If You Were Here Today

If you were here today, I would have invited you into my room and showed you the place I’ve been given for a month. It has comfortable beds and the softest pillows I’ve ever come across! I would have offered you the laddoos that my mother sent with me, just a little snack from home. You know how mothers are. You would have loved them.

I would have told you about my first day at my first job. I would have told you how surprised I was that I didn’t get bored in the orientation. You would have loved the people here, at least those that I’ve met till now (save a crabby cab driver). Then I would have told you how lost I was about the income tax returns, and the various banks. I would have cribbed about how I don’t feel old enough to do all this and you would have laughed. You would have told me to grow up. Well, the process has begun.

If you were here today, I would have told you about the delicious bagara baingan that I had for lunch today. It tasted just like my mother makes it. I don’t know if I’ll ever learn to cook. I think I’ll just manage to survive.

I would have told you how excited I was to start the new chapter in my life, and at the same time, how intimidated. I would have told you that I’m scared I’m not good enough, and you would have encouraged me. And you would have made me see that I am. I can almost hear you say ‘You deserve this’. And I would have believed you. I would have believed in myself.

Then I would have told you how frustrating it is to look for houses. I would have told you how I want to step into a house and see my home in there. Too much of a dreamer? Maybe.

If you were here today, I would have told you how I had forgotten that I’m growing up. I’m almost 22 now, but I don’t feel like an adult. I don’t feel responsible enough. I’m not. I won’t make a great adult. But I guess I’ll settle for being a good child-at-heart adult.

If you were here today, I would have had a lot to tell you.

If you were here.

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The Walk Back Home

As I walked down the road,
The time told me,
It was too late to be out alone.
Frightened by the empty street,
I walked along, faster.
Darkness is a great catalyst.
And suddenly, I heard footsteps,
Someone walking behind me.
Thump thump thump.
If I was frightened before,
I was terrified now.
A million possibilities crossed my mind.
I’m strong.
I kept walking, faster.
Thump thump thump.
Faster, faster.
Stop.
Was I being unreasonable?
I turned around and saw a man,
Walking, looking at his watch.
Thump thump thump.
He looked at me.
Be brave.
And he walked away.
Thump thump thump.

It was then that I realized,
What the world had been reduced to.
In our dark, twisted minds,
Humanity has been leeched out,
And all we see are demons,
Lurking in the shadows,
Fed by bold black prints on white.
This is how it ends.
The mighty two-legged beasts,
Bringing us to our fall.

TommeTopple Readathon & TBR

I’ve never participated in a readathon before, mostly because they are focussed on read-as-many-books-as-you-can for the short duration of the readathon. I have never wanted to compromise on quality for quantity, which is why this readathon caught my attention. Thanks to Ayunda from Tea & Paperbacks for letting me know about it.

TomeTopple is a 2-week readathon, from June 5 to June 19, created by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. The goal of this readathon is to check off some of the intimidating big books (500+ pages) from your TBR shelf. I have quite a few tomes in my TBR, so this readathon is perfect for me! Here goes to participating in my first ever readathon.

There are 5 mini challenges in this readathon:

  1. Read more than one 500+ page book
  2. Take graphic novel breaks
  3. Read a book that is a part of a series
  4. Read over 500 pages in one week
  5. Read a 500+ page adult novel

I don’t read a lot of graphic novels. So I will just skip challenge #2. For the rest of the challenges, here’s my TBR:

Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson

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This book has been in my TBR for a very long time now. So I’m finally going to go ahead and read it. I’ve heard lots of praises about this book and I’m really looking forward to reading it. It has been a very long time since I have read fantasy so this book will, hopefully, also satisfy my growing craving for the genre.

The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak

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Another great book that I haven’t read till now. I have seen the movie though, and it made me bawl like a baby. If I liked the movie so much, I’m sure I’ll love the book.

If I am able to read both these books, it takes care of challenge #1. By reading Mistborn, I will be completing challenge #3. I will try my best to complete challenge #4 starting next Monday, since I will be too busy packing and flying this week. And I think both these books are adult novels. They’re not YA for sure. So I guess I’m all set for the challenge!

I wish I had time to read more of those big books in my shelf, but I’m going to have a busy 2 weeks. I’ve got packing to do, and then I have to leave for Hyderabad. I can’t believe I have to start working. It feels like college just started yesterday. But well, these are some ramblings for another time.

I would love for you to join me in this readathon. Let me know if you are. I would love to read your TBR and updates.

Until next time.

 

Fangirl – Book Review

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Page Count: 445

Rating: 4 / 5 

Fangirl

Goodreads Summary 

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible …


Book Review

At first, I thought the book would turn out okay. I wasn’t expecting anything great that I haven’t read in other YA books. But Rainbow Rowell proved me wrong. I have never liked a YA book as much as this one. It was an entertaining read the right amount of humor, romance and nerdiness.

The book follows Cather, one of the twins, through her new adventure in college. She’s very shy and socially awkward, which adds to the hilarity of the book.

“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”

Cath loves writing fanfiction. This story had a story within it, an inception of stories! And the fanfiction that Cath loves writing, the story of Simon and Baz and The World of Mages created by Gemma T. Leslie, had so many head nods towards Harry Potter. It was a world inspired from the works of JKR. This gave me a bigger reason to fall in love with the book. Every Simon and Baz story I read had subtle (sometimes not so subtle) acknowledgements of the Harry Potter books, and humorous jabs at them. Or maybe it was just me because I see Harry Potter everywhere.

“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”

The book tells a heart-warming story of how college brought about a change in Cath’s life. She drifts apart from her sister and worries about her father all the time. She avoids going out, scared of meeting new people. Until Levi comes along. Rainbow Rowell has created a 21 year old (perfect) boy every reader would be smitten by. Boys, take notes. Levi maneuvers himself into Cath’s life and makes her more comfortable, and happier.

“Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”

The feelings of first love have been described beautifully in this book. I could feel every word. I could feel Cath’s joy and pain and that’s exactly what you need in a great book. But the thing that resonated me the most was her writing. Cath loved to write fanfiction, but when it came to creating a world of her own, she was insecure and vulnerable.

“I’d rather pour myself into a world I love and understand than try to make something up out of nothing.”


Final Verdict

If you love young adult books, if you’re a fangirl yourself or if you are a writer, you’ll love this book. I’d recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. And now I can’t wait to read other books by Rainbow Rowell.

The Kite Runner – Book Review

Title: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Page Count: 371

Rating: 4.5 / 5 

The Kite Runner

Goodreads Summary

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.


Review

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…”

This book had me crying before the story even began. 15 minutes into the book, I was already wiping tears off my cheeks and I thought I would be crying throughout the story, just like I was in A Thousand Splendid Suns. But much to the disappointment of my sister, who was sitting ready to make fun of me, I didn’t.

Set in Kabul, and later in America, The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir and his relationship with his servant’s son, Hassan. They grew up together, and to Amir, Hassan was the face of Kabul. Yet, he never acknowledged Hassan as his friend as he was from a lower caste; the son of his servant. Hassan never faltered in his loyalty, and Amir often made fun of Hassan for not being able to read and write. However, there was an unspoken bond of brotherhood between the two. As the story progresses, the two grow up, and grow apart, but they continue to feel the other’s presence in their lives.

The book also creates a beautiful picture of the Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion, and a heart-wrenching picture after. It shows the broken state of the country after the Taliban took over, and paints a sorrowful picture of what could have been.

Khaled Hosseini has perfectly captured a tale of a protagonist whose actions invite utter hatred, and his faithful servant who would willingly take on bullies for him a thousand times over. A tale of love, betrayal and remorse. A tale which arouses curiosity about the past of the protagonist and keeps you from wanting to put the book down.

“It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out.”

I loved reading this book. Even though the story did not make me as sad as A Thousand Splendid Suns did, I found the writing in this book much better. It wasn’t very challenging, yet Hosseini managed to create beautiful metaphors and imagery with his simple words. He stunningly captures the feelings of remorse, regret and hope, and says there is always a way to be good again.

“Zendagi migzara. Life goes on.”


Final Verdict

A definite must-read. The book is very well written. Even though you will loathe the protagonist in the beginning, you won’t be able to stop reading his story.

May Movie Wrap-up

I watched too many movies in May. Well, college ended! So I decided to do a May Movie wrap-up for you all.
I’d love to know what you thought of all these movies 🙂

1. Captain America: Civil War

civil warThis was my most anticipated movie release in May. I was at the theater as soon as I could get a ticket and I was not disappointed at all! There were a few loopholes, but I loved the movie. I loved the fight sequences. I loved all the moral dilemma. I loved how Spider-man was funny and spot-on. I loved all the jabs the Avengers were taking at Ant-man. And I loved Chris Evans! *fangirling*

 

 

 

2. The Purge

thepurge

Based in 2022, this movie shows an America where crime is at an all-time low because of ‘Purge Night’, during which for 12 hours, all crime is legal. The Purge is said to help humans indulge their inherent violence so they can keep their emotions in check throughout the rest of the year.

The movie has a really scary concept. Will such a system actually work?  The plot for the movie was strong. However, it showed a really weak development of characters. I prefer character-driven stories to plot-driven ones, so this movie did not make it to my must-definitely-recommend-to-people list. But it was worth a one-time watch.

3. Limitless

limitless-movie-poster-new-1I’d been wanting to watch this movie for a very long time, but I hadn’t gotten around to it till this month. And when the movie started I just couldn’t stop watching it. It was so intriguing! I would add this to my must-definitely-recommend-to-people list. I wonder if the TV show is as good.

 

 

 

 

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events

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I saw this movie more than a decade after its release, that too just because I happened to be switching channels when it came on. A series of unfortunate events tells the tale of the unfortunate Baudelaire children. I found the narrator slightly funny and the actors did an impeccable job. The story was all right. Would I recommend it to you? Well, if you’re a little kid, sure! You’ll definitely enjoy it. Otherwise, not so much.

 

 

 

5. Predestination

predestination_ver2This was another movie I had been wanting to watch for a long time because everyone praised it. And yeah, the movie was brilliant but the whole plot was so messed up! Messed up in a good way though. After the movie ended, I was still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened. I was left with a rare sense of wonder and awe, although my mind got pretty scrambled up towards the end.

I would recommend this movie to you, especially if you like the kind where your brain always has to be active. Do not think for a minute that you can skip a few scenes and you won’t miss anything major in the movie. Watch everything, or you’re going to be completely lost!

6. The Pursuit of Happiness

downloadYes I hadn’t seen this movie till now. Don’t be shocked! I had heard so much about this movie but I just never got the chance to watch it. Until my vacations came around and I was sitting at home, looking for things to do.

I absolutely loved this movie and the father-son relationship it has portrayed. Will Smith was brilliant in it. You wouldn’t expect any less from him. Although at times it became a little too slow, it still is a definite must-watch.

 

 

7. One Day

One-Day-Poster-one-day-2011-movie-25098386-360-514I watched this movie just because it starred Anne Hathaway, and I was terribly disappointed. It was one those extremely cheesy ‘love-will-conquer-all’ romantic comedies that do not make a lot of sense. I suppose hopeless romantics would love the film, but it did not work well for me. The movie was only an hour and a half but it seemed to go on and on!

I would not recommend the movie based on the plot-line of ‘Twenty years. Two people.’, but if you are a hopeless romantic, it could be a guilty pleasure movie for you. Plus, Anne Hathaway is always a treat to watch.

 

8. X-Men: Apocalypse

downloadI have loved X-Men ever since I watched the first movie. Although they have a very confusing time sequence, the movies are always at least delight to watch. So was the case with this one. However, in this sequel of Days of Future Past, there was a glaring disconnect from the previous movie (Mystique and Wolverine, hello?).

The cast, however, was brilliant. I’m a fan of Olivia Munn’s acting (how can I not be after The Newsroom?). Everyone else did a good job as well. And Quicksilver, as expected, was a great comic relief.  And now, we finally have Professor X, the way we knew him. So now the story-line can only only move forward. Right?

9. Occulus

oculusI enjoy horror movies, even though I get too-scared-to-go-anywhere-alone, later that night. And this movie really scared me. It did not well, not even on a slightly happy note, so it was all the more disturbing.

“You see what it wants you to see”

 *Creepy*

 

 

 

10. The Visit

the-visit-movie-posterThis was a thriller in the form of ‘found footage’. Do you find old people scary? Wait till you see this movie. Who needs ghosts? This movie didn’t give me sleepless nights, but it was a little disturbing to watch.

All I can say is – Be careful about who you’re living with.

Finding Audrey – Book Review

Title: Finding Audrey

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Page Count: 286

Rating: 3 / 5

Finding Audrey


Goodreads Summary

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.


Review

I haven’t read a book by Sophie Kinsella in ages! And with so much buzz going around about Finding Audrey, I couldn’t resist picking up this book. And the beautiful cover helped of course! I love Sophie Kinsella’s books for days when I want a fun, light read. And this book did not let me down. It’s very different from her other books, but it was enjoyable just the same.

When the book started, I did not find Audrey’s style of talking (which included a lot of whatevers) amusing. In fact I started to think I wouldn’t enjoy the book after all, but I was wrong. As the story progressed, I started to sympathize with Audrey. It was great how the book subtly addressed the issue of depression and anxiety attacks in a loud household with two teenagers and technologically-challenged parents. Sophie Kinsella did not simply give a character who suffered from clinical depression, she gave us a realistic character whom we could sympathize with and who helped us understand the ordeal faced by people who suffer from anxiety disorders.

“They talk about ‘body language’, as if we all speak it the same. But everyone has their own dialect. For me right now, for example, swiveling my body right away and staring rigidly at the corner means, “I like you.” Because I didn’t run away and shut myself in the bathroom. I just hope he realizes that.”

On a lighter level, the book hilariously portrays the relationship between every member of the family, especially Audrey’s brother, Frank and their mother. From the Goodreads summary, I was expecting Audrey would be cured because of Linus, but I was relieved to find out that wasn’t the case. Love didn’t magically cure Audrey of her depression, it was just an anchor; a support that helped her fight.

As the book progresses, we see Audrey getting better, taking small steps to be healthy and happy again, with the help of her family and her therapist.

“I think what I’ve realized is, life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn’t matter if you slip down. As long as you’re kind of heading more or less upwards. That’s all you can hope for. More or less upwards.”


Final Verdict

Although the book wasn’t perfect in every way, it was a fun read and I would definitely recommend it if you like Young Adult books with a touch of humor.