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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Book Review — How To Be A Bawse by Lilly Singh

Image Courtesy – Goodreads.

Summary – Lilly Singh’s How To Be A Bawse is as much an honest representation of the star as it is a well guided recipe to cure oneself of the blues. Her words of wisdom, courage and understanding fill us to the brim with the zeal needed to pick ourselves up and keep going. Split into 50 chapters and other sections, this book takes us on a journey of revelation as to how she rose to power and popularity – none of which came easy. As consumers of media, our perception of celebrities can be deficient if not entirely skewed. Lilly opens our eyes to the gritty truth of it all. Through the course of this book, she sets us on the path towards becoming change-makers, influencers and sculptors of a better world. Glossy pages, bouncy colors and a great sense of humor make this tome much superior in comparison to other self-help books. If you wish to conquer every aspect of your life, you’ll find a whole lot of inspiration and motivation here.

Review – Ever since I discovered her YouTube channel, I have been devouring any content that she put forth. So it was but natural that I would get a copy of her book for myself. At first glance, this book appears to have been manufactured by Skittles. No, really. There are four sections, each of which are done in a particular color. Within each of these chapters contained in these sections, there are page length photos of her as well as quote prints, and chapter-end tasks. This makes it a delightful reading experience because you’re able to apply the lessons to your life actively. Her undeniable sass and wit, which we are familiar with through her videos, translates perfectly into the narration. The writing style is colloquial, emphatic and humorous. What makes this book endearing is the inclusion of personal anecdotes in plenty. In fact those were my favourite parts!

I’m super lazy and I procrastinate a great deal. Reading this book has made me less of that person. And every chapter I re-read chisels away a bit more of the lethargy. The content is so inspiring, that I no longer think of my role in this world as a minuscule one. I know for a fact that I, too, can bring about a great change. Recurring themes of this book include positivity, self-control, hustling, being grounded etc. Some of her guidance overlaps across chapters, so occasionally you find yourself reading the same thing again. But that’s actually quite necessary to drive home the point. People are familiar with iiSuperwomanii who has done great deeds, but only few know of her insecurities and concerns. It is very evident that she has poured her heart and soul into this book, to encourage other’s to not give up on themselves. The chapters speak to people suffering from lack of self-esteem, depression, despondence and heartbreak. The lessons she has learned on her journey would be useful to anyone, regardless of their stature. That being said, I didn’t agree with some points in the book. But to each their own. I would absolutely recommend How To Be A Bawse to every one. I’m going to re-read this book again and again in the future. Lilly, you’re a gift to humanity.

What do you get out of it? Unicorn kisses. Haha, just kidding! HTBAB has a feel-good factor in it that convinces you of your greater potential in life. It makes you want to dream big and then act on it. And it shows you exactly how to do it.

Ratings – 4 out of 5 stars.

Author Interview – Revant [Selfienomics]

revant

Image courtesy – Bloomsbury India

Published by Bloomsbury India on 3rd November 2016, Selfienomics is a wonderful guide to imbuing your life with positivity and good health. First time writer, Revant, expertly employs humor and his vast knowledge of media & culture to deliver some life lessons. When  presented with the opportunity to interview him, I gladly agreed.

Hi Revant. Thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions in light of the release of your debut novel, Selfienomics.  Firstly, how did you decide you wanted to write a book pertaining to the self help genre?

I used to hate writing. In college, I always took classes which required the least amount of writing. I’m not a writer, I’m a thinker. It’s the thinker in me which forced me to write. I was frustrated at the way people spent their time and money and I had the self- confidence that I could contribute in changing it.

I wanted to reach out to a large number of people. As a 22 year-old, you have 4 options to reach out to a wide audience—create a high-quality social media page, make a movie, join politics, or write a book. Social media is too over-crowded so people don’t take you seriously. Movie and politics require a lot of experience and a team of people. Writing a book is the most convenient option—it requires no experience and can be done individually. All you need is a laptop (or a pen and paper). So I decided to write a self-help book aimed at improving the thought process of the youth.

During your preparatory stage, what opinions did you find most useful and how were you able to imbibe them?

I didn’t tell any of my friends that I’m writing a book so nothing in particular. But I found the opinions of external people very useful.  I would extensively read the “comments” section of posts of popular social media pages like AIB, Logical Indian, Frustrated Indian. Through that I would understand the mood and opinion of the average urban Indian. I tried my best to refer to the things that Indians were talking about about to make the book relatable to them.

Image courtesy – Goodreads

In the intro to your book, you’ve said that the focus of the book is self-improvement. What books or TV shows or movies have helped you, in the past, to discover and be more in tune with yourself?

Letter- “Why I am an atheist” is a letter by Bhagat singh which sparked my interest to write Selfienomics.  

 Book- When I first decided to write a self-help book, I realized that I had never read a self-help book before. So I googled “best-self help books” and I read the 6-7 books which were common on every list. 7 Habits of Highly effective people helped me with my time-management tremendously.

Movies- Swades, Rang De Basanti, PK, Kal ho Na ho, It’s a wonderful life. I like the way Rajkumar Hirani combines humour with life-lessons. I feel that if Selfienomics was written by a director, it would be Rajkumar Hirani.

I like the fact that you have used humor, sarcasm and colloquial language to drive home the various points that you make throughout the book. In addition to which, your novel is structured uniquely. Were these just tools to cater to a younger audience or were you, merely, taking an unconventional approach?

Young people usually avoid reading self-help books as they find them boring and preachy. They instead read click-bait articles on ScoopWhoop and Buzzfeed (10 reasons why you must dream big…etc.) as their daily dose of inspiration.

I combined humour with philosophy to connect with the modern reader. To be honest though, when I was writing the book, I didn’t think of all this. Using hashtags, humour, sarcasm and internet memes came very naturally to me.  

I am sure that it is no easy task to publish a book. A lot of research, late nights and post-publishing procedures would have been involved. What do you think about the whole process?

I read somewhere, “Publishing a book is like delivering a child. Except that its takes even longer and it hurts more”.

Since no one in my friends circle or family is an author, I had to learn everything myself so it took a lot of initiative from my side. I first applied to publishers in the US who typically replied—“Where is the Yoga? No one in the US is interested to read a self-help book by an Indian unless its about yoga.” 

I rewrote my entire book for an Indian audience, and then I started my publishing journey again. Overall, its been a bit more than 2 years since I first decided to write a book. As a debut author, you have to be passionate, practical and patient to see your book getting published by a traditional publisher (unless you’re Sachin writing his autobiography).

Selfienomics does not disappoint. In fact, I absolutely loved it! Here’s a link to my review of the book. Follow Revant on his Goodreads page here, watch the trailer of Selfienomics here and surely, grab a copy of the book.

– Meera

Book Review — Selfienomics by Revant

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

Image courtesy – Goodreads

Revant’s debut novel, Selfienomics, is a guide that attempts to enhance our quality of life by broadening our mental horizons. Through the span of these eleven chapters, he pays close attention to the various facets of our lives, drawing our attention towards how we could be living a more positive and healthy life. Interspersed with quotes and pop-culture references that back the various points made, Selfienomics induces a retrospective sphere wherein one is compelled to look at their perspective on matters of importance. It presents us with the information needed to make our own well-informed opinions.

Since I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, I wasn’t sure to what extent I’d enjoy this one. Any initial hesitation on my part, was wiped clean soon after. Revant’s witticism and flair for writing shines through from the beginning. He makes use of colloquial language, generously adding tons of hashtags and Hindi words. Fear not, for those who aren’t familiar with these non-English words and references, there’s a glossary of sorts at the back. What I found to be unique and surprisingly, very likable is the fact that he uses several business theories & principles to explain human sensibilities. And they made total sense!

Humor is definitely one of the author’s major strengths. Almost every five minutes, I was laughing out loud. While a majority of the instances delineated in the book were relatable, there were some that weren’t. At one point, I thought the finance aspect got a little too much, but then out of nowhere he’d drop a little joke and I’d be clutching my stomach with tears of laughter. I love how this book employs a great deal of positive psychology elements such as good life, health, ambition etc. Moreover, its informative, so you glean a lot from it. There’s a Dialogues and Discussion section at the end of a topic, which helps you get a better understanding of what has been spoken about and what your values are.

Revant makes a lot of realistic points, encouraging the readers to rethink their POV. He prods you to question everything you’ve learnt – be it about God, nutrition, time, jobs, society and much more. Like Derrida’s theory of Deconstruction, he systematically breaks down our thought process, highlighting how we get accustomed to think the way we do. Even though there are some things I don’t agree with, I believe that was the point of the book – to bring you clarity about where you stand. Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I’d read it again and again from time to time. I’ve probably said this multiple times before, but this book is HILARIOUS and yet it doesn’t take away from the seriousness of certain issues! It is a must read for everyone, no matter your tastes in books. I urge you to pick it up right away.

Ratings – 5 stars on 5

Meera

When You Resort to Violence

From what I’ve seen, it always starts with something small, something very insignificant. You don’t give it too much thought and it becomes easy to brush aside.

An argument that took a turn for the worse. A grave mistake. Nothing like hot temper to take it up a notch. Nothing like frustration, to lash out at an innocent.

Once said, words cannot be taken back. Similarly, once done, actions cannot be revoked. In that intense moment of uncontrollable anger, you raise your hand, slam down your fist at whatever or whoever maybe in the vicinity. Not caring, not considering.

Later you lament and you apologize. If you are a usually soft person, the guilt starts to eat you up from the inside. Part by part, it consumes you.  Like a raging wolf, it rips you apart. You lie around, unable to do anything or feel anything except the numb sensation of grief overpowering you. Now, you’d do anything to rewind and start over again.

What was the outcome of your violent behaviour? More hurt. More anger at yourself. Did anything good come out of it? Were you able to sleep peacefully after that session of venting out? I don’t think so. As a third person, who is simply observing the goings on around her, I have come to terms with the after effects of violence. Watching other people make such mistakes, I have learnt to keep my calm and to not act rashly.  I have learnt to keep my hot temper in control. Have you? 🙂

Mia