It’s Not Your Fault

A friend of mine once said, “Being close to somebody is about how they make you feel.” This couldn’t be more true. We cling to the people who make us feel strong, special and worthy of good things. We gravitate towards those who can give us what we’re looking for from life – be it fame, money or just a social circle to fall back on. But what happens when, as time passes, they’re no longer the person you used to identify with? Maybe you feel the need to justify their changed behavior and you are wont to accepting them nevertheless. But there’s also a fair chance that you just can’t “go with the flow”. And that’s okay.

Like me, you may be standing at that point in life where your only human interactions are with your family (if you’re an adult living with your folks, that is) and/or select friends via social media. You may be wondering what happened to all those hour long conversations with your bestfriend(s) from school or college. You may be seeing them in a new light. In between all that, you may also be questioning yourself as to “What went wrong?” The answer is nothing. It’s not up to you or me to prevent someone from being who they wish to be. Neither are we obliged to deal with a relation that has grown toxic.

All of my experiences has taught me one important thing, amongst others. If you appreciate or value somebody, make sure they know it. Cause there will come a time when engaging in small talk with said person would be a strain. We’re all caught in the throes of keeping up with today. And so it’s only likely that we would grow and flourish in the way we know how to. It’s only likely that people will grow apart for a hundred different reasons. A shuffle in priorities, conflict of interests, distance and on goes the list. But you can’t possibly hold it against them for choosing to walk away or yourself. In a world of no-strings-attached, guarded conversations and rising number of online “followers”, you ought to consider yourself lucky for having enjoyed something meaningful, even if for a short while.

Sometimes, bestfriends become strangers and families get estranged. That’s how it is.

This is something I should have understood a long time back. Perhaps, it’s something you’d like to hear now.

Anyhow, the festive season is here and I truly wish y’all a fantastic end to this year!

xx

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Whence we come, to it we shall return.

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Aapnu Amdavad

It is true. We create a thousand Horcruxes in a lifetime.

Bits of ourselves go to sleep in these Horcruxes, until we reach for them. Until we are ready to absorb them again. My trip to Ahmedabad was something of revisiting a Horcrux I had left there. Multiple Horcruxes, if you will. The strange and unsettling (even overwhelming) part of it is that I met all these lovely, homely people who seemed to remember versions of me I couldn’t bring to mind. And I wanted so much to be able to recall my time there. I wanted so much to be a part of that tight knit community again. I had moved on, changed indefinitely. But these people still hold onto age old antics of mine, like clouds clinging onto the hilltops.

The places that I’d once frequented were so unbelievably different that I couldn’t picture myself amidst them. But then a familiar board or a rundown building would appear to remind me of instances that were so integral to my childhood there. As I have been told countless times, the climate is stifling. Now, I don’t much prefer the heat. My favourite weather is anything but summer. And despite that, I found myself wanting to go back. To be the girl, who had left 15 years ago. To make a home of the place I’d been born in.

Going to Adalaj Ni Vav was like stepping into another world. Not only is the road leading to it so absolutely mesmerizing but the carvings in the step well are magical! The writer in me wished I had a notepad and pen, to sit and write of the wonders I beheld. Another highlight of the trip was reconnecting with family friends who are so genuinely welcoming. They spoke of times when my parents were young, of times when life’s simplicity offered the greatest joy. Sitting with them, immersed in all their smiles and recollections, I couldn’t have been more thankful to Ahmedabad.

Our meals comprised of all the delicacies I’d urge my mom to make often. To say nothing of the Thalis and Chaat outlets, would be to paint an incomplete portrait of the bustling city that is Ahmedabad. A city where folks have come to a mutual agreement to sort out their traffic troubles. A city where cliques of cows have as much a license to be on the road, as the rest of us. A city where the youth have taken to enjoying the night life their own way.

If there’s a place I’d want to call home, it is this. It is this.

– Meera

The One With The Friends

“No manual?” appalled, she asked.

“Yes, good Lady. Who’s to know how they function? We know no better than you.”

Martha was running late. Her mother had demanded that she get a friend of some sort, they were all the fad. She was in for a beating, lest she quickly figured out how to work one.

“You must have some idea.”

“Well, from what I’ve observed, they are a jolly bunch. One turn of they key and they jump a mile. They talk incessantly and are rude as a bear. ” supplied the shopkeeper.

“Oh no. That won’t do. Is there one that won’t chatter about so much?”

“Ma’am, we don’t make ’em. That’s the way they are.” She could see that she had begun to annoy the shopkeeper with her relentless questioning.

“Alright. But surely, they would obey my instructions?”

“I can’t give you any guarantee on that. If you’re lucky, you may just find an agreeable one.”

“No guarantee?” Martha was beyond horrified. Why would anyone associate with something so entirely unpredictable? They all look the same, but they ought to behave differently, she pondered, glancing at the display.

“Leave them be, Ma’am, if you care not for company.” the shopkeeper suggested. He could guess that she wasn’t exactly what one would call forward.

“Would you take them back if.. if they weren’t.. suitable?” she ventured.

“We can’t do that. I’m afraid it would be all on you, once you flip the switch.”

Faced with a dire predicament, she decided to buy one and hurry homeward. She’d test it out and leave it in the attic, if it became overwhelming. Without much thought, she pointed to one donning a pleasant blue dress. “I’ll take that one.”

“Twenty coins please.” She paid up and the shopkeeper activated the life sized figurine.

“Good day, Ma’am. ” He bowed to her. She nodded an acknowledgment and turned to go.

For the first few minutes, her new friend said nothing. When Martha stepped out of the shop, she noticed several people having a gala time with their friends – singing, playing carefree on the streets. It seemed to her, that friends were manageable, after all.

But then with an alarming cry of joy, her new friend jumped into a puddle and looked at her gleefully. Martha’s overcoat was of no help against the onslaught of mucky water.

“It is such fun. Join me!” she beckoned to Martha. But Martha was growing even more furious by the second. It must have shown on her face, for her new friend looked about uncertainly and upon finding no solace, took a leaping start.

“Catch me if you can!” she hollered as she raced away, leaving Martha dumbstruck and angry beyond measure.

“Just you wait!” she shrieked. Friends were a boisterous thing, she thought, as she ran after the retreating form. If she had learnt anything at all, it was to treat them with the utmost care. Who knew when one would blow up in one’s face?


Happy Friendship Day to all my cherished ones! 😀 You continue to fuel the party that is my life. I am ever so grateful.

– Meera

 

9 things you don’t do with a borrowed book!

Disclaimer – All images courtesy of Google. I do not own any of the images used in this post. 

I know a lot of people don’t really care about the condition of their books or fret over how someone else may handle it, but to the 10% of us even unnecessarily flipping the pages will reward you with the stink eye. Here are 9 things you don’t do with a borrowed book! (or atleast my books) :

1. Dog-ear the pages.
Ever heard of a thing called “bookmark”? Yes? USE  IT! And stop being aesthetic with your triangular creases on my book pages. Some people shamelessly fold the edges to continue from where they stopped the last time. Here’s an idea, if you are that interested in the book – remember where you left off! Or atleast be humble and use a bill to mark the page.

2. Write on it.
No, you don’t need to leave sticky notes or highlighted segments in my own book. I know how to appreciate a good text without you having to draw circles or lines to help me remember. Also if you’re the kind to scribble phone numbers or reminders on any available surface, carry a notepad please. I’m really not interested in finding out what you’ve been upto lately through the careless scrawls on my book.

3. Lend it to someone else.
There’s no need to “share the book-love”. I am parting with my book so that you may enjoy it, aren’t I? That’s more than enough of sharing I can deal with. Now if you go behind my back and lend my book to someone else, don’t expect to have a merciful death!

4. Eat or drink while reading.
Spare the book and be multitasking some other time. While you are reading, keep them hands away from anything that could possibly spill and leave a stain on the pages. I don’t want to have to decipher words through gravy splotches or watered down letters.

5. Lose the book.
You DO NOT borrow my book, if there’s even the slightest chance that you are so aloof, you don’t realize you lost a book, a three dimensional object in your possession. Given the minute case that you do indeed lose it, be smart about it, buy the same copy and return it to me without a word. Feeling honest and open? You might as well bring a coffin with my copy of the book!

6. Take forever to read & return it.
I may have been patient enough to read that 600 paged volume, but that’s where my patience ends. If you think you can borrow my book and subtly make it a part of your bare minimum collection, then think again. I will hunt you down, if I have to, for even the thin comic that you took and never returned. When I say, “please return it soon”, I don’t think I meant two months. More like two weeks, and that’s if I am feeling generous or you are just a nice person.

7. Peel the plastic over the book cover.
Some people have this infuriating habit of picking at the plastic layering on the surface of book covers. They are there for a reason. And no, it doesn’t make the cover look anymore beautiful. So stop with the exploring! How would you feel if I were to run my nails against your skin, hoping to peel or scrape all that’s on the surface. Surely you have more than one layer of skin, right? So that should be okay, right? Pfft.

8. Crack the spine.
Book spines rank top in one of the things why we pay extra for a fancy cover. I like to be able to read the name of the book and author when it’s stacked on my bookshelf. Unnecessarily flipping through the book or stretching the pages wide apart (just because you can) will leave these horrible cracks from top to bottom of the spine. I’m sure you aren’t awaiting the day you are all bony and crinkly skinned, neither are these books.

9. Damage it in any other way.
While I’ve covered almost all the major ways people might be neglectful and stupid with respect to a borrowed book, there are those artsy ones who manage to capture a bug in between the pages or even return it with a rather thick smattering of dust. What did you do? Wait for Tinkerbell to spread fairy dust? Oh wait, did you like the depth of narration in page 112? Is that why you decided to rip it out for your convenience? Come on, be nice to my book. Atleast as nice as you expect me to be with you!

So that’s that. Next time you want to borrow a book, keep these in mind. Its really not nice to have to buy another copy of the same book because some idiot friend didn’t care for it enough. Also, we don’t like to be bitter about such things, after all we are book-lovers (the best kind of lovers in the world, really). Hence be thoughtful and let’s all just live in a happy world filled with books.

– Meera

Book Review — Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar

Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me a copy of this book for review! 

Slightly Burnt is a story of two childhood bestfriends living in Delhi, who’ve been together through thick and thin. Never letting the words of the aged get to them, they’ve had each other’s back through the countless follies that mark teenage. Now that Sahir seems to have a secret , Komal is a bit apprehensive and seeks to confront him. But what she finds bewilders her beyond common sense and she starts to distance herself from the one person who knows her inside out. Amidst the drama that surely entails, her brother gets involved and soon Komal doesn’t know whom to approach with the matters of heart troubling her mind.

I hadn’t actually requested this book and was puzzled to find it in the mail. But the synopsis was quirky enough to catch my attention, plus its YA book written by an Indian author – something I’ve never tried before. Komal is your typical high school student who has her own worries about assignments, crushes, frenemies and so on. She shares a really close bond with Sahir since they were about five years old. I was actually envious of the kind of relationship that the author crafts in the novel between the two. Though they bicker like any two bestfriends would, they know everything about each other. The author’s writing style was very easy to get into and made me feel really in tune with their story from the start. Its a short read of 180 pages that you can easily finish in a sitting. Even though it appears to be a little predictable, its not. It is the ending that caught me by surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Believe it or not, I may even go back to it in between books because its a really cute and warm read. Unlike some novels, I felt that the conflict and the climax were drawn out appropriately and occurred neither too soon nor too late. The plot is driven towards promoting a liberal life, something not very common in India. That is a rather commendable fact in a novel which would be tagged YA. For people who aren’t very open minded, it puts them in a complex situation and makes them think; conflicting what they believe. Two thumbs up to Payal Dhar and I recommend this book to everyone!

Ratings – 4.5 stars on 5.

Meera

Long Time, No See.

Between my last post and today, it feels like a really long time. I’ve been AWOL for far too long and as much as I didn’t want to, I had to. A week of continuous exams and then my summer internship had kept me busy. Exams were usual, like all exams are. You think you answered well, but the results show something else. Nevertheless, my internship made up for any lacking in my final score. As part of college curriculum, we had to intern at a newspaper organization.  I, luckily got into a good company here – Bangalore Times. Writing articles, attending events, calling up theatres and some other engaging tasks familiarized us to the working environment in a lifestyle/entertainment based newspaper org.

By the end of the month, I didn’t want to leave. Some teeny tiny things ultimately did get under my skin at work, but I had too much fun with fellow interns to be eager to leave. Not to mention, the seniors there. I will always have bitter sweet memories of this brilliant first time experience. That being said, I’d gladly go back to work there again. The highlight of the internship being the good number of  bylines I got xD
I have also been on roll, watching book haul videos on Youtube. The BookTube community is ever growing and just so overwhelming, the next thing you know, you are breaking into your savings to go visit the nearest bookstore. I am on a book buying ban (and so SELF CONTROL!) for awhile because my TBR pile is a tad too big at the moment. So until I get done with those, no new books. I did go through a trilogy and a couple of other novels – review will be up soon. It feels absolutely wonderful to read all day without any interruption ^^

Hope you all have been good.

– Mia

An Interesting Person

“Show them you are interesting! And they’d automatically open up to you” or so I’ve been told.

Now what is this “interesting” factor in a person? How is somebody interesting to one and not so to the others?  If we had the option of choosing, wouldn’t we all pick it? I mean who wants to be lonely all the time. It may be wrong of me to say so. I admit. Cause there’s nothing wrong in being by yourself, if you are comfortable with that. I just like to generalize and say that humans are social beings. Isolate one and you’d know.
What are the traits of a so-called person? Is it somebody who always has a say in a discussion? Is it someone who is carefree and acts fearlessly?  But then again, doesn’t everyone have an opinion about matters. I think characterizing someone as “interesting” or not is a very invalid thing to do. It is a cliché, which has a LOT to do with social hierarchy. You may become really attached to a group of people in a jiffy. But if you don’t, no one is holding a sword over your head. There have been cases where people drift apart after spending ages together, which may sound horrific to some. But it’s all natural. After a while you may start to realize that you belong somewhere else. And it’s totally okay to feel like that. We are all unique the way we are and the fact that we are cordial, makes it all the more okay to experiment with multiple groups. Try and mingle with as many people as you can. The ones that stick around for longer are the ones you have formed a bond with.  So then obviously you are wanted. Why else would you not be able to sleep peacefully with the constant buzzing of your messenger? 😀
I really wish people would reduce their narrow-mindedness regarding others. If you don’t know someone, you can’t judge. Period. Right to Speech and all taken into account, its better to not say anything rather than just make uninformed assumptions, right?

I don’t know if it’s an innate quality or if through the course of your life you become so. Maybe being interesting is not so significant, because after all, you have to be comfortable with who you are.  Then why all the finger pointing? Sometimes you just want to shoot a person in the head and get it over with. Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way 😛

What, according to you, defines an interesting person? Or do you (like me) prefer to not term people in any such way? 🙂

Mia