Thursday, 26 May 2016

Songs of the mist: Spiritual

***Spoiler Alert***
The writing and the quotes were so deep that shows how much one should have dug into self realization to write such a book. I am only reviewing the book and not commenting on spirituality or divinity. This is just a few remarks on the beautiful thoughts and insights shared by the author which has touched me and inspired me and given me a few moments of peace of and clarity while reading the book. I hope that it lasts forever.

"When the living gets unburdened with needs and desires, the life becomes simple and easy to carry."We all have so much to do in the short span of time, but we never really are sure what we are doing and why we are doing it. We just follow what is being done for generation to generation. We don't even find the time to stop and think for a second. When we look back at our life towards the end, we realize that we have been running a race without noticing that we were on the wrong track.
I am not a big fan of spiritual books or divinity for that matter, but I must say that I was really looking forward to reading this book and the author didn't fail to impress me in anyway. I was so entranced in the story that I was reading even while travelling in bus, something that I normally don't prefer doing.

I am not going to analyse the characters in detail here but instead I shall share a few thoughts that popped up in my mind while reading this story. The line of narration along with the varied characters threw a new light in the area of story telling. When it comes to books like these (Spirituality, philosophy or divinity), the author is burdened with the responsibilities of getting the readers' attention. They have a high risk of going off track from the story and concentrating too much on the theme of their book that will end up fetching a snore or two from the readers. This book on the other hand was quite interesting and the deviation from the story to the message that was bound to be conveyed was very subtle. Although towards the end I felt that the discussion on love and life was getting out of hands. There are a few pet peeves about this book like there were one too many metaphors here and there, and a few sentences were way too long to follow the thought process of the author. Ayan's search for the Monk from his dreams was left incomplete. But these can be excused when you are presented with a fulfilling story and a pressing message.

A few quotes from the book that I loved and would like to refer to...."To really live, one has to break the shackles of time which contains one to doing things in a limited way.""To make lasting memories, it is important to be within that moment, with the whole of your awareness involving all your senses rather than get distracted by being involved in actions, like taking pictures.""You don't grab the air that's slipping through your fingers."

The eccentric character Kyaka came off as a cool tribal girl who heals Ashutosh's wounds. Her part in the book was very little compared to the protagonist she was trying to make an impact on, but I'd say that she played a vibrant role that leads the readers to speculation. It makes one wonder if she was real or his apparition. Ashutosh's old life had left him with a daughter he wasn't aware of. But his last words in the book saying "Kyaka lives with me" was a shocking surprise that was in store for the readers. 

Now, I am not going to say this book brings God to you or makes you look at spirituality in a whole other angle, because that is something you should experience and realize for yourself. But I will say that if you want to try and understand the inner divinity and the true meaning of life, look no further, you start with this book. 

The three stars is not because the book is only okay, it is because I am not wise enough to understand the mystical ways of life yet. When I reach that point in my life, I shall read this again and I am sure it will be so popular by then that my five stars may not even matter.

P.S: Thanks a lot to the author and Goodreads for the book.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Tom Boy

It was raining. We were sitting in the cafeteria on the terrace. Class was over before the scheduled time so that the students can reach home safe before it started pouring. Few of the students took this opportunity and left even before our teacher could announce that the class was coming to an end. So it was only me, Shalini and Sabrina in the cafeteria, enjoying the after-class mirchi bajji in the cold weather. Shalini was busy copying previous day's notes and asking questions to Sabrina that would make her wonder why she stayed back after class.

"Did mam teach how to use articles with respect to adjectives yesterday?", asked a curious Shalini. I didn't want to be the geek and answer that question and invite glares from Sabrina. Sabrina said, "Just copy the damn notes." Shalini pouted for a while and went back to writing. She was so engrossed in it that she didn't notice Sabrina eating her bajji. We had some tea while we waited for it to stop raining. Sabrina and I got to talking about some random stuff to kill time. Shalini was sitting on the one side of the table and Sabrina and I on the other side.

Sabrina was short, fair and skinny. I still remember the first day I saw her. Sincere girl that I am, I reached early to class on the first day. So early that no one was there in the whole building except me and the guy who issued books. I collected my books from him and sat in the class. The class room had too many charts and sheets with German words in colors for beginners. I was wearing a black top and jeans complemented by a pony tail. I wanted to look like a student on my first day though I look like a student on every other day. I waited for someone to show up early although I knew it was too early to expect anyone. Only crazy nerds show up one hour early to a class. As time passed by, a little girl came in. She was wearing a cool T-shirt and jeans and had a backpack. But that wasn't the first thing I noticed about her. It was her hair. Everyone I know is fascinated by long hair on girls. Not to be immodest or anything, I have straight long hair that falls till my waist oh-so-beautifully. But I always hated it. It is very tough to maintain and I am not exaggerating here. You need at least two sachets of shampoo and two hours of your precious time to wash it every time. Ufff! So tiring to even talk about it. This girl had a cool look with the boy cut and her black shell framed spectacles made her short stature look cuter. She looked at her watch on her right hand as she saw me sitting in the front bench early in the morning. She looked at me again and held her glance for a second longer than needed. She might have thought that I had no better job than to show up to class so early. She realized that I was getting conscious of her staring so she quickly came in and sat beside me and kept her bag on the table. She looked at her watch again. I think she was getting anxious on her first day.

I said, "It is five seconds past the last time you checked."
She smiled and extended her hand, "Hi, I am Sabrina." I told her my name and we exchanged the usual courtesies like "nice to make your acquaintance." After that we maintained an awkward silence that every person experiences after meeting someone new. A tall guy got rushed in, saw us and stopped at the entrance. Some guys can't handle two girls at a time.
He saw the books in our hands and pointed at them, "Where do I get those books?"
I said, "These books? You can get it only from us."
Sabrina giggled and said to him, "Down the hall, take a right."
He frowned at me and left the room. Aah, who cares! I was sitting there, bored, for too long. I had no choice but to pull his leg.
Sabrina looked at me and we smiled at each other. Back to awkwardness again. Then we got back to our mobiles to disturb the fortunate people who had the luxury of sleeping late on that bright morning. Two more guys came in and placed themselves in the corner seats, as far as possible from us girls. Shy guys I tell you! Then Shalini came in. She was my friend from college and I knew she had enrolled for this class. She came straight to our table and sat in front of us.
"Hey, When did you come?"
"I came half an hour back."
"Huh? For what?"
"They said that we had to come early to get the books. They didn't say how early we should come. So I came as early as possible." I was blabbering in my sleep. Kill me kill me now.
Sabrina giggled again. Shalini turned to her and they showed off with the English courtesies. From that day on, Sabrina, Shalini and I were terrorizing the class with our comments and Shalini's brains of course. We formed a group on Whatsapp too to torture our classmates after going home. Sabrina messaged me everyday and I really enjoyed her company.

"When will it stop raining?", Sabrina asked, sipping her tea. She was desperate to go home. Shalini usually drops her home but that day she stayed back to learn the lessons she missed.
"I just messaged Varuna Bhagwan (God of rain) asking him to make the sun shine till you reach home safe."
She exasperated. She finished her tea and got up. She was pacing back and forth. I held her hand and stopped her from walking as I couldn't hear what she was speaking. We were talking about work, her least favorite subject. She changed the topic. "So tell me about your crush."
"So if you don't want to talk about work you will start something ridiculous?"
"Tell me. Come on."
"You asked me that because you have a crush on someone. Who is it?"
"I don't have a crush on anyone", she answered instantly.
"You were up last night till 2 AM."
"How did you know that? So you too were up till 2 AM."
"There is something called 'last seen' on Whatsapp. You should check that."
"Oh yeah", she blushed. "First you tell me. Don't be shy."
"I am not shy. I am engaged."
"Why are you shocked? I shouldn't be? Do I look like a prospective nun to you?"
"No.. Sorry. I just didn't expect that."
"Neither did I", I winked.
"Ahan....", she winked back."So what is he doing?"
"Naah-uh. I am tired of answering that. Enough about me. Tell me about your guy." I pulled her to the chair near mine and was swinging her hand as I spoke.
"Look who is shy now", I teased her.
"I am not shy. It's not a guy." She looked at me with puppy eyes and a naughty smile on her lips. Abruptly, I stopped swinging her hand.
"I am a lesbian." That did it. I just left her hand. Her hand dropped on the table. She looked convincingly hurt.
"Oh I am sorry. I didn't mean to react that way. I hope that wasn't offensive."
She laughed, "No, it wasn't. You are visibly shocked. Tit for tat."
"Oh! So you were kidding?" I might have sounded relieved but I didn't want it to come out that way.
"No I wasn't."
"Oh." I didn't know what to say. What do you say to a little girl who says she is not a heterosexual? I am sugarcoating it here for narrative purposes. She said what she said. There was an awkward silence again and she was amused by my reaction. None of these words diverted Shalini from her notes. For God's sake, a girl was declaring her sexual orientation to me for the first time and Shalini was sitting right across me, drowned in books. I could have used some help there you know. Poor me.

Anyway, I was happy that Varuna Bhagwan heard my silent cries and stopped the rain. Shalini and Sabrina left home. I went home and sent a text to Sabrina saying I was sorry that I reacted that way and asked her why she confessed to me. She said I was friendly to her and that she really liked me. I was beginning to get uncomfortable. I asked what was going on. That is when she texted back saying, "You have beautiful eyes. I love your eyes.” I didn't like where this was going. "And I have a crush on you."