June 30, 2013

IndiVine Post: The Franklin Templeton Investments Inspiration

Watch the speakers narrate their riveting stories of innovation on www.ftideacaravan.com. Share your thoughts on the big issue they’re talking about. The ideas which inspired you the most! 

The Diaries I've Kept Since I Was A Teenager!
When I first got the e-mail from IndiBlogger.in, telling me to blog about the "big issue" the speakers at www.ftideacaravan.com were talking about, I never expected to be so taken by the videos I would find on the site. Despite watching a lot of videos on the site, it was Rohini Nilekani, the founder chairperson of Pratham Books, whose cause touched a chord in my heart. Their mission, "A book in every child's hand", made me realize how lucky I am to have been born into a family which could provide me with a stream of good books ever since I learned to read. Or as Rohini Nilekani said, I had learned to read long before I had even gone to school.

Me, 14, Busy Writing 
I was only six years old when setting down my abridged copy of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, I decided I wanted to be a writer. The dream never died, even though I went through the same phases as every other child - wanting to be a teacher, a doctor, an actress, a video jockey, and many more things. I kept the fact I wanted to be writer when I grew up all to myself. But I think my family members realized that when they found poems written on the last pages of this wonderful thing called a "rough book" we had to carry to school everyday. The effort I made to make sure all the essays I would have to write were unique, and when I grew up, I learned to use "quotes" in order to make my writing have more of an impact. 

I began sending book proposals to publishers ever since my first year in college, and it wasn't until my final year in post-grads that something finally worked in my favor. General Press published a young adult romance I'd written, titled The Secret Proposal.

And after watching Rohini Nilekani's talk, I cannot help but realize that none of this would've happened if it hadn't been for my sheer love for reading. I was a lucky kid, I know that for sure. I was exposed to reading and stories from a very young age. Ever since I could comprehend what people around me were saying, I'd badger everyone to tell me stories. Right from my mother when she tucked me into bed, to my sister when she fed me lunch, to the house cleaning lady. My love for stories were such, that I was unsatisfied with the books I found at home. I finished reading them all by the time I turned thirteen. And then I would simply make up my own stories in order to keep myself entertained.

So you can imagine how horrified I felt when I saw the statistics Rohini Nilekani flashed across the screen. 300 million children and only 25,000 books?!?! And to think that in the UK every child gets 6 books, and in India only book has to be shared between 20 children. I must be really privileged to have gotten more than 20 books all to myself, when I was growing up. And not just in English but also in Bengali (my mother tongue). The books which certainly had an impact on me were Grimms' Fairy Tales and Thakurma r Jhuli. When I think that there are children who've never even heard of these works, it just breaks my heart.

Me, UG III, busy reading, ignoring people! :P
I love the initiative Pratham Books organized, by tying up with various organizations to make sure all the children have a colorful childhood. Jean Webster's character, Judy Abott, had got one thing right - "Every adult should have a wonderful childhood to look back upon."
I feel so happy knowing that I can be a part of this change. I can bring to all these children, the joy of stories. 

The story card idea is brilliant. Rs 2 is a cost almost everyone can afford, and to watch a child as his lips form the words he's seeing and the delight spreading across his face when he is able to understand the printed words on the page - everything seems so worth it then.

To be filled with stories for kids :)

I love writing and though till date I've written stories mostly for an older audience, after watching this talk - I know exactly how I can help in Pratham Book's venture to give every child of India a chance to build castles in the air, to explore a world of fantasy through the books made available to them. I will create stories for children, maybe even go meet them in person and tell them stories. 

I could possibly ask Pratham Books if they would be interested in a couple kids' fiction I have already written. I would love to read the stories out to the children. I would love to gift them all the books I kept from my childhood, and because I can, I would love to donate for the cause.

I know there were so many other "causes" discussed in the talk, the causes which a lot of my peers would tag as far more important than making sure every Indian child discovers the joy of reading. 

But for me, since it was the world of fiction that made me who I am today, I want every single kid to see for themselves how magical our lives can truly be, if we can just learn to lose ourselves in the printed pages for a few hours...

Kudos to Rohini Nilekani, founder chairperson of Pratham Books. I really hope to meet you someday. You have inspired me, you have motivated me to do something in order to make sure every kid has 20 books and not the other way round!

Source: Google Images
The link to the video which inspired me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHqFGA78sEU
This post is a part of Franklin Templeton Investments
 partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

WoW: Remembering in the Rain

Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain.- Bobby Rain. 
Write Over the Weekend theme for this week
On a Rainy day…! Write a post starting with this line.

Source: Google Images

On a Rainy day...I sit next to my window,
and think about us;
But I never think about what went wrong.
We're too old to play blame games,
We're too young to waste our lives in regret.
All I can think about are the happy times 
We spent together. The laughter still echoes,
And all the plans we'd once made comes rushing back to me.
I don't know where you've gone off now,
Because though I know where you are,
You're no longer here with me.

There was always something so peaceful about the rain,
Who knew that a curtain of water could protect us both
From what the world thought about us, 
Even during the times we wanted to run away.
The rain was always my friend. 
I made a mistake, I made an enemy out of it.
I used to blame everything that went astray on the rain.
Now, I know better. It's time to leave it all behind.

Yes, I know. You've moved on. The happiness my company 
Once gave you is gone. It vanished the minute the rain 
And the one second I thought life was supposed to be better
than this adventure.
Rain came back, reminding exactly why this adventure was what
life is about.
I reached out for you hand, but you were already gone.
All I have saved up from back then are the memories. They live on.

I reach out of the window, watching the rain fall against my skin,
I recall the times we both loved the rain. And I smile when I 
remember you quoting, 
"Don't threaten me with love, baby. Let's just go walking in the rain."
And I never bargained for what happened right after that.
It was enough to drive anyone insane. And I am only human.

If I could see you now, hold you hand and smile at you,
I would have told you the same thing, you know.
Would've given you a tight hug and said, 
"I am not trying to make you fall in love... I am just asking you to come with me for a walk in the rain."

Just because I cannot move on, doesn't mean you need to be with me forever.
I'll find my way out, because I sure as hell remembering walking in.
On a rainy day, I sit at the window, watching the drops of rain hit the ground, 
I listen to each them etching their memories, and I remember you.
From a time long ago. Whatever were you thinking, 
I still don't know...

I never did plan to fall in love with you,
But I did.
I never thought the rain could evoke such feelings,
But it always does.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

June 22, 2013

WOW: Just Shut Up & Listen!

"A witty saying proves nothing". – Voltaire.
Write Over the Weekend theme for this week
"I have something to tell you…!" Write a post starting with this line.

"I have something to tell you." His dark eyes were gleaming with...she couldn't place her finger on the emotion currently reflected in her friend's eyes.
It scared her and excited her at the same time. Trying to steady her rugged breathing, she said, "What is it?"
"You know how much I care about you, right?" he asked, gripping her shoulders so tightly, that his finger nails bit into her flesh, "You wouldn't be offended if I told you something, would you?"
Her heart was hammering against her chest, and she wondered, whether after all these years of standing by and watching him break his heart, over and over again, he'd finally grown brains (and perhaps some feelings) and realized where he really ought to be.
"W-why would I be offended?" she asked him, lightly, "You know we've been best friends since nursery, don't you?"
"That's what I love about you," he said. For a minute a grin flashed across his face, and she felt the warmth she usually did, when she was around him, "You have such an unconditional friendship towards me."
"You know, I would appreciate it, if you just..."
But he interrupted her, "For God sake, woman. Will just shut up and listen to me for awhile? I really need to get this off my chest. And if I don't do it now, I don't know WHEN I'll find the courage to do it again."
"Go ahead," she said, wincing as his fingernails dug into her skin yet again. He didn't seem to realize his grip was hurting her.
"If I were told that I have merely a few months to live, and I wanted to still achieve my dreams. Would you help me?" he asked.
"O-of course, I would," she stammered out, "But why..."
"Would you marry me?" he asked her.
And for the first time. She really looked at him. He looked a little pale to her, and pretty sick. She had suspected that he'd kept a secret from her all their lives together....but she was a little overwhelmed by the truth.
She felt his grip relax on her, and she looked up to see him. His face was turned away from hers. Who would have thought that even her twenty four year best friend could be so vulnerable, so completely helpless in the face of our very human struggles.
Impulsively, she threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. She reached up on tiptoe and kissed him full on the lips. He was startled by this gesture, but he kissed her back.
They broke apart.
Now her eyes were glinting, in the same mad way his had been. She smiled at him and said, "Well, I thought you'd never ask."
A smile unfurled on his face, "Is that a yes?"
"When have I ever said 'no' to you?" she volleyed back, "You know I love you."
He smiled to happily now, that it showed in his eyes. They were sparkling with new found love, "What had to tell you was, I am in love you."
"Me too," she whispered.
They found themselves entangled in each other's arms, and they felt their hearts beat wildly, as they stayed there, frozen in their moment of a happy ending.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

June 19, 2013

IndiVine Post: Ring The Bell ~ "Change"

"Laws alone are not enough. Ring The Bell believes in the power of individual and collective action to challenge the habits, norms, and cultures that perpetuate violence. One person adds up to one million; one million acts add up to change.

You can be a part of the change by telling us how YOU will Ring The Bell, and inspiring your readers to do the same. What action will you take to bring violence against women to a halt? Blog about your experiences, your intentions, and make a promise!"

IndiChange - Harnessing the collective power of blogging to fight evil. 

"Be the change you wish to see in other people"
- Gandhi 

Quite honestly, I tend to agree with him on this account. Complaining and cribbing would get us nowhere. Sure, we can all try playing the blame game but we'll lose a precious few hours from our hands if we indulged in it. Remember the scene in Swades where Shah Ruk Khan's character tells the village heads all they can do is blame each other, but the loser is always those who do not have access to money or education. In other words, those people who are living below the poverty line. If only we would stop for a minute and think about is it, which has corrupted the very roots of our society, we would realize that it is the lack of education which has led to this very sorry state of affairs.

At the beginning of this year I was very inspired by an advertisment I had seen. It was aimed at the youth, asking to join a movement: Teach for India. The basic idea which thrived throughout this fellowship was to provide quality education to those children in underdeveloped schools, and slum areas...because they figured out what the problem was. When we calculate in percentages, the figures seem to be within our grasp. But the real numbers have been absolutely beyond our comprehension. Sitting through the interview at Teach for India was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. Yes, I wanted to be a fellow and yes, I wanted to get selected. But I felt so weird...despite all their best efforts, and all their resources, it just didn't feel right to me. Of course I appreciate their work, and one of my friends is presently a fellow with them, but for me, I needed to find something more. Something which would let me express what I was truly feeling when I watched those slides sitting in an air conditioned hall.

And then there was the Gandhi Fellowship. Which truly believes in working in the social sector and developing the schools and other projects as well. One of my friends just finished his fellowship there and another is about to join them. She was an youth volunteer for UNICEF too, and before writing this blog post, we spoke about the issues which presently plague our country. I asked her why is it that child marriage despite being abolished so many years ago, is still being practiced in vogue even now? And she said, it's just due to the lack of education. The parents tend to think by marrying off their daughters early, they can wash their hands off their responsibility...what they don't realize is, early marriages lead to early childbirth and in most cases, the young mothers do not survive. And we may think that this only happens in the far flung villages of our country, but the truth is, it actually happens right under our noses. We are either to self-absorbed or too ignorant to even notice that.

I still remember the time I was thoroughly bored with school, and our cook's daughter was so interested to find out what was printed in the pages of the books I had taken for granted. Funny isn't it? The ones who are given an education without asking for one, seem to resent it. Till we grow up and realize we need a foundation to build ourselves. And a solid education gives us just that.

When I was in school I had volunteered for Help Age India, not quite realizing that I was helping many a number of aged widows (and widowers) whose own children had shut the door on their faces. My volunteering work resumed during the time I was in college, because then I knew how to access the NGOs which helped those who needed it the most.

Although I had a blog for quite sometime now (2008 on wards), I had no idea what a powerful medium it can be to help bring about change. But the change always should start from ourselves. Before I am able to stop a woman being harassed by her husband in another village, I need to be able to defend the woman who lives right next door and endures abuses from her husband.

Every child I come across, I would tell them the same thing my mother told me. Learn to be financially independent, that way no one will ever dare to bring you down. The only reason these women silently suffer at the hands of their merciless husband, is because they are not financially independent. And that financial insecurity stems from not having a proper background education. Yes, we have domestic helps. But aren't these "helps" capable of doing more than just that? True, life will become a little difficult for those of us, who are not used to even making our own beds. But can you imagine the change that will take place?

My intention is to tell every girl I meet to grow up to be a strong and independent woman. I shall teach by example of course, because I sincerely believe in being the change that I want to see all around me. I am already halfway there, showing those dear little kids I tutor for free, and talk to whenever they want, that life is meant to be enjoyed. They are free to be whoever they want to be. And there's is one person who will stick by their side no matter what happens: themselves!

I promise to Ring the Bell, to bring forth a lovely future for all those dear children who will see life through a very different pair of eyes. Their life isn't one of misery and struggle, and they will go places and live all their dreams.

"Because these things will change, can you see it now?
The walls that put us up to hold us back will fall down.
It's a revolution, the time will come for us to finally win.
And we'll sing hallelujah" 
- Change, Taylor Swift 

This post has been written for IndiBlogger.in for the Bell Bajao campaign. 

Giveaway Winner : TeesTanks

Teestanks in association with Dreams n Drama had arranged their First Giveaway for Mother's Day 

I had entered the free giveaway, seriously never expecting to win. It was such a surprise to see my name listed as one of the Runner-Ups in the Facebook Page run by Dreams n Drama. 

For a long time, I'd my eyes on this particular t-shirt: http://www.teestanks.com/2-cents.html , and winning the rs 200 voucher coupon kind of made it easier for me to gain access to the t-shirt. 

Of course, the results had been declared way back in the month of May. And I had placed my order in May, but something went wrong. It was a technical glitch first, which told me that my order was STILL PROCESSING, even after having placed the order one week ago. I drove the guys at the "we care" customer service for TeesTanks absolutely crazy....and in the midst of it all, the courier guys lost the first t-shirt!!!

The T-Shirt, along with a bag and a personally handwritten note  

The next one, they sent me through India Post. And it arrived today, safe and sound, (as you can see in the picture on the left), with a note which appreciated my patience. 

The Cute Handwritten Note 
And as you can see from this note, even they were worried about this t-shirt not making its way to me. But I'd fallen pretty badly in love with it, so it just had to come to me!!! 

Thank you, Swarnali & Arpita from Dreams n Drama for organizing this giveaway. And thank you TeesTanks for the giveaway & the t-shirt... 

You can see, how much I love this t-shirt already. It is very comfortable and oh well, for people like me who love living in jeans and t-shirt, it is a really good choice. 

And that's me, wearing my recent favorite tee 

Here's hoping you check out TeesTanks website and make a few purchases of your own!!!

June 13, 2013

Poem: House of Cards

Prompt: "Aphrodite" is the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture. Using this as the main theme write a poem to celebrate love, beauty and everything else that comes with it.
Make sure to use the word "Aphrodite" somewhere in the poem.

The House of Cards 

Oh Aphrodite,
Are you listening?

To the hearts which are fluttering with newfound love,
To the hearts which are breaking from lost love…
And to those caught between love and loss –
To those who live in the house of cards?

Young hearts throb with happiness
And the innocence of falling in love the first time,
And the old ones have grown weary,
They shake their heads and smile.
But do you take note of the ones living in the house of cards?

You look surprised as you heard the phrase,
You want to know what is that place,
The one we keep referring to over again.
The one most of us have dubbed ‘the house of cards.’

Listen to me then, now, O Goddess of Love,
Not all those who find love get their happily ever after.
Not all those who lose love get their deserved goodbye.
Some are caught between those two places, perhaps forever,
And the call that place the house of cards!

And those of us who dwell here, we saw love in every shade,
From the time of its blooming, to turning into a beautiful union,
We saw it turn several shades darker when the path was made to obsession…
And we all knew that this would only result in death.

Oh, we remember, every minute, every second,
Of each embrace, every kiss raining on our faces…
We remember dancing in the rain; we remember smiling through our tears.
But what we cannot really remember is how we got here.
Stuck in this house of cards!

We know you answer every prayer, you hear us always complain,
You hear us when we gave you heartfelt thanks for our loves,
Yet, you never listen…to this one question which springs to our lips,
Those who lost their loves but they haven’t let go.
Whose loves too, have kept them nearby, unwilling to move:

Living forever in this house of cards…

June 12, 2013

Introduction: Paw Print

Paw Print ~ Introduction

Since the official website, www.thechroniclesofpatchwork.biz is down for the moment, I thought I would just give you guys a teaser for what will be coming your way quite soon. So, I'll just add some random pictures and leave it up to your imaginations as to what you can expect. 

Happy Guessing!!!

P.S. Do write your guesses in the comment section below :)

Challenge: The Three Element Story Challenge

Now that I am completely bored and mostly staying at home, I figured out how I can make these holidays a bit more interesting.

Of course I will be entering the JulNoWriMo next month. So what I plan to do for this month is, to finish "The Three Element Story Challenge" I found on this awesome website: Click Me!

Listed below are the ten different prompts with three varying elements:

The Three Elements Challenge

1.     A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.
2.     A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day. [Post]
3.     Identical twins, a party invitation, and a locked closet.
4.     A broken wristwatch, peppermints, and a hug that goes too far.
5.     Aerobics, a secret diary, and something unpleasant under the bed.
6.     An ex-boyfriend, a pair of binoculars, and a good-luck charm.
7.     An annoying boss, a bikini, and a fake illness.
8.     The first day of school, a love note, and a recipe with a significant mistake.
9.     A horoscope, makeup, and a missing tooth.

10.  A campfire, a scream, and a small lie that gets bigger and bigger.

  Every day, I shall write to write a minimum of one and a maximum of three short stories. (It could be micro or flash fiction as well...depends on the mood, of course!)  I shall try to complete this challenge within seven days... i.e. 19th July 2013.

If any of my blogger friends' are reading this, you're more than welcome to join me in this game. 

June 9, 2013

Information: LiTreasure Publishers... :))

I remember the 22nd and 23rd of September 2012 all too well. I had been so excited about the Creative Writing Workshop (Advanced) to be conducted by The British Council...I  had registered for the workshop really early, and waited impatiently for that weekend to arrive. The mails we were sent said that the workshop would be conducted by Richa Wahi and Chetan Joshi.

That was where I first met Chetan Joshi, he was one of our mentors in the Creative Writing Workshop. Believe me, I don't remember being so happy in a very long time. That weekend, I realized I would never be happy doing anything else but writing. We were made to go through different exercises...the best one I still believe was the exercise in which we were asked to make up a short story from a picture we were given. If I am not wrong, it was three-two to one picture.

Back then, he had told us to take our short story seriously when we were put through an exercise where we had to pick four random numbers and write a story based on the person, place, thing and genre we got corresponding with the numbers we picked. (My own combination was scientist, library, cigarette and fantasy...and yes, I actually wrote a 2,000 word story on that!) He had said it was because they were planning to inaugurate a publishing house and we just might get a place to showcase our stories.

I had been in touch with him via mail, seeking advice on the short stories I had written. But the mail I received yesterday, had the best news ever!!!

Chetan Joshi's publishing house - LiTreasure Publishers - had finally launched.  I hadn't received such amazing news for a very long time, and believe me when I say it just made me truly happy.

What is more, I know many of my friends and blogger friends have been desperately looking for a chance to get published. And this just might be it for you, guys.... Click here for more details.

And if you want some definite guidelines, please click here.

I hope you guys become as excited as I am about LiTreasure Publishers. Here's wishing all of you good luck in advance. I hope I could help you guys a little on your dream of getting published.

Take care!

June 2, 2013

Musing: Happily Ever After

The Chase

Happily Ever After Just Took Time,
Once Upon This Broken Heart of Mine.
- The Beu Sisters 

Ever since we are little girls we are introduced to Fairy Tales and the concept of the "happily ever after." Every single story told us that no matter the situation, we are all indeed going to end up with a really nice ending. That's why our hearts begin to flutter, our pulse starts to race and there's nothing we can do to suppress the twinkle in our eyes, when we begin to fall in love. 

Ah, love. The brilliant four letter world. The one word which has been so horribly misunderstood, overused and abused. I forget the original quote, but I agree with the whole concept of saying 'love' is nothing but a victim of our expectations. Anyone who claims they have no expectations, is a liar. There's just no two ways about it. When I fall in love, I am very giving and loving and it's not a crime on my part of expect the equal amount of affection and attention in return. Of course, too much of it, could be a bad thing. But I digress...this article is supposed to talk about 'happily ever afters'.

Every one of us have gone through our fair share of teenage crushes, haven't we? And when we're a little older we love the attention someone showers on us. Texting all the time seems to be cute, being on the phone at all odd hours a part of the game....and then once those three magic words are out of your mouth, you'd find yourself, slowly getting taken for granted. And more often than not, we begin to scream and shout, and yell that there is no such thing as a "happily ever after."

Nevertheless, from what I have realized over the past few months, everyone's happy ending is different. We are all different. One should never compare their lives to someone else's. Your story is completely your own. No one can comment on it, no one should be given the space to judge it.

The only reason relationships don't seem to last these days is because we don't put in half the effort to keep the person in our lives, as we'd done to get them...

"If you knew your potential to feel good, you would ask no one to be different so that you can feel good." Everything boils down to just that. And as for happily ever afters? Of course they do exist. You just sometimes have to wait a little longer. But trust the Universe, it is coming to you soon enough!

IndiVine Post: WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere

If you could connect with 5 or more people in a WeChat group - who would they be, and why? What would you talk about? The people can be dead, alive or even fictional.

I still remember the time when I was a kid. International calls to relatives was a very well-thought out and planned affair. When my sister left to pursue her PhD in Singapore, I remember having to get myself calling cards in order to just make calls to her. But now thanks to WeChat, it is possible to send her voice messages, pictures and texts (obviously) in an instant. Long live, technology!

Having said that, if I could connect with five or more people in a WeChat group, my choices would be as random and as diverse as they come.

1) I would love to have Mr. Ruskin Bond as one of the people on my list. I've admired that man since I was barely twelve years old. Rusty, in fact, had been my first crush in school. Ruskin Bond has undoubtedly been my all time favorite writer in the world. The vivid descriptions have always made me feel that I am part of the book I was reading. I can only imagine what he would be putting up as status updates! *dreams*

2) The next person on my list would be Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy the hero of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice because I've never found myself so smitten by any other man. He's the perfect blend of the qualities I want in my ideal man. It would fun to talk to him all day long, and of course get voice recordings of his deep and amazing voice.

3) The third person I would love to keep on WeChat is Garfield. I love the cat's dry sense of humor and the fact that he's able to make those comments with a straight face, is just an added bonus. Being a cat person, I think it would be rather amazing, to wake up to pictures of Garfield in the morning.

4) Taylor Swift ought to be my fourth buddy in the list. If I leave aside the fact that we're of the same age, this girl writes songs and I write poems which are intensely personal. From what I could gather - our creative processes are alike. We write to purge ourselves of our emotions. Despite all the things I hear about her, I still deeply admire Taylor Swift for holding her own ground against the world. It would be right next to wonderful to be in touch with Taylor throughout the day through WeChat!

5) Michael Moscovitz, Princess Mia (from Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries series) is the final person on the list. While Darcy is someone I would eventually want to get married to, Michael is every girl's Prince Charming. Painted with beautiful words from Cabot's imagination and shown to be the guy who you can depend on with your eyes closed, who loves someone dearly but doesn't want to force his decisions on his better half either. He's the perfect kind of guy to spend your school and college years with, and if things work out, you two get to live happily ever after. I can imagine the kind of beautiful texts I would get on WeChat from him! And the pictures and since he is a musician, might just get a personally recorded song or two.

Tell me in the comments section, if you were given a choice to connect with five or more people via WeChat, who would they be and why?

This post was written as a part of the IndiBlogger Contest, in association with http://www.youtube.com/user/WeChatIndia?feature=chclk

Micro Fiction: Never Mind

Picture from an old scrapbook of sketches & poetry

“Do you love me?”
She raised her head and found his deep brown eyes boring into hers. The corners of her lips quivered. All the turbulent emotions she’d felt through the last six months, how was she supposed to fit them into a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. There were just so many things she wanted to tell him.
They had been lovers once, but they fell apart. She had tried her best and now they were friends. She smiled, wondering how to gently tell him every single thought running through her head. She didn’t want to lose him.
“Never mind”

June 1, 2013

WOW: Lessons from Literature

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Can books and stories about characters and events that are not real teach us anything useful? Write about it this weekend.

 Story telling is as old as man, I read in my very last semester of Masters in Comparative Literature. It was the first means by which we were taught the rights and wrongs, the dos and don'ts of the world - and there are books which have changed us. They taught us things about reality through fiction. Although there are innumerable books and characters, of course, which left a lasting impression on me, off the top of my head I can name the ones I go around quoting at random hours and time.

Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw : The story of the flower girl made into a duchess by the Professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins. What I loved was how Eliza Doolittle changes from the flower girl into a lady, but she always had the makings of a fine lady. But more than her, it was the philosophy presented towards marriage which left its mark on me. Especially the quote by Higgins, "You find me cold, unfeeling, selfish, don't you? Very well: be off with you to the sort of people you like. Marry some sentimental hog or other with lots of money, and a thick pair of lips to kiss you with and a thick pair of boots to kick you with. If you can't appreciate what you've got, you'd better get what you can appreciate." And that has of course made me think twice about marrying the kind of person I want... :)) 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: This book made me believe that no matter how bad things get, I can always count on a Mr. Darcy to come and help me out. I admired Elizabeth Bennett's strength of character when she finally realizes Darcy had been right all along, and she swallows her pride because she realizes love is far sweeter than any other emotion. I really loved Darcy for he was an amazing better half to Elizabeth.

Sita Betrayed (A Novella from A Season of Betrayals) by Quarrtulain Hyder: I admit I had this book as a part of my course. But I loved how the woman was portrayed to have desires of her own. In a chauvinistic society, it was refreshing to come across a book, written years ago, about a woman who jumps from man to man, searching for both emotional and sexual desires to be fulfilled. She was crazily in love with her husband, but when he stops paying her attention she begins to get drawn to others...and so the story goes. And in the end, she gets betrayed. By everyone she had dearly loved. Sita Betrayed taught me that there is only person who can never let you down: YOU. 
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: My connection to this book is because of my sister. She'd read it as a teenager and wouldn't stop talking about it. I read it when I reached my teens too...and I loved it. I saw a lot of Scarlett O'Hara in my sister, because she too, tosses her head back when the going gets tough and says, "I won't think about it today, I'll think about it tomorrow." If there is any heroine I deeply admire, it is Scarlett. She rebuilds her life from the scratch after everything has fallen apart. She was one of the strongest female characters who taught women through the years, that they can achieve anything if their put their minds to it.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The four sisters with very different personalities painted vivid pictures in my mind. It was little Amy who captured my imagination the most, and whose story with Laurie I deeply admired and appreciated, and secretly longed for a love story like that one. Having the person you'll be spending the rest of your life with right under your nose and never realizing that! It was sweetest and most romantic story I've ever read. It, of course, gave me the hope that my Prince Charming might just be under my nose too. I am just not able to see him yet. 
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster: Mark Twain's niece wrote this novel in the epistolary format and I've never been so thoroughly entertained reading one sided letters. I could identify with Judy's identity crisis, not knowing who she really is, and feeling like she simply crawled into the world instead of being rightly born in it. Everyone of us go through such identity problems but it was her happy ending which made me firmly believe in the philosophy, if it's not happy, then it's not the ending.

and finally, Grimms' Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm: I have read the original and I know that those original stories are full of blood, gore and every kind of evil. But Disney's cute versions have actually given all of us hope. With out hope, man just wouldn't survive. Isn't it? That's why from a very tender age we all accept that if the story begins with "Once upon a time," it will just have to end with, "..and they all lived happily ever after."  
So, do leave your comments below and tell me which fictional characters and which stories have left a lasting impression on your minds? 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda