Friday, 31 July 2015

Dear Grumpy !

Dear Grumpy,

Tommorrow is our 2nd marriage anniversary.I'm publishing this today because we might be off to Bournemouth tommorrow early morning.Like last year, this year too my gift to you is this very letter you’re reading right now! I had promised to you write one letter every year for this occasion. That way, I think, you’ll collect 28 more, over the years, for sure. If you demand more, then that’s something for our beloved God to decide. But I think total 30 letters means 30 years of togetherness will be “enough of me” for you for this lifetime. 

Every year, like this predictable gift/letter, message will also remain same that “I love you”! Though I know there is no surprise in that (message) because I make sure to remind you that at least 5 times every day. Unless I am really mad at you (sometimes for no reason at all, I admit. Thanks to my over flowing female hormones). But I do not say “sorry” more often than I should. So, this is the time also to ask for forgiveness for the times I had hurt you. Sorry for the times, I had placed my “ego” instead of placing the word “sorry” between us. 

It was our dream to celebrate our anniversary somewhere abroad and we’re living that dream this year by God’s grace. I’ve many memories to cherish this year. 

I will remember the walk from our apartment to a nearby mall holding your hand on almost every weekend!

I will remember keeping my head on your shoulder while sleeping.

I will remember, you spending sleepless, anxious and excited days and typing in numerous mails for my job hunt. 

I will remember the day when you came back home from office suddenly leaving all your meetings with lots of foods just to celebrate the call for 2nd round of interview for Amazon.

I will remember you waiting outside the Amazon office for my interview, missing your crucial cricket match. 

I will remember your constant support in my journey to be something or someone!

I will remember our laugh, our cry, our fears, our broken dreams and our hopes. 

Various trips that we covered this year like Chennai, Ooty, swindon , Bristol , bath and Cardiff.( Most probably we're adding Bournemouth also).

I will remember the funny ball dance in our moon light filled bedroom in Swindon on a Spanish song!

I will remember the struggles we did after coming to Swindon and excitement as well to see a foreign land together with you! 

I will remember all the long walks to unknown roads and destinations.

Most of all I will remember how much we loved (or may be didn’t love each other for that matter) and how young we looked! 

My best memory of us from this year would be our last night in Bengaluru before leaving for Swindon. We sat together, holding hands before getting ready for the long journey ahead us. With a infectious smile on your lips and shining bright eyes you said, “ Shainee, Lets make it a best 8-9 months of our life.” Then we had spent all night at the international airport talking about our future , the unknowns in front of us in an unknown place until the dawn while watching the landing and taking off of the planes! It was a night to remember and cherish always!

You're the hot chocolate sauce to my vanilla ice cream ;)

Hope we remember this all the time especially on the tough days that we're ALWAYS on the same side. When you fall, I fall. When you rise, I rise! Happy 2nd year of togetherness to us!



Friday, 3 July 2015

The Time of my Life By Cecelia Ahern

After finishing, “The Wild Truth” By Carine McCandless I was looking for a light hearted book. Therefore, I started reading Cecelia Ahren’s, The Time of my Life. I had loved her,  " P.S I Love You"

Let me discuss the physical aspect of the book first. I must say that it’s a pretty girly looking book. It’s that kind of book which looks good on your book shelf or on the table beside your coffee mug. Actually, I am attracted to all her book cover. Sounds weird? Yes, actually I do give that much importance to book’s cover.  That’s the first thing I notice, in a book shop. It helps me to make decision sometimes. The book cover talks about their marketing strategy and target reader. In this book their target reader is girls/women of age group 18 to 35. Also,I know that there is lots of hard work involved in it. It’s not that they randomly decide something as their book cover. And I just try to acknowledge their hard work by writing about it in lengths and breaths. The cover image of Ahern’s, “The time of my Life” is related to the story. It’s a picture of paper coming out from an envelope. 

If I was Ahern , then I would have named it, celebration of truth or an accidental encounter with life or meeting my life etc as I feel that she wanted to keep this word “Life” in the title. 

So, it goes like this, Lucy Silchester has been avoiding her life since last two and the half years. Her life is as messy as her flat. She doesn’t allow anyone inside her flat except her cat which she is keeping illegally. She has job to pay her bills, which she doesn’t like. She was following the routine sincerely until she got a letter from her life.  And here comes the twist in the story. 

And the twist is – Life is a person! It has gender and Lucy’s life is a male. No, it’s not metaphorically calling someone she loves, her life. Her life is literally her life. Confused? I was too. It took me quite a number of pages to clear this confusion from my head. Once, you understand this concept and where this story is going, then the book feel comfortable between your hands with a coffee on your side.

Lucy doesn’t wants to meet her life, until she got herself entangled in her own web of lies which is affecting every sphere of Lucy’s life. Life comes to clean her life and to simplify it. 

Reading, “The Time of my Life”, was like watching a good romantic movie with your partner on weekend. The story is narrated in such a fashion that you will play images simultaneously  on your head while reading it. I am sure the story will soon be adopted by a Hollywood director, if not already. In the end, it has a message to give, which is: 

If you're looking for a cheesy, romantic book to accompany you on this weekend on your beach holiday then grab a copy!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The dark anonymous clouds...

And we wondered, "Why"? as we stood together under the dark anonymous clouds...

Date: 02 July 2015
Day : Thusday
Time: 2:00 PM
Location : Swindon
Mood : Sad, loved, Uncertain....

And, the song of the day.....

 We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
Times forever frozen still....

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin' me closer
'Til our eyes meet
You won't ever be alone
Wait for me to come home

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Wild Truth By Carine McCandless

The Secrets that drove Chris McCandless into the wild

To be honest, I picked up The Wild Truth By Carine McCandless , thinking it is "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer. I was in hurry; I just noticed the name at the top right “Jon Krakauer” and grabbed it. I realized my mistake only after coming back home. So , it was like reading the second part of the book first.I haven't read or seen "Into the Wild" yet. But I think I have idea of whats it about. still forgive me for any mistake, if any. 

I really like the cover of "the wild truth". Its not misleading and if you read the book (or already read or seen into the wild) you understand the importance and meaning of the picture in the cover. The image of the "magic bus" 142, with the reflection of beautiful mountains of Alaska on its window is very thoughtful, emotional and creative. Reading, The Wild Truth was extremely painful for me. I felt emotionally exhausted, at times. Although my opinion might vary from that of author Carine , but I think I do understand her loss and pain.

Could it be possible that death of Chris McCandless and their dark family secrets are not related? Is it possible that he left for Alaska because he loved nature? That he was just looking for adventure? That he was just trying to discover his true self by being alone for sometime in the midst of the nature? From the book, we know that he tried to come back but couldn’t. He  just didn’t know how difficult this particular path could be and died accidentally? No doubt, he had a difficult childhood but I think he was someone who knew that from where you come is not important but what you become. And we all know from his journals and his life that he turned out human, a good human. 

In a letter, written to his sister, Claire, Chris Has said, “I am divorcing them (his parents)”. He was a brilliant student with a degree and promising future. If he really wanted to die, he would not have completed his education. He could’ve died easily, using other ways. He didn’t need to go to Alaska for that. 

May be Alaska was his love, his passion and his dream. His simple soul was aching for a life far away from the material complexities of the world. Like Chris wrote in his journal (in caps), “ HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED” and maybe he wanted to share his with the nature. I might be wrong but I don’t think he deliberately set off for Alaska to die because of his dark family secrets. I think he had left his past behind the day he started his journey under his new name "Alex".

Nevertheless, this book has brought up an important issue in front of us. Domestic violence and role of parents and its effect on their children. Chris and his sister Carine give us hope that all those who grow up in the difficult family doesn’t always turn into drug addicts. Some become Chris and Carine – a good soul and good parent. 

Taken from The Wild Truth

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Light Of The World...

I grew up listening about the book City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre from my grandmother. It was released in 1985, two years before my birth. My grandmother often quoted lines from this book and now I understand after reading it that it has played an important role in shaping her character.She is a giver. She never turns away any poor empty hand from her door. She gave away her part of land to the poor farmer happily without asking anything in return. I often found her compassion for poor, stupid. I was young but not wise. While reading this book mile away from my city of joy, Calcutta now Kolkata, I felt ashamed that I couldn’t understand their pain and suffering while I was midst of them.

Image Source: 1

Almost a decade had passed since the release of city of joy, little has changed. From the book, at least I know that help is coming for the people from all around the world including the author of the book. This book has made many of us human in true sense. People who lives in slums don’t need our money, what they need are our understanding of their pain, suffering and struggle and assurance that they’re not alone. Aren’t we all afraid of the same thing? Being alone? Then why do we feel different or superior from them? 

This book has surely opened my eyes. It has taught me to think twice before complaining about small things in life. In the past, I had announced many times in front of strangers, friends and relatives that I love my city most. But how could I claim that love without knowing about half the population living there? I wonder how I pretended they didn’t exist even when they are in every nooks and corners of the city.

I just want to say, “Sorry”, to my people. I should have done something for them. I visited a slum once in park circus beside the railway track for my college project. I was making a documentary film on child labor and a volunteer from a NGO called Calcutta Samaritan just opposite the main income tax office, took me there. I completed my project in one day and never went back just because I couldn’t stand the smell. I need to do something before I die. They don't need my help, I need it for myself. I need my soul to grow!

Few excerpts from City of Joy

1)“India! A subcontinent with exceptional potential wealth – yet where areas and social groups of overwhelming poverty survived. A land of intense spirituality and of savage racial, political and religious conflicts. A land of saints like Gandhi, Aurobindo, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda and of political leaders who were sometimes odiously corrupt. A land that manufactured rockets and satellites but where eight out of ten of its inhabitants had never travelled faster than their oxen could pull their carts. A land of incomparable beauty and variety, and of hideous prospects like the slums of the Bombay or Calcutta. A land where the sublime often stood side by side with the very worst this world can offer, but where both elements were always more  vibrant, more human and ultimately more alluring than anywhere else.”

2) “If you don’t find your joy in God, you seek it elsewhere”

3)“I’ve even come to learn the validity of a strange reality here, he said. ‘In a slum an exploiter is better than a Santa Claus…’ confronted by his father’s stupefied expression, he went on to explain, ‘ An exploiter forces you to react, whereas a Santa Claus immobilizes you.”

4)“You cant hide anything here – not even the color of your soul.”

Monday, 15 June 2015

Shamed By Sarbjit Kaur Atwan Review

Shamed By Sarbjit Kaur Atwan
The honour killing that shocked Britain – by the sister who fought for justice

Genre:- Non fiction/ true crime/Memoir
Price:- 6.99 Pound

I picked up 3 books from Swindon central library – Shamed by Sarbjit Kaur Atwal, City of Joy By Dominique Lapierre and The time keeper by Mitch Alboom. I started with Shamed.

First of all, I am little bit disappointed with the cover photo of the book. It’s a typical picture of an Asian woman’s face covered in veil. It’s hard to tell the difference from a Muslim woman. In my opinion,the cover of the book could have been more creative than this. 

This book is based on a true crime written by Sarabjit Kaur Atwal, a Birtish Sikh woman and prime witness of her sister –in- law’s murder. Sarbjit was born in Hounslow, West London. The sikh families in their community including Sarbjit’s family was expecting a boy. Sarbjit’s arrival meant more hard work for them. Her father, being the head of the family, decided that she must learn the “Indian ways” by the time she turned 10. They believed that “Indian ways” would bring her good husband which in return would bring “honour” for their family in their sikh community.

For that, she was sent to India. She lived in her father’s house with the unknown relatives, away from her parents and siblings for two years. Cooking, washing, cleaning etc was part of her training which she had already learned from her mother in London. 

After returning from India, she resumed her studies after a long gap. By the time she turned 16, her father started looking for suitable matches for her. Again, to bring “Honour” for their family. She had no say in choosing her own life partner. 

She was married off at the age of 19. If life was difficult before marriage, then it was hell after it. She thought at least she had better husband but soon she realized that he was just spineless and dances on his mother’s tunes, just like his elder brother. 

Cruel mother-in-law is one thing but murderer mother-in-law is not something people hear often in London. Honour killing is not something unheard of in India. But what is more shocking is, it was planned in London to kill a British Sikh woman. Like DCI Clive has said in the book, “There are areas of west London, Clive explained, that appear to operate more like villages in the Punjab than districts in Southhall. If families have a problem they go to the elders of the temple. Everything is kept within the community. And I – “Mrs. A’ – he said, had committed the crime in community’s eyes by forcing the rest of the world to take notice.”

In 1998, Sarbjit’s sister-in-law went to India for holiday with their mother-in-law. She never returned back from that trip. Their mother-in-law had planned her murder in London in front of other members of their family including Sujit’s husband and Sarabjit. Her crime was, she was not happy with her married life and wanted divorce from her husband. She had bought “shame” in the family, according to her mother-in-law. She had to die. 

The book is divided in two parts: Honour and Shame. Narration style is engaging and simple. You’ll find it hard to put it down. You might have seen or heard about it in media but here you’ll get to know Sarabjit’s side of story. Why she took 7 years to tell the truth? How things work in Sikh community and more. 

One thing what I felt while reading this book is that through this book Sarabjit tried to took of a heavy load from her heart. I felt, somewhere she feel guilty for keeping silent for seven years and result of that is this book.

A piece of SHE’s rating: 4/5

Do I recommend? - Yes!