Poetry

Secret Santa

Our college arranged a secret Santa program. It had the same concept of exchanging gift, but with a twist. Instead of any materialistic item, we were supposed to exchange poems. This is my gift to my CC.

Hey dear friend,

It’s that time of the year
When we leave our worries and fear
Of the one that was
And prepare for the new one
Without any pause.

But before we make it there
And completely forget the then and here,
Let us take a detour
Through the snowy alure
For there lives a man
With thousands of gifts in hand
Maybe we can lend a hand to the elves
Or embellish the Christmas tree ourselves.

We will have a merry time
Making ice cones which taste divine
Throwing snow onto the other
While trying not to smother.
Through our dreams let us travel far
See new places, reach for the star.
For dreams show the prospect you can weave
Of the real life you want to achieve.

We may not have met
And we may never do
But let us not forget this dream
Of being an amazing travel team
With this I sincerely hope
That your new year be totally dope.
Leaving aside all the blue
May all your dreams come true.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

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Life

A rant!

I live in a society where often girls are asked to hold their tempers. Hold your tongue, compromise and move on. Only then you will be at peace. There is no use in raising objection, in injustice, allegations, be it anything, be it anyone. This advice has been given to me time and again by many a people, including my own mother.


But I have seen my mother suffer due to this very advice her whole life, not able to raise her voice for her own right.
Which made me determined that I will never obey societal rules which discriminate, accuse wrongly or support wrong doings or injustice.
Time and again I have raised my voice against these matters, but whenever my voice hits even an infinitesimally higher pitch, I become the wrong one.
And I tried to head to this advice, but it seems that the brakes have failed and I cannot stop. Whenever I try to control, there is some element around which goads me into speaking out.

There is no end to the insistence that one is right on both sides and it is always a status quo. But begging for every small right which comes easily to others is daunting and frustrating.


I feel so helpless now, always being termed as ill mannered, obnoxious or just plain rude.
I feel tired fighting the society and confused.
Am I wrong? Should I really pull the emergency brake?
Or is there a middle path that I never saw?

Poetry

Fluid

Gasping for air
Trying to break through
The surface so close
Yet so far
Drowning in this
River of sorrows
Never ending hopelessness
Misery struck gold
Mirth lost in transaction
No way to go home
With the angry clouds above
And the hold of the weed tight
Now I feel the pull
Losing focus
Feeling formless
Holding my last breath
Hoping for that
One ray of sunshine
Breaking through the surface
Illuminating the murk
Setting me free
From this moment
Of pain and suffering.


Book Review

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die: Book Review

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die
Author: Shirshendu MukhopadhyayThis book is a short tale of females in a typical Indian household told using humor.
Told from the perspective of three generations of females, the novella starts after the world war when Somlata, an 18 year old gets married in an aristocratic family, only to realise that the family wealth has been dwindling for some time. The men of the family, who never worked their whole life, resort to selling the family gold and property to go by. Amidst all this, Roshomoyee, the aunt in law passes away. But wait, she just doesn’t pass away, her ghost catches hold of Somlata and asks her to safekeep her 100 bhoris (~1 kg) of gold from the prying eyes of the family.


The story is told through the interaction of Lata and pishima, showing the oppression and neglect faced by child widows, how Lata holds the reign of the family by starting a business against everyone’s wishes. She convinces her husband to start working, and after a few hiccups start gaining success, ultimately winning everyone’s heart and changing their attitude towards working. Pishima, due to the events that shaped her life, comes as a cynical and bitter spirit who often harasses Lata and tries to beguile her into doing untoward things, trying to fulfill her desires through Lata. Though, she troubles Lata often, she looks out for her by protecting her from the elder daughter in law, who has her eyes on the hidden gold and gives Lata vital information about the family from time to time. And then there is Boshon, who is Lata’s daughter and is believed to be pishima’s reincarnation. She is the only child of the family, and is pampered beyond measure, but only feels suffocated and craves for freedom. She is shown as the brave and the bold one, who challenges societal norms at every nook.
This was a short novella but gave a lot of perception on how lives of women have changed along the years, the freedom that comes with the generation. However, I felt that it failed to capture the essence of the current times in India as, though freedom has increased, we still face restrictions in the way we dress, the choice of marriage, time to come back home, etc, which is greatly driven by the society we live in.
Well, it was a light read and it’s intentions might not be to dwell on the community of females but rather to bring out the contrast in the Mitra family only.
All that said, I wanted to know more about Roshomoyee and Boshon’s story. It left a lot to be told. The novella has been even featured as a film which I realised later.
The novella retains a few Bengali words for effect, which doesn’t disturb the flow and is translated without any hiccups. This is a novella translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha. For those interested in the movie, it is titled Goynar Baksho.

What really pulled me in was the peculiar name of the novella. But ultimately the story delivered, albeit leaving me craving for more.

Goynar Baksho (English translation: Jewellery Box)
Poetry

Estranged relations



Whispering sweet nothings
Jesting, playful
Sometimes mischievous
Pulling legs and
Each other’s ponytails
Holding hands
They promised of forever

As years went by
They all went their ways
Met once a few months
Calls on birthdays
Moved to different cities
Connections now threadbare
One of them falls sick
The others barely aware

Now one was gone
Left were four
Now met to reminisce
Good old times
And repent to miss
The one absent

Few more years
Gone like the wind
Wedding invitations sent
Through text, no calls

Now only forwarded texts remain
A sea of missed messages
And missed calls
Calls picked up
Only to tell
“I am busy, can I call you later?”
But the call backs never come
And neither a message
The relations now estranged
Maybe for the better.

Book Review

Book Review: Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Lonely Castle in the Mirror
Author: Mizuki Tsujimura


What do you do if your entire class starts to ostracize you for no fault of your own, just to please a bunch of bullies?
Kokoro, a girl in her seventh grade in Tokyo is being targetted by her classmate, so much so that her close friends start dissociating¬† with her to avoid the same fate as hers. At her wits end, she stops going to school to escape being the target of her classmate and her posse. As days change to months, Kokoro’s parents try to get her to alternative schools. But by this time she is so afraid to step her foot outside that she feels physical pain even thinking about going to school. And so she decides not to go, leaving her parents, especially her mother to her quite frustrated. One day the mirror in her room starts glowing and as she moves closer to it, she gets sucked into it and finds herself in a castle with a little girl in a wolf mask. There she meets six other students. Seven students, outcasts, with a common connection meet in this castle inside a mirror, hosted for a year by a wolf queen. Their job is to find a wishing key. The one who finds the key and unlocks the wishing room will have a wish fulfilled .

Bullying is a topic which I am really touchy about as I faced bullying for a couple of years in school for a very petty reason. I know how it feels to be alienated by everyone, even teachers try to stay away from such situations. Things become so bad that it becomes difficult to even climb out of the bed. I remember crying incessantly every day, when triggered even slightly.

That being said, this book expresses the feelings and vulnerability of the students beautifully. This also shows the role a parent can play in such situations. Many a times parents don’t interfere or don’t show much interest in what is going on with their ward or feel helpless. But this book shows how a parent’s positive interference can affect the child’s life. The book also portrays the different kinds of teachers we might have encountered in schools.
I guess, my favourite part was the backstory of each student and of course the magical realism because, I am still a child at heart and search for magic in anything. The book will keep you hooked till the end with the plot twists, and there were quite a few. Written in a beautiful manner, this has a satisfying finish.
I find myself now drawn to translated works of literature due to such excellent piece of writing. They make my otherwise boring life enjoyable.
Received a digital copy from netgalley.

Poetry

Search for meaning

Image from Pexels

Happiness is a fleeting emotion
It comes at a time when
Hopes are little
Bringing joy to the soul
Like a lost traveller
Finding an oasis in the desert
Enough to power
The next phase of strife
To keep us going
Fulfil the purpose of journey.
But what is that
Something one must seek
For that defines the intent
And the will to keep up.
Waking up from stupor
Gathering the diaspora
Looking for the Mirage
Which will lead back home.

Book Review

Book Review: Book Lovers

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Title: Book Lovers
Author: Emily Henry

Any book by Emily Henry has always felt like a warm hug on a cold winter night, cozy and heart warming. So when book lovers came out it was not a surprise that I would pick it up. However, as warm her books are, I kept on delaying reading it for the day I would need a lift of my spirits. And as always, it did not fail to deliver.
This book is about those city girls whose partners leave them for someone better, when they have a life changing experience somewhere in a small town. There is a whole trope in movies and books alike where such characters are shown as heartless and practical to the T. But what after that? That’s where this book starts.
We meet Nora Stephens, who is the quintessential practical book agent, cut throat and sharp. She has a sister who is a sappy romantic. So when Nora’s client writes a bestseller based on Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, she compells her sister for a month long vacation there. There Nora meets her work nemesis, editor Charlie Laster , but then in a different setting, sparks start to fly.

**

Nora is a well written rounded character who is shown with all her goodness and flaws. She is shown to be good at her job, sets her ego aside when she is wrong, has her morals right and is responsible. She seems like a hard hat but is willing to do anything to make her family happy, including letting go of her dreams.

Charlie Laster was something I look forward to in the main love interest: real. He had problems like any other character and was not a prop in someone else’s story. He shows his vulnerable side to the protagonist and not just his cool side, deals with his issues, and encourages Norah to go after her dreams when she second guesses herself.

The dynamic between the sisters was my favourite part. The relationship is captured beautifully. I started missing my sister after reading this. She is whimsical to my practical, but still we are like ice and water.
Another plus is that there were no antagonists in the story. What made this real is that real problems were shown with real solutions, and nobody was waiting for their fairy godmothers or for a magical twist of fate.
It was nice to read a heartfelt adult romcom for a change after a long time.

Book Review

ARC Review: Ghost Music

Ghost Music

Book title: Ghost music
Author: An Yu

TW: Loss, suicide

Ghost and music are two topics which interest me greatly. And thus, I requested for this review copy from netgalley.

This is the story of a woman named Song Yan who lives with her husband, Bowenand mother in law. She is an ordinary woman who teaches piano to kids and is shown to be neutral towards her life, neither energetic nor enthusiastic, just there. Her current purpose of life is shown to have a baby, however her husband is against the idea, and subtly tries to avoid the topic. One night she is visited by an orange mushroom in her dream. From then on, she starts receiving exotic mushrooms from Yunnan, which is her husband’s native place. She and her mother in law start looking forward to these mushrooms, which brings them closer as they make it together.

The plot seemed pretty interesting. The book had such a promising start and the story itself was very intriguing. I liked the magical realism as well. The characters were realistic and I could relate to a lot of it, the disappointment at not having fulfilled what one thought was one’s life’s purpose, family relations, relationship with in laws, living aimless.

About halfway through the book, the story started to fizzle out. I could not make out the direction in which the author wanted the story to move. The author initially started with daughter in law and mother in law’s bonding over cooking food. Later it took a different turn, which was still fine be me as I was still intrigued by the connection of the mushrooms and the dream mushrooms. There were a few directions in which the story starts getting pulled, the mushrooms started to make less sense and the roles of other characters started to muddle. Though a few things clear out, but it leaves a lot to be wondered.


I could finish this as the writing was flawless and the words were flowy. An Yu beautifully captured the shifting feelings of Song Yan and other characters as the book progresses. She showed the human side of relations, which is not always a bed of roses  Her conflicting feelings towards others, while being sympathetic is portrayed quite poetically. However, the ending could not tie up all the loose ends. Maybe I had problem comprehending any hidden meaning this book wanted to convey. Maybe it was a metaphor to something beyond my understanding.
Either way, I hope the author writes a sequel to clarify the story for this one. If someone read this book, and could decipher the conclusion, do tell.

Book Review

ARC Review: My Mechanical Romance

My Mechanical Romance
Author: Alexene Farol Follmuth

So, I requested an ARC of this book because representation of women in STEM in a romcom is one of my favourite genre, me being a person in STEM being a major reason, another being I really enjoy reading lighthearted romcom novels (helps me in the gloomy days). And what joy that I received the ARC of this book. Thank you netgalley for the review copy.

This book is about a girl who moves to a new school in her final year, where her biology teacher realizes her passion for building things and pitches her to participate in the robotics club tryouts. She agrees half heartedly, but when she gets selected she is up for the ride of her life.

The book seems at first like a cute romance novel between two seniors in a high school, but quickly proves to be much more. The best kind of books are those which teach us something while enjoying it too. This book had quite a few feathers in its cap. From cultural diversity, misconceptions about females in STEM, gender inequality, parental pressure to lack of clarity in future goals, this book successfully addresses such issues which have haunted teenagers since a long time. The central theme in the book was to learn to rely on others and ask for help when needed. It was portrayed throughout the book in different scenarios very poignantly.

Follmuth writes beautifully in simple and lucid manner which makes it an easy read. I was hooked to the story from the get go and could not keep it down.