Beginnings and Endings

There are several things in the world. Some of them are fixed, others are variable, changing. But there’s one thing, everything here on earth has a start and an end, and each thing is different. Unique.

I suppose I have been feeling nostalgic lately; the two solid things in my life have ended, school and junior college are over. What follows next is a dark, sketchy road the directions to which I don’t have. But that’s okay I suppose, because I know the destination. And a bit of hitchhiking and camping never really killed anybody’s dreams.

A couple of new developments in my life include the fact that I have finally finished watching every  single episode of the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. There are absolutely no more for me to watch and somehow that makes me feel a bit sad. I will never watch a new episode again, never laugh at a new joke joke Chandler makes, never roll my eyes at Monica’s rigidity, Rachel’s silliness, be charmed by Casanova Joey claims to be, be a little worried about Phoebe’s weirdness or Ross’s geekiness.

But there’s always a silver lining to a dark cloud. When something ends, something begins. I have now started watching Supernatural, the famous, the acclaimed paranormal show about two brothers who go ghost-demon-devil hunting. It cannot be more different than FRIENDS. While FRIENDS was a comedy, Supernatural is a thriller. While the 1994 show showed people with co-dependent friendships, the 2005 one shows two brothers who could not be more cut-off from the world.

Life is far too short to fixate over one single thing I suppose. Even if that particular thing gives you immense happiness and giving it up means that you feel like a part of you is gone forever. But then, only when there’s space, can something new enter. After all, too much of something, even if its not bad is not a very good thing.

I like to think of FRIENDS ending and Supernatural beginning in my life as a metaphor, for what’s about to come ahead. I have to leave familiarity, leave what is known to venture into the real world, which is terrible, unknown and most of all, dangerous.

But there’s something to be said about the risk of course, its purely adrenalin and that makes me want to jump headfirst into whatever’s coming. I know its going to be difficult, and I know I’ll have to make decisions that can either make or break my life and I might not make the right decision.  It’s scary and terrifying. I might have just made a decision to reject a certain offer and I might not get another chance. Who really knows?

But I believe that in  the end, I must do what my heart and brain both agree on. Whether its the right thing to do or not, because if you can’t trust your gut instinct, what can you trust really?  And what is the right thing for someone or some society, might not be the right thing for you. And that’s okay, really. After all we’re all as different as we are the same.

So, I guess what this post from me wants to say is that the unfamiliar and the unknown might not be so bad. They’re okay really. And if I do happen to get lost, there’s always a way out because if there’s a way in then there’s a way out. It might not be very good, and you might be different than how you were when you entered but you’ll come out all the same. And that is one of the best experiences.

After all, whatever begins must end and whatever ends must have a beginning.

Until the next cryptic post,

Nia.

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The End of An Era – Junior College

For all intents and purposes my junior college life had ended way back in December but there was tiny part of me that knew that until I wrote that last word and slashed across the unused sheet of my Psychology board answer paper, I wouldn’t be done with the two most exciting [so far] years of my seventeen year old life.

So, yes, in a nutshell or a very long sentence, I am back in action. No more sneaking on the computer [no mother, I didn't sneak, really] or stopping myself from reading books I so desperately wanted to read. I really believe that there is some force that is nothing but mean and mischievous that puts all sorts of grand ideas of movies, TV shows to watch and other things I could do instead of studying.

Here’s a gist of what happened in the past three and thee quarters of months:

December 2013:

I had a great time in college, my class won their Carol Singing Competition for the second time in a row. The competition was in effect the last day of college for most of us, though some other ambitious people chose to come the next day as well. I waxed my arms for the first time and I must say I am not keen to repeat the experience any time soon. It hurts awfully. Then the professors scared us some more about the prelims that were to be held in the first week of January. What a fun way to spend the start of the new year.

Not.

January 2014:

And finally the prelims descended upon hordes of twelfth students who only made the mistake of choosing to study for a degree instead of a diploma. Oh well, that passed fairly quickly and that effectively started the last month of preparation for the boards one would get.  All of January passed with the litany of ‘it’s your future. What you do now, affects your whole future.’

Scary.

February 2014:

The month that was not. The words, ‘Give up the TV and PC for one month, you’ll have three months later,’ were added to the litany that I was constantly surrounded by. I’m sure all of the well wishers meant well, but it was still irritating to be asked, “Done studying?” when the dark circles around my eyes indicated I clearly was nowhere completion.

On a lighter notes, I turned seventeen this February and this blog completed a year as well. My birthday was spent studying for the Sociology I had the next day. Also, I thank everyone who remembered the day and wished me in spite of their exams.

Even though I miss being sixteen, seventeen seems pretty fun. Well, until I remember that all of my friends have turned or will turn eighteen this year while I still have a year to become a legal adult. Still, I’m not complaining, it’s fun to be the youngest in the group.

The last week of February finally brought along the dreaded boards with its vast portions to be studied, its stupid, unfair and illogical timetables and its general depression. Joy.

March 2014:

The month of March dawned with the worst papers – Economics and History that had a gap of one day. If I ever meet the person(s) who wrote the time table for Arts, I will have some choice words to say to them. And of course, after the debacle that History probably was there was a twelve day gap until the Psycho paper so we could make ourselves nuts by either worrying about History, getting fed up of Psycho or just being bored with the Boards in general.

And now, I write to having endured all of this and possibly more. If it seems that I didn’t do much these four months, it’s because there was robot living my life who had been programmed that fun was not an option until the boards were done and dusted with. I almost had no life.

Well, I am back now and am about to have as much fun with my life that I can fit into these holidays. Today was an overwhelming day. I didn’t know if I should read a book, surf the internet until I feel the need to kick my PC down or watch one or possibly, more probably, several seasons of some new TV show.

I have three months to decide. Excellent. This free feeling is probably what our Freedom Fighters fought for. Or maybe it was something similar, because this is a great feeling.

I must take my leave now. I have several interesting things to pursue. I will write much more, since I haven’t written a word for more than three months straight. Technically though I wrote quite a few words, with few being equal to a lot of thousands in my papers (Arts is a field that is purely theory) but they weren’t what I really wanted to write.

Life is good and I’m doing what I love most: lazing around.

Until the next time,

Nia.

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The Thirtieth: NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo

“That didn’t happen, of course. Things never happened the way I imagined them.”

― John Green, Looking for Alaska

I’ve managed to do it. Yes, I have written thirty blog posts, where I’ve posted one post for each day of November. I’ve posted when I’ve had nothing to say, and I’ve  posted when I’ve had more than plenty to say. And, here I am, today, with thirty posts in my kitty. And, yes, this does feel amazing.

So, I’m not going to say much today, because I feel too overwhelmed. For those of you who want to read the other posts during November, click here:November 2013

Also, I wanted to share something else as well. You are now reading the blog post of NaNoWriMo Winner 2013. For those of you who don’t know: NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is where you write 50k of your novel in one month, roughly 1667 words a day.

Yes, along with blogging everyday for thirty days, I have also managed to write down 50k words of my novel. This is not my first novel, that one stands at 29,303 words. This is merely the first half of my novel. The word count stands at 50239. Suffice to say, I’m extremely pleased right now.

I don’t like telling people about everything I do, I like maintaining secrets, no one knew I was doing NaNoWriMo until my friends connected the dots when I started writing furiously in college a couple of days back.

Anyway, this is not my first and is probably not going to be the last. So, I leave you with this short post. Because I’m too happy to type today, and I have to go on a trip to a tribal village tomorrow which needs me to wake up at four in the morning. So, I am off to bed.

Oh, and anyone else has done NaBloPoMo or NaNoWriMo? Let me know, fellow writer!

Until next time,

Nia.

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The Twenty-Ninth: On Qualities and People

Most of you who follow my blog regularly will know by now that I really don’t like socializing with people unless absolutely necessary and then I’ll be in my element.

So, there’s something that I value a lot in people. It’s the quality of faithfulness.

The Microsoft Word Thesaurus offers me these words for a synonym of loyalty:

Allegiance, faithfulness, fidelity, obedience, fealty, adherence, homage, devotion, bond;

Antonyms: disloyalty, treachery

I have had many, many friends in the course of my sixteen year old life. And I’m not going to say I regret any of those, because I have made amazing memories with those people and they been an integral part of my life back then.

There are people who are loyal to you and there are people who aren’t. It’s that simple really. And, personally, I think loyalty is what makes the other qualities of a person shine out.

Take for example, love: you have to be loyal; faithful to the person you love. Practicing infidelity only proves you don’t really love that person.

Say, kindness: People have to be loyal to themselves, their feelings, others feelings, their surroundings, etc. etc. to be kind. It just doesn’t come like that. People are not born kind; they become kind after they become loyal.

According to me, loyalty to something or someone is the best thing you can have. They say that people, who are loyal, will never leave and thus will never cause you any pain. Loyalty is very important in today’s troubled times I believe. There is so much of mistrust, misunderstanding, pain and suffering that being loyal to one and other is the only way to overcome them.

One needs to be loyal to one’s dreams if one wants to achieve them. You can’t just change your mind everyday about your life. Well, technically you can, but you shouldn’t. You won’t get anywhere in life if you aren’t loyal to your dreams.

Since I was young, I’ve always been much attached to my friends, so much so that I accept them completely, without any questions of any sort. Nowadays, though, the situation has changed drastically. After coming to know I’m not that great a judge of people, I have a hard time being loyal to someone. Not just in relationships, but in friendships as well.

But I’m getting it back, slowly, but surely. That young innocence where I trusted everyone might never return and I might be a sarcastic cynic all my life but that’s alright, as long as I’m loyal to my friends, my family, my community and so on.

I realize this is a very weird post, but it’s been running around my head since quite a few days and I just had to pen it down.

“Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you Potter?”
“Yeah I am,” said Harry. “Glad we straightened that out.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Until next time,

Nia.

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The Twenty-Eighth: Alaska and the Great Perhaps

That could’ve been an alternate title for one of the best books I’ve read in my entire lifespan. Looking for Alaska is the third John Green book I’ve read, the first being The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns being second.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

If you’ve read a JG boo, you will notice how he challenges most of our perceptions and makes us think more than we would have while reading any other normal teen fiction book. At 69,023 words, it is a smaller book when compared to other Teen Fiction novels currently ruling the bestseller charts.

The book deals with a lot of things that are taboo –smoking, sex, drunk driving and so on and so forth. John Green uses the exact same lingo that we as teens use – not making it pretentious and fake, like someone else might’ve done. We don’t speak with thousands of pleases and thankyous, and we aren’t as polite as the other writers make us out to be.

The book is a poignant, thought proving novel that compels you to challenge your views on several things.

Alaska Young is an enigma, the person Miles is most entranced by at Culver Creek.  Miles has come to a boarding school, away from his house and his parents in Florida, in search of his Great Perhaps – something he is sure he wouldn’t find back home.

Here he makes friends with some truly amazing people – Alaska, Chip ‘The Colonel’ Martin, Takumi and Lara. The misfit group got through life at Culver Creek with some difficulties, but none of which they can’t solve.  Everything changes when Young dies, leaving the group without their central figure.

The book explores death and religion and so many other tiny, tiny things that make you want to read more and more. Death is mostly spoken of with the company of afterlife and enlightenment, and all. But what if there is really nothing ahead? What do you do if your friend dies? Do you continue to live your life as though nothing happened? Or do you try and move on, by forgetting? Or is there an in-between somewhere?

These are a fraction of the questions the book raises; it answers many questions at the same time. As teenagers we are in that period of life where the choices we make or will make in the very near future will determine our life. Everything we choose will stick, whether we approve of it later or not.

And how do you deal with a death that’s shrouded in mystery? Was it suicide or an accident? Miles goes through a period of transformation; he becomes much more mature by the end of the book.  He finally forgives Alaska for forgetting him and her other friends, and he knows she will forgive him in time when he forgets her.

After all, everyone is going to be forgotten one day. Memories will become blank spaces, people will die, and we will all go into oblivion as though we never existed. JG very rightly says, teenagers are invincible, and we are. And it’s exactly what Miles says, ‘it’s because we can never be irreparably broken. Green rightly puts it, ‘the part greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

As I end this sort of review, I would like to tell you what my favorite last words were from the ones listed in the book:

 “I’m bored with it all.” – Winston Churchill

Oh, and a Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it.

And if you’ve not read any John Green books, I urge you to do so at the earliest. That man writes about teenagers better than teenagers could.

Until next time,

Nia.

Oh, and I really like the cover with the candle smoke – the one with the flower one is cute, but this one has so much depth. 

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The Twenty-Seventh: The Harry Potter Questionnaire [One]

Harry Potter Questionnaire

Yes, I’m nuts behind it. I’ve spent over two hours searching for a questionnaire I liked. So here goes!

1. If you went to Hogwarts, which house would you be sorted into?

Slytherin. Or Ravenclaw. But mostly Slytherin.

2. Have you ever been to a HP midnight release? 

Sadly, nope.

3. What did you think of the Deathly Hallows?

I died and cried. The book’s ending was a bit predictable (Harry’s win), but the deaths really came as a shock. I don’t know what I expected. The book ends in a war for Chrissake.

4. How many times have you re-read the books?

I’ve lost count. I stopped after the ninth time.

5. Whose death was the saddest? 

For me, Fred’s. Snape’s was horrible, but I still think of him as a jerk.

6. If you went to Hogwarts would you rather have a cat, an owl, or a rat?

An owl. They’re dead useful. And I’m not too fond of cats or rats.

7. What do you think of the movie Half-Blood Prince?

Eh, it could have been better and for that matter so could’ve been the book.

8. What do you think of the Deathly Hallows being split in two?

Great idea. And brilliant execution of the same. Too bad Twilight and Mockingjay have followed that same pattern. Eh, brilliant ideas are meant to be copied I guess.

9. Have you read the Tales of Beedle the Bard?

Yes, my friend lent me her copy.

10. When did you first become a Potter fan? 

When I was in eight grade. Believe it or not, I hated it before. I wondered why it was getting the amount of attention it was when there were several other books which deserved more praise. Then I got it.

Favorites:

Female character? 

Hermione Granger.

Male character? 

Fred Weasley.

Professor?

Prof. Minerva McGonagall.

Death Eater?

Draco Malfoy. Yummy.

Magical creature?

Dragons. Hagrid’s right, it’d be cool to have ‘em as pets.

Spell?

Lumos. I love the sound of it for some reason and the fact that it creates light.

Quote?

“We’re not stupid. We know we’re called Gred and Forge.”

Movie?

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.

Hogwarts House?

Slytherin, Hufflepuff is a close second. They’re a cool house. Free food, man.

Place?

The Room of Requirement.

Weasley?

Fred and George Weasley. I won’t, I can’t separate them. Ever.

Couple?

Remus and Tonks. And James and Lily are a close second.

Gryffindor or Slytherin?

Slytherin.

Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff?

Huffepuff.

Fred or George?

No comments.

Ginny or Luna?

Luna. I hate Ginny, or well the way she turned out to be in the latter half of the series. She turned into  fangirl and Rolwing just out her with Harry coz Hermione went with Ron.

Butterbeer or Firewhiskey?

Firewhiskey.

Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade?

Diagon Alley.

Books or Movies?

Books all the way!

Half Blood Prince or Deathly Hallows?

Deathly Hallows.

Philosopher’s Stone or Chamber of Secrets?

Philosopher’s Stone.

Snape or Slughorn:

Snape. He was a jerk, but he had more guts than Slughorn would ever have.

Lupin or Sirius?

Sirius. And, I’m not answering why.

Harry/Ginny or Harry/Hermione?

Harry-Hermione. Harmony is an amazing pairing.

Lavender Brown or Parvati Patil?

Parvati Patil.

Seamus Finnigan or Dean Thomas?

Dean Thomas. He remained loyal throughout.

Kreacher or Dobby?

Dobby. I was so sorry he had to die. I will miss him.

Muggleborn or Pureblood?

Pureblood.

Dan or Rupert?

Dan.

Bellatrix or Narcissa?

Bellatrix. Narcissa was a coward, until the very end when she saved Harry.

Voldemort or Tom Riddle?

Riddle.

Hedwig or Crookshanks?

Crookshanks.

So, that’s it. Feel free to take it. I found it on tumblr. And now I must sleep, for it’s quite late here.

Until next time,

Nia.

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The Twenty-Sixth: On Journeys and Local Trains

I take a train to and from college every day. Two hours out of my twenty hour day are spent getting smashed and squashed in a train compartment. Along with thousands of other people who take the local trains (22 million everyday), I have now grown used to a lot of things. Cat-fights, Fourth seats, stinky underarms, oily nausea inducing hair, everything is just blasé now.

My first train journey to college was accompanied with hysteria and lots of paranoia. My parents had told me a few horror stories about the trains, where belongings were robbed, limbs were cut, and lives were lost. I was in constant fear that I would fall of the train and meet my end. People told me I was too thin and weak to fight my way onto the train, but I knew I could do it. I was determined to go to the best college for Arts in Mumbai. Not even the threat of dying or getting squashed could deter me from that.

For the entire first term of my first year in college I went an hour early to college, sitting in the library and reading or finding people in the arches and chatting. I took a train from Borivali, which led me to get up an hour earlier. I was punctual and didn’t want to bunk lectures.

Come from the second term I was tired of wasting an hour when I could be sleeping. So I finally got the courage to do what my friend does. Take a Virar fast from Dahisar. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, I hung a few times but nothing very dangerous. I will miss my lecture but will not threaten my life by hanging to my death. Now when anyone asks me where I study and I answer them, after their initial, ‘so far nah,’ I proudly state that I am used to train journeys. Its fine now, I barely notice it.

My friends called me paranoid during the first term. I barely went out of schedule. On the fourth day of college, we experienced a strike and I had to come back in a Virar slow and let me tell you, if you survive that train during peak hours, during a strike, you can survive anything. No, I’m not exaggerating. My friend and I had to be pulled out by a policewoman at Borivali, the train was that crowded. My feet had six different footprints on it when I got out.

Now I can’t think of life without trains, they are an integral part of my life and its routine. Everything I do, whenever I get out of the house, everything is centered around trains and their absurd timings. When should I leave from home, when do I leave from college, everything is determined by the train timings. It’s weird, but life is like that now. And, it’s pretty cool in a way.

I think life is something like train journeys. First, the journey is tough, and you’re scared and then it gradually becomes easier and you learn to enjoy, appreciate and be grateful for it (rarely), because you get used to being squashed. And, then it offers you plenty of amazing opportunities, like a seat at Andheri or meeting a friend at the station. Actually, everything in life can be used as a metaphor for life.

Train journeys are filled with lots of standing, fighting, sitting (very little) and majorly adjusting. And that’s what life is also about. You adapt, you adjust, and you win. In the train, it might be a seat, in life, probably something bigger. Personally, if you can survive a train journey on a Virar Fast, then you can cope with anything. In fact, you should be able to cope with anything! You’re a Virar Fast survivor!

So I leave you with this post, about train journeys and life and all the other things in life and about life.

Have a good day / night!

Until next time,

Nia.

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