Book Review — I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

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“It’s not a big thing, but I guess it’s true–big things are often just small things that are noticed.” – Markus Zusak

Ed Kennedy, an unambitious cab driver receives a lifestyle change in the mail when someone leaves an ace with a message. A playing card that will predict his actions and their consequences on his life. With every card he is sent, Ed must decide what kind of a change he is to unleash into the world around him. Gradually, his life that lacked fervor, becomes an instrument of happiness not only for others but for himself. He sees his missions as bridging the gap between his uncaring old self and the confident, considerate person he is intended to become.
It was convenient when the messages were meant for people he didn’t know but what stark decisions would he have to take for those he loves? And who is the mastermind behind such carefully planned clues? Who knows him so well as to be able to determine his actions? The answers to these questions are what he seeks throughout the journey, but he finds more than he could have ever hoped for.

I started reading this with a lot of assumptions about what might happen to Ed. But it was nothing as extreme as I had in mind. Ed is guided by some force unknown, motivating him to finally accept and be the person he truly is. His estranged family, deep love for his best friend Audrey and his no prospect job as a cab driver are the reasons for his subdued personality and low self esteem. But from the very beginning we get a glimpse of the righteousness and bravery he possesses when he intervenes during a bank robbery. The book is split in five parts and in each part we are privy to Ed growing as a protagonist, and surprising us with the accuracy of his actions. Somehow everything he does warrants the exact result we could hope for. For me the best messages were that of Milla and Marv.

I found Markus Zusak’s style of writing to be different from anything I’ve read. It was a little odd at first, because of the broken manner of phrasing but soon I got used to it. There’s enough humor in the book to break the monotony of Ed’s missions. I didn’t quite get Ritchie’s character. He too didn’t seem to have a life purpose and even towards the end, I didn’t feel like he made that much of an impact on anything. Ed’s telepathic conversations with Doorman (his pet dog) were amusing and heartwarming. We don’t get a certain idea about who is planning such greatness for Ed but left to my interpretation I’d assume that it was his father, who wanted Ed to see the potential in himself. I really liked the plot and the ending, to me, was beyond amazing. Recommend this to everyone who wishes to the silver lining!

Ratings – 4 stars on 5.

Meera

Book Review — Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre seems like an ordinary Victorian woman. But the fact is far from that. She hops along the border of extraordinary – in her resistance of authority, in her defiance of scheming relatives, in her unexpected submission to dominance and in her admirable strength when she wanders homeless burdened by a broken heart, fatigued body and overwhelming sense of loneliness.

The story of Jane Eyre is vast and picks up from the very beginning, her childhood. We are made accustom to the brutal way her evil aunt and cousins treat her; without any affection. She was sent off to Lowood charity school, a boarding school, where she was able to learn to her hearts content and found some friends in the folk there. Her quest for knowledge comes to a pause when she realizes that she would rather work as a governess and pass on her learnings than continue to learn with no purpose of that learning. And that’s how she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Edward Rochester, Adele’s guardian. Teaching Adele day and night, gives Jane the sense of independence and purpose that she sought when she was younger. But never did she expect that her master would truly wedge his way into her heart to such an extent that separation would be as shattering and irremediable as it turns out. An unsuspicious Jane discovers the reason behind late night calamities and disturbances at Thornfield. The secret chases her so far away that she finds herself at an unknown doorstep, almost dead and begging for a morsel.

I wasn’t intimidated in the least by the book but the size of the font kept me from racing through it. The simplicity and strength of character with which Jane Eyre has materialised left me awestruck. I didn’t agree with her decision to flee as even though Mr. Rochester is to be blamed for not being truthful, his mistake was not unforgivable. Running away from facing an obstacle didn’t suit her at all. This book reflects how one’s lifestyle shouldn’t be daunted by social status and wealth. Maybe if she had thought this through, the ending would have been different, better. But then again I feel that her time away was necessary to help her realize what she left behind. At times I was certainly disappointed with the meek way she subjects herself to St. John’s tyranny. Those times I only wanted to yell at her and ask her to grow a backbone. It’s evident that she is not a weak character and so her submission seemed fake and totally unnecessary. I don’t read a lot of classics but I really liked the way Charlotte Bronte writes. A lot of the imagery she used flew above my head despite how much I tried to grasp it. Nevertheless, it’s a book I will read again. If you haven’t already, you should too. I wouldn’t say its a light read, but was definitely worth my while.

Ratings – 4 stars on 5.

Meera

Why I Can’t Be a Mono-linguist.

In order to fully accept the constantly evolving sense of my self, I must take into account every single phase of my life. I can’t speak in just any one language. No. I need to be a mixture of the Keralite born and brought up in Ahmedabad, who spent quality time pouring over her English books since childhood, while enjoying the company of her multiple North Indian, Hindi-speaking friends.

You ask me where I am from? It’s not the easiest to answer. I may stutter and pause, causing you to assume of an existing identity crisis. But really, where am I from? Kerala? Because that is my native. Gujarat? Because I was born there and spent a good portion of my childhood flying kites and eating the yummiest of Gujju cuisine. Bombay? Dubai? Bangalore? Because I have spent enough years in each of those places to last me splendid memories of a metro city that I once called home. You see this is why I can’t give you a short answer, so all I have to say is that I’ve been around – here, there and elsewhere. To say that, because these places have left an indelible mark on me, is the reason I speak multiple languages at a time would not be completely accurate. I have grown to love learning languages, with possessing the ability to feel one with different communities.

I loved being able to read billboards in Dubai, albeit not understanding it. I loved hearing Korean songs and gleaning the subject matter. I loved watching Jane The Virgin and gathering bits and pieces of Espanol spoken between Jane’s abuela (grandmother in Spanish) and herself. It’s rather amusing when my brother mutters words learnt from Japanese anime (with the expectation that I wouldn’t understand anything) and I can retort with some rather fascinating Gujarati profanities (equally inscrutable to him).

That being said, I abashedly admit, I haven’t reached proficiency (or even intermediacy) in any of the languages I have begun learning. I do aspire to get there some day. What glory would it be to watch Korean dramas without subtitles, to roam in the streets of Spain equipped with their tongue, to dance to Arabic songs knowing full well what they mean. But until then I shall have to build up my vocabulary by constructing sentences of a mixed nature. I don’t think I will ever want to speak in just one language. Ask my family! They are used to hearing Korean, Gujarati, Hindi, English, Malayalam all warped and sown together.

I think for as long as I live, I shall be dwelling in the beauty of words that not just about everyone understands. But to me, they would mean a great deal. To me, they would be an entire realm full of possibilities and life choices. To me, they would be the invitation to be anyone I desire to be.

Image courtesy – Google

– Meera

 

Alteration Found.

Our expectations are tethered
To a seemingly constant interface.
From there on, are structured
Opinions above the base.

applebees
Applebees Qatar.

But there comes a time When an alteration is found.
Events no longer rhyme
With thoughts that had bound.

A devastating dissonance indeed!
To come upon such a stage
And work around one’s creed.
Do as ye may, the day will age.

Soon bring to accept, you will,
There’s no shame in welcoming
The queer, lesser, unfamiliar till,
Yourself – you begin neglecting.

– Meera

Windsurfer.

A messenger, as it, would bring a little love in a lot of trinkets.

Carried by the wind, reminding others of their dormant zest.

Eliciting a giggle with every fluttering hem,

Or a rejoicing sway during the night wandering.

Do you feel it too? This caress of the windsurfer – driven & happy.

One with the air, it fashions no reins.

Going where the wind shall lead, it hath no pains.

For this visitor of lands bleak and untidy, derives

Its joy from the immutable smile of others.

What an adventure would it be, to be a windsurfer,

Friend of the old, new and blue,

Carrier of a determined chill and an agent of action.

– Meera

 

A Test of Friendship.

friends

 

 

 

 

 

Drawing strength as if
It were a regenerative orb
We built that bridge
No one can tear down.
Infuse new meaning in
Blind faith, we did.
For belief in one another’s
Character as we ought.
But what doubles our
Longevity, be it our
Initiatives or unweathered
Cohesiveness?
When annoyance and
Indifference crawled onto us
Did we, like any other,
Pass this test?
Like a ruffling tree is
Never soundless,
I hope our failures
Don’t corroborate our
Intentions.

– Sincerely,
A Friend Who Intends To Pass The Test.

Meera

Game Review — Cross Fingers

photo 4Occasionally I browse the app photo 3store in search of some mind games (not what it sounds like). Just puzzles or word games that help jog your brain and many a times I come across really good ones. Cross Fingers is one such puzzler that requires you to fit different shaped pieces into a certain silhouette/blank background.

A product of Mobigame, Cross Fingers has a puzzle mode and an arcade mode. In the puzzle mode you get to choose Easy, Hard, Pro, Normal and multiple such categories. When you select a category, there are several levels to be completed chronologically. But if you are more adventurous then you can choose the Arcade mode and “race against time”.  Its not mind boggling in the least, extremely fun to do. The user interface is rather simple – easy to navigate. Just like its name, you do end up with your fingers crossed over one another quite often.

photo 1

photo 2The color tones used to build the game are shades of brown and beige, to give a woody look. Something you need to keep in mind before playing this game is that if your phone’s touch screen doesn’t function very well then its better to stay away from it, cause it makes use of multiple touch in the later levels. As in you need to be moving blocks around using 2-3 fingers simultaneously. So bad touch sensor = no game. For every level you complete, you get a star and you can use these stars to skip a level if need be. But what confuses me is the system or technique of how the stars are accumulated. I have finished around 20-25 levels and earned stars for all but I don’t see 20-25 stars. I only have like 8 stars. So that is a bummer!

Nevertheless its a really interesting game and works as a sort of stress reliever. You can play tons of levels at a time.

Ratings – 4 stars on 5.

– Meera