush to the next book sales so if you have any recommendations for me (classics and contemporary, children’s books, young-adult and adult of all genres except, honestly anything except ’50 Shades Of Grey’) please leave them in the comments section and I’ll let you know when I buy them!

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult- Book Review

“A filament of sensation sizzled between them, like a thin strip of kerosene that, for the love of a match, would turn into a wall of fire”

'Salem Falls' by Jodi Picoult
‘Salem Falls’ by Jodi Picoult

“I don’t post book reviews”, I told myself as I posted this book review. I usually refrain from writing book reviews because after Harry Potter  series by J.K.Rowling and The Tudors series by Phillipa Gregory I haven’t read a single book that kept me enthralled in every page, until I picked up ‘Salem Falls’ in March at a summer sale (the tagline ‘It only takes a lie to set a town ablaze’ attracted me) . I had heard praises for Jodi Picoult very often and did superficial research on her works. She mainly wrote about families, towns, couples facing tragic situations- not my cup of tea. I am a magic-realism or detailed-fantasy or thriller-that-makes-me-pee-my-pants kind of reader, my bookshelf has no place for silly family feud. But man, oh man, how wrong I was!

Happy Realization
Happy Realization

‘Salem Falls’ is about a high-school history teacher called Jack St. Bride- he is only 31, a 4-time football championship coach, a doctorate in History and incredibly handsome. Unfortunately he is also falsely accused of aggravated sexual assault- twice. The story follows Jack’s story with a sense of sensitivity and protectiveness- the same emotions that it ignites in the reader about the character. The first instance when he gets accused is a classic example of how a one sided crush turns into a misunderstanding turns into a rumour that destroys Jack’s life and then ultimately turns into a jail sentence. The author painfully depicts how in the process Jack loses his job, his friends, his reputation but most importantly, his pride

So frustrating!
So frustrating

 

 

After being released from jail (this is where the book starts, the first story is in flashback) he heads to the closest town Salem Falls. He restarts his life as a dishwasher in Addie Peabody’s diner, becomes her Father’s roommate, becomes her boyfriend until one day they find out the truth. Every one in the town ostracizes him, his customers treat him like a monster just waiting to be unleashed. Their rumours keep on growing and growing and ultimately innocent Jack becomes the hatred of the town. But a quartet of four teenage girls- who are simply looking for a way to create trouble (teenage girls are like that I can assure you, I am one) start looking at him as their target. It does not take long until one of them accuses him of raping her and the town goes berzerk.

Damnit!
Damnit!

 

The story then follows how Jack’s attorney try to prove Jack’s innocence, how Addie tries to dig up Jack’s past, how her own past catches up to her and how Jack, gradually loses hope. After completing this book (which was a few minutes ago) I felt a sense of relief- the feeling that the characters got what they deserved, that for once justice (not necessarily legal) prevailed. It is not a book like the ‘The Fault in our stars’ that stabs you with a silver dagger and twists it while it’s still stuck in your beating heart. It is a book that slowly, carefully, grows like a cancer in your brains asking you, What is justice? What is truth? Is anyone ever innocent? It creeps into your veins, runs through your blood and day by day makes you stop believing that life is fair. To find out any more, read the book.

This is for you Picoult, awesome job!
This is for you Picoult, awesome job!

The language is not challenging, the characters are not difficult to understand- I kept on reading until my eyes were sore and my neck hurt. I have to say there was not a single moment in this book when I yawned- right from Jack’s university days when he first feels protective about another girl to the his time in jail when his trivia knowledge saves his ass (literally), every single story was beautifully mapped, stunning executed and made you feel more and more sympathetic about a man who was being punished for a crime he didn’t commit. It is a powerful mixture of how we lie to convince ourself that we are loved and then that lie destroys someone’s life. Right from Catherine Marsh- the soccer team captain whose one-sided love gets Jack convicted, to her over-protective Reverend Father, right from Addie Peabody- an intelligent and creative girl who gets stuck in Salem Falls because of one death after another to Jack St. Bride- a man who is about to spend 20 years in jail simply because he didn’t love an arrogant and stubborn teenage bitch, every single (minor and major) character leaves a mark on you.

Don't worry, be happy!
Don’t worry, be happy!

A heartbreaking love story, a suspenseful courtroom drama, a high-paced thriller- ‘Salem Falls’ by Jodi Picoult gets full marks from me (and I never give anyone full marks). Definitely read it and let me know what you think about it! Now if you excuse me I have to read every single word Jodi Picoult has ever written.

Around the world in 5 books

Today The Daily Post asked me to go through all the black and white adventures I have been on in books and select three which I would like to actually experience in reality. For the sake of this post let us all assume that I am a very brave young woman who jumps into dangerous situations without a thought instead of the whinny, pouty, sulking wuss that I actually am.  First they give me such an incredible inspiration for a post and then they tell me to choose only three. So I’m going to cheat a little and instead select five of the fictional adventures and events that I would like to experience.

1)Go to Neverland with Peter Pan

Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie
Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie

J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ was my first childhood bedtime story and will always be my favourite fairy tale. When I was a kid I always believed that I liked this story because of the obvious attractions- flying, mermaids, pirates and never growing up. But as a teenager I learned in psychology that we all have two selves inside us- the one who we are and the one who we want to be. After some self-introspection I realized that Wendy, the ordinary Wendy who is responsible, thoughtful and caring but bored with her life is who I am and Peter, the daring, mischevious and hilarious buffoon who never grows up is who I want to be. That was when I realized how truly deeply these ‘stories’ affect us on a subconscious level. So yes I would love to  have a stranger jump into my room (but not stalkers) chasing his shadow and taking me flying through the clouds to Neverland.

2) Be a student of Hogwarts in Marauder’s Era.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling

My childhood was rather simple- I do not remember going to the park with my friends or going on picnics with my family. I remember being curled up on my bed and crying over Sirius Black’s death. Like most people from my generation, my entire childhood can be described in two words- Harry Potter. So I would love to actually be a student of Hogwarts, be a chaser for the Quidditch team, learn to fight monsters in Defense Against Dark Arts and finally (oh finally) find out what my patronus is. But as much as I love the Harry Potter books I want to live in the time of the Marauders. I honestly believe I do not belong with the Golden Trio saving the world, I belong with Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs causing trouble for poor McGonagall.

3) Be a Queen of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis

Wars are bloody and wars are brilliant. When they happen in books they are the most excellent plot twist which changes the course of the whole story but when they happen in real life they only cause death and destruction. I would love to live in Narnia amongst fauns who dance and centaurs who are warriors and trees who direct me to my destination. But most of all, I would be immeasurably honoured to live alongside Aslan *bows*.

4) Save France with The Three Musketeers.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The way I related with Wendy and Peter at a psychological level, this book affected the sort of people I was looking for to make friends with. D’Artagnan is one of my favourite characters in plays along with Hamlet. He is impulsive, rash and mindlessly jumps into situations of trouble. He is also a bloody awesome swordsman and a trustworthy companion. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas in my all time favourite play and I would love to live in 17th century and fight carry out dangerous liaisons for Louis XIV with Athos, Porthos and my favourite Aramis.

5)Go ‘cluing for looks’ with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My favourite mystery thriller, my favourite TV show, my favourite pair of cheekbones(sorry I’m getting carried away). I don’t want this adventure for the adrenaline of solving crimes but I want this simply to witness the unreal genius of Sherlock Holmes. I would love to have him read me analytically and I would proudly beam at him as he revealed things about me even I wasn’t aware of. I would honestly sell my soul for this to happen.

we are all explorers trying to find ourselves
We Heart It

One of my friends who is majoring in ‘Child Psychology’ told me that I am addicted to books because I am unsatisfied with my life and damn straight she’s right! There is nothing spectacular about waking up everyday with the same family, going to the same college, interacting with the same friends and doing the same things over and over again. How mundane, pointless and forgettable! But books ah, they are like time-machines. They transport you to another time, another place and introduce you to characters who leave a mark on your heart. Stephen King was right, books truly are a uniquely portable magic.

Memoirs of an Award-winner

Pardon me for this vain post but Sahita Murali a stranger I never had any connection with was kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster Award!

f0a4e0510aec3d60ec0daa01800158cf

 

Since I am not used to such irrational compliments I am going to give a tearful- overdramatic speech about my victory. Actually no, I am not about all this sentimental (insert expletive) but off course this gesture has made me believe in the kindness of strangers.

This one's for you Sahita
This one’s for you Sahita

Here are 11 random facts about myself:

1)I am a voracious reader, I prefer fictional characters over real people any day. Atleast they know when to shut up!

2)I am passionate about rock ‘n’ roll music.  My favourite band currently (and for almost a decade now) is Arctic Monkeys.

3)My favourite song is ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay. I plan to get its lyrics tattooed on the nape of my neck if my mother lets me.

4)My favourite movie is David Fincher’s ‘Fightclub’. It is hard to describe the mindblowingness of that movie without swearing.

This one's for you David Fincher and Chuck Phalaniuk
This one’s for you David Fincher and Chuck Phalaniuk

5)I am currently studying Mass Communications and I aim to be a journalist one day.

6)I am a hard-core, typically overacting, attention-seeking and aggressive and always-getting-into-trouble Gryffindor.

7) ‘Peter Pan’ by J.M. Barrie was my favourite bedtime story and has an enormous influence on my life.

8) My favourite TV shows are Sherlock, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and many more.

9) My favourite Disney princess is Merida for obvious feminist reasons.

10) The movie character I relate with the most is Kat from ’10 Things I Hate About You’.

11) I love emo poetry, I spend hours browsing for painful,tragic and depressing poetry on tumblr and pinterest.

Poetry <3
Poetry ❤

Now that I have revealed more information about myself than I am comfortable it is time to answer  Sahita Murali ‘s questions.

1. What is your favourite kind of food?

Spicy vegetarian without too much gravy which is chewy and crispy at the same time and sets your nose on fire if you sneeze.

2. What is the biggest social injustice in this world according to you and why?

Female oppression, so far it is the only one I have been subjected to and it frustrates me. Especially the misconceptions surrounding it.

3. What is your deepest, darkest secret?

I hate being treated as a kid- by family, by friends, by anyone.

4. What is your biggest fear?

That I will die as just another nobody on a planet of 7 billion others.

5. If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would you change and why?

I would definitely be more hardworking, I am a lazy sloth.

6. Friends or family?

My friends ARE family.

7. Have you ever experienced peer pressure? When?

Not yet, no.

8. Describe the perfect place (real or imaginary).

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

There you go!
There you go!

9. What is your biggest aim in life, your biggest dream?

I want to travel the world, DESPERATELY!

10. Describe yourself in three words.

Sarcastic. Sweet. Simple.

11. What are your 5 biggest pet peeves?

  • When people crack rape jokes (under any circumstances rape jokes are never funny)
  • When people take jokes seriously (come on have some sense of humour)
  • When people pay too much attention to astrology.
  • When anybody lies to me.
  • When people ask too many questions (but not to you Sahitya, you rock!)

Here are my nominees for the Liebster Award (You Go Guys!)

Congrats
Congrats

Now here’s what you have to do to complete the nomination:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their page(s) in your post.
2. Proudly display the award banner on your page.
3. List eleven facts about yourself.
4. Answer the questions the award-giver asked you and make 11 more for your nominees.
5. List your nominees.

Last but not the least, here are my 11 questions for you:

1)What is the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you 10 years ago?

2)What is the one lesson you will teach your children no matter what?

3)One story that left an impact on you- book, movie, fanfiction, tumblr post, etc.

4)One particular line from one particular song that makes you sentimental:

5)If you could have tea with any two fictional characters, who would you choose:

6)What superpower would you choose- immortality, invisibility or telepathy?

7)Avengers or X-Men?

8) What is the one thing that you will never know which frustrates you the most? (In my case it is my Patronus)

9) If you could recommend only one book to the young generation, which would it be?

10) Which is you favourite poem, why?

11) If you could ask one question to your favourite author, what would it be?

Now Fire Away!

The Heartfelt Letter

To everyone born after the 2000s

Hey Jude,

When I was a kid my day began with watching Pokemon and yours probably begins with checking your facebook notifications. I would brush my teeth for 20 minutes just so I could stand in front of the bathroom mirror in my comfortable pajamas and day-dream about being a Powerpuff Girl. You might be using the latest toothpaste which solves 103 problems of your mouth but you don’t even have 3 seconds to rub it on your teeth. Then my father would give me a bucket of hot water and he would put in his hand in first to check if it was the right temperature. You might be having an electric water heater and all. Maybe that’s why your father doesn’t know what time you wake up in the morning. I would quietly bath for half an hour enjoying the warm water on my skin. You stand under the cold shower only for 5 minutes, in my terms that’s not bathing.

I would come out and put on my school uniform, a tacky dark blue pinaform that could give anyone an eye-sore. You might be wearing one of those designer uniforms that we see today only in unrealistic movies about school life. (Spoilers: Real life teachers are NEVER as hot as the ones on screen). I would tie my long black wavy hair in two plaits, even after folding them in half they still used to come lower than my shoulder. The girls in your class probably come to school with feathers in their unnatural red hair (don’t even get me started with the make-up). I would wear an anklet too, because I liked it. Not because I wanted to impress some guy with it. In my days women used to love themselves. In your times all women might be suffering from inferiority complexes and other mental disorders that I didn’t even know existed.

I would pack my Hannah Montana bag with heavy books, you might just be carrying your Ipad to school. I would come out in the living room where my mother would be standing near the dining table. She would give me a warm glass of milk and an infectious smile. She would put my breakfast in a small plate in the shape of an apple while I made faces and drank the milk. When was the last time you saw your mother Jude? A week ago? I’m sure her company will go bankrupt if she misses a single business trip. My mother sit down asking me whether I had put everything in my bag. I would ravish the hot food and ask for more. Does your mother even know how to cook?

Everytime I finished eating I had an unhygenic habit of rubbing my hands on my skirt instead of washing them. But on those rare occasions when I remembered to wash them I would find her standing behind me. “Very good”, she said, her voice still rings in my ear. How is your mother’s voice Jude? Do you atleast get to hear it on your flashy iphone?

I would walk to school with my best friend. In those days there was a concept of ‘best friend’. It didn’t matter if they wore H&M or not. Now you probably choose your friends based on the cars they arrive in at school. On the way we would exchange Barbie stickers and the temporary tattoos we got free with bubblegum. You guys probably exchange cigarettes. We talked about what we had for breakfast and what we brought for lunch. You guys might be talking about unmentionable subjects.

Our classroom was noisy and crowded, filled with wooden benches which had names scribbled on them with a geometric compass, flooded with colorful charts of maps and stories. Your classroom might be black, white and grey covered on all sides with touchscreen televisions. The teacher would enter class and we would all stand out of respect and greet her. You might be referring to your teachers using just their first names or something worse. We used to study for exams, we used to work hard because we wanted to get into a good college. Jude, you don’t study because you know your father can throw a wad of cash and get you into Harvard.

In the evening I would get back home and my elder brother would help me with my homework. Jude, did your sister return from the party she went to last night? After a while Dad would come back from work and we would all sit together and have dinner. When was the last time your entire family had dinner together? Dad would ask me and my brother about school and we would give honest replies. Do you keep secrets from your parents Jude? You shouldn’t. We only went to restaurants on special occasions, my mother’s food was better than the mouth-watering delicacies served in any hotel in Mumbai. How does your servant’s food taste Jude? You to have an eating disorder?

After dinner mom would wash the dishes, broom the living room and my dad and brother would lay down the mattresses. Then all four of us would lie down next to each other, me next to mom and talk about everything under the sun. Sometimes my father would compliment my mother, but in those days I was too young to notice. Do your parents even talk to each other Jude? The talk would go on and on until I drifted into sleep. Then my father would sense that I had stopped talking and motion everyone to stay quiet. My mom would lovingly move her fingers in my hair, gently pull me closer and kiss my forehead. I would put my arms around her belly and slip away in a world of dreams. Do you have dreams Jude? Do you dream of making your parents proud?

-Someone from the 90’s.

The Caged Bird Flies- 10 Lessons Every Woman Should Learn from Maya Angelou

Although I can blurt out the Hogwarts Sorting Hat poem while half-asleep I was never especially passionate about poetry. But when I was a wide-eyed 12 year old young girl with big eyes and bigger dreams, I first came across Maya Angelou ‘s Still I Rise in a random book at my local library and since then I have been worshiping Angelou like the second coming of The Lord. In a world where my generation defines ‘feminism’ as listening to Beyonce, watching Girls and reading Jezebel I was relieved to find a woman truly crippled by fate yet who championed the cruel intentions of her reality.

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To the uninitiated, Maya Angelou’s wikipedia page describes her as an ‘African-American author and a poet’. But for a girl like me who wakes up in the middle of the night horrified by the plight of the missing Nigerian girls, she was a ray of hope. Her poems were advice which I followed and lived by and her books were the instruments of turning my naive, ignorant self into a furious feminist. So in this short span of my life and the immortal work of Maya Angelou, these are 10 lessons I learnt from her and every woman should.

1) Take control

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

Yes, an african-american who lived in a time when african-americans were slaughtered, a woman who lived when women were still considered inferior, a poet who lived when women’s poetry was not considered serious literature is telling you to take the reins of your life into your own hands.

2) Embrace your feminity

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman.”

The entire poem Phenomenal Woman is generously littered with pure gold. In a time when delicateness and sensitivity is mocked, she is telling you to embrace your ‘womanliness’. It is not the act of wearing skirts or curling your hair that means ‘feminity’, it is the internal acceptance of one’s form as and how it was given by God.

3)Be mysterious

“Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.”

Any woman with a handful of experience with the ‘less wise sex’ can easily state that men are but greedy children who want everything. But it is most attractive and stirring when they don’t get it.

4) Stop complaining

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” 

Rather self-explanatory!

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5) Flaunt your sexuality

“Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?”

This stanza from Still I Rise opened by eyes to unexpected wonders and has defined my entire life from that day onwards. Our media, our patriarchal society and our mothers teach us that women are asexual beings. That we have sex only to please our husbands. That a woman who ‘wants’ sex is a greedy harlot. That we should hide our legs and cover our arms., that we should refrain from reading ‘Lolita‘ and idolize Eve’s obedience. Angelou says otherwise.

6) Don’t trust anyone blindly.

“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

Even those you love most.

7)  True love means letting go

“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold-that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.”

8) Express yourself

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 

The reason why I started blogging.

9) Don’t beg for attention

“Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.”

If you deserve it, you will get it. Don’t wear revealing clothes or act characterlessly to attract cheap attention.

10) Never give up

“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!”

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Maya Angelou has left behind a legacy of fantastic poetry and thoughtful stories but the most precious thing she has openly inherited all women of the world is the thought that we, however and whatever we are, are enough. We do not need to change ourselves to please a person or satisfy a society. We simply need to love ourselves the way we are.

10 Fantastic Books I found at a Summer Sale

Last week I got my first paycheck from my internship (Hurrah!) and what better way to spend it than on books. My stipend is not much so I went to this huge book sale at one corner of my city which sells books by weight. This summer you could buy 1 kilogram of books for only Rs. 60 (i.e. only $1)! So naturally I went crazy and bought 8 kilograms of books carried them for 1 hour. Everyone in the train was staring at me as if I was carrying a dead body. So here I 10 best books I found at this sale.

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1) Room by Emma Donoghue– I only found out about Donoghue in 2013 when her sensual courtroom thriller ‘The Sealed Letter‘ became a hit. It was a historical courtroom drama based on a true case in Victorian London about the homosexual affair of a married woman- my perfect match! After some research I found out that Donoghue is a revolutionary writer and her works from the LGBT genre are reknowed. So immediately I  picked up ‘Room’ when I saw it and now I can’t wait to read it.

2)Guernica by David Boling– When I first saw it, something sparked in my head. I could not remember what ‘Guernica’ was but I knew it was something big and important. That is the only reason why I picked up this book by an author I had never read before.

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3)Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence– Countless people have told me to read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and countless times I have told them that I wont waste my time on a Twilight fanfiction. I am not against erotica, I am only against bad erotica. Today’s erotica authors misunderstand the meanings of intercourse and literature. Sex is a part of the story, the story is not a part of the sex. So I picked up this ground-breaking book which was scandalous when it was published and even today remains one of the most sensual books ever written. (I was also looking for Lolita but couldn’t find it)

4)The Scarlett Letter by Nathniel Hawthorne– One of the many things that bothers me about the Indian education system is that we don’t get to read a lot of interesting books. In Britain, children participate in Shakespeare plays when they turn 4, in USA children read 1984 by George Orwell in high School. But in India the only books teenagers read are Twilight and it severely bothers me. I got attracted to this book after watching ‘Easy A’ and I finally found it.

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5) The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory– My first book by Gregory was ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and since then I tried to read every book she has ever written. I have seen ‘The White Queen’ show on BBC and I loved it. So when I found this book which is the second book of a 4 book series on which the show is based- I leaped with joy.

6)The Bad Queen by Carolyn Meyer– I haven’t read any of Meyer’s books before but when I saw this book I picked it up because of the cover art. When I read the back page, I found out that it is based on the life of Marie Antoinette and I quickly bought it. Antoinette is a historical figure I haven’t explored yet, I only know her story superficially. Hopefully with this book, I’ll get a deeper insight.

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7) The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood– I wanted to buy ‘The Blind Assasin’ by Atwood which won the Pulitzer price but I looked at its size and turned away (I know, I know I’m a wuss). Instead I picked up this book which is about the life of Penelope, the wife of Odyessus who goes with Achilles to capture the city of Troy.

8) Pompeii: The Living City by Alex Butterworth and Ray Lawrence-I never buy non-fiction books because I fall asleep halfway through them but I bought this one because a) ‘The Fires of Pompeii’ is one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes and b) ‘Pompeii’ by Bastille is an amazing song.

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9) Cold Mountain by Jonathan Frazier– I first heard about Jonathan Frazier in one of Oprah’s episodes (stop laughing) and I wanted to read one of his works for a long time. Also this book has Jude Law on the cover.

10) Atonement by Ian McEwan– I have seen this movie and let me tell you this, it is mind-blowing. One of my favourite World War II movies ever made.

I also bought many other books such as – Alexander: The Child of a Dream by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, The Seige by Helen Dunmore, Winter in Madrid by C J Samson, Before I sleep by SJ Watson, Confessions of Katherine Howard by Suzanna Dunn,Hamlet, Othello King Lear, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar all by William Shakespeare and finally Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult.

Me and my friend fangirling!
Me and my friend fangirling!

P.S. I FOUND SHAKESPEARE MANGA! I kid you not, I actually found a series of comic books each based on a different Shakespeare play. The text was Shakespeare with no changes, only that it was a proper comic book and it was freaking genius.

Have you gone to any summer sales yet? Which books did you pick up? Which book is in your summer reading list? Let me know!