The Dark Side Of Nostalgia

Saturday was the day she trimmed her fingernails. She cut each one diagonally from either side and then chipped off mountain peak of sorts that had formed, giving it a more rounded edge. This was what her father had taught her. They had been rather close once. He called it a plateau, but she preferred not to use that term. She had been doing this for a good ten years now and could at best be called a little clumsy as her father so often pointed out.

In the irrational vengeance that often accompanies the odd family friction, she chose to ignore her father’s pet peeve about trimming nails on his bed and was seldom found doing so anywhere else. The yearbook from a couple of years ago didn’t prove a very effective surface for trapping bits of trimmed fingernail, but that could be attributed to her clumsiness. As she filed her nails and went through the old yearbook, a wave of nostalgia swept through her consciousness.

Every one of the faces on the yearbook seemed to bring a bigger smile on her face in the five minutes it took her to get from cover to cover, than they had collectively managed in all the years she had gone to school with them. Class clowns, geeks, dorks, jocks, prom queens, people she was friends with, people she had never spoken to but smiled at, people whom she knew of who didn’t know she existed; all of these people brought vivid memories before her eyes. And in a way, she actually missed them.

Sometimes, nostalgia did funny things. In all honesty, if most of the things she now thought she missed were never part of her life at all, it wouldn’t have made a difference. That’s what her school life was, in a nutshell; indifferent. When you look back, you often do so through rose tinted glasses. Everything seems better than it was. Nothing will ever be as lovely. And if you’re not careful, the thinly veiled deception of the beauty you see behind may prevent you from ever looking ahead. It’s why all those cheesy time travel movie protagonists realise that the present is the best time to live in, in the end.

Actually, the Dark Side theory makes sense. When you look at memories of the past, you do so through a prism that refracts the light through which you perceive. And a single, ordinary memory will appear to be all rainbows and butterflies and your heart will ache so bad to want to be there again.

School life wasn’t a fairytale. Back then, there were people she knew whose acquaintance she wished she could erase. There were scary moments, embarrassing moments and downright horrible ones. She was different, kind of a loner. And being a clumsy loner can be the most unforgiving traits a person could have in school. She was sad. She just hung around with anyone she could find. She was terrified of being lonely.

A lot had changed since then. She was still kind of a loner. She was still different from her friends. She was still clumsy. But she was happy. She had accepted herself.

She wasn’t worried about what people thought of her when she realised how seldom they did so. She found it hard to identify with people, but she didn’t feel the need to.

A drop of blood splattered onto the corner of the yearbook as she chipped off too much of her thumbnail while smoothing a rough edge.

Nostalgia still clouded her mind. At first, she was afraid to be alone. Now, she was afraid that she missed it.

No, this isn’t about me or anyone I know. It’s just something I thought I’ll turn into a short story someday, when I need to write and can’t quite get an idea. It just goes to say that nostalgia can sometimes be a dangerous thing, and I’ve often been on the dark side.

A Dreamer’s Happiness

Hey there Dreamer,

Yes, you there.

Get up, rub the sleep away from your eyes and let it sail around your room with the colours and stars you can now see. Say your goodbyes. Yes, sleep is not for you. Wake up, get dressed. Yes, wear that polka dotted summer dress. It looks great on you, and today feels like a great day for it. Take your camera. Walk around. Take pictures. Do you see your dreams? Good. What is the right dream for you? Think about it. Listen to your heart. It knows what you really want.

Now say you get up everyday and chase down that dream, follow it relentlessly working hard. There’s little time for sleep. There’s little strength to breathe. There’s no time to make friends. No time to wander around with the camera. No time to smell the roses. But somehow, you can dream and dreaming is all you can do. It’s because you’re getting closer. Something getting in the way? Work your way around it. Can’t? Cut it off. Put on your blinkers and go for gold. Come home so tired that falling asleep immediately is but natural to the insomniac you once were. Do this everyday.

Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Do whatever you feel like.

Now you’ve made the goal. You’re all you wanted to be. All of that hard work has paid off. Every drop of sweat has pooled in as a part of your remuneration. You have your reward.

Take a good look at yourself. Scan your insides with a mirror.

You have everything you ever wanted. Think about it. You sure are satisfied. But are you happy?

Damn, I’m Not Ready To Grow Up Yet

However insignificant the second Saturday of the year may have seemed to the average human being, it marked the passage of eighteen years since she was born. She was legally an adult.

And she traipsed through her Psychology text book well past midnight, she intermittently glanced at a phone and read every single “Happy Birthday,” text and replied to them while ignoring the calls. She never liked speaking on the phone and the people who were calling only knew that too well.

So, as Psychology and well, her birthday ensured she be deprived of sleep, she wondered why adulthood was something to be celebrated and most of all, why it had been wasted on someone like her.

Well, granted it helped her do a lot of things like drive, vote, get married, watch a movie rated A and a lot of other things she could do without. Could she be a kid anymore? Could she watch the kiddy TV programmes she loved to? Could she read her Enid Blytons?

Growing up was something she had never really taken too well. “My body grew up, not I,” she kept telling herself. Every sign, she kind of pushed it aside, suppressed it and let it bloom too late. There was still a little kidding around to do.

Yes, that too.

She couldn’t cook, the poor pyrophobic. She was afraid to talk to people. She would forget things. It wasn’t her fault, she was absent minded. She would forget errands, names, chores like brushing her teeth and washing her hair, to give messages, to do favours; she just couldn’t remember. She also forgot to take her daily dose of two spoonfuls of confidence she needed to get her through the day. She needed at least three reminders before she could do anything. She would sleep right through alarms. She couldn’t wake up unless someone woke her. And now, she was expected to be responsible for herself.

She was expected to dress like a lady. Her. This girl who just went everywhere with a crumpled, frayed, torn top, sweatpants and a bun fashioned out of hair that could well be the labyrinth of the devil. This girl would live in pyjamas if she could. She was gifted makeup, something she despised and wouldn’t be caught dead using. Last she counted, she had sixty seven spots on her right cheek. Makeup was obviously wasted on her. There was also a beauty salon voucher. The less said about that, the better.

Vote. She could vote. She ought to vote. And she didn’t, in the sanest of states of mind know what a good government was. She had never lived under one.

“Act your age,” she was told more often than any child strictly should be.

She liked to write. She didn’t feel she was very good at it. It was hard sometimes. She wrote beautiful sentences and tried to glue them together, often ending up with sticky fingers. She wasn’t ready to be much good at much else. She wasn’t ready to grow up.

Who draws the line anyway? How can one spurt into the throes of maturity once they’ve officially survived the world for eighteen years? As the hour neared midnight on the eve of her birthday, she knew eighteen wasn’t going to be the start of her adulthood. There was too much to do.

Her childhood, when it happened, wasn’t exactly the way she hoped it would turn out. A little regret, a couple of things she wished she could change along the way. But in retrospect, it sure was a pretty darn good one.

And so, at 11:55 p.m. on Friday, she closed her eyes and clung on tight to the last few minutes of her childhood; she tried to remember all of those years she’d tried so hard to forget.

Note: So, it’s pretty obvious that the post is about me minus the melodrama. Having said that, eighteen’s been pretty good to me so far if I can overlook the exams that ate into most of it. I’m not ready to grow up. But, it’s okay. I’m eighteen, my blog’s technically one (hence, the makeover). I’m a lazy, fat slob who loves to write with a mental age of 8 and I’m doing my best under the circumstances.

Falling In Love With A Reader

It was a familiar feeling.

People all over the world felt it, but the triggers were different. She too, had felt it before, the very same feeling she felt when he professed to her his love for To Kill A Mockingbird, albeit for other reasons.

 She confessed to laying on her father’s lap as he read Sherlock Holmes to her, unable to discern when the lines above his moving finger separated into words, much like Scout Finch. He never regretted the fact that his parents spent way too much money on picture books, ones that he outgrew by the age of three.

She felt the butterflies flitting haphazardly below her ribcage, a cage too weak to contain her heart as they quoted The Catcher in The Rye in unison.

They’d spend hours foraging through each other’s superfluous bookshelves, that to each of them could never contain their combined, ever growing to-read list. When they were with each other, they just had one fear: of never being able to read all of the books they’d planned to in their endless numbered days.

They spent their holidays sleeping in, quizzing each other on the biographies of their favourite authors. They’d lament at the utter carnage that became of their favourite literature through the movies. They’d mark their favourite lines in each other’s copies of their favourite books in nothing but pencil and leave little annotations bordered by asterisks along the margins.

They gave each other personalised bookmarks as they wondered why “dog ears” weren’t a legal offence. Her favourite was the one of The Great Gatsby.

He told her he wanted to be published one day, but wasn’t sure he’d make it. He shared his writing with her. She said she lived a little every time she read it. She knew he had to make it. She would make it happen. The mere thought that his work would make someone feel the way it had made her, was enough to inspire her.

How did it make her feel? Her days began and ended with him, his thoughts, his words. When he read to her, her head in his lap, she felt safe and was two years old again. When he agreed with her, she felt more confident. When he argued with her, she felt her opinion was worthy of his contradiction. His happiness became her happiness. With, him she felt safe. And he made her heart feel things that only he could ever put into words.

She always feared the day he would stop writing about her.

It was a familiar feeling. She was falling in love.

She was falling in love with a reader.

For when I meet the person who loves To Kill A Mockingbird more than I do.

Why The Oatmeal Should Be On Your Breakfast Menu

I can probably knit the amount of time I’ve wasted this month into a sweater. Size XL.

I didn’t read. I didn’t write. I didn’t hunt for new music. I spent my Internet breaks studying.

And one thing I’ve been studying very very hard, is The Oatmeal. I’d always liked Matthew Inman’s style, but I fervently scrolled through every single comic he’d created and fell a little in love with every single one.

I’ve always had a thing for cartoonists. And their cartoons. That’s pretty evident from lot of Archie Comics (well, Betty and Veronica, to be fair), Asterix, Tintin, Iznogoud and R.K. Laxman books adorning my bookshelf. I like how the best ones are always quirky, imperfect with a lot of personality. And what defines them is the missing pieces they’re looking for.

Cartoons are not shallow. In fact, far from. In my opinion, it’s a lot harder to write humour than any other genre. Cartoons, especially the ones on The Oatmeal are created for social commentary, telling humans what they do. They’re relatable, they’re hilarious. And the element of exaggeration makes you feel relatively good about yourself. Read this to know what I mean.

So, trawling The Oatmeal makes me laugh AND feel better about myself. Which is more than I can say for most things. Is that so bad? Is that really “a waste of time”? When the other “productive” option is trawling my textbooks which to be honest, suck out of me the little knowledge and sanity I could safely claim to possess. Ooh, that reminds me. Read this comic. It holds true. Screw you, HSC.

The reason I’m making grammar errors these days as Christina will confirm, can be credited to a certain English Professor, who is, to put it politely, incompetent. And mentioning said teacher’s name will pollute my blog in a way my writing never could. All I hope is that somewhere in the future, said teacher comes across The Oatmeal’s Grammar Comics, which are what made me discover the site.

Lastly, The Oatmeal is run by Matthew Inman. He draws cartoons and sometimes even cartoons based on himself that look like this:

With some variations, thereof. But you get the idea.

As if his sheer talent wasn’t enough, what if I told you he looked like this:

Yes, The Oatmeal guy is hot. IKR?

And like this:

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Inman.

When I look back at all the things that brought goodness into my life, I’ll think of oatmeal. The Oatmeal.

P.S. They’re not even paying me to do this. That’s how much I love them.

Where I’d Rather Be

Today, I found myself the way I always find myself in the mornings. Clinging on to my pillow for a little bit of extra sleep. It was Saturday and I was only dragging myself to college to return something to a friend before we broke off for the Christmas holidays.

I didn’t need a last day. I’d had a pretty brilliant penultimate day in Junior College and anything following a class Carol Singing victory would be a bit of an anti climax.

But anyway, I went to college only to be greeted by a bunch of friends gravitating towards the finality of it all; the fact that this was the last regular day of Junior College.

I’ve never really been one to live in the moment. I always find myself lost in thoughts of the past and dreams of the future. But today, I kind of did. Until I got home and looked back on all the memories college had given me these past few years and what lay ahead.

Rewind to the start of the First Year. 18th July 2012. There’s me, fresh out of school walking into college with big dreams. I was a little young, a lot more foolish with a silly, quiet confidence whispering I could do anything I set my mind to.

Little did I know as I walked in that some of the best people in the world were huddled among the sea of students in there.

They were so different, each one of them and now they would be identified by a common name. Xavierites.

I’d really like to name them, but I don’t want them to read this. Plus, they know who they are.

Junior College has been a roller coaster for me. And they’ve made the ride worth it. It’s been incredible discovering each of their quirks and fitting into the jigsaw puzzles that they are. From them alone, I’ve learnt so much, literally much more than the not so academically enriching HSC syllabus could ever teach me. For every laugh, every tear and every smile along the way, thank you for that.

Apart from the various life lessons, my teachers taught me a fair bit too. As dissatisfied and whiny as they are with the board syllabus, be it a movie, little extra snippets, memory tricks, they’ve made an effort. Even if they were unsuccessful at times, they’ve provided us laughs, been the butt of a few jokes and I think they’ll make sure that none of us return to Junior College by failing the boards.

College has taught me a lot. I’ve definitely become more street smart, more independent by making the tedious daily bus journey to college and I’ve almost learnt to manage my money. I’ve become more accepting, less judgmental by befriending people from various backgrounds.

I’ve been able to grow, personally. I started writing, properly. I’ve done things I’m proud of. I’ve done stupid things. Sometimes, I’ve done both together. Like the time I randomly walked into the office of Commissioner Of Police of Mumbai asking for an interview to supplement my Sociology project. And I got it!

I’ve taken embarrassing pictures, dropped food on my clothes, fallen down a good half a dozen times and lived up to my klutz name. I’ve embarrassed myself at public speaking events. I could go on here.

The point is, I’ve learnt what I can do and I’ve learnt what I can’t. And I’ve accepted myself.

I always wanted to go abroad and have a good education before my two years at Xavier’s. But now, I just don’t want that. You might argue that lowered ambition isn’t necessarily a good thing. But you know what, it isn’t so bad. I’m happy.

Sure, there’s been a couple of things I would rather not have done, a couple of people I wish I hadn’t known, a couple of days I could have relived.

But if this were a book, it sure as hell was a good one.

And so now I sit here at home and try to put what I feel into words. But I can’t really. I’ve left my heart behind in a world of stone walls and staircase labyrinths and the magic of Harry Potter.

That’s where I am. That’s where I’d rather be.

If I had to fail the boards to do this again with the same people, I wouldn’t. But I would think about it.

On Opening Up

See, I once knew this girl. Let’s call her Tee.

Now, Tee had a secret. She was a bit of an introvert. She’d have trouble opening up.

Why was this a secret? Well, you see, she never showed it. She’d have a lot to say, a lot of emotions at the back of her head, but she kept them to herself. Yes, she talked, she talked a lot. But she talked to fill the silence. She joined in conversations that other people started, seldom initiating any herself. When she did, the content rarely strayed away from the generic, thus managing to keep it all neutral and avoid conflict. Because, all she wanted, was to have friends.

But she didn’t want to have close friends. See, being close friends or best friends implied mutual trust which was built upon by the sharing of secrets, likes and fantasies. But Tee was a little different, unsuited for the time or place she happened to live in. For all she loved, she loved alone. Her preferences were never congruent with those of her friends. And she never had the courage to open up about them.

I mean, sure. They knew what and whom she liked. But that was about it. No one had the time or the inclination to delve deeper into the depths of why what made her happy, made her happy. Either that, or she didn’t let them. Dodging questions, never letting the conversation centre around all that nested in her heart.

Of course, keeping all those emotions locked up is bound to hurt. It’s never nice being at the far end of the metaphorical obtuse triangle that is conversation between friends. She never let her heart talk. That’s what the problem was. Because when you’re the only one who breaks out into a foot tapping rhythm of a Police song while those you call your best friends eye you with a look of bewilderment, as casually as you bring yourself to rest and brush the insanity off, your heart is a little gagged. String a number of such incidents with similar consequences together and your heart is gagged beyond repair. You have to ease up and let it sing. And so, she wrote.

She wrote to let the emotions out, filling her attributes, ideas, wishes and dreams of a future into pages that painted an illustration of beautifully fleshed out characters. Her friends were like, “Wow, Tee writes! And she writes well!”, but never really knew what that entailed, why she did it, how it made her feel.

She crafted the lives of others, to make up for the void in her own.

She made up secrets to make herself more interesting. She stayed by her friends, listened. She joked, she quoted, but about herself, she didn’t say a lot.  And what she didn’t say swirled around in her mind like stardust, making up her thoughts. And the more she didn’t say, the more she thought. The more she thought, the more she wrote. And when she didn’t write, all she could do was feel the tears stream down her face.

And like all she loved, she shed her tears alone. Afraid of emotion. Afraid of opening up. Afraid of letting someone in. Afraid that someone would see the intricacies and disdain and envy and loneliness of a writer’s heart.

Every tear, every frown, every real, unforced smile, every childish giggle, every innocent, raw emotion often feigned to a shadow of itself stayed locked up inside and adorned the faces of her characters instead of her own.

How often have you heard this?

Emotions are for the weak.

Well, I’ve heard it far too much and I couldn’t disagree more.

Like Tee herself, I’ve never been one to open up easily, to let people in, to trust. I don’t show emotion much. I don’t rush into love. I don’t cry when confronted with the news of death.

And that’s not strong. That’s weak. That’s running away from emotion. That’s escapism.

People who cry, who show they’ve been hurt, who trust despite having been cheated, who love despite the risk of heartbreak, people who let themselves be cracked open from time to time, they’re strong.

When, we’re broken, we let our hearts out in different ways. Tee wrote.

And though her friends read what she wrote, fell in love with her characters and remained faithful spectators to their lives, they never realised that it was her they were looking at.

When Write Went Wrong: My Writing Journey

The joy of writing seems to have escaped me these past few weeks.

I can’t for the life of me sit down, uncap that damn pen and do a lot more than watch my opening sentence get encroached upon by vile meaningless doodles.

As I watched the drafts pile up and the untitled posts multiply, I reach out and close the WordPress tab, switching to Tumblr or Youtube instead.

Call it just another case of writer’s block, but I can’t seem to pen down anything that I find remotely satisfactory. The more I try, the more disappointed I am in myself.

I had to avoid feeling inadequate. So I tried to escape writing, to avoid it.

I started to put off writing. Soon, my priorities changed and other things took up my writing time. That didn’t make me feel any better. And I knew exactly why. I was escaping my escape.

That could be me.

I started looking for reasons to start writing again. I went through this blog, which I’ve maintained for almost a year now. And I found a few.

1. It’s the longest I’ve persevered with a blog. I’ve had several other blogs with sporadic, half hearted posts that I’ve started and stopped with not so much as a glimmer of hesitation. But when the thought of deleting this blog crossed my mind, I felt sadder than I’d care to admit. And that’s reason enough to continue. 

2. I’ve got better.  Admittedly, I’m no cousin of Shakespeare and my writing isn’t worthy of being published. But, looking back at my old posts, stories, poems and essays, I’m both embarrassed and thrilled to see how much I’ve grown as a writer. I mean, my improvement (at least to me) seems remarkable. If there’s one thing I know about writing, the more you do it, the better you get as long as you stay true to yourself. If writing more and more is going to get me to I-can-do-this-for-money quality, I sure am trying it (not to mention the fact that I can’t do much else). 

3. I actually love it. This admittedly, should be reason enough for me to continue. You fall out of love with things for a little while, have a little friction, have a bit of trouble. When this happens, it helps to take a break (a proper one, not the Rachel-and-Ross-I’ll-hold-it-against-you-for-the-rest-of-your-life kind). And all the while, you know you love them. And you know you can love them again. Because nothing makes you feel the same. 

4. I’m getting more confident. My blog is something I want everyone to see, but don’t want to show it to anyone. I’ve always been a rather private person about my deepest feelings. It’s actually hard to explain. I’m not afraid of criticism, it just feels like I’m being exposed, I’m vulnerable. I think it is because I really do love writing and my writing is the most honest expression of myself. For example, the things I’ve said here have never and will never be uttered in real life. I still don’t tell people about my blog until they ask and don’t share my writing with people I know unless they stumble upon it. But when someone I know tells me my work is good, it feels good. And that makes me want to do it better.

5. It’s my home. Writing is where I come to at the end of a bad day. When something is bothering me, I type out everything  I’m feeling about it on a word document (in single words, a lot of them four letter swear words, no need for eloquence here) and delete it. It actually helps clear your mind about it. Sometimes, it’s easy. Sometimes, I can just sit back and watch my sentences become paragraphs. At other times, it’s not so forgiving to labouriously craft a couple of sentences and give up. But it’s always been there. It’s my therapy. Yes, it’s uncooperative and unyielding at times. It’s where I feel safe, sound and loved. It’s where I feel at home.

MY WRITING JOURNEY

I also looked at why I write. Apart from the fact that I’m worse at most other things than I’d care to admit, I like to write.

My writing journey began with my reading one. I was introduced to books at a young age by my parents and fell in love with them immediately. I learnt to read faster than most of my friends and was allowed to read more advanced books by the librarian in Year One, much to the awe and envy of my classmates (*brag alert*). I developed a vivid imagination and it led me to read more and search for more words to express myself. I was always told that I had a gift for writing. It was something I took for granted at the time. I just wrote when I was forced to, for school, for a speech someone wanted or stories people wanted to send in for contests (Yes, I wrote the stories and they took the credit). But it didn’t worry me, because, I wrote very half heartedly. When I started blogging, I still didn’t put my all into my expression.

My writing as I know it now, took life nearly a year ago, last December. I took a three day trip with my family to Coorg. It was one of those experiences you can never really forget and you never really want to. It was one of those crossroads where you feel the inspiration run through your bones like never before.When I returned, everyone urged me to write a review of my stay. And that was well received by my relatives and became the first post on my blog. It’s quite long and in hindsight, badly written, but if you’re interested, you can read it here. I can say though, I’ve never been more inspired than that till date.

I feel a bouquet of beautiful feelings that drive me to write. Two are very potent and easy to explain. One, is reading what you’ve written a while ago and marvelling at your ability to create sentences like that. The second is my favourite. It is the feeling that you are giving life to your characters, your settings. It involves creating something that is your own. And I think that’s beautiful.

A WRITING TIP

For anyone who’s feeling uninspired, this quote always helps me.

Write.
Write more.
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
Keep writing.

Brian Clark

I think writers should write something original everyday. It could be a couple of chapters; it could be a grocery list; it could be a phrase. But it should be yours.

I am writing today. Yay!

Writing about writing seemed like a good way to come back.

Yours,

CP

Questionnaire: Booklist

While I’ve been having some trouble writing recently, my friend Nia‘s been on quite a roll. So, I decided to steal this post template from her.

1 – The best book you read last year:

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

It made me cry, smile, marvel at literary brilliance and look into the hearts of people who view life as a privilege and not a right.

2 – A book you’ve read more than 3 times:

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

Convenient sort of plot, but very enjoyable.

3 – Your favourite series:

This is hard. It would probably be a tie between:

a) The Sherlock Holmes Series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These stories encapsulate a good amount of my childhood reading list. Apart from the fact that I would one day marry Holmes, I appreciate Conan Doyle’s unparalled ability to concoct an enjoyable story with literary panache.

b) Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series. I just can’t get enough of those books no matter what the critics say.

4 – A guilty pleasure book:

I would say The Girl’s Quartet by Jacqueline Wilson. I honestly feel those books were written just for me. I can totally relate to the protagonist, Ellie.

5 – A book that made you laugh:

Wodehouse always makes me laugh.

I recently read ‘A Year In The Merde’ by Stephen Clarke which was surprisingly delivered more hilarity than it promised to.

6 – A book that made you cry:

The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

7 – Most underrated book:

The Diary Of Anne Frank.

8 – Most overrated book:

I might get slaughtered for saying this, but it probably would be The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. At the time I read it, a lot of my friends and a lot of random people on the internet went on about how it was the best book ever which left me expecting a lot. It was very good, but not as good as I had hoped. So, more than anything, I guess I was disappointed.

9 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving:

The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor.

10 – Favorite classic book:

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

11 – A book you hated:

The first one that springs to mind is Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I read it because it was popular and couldn’t persevere further with the series (especially now that I hear Twilight is apparently the best book of them).

12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore:

Clean Break by Jacqueline Wilson. I wouldn’t say I’ve outgrown it completely, but it’s fallen a few ranks in my booklist.

13 – Your favorite author:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

14 – Favorite male character:

Sherlock Holmes, undoubtedly.

I also had a soft spot for Carl Johnson from Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson.

And Tariq from A Thousand Splendid Suns.

15 – Favorite female character:

Anna Karenina.

Irene Adler (fueled by envy, but justified).

16 – Your biggest fictional crush:

Sherlock Holmes.

17 – A good quick read:

The Catcher In The Rye.

18 – A book that disappointed you:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.

19 – Favorite book-to-movie conversion:

The Sherlock Holmes movies starring Jeremy Brett do justice to the books. I don’t think I’ll ever think of the new age Sherlock played by Benedict Cumberbatch as anything but classic slaughter, although I am taking a liking to him.

20 – Favorite romance:

Tariq and Laila in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Oliver and Jenny in Love Story by Erich Segal.

Carl and Sylvie in Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson.

Sherlock Holmes and me. (I might write that).

21 – Favorite book from your childhood:

My Asterix Collection by Goscinny and Uderzo and probably some Enid Blyton series.

22 – A book you can’t wait for:

The Winds of Winter- George R. R. Martin.

23 – A book you’ve been meaning to read for ages:

The Picture Of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde.

24 – A book that you wish more people would read:

To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee.

25 – Character you are most similar to:

Ellie from the Girls Quartet by Jacqueline Wilson. I’m actually quite similar to Jacqueline herself.

26 – A book that changed your opinion about something:

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It made me realise that freedom is not synonymous with happiness and sometimes, you have to give up one in need to realise the other.

27 – Most surprising plot twist or ending:

Ender’s Game- Orson Scott Card. Whoa!

28 – Favorite book title:

How To Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You- The Oatmeal.

29 – A book everyone hated but you liked:

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

30 – Your favorite book OF ALL TIME:

To Kill A Mockingbird-Harper Lee

The Sherlock Holmes Series- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

So, you can get the questions here.

Happy Reading,

CP.

Vintage Dreams: 7 Pointless Pursuits

I’ve always had a soft spot for the vintage, be it literature, music or the photo filter.

You’ll find my bookshelf and reading preferences favouring the classics or stories set before and in the mid 20th century. I do read my fair share of contemporary literature, but there seems to be a pattern: these books will rarely find themselves a spot in my top ten, unless they’re exceptional.

An oldie at heart with a penchant for tea over coffee, and a preference for the scent of old books rather than the new (yes!), you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that my music collection is heavily interjected by the tunes of the 60’s, 70’s, ’80s and other music before the millennium. Of course, you will find a lot of 21st century music as well, but it doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out which ones I prefer.

Yes, I’m an enigma; trapped between the ages. The fast pace of life sometimes tends to cut me off from the part of me in a Sepia frame. Sometimes, I just wished I owned a few pieces of memorabilia to remind me where I am, where I want to be. Here are seven obsolete, pointless pursuits to cater to the girl trapped in another time.

1. A Typewriter:

 When it occurs to me that most of my favourite books took shape on a machine like this, you can’t blame an aspiring writer for coveting one. Pointless as it may seem, I want to own a typewriter, try my hand at typing a few pieces of writing on it to feel like my favourite writer at work. Who knows, it might just help my writing.

Of course I wouldn’t look so photogenic, but what the hell.

2. A Gramophone:

Being a music lover and having listened to a record being played on one, you can’t help but feeling less cool for not owning one. The cool bit isn’t what I care about, really. I just want to listen to the Beatles the way they listened to themselves.

Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles is the first thing I’ll play. I don’t know why, but it just is.

3. Vinyl Records:

It goes without saying that a gramophone calls for vinylisation of my music collection. This would be hard, and rather expensive. With my music collection, it’ll take up an entire room and then some. But when I dream of waking up to my drawers filled with systematically arranged vinyl records, it so seems worth it.

Ah! Heaven.

4. A Vintage Telephone:

Yes, the dial up kind. I don’t even know why I want this. I have an irrational aversion to speaking on the phone and totally prefer texting; it’s why it was invented. Not to mention the countless suspense scenes in classic movies that revolve around the instrument. You may think I need help, but this is the very instrument that could help me get over my aversion to phone conversation and maybe add the much needed spice to my mundane life.

This should go well with all that other stuff.

5. A Vintage Bicycle:

A Vintage Bike in Mumbai. Before you go on about how the air would leave me in bed in a couple of days, let me remind you that I don’t think I even remember how to ride a bike. They say it’s one of those things you never forget, but I haven’t done it in 5 years. It would be one of those bikes with a basket and I’d ride around feeling like Summer straight out of 500 Days of Summer and I’d forget that I may actually look like a potato.

Watch out world! I’m coming!

6. A Vintage Dress:

I can almost feel myself not caring about how dated I look wearing a vintage dress. Okay, even I’m not crazy enough to carry it off in public. But it seems a far more economical and culturally feasible pursuit than the rest, what, with Vintage clothing being in vogue every other season. I’ll buy one and then I’ll host a costume party, just to get some use out of it. Oh! Oh! I can play my vinyl records at the party. Atleast it will drive away what I like least about parties…people.

Yeah, no I can’t look like that. Not even with flowers in my hair.

7. A Vintage Ink Pen

That’s what you get when you put together a stationery freak, a writer and a lover of the ancient. Until recently, all my posts and everything I’ve written started as handwritten first drafts; scrawls of ink across crumpled, deformed paper. I just never could get the thoughts out well enough by just typing them. I’ve got the hang of it now but I still write my stories and poems by hand first. So, this is a very special pursuit and quite readily available and feasible. (Gift hint!) As crazy about stationery as I’ve always been, nothing hits the spot better than a thick piece of yellowed, faded paper and an old fountain pen. Even I’m sensible enough not to covet the old quill and ink, but I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. Maybe it’s just my aversion to birds.

And that’s where I end and begin.

Call me crazy, but the day I get these, that will be a good day.

Do you have any quirky pursuits on your wish list? Tell me about them in the comments below.