25 BOOKISH FACTS ABOUT ME

So I have seen a lot of BookTubers and bloggers do this tag, and it seemed kind of fun! So I decided to give this a go. Here are 25 bookish facts about me:

1.  I have grown up surrounded by books. Almost everyone in my family loves to read. And my parents would just sit me on their laps and read me fantasy stories. And I owned piles of picture books and short stories collections. Talk about #familygoals, right?

2. The first real novel that I read (not picture book) was the Book of Humor by Ruskin Bond.  I met the man himself when I was in class 3, one summer holiday when we went to Dehradun in Uttarakhand, India. The first novel I ever read was a signed one!! And it is my most prized possession till date.

3. I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was 15. I spent my time dreaming, not of Hogwarts, but Narnia. FOR NARNIA!! FOR ASLAN!!

4. I proudly announce that I JUDGE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS. Honestly, who doesn’t? If you say you don’t, you’re lying.

5. I used to enjoy reading YA but not anymore. If I come across one more book about a strong, independent female lead, stuck in a complicated love triangle, and single-handedly leading a revolution against a tyrannical ruler, I…I will BANG MY HEAD ON THE WALL. I’m just tired of all this, you know? Spare me the cliches! _/\_

6. I don’t buy that many books. I rarely buy physical books. I currently have membership of 3 libraries, excluding my college library. Also, I own a Kindle (I know, I know, it’s a disputed device. But when you HAVE to have access to books ALWAYS, and your backpack is already so damn heavy, IT’S EASIER TO TAKE A KINDLE TO COLLEGE!) Also, audiobooks are such a blessing.

7. I still enjoy reading children’s books time and again. Enid Blyton, Ruskin Bond, RK Narayan, Roald Dahl. Also, Amar Chitra Kathas are love ❤

8. I am NEVER reading just one book. “Oh yeah, this one I rented from the library” “This one I own, for a change” “This one’s on my Kindle” “I’m currently listening to that one” Like what?

9. I never dog-ear a book or write on one. I use sticky tabs before, but not anymore, it was time consuming to put tabs, and kind of kill the moment especially when I am already engrossed by what was happening in the book I am reading.

10. The first classic I ever read was Heidi (It was ABRIDGED.. A PICTURE BOOK) (The horror) Since it was abridged, I didn’t like it AT ALL. Then years later, I saw the unabridged version while browsing through the library. And that was when I realized how stupid I was. when I read it, I found that Heidi is a pretty amazing book! Other abridged versions that have deceived me are Hound of Baskervilles, Treasure Island and Oliver Twist.

11. I don’t have a favourite genre. I like reading fantasy, adventure, mystery/thriller, contemporary, horror, historical fiction. The only genre I am sick of is paranormal romance (and also the #badboy romances. cringe)

12. Cracked spines make me want to cry.

13.I am a pro at reading in  a moving vehicle and reading while walking. I get a lot of looks of horror for that from people at college, but what can I say? *shrug*

14. I always take a book, wherever I go. Even if there is no chance that I’ll be able to read. But it gives me a kind of comfort just to have one with me at all times.

15. I love making and collecting bookmarks. Although most of the time I just grab anything I can get my hand on (i.e. comb)

16. I sometimes get sick of reading and I don’t read anything for months on an end. Shameful, I know.

17. I am a book sniffer. I love the smell of books, regardless of the fact whether they are new or old. I get high on the smell of books.

18. I love to feel the yellowing paper of old books. I know it’s weird, but that’s just who I am. When I was younger I used to imagine that hardback books with yellowing pages were secret spell books from fantasy books. (I know I am super weird.)

19. The first Harry Potter book that I read was Chamber of Secrets.

20. Whenever people ask me for book recommendations, I generally just forget all the books I ever read and look at them with a blank expression. Ahh.. It’s so frustrating.

21.I love reading classics, unlike a lot of readers. What can I say, I just love the feeling of Old English words in my mouth.

22. I love it when books have maps in them. It makes my heart all giddy giddy.

23. I hardly read any non-fiction. Just can’t focus while reading them. Also I CANNOT understand the obsession over all those “inspirational” books. I enjoy reading biographies though. And as a matter of fact, the book I am currently reading IS an autobiography – Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama. (It’s a self narrated audio-book. And can I just say that Barack Obama is an amazing orator!!!!) (fun fact: This audiobook won a Grammy for spoken word. I DID NOT KNOW THEY HAVE GRAMMYS FOR SPOKEN WORD! Also, Obama is a Grammy winner? wow.)

24. I am not obsessed with the organisation of my books. I just keep my books in whatever way they can all fit in the small space, stacked, double stacked, on top of each other, ANYTHING.

25. I get so emotionally attached with all the books and fictional characters I read. I stay in book hangover for days after I finish reading a really good book.

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HOPE

Hope is a silent prayer, the notes of which are born in the breath and die at the lips.

Hope is the silence between two beeps of a heartbeat monitor, and the expectant wait for the next.

Hope is the cold floor when you pull yourself out of bed and wipe away the dried up tears and snot off your face, and get going,  day after day after day.

Hope is the pink dawn and the cool morning breeze, the soft promise of a new beginning.

PAIN AND ITS COLOURS

Pain comes in all colours and shades,
It is always there, looming around the corner;
Turn around and you might catch a glimpse before it fades.
It is a black whirlpool that sucks all joy away;
It is the blood and saliva exploding across the world as she screams;
It is the silent grey of deserted cities and decay,
It is the iridescent colour of shattered glass and broken dreams.
It is the oozing red and the silent tears after a fall,
It is the orange and yellow of a pyre burning bright,
It is the white silence of betrayal, when, for help you call,
It is the dark blue of the long tunnel of struggles you walk, no end in sight.
It is the flash of silver and the blood that follows,
It is the deep purple that consumes you and leaves you hollow

It is a roar, an eclipse – O! Will you ever be whole again?

BREATHE

Self-destruction isn’t just slits on arms and poison and jumping off rooftops, is it? It is in the tear stains on your pillow each morning. It is the faraway look in your eyes. It is the loud music that drowns away your screaming and sobbing. It is lying awake night after night, staring at the ceiling.

 You lock away the pain and the guilt in some far corner of your soul, where no one can see it. You are glass shattered into diamonds. You flash sugary smiles. You’ll carry graveyards on your spine till you can’t handle it anymore and you’ll fall. And the dark circles underneath your eyes will slowly suck your soul in like a black hole.

Life will toss you around like you’re a rag doll and wound you all over. Life will push you around and knock you down over and over again. But knocking the wind out of you is the only way to remind yourself how much you love the taste of air. You’ll feel like you’re caught in a storm, surrounded by destruction and rain. But I’ll tell you, my dear, that a storm’s just excited rain. It’ll soon drain itself out and leave a rainbow in its wake. So stick out your tongue and taste Life’s bittersweet flavour while you still can.

Look up at the sky, at the twinkling stars, so many of them that you’ll run out of numbers before you can finish counting them all. Look at them. Look at the big, vast Universe around us, engulfing us in a dark blue blanket. There is just one of you out there. And you have no right to deprive the universe of the breath taking beauty that is you. You have no right to make the Earth miss the feel of your weight, to make the wind long for the feeling of ruffling through your hair, to snatch away our privilege of hearing your melodious laugh.

The moon sneaks beside you every night and dances upon your face, praying that you’ll still breathe tomorrow, wishing that you’ll outshine his glow the next day. And the day after.

You are precious.

You are loved beyond words.

You are important, because the universe will collapse without you.

So breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Life will be magical again.

Monsters

Don’t be afraid of the dark, child
It does not harbour monsters.
There are no spirits lurking in the shadows,
No ghosts beneath your bed.
You will find no monsters there;
The monsters roam in the daylight.
They laugh with you, they sing with you,
They even say they love you.
They look nothing like the monsters you heard about,
They are so gentle and sweet.
You believe their sincere smiles
You befriend those monsters, child.
But you don’t see it coming,
You are taken by surprise
The knife comes leisurely out and finds your heart.
Darling, sleep well for your bed is safe,
No demon will grab your foot from below.
Oh, but beware the people you meet,
They’ll tell you they wish well
And smilingly push you down the cliff.
Beware them, O child,
Beware the monsters who walk beside you.

Believe

Fight, my dear;
For you have fire inside you,
The fire that once burned in a star.

Heads up, my dear;
For you have strenght inside you,
The strength of the mountain standing tall.

Fly, my dear;
For you have dreams inside you
Your dreams – the wind beneath your wings.

Laugh, my dear;
For you have mirth inside you,
The mirth of a river skipping towards the sea.

Dance, my dear;
For you have rhythm inside you
The rhythm of the rain falling on the ground.

Believe, my dear;
For you have light inside you
The light of the stars that burned up to become you.

Ocean

It’s hilarious, I think

The way you claim to know me

I am an ocean fathoms deep,

You only dipped your toes in my water.

You have watched my surfacefrom the shore,

And once in a while, a gust of wind,

Might have brought my droplets to you.

You know me from my surfaces,

You know not the roaring depths.

In the deep waters of my soul will you find me,

You’ll discover me then, my dear

Drop by drop, as you plunge deeper

But would you have the strength?

The strength to hold your breath that long?

My waters are not hostile,

You’re welcome to witness the calm and the storm.

But do you dare, dear?

Do you dare to dive?

Library

My soul is a library that screams out me.
Within its caring, loving shelves,
It holds the story that is me.
There are books old and yellowing;
There are books unwritten, waiting to be opened;
There are books I read over for old time’s sake.
These hold stories unspoken,
The things they make me.
Would you read through me
Or would you leave the pages half read?
Oh, but hold these books with tender hands,
For they hold treasures within;
These books hold memories,
They hold people in them.
Some people are simply sentences,
Others own complete books.
They all make me, shape me;
Their inky marks adore my soul.
Would you roam into the darkest corners of my library?
Would you blow the dust off and read?
I sure am writing you down, my friend,
But my dear, would you write down me?

My India, My Dream

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; 

Where knowledge is free […]

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake 

 

There is so much to dream about India; so much to love; so much to despair; so much to cheer about and so much to work for.

India is almost a five thousand years old civilization. And ever since its inception, various streams of immigrants, from different ethnic strains and linguistic families, have merged into India to contribute to its diversity, richness and vitality. Several levels of social evolution coexist in India and its composite identity has won her the often quoted cliche, ‘Unity in Diversity’.

Even as we should be proud of our roots, we need to be worried about the future of our country. Still plagued by numerous problems, India has failed to find the stature that it deserves in this world. Instead of treating the problems like an ostrich and ignoring them, it’s time we took the bull by its horn and tackled each and every malady analytically and thoroughly.  

Step out onto the roads of India, and you will undoubtedly see countless pairs of sweat-drenched hands begging for food. Uncombed hair, tattered clothes, unwashed and malnourished bodies are sure to greet your eyes at every traffic signal. The first thing that I wish for India of the future, is that these people are economically protected and they have a home, a job to go to, a happy life and no longer depend on the mercy of those driving shiny big black cars. Economic disparities prevalent in India should be bridged. India of my dreams is a nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy, and continues on a sustainable growth path.

Corruption has become a blood-sucking vampire and is draining out the life force of India. People openly blackmail us, burn holes into our pockets and we oblige. Honest and visionary politicians, supported by a dedicated bureaucracy, in the India of my dreams will have stronger anti-corruption laws and even tougher implementation to root out this parasite. It will be a nation where governance is responsive, transparent and corruption-free.

India, as of today, is, sadly, a society of hypocrites, sexists, and racists. Casteism is still prevalent. Women and elders are still discriminated against. Lawlessness is still rampant and we are still haunted by local goons and mafias. The common man is afraid to step out of his home for fear of his life and security. No more discrimination and insecurities in the India of my dreams! A nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed, crime against women and children is absent, and no one in the society feels alienated.

India is home to a rich diversity of religions and religious beliefs, and yet, they live in disharmony and treat each other with distaste and suspicion. The Hindu-Muslim riots are still prevalent in almost every part of the country.  I dream of an India where Shabad Kirtan from Gurudwaras, Azan from Mosques, Bhajans from Temples and chiming of the bells from churches blend together into a harmonious medley of beautiful music. Imagine waking up in a future India and listening to all these different spiritual strains merge and mingle and produce a melodious tune of brotherhood and love. Imagine all the people living life in peace.    

India has become a soft target for terrorism, even though it is a worldwide phenomenon. The humane and pacific image of India in international relations is often taken for sheepishness. This is because we only react to threats and lack strategic planning. India needs to be tougher and more aggressive in its own defense.

We need to skill-enable and knowledge-enable our youth by fostering private sector initiatives. It is essential to develop sustainable systems in every domain, so that fluctuations in the world economy do not have a direct impact on the Indian economy.

With its run of recent accomplishments, India has earned international acclaim for its ambitious space programmes and science missions, which will fill any Indian’s heart with pride. I dream for India to become a world leader in science and technology.

 

“Dream; Dream; Dream. Dreams transform into thoughts. And thoughts result in action.”

I dream of a shining India, a vibrant democracy and a secular nation taking center-stage in the comity of nations. To say the least, we will have a new heaven on earth. People will be mentally, morally, spiritually and physically better. The common man in India will feel the glow of freedom.

 

PRESUMED GUILTY

Hey! I’m back (after an year). Its not that I didn’t have anything to post, I was too busy or at the other times, too lazy to open up my blog and publish some stuff.

So, I’m going to share a story I wrote in the summer last year (yeah, I know… I’m damn late)

Well, so this story came about after a 10 classes course full of fun and amazing activities. All the merit of making me confident about the stories I write, and the wildest flights my imagination takes, goes to Vibha Malhotra ma’am. *victory music in the background* She is just an amazing teacher. She knows how to blend fun with learning, and made this course the most wonderful experience of my life as a short story writer. So I sincerely want to thank Vibha ma’am and Literature Studio for the splendid course, and of course Sangeeta aunty who told me about this course. Seriously, this story would not have been possible without these two amazing ladies. 😀 ❤

The original story that I wrote during the course is published at Literature Studio. But since my school English teacher got so impressed by this story and wanted it to be published i our school magazine – Sagarika, I shortened it. So here is the edited version. And if you want to see the original story, click the link above! 🙂 🙂

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I peeked timidly into our class. Rajiv Choudhary, our Political Science teacher, was leaning against the teacher’s desk, waving his thin bony arms to the rest of the class. Dr. Choudhary was an easy target of ridicule of the students, especially due to his old fashioned ways and peculiar dressing sense. Today, I was late for his class as I had gone to submit my entry for “Words and More” the prestigious Inter school story writing competition. I was the favourite student of all my teachers. The only exception to this rule was Dr. Choudhary. He would always favor Amish Marwah over me and I could not, for the life of me, figure out why! How could he prefer that clumsy and diffident oaf over me! I, who had won the epithet of Hermione Granger for my eagerness to impress the teachers and answer all their questions.

“May I come in sir?”

“You are late, Geeta. Hurry up now and let’s get on with our discussion.”

What, no scolding? Was he being sarcastic, I wondered as I murmured an apology on my way to my seat.

“I have decided who is going to be the monitor of this class” he announced. All my friends looked at me in expectation. I knew it had to be me this time. I held my breath.

“Amish Marwah.”

I woke up from my day dream. What the hell? Amish? Seriously? He can never carry out any responsibilities. He is always sitting at his corner desk and reading some book or scribbling and doodling away in his notebook.

Just wait till other teachers find out that sir has made Amish his monitor! Oh, how will they laugh at his foolishness! I don’t know whether this is jealousy, but I do want to know why Dr. Choudhary is so partial to Amish, who, in my opinion, is the least deserving of us all.

“A week from today,” Dr. Choudhary said, “We will have a discussion on Federalism. I want you all to give your views on equal representation in federalism.”

This was my chance to prove to him how intelligent I was and how wrong he was in favouring Amish over me. I spent hours preparing for the activity.  I was confident that I would secure the highest marks and would make a lasting impression on Dr. Choudhary.

On the day of the debate the class was tense as Dr. Choudhary began calling the students one by one. It seemed like eternity before he called my name, “Geeta Gupta.” I walked with full confidence to the podium and stood facing everyone. I glanced at Amish. Suddenly a disturbing thought crossed my mind. What if he performs well? He will get all the praise. I silently scolded myself for distracting my thoughts, but my eyes kept on moving towards Amish all through my speech.

“I am of the strong opinion that everyone should be treated equally and no person or community should be favored. The system of reserved seats in jobs and schools created at the time of Independence was introduced to help the backward come forth and play a role in the development of the country. But now, it has been more than 60 years since we became an independent country. All the citizens of the country now enjoy equal resources. So what is the need of reservations? The deserving and capable students should be helped to grow more and reach new heights totally on the basis of merit, irrespective of caste, gender, and religion.”

I walked back to my seat very pleased with myself. “Very well done, Geeta. You are truly a smart young girl.” Dr. Choudhary beamed at me. Aha! Finally you realised. I smiled back.

“Amish Marwah.” Dr. Choudhary nodded at him with his ever-encouraging smile.

He walked with clumsy steps to the front of the class. The look on his face made me laugh at myself. I was afraid of him?

He started speaking “Federalism is more than just equal distribution of power. You all know that India is a federal country. But isn’t Jammu and Kashmir a special state? Hasn’t it been given a special status? Well, does this change India from being a federal country? No. There are some exceptions to fair and equal distribution. And of course there is the aspect of Justice. Everyone cannot be treated equally. The less-developed states such as Bihar have to be given special status. The less peaceful states like J & K have to be given special status. They will lag behind the country if they are not given extra resources and help from the center. Thus, I sincerely feel that there are some who really need a little help to achieve self-confidence and self-respect.”

“Amish my boy,” he continued, “I am so proud of you. You are genuinely working towards achieving great heights. I am very happy that you have improved so much. Always keep trying and have faith in yourself.”

That did it! He was being unfair. I couldn’t stand it anymore,

“Excuse me? What is the meaning of all this?” I spoke out. “Here you are, going on and on and on praising Amish! And ‘Very well done’ is all you have to say to me? You are the most biased and unjust teacher ever.” I felt that I was shouting, but I couldn’t help it. “And you Amish. You are the biggest fool of this class.” Amish looked as if he was about to break into tears. He deserves it, I told myself. “Dr. Choudhary tells you that you are brilliant. But let me tell you. He is lying. You are nothing but a fool. Everyone makes fun of you, and I bet, even Dr. Choudhary jokes about you with rest of the teachers.” Amish looked at Dr. Choudhary and ran out of the class with tears streaming down his face.

I, too, walked out of the classroom. “Geeta, wait. Please, both of you listen to me once. Oh, don’t cry Amish.” I heard Dr. Choudhary call out, but I didn’t stop. Rage was brewing up in my head. I saw Dr. Choudhary looking at me. “Oh dear. You are crying too,” he said. I shouted, “I am NOT crying!” But even as I said that I felt a tear run down my left cheek. I ran down the stairs “Geeta, come back. Please hear me out.” I heard a pleading voice from behind. I paid no heed

I descended the steps with my thoughts quite clear. This biased and unfair teacher had no right to stay in our school any longer. I wouldn’t rest until he is out of the school, I told myself.

I stopped in front of the brown, elegant door with “PRINCIPAL” written on top of it in bold letters. I straightened myself and knocked at the door. “Come in.” I walked in and the Principal looked up questioningly. I took a deep breath and began, “Sir, I’m Geeta Gupta of class X D. Sorry to interrupt you, but the matter is quite serious…”

He listened grimly to my tale of woe and said, “Dr. Choudhary is a good teacher. Surely there has to be a convincing reason behind his actions.”

I heard the door opened behind me. There was Dr. Choudhary standing there. “I am terribly sorry for bursting in like this. I thought that I would find Geeta here,” he said and looked at me.

“Your guess was quite right. And now that you are here, I would like you to answer a few questions,” Principal Sir said.

Dr. Choudhary looked in my direction “I only wanted to help Amish come forth. I saw through his work that he is a talented young boy. I feel that the smart students can take care of themselves and their studies without the help of teachers, but it’s the below average students who need our help. And I was trying to do just that. But since my actions are not acceptable, I’ll only say that I’m sorry for all the trouble I have caused. And I wish to no longer be a nuisance to you and to my students.” Having said this, he turned around and walked out of the door.

I saw him go out of the school building through the window. Principal Sir followed my gaze, “Well, that’s it. Now we are again short of a Political Science teacher.”

That afternoon, when I reached home, I found a letter addressed to me. It was from “Words and More, Story-Writing Competition”, a chill ran down my spine. The results have finally come! I will surely bag a prize. With the letter containing the results in my hand, I frowned as I remembered how Dr. Choudhary had encouraged Amish to participate in this competition and hadn’t said a word to me.

I brushed aside the thoughts of Dr. Choudhary and Amish and read the letter. I stood up in surprise as I read the results. My name was nowhere to be found!

And look who came second – Amish Marwah! What did this boy have that he is shining in every field? What is so special about him? Was Dr. Choudhary right? Is he really talented? All the events of the day of the debate flashed in front of my eyes. I felt guilty. Had I been too harsh on Amish? Should I have thought once before breaking into such an outburst?

That evening I reached Amish’s house. A servant opened the door and led me to Amish’s room. The room was a mess. And in the midst of the mess, sat Amish, scribbling away in his little notebook. He looked up at me, “Geeta? What are you doing here?”

I didn’t know what to say. I just showed him the letter, “I… Congratulations Amish.”

He smiled, “Oh this! So I sent my story a few days back. It was a shock to me too. When Dr. Choudhary told me that I could do it, I didn’t believe him. I smiled back at him, “Congratulations again.”

I sat for hours in his room. We talked about all that had happened to both of us during the past week. When I came out, I was feeling better. But I had realized the wrong I had done to Dr. Choudhary. I should have at least heard what he wanted to tell, before taking such a drastic step. I wished I could, for once, meet him and beg his forgiveness.