It Has Been 5 Years.

Five years have passed since I started this blog, since I battled indefinite bouts of laziness. Five years of unimaginable change, not just in myself but in my surroundings. I’ve grown accustomed to this change; to never declaring any possibility as absolutely improbable. For I’ve turned the tables more times than I’d thought myself capable. But amidst all that change, there’s one thing I’ve ascertained – my love for reading and writing is entwined into my being. It gives me such joy! A part of me applauds that I haven’t given up blogging (With two previous failures and a mastery of procrastination, what else could I expect?) But writing has always been a balm, a friend like no other. I could lose myself in analogies and alliterations all day long, immortalize my concerns and curiosities. I can’t get enough of the joy of explaining my writings to those who’ve just skimmed the surface of it. I can’t get enough of putting my berserk ideas on an online platform, even if nobody truly understands it. Maybe the magic of writing is just that. It doesn’t expect anything of you. In fact, it is the one true thing that embraces who you are.

I have been blogging about books and writing poetry for a long long time. There’s more to me than that and I’d like to be consistent with introducing new elements on my blog. But until then, I’m glad I have this… The fifth blog anniversary.

29th July

TV Show Recommendations – If You Like Jane The Virgin…

TV series’ like Jane The Virgin are full of feels. They bag the family drama, romance and self-growth aspects like a pro! JTV, in particular, is one of my all time favourites. Not just because Jane’s character is super easy to relate to, but because of how well Gina Rodriguez brings that character to life and makes you want to be a part of her family. Watching the three (extremely short for my liking) seasons was a journey full of retrospection and wistful musings, for a TV show junkie like me. The manner in which her attitude towards life, passions, morals have been delineated allows us to believe in the power of perseverance and unity. It mirrors the success she ultimately experiences, while teaching us how wonderful it is to aspire. Hell, she doesn’t even let an unplanned insemination get in the way of her becoming an author! You couldn’t possibly have a better excuse than hers.

Here are some other television shows that grant us our daily dose of dramatic goodness, while urging us to follow our dreams:

  • The Carrie Diaries- Carrie Bradshaw knows how to take risks. When her law internship appears bleak in comparison to the job next door at Interview magazine, she jumps at the chance. With her charm, diligence and wit, she persuades Larissa, the editor to give her a full time job. Living the high life in Manhattan, Carrie comes to terms with making difficult choices with regards to education, friendship, love and family. The Carrie Diaries makes you fall in love with life all over again.


  • Younger – This is an endearing story of 40 going on 20. Liza, a divorced mother, realizes that while she was living her life as a wife and a mother, her career slipped out of her grasp. Now that she is ready to resume work in the publishing field, nobody wants to hire a 40 year old. So what does she do? She rebuilds her identity as a 26 year old, trying to fit into a world she had left behind. Her zeal for life is magically renewed donning this “younger” skin. Younger is a hearty TV series that explores the publishing industry through the eyes of Liza’s double persona.

  • Girlboss- Sophia is an eccentric character, barely surviving on her own. She has cut off all ties with family and friends alike, keeping only Annie (her bestfriend) by her side. She lucks out when a thrift shopping episode opens her eyes to the world of vintage fashion. After much deliberation, struggle and self-doubt, her eBay store gains momentum, with her refurbishing and selling vintage clothes. In the span of the 13 part series, we see Sophia unfurl and become a much better version of herself. She is a testament to what dedication to one’s job looks like. There’s a good deal of humor, sass and fashion in this show to make you want to binge watch.

  • Famous in Love – Paige, an ambitious college student, swings by a movie audition simply because her bestfriend insisted. Now, she has landed the lead role in the movie and has no idea how to juggle between her normal life and the one behind all the glitz and glamor. Friendships fall through the roof as new ones reserve a spot in her life. Does following one’s heart have to be so expensive?


  • The Bold Type – Three bestfriends, Jane, Sutton and Kat work for Scarlet magazine as an article writer, social media manager and fashion aspirant respectively. In a highly competitive and talent-driven world, these women experience the highs and lows of baring their soul to the society. You see, the devil may always come to collect his prize, but the social media trolls make life in hell look like a vacation. Filled with work woes, swoon-worthy relationships and mesmerizing shots of NYC, The Bold Type is quickly making its way up my favourites list.

There’s more than two months left for Jane The Virgin’s next season; enough time to indulge in the above mentioned lovelies. They are overflowing with empowered women and drool-inducing career paths. As a media graduate, writer and avid reader, these shows are my calling; their locations are undoubtedly made of Siren songs. Let me know if I’ve missed out any other TV shows that inspire you to give your absolute best each day. We all need such feel-good, quality content!

Book Review — Encounters Of A Fat Bride by Samah Visaria

Thank you Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Encounters of a Fat Bride unveils the humiliation and harsh circumstances that an overweight woman has to undergo in order to find a groom in India. Madhurima Pandey has learnt to set aside her complex about feeling like the quintessential DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). While all her friends find fairytale-esque romances, Madhu has devoted her time to work and study, so as to steer clear of the reality that no man in his right mind would ever choose her. But as per societal norms, marriage is the most essential rite of initiation into adulthood. And soon, her middle class family begins to invite a bevy of eligible men in the hopes that one of them would accept Madhu into their household. Samah Visaria’s novel aptly reflects the age-old customs of dowry and arranged marriage, complete with nosy neighbors and body-shaming parents of potential grooms.

It should be noted that some people may view this novel as being offensive, but I assure you that it is not. The author, in no way, propagates discriminating against “fat” brides. She is merely trying to convey to the audience that women should be confident regardless of their physical appearances.

As lighthearted as this book is, it also approaches some very serious issues like that of fat-shaming, mental health disorder, the dowry system (wherein the family of the bride compensates the groom’s family in cash or kind for going ahead with the marriage) and gender bias. While a lot of these issues are dealt with rationally, I wasn’t comfortable with the way mental health disorders were handled. You begin to think that Madhu is a very mature and educated woman, but then her sidelining of mental instability as “retarded” or “losing it” is totally not acceptable. On the other hand, through Madhu’s strength of character, we see how other negative elements are treated strictly. Her acceptance of her body image and understanding that all genders ought to be equal attempts to remove society’s misconceptions.

What’s unique is that the chapter titles feature a countdown; so you are made aware of the ending but you don’t know how that transpires. See, there’s some mystery in there too. The author’s writing style is colloquial, humorous and incorporates few Hindi terms. There are a couple of cliches, but nothing major. She makes several references to the movie industry, juxtaposing Madhu’s behavior and feelings which made light of the situation at hand. The narration is so convincing that I’d feel just as infuriated at society as Madhu does. I mean, it is appalling that people expect you to be a certain way and if you aren’t, they rain down the most horrible comments on you. I really liked the plot because it is still so relevant. Some aspects of the story were a little over the top, but you can’t expect anything less from a dramatic character like Madhu. Her character arc sees quite a change throughout the novel. Initially, she is against the idea of arrange marriage, then tired of being lonely, she begins to crave it. Even her outlook undergoes certain essential changes. Without a doubt, Madhu’s funny quips renders the entire novel so enjoyable that I finished it in one sitting. I liked the book and I look forward to anything else the author may write in the future. You should check it out!

Ratings – 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Wherever Tomorrow Is

Tomun was an unusual man. Despite his enthralling anecdotes, no one knew where he came from. His battered passport was the only thing that stood out amongst his bare minimum possessions. He looked to be about 70, but you wouldn’t have guessed so from his demeanor. His frail hands had more might than the office-goers at the start of the week. Every day you could see him heading to the port with a brown rucksack slung over his shoulder. He was no outsider to the townsfolk; greeting everyone with a smile and a vigorous salutation.

“I’ve been piecing this boat together for many years now.” he had once told me, beaming at a white standard size sailing yacht. It looked just as weather beaten as its owner. The sides were rusted and had lost its original allure; the rudder could fall off at any moment; the sails had gashes on them.

“Piecing a boat? You mean you are refurbishing this dilapidated thing? To what end, Tomun?” I had asked in reply.

He looked at the setting sun and just laughed. My brow furrowed at the thought of this old man working on a project of such magnitude. But I let it slide, assuming that he’d probably give it up half way. We were close enough that we ate a meal together every day. He spoke a lot, but nothing substantial about his birthplace or his family. From his stories, I got the idea that all of his journeys had been rewarding in terms of fixing the yacht. He’d go on and on about a neighbour, or a niece twice removed, who had helped him acquire a pulpit or a shiny new boom that would go well with his boat.

Sometimes, I’d get late to our meetups. But Tomun wouldn’t say a thing. He’d brush off my apology, as if he had all the time in the world. Even though I allowed the bustle of life to get to me, I made sure that I hung out with him. I assumed he enjoyed spending time with me.

“You know, Agatha is almost ready.” he told me, matter of factly on one such afternoon. Tomun had named his boat Agatha, after the renowned author.

“Are you sure? It doesn’t look like it.”

“Oh absolutely! A small paint job, a small touch up and we’re good to go.” he said sifting through the vegetables on his plate. Tomun wasn’t a foodie; he barely ate anything. Occasionally, his pallor would bring out the deep-set wrinkles so starkly, that it would scare me. I’d urge him to eat more, but it was a futile attempt.

“Maybe you should get Agatha checked by a professional, before you take it out.”

“There’s no need for that. I feel it. Agatha is just as ready as I am.”

“It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

At that, he guffawed. Even though I missed the joke, I prodded further. “Why don’t you get a family member to come down here, and help you?”

“I don’t want to trouble anyone, dear. I’ll get by just as I have been doing.”

“I’m sure it won’t be a trouble. Where do they stay? Anywhere close?” I knew that Tomun lived alone in a condo that was closest to the beach. He worked on small errands for his livelihood. He wasn’t poor; he was basic.

“Here, there, everywhere.” he sighed. “But, you! You tell me how your search for a job is going.” I had told Tomun that I wanted to pay my own way to college.

“It’s not easy. They’re all asking for references I don’t have and can’t get.”

“Keep trying. I’m sure something will work out for you.” he said, patting my hand.

We were done with our meal; I got up to pay the bill, but he wouldn’t hear of it. After much insistence and beseeching, Tomun had his way. When he opened the rucksack, to fetch the wallet, his passport fell out. It looked brand new, with crisp pages.

“Are you going somewhere?”

“Aren’t we all?” he said with a wink. Before I could say anything else, he was walking out the door. With a final, “See you tomorrow!” he was gone.

The next few days were much the same. Job interviews, college application prep, quality time with family etc. A week later, when I heard on the news that there was a storm headed our way, I had a sinking feeling in my gut. I hurried over to our haunt, hoping to see Tomun early. I waited eagerly for my watch to show 8PM. But as the time passed, there was no sign of Tomun. I asked at the counter, and they handed me a brown envelope, saying that Tomun had come by early in the day to leave this for me.

I had never ripped through anything as fast as I did that envelope. Inside, there was a signed check that I barely noticed. A long ruled page bore his handwriting. I knew what goodbyes looked like.

Dearest K,

I reckon you would’ve come to realize what I’ve done. I apologize for not doing this directly. If I had tried, I wouldn’t have been able to leave. You see, people are inclined to believe that destiny makes them. But I choose to live my life differently. I make my own day and I sleep at night knowing that my life is of my own making.

Tomun had left. The thought was enough to send shards piercing through my heart. Unconsciously, I had begun walking to the port. Letter in hand, my legs were leading the way.

This must come as a surprise to you. But believe me child, I had never planned to sink my toes in a land for long. I am sorry for not making my intentions clear. People who look for stability want nothing to do with a 75 year old making the rounds of the world. I do not know if we will meet again, but with some help from me, I hope you would attempt to pave your own path. I’ve left you what little I had managed to save. In case everything doesn’t line up nicely, go to the inn on Seventy Fourth Street and give them my name. They’ll come up with something for you.

The time that I’ve known you was enough to show me that if I waited for my future, I would get slim pickings. I hope you gain some courage from my words and take matters into your own hands. Tomorrow is a stranger on the road; we haven’t met yet, but we know of each other’s existence. Why concern yourself with a stranger who has nothing to do with you as of now? In the quest for a safe tomorrow, why dampen the joys of today? I can’t be rooted to one place, just as I can’t be one person. I am all that I have seen and been through. I don’t know for how long or how far Agatha would keep me company. But I sure hope she’d see me through to the end of the world. Whatever it may be, I am certain that I would be happy. As I wish you would be, too.

K, don’t wait. Wherever tomorrow is, you’ll have your chance encounter. But I hope that you’d set about making the best of your today. You only get one try.

With Love,

Tomun May.

The skies were downcast and the port was barren. Having heard about the storm, people would have settled in for the day, with a hot coffee and blankets. I couldn’t make myself leave. I looked at the horizon long and hard, hoping to see a tiny sailboat. There was no sign of anything. That was the last time I heard from Tomun. This man, who had been like a grandfather to me, walked with his life clenched in his feeble fists. There was so much I could have learned from him.

The townsfolk were sad to hear about him. But within a fortnight, they’d all moved on.

Now, every time I pass by the port, I keep an eye out for Agatha. Alas! Just like my tomorrow, Tomun has become a stranger. I could keep looking for them, but they would only show their face when it’s time.

Islanded.

Waves upon waves.
Rays upon rays.
I lay there,
A secluded island.
Straining out of reach,
And then springing back.
Holding myself aloft,
And then being slack.
Thoughts gently lapping at me,
The shores crept inward.
Thoughts clouding over me,
My heart stirred.
Time blurred into one,
Lost, as I was.
In the distance, I saw them,
Speaking, approaching.
Holding maps
To my deepest whims.
Wielding the power
To turn me inside out.
Thousands have come
Before them and
Thousands shall come after.
For within myself, there exists
A labyrinthine haven.
I see them.
They do not see me.

What We’ve Learned From 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why, a book to television adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult fiction, posits the transience of life and growing insensitivity among millennials. It is abundantly interspersed with prevalent concerns pertaining to suicide, sexual abuse, slut shaming, social isolation, peer pressure and so much more. Hannah Baker’s narration, of the events in her life that led her to take the plunge, is gut-wrenching to say the least. All of what she experiences brings to light exactly what’s wrong with the human mentality. Our inability to empathize, to value another person as an equal, to look beyond materialism, to take responsibility for our actions is our one-way ticket to a devastating future. Here are some reasons, drawing from the TV series, that call for a drastic change in our perceptions and the way we interact with one another:

  1. Live and Let Live. You are the master of ONLY your life. You DO NOT get to enforce your opinions on another. This includes, but is not limited to, judging, commenting on and mocking another person for the way they choose to carry themselves. Slut shaming is a serious affront. Somebody else’s personal decisions are none of your business. We see first hand, in the TV show, how rumors can snowball into becoming the most fallacious statements about a person’s character. Alex’s list that objectifies women is in a way the kick-starter of Hannah’s depression. The aftermath is truly appalling.
  2. Suicide Should Not be an Option. You may be in the worst possible situation, but remember, the sun brings with it a new start every day. Press the Reset button and Do Over. There is so much to live for, the least of which is yourself and who you could be in 40 years. Hannah’s decision to end her life is fueled by many incidents which make her want “everything to stop”. But even in the harshest of storms, it is upto us to cling onto the last thread for however long it takes. We owe ourselves that.
  3. High School Hierarchies are Bullshit. No amount of wealth can make you personally inferior in comparison to another high school student. It is a place for character formation and identifying your passions. Do not let it be reduced to cringe-worthy memories of bullying and succumbing to peer standards. Stand up for yourself and for others. Justin, Bryce, Marcus, Zach and the others parade around Liberty High by terrorizing others. Evidently, school hierarchies tend to place athletes at a higher pedestal, allowing them to demean the rest of the student population. It begets the questions, What about the morals being preached in school? Why are the powerful not answerable to law? What can be done to change that?
  4. Convenience. The pain of being someone’s convenience is starkly reflected in the episodes. Ryan publishes Hannah’s poetry in his magazine, despite being told otherwise. Bryce is of the opinion that every woman is for the taking. Sheri tries to cover up her misdeed, simply because no one of authority witnesses the accident. All of their actions, not only points to the deficiency in their upbringing, but also the skewed world view that they’ve developed, which calls for some serious attention. Keep your ground, and do not let anyone take advantage of you. Your consent is not up for bargain.

The back and forth structuring of the plot keeps us glued to Hannah’s story; as with every tape she delicately delineates the turmoil of feeling like an outsider. It has all been so realistically portrayed and the soundtrack is the final straw that leads to a whole lot of tears. Undoubtedly, some of the characters don’t intend to harm Hannah, but it is their negligence that drives a wedge between her resilience and despondence.

One other thing that infuriated me the most is the lack of parental guidance. None of the parents in the show actually make a difference. Clay’s parents keep making futile attempts to resolve matters, but it’s no good. Even the teachers, principal and the counselor are totally useless. Their greed, thoughtlessness and refusal to take action paves the way for the continued corruption of the students. Between the poetry classes, helping out at home and visiting the school counselor, we see how much effort Hannah is putting in to hang on. But… I wish people had better morals. The story of Hannah Baker, although fictitious, could be the case with many other youngsters. No one should have to feel so utterly purposeless. No one.

Final Thoughts – The ending of the show is ambiguous. While the main theme is laid to rest, quite a few questions still remain. Nevertheless, it makes for a brilliant, thought provoking TV series. One that I binge-watched simply because of its quality execution.

Rating – 5 stars on 5.

Look Around, Pay More Attention. Every drop makes an ocean and each of us can contribute towards making this world a happier place!