The Solo Date

Is there anything more refreshing than taking an outing by oneself for an introvert? I think not! But wait, how do you make it better? Why, of course, by going book-shopping!

After a 40-minute ride on the subway, I stood at my destination, an area crowded with multiple book stores and a few great places to stop for a snack. It was a great sunny day with a sprinkling of clouds, though it rained later in the evening.

I could spend hours walking through books, and that’s exactly what I did too. There’s something about the smell of old books that makes me feel very peaceful. The shop I went to had a labyrinthine structure, with the books stretching from floor to the roof; it had a quite obscure wooden staircase too, which led to the first floor. All in all, I enjoyed sifting through the various titles in this almost mysterious sort of place. I felt like I was in the Hogwarts library at one point!

Going out on travels alone is a surprisingly different dynamic from going out with a group of friends or family. It puts everything in a different perspective. Suddenly, you’re the one making all the decisions, doing activities you probably would’ve left off to others on another day. For me, it also brought along a sense of freedom I feel so rarely, and it did wonders to lift my mood and get rid of stress. Of course, it helped that I had a lot of time to use up, and could do so without any guilt or responsibility.

How could any outing be perfect without great food! I took my time walking around and checking out places, and even though one of the places I wanted to visit was crowded and full, I ended up getting some really yummy stuff.

It’s a serene feeling to walk along stone-paved streets in the afternoon sun, looking over to find colorful displays of hats, fruits, trinkets, and other goods sitting cheerfully on the street-sides. I was also impressed by a painter who had put up his station on one of the curbs and was lost in recreating portraits of various people walking by.

Here are the books I ended up buying-

Some of them were old books which I love for their rustic feel. It almost seems like a memory passed down from somebody, who knows who might have held these books before you.

As you can see, quite a few of them are Stephen Kings, who I’ve recently started reading from. I’ve actually just read half of one of his books, “IT”. I’m very impressed by his approach to writing, and certain creative decisions he makes which add fascinating elements to the story. But yes, I would totally ask him to get a new editor if I ever met him because holy shit, the books are huge(and kinda dragged out). Nevertheless, I can safely say I am in my horror phase right now.

There is also a copy of Looking For Alaska by John Green, which is a book I’ve read before, and haven’t stopped loving since. I do consider it my favorite book on most days, so naturally, I had to own a physical copy when I set my eyes on one(I’d read a softcopy before). The other titles are just ones that struck me as interesting when I was in the thriller section of the shop.

When I came back home, my friend randomly asked me to go play badminton, which I was initially skeptical about because I was already tired from my 3-hour-long venture so far. But as it happened, it was the perfect end to my day. I felt refreshed after playing and was greeted with a heavy downpour (thankfully) shortly after I’d reached home.

So there, that was my day! Hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I did living it!!

What’s On Your Bookshelf- June 2022

Despite saying that I’ll be posting more this month, I haven’t kept up at all! This is only my second post this month because I’ve been catching up on shows, traveling, and doing so much more since my exams ended earlier this month.

My books this month have been a polar mix of comfort books and new experiments.

First off, was a re-reading of one of my favorite comfort books- Memoirs of Geisha by Arthur Golden. Although there is a LOT of controversy surrounding the book about inaccurate representation and some false facts, I thoroughly enjoy the story and the wistful narrative it carries. This was a perfect book to ease my mind as I got through the last of my exams.

What a 180 from my first title! “It” by Stephen King has intrigued me for a very long time, and I finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago. I still haven’t gotten through deeply disturbing, slightly drawn out and absolutely masterful 1000-something pages. It’s a real monster of a book, as is the case with many Stephen Kings. The metaphor of Derry and trauma being the true horror is very well done. This book continues to give me chills constantly!

Now this book isn’t exactly a book. It’s a famous puzzle, consisting of 100 pages of a murder mystery, or rather 6 of them. The problem is, they’re all arranged in a random order, which makes the book incomprehensible unless the order of pages is figured out. Since published in 1934, (apparently) only 4 people have been able to solve it correctly. As I was visiting my cousin-sister for a few days, we thought why not give it a shot! We’ve managed to put some sense into the pages and continue to lose our heads over it. Can we become the 5th and 6th people to solve it?

What I’ve been watching lately-

1.More Masterchef Australia! Although this season has been underwhelming, to say the least.

2. Stranger Things(season 4), which has been ANYTHING but underwhelming! I’m so happy they went in the direction that they did because I absolutely dig the horror aspect of it. The clever link between mental health and the villain is hard-hitting without being tacky. Can’t wait for the next volume to drop on July 1st!

3. Sex and the City 2- A movie which I consider a comfort film, and this was the first time I got to watch it fully. I’d only ever seen parts of it before

4. The Theory Of Everything- The biopic of the great Stephen Hawking, this movie is a great watch for someone in need of a good cry. I especially loved the musical piece “Transformation”, which plays over the last scene and credits.

5. Some more Pirates of the Caribbean, though I must say the movies are getting more boring.

6. And finally, some more Modern Family! It serves as a great lunchtime viewing.

I hope I end this month with at least 2 more posts that I’m working on! See you soon xo

The Impact Of Distance// A Foodie Sunday

I have had the most volatile experiences with Bengali people in my life. From my first crush to my worst one; from my favorite mentor to my close friends, Bengalis have been everything in my life. The reason I put this out here: the dishes I prepared this Sunday were all recipes of my favorite contestant on season 13 of Masterchef Australia, Kishwar Chowdhury, who’s also Bengali. And they turned out AMAZING.

I cooked my take on her Ruby Curry(which originally uses chicken, but I used paneer or cottage cheese), a Bengali staple called Aloo Bhorta(a spiced potato mash), and Naan flatbread flavored with garlic and coriander. Now sadly, I was in an indifferent kinda mood and didn’t end up taking any pics of the food(Fuck me because it was a GREAT meal). And yes, this was supposed to be a food post if I’d taken the pictures. But now, you’re getting a rant instead. Haha, what fun.

This Sunday, one of my cousin-sisters who’s recently moved to my city for her job, came to visit us. Now truth be told, we barely met when I was younger, because we lived in different cities and never met more than once or twice a year, and she’s quite older than me too. Naturally, I never really developed a bond or anything with her, but I was always intrigued because a lot of my relatives and my parents have told me numerous times how similar they find both of us, in terms of interests and personalities and everything.

So anyway, she was here and as I was cooking that day, she helped me in the kitchen. I’m pretty terrible at rolling out the flatbreads, which is what she helped me with. I’m kinda bitchy about anyone being in the kitchen with me while I’m cooking, and I was pleasantly surprised to actually not mind her being there. Mind you, we’re pretty much strangers even now. In fact, I think cooking together as we did that day is the strongest “bonding” activity we’ve ever done.

While doing so, I was immediately struck by a stark comparison. Just the day before, I had a conversation with my favorite cousin(also a sister) who is the closest cousin I have in terms of age. Now, this cousin is someone I got close to just before the pandemic struck(yes I have non-existent relationships with almost all of my extended family can we move on), so it was a relationship that developed solely on texts and occasional phone calls.

In our convo the day before, she was voicing out how detached she feels about me, even though I know so much about her. Because of the pandemic, we didn’t get to meet at all throughout the peak of our getting to know each other. Even when we met recently, it was for an engagement ceremony in the family and we got barely spent any time together. Mind you, this was the first time we were meeting.

The thing I realized, when I was cooking with my older cousin is that even though we barely knew each other, she felt more real to me than my favorite cousin. Distance and a face-to-face meeting really make such a big difference in your relationships. I am a single child, and these cousins are the closest thing I have to siblings by blood.

So yeah, it was a weird realization that no matter how close you are to anyone, they don’t feel real until they’re in front of you physically.

You can tell how lazy I’m being because I’m blogging about the events of last Sunday a whole week later. I’ll be blogging more this month for sure, now that my exams are almost done.

What are some weird realizations you’ve had lately?

What’s On Your Bookshelf- May 2022

Hello everyone, it’s been quite a long time since I last saw you! I’m back now with the “What’s On Your Bookshelf” where I list out all the books I’ve been reading each month. As I’ve been reading very few books nowadays, I’m gonna include what I watched this month too.

Thank you to the hosts- Deb, Sue, Donna, and Jo for hosting this month’s “What’s on your bookshelf challenge.”

Let’s get on with my list!

Books I read this month-

Alice Through The Looking Glass- A sequel to the classic Lewis Carrol’s “Alice In Wonderland”, this book certainly lives up to its predecessor, even surpassing the former with its absurdly funny writing and wild plot. It was a great comfort read, serving as my bedtime reading for the first week of May.

Now hear me out on “Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. The writing itself is very good, and I really enjoyed most of the book. It was easy to follow and very thrilling. I just felt that the character development was rocky and weird. You know nothing about someone, then suddenly within a few pages, they are being made to look suspicious. And at the end, the big reveal is kinda strange because the murderer hasn’t been developed very well at all. The climax is too short for such a long buildup, and the book could’ve done with fewer pages. I enjoyed reading this book as a pastime without getting too invested in the story. It may across as a little too cliche at times to readers.

Currently Reading-

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is another classic that has been on my to-read list for a while, and I’ve just started reading this a few days ago. Although I have read it only halfway, I do appreciate the style of writing which comes across as witty and deeply observant. As always with a classic, I love the old language and period setting. This also is the best book I’ve read this month, even though I haven’t finished it yet(assuming I read nothing else this month apart from the mentioned books).

What I’m watching-

I’ve been watching A LOT of the trial footage of the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation case. I’m really very invested(maybe too much) in the legal battle. It shows because the only two movies I watched this month are both Johnny’s and were mentioned in the trial many times.

Yep, you guessed it, I watched the first two “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

All I can say is, that the movies rely heavily on their excellent cast, and there isn’t much to the story itself. What makes the movies is their ability to deliver laughs in the tensest scenes and the most ridiculously humorous situations. Johhny steals the spotlight, of course with his eccentric Jack Sparrow.

I’ve also been watching a lot of MasterChef Australia, seasons 13 (from last year) and through to season 14 which is running currently. It is by far the best of the MasterChef series and I loved seeing familiar faces return for the “Fans vs Favorites” in season 14.

On the side, I’ve been watching a few episodes of Moder Family, and surprisingly find myself going back to iconic Game of Thrones episodes quite often suddenly.

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much this month! I’ll get back to more regular posts once my tests get over in early June. Bye!

May Poetry Challenge- 2022

This May, we will be writing a freestyle poem of no more than 14 lines, which describes a mystery person, place, or thing. Free verse is where my talent lies!! And I really like this time’s theme too! I’ve been wanting to write a poem riddle for quite a long time. Try to guess what I’m describing in the comments! You can read more about the challenge here.

Here goes my attempt at a freestyle poetry riddle-

No one seems to hear him walk,
Muted footsteps and charming pouts.
Some may call him selfish,
But he's a confidante if you wish.
A sly ball of fur, delicate stance,
Night long jigs and daytime naps.
He's seems a proud creature,
And hunting's in his blood,
He'll be your lifelong friend,
If you treat him royally.

Can you guess what creature I’m describing here? It’s my favorite animal!

I won’t be posting much this month because I have exams coming up and some other things I’m preparing for. See you all later this month with my reading update, with the “What’s on your bookshelf” challenge! I think that’ll be my only other post this month, I’m pretty sure. Until then, I’ll be taking a break from blogging.

Did you know that I completed the A-Z Challenge recently?

If you’re not familiar with my theme, you can check it out here.

You can find all my A-Z posts for this year here.

See you!

Reflections- The A-Z Challenge

I’ve made a playlist anyway, so why not add another song to it for the reflections post! You’ll find that I’ve added “Reflections” by The Neighbourhood to my playlist. It also seems perfect to start and end the playlist with a “Neighbourhood” song.

This was my first ever A-Z challenge and I think it went pretty well! I do think I’ll do a continuous story for next year’s challenge because some letters really bored me. Also, I have a cool thriller idea for next time, so let’s see how that plays out.

I’m determined to start writing earlier next year and schedule more posts. I started off April 2022 with only 9 posts scheduled, that too all random ones. So I did face trouble in between, especially the second to last week when I had only 1 post scheduled.

But on the bright side, my stats blew up like anything, and I had the best month in views, likes, and comments since starting my blog. In fact, the day of the last post of my A-Z Challenge was also my blog’s 1-year anniversary.

Here are my top 5 most-viewed posts-

1.A for “A Little Death”

2.P for “Purple Rain”

3.R for “Remedy”

4.C for “Careful”

5.G for “Goodbye”

And here are my 5 least viewed posts-

1.T for “The Story”

2.O for “Only Ones We Know”

3.M for “Motion Sickness”

4.V for “Visions of Gideon”

5.J for “Just Like Fire”

This was a great challenge for me. I really liked some of the posts I made, they’re some of my best writing.

I’m still in a writing slump so this post is gonna be quite a short one lol. How did your challenge go? Did you have fun blogging?

Zombie- A-Z #26

The last post!! And the last song on my playlist too!!!!

If you’re not familiar with my theme, you can check it out here.

To close out the challenge, it seems only fair that I write something as dark as my opening post. And this song provides the perfect foundation for it. “Zombie” by The Cranberries is a song written about the devastation of war and violence. Though this song is decades old, it still stands extremely relevant to today’s situation- I’m referring of course to the terrible war still going on in Ukraine, and Afghanistan, the violent tensions between Israel and Palestine, and numerous other politically driven concerns. Nothing really seems to have changed since our lessons in the second World War.

Here goes my last post of the A-Z challenge, April 2022!

Black dust flying in the air,

The sky lit up with hostile flairs,

Buildings and hearts streaked with tears,

To the common man, how is this fair?

Corpses littering the streets,

Violence decked with greed,

What is it that they really need,

Sitting in their mansions, sipping their mead?

Innocents shed their blood,

Yet their voices are never heard,

It’s they who always get hurt,

Is this what they’ve earned?

When was such hate sowed,

Who decided to tread this road,

It seems like we’ve forgotten what we have owed,

Still dying the deaths of long ago.

Andd just like that, we’re done with the challenge! It’s been a great month of blogging, and I absolutely have no more words to write. See you all after a loong vacation I’m sure to take from blogging!!

You can find all my A-Z posts for this year here.

Your Head And Your Heart- A-Z #25

Click on song 25 on my playlist for today! It’s the second last post of the challenge!

If you’re not familiar with my theme, you can check it out here.

There’s nothing like food that connects the head and the heart! The song I’ve chosen, “Your Head And Your Heart” by The Saint Johns is quite a sad song, and so(obviously) a jam of mine(Yes, food pun intended). Maybe the people in the song are sad because they didn’t get good food.

Originally, this post was gonna be a cooking experience/recipe post like I do monthly, with my this time’s culinary creation. As it turns out, it flopped badly, so I don’t really wanna get into the full recipe. This post will be a random rant.

So this time around, I tried to make a version of German bread dumplings, or as their fancy name goes, “SemmelKnoedel”. I paired it with a simple mint and garlic broth, roasted potatoes, and beetroot.

The thing is, I didn’t make a mess(for once) or even destroyed any kitchen equipment this time around. No, I destroyed the taste buds of everyone who ate because my dumplings were salty AF. So yeah. At least it looked pretty though.

So my potatoes were kinda soft and not crispy. The beetroot was too crunchy for my liking.

The only thing I liked about the whole dish was the mint broth. It was pretty general stuff, caramelized garlic, onion, mint of course, and some other things. I also added nutritional yeast to it, a new favorite of mine. I’ve started sprinkling it on almost everything I have. It has a salty, cheesy flavor to it that I love.

In other food news of my life, I absolutely love Season 13 of MasterChef Australia which I’m about to finish in the next couple of weeks. It started out rocky, with my favorite contestant going home with an immunity pin but my new favorites are thriving right now and it’s great to watch.

My head and my heart have also refound a purpose in life: the badminton tournament in which I’m participating, happening in June. My heart is certainly glad because of all the cardio it’s been getting, but my head, I wouldn’t be so sure actually. It feels dizzy after my workout.

Well, I guess that’s about it, I don’t really know what else to say. It’s the last post of the A-Z challenge tomorrow! Then probably I can get to studying for my exams better :p

You can find all my A-Z posts for this year here.

Xanny- A-Z #25

If you’re not familiar with my theme, you can check it out here.

There are two poems that inspired me while writing this. One is “Porphyria’s Lover” and the second is “My Last Duchess”, both by the artistic eccentricity that is Robert Browning. You may know him as the writer of “The Pied Piper Of Hamelin”.

From “Porphyria’s Lover”, I derive thematic inspiration. As many might think, this is not a poem about insanity and psychopathy. I firmly believe that Downing referred to the disease of Porphyria while writing this, and the persona’s triumph over an acute bout of the disease. This is confirmed by the immobility of the persona and pale complexion( as he says himself) in the poem, as well as the hallucinogenic style of Porphyria herself. All these are symptoms of the disease Porphyria. Downing was also an enthusiast of medical magazines, and around the time this poem was written, the disease of Poryphyria had become somewhat of a viral sensation in medical magazines.

From “My Last Duchess” I borrowed the poetic form, that is the enjambment and the number of rhyming couplets(28). However, I could not keep to the iambic pentameter.

I do recommend reading Porphyria’s Lover if you’re not aware of it, before reading this post. It is an excellent piece of psychology.

The theme of this poem is based on “Wuthering Heights”, most notably two monologue pieces which are extremely dramatic and murderously poetic, and spoken under the influence of the world’s strongest drug- Love.

Pertaining to the title of this post, Xanny (as in the song by Billie Eilish), I can say only one thing: Kids, don’t do drugs.

So basically, it’s something set in the Wuthering Heights universe but inspired by Downing’s writing style, but also involves drugs in some way(Yep, I’m confused too). The monologue lines taken from the book are as follows-

(The first is Catherine speaking about her love for Heathcliff.)

“…If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn into a mighty stranger.” “…My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I AM Heathcliff!”

And the second is Heathcliff grieving Catherine’s death.

“…I repeat it till my tongue stiffens- Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you, haunt me, then!” “… I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always- take any form- drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!” “… I cannot live without my life!”

Like I said, pretty dramatic. But there’s just something about the power in these lines that shakes the most stable mind. It surprises me even more, that in the moments these lines were spoken, I felt sorry for the pair of devils, even though I hated both of these characters from the bottom of my understanding for the course of the book.

The poem is below is a patchwork of quite a few inspirations of mine, and very deeply rooted in my fantastical imagination of Wuthering Heights.

Such savagery has thou gifted me that

I lose my footing in the sands; of late

I cry my tears of gold in solitary

confines; who dareth come near me,

When my evil sits proud by your holy

side, a pungent image of dreary

sight? It was only thy darkness that bore my company well;

You made it our religion to dwell

upon the corpses of their malice, your golden

wisps the only salvation in our barren,

denounced reputation of misanthropy; who stand

they to question us with their bland

inextricability; those commoners, fit to

only serve our unequivocal hues; you

must return, regenerate my viability!

Laments of thyn absence strangle my entity!

Oh black maiden, why don’t you haunt

me yet; when all your mortality did was taunt

my insanity and sowed witchery into everyone

around you; the very chaos drunk on our pagan

lust; How more do I have you return-

Ah, but thy stir now, drifting closer to listen!

A thousand nights I’ve bled, but now when you bleed me dry

I feel it not; I get no pleasure in even berating my

pathetic “family”; come closer, bringer of venom,

and provoke my desire woken seldom,

poison my soul, I beg you welcome,

I can see it! The enchanting splendor of heaven…

So in my head, this is how Heathcliff finally died, after three days of starvation and all the other dramatics he went through in the story. Well, can’t lie, I felt blissful when he did.

You can find all my A-Z posts for this year here.

We Are Young- A-Z #23

Tap on song 23 in my playlist as you read this post!

If you’re not familiar with my theme, you can check it out here.

“We Are Young” by Fun. and Janielle Monae is literally nostalgia given a sound. And for me, who’s lived my entire conscious life in Bangalore, this city is the perfect representation of nostalgia and home. I love so much about Bangalore, be it the eccentric weather or the laid-back and easy-going people.

If there’s one favorite spot I had to choose to call home, I’d choose the grey, stony disposition of our apartment’s terrace. There’s also a narrow metal staircase leading to the top of the elevator room, which is a place I go to often for some peace. It overlooks the busy city and offers a great view of the sunset.

This is an ode to my city and my peace which I wrote in the very same spot a couple years ago before I had this blog.

The sounds are getting quieter,

The wind’s growing softer,

In this paradise of peace,

Time is frozen forever.

I watch as day changes to dusk,

The city slowly settles in,

The slumber comes in unnoticed,

All is forgotten in the dim.

The clouds seem so close.

The last of the gold littering the sky,

Blue blotting my pages like moss.

My ink has been blue for ages,

Against the snowy white of the pages.

In this gentle spectrum of lights,

In this cozy caress of the oncoming night,

How many times,

Must I have lost myself.

Yet I never know where I’ll find myself.

I think this is one of my first attempts at freestyle poetry, and it shows because it’s so messy. Freestyle is my favorite poetry now, and I feel like any kind of set verse doesn’t really capture my emotion completely and satisfactorily.

We’re nearing the end of A-Z! I feel like my brain has been squeezed dry of words. Can’t wait for it to end even though it’s been fun and my stats are BLOWING UP this month.

You can find all my A-Z posts for this year here.