Friday, November 25

Que tal ?!!

Hola amigos! Como estais?

(= Hello friends! How are you’all? And que tal is wassup?!!)

All right, all right… I know I’ve turned into one lazy, boring bum… All my blogs contain are book reviews, stories about romance or heartbreak, and a few odd bits in between.

I’m sorry. I’ve just had no time to do anything else these last few weeks (months?)

My days are tumbling into each other, and trust me when I say that I have been doing little else apart from what my routine dictates… Which basically means work 10 hours a day between Monday and Friday, spend half the remaining time on Facebook, and divide the other half among activities like reading books, watching TV (barely), sleeping, yakking on the phone, listening to music, going for my Spanish class, watching movies and hanging out with a select bunch of buddies.

Ahem, sounds like a lot when I jot it down, but doesn’t mean it ain’t predictable.

Soooo… that’s how it is… And while I have no dearth of fun, I sure have my work cut out on a daily basis.

Come to think of it, I’m quite bored about most things that I used to love earlier. Parties don’t excite me, the films that release these days are utterly frustrating (read Rockstar and Desi Boyz). I am not so elated when it comes to either ice creams (Baskin Robbins / Gelato) or food (Italian / Chinese / Thai / South Indian / North Indian)… Get the drift? I guess I’ve relished and overdone all of the above, so now very few things get me jumping.

Of course, travel is still high on the ever-ready list, but I don’t get to engage in it, coz weekdays are workdays and I don’t like using my leave balance much, and weekends are dedicated to Spanish, so that’s that.

Coffee is another evergreen wow. Costa, Mocha and CCD have thus become my fav hangouts.

Life’s not bad, but life could certainly be better. I’m enjoying reading Anita Nair’s “Mistress”, and I make the most of my weekends by catching up on movies (Breaking Dawn this weekend!) and visiting malls (Phoenix is hugggggggeeee!)

Work has become monotonous to an extent despite my trying to fire things up. One of those phases where nothing new happens and whatever does, doesn’t succeed. I’ve, however, crossed an important milestone – I no longer let people’s opinions about me hamper my relationships or alter my actions or choices. As long as I know that the people who matter don’t misunderstand me, I’m happy doing what I want without caring what others think. Gladly, it’s brought about a positive change in most people, so no complaints / regrets.

Went to Mumbai 2 weeks ago for my brother’s birthday. 11-11-11. Broke my glasses. Met my nephew. Had a pretty decent time. I don’t really like Bombay much. Home is where the heart is, and I’ve grown to love Pune. Been here all along, somehow every effort of mine to desert this city have been thwarted, so methinks Pune adores me too much to let me go… It’s now mutual…

Not that I approve or appreciate Pune being bandh coz Sharad Pawar got rightfully slapped in Delhi. Politics and corruption can be dealt with in no milder way.

Kolaveri di, Sachin’s 100th century that was not to be, and Abhi-Ash’s baby girl are making news. But obviously you all know about it, so there’s nothing new that I can add. I hate news anyway.

Simply put… I don’t know what else to write about for now… So, leme introduce myself in Spanish (and show off my newly acquired language skills as well! After all, I’m top of my class and the centre of attention and translation / comprehension!)

Buenas tardes! Me llamo Anuja soy india. Trabajo en IBM. Soy entrenador. Vivo en Pune y mis favorites colores son azul, blanco y rosa. Mis amigos son Deepti, Porky, Bloody Angrez etc. Mi cumpleanos es el veintitres de Julio y soy Leo. Tengo veintiseis anos. Hablo ingles, marathi, hindi, un poco punjabi, aleman y espanol. Estudio espanol en SIFIL. Soy alta y rica, ni soy baja ni fea. Yo prefiero cerveza y vino. Mis aficiones son nadar, escuchar a music, cantar y leer. Me gusta mi vida.

(Figure that out yourselves, my lovelies! Ain’t gona spoon-feed and translate for you!!)

As a parting shot, let me share with you some amazing lines that I read in Mistress… I hope you like them as much as I did… If you don’t, that’s ok as well…

“Trust me. That is all I ask of you. And trust your intelligence. Don’t let someone else decide for you what is within your reach or what is beyond you.”

“Love lives in the present. All else is memory and hope.”

“… stirring in me much of what I have steeled myself to never feel again.”

“I feel nothing for him except perhaps a habitual annoyance”

“… and then it occurs to me why I would never ask Shyam for the moon. I hate having to ask.”

A successful artist isn’t always a good artist or even a happy one.

Cliches are clich├ęs because they are true

“… born with noble blood… could have been heroes… instead they let their dissatisfaction with their destinies curdle their minds, and so they turned out arrogant, evil…”

“You cannot make someone see the truth unless they want to.”

“… with arms that do not touch… with only his eyes… he lets her know he desires her… his smile gathers her in his arms…”

“Learning to like Shyam requires an effort that neither of us wants to make. He makes it so much easier for us to dislike him. Though there are others that think differently. What do they see in him that we don’t?”

“How perfectly they complement each other… There is grief in this, I can already see it happen.”

“I don’t know why I’m doing this. I am not impulsive. But something about you makes me want to be. I’m not questioning my impulse, perhaps neither should you…”

“I knew I shouldn’t stay yet I didn’t want him to be the one to want to leave.”

“His face lights up. Hers, too. And I feel a darkness cloud my eyes.”

“I couldn’t rob an experience from her even if was a mistake.”

“I do not know if what he has told me was to ease his burden or mine.”

“It had been easy to play the valorous hero in front of others. Alone, he had no disguise to hide behind.”

“You will know when you’re ready. Only you can decide that.”

“It is the nature of children to never allow their parents their youth, mistakes or fears.”

“People make mistakes. There is nothing wrong in admitting you made one. But to continue making that mistake, now that is wrong.”

Hasta luego!

Yours truly :-)

Princess

Friday, November 18

Now reviewing …

“I’m not twenty-four…I’ve been nineteen for five years…” by Sachin Garg, the author of “It’s First Love”.

Thus proclaims the cover of the second book I received to review by Blogadda last week.

(Thanks, Harish and team. Awesome initiative!!)

I’ve never heard of “It’s First Love” and I have no clue about Sachin Garg. My hopes were not too high, given that the genre was fiction (read chic-flick), and most small-time/new authors tend to have very limited imagination and vocabulary.

Sounds biased and discriminating? Well, it actually paves the perfect way for me to be pleasantly surprised.

Alas, this was not that time…

Like the first book I got from Blogadda - “The Ineligible Bachelors” by Ruchita Misra – it was a fairly decent effort. While not on my list of top 50 reads, it was certainly not a complete waste of time.

But let’s talk about “I’m not 24…” now.

Garg has gone to great measures to title every chapter and personalize the book. I believe he could have used that time more productively to come up with a plot that was more captivating. I am not sure if this book is a biography – apparently somebody related this story to the writer, who in turn made it into a book, by retaining the tale and changing the names. Either way, it leaves much to be desired in terms of uniqueness and un-put-down-able-ness.

Let me say this at the cost of breaking a few hearts and trashing a few dreams – everybody’s life may have a story, but not everyone’s story can make it to the shelf.

But let me tell you a little more about the story before I tell you my assessment of it…

The novel tells us about Saumya, a regular Delhi belle, who has hopes and wishes akin any other regular cosmopolitan-city-dweller. Her world turns topsy-turvy when her job leads her to a godforsaken place far away from civilization. She intermittently hates the place and likes it, and experiences her share of surprises and shocks. Until finally, she falls in love.

Not bad at all, was my thought as I turned the first few pages. I was reliving my own story – my elation at being placed with Tata Motors at the end of my M.A. in Psychology at Pune University, replaced with confusion coz I was expected to work in varied departments before I finally chose what job profile I’d like to settle in. Not entirely the same as Saumya’s MBA placement, but pretty much analogous.

The straightforward narrative and simple language ensured that the book was a quick read.

(Being me, I would obviously prefer more ornate English and a higher level of maturity. Yet, I can’t blame the author for this, as the intended, I’m guessing, teenage audience would probably find it more relevant and relate-able.)

As I grope for positive things to write about, I recall Saumya and Vartika’s true friendship, Saumya’s honest bursts of emotion and observation, and the concept called Malappa. Quite charming.

Giving out more details about the above would not be right, so let me tell you about what didn’t work for me. The Mills and Boons kinda sex part grossed me out – it’s not everyone’s cuppa tea to write with finesse about something as sensitive as erotica, that too, in a teenage novel. Also, I did not appreciate the condescending statements made about the learning and development fraternity. But let’s forgive the writer’s prerogatives…

The protagonist’s outrage at her work location and dress code were described competently, while the gory organizational mishaps left a bad taste in the mouth. No doubt intentionally, so that we could empathize with Saumya and her woe.

Enter Shubhro, and the story takes a turn for the better. The way he is portrayed, it’s tough to not like him. A couple of times while reading, I caught myself wanting to know more about the intriguing Shubhro and his “Move On Theory” than about Saumya’s predictable feelings and reactions.

Saumya is charmed by this young man, and as things turn out, he’s crazy about her as well. Happy love stories are still in vogue. Or not…

To be fair to the author, I’m going to stop my re-telling of the story here.

What I’m certainly going to tell you is that the book has both, pieces that can be skipped and those that can be re-read. How you judge Garg’s effort, would be based on your exposure to the world of books. As Anita Nair’s “Mistress” lies on my bookshelf halfway read, “I’m not 24” pales in its magnificence.

Garg could fare better if he worked a little on his writing technique and language. A more impactful story would make the reader “feel” … and that’s the real victory of an writer…

Obviously, the plot has to have some merit. And something distinctive from the run of the mill fables and yarns.

Simply put, “I’m not 24” is not a must-read by any standards, but a day’s timepass if you fall short of reading material.

Back to “Mistress”… !!! Woohoooo !!

Cheerio!
Princess

Monday, November 14

Secrets Untold

Smith wed Veena a little before his 33rd birthday.

He had broken up with Elena, his girlfriend for 7 years, a year ago. They made a lovely couple, Elena and he, everyone had said.

But not everything is meant to last.

Time had brought Smith and Elena together, and it was time that had driven them apart. So much so, that the last time they had met, there was nothing common between them, nothing to talk about.

They used to chat for hours earlier, spend days in each other’s company, talking about their agreeable married life together. And it had all vanished. Without a trace. Memories lingered, but they fade with time. As both had discovered.

If not truly discovered, at least forcefully convinced themselves.

He thought her stubbornness was to blame. She said it was not exciting anymore to be with him.

Whatever the trigger, Smith and Veena were now pronounced man and wife.

Did Smith love his spouse as much he had Elena?

How did it matter? They weren’t together anymore – said Elena’s friends.

Elena thought differently. “So what if it doesn’t matter directly”, she said to herself, “I know that he felt for me in a way that he’ll never feel for anyone else ever again.”

Elena was hurt when Smith did not invite her for his wedding. Maybe it was a good thing, considering it would be an uncomfortable and difficult day for the both of them. But Elena expected something more personal, after all, they had spent 7 years together, first as colleagues, then friends and finally lovers who squabbled and romanced as most couples are wont to do.

She wanted to believe that Smith thought about her every now and then. She wanted to believe that he missed her, though she was completely sure he would never contact her. That was one obvious thing about Smith – he was fiercely loyal and would never jeopardize another’s faith and his character.

Elena wanted to know if Smith was happy…

"Are you, Smith?"

No one would ever know.

Coz some secrets stay hidden forever…

- Princess

Friday, November 4

The Most Eligible Bachelor(ette)

No, I aint her.

Don’t wana be either.

Can’t deal with all the compromises and pretensions that come with being the most “eligible”.

The expectations that people in the community have are endless, and to live up to each one of them is downright impossible.

It’s amusing how a woman is asked to “adjust” and “give in” when a male suitor comes her way, but the guy is free to reject if the girl does not match up to his hopes and ideas.

Hypocrisy to the core!

This coming from people who are well-educated and worldly-wise… Haa! Joke of the decade, eh? Make it century… millennium even.

All of us by now are aware that guys can gallivant and philander all they want with so called “bad” and “modern” girls, but when looking out for a spouse, they go by what their mummies and aunties, uncles and daddies say. The guy might drink and smoke like there’s no tomorrow, but when they assess a girl, she has to be pure vegetarian and dress traditionally.

WTF?

Given, quite a few men and families are now quite “liberal”, but girls are still reared to expect that men might dither and deviate sometime or the other, but they’re supposed to be accepting and tolerant, and even supportive in his endeavours, come what may. Their own lives, personal or professional, has to take a backseat when the man wishes or requires so.

Reminds me of Mona Lisa Smile. The movie that aptly portrays how Wellesly girls are not really being educated to pursue a career, but merely groomed as in finishing schools so that they may one day become some career-oriented gentleman’s wife and partner. She cannot expect anything and has to make do with everything that her hubby can provide or spare her.

Ridiculous!

But hell, that’s the way it is… Be it a movie set in 1954 or the real 21st century.

I pride myself on not being the regular Marwari girl with oil in her hair, modestly attired, looking pretty and cooking well for every unwanted guest that plans to spend a month at her mother’s place, just so that her reputation as a kind, homely girl can do the rounds and win her some matrimonial proposals from some grouchy boys and their families.

No sirree.

I have a personality and a life of my own, and I am not afraid to dream, expect and demand. So what if it makes me notorious in society? At least I would be a known devil to whosoever deems me a possible companion. Not that there aren’t any. But their passion and liveliness, honesty and wisdom has to match up to my own. Tough, not impossible.

(I hope!)

I look at people, often women, who are living someone else’s interpretation of life, and it saddens me no end. To not be free to even imagine a life for yourself, to be unable to experiment with life and learn from your own mistakes, it’s such a pity! And what’s worse, these folks don’t even realise it!

I’m not here to change the world. I’m not here to teach people how to live. I’m not here to do anything that I don’t want to do.

But I know there are people out there who could certainly benefit from a lecture or two!

I look at them and smile. I see their vulnerabilities and disguises and ache to share the power of being unique and strong.

Am I unique and strong?

As much as I allow myself to be.

I falter, we all do.

The trick is to not give up.

The trick is to give yourself the freedom to explore and to forgive yourself when you seemingly err.

The most eligible bachelorette – I could never be her.

The most bestest person I can ever be – I’m being her.

Almost every moment of every day.

And if it doesn’t please you…

Too bad.

Cheerio!
Princess