Note to Self

The fortress stands secluded, far removed from everyone, everything. Remote. With the doors closed, there's perfect isolation. Access denied. But the window makes the reverse impossible: the Sun pours in with it's happiness, the moon, calmness.

The fortress stands safe, secure. Nothing is allowed to infiltrate. That which is disease outside, becomes cure inside. The very thing that maims and weakens transforms into my strength and solace. Roles reverse, countenance changes. An inversion of personality.

The fortress, though an illusion, makes what is real surface. Such is the irony. But that is what makes it so special. The fortress is a catalyst. It's more than just bricks and stones. Refuge.

It is difficult to say which derives meaning from who. Whether it's me, defining and creating the fortress and taking it to something extraordinary or the fortress itself, instigating everything, instilling the protective emotions. Maybe it's a mutual existence, a fortunate one.

The fortress stands, comfortable for the lone owner.

Pantene Nature Fusion Indiblogger Meet a.k.a. Girls' Day Out

I became a part of the Indiblogger family in the summer of 2012. As I made myself familiar with the names and the works, I wondered what it would be like to meet the people behind the webpages. What if I just bumped into a blogger on the metro or in a cafe, would  I go and say 'hi' and introduce myself or would the fear of looking ridiculous keep me confined to my seat? Thankfully, all my doubts were put to rest after attending my first ever Indiblogger meet. Not only did I meet a number of interesting bloggers, I had no qualms in introducing myself and it didn't feel awkward at all!

Calling all Book-nerds!

BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X(almost)
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible 
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X

Total: 7

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (Most of these) X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

Total: 10

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy X

25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams X
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

Total: 15

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens X
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma-Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini X
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

Total: 19

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

Total: 22

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel X
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (Some body find me this book, please!)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon X
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X

Total: 27

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov X
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie X
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville(too dull for me) 0.5X


71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

Total: 31

80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

Total: 33

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Total: 34

Being an Emotional Fool

I attended a pseudo self-help class a couple of years back. They tried to teach me, among many other things, to not be a 'football of my emotions' and contradictory to that, also stressed on the importance of expressing your emotions. I juggled with the two statements till I understood their real meaning.

Emotions, as you know, are tricky customers. We tend to think that we're made of steel and are above the petty chemical processes of the brain. But, see, technically, your brain is boss and the chemical hanky-panky does and will happen.

Dealing with emotions: Stage One- Acceptance.

After having accepted your emotion, you can proceed in two ways- you can either vent it or try to keep yourself calm. However, the same remedy does not work with all emotions.

For example, let's say someone screwed up and you're angry. You can either give that person a piece of your mind or let it be. Both have their pros and cons. When you're venting out anger, you also tend to hurt the other person- your emotion set off a reaction in the other person and theirs set off a retaliatory one in you and so on. Also, it raises your blood pressure and that is never good. Bottling it inside wouldn't make your anger go away though. It would make it turn to resentment thereby modifying your behavior to the other person. I've been on the receiving end of this a number of times. It sucks, you can't figure out why the other person is acting weird and then you play Sherlock and figure out the person's angry but till then it's too late to make amends and the anger just explodes. No, that is not a good option. Sometimes, the anger turns to irritation and frustration until eventually, you lash out at somebody/something for another's mistake. Being a football of your emotions. So, the anger will come out of you, either way, but the trick is to let it flow out subtly. Let the person know his/her fault, let the person know you have every right to be angry. There, you've let the burden off your chest, now it's the other person's responsibility.

Then there are other emotions that absolutely need expressing. Like joy, for instance. Remember the nursery rhyme 'When you're happy and you know it clap your hands..'? Express your joy, let the rays of sunshine wash you with warmth. You've earned your joy and have every right to relish in it. Plus, this is one emotion that's instantly addictive. Nobody can escape the charms of a smiling face. So, the next time you receive a salary bonus or get free tickets to see your favorite band, do not think twice before doing a little shimmy and letting the world know.

Then, pain. I know you've been told crying makes you look weak, needy etc etc. But the truth is, everybody hurts and everybody cries, some time or the other. Some do it publicly some privately, but there's no escaping this. Experience your pain, don't shove it inside. Wallow in it. Let it speak to you. Cry if you have to. Most of the time, we try to ignore it and divert our minds when all we need is a good cry, a person to confide in and some hot cocoa. There's a difference between healing and curing. To me, crying it out is like purging yourself.

I cannot stress more on the importance of expressing your love. In that workshop, they made us tell our parents that we loved them. I had never done that till then, at least not verbally. I felt awkward. I took the easy route, composed a poem and mailed it to them. The response I got made me feel so happy and light. It's a beautiful feeling, to love and be loved. Think of it this way- suppose you die tomorrow, would your close ones know what they meant to you or would they spend the rest of their lives wondering? Send your love.

There's also no problem with letting someone know you don't like him/her. After all, you're not expected to be the universal messenger of love and harmony. There will always be someone who stands for everything you've ever disagreed with. Let that be known. Show some integrity. But also, don't let the self-satisfaction of your hatred turn into sadism. Unfortunately, this is what's happening with the world- back-biting and then relishing in the prospects of others' doom. I believe it all comes down to how important integrity is to one.

Anyway, enough preaching.
The bottom line is - Be emotional, you're human, but don't be foolishly so.

Something positive for the road

A month back, my laptop gave up it's electronic soul and departed to techie-heaven.

It was Saturday, it had rained all day and despite the weather, I had sat in the library all day, slogging through textbooks. I had decided to reward myself for all the hours put into work throughout the week by a quiet weekend with my laptop, working on my blog and watching episodes of all the series I have become addicted to. But, you know, if there's a god, it's a sadist one because when I got back to my room and switched on the little blue machine- it just beeped and died, right there, on my bed. My paranoia knew no bounds! I tried resuscitating it, plugged it to life support, gave it a few electric shocks...but, nothing. Once I got over the 'this can't be happening' phase, I called up some geeks for help. Hardware malfunction. Something to do with RAM and motherboard. But, don't worry, they said, it'll get fixed in a jiffy. So, weekend ruined, I started hunting for laptop technicians and repair centres. The very next day, I shipped it off for repairing with the first names that showed up on the search page. I was impatient: I cannot survive without my machine, I told myself. Then there was work to be done- blogs, CVs, on-line tests...

A week went by.
I sent it to another place.
Two more weeks went by, excruciatingly slow and painful- my patience was wearing thin. Everyday I'd call up my dad and shout on the phone, complain about the inadequacy of the men at the service centre.
They were saying it was irreparable, my heart was breaking. I would have to buy a new one.

One fine day, however, we got through to the manufacturers (by showing them a dollop of notes, obviously) and they sent their specially trained technicians to my place. He brought parts for replacement, one for every day of the week he came.

And viola!Now, I have a brand new system. Motherboard, RAM, graphics card, processor, daughterboard, cover, screen- you name it.
Haha. Who would have thought I'd end up on the receiving end of this deal!

Moral of the story:

Patience is a virtue. Good things come to those who wait.

Sometimes, you have to let the little things go wrong for something much bigger and better to come your way.

Don't lose hope :)