Book Review: The Graveyard Book

Over these years at college, I have discovered a ton of new authors. Neil Gaiman, I discovered around 2 years back when I first read The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

After this, Neil Gaiman had regularly been a feature in my books to read list.

The Graveyard Book is exactly as it sounds – mysterious but heart warming. The book tells the story of Nobody, an orphaned boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard!

No matter how kiddish the book sounds, it is so much more than that. It has a brilliant flow of writing and the story keeps you engaged all throughout. The book follows Nobody from his parents’ death, to being five, and inevitably going to school.

Neil Gaiman’s writing is beautiful and extremely easy to grasp. The story is narrated by Nobody and that just makes it easier for anyone to read it.

Fair Warning: I cried at the ending.

Rating: 4/5

Advertisements

Blue Notebooks

Tanya unlocks the last box kept in the basement of her grandfather’s home. She sighs a bit before dragging the huge box across and sitting down next to it on the cold floor. As the box opens, she looks in to find bits of cloth – cloth her grandmother saved over years when it’d be leftover from stitching yet another sweater for Rehan. Tanya smiles looking down at it. She cant help but suddenly remember everything about her grandparents all at once. Before the tears can fall, she starts sorting the miscellaneous things in the box. Almost as everything is out, Tanya notices a tiny bundle of notebooks right at the bottom of the old box. The minute she picks it up, she knows. She knows exactly what it is. Tanya might be well in her forties now, but she remembers being 23 as well as she remembers every single Harry Potter scene (and mind you, she remembers every little detail). Tanya picks up the notebooks and dusts them lightly. She isn’t entirely sure if she should open them. There was a time in her life when she had hoped to forget everything that had happened back then. Maybe she should just burn the whole lot. Wipe it off. Then she remembers Rehan. Rehan, sitting with that stupid smile on his adorable face, shaking his legs even though Aryan keeps trying to stop him, asking almost daily now “Mom, how did you decide what to name me?” Tanya looks at the notebooks and thinks that maybe a few years down the line Rehan can read them and when he does, then he’ll know. 
Tanya opens the notebook with the darkest shade of blue covering. She chuckles at her naivety. She was certainly something else. She flips to the last page and comes face to face with her messy handwriting. 
Dear Rehan, 
Its funny how many months have gone by without talking to you. I really don’t get how you couldn’t give up smoking after that long one year break because not talking to you has become a habit after six months. Its selfish; but I wish you were here right now. I mean, this is the happiest day of my life. I want, no, I need my best friend here. A part of me feels like I can’t really get out there and push the varmala onto Aryan’s next without feeling your presence next to me. But you are not here. You haven’t been here for a while now. Even when you were here, you felt so distant. So distant, that you weren’t really here. 
Rehan, you once told me that you didn’t have a favourite colour. That you couldn’t be unfair to other colours. I found that so fascinating. Really silly, but fascinating. I think thats what you were to me – silly, but fascinating; confusing, but an adventure; heartbreaking, but home. I tried as well, to not have a favourite colour. I tried to fit into your life like I’d fit you in mine. I think maybe I succeeded because even now I can still remember the feel of your lips on mine.
When I close my eyes, I can still hear you – never saying you love me, but always meaning it. I like to tell myself that you and I were the perfect combination, that we could’ve made anything work even though my mother hated you and your family was indifferent to me. You were so stubborn. I’m sure we would’ve made it work. I mean, who would’ve dared to argue with you when you grinned at them with those blue eyes? Actually, its funny, but I can’t remember the colour of them. I close my eyes and I can see them but maybe they now just seem blue because blue is my favourite colour? (Sorry) 
Weirdly, even though we have a ton of pictures together, it feels like you only exist in my memory now. Like I’ll blink and three years down the line, I won’t remember why you hated pepperoni on your pizza so much. I think that I’m trying really hard to remember everything you meant to me but without you actually there to remind me, how hard can I try? Its actually time for me to go now. Aryan must be already up on stage waiting for me to make my grand bridal entry. I wish you could’ve seen him. Apparently, I make him happy. 
Maybe one day, when you look down and you see me, I’ll finally make you happy too. 
Love, Tanya.

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Whom?

I had to wait a whole 10 days before I watched the new Fantastic Beasts movie after its release here. For obvious reasons, I’d stayed away from in dept reviews and youtube channels analysing every single scene. Inspite of all of this, I’d come across various reviews and restricted myself to just reading the titles of these. Most reviews conflicted me greatly. Some people loved the movie, some people hated it, and there were none in between. And so when I finally went for the movie, I was SO excited but also a tiny bit worried – I didn’t want to not like it after having loved the franchise for so many years.

The title of the movie is Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindlewald – to be completely honest though, not much happens in the movie related to his actual crimes? More so, it feels like nothing actually HAPPENS in the whole movie. Everyone is running around looking for Credence (Ezra Miller – He’s alive, yes!) and Credence himself is running around to figure out who he really is. The first half of the movie goes terribly slow with the plot not really adding any value.

The movie introduces a ton of new characters and most of them do absolutely nothing! Nagini, a pretty girl (Voldemort’s future bestie, yes;), Leta Lestrange (who I completely fell in love with before they just killed her off!!??), Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law lives up to all his hype but AD literally does nothing in the whole two hour run), Nicholas Flamel (Why, why is an absolutely old man who cant even shake hands with you there in this movie? What is he doing? Who is he talking to? What’s happening?)

Funnily, by the end of the movie, a few things happening around seem to be predictable and I think it was mostly because of this predictability that the movie closes with a mind blowing plot twist that I fail to understand how JKR is going to incorporate in her vast Potterverse.

The movie isn’t great, but I’m hard wired to not hate Harry Potter related things and thus I didnt really come out disappointed. There were moments I completely loved – like when they zoomed in on Hogwarts and played the familiar Hedwig’s theme (my heart melted), or when they showed the Ministry of Magic, and when they showed Newt (Eddie Redmayne) and his brother hugging their hearts out. Personally to me, this movie felt more of a filler movie that has been pushed out to continue the storyline barely, but having said that, I’m now desperately waiting for the next one.

Cute Marwari Shaadis:

One of the only perks of having a long extended family in the depts of Rajasthan, India, is that you get to attend a ton of weddings! Marwari weddings are unlike any other ever – there are a million small and tiny pujas, there are innumerable functions and the shaadi itself happens at super odd hours (my mama (“uncle”) had his wedding ceremony at 4:00 AM in the morning!)

Inspite the hectic-ness of the whole thing, attending wedding functions at home is a lot of fun. Its almost like a mini reunion of a long list of relatives that you havent seen in a long time.

It had been a while since I took a whole week off for a wedding and thats why when my grandfather told me that my mama’s shaadi had been finalised – I was really excited (Plus, the dates fell bang in the middle of my semester break!)

I ended up inviting a few of my friends as well and since the wedding was in my home town, we did a ton of sightseeing and ate a LOT of local fried food and clicked a trillion pictures (obviously).

All in all, my mama got married and I had a much needed mini vacation!

Festive Vibes!

After 21 years of being here, I have throughly concluded that Diwali is my favourite festival!

Diwali is essentially a Hindu festival celebrating the coming home of God King Rama after defeating the Demon King Ravana and successfully getting his wife back. More importantly, it is a festival of lights and colours (also of one week holidays when I can come home!)

Diwali is categorised by houses flooded with diyas and lights, and verandas coloured with rangolis. There is nothing to not love about Diwali.

Its been a while since I celebrated Diwali properly, and to ensure that I make the most out of the festival this time – I’m diving head first into the festivities;

Here’s my attempt at a rangoli (colours used to make beautiful patterns)

Happy Diwali Guys❤️

Obsessive Lyricist Disorder

Over the years of being obsessively obsessed with a number of boy bands and playing tons of songs on repeat; there comes this time where I actually start to understand what the words are saying. Some of these songs have GREAT lyrics – lyrics so meaningful that you keep listening to them again and again!

Here are some of my absolute favourite lyrics from songs that I listen to on a daily basis:

“Thought I’d let a couple years water down what I’m feeling about you” -Back to you, Selena Gomez

“I’ve told a million lies but now I’ll tell a single truth. There’s you in everything I do.” – I bet my life, Imagine Dragons

“Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you.” – Gone, gone, gone, Philip Philips

“I’ll find any way to your wild heart.” – Wild heart, Bleachers

“Lately I’ve been thinking, I want you to be happier.” – Happier, Marshmello feat. Pompeii

“I never knew anybody till I knew you.” – Born to be yours, Kygo feat. Imagine Dragons

“Science and progress do not feel as loud as my heart.” – The Scientist, Coldplay

“You’re the song my heart is beating to.” – All of the stars, Ed Sheeran

“I know this love is pain.” – Lets hurt tonight, OneRepublic

“You were the light for me to find my truth.” – These Days, Macklemore feat. Jess Glynne

“If we’ve got nothing, we’ve got us.” – Something I need, OneRepublic