Something Borrowed : Thoughts on the book

Something Borrowed
Something Borrowed
by Emily Giffin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, a confession : I actually watched the movie before I read the book. Which may influence a lot of what I felt – I really, really tried hard to like this book but I have to say that I didn’t.

Although I liked the movie, there are some things I chose to ignore while watching because overall I like the actors and just the “chick flick” movie in general. However, there are certain aspects that I chose to ignore in the movie which I couldn’t ignore here because when things are typed out, you tend to find it harder to suppress that “uneasy” feeling you get when something isn’t right. For example, I think Rachel’s character is incredibly weak and spineless – and not even in a “cutesy” way. Her choices in the book, which are spelled out more clearly than in the movie, are just plain inexplicable. Not even the “rush of love” explanation can fix things.

Do I feel good about the ending? In the movie, I did. Here? Not so much. This is largely to do with the fact that I don’t think the characters themselves were happy with the ending. However, I see there is a sequel, which I plan to read, so I guess I will find out soon enough.

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Catch a poem by its tail

Just re-watched one of my favourite TED videos : Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity. The bit about poet Ruth Stone’s writing process is what I love most about this talk :

“As [Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming…cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, run like hell to the house as she would be chased by this poem. The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would continue on across the landscape looking for ‘another poet’. And then there were these times, there were moments where she would almost miss it. She is running to the house and is looking for the paper and the poem passes through her. She grabs a pencil just as it’s going through her and she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. In those instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact, but backwards, from the last word to the first.”

(Stole the above text from this blog)

Pieces of the Wall

I’ve never had the courage to write about Rahul Dravid. Like actually sit down and write a piece he deserves, like I’d want to. Maybe someday I will, but till then I am more than happy to read some wonderful pieces of writing on him that pop up now and then. Since I find myself going back to some of them quite often, I thought I’d make a list of some of the (in my opinion) really brilliant ones. I’m going to keep updating this list as and when I find other articles on him. I’m pretty sure there are some other great ones out there that I might have missed, so if any of you have any recommendations then do let me know so I can add them!

(in no particular order)

  1. Arun Sagar – “On being a fan”
  2. Sidvee – “When Dravid was there”
  3. Sidarth Monga – “Hiding behind the wall”
  4. Kunal Pradhan – “Dravid, who never changes”
  5. Rohit Brijnath – “The beauty of waiting in Test cricket”
  6. Sidvee – “Dravid and the mastery of struggle”
  7. Sidvee – “Degrees of fandom”
  8. Vikramjit Singh – “The Curious Case of Rahul Dravid’s Rebellion” (contributed by Supreeth)
  9. Alan Tyers – “The Secret Diary of Rahul Dravid, Aged 29792 Balls”
  10. Sriram Dayanand – “The Beacon”

Adele, Writing and Test Cricket

I know that I really need to be writing more often, but I suppose this is what happens if writing is a major part of your day job! Also, this is what happens when you get used to restricting yourself to 140 characters *glares at a certain micro-blogging site*

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Finishing a book

I have forgotten what it feels like to finish a book.

The physical turning of a page, or the filling up of that electronic status bar. It’s all the same to me, really. At this point I just want to pick up something and read it from start to finish and I just can’t seem to do that any more.

I’ve never had to beg anybody to lay my hands on something interesting to read, I’ve been lucky that way. I remember how I felt while reading (and watching) Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ – her dad ripping that book to shreds, I could feel my own eyes tearing up. Anyway, the point is there has ALWAYS been something to read , and it’s very rare for me to leave the house without a book in my bag.

But that’s the problem. I’ve become so superficial, floating from one book to another. Disrespectful, I want to cringe with embarrassment, but it’s the truth. At the back of my mind, I know there’s no time limit, no ‘form of the book’ limitation either. Earlier, I would carry only one book with me pretty much everywhere I went. This meant I had no choice but to read that one, single book when I had the chance. If it was a library book (oh, those Mills & Boons!) I would  try to not take them out of the house for fearing of losing them. So I’d end up rushing home after school or college, waiting for the moment when I could delve back into it. Now, I rarely go to libraries anymore because I  hardly read physical books.

Ebooks are wonderful. But ebooks have spoilt me. I carry them on every device I have with me – my Mac, my phone, my iPod. I have multiple forms and copies of the “current book I’m reading” – and at least 15 other ones. Hypothetically, I should be reading more books right? Wrong. I think I’m over-prepared. I’ve lost that NEED to finish a book, because I know it’s always with me.

Anyway, I just wanted to get this out of my system. It isn’t a debate on whether ebooks are good or bad. It’s just something I noticed, and something I really need to do something about. So I am going to try and write reviews of whatever I read, hopefully that will push me to actually go through with completely reading a book. Any other suggestions?



You know what joy is?

Joy is reading an article in the paper about BMTC launching a new ‘feeder’ bus service called Big Connect. Joy is spotting half of your daily route to work covered in that list of new routes. Joy is finding out that there are not one, or two, but SIX new buses on this route. Joy is actually catching that bus and reaching home a whole 45 mins earlier.

BMTC, today you have made me an extremely happy commuter. Not only me, but I saw several tired, weary people who boarded this bus burst into wide grins as we realised that getting home was going to be a lot more easier, a lot more faster and a LOT less tiring. Our bus literally trumpeted down the street, inviting people to get on board which they did very, very gladly. So many voiced their relief on learning about this new route and about its frequency (touch wood that it sticks to it).

To read more about the new Big Connect bus service in Bangalore please go here. And please, please spread the word and make it a success so that it continues!


The Next Step

Back when I was in college..

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

.. my friends would joke about my obsession to stay organized. In final year, this was symbolized by my kick-ass pink folder which a friend gave me as a christmas present.The fact that it contained all my notes and handouts never translated into me getting the highest marks or anything amazingly special. At the end of the day, it was just a folder filled with plastic sheets that held a whole bunch of papers – some of which I probably looked at only the night before an exam.

Yet, I loved my folder to death. I insisted on carrying my heavy, large folder with me everyday even when I really didn’t have to. It was a source of comfort – and not just because  it was candy pink. It just reminded me of my faith in structure, in planning, in being efficient. These things have become so important to me over the past couple of years, and it’s only hitting me seriously now. Although I love the fact that I am done with college, and everything else that goes with it, I hate waking up to an unplanned day. I hate not having to anything to fill into my organizer. My days are as empty as my folder, now.

It feels like my life is unhinged. I know that I need to be out there like the rest of my classmates, making a case for myself as a potential employee. I know I need to say the right lines, the words are in my head, but somehow it just isn’t happening.  It’s new, and strange and I hate it. And it angers me. I’ve always believed that I knew exactly where I want to be. My life was like my folder, each compartment filled with content that needed to be dealt with at a certain time.

And now it feels like the papers are all over the place, blowing in the wind, and I am just watching them fly away.

A large part of this is my fault. This is really hard for me to admit, but for the first time in ages, I don’t know how to take the next step. What do I want to do? I fell in love with the idea of marketing communications in my final semester. The fact that you, as a communicator, play such a large role in the way a product is conceptualised, created and marketed is exciting. Starting from the beginning, the research that goes into who your consumer is, their tastes and preferences, your competition. Then the product itself, giving it an identity, a persona that is going to cater to this consumer. The packaging, the advertising, the consuming, the feedback.  The power of communications has always enticed me, but translating that power using only creative writing has never appealed to me. For me, the idea of marketing communications gives structure to this power that “communication” offers. A structure and framework to work within, with goals to meet and results that are quantifiable. These are concepts that define the way I work, which is why I believe that marketing communications is an area I want to work in. Of course, this is all just an idealistic impression of what I have of the profession and I might be thoroughly wrong, but in any case, this is the kind of field I want to work in :)

But taking the “next step” hasn’t come to me so easily and smoothly. I’ve sent my CV to a couple of places, and I’m still waiting to hear from some of them, but if any of you out there reading this have any ideas on what you think I should do next, or may know of any opportunities that you think I might apply to then PLEASE let me know!

Colour to B/W

Yesterday, my ten-year-old cousin asked me a question that got me thinking : “What did those guys who were flying the planes that hit the twin towers get out of the whole thing?”

I floundered like a headless chicken while trying to answer this. How was I going to explain the entire situation to a kid who was born into a WTC-less world? I had always assumed that the attacks had a profound effect on every person on the planet, regardless of nationality, and would continue to have a similar effect on the generations to follow. I was a 11-year-old when 9/11 occurred, but I clearly remember the sense of helplessness and sadness that filled the adults in the room with me, while we sat in front of the television watching the stately towers come crumbling down. And we were sitting all the way in India, I can’t even imagine what must have gone on in the US at that time.

So anyway, back to the question. I eventually told him that the guys who planned the attacks were a group of people (and I took care to stress that just because they belonged to a certain religion does not give us the liberty to generalise their beliefs to all people of the same religion) who were unhappy with the US, their policies and their way of life and felt that this was the best way to make their unhappiness known to the world at large. This bunch of people were probably told that they would be regarded as heroes for their cause after their deaths,  and this probably meant enough for them to go ahead with these attacks.

This was the simplest answer I could give him, and I hope it’s the one closest to the truth.

This has definitely been one of the most difficult things I have had to do in a long while because I never want to be that person who encourages religious stereotypes. However, I now realize that there are (and will be) entire generations to come who will know the 9/11 saga only as a part of history, and perhaps this will dull the pain, as time has done with so many other events (which *I* know only as a part of history). The onus of helping future generations move on, and move on in a positive way, is on us – the people who have to answer these questions and re-tell these events. Because it is so important for us to choose our words correctly – what we say is how they will perceive the events, it will shape their attitudes to so many people, things and experiences. We have the power to foster harmful stereotypes and incorrect generalisations, as well as the power to make sure that these very same things don’t continue, so that these generations can learn from the mistakes we made.

Now I sound like an idealist. But I hope you get what I am saying!

And also, how would YOU have answered my cousin’s question?