Posted in books

December 2019 Book List

The whole month of December that I’ve been home, I’ve read a ton of new books almost to make up for the massive amount of books I did not read in the months before – these are the books I ended my year with:

1) From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon : I really liked parts of this book and really disliked parts of this book. The story follows Twinkle Mehra, a high school student who aspires to become a movie director and then gets chance to direct a movie for an upcoming festival along with another student who’s the twin brother of her longtime crush. Various parts of the book are really high school-ish and various choices that Twinkle made really infuriated me. Despite all that, the book is a fresh read.

2) Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy : I had been so excited to read this book for so long and it really lived up to everything I’d heard about it. Dumplin’ is the story of Willowdean who’s the teenage daughter of a former beauty queen in a small town. Will decides to run for the beauty pageant as a protest against everything she’s felt since her aunt passed away. The book tests Willowdean’s friendships, and relationships, and her mother and is really, really engaging. The ending of the book disappointed me a bit and I felt like it ended really abruptly.

3) The Chosen One by Sam Bourne : This was the second book that I read by Sam Bourne and it was as good and as crazy as the first one was. The book follows the story of Maggie Castello, the political advisor for the President of the United States who’s presidency is threatened by an anonymous source revealing secrets that would lead to impeachment. The book follows Maggie across the country as she tries to protect the man she ran a successful campaign for, and the ending will shock you.
5/5 for this book!

4) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas : This was another book that I was really exited for but really disappointed by the ending. The book starts with Starr Carter, a high school student watching from the passenger side seat as her friend is shot dead by a white policeman. Starr then goes from staying far away from the shooting to standing up for her community. The book is a really easy read, but it felt like it ended way too soon.
[Side Note: Both Dumplin’ and THUG are now movies!].

5) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman : Eleanor is a middle aged woman who lives alone, works as an accountant, talks to her mom every Wednesday and has an extremely routine life. The book follows her story as various things end up disturbing her routine and making Eleanor step out of her comfort zone. The book is really good. It keeps you engaged throughout because you really want to unravel Eleanor’s history, and in other parts you can’t help but feel for Eleanor and everything she has gone through. I was also really satisfied by the ending.

6) Fool me Once by Harlan Coben : I’ve wanted to read Harlan Coben books since a real long time, and if you’ve ever thought about reading them too – this is a GREAT book to start with! The book is essentially a murder mystery where the protagonist tries to find out who killed her husband. The ending of the book is quite mind-blowing and the whole storyline is so engaging that you’ll always be surprised.

7) Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan : Counting by 7’s is the story of a twelve year old girl who loses her parents and her life is turned upside down when she suddenly finds herself surrounded by people who cannot understand her at all. Slowly, she makes a new family and the ending of the book is this small hurrah you know she deserves.

Posted in Personal

Coorg: A 5-minute Review

Coorg, is this quite little town near Bangalore in India. Once you reach, you’re surrounded by a lot of green and if you’re vacationing in the winter months, then by this cold breeze that is really comforting. Reaching Coorg – if you loathe road travel – is a long drive from Bangalore airport. It took us 7.5 hours (and google maps shows you 5.5 hours so be prepared for traffic and road works). There are alternate ways to reach Coorg as well ( Check here! ).

We spent three full days in Coorg (at Club Mahindra’s Madikeri Resort) and went around to a lot of touristy places (plus, we tried local food!). Here’s a list of things we did and food we ate:

1) Madikeri Fort – The fort is barely a wall around some old buildings. If you’ve seen forts in other parts of the country, this really is a disappointment. There’s a government run museum inside the building of an old church.

2) Talacauvery – The origin of the river Cauvery is around 30 kms from the Club Mahindra Resort and 35 kms from the main town. The drive takes about 1.5 hours (remember that you’re driving on hilly roads!). The place is essentially a temple and thus has clothing restrictions. You have to be fully clothed but you can take clothing on rent as well.

3) Coorg Cuisine – Coorg Cuisine is this little place quite near to the Fort right in the center of the town. Its always full and you might have to wait a bit. They serve traditional coorg dishes: we tried the bamboo shoot curry, akki otto and rice dumplings. The food was quite good and filling, however fair warning: if your stomach isn’t accustomed to food like this, you will most probably end up with a stomachache.

4) Abbi Falls – The waterfalls is a one hour drive from the main town. Once your car reaches the main entrance, you have to walk down to the falls. The walk is just a long paved path that takes you about ten minutes. The falls themselves are huge and probably will have a lot more water during the monsoons season. The entrance has loads of little shops for you to get refreshments and junk food from.

5) Raja’s Seat – In the middle of Madikeri town is this park called Raja’s Seat (we crossed it atleast twice every single day). Its just a small town park with a fountain in the middle and a pathway around it, but the view from the edge of the park is beautiful. It takes you ten – fifteen minutes to walk around the whole park.

6) Dubare Elephant Camp – The Elephant camp is 35 kms from the main town and it only makes sense if you arrive there early in the morning: keep 9:30 AM as your target time and leave. Your car will leave you at the entrance on the boat and you’ve to take a five-minute boat ride to the entrance of the camp. Here you can pay a simple fee to bathe the elephants along with the camp residents, or alternatively watch the elephants being bathed. The camp also lets you watch elephants being fed and you can get a few pictures along the way. They shut at 11:00 AM and re-open again in the evening.

7) Raintree Restaurant – Raintree is located on one of the side roads from the main town. Its a small place on a bungalow’s property and the menu has both Indian and Chinese dishes. We tried kadhai paneer, dal fry and kerela paratha and everything was really yummy. We had coffee afterwards and I think if you’re visiting coorg, you should definitely try this place!

Posted in Harry Potter, Quote

My top 10 Harry Potter movie quotes of all time – Part 1.

Its true that a lot of content has been changed, or altered or shortened from making the books into a movie. However, the movies are pretty great. I’ve grown up watching them and I absolutely LOVE re-watching them. Here are my top 10 movie quotes spanning over the eight movies:

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
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  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
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  3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
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  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
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  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
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Posted in music

What old music is getting me through exams?

Over the last two weeks of studying, I’ve been re-discovering old music to singly loudly to while studying and I’ve been absolutely loving it!

Here are some super old, super famous songs that are getting me through Companies Act:

  1. I’m Yours – Jason Marz
  2. Trumpets – Jason Derulo
  3. Send it On – Disney’s Friends for Change
  4. I want it that Way – Backstreet Boys
  5. When You’re Gone – Avril Lavigne
  6. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
  7. Mean – Taylor Swift
  8. She will be Loved – Maroon 5
  9. Spacebound – Eminem
  10. Lighters – Badmeetsevil feat. Bruno Mars

Did my list give you a major throwback?

Posted in Personal

Diwali when celebrated NOT in India –

This weekend is Diwali and without being overly religious, Diwali always makes me very excited. I love how the city lights up and I love dressing up. I’ve never really considered Diwali a huge festival though. And that might be because I have always been home and never considered not being with mom for Diwali. Since this is my first Diwali not in India, I made a mental list of what I’m desperately going to miss this Diwali:

  1. Family Pictures: I love the fact that everyone is dressed up and we spend HOURS taking pictures on Diwali day. My mom is so good at taking (and posing for) pictures that I just know how much I’m going to be missing it this weekend.
  2. Rangolis: I will very proudly admit that I am the one who makes the rangolis at home all the time (and I violently encourage everyone else to participate). Rangoli making has always been a huge part of Diwali for me and not having a rangoli outside my apartment feels really weird.
  3. Lighting Diyas: The lights are definitely my favourite part of Diwali. I love placing those oil filled diyas in a huge plate, lighting them and then walking around the whole house placing one in every room. With only two diyas that my roommates and I are placing in the apartment this year, I’m missing out on how I spend all my evenings for the days during Diwali.
  4. Holidays: Diwali being the biggest festival in India means that we get a nice break from work, school, university (usually a week or so). With being in a different country, I’m really missing out on a Diwali vacation I’ve gotten so used to.

 

Though I am really nostalgic about not being home for Diwali, I am really excited to see what different new thing I do this year while still being wholesome Indian!

Posted in Movie Review

Joker (2019)

The first thought that comes to your mind when this movie starts is that you probably won’t be able to sit still for a really long time after this movie is over.

Joker tells the story of a middle-aged man who lives with his mother, goes to court-mandated therapy and works as a freelance clown. But when you really watch the movie, you realise that Joker tells the story of a man who is only defined by how society is treating him.

Joker runs for 120 minutes and doesn’t let you guess even for one minute what exactly is going to happen. You obviously know someone will die, and that someone will be blamed and that the seemingly normal middle-aged man will become The Joker – but you never know when. 

The movie made me feel many different emotions right from mild terror to sympathy. I once remember reading that your circumstances play a great hand in making you who you are, and Joker makes you feel like nothing other than your circumstances could make you who you are. Thats how powerful Joaquin Phoenix’s acting is.

There were atleast five different scenes that absolutely shocked me and blew my mind – things I did NOT expect. There were five different scenes that made me feel horribly sympathetic towards this man that everyone was neglecting. (Eg: He keeps a journal and he writes, “I think my death will make more sense than my life”.)

Joker works in so many various ways. The script works. The timeline works. The acting super works. The music works. The make up works. And most importantly, the but-for causation works. [But for that one thing that happened to him, would he really do everything else he did?]

If I have one thing to say about this movie, its this: Watch it.

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Posted in books

Book Review: Kafka on the Shore

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I discovered Murakami last year and I fell in love. Murakami’s writing is simple and so easy to follow, that you never feel like putting the book down. But then sometimes his writing is so difficult to follow that you have no choice but to put it down after a chapter or so. Funnily, Kafka is both.

Kafka on the shore is a book that follows two stories running parallelly but you know that ultimately they will meet. It follows Kafka, a 15 year-old boy running away from home and it follows Nakata, a 60 year-old man looking for a cat. Kafka is running away from his father because he refuses to believe that life has in store for him what his father thinks. Nakata is looking for a cat because he can speak to cats. The book alternates between both their stories with a million things overlapping between them but you don’t really realize that till you are done. Kafka took me a really long time to finish. Mostly because at times the book would suddenly take a 360 degree turn and leave me mind boggled. But every time I felt that, every time I wanted to go back and read it.

I will admit that Kafka has parts (maybe chapters) that will confuse you. That will make you feel like the story isn’t going in any real direction. My advice is this: Get through these parts. Because when you do, you will thank me. Kafka will take you some time to read. It will make you think and maybe make you re-read something because you didn’t really get it. But like every other Murakami book, Kafka will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

 

Rating: 3.7/5.0 

 

 

Posted in Personal

When I actually mean the sorry I’m telling you:

It’s so weird but over the years I’ve realized that people (including myself) misuse the English language SO much. People use words without meaning them, or use them without understanding them, and I’ve started hating that a lot. Where people tell you they love some random netflix show, but they just like going home to visit. (Can you really feel more for that show than you feel for home?).

For a lot of things in life, I have mini internal rules. Rules that I follow wholeheartedly and without anyone finding out they exist. One of my rules (its actually sometimes a little hard to follow) is that I never say sorry to anyone who doesn’t matter. My rule is not wide or senseless. For example, if I step on someone’s shoe while walking to the bus station, I will apologize – my rule only applies for people I actually know. So for example, I do something and I end up hurting someone’s feelings, the only time I will apologize is when I actually care about this someone’s forgiveness. Where I look at this person and think, “oh you are not someone I want to hurt”. But where someone doesn’t matter, I can’t do it. I don’t apologize (because I don’t care).

I like to think my rule works really well for me. It helps me prioritize people and mostly reminds me who I am actually letting my brain think about. If I’m not apologizing to you, you don’t matter and I don’t think about you. Sometimes this weirdly simple logic that I use makes me wish other people also used it because that way I could tell who cared about me. I would know instantly if I was being thought about (or alternatively, not being thought about).

I once read somewhere that a lot depends on whom you let get access to you. That your day can change depending on who is running it (you, or someone else, etc.). When I think about that, I feel like it becomes very important for me to reevaluate the people in my everyday life. Do you really matter enough for me to say sorry to you? When I can answer that, I can easily figure who is getting access to me and positively change my day!