The Bit about Forgiveness                                         

I’m a nice person – or so I’d like to believe. But I try not to show people that because I’ve been burned in the past when people took undue advantage of my niceness and naiveté. But here’s the thing, even if the things they’ve done are in the past, I still haven’t forgiven them.

In short – I’m a very petty person, I hold on to grudges for years and since I have an excellent memory of everyone who’s ever wronged me, I make sure to revisit what they’ve done to me (imagined or real) and feel some righteous (according to me) annoyance.

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Lately, I’ve been ruminating and rethinking about a few people who I believed have wronged me. As it has been established that I’m not a very forgiving person, I’ve gone all out to either ignore or insult them to their faces. The only thing though – I fear it’s turning me into someone I do not agree with, someone I do not want to become.

A couple months ago, when I was hit by a particularly strong bout of self-righteousness I tweeted a few rude things to a particular entity on Twitter. My friend Salonie called me up immediately, concerned. I told her I wasn’t worried about the fallout, in fact if I got any then I would be happier. But she told me that that wasn’t the way she wanted others to perceive me. She believes in me (I think) and actually thinks I am a good person, capable of being nice.

Another friend of mine pointed out that I’ve become increasingly bitter recently. I don’t really want to be that kind of person – the one who reeks of negativity and is a damper on everyone and everything. More than that though, I don’t want to be someone I don’t recognize.

I’ve been keeping grudges and holding on to them since I’ve been in school, over things that don’t even matter to me, and probably didn’t then either. But I still remember how I felt and as I’ve grown older, I’ve simply harnessed this ability to keep grudges and have evolved to not giving two fucks as to how the person in front of me feels, how people who love me feel about this and I can see how toxic this is turning.

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Back in school, I used to put a lot of pressure on myself when it came to academics, always feeling average and left out because my marks weren’t high enough for me to be a part of the toppers nor were they just low enough for me to be a part of the cool people who looked as though they didn’t care if they passed or failed. I remember feeling cheated because no matter what I did, I couldn’t find what I really wanted. But since I’ve entered college, I no longer bother about my academics. Marks, they come and go and I study enough keeping my goals in sight, and I’m happy about it.

Others’ marks and successes in academics don’t affect me anymore; in fact I’m happier when I’m on the side-lines when it comes to studies. So it is possible for me to move on from something that bothers me and be happy about it again. In another vein, I wonder why I can’t be salty about the things affecting me, why must I be the bigger person and not craftily (but not subtly) yell out insults to the people who actually have wronged me?

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I know I’m petty. I know I’m holding grudges against people who may not be the ones to blame because I can’t hold them against those who are. I know I may insult them very unsubtly (if you’re the person I called a moron today and you’re reading this – even though I know you’re not – know I stand by my decision) but I feel like that’s the way for me to cope with the feeling of failure they have made me feel. A little taste of the sadness I felt so they can go through what I went through.

I may not be a nice person after all. But I’m not trying to be. I’m trying to be happy without killing anyone (and believe me there’s a long list). But not forgiving people or telling them I forgive them without meaning it may really be affecting me and I don’t want to give the people who wronged me another thing to take away from me.

If I keep obsessing over them, thinking and rethinking over what they did to me (way back in the past or just this afternoon) then aren’t they taking over a part of me for themselves forever? How can I stand to let them change me like that?

So this is an acknowledgement post. I may not be able to forgive you for what you’ve done yet, but I will try my hardest to forget you and whatever you did. Let’s all move on.

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Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

 

 

On Life and Experiences

Here’s the thing: I’m nineteen years old, living in a metropolis that offers me the best of experiences and yet here I am, feeling as though I’ve missed out on a lot of things in life. I lead a privileged life as compared to some other people in my country, but that’s not the thing I want to talk about today.

People my age are doing things I’ve never even thought of doing: sex, drinking, drugs, concerts, taking solo trips around the world and here I sit, curled up with a book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s hard not to feel I’m missing out. I keep wondering, are we the same age? How are they ready to go drinking and get drunk in front of others, how do they trust so easily?

How are they so open about showing their body to someone else? Is there a class for getting comfortable and sharing your intimate details and then your body with someone else? Hell, I get nervous just sharing my pizza, I feel like they might not appreciate the toppings I got? Across all the YA books I read, people are falling in love and having sex at sixteen and seventeen and I look back at myself when I was sixteen and wonder if there is any universe where I would be ready to have sex at sixteen, I doubt it.

But I’ve been thinking about this for sometime now, it’s been bugging me how different I am from a majority of my peers in terms of what milestones we’ve achieved and it all comes down to one thing: trust. I don’t trust people enough to open myself up to anyone, I don’t trust anyone not to make fun of my body, and I don’t trust anyone enough to share anything about me.

The thing about sex is how you view it determines how much value it holds for you. I simultaneously think it’s nothing big and everything important. On days I think it’s important and a rite of passage (college life and all), I wonder if I’m going to be left behind, all alone with a bunch of books for company. And on other days, books and solitude seem like the most blissful thing ever, boyfriends and lovers seem like nothing more than a distraction from achieving my goals. It’s the same with drinking – I’ve never been drunk in my whole life, and I don’t understand how someone can allow themselves to be so vulnerable in front of someone else. One of my major fears is getting drugged and raped while drunk, which is a cold, terrifying reality for women everywhere, the more potent question is why I don’t trust people I’ve known for years and who are my best friends to take care of me if I get drunk.

Where has this deep distrust come from? More importantly, why have I only started thinking about these experiences now? I have no intention to get high or smoke a cigarette just because others are doing it, but things like going out with friends for a fun night and letting loose are important to me. They make memories and I’m only going to be young once. I’m in my final year in college and it is really odd how I haven’t done things most of my peers did in their first year in junior college.

Maybe now I’ll try and be a bit more open to experiences and make an actual effort to socialize more with my friends and maybe even trust them to keep me safe (which they hopefully will). Maybe I need to stop being the Mom Friend™ for a change and realize that I can trust folks and have some fun too. Being responsible and dependant is fine and all, but it’s also good to have some occasional fun that does not come from reading books and binge-watching shows.

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Here’s to some courage, trusting people and new experiences.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

P.S: I’m in no way saying you should get drunk and have sex because you’re young. They’re not things one *must* do before one gets old. There’s a lot more to do when you’re young, making a difference and helping others is always as good place to start, as is being a decent human being. Life is full of choices. If you want to read a book and if that makes you happy, that’s great. If you want to have sex with another consenting adult, that’s great too. Make good choices that make you happy. That’s what life should be about.

 

Five By Five

The thing about life is that it sucks. And you can quote me on that.

But there’s another thing about life that’s important to know, the fact that it sucks makes it easier for us to cherish the few happy moments we may get.

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, procrastinating studying for my exams and pretty much ignoring everything I was supposed to be doing when I saw a picture that said:

The Five x Five Rule to Happiness:  If anything that upsets you isn’t going to be relevant or worth your attention in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes upset about it.

And I really stopped and thought about it. I’ve spent a lot of time moping and being upset about some of my failures, even though some of them really ridiculous. For instance, the fact that I’m still annoyed about not being Captain / Leader at school is quite possibly the stupidest thing, especially since I hated school and hated everyone in it. And the logical part of me knows I would’ve hated it, but the larger, pettier part of me is still cut up about that.

But that wasn’t true failure and I know that now. Failure is when you see what could’ve been and you have this huge, gaping hole inside your chest next to your heart. It feels like you’ve been sucker punched in gut and you’re left gasping when all you can feel is pain.

So I thought about this rule, and how it would help me get over things because I keep a lot of stuff pent up for years and it all piles on until it isn’t healthy. But then I realized I don’t know for sure what will and won’t be important to me in five years. What if by assigning something importance is the only way my life would’ve been happier? What if by getting over it I’m actually accepting something that I wasn’t meant to accept?

Life isn’t that cut and dry, it requires blood and tears to be lived through. Even if I spend five minutes upset about something, those five minutes are still going to be incredibly painful. A year ago, I thought dislocating my knee was the most pain I’d ever have to go through, but somehow I think realizing that I’ve failed hurts even more. And it took me a lot more than five minutes to get over the physical agony of having a bones shifting in my body, so I think it may take me some more time to deal with failure.

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Five by five is also slang for ‘everything is alright’ and unfortunately, that’s also a signal to life that things are getting too good, so it’s time to fuck something up. And we’re back to square one again.

So yes, life sucks. But someone very important just told me that,

“You can still keep getting up no matter how many times life kicks you in the butt, because the very fact that you’re living and breathing and EXISTING means that you still have it in you.” – Christina.

I’m going to file the Five by five rule for later, for now I think I’ll just mope and rant and be annoyed until I’m ready to try (fail) again.

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Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

[Also, I’d promise to write more, but TY really is keeping me busy. I watched the entirety of Parks and Recreation and am still recovering from the end of the best show ever, so cut me some slack. AND Pokemon Go won’t work on my phone. No wonder I haven’t been writing.]

To Eight More Months

Hey guys,

It’s happened. My summer holidays have finally come to an end. Tomorrow is the first day of my final year at college. I’ve absolutely no interest in college resuming, but I’ve got about eight months or so before someone announces my name and sets me free only to go and get a Masters. The studying never ends, does it?

(And clearly, neither do the exams.)

I had a nightmare last night that I only scored a ten on sixty on my French final and I’m still a bit rattled from that very vivid dream. The list of books that I need to get and begin reading has already begun popping in. With about three books for each paper, and the five papers that I’ve got, it’ll be a wonder if I can read anything else from my actual TBR. Books that I have to read include: Jane Eyre, A Christmas Carol, Metamorphosis, Antigone among several others that are yet to be announced. Oh, and there’s poetry too. And then there’s me – someone who doesn’t really enjoy classics and positively loathes poetry. Sometimes I wonder (and so do my friends, very loudly) why I’m studying Literature at all. I think it’s because I’d like to know how to analyse a book, not the analysis of a particular book, you see. And I figured it’d help me with my creative writing, but it seems like this blog has worked more on that than my twenty-mark, six page answers.

Enough about academics, there’s a lot more to my final year or so I hope. I remember when I was fifteen and standing outside Xavier’s and wondering if I’d ever get in and get to experience the college life that seemed so utterly enamouring then. And I did get the chance, and it seems as though I blinked four times and four years have gone by. At nineteen, I can now look back through my years and see how much I’ve grown (a full three inches and some) and how many wonderful experiences I’ve had. If my final year has half of them, it’s going to be a great one.

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I’ve made so many friends, lost some of them, I’ve participated in things I didn’t know I had the talent for and then polished that talent into something that resembles a career plan. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, forced to think outside the box and cajoled into experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

At the end of the day though, Xavier’s is just a structure – what brings it alive are the people within. Which includes all of my friends, acquaintances, the seniors I looked up to and emulated, the juniors I respected and loved, the faculty I learned from (in more ways than one) and strangers that have taught me something or the other. I know I sound like this is the last day ever, but I know across these eight months I’m going to wish death on several people, including myself, either due to academics or extracurricular activities or life in general. So this post is supposed to be a reminder that I’ve wanted to be here since seventh grade, and even though some days are particularly difficult (I’m thinking of you, romantic poetry), Xavier’s has still given me some of the best times of my life. And here’s to eight more months of it before it’s gone forever.

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In other news, I went to a meet up for Bombay Bookstagram folks on Sunday. Twelve bookworms, a hell lot of books and some amazing food turned it into one of the best days this year. It’s weird how much fun you can have with people who share your interests and invite you to learn about something new.

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People who support what I read without dissing it are my favourite kind of people. And since I’ve always believed reading to be a solitary activity, our little band of misfit readers makes me happy to be wrong. Reading is something that makes me utterly happy, and I’m glad I get to share my hobby with such amazing folks.

If any of you are reading this, know that you are brilliant and you made my day.

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Bombay Bookstagram.

For the others, I’ll write as soon as my brutal curriculum gives me some time to breathe – which will hopefully be sooner than I think, because it certainly sounds as though Armageddon is coming dressed in poetry and classics tomorrow.

Goodbye, Summer 2016. You’ve been great.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

 

 

 

On (NOT) Dealing With Failure

I know it’s been a while since I blogged about anything. I know I said I would write more this year, and it’s the first day of June 2016 and I haven’t exactly kept that promise. I’ve lost the motivation to write, to be honest, and for a while there, also the motivation to read anything – arguably two of my only interests unless you count YouTube as one.

My blog’s called Freedom and Inspiration, with the site address having Inspiration and Writing and for the last two months or so I’ve been neither free, nor inspired to write anything. My mind has been a blank, and even if I wanted to write something, I would’ve second guessed myself and not put it into words at all. I’ve been writing this post in my head for over two weeks, rewriting and scrapping until two days ago, when my best friends told me how important it was to express myself in the way I know best and why I shouldn’t really give up or take a break from writing simply because I got rejected from a couple things I wanted to be a part of.

So here’s the deal: I’ve always thought of myself as someone who didn’t take failure to her heart, who used it as a stepping stone and all that jazz. Unfortunately though, this past month taught me I’m more sensitive and less sensible than I thought I was. I even nicknamed myself the Anti-Midas there for a bit, you know the person who fails at everything they attempt – the one whose touch can cause failure and bad luck to befall anything.

I didn’t realize how big a part of my life it was until it was taken away, you see. I seem to have placed an extraordinary amount of trust in the fact that I’d get to do it one last time, not knowing I already had. I’d fallen in love and it didn’t even know I existed in the cruel twist of fate I did not expect. It became such a huge part of my life and now I don’t know how to deal with it.

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I’ve been rejected for a particular post I wanted several times, heck it took me two tries to become Subhead itself and another couple to become Editor and never have I taken it so badly. I’ve turned to moping and feeling sorry for myself, having a pity party for myself every day. I’ve turned into someone I don’t recognize anymore and I don’t like it one bit.

My best friends tried to talk some sense into me, what I’m after won’t matter in the long run anyway and the fact of the matter is that I didn’t want it anyway. A bit before I got to know I wasn’t going to be doing it this year, I wondered if I really wanted to do it on someone else’s terms and I didn’t. My brain recognizes it was the best thing, my heart, not so much. It was set on those three months turning into those three days, making memories with other people and all, one last time. I think it also stems from the fact that my last experience wasn’t a good one and I wanted a do-over. I didn’t get it and so I’m not happy, or at least I wasn’t. I’m working on fully accepting it now.

Back in school, I never got the opportunity to become head of anything post primary school and the fact that two people, one of whom was my best friend then, got asked and refused it and I didn’t even get a chance stung me badly. I’d never gotten over that, storing it in a deep mental list of my failures I didn’t even know about. That list reared its ugly head when I got rejected twice in a row this summer. I knew it was a long shot for one, but I thought the other may just happen. The fact that I’d expected it made it harder for me to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t lose the chance; I didn’t get it at all.

It sucks more because my best friend is doing it and there’s a part of me that desperately wishes I was doing it with her. And the other one wants to chill and do something else for a change. And then there’s the third part saying I’ll never be good enough, not as good as the others anyway, not good enough to ever amount to anything. It isn’t easy to deal with this when it seems like everyone else is getting what they want, is doing what they want. There’s a twisted piece inside me wishing for unhappiness for everyone so they can feel what I feel, feel how useless and worthless I feel because it hurts and I don’t know when it will stop hurting because I can’t do anything about it except suck it up.

I’ve never faced this complete and utter loss of hope before so I’m a little unsure on how to deal with it, and I don’t think snarky little taunts from others are any help. I know I’m supposed to ignore them, but it’s difficult when they manage to wrangle their way into my mind, making me doubt everything I believe in.

But it’s been a month and I’m tired of moping and my friends aren’t getting any happiness from seeing me waste away and not put what I know to good use. One of my best friends said that what I lost was simply a way for me to get into writing and how ironic it is that now that it’s gone, I’ve let it take my words away from me. And whether I was okay being a weak person, because if I call myself strong, I should be able to deal with this failure, learn from it and move on.

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And I don’t want to be weak anymore. I don’t want to covet someone else’s happiness because that is not me. I want to be happy again. I want to write again, for me, not because I want to be published or because I want to be a part of something that doesn’t want me. I finished my first book in weeks last night; this post is the first one I’ve written in over a month. It’s going to be slow, it’s going to be difficult but I’m going to get over this.I’ve enjoyed being miserable, having a pity party for too long. It’s time for it to end.

And until it does, my best friends have my back. Thank you.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

P.S – Listening to Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy and Halsey’s Colours wasn’t very helpful, but oh my god, they are so fucking good. Please, give them a listen.

 

Saying Goodbye

Hey guys,

[Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t really care or you aren’t a Xavierite, (I suspect it’s one of the latter options) you’ll know the department I was part of for three years doesn’t exist anymore. I’m quite heartbroken, a bit pissed (at the right people, might I add) and I’ve accepted it. And this post is my way of saying goodbye.]

I was sixteen and in love with writing when I first saw the charts that invited applications for all the amazing departments Malhar has to offer. As I read through each one, I knew I hadn’t found my place until I looked at three – Raga, Literary Arts & ETC. Raga had the thing I wanted – Free T-shirts (AKA souvenirs and proof that I’d done Malhar, and I didn’t know every department got them) and free hugs (which I vehemently refused until they broke me down). I’m wearing one of those comfortable Raga’13 t-shirts as I write this.

And those were the three departments I applied to.

It was pure chance that I decided to place my Raga app in the front – those were printed compared to the other departments’ which were handwritten in my semi-legible (on a good day) handwriting. And there was no interview (I think there was something new being tried) because I was in – an OG called me to say that I was selected and that I was officially part of Malhar now.

I was very, very intimidated by all the OGs and the OC who seemed (and are) extremely talented. I wondered what I was doing there; I didn’t believe my writing was worth being part of Malhar’s official newsletter. But I was part of them, so I must have something they’d seen and liked.

Raga 2013 was a mix of JC friends, seniors who guided and impressed me and people I looked up to. I made some fairly unbreakable bonds with the people in that department, in that year. Other bonds, strengthened on being part of something we believed in, on something that believed in us. Raga 2013 – I may not have been OG then, or even one of the more popular volunteers, but it certainly was a brilliant Malhar for me. I loved the people, the department and I walked out believing a lot more in my writing, believing a lot more in myself.

I decided to apply for OG in 2014 – Raga had gained The Malhar Blog. And I loved blogging – might as well try it out, I figured. I didn’t get it, but I went back to the department as a volunteer. This time, my co-volunteers were the ones who inspired me. If you are one of those SYs, TYs or JCs that became my friend and the ones I had a “special bond” with (inside joke) – know that you are amazing and you made my time in Raga 2014 a happier one.

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This time, I walked out of Raga believing a bit more in people, a bit more in friendships, a bit more in loving what I do – even if others don’t get it. (Of course, it wasn’t all roses and sunshine, there was extreme stupidity, people behaving like dicks, being mean etc. happening, but I choose to view the bit I loved as more important.)

In 2015, I applied to be OC – didn’t get it. And I knew I wouldn’t – I didn’t have the required experience, but I certainly gained some while applying. I applied to be Blog OG again, and this time, I made it. The Malhar Blog was mine to run, mine to write for. I liked my team members (some of them at the very least) and I loved my volunteers. But the best part was that being Blog OG, I interacted with almost every department in Malhar – I made so many friends (whom I later stalked and embarrassed on the blog) and I learned so much.

This year, 2016, I’d planned to apply for OC. My app is all charted out, I’ve even written about 2k words worth, but now, I’m keeping it as a memory. Of something that might have been (if people had kept their fucking egos out of department politics and been a bit more respectful of their peers). I write now to express my love for this department – the one I’ve made jokes about, the one I say I’m never returning to, only to stick to my word this time.

I write, because that’s the only way I know to share. Raga may not have been the best department of Malhar – some certainly don’t think so. But it was my department, and I loved it. It taught me so much. It taught me to believe in my writing, taught me people can be the best and also the worst, taught me the value of friendships and the consequences of holding on to grudges. In some way or the other, Raga has shaped the person I am today. And even though it doesn’t exist anymore, it will always be my safe place. It will always be the department I made friends in, the department I loved for all its flaws.

Thank you, Raga. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you. The Malhar Blog was some of the best of my work (in my very biased opinion) and I am honoured I got the chance to work for it. I have lived my dreams and now I change the ones I had to better fit the present.

After all, at the end of the day, that JC girl staring up at the Raga chart calling for volunteers who’d get their own free t-shirts, grew up to be someone who loved writing and believed in it.

Thank you, Raga & goodbye. You will be missed.

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“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

Back To Blogging [End of Hiatus]

Hey guys,

I know, I know it’s been a while -a month and a half, to be exact. The last time I was here I wrote about turning nineteen and about the new experiences, responsibilities it would bring. I know the title of this post sounds like one of those Animorphs novels I’ve been reading (it is one of them, actually) but that’s to signify that I’m working on blogging regularly and this post is a start towards the same. [The Return was the original title, but Christina posted hers before mine went live and so, the change.]

It’s been a dry couple years, writing-wise. The last time I wrote any fiction (in the form of a novel) was in 2014. Since then I haven’t had the inspiration or the inclination. On the other hand, I’ve read an awful lot since then. It seems like one cannot exist without the other – either I can read or I can write and I need to figure out a way for both those things to co-exist because I can’t really call myself a writer if I’m not writing, can I?

This writer’s block comes from the great place of insecurity and feeling that whatever I write cannot match the amazing stuff I read on a day to day basis. Over the past year and half I have read some truly incredibly books and I really feel the need to step up my game if I ever want to be read by people – or so I feel. (Then I see some utterly crap books that have been published and I wonder, what the fuck is going on?)

So when you see the goals I’d penned down for 2016 – the reading is going splendidly, but the writing (both blogging and otherwise) has such abysmal progress (none at all). I’ve got to work on that, so I’m going back to my bullet journal (which is a normal journal now) and using it to note down ideas and hopefully using these holidays before my final year at college to write something.

A friend has begun writing again and I couldn’t be happier for her, I wish you all the best with the books, S. And hopefully, some of your writing persistence will rub off on me.

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And neither will my writer’s block.

And now for a little update on what I’ve been doing with life and my time:

  • I’ve read 43 books so far in 2016 – a mix between short (10 pages) and long (824 pages), graphic novels (Death Note), contemporaries and classics, and even two Indian author books.
  • I’ve been binge-watching Arrow – and that show is SO GOOD. Or maybe I’m biased because I’m clearly in love with Oliver and Felicity and Diggle. OTA forever.

I have a type, I’ve realized – I watch shows where everyone is ridiculously attractive and the characters never die / can be resurrected. Examples include: Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, Doctor Who, and Sherlock among others.

“Come for the plot, stay for the pecs,” seems to be the motto of every show I watch.

  • I’ve hit a short reading slump – I blew through books during my exams and in the sixteen days since April began, I’ve only managed to complete Me Before You which wasn’t that great. I’m looking forward to the film though.
  • I’ve started re-reading The Raven Cycle in preparation for The Raven King that comes out on April 26th. And I am not ready for the utter destruction of my feels. #SaveGansey
  • I’ve done some adult colouring, and they’re turning out pretty fine (according to me) and I’m really enjoying the calmness and the patience it brings along. You can see them here and here.
  • I’ve also been doing Bookstagram – (@perceptivemadness) and I really like taking pictures of books and interacting with other bookstagrammers. There’s a great group of Indian Bookstagrammers I’m friends with and I really like talking to them.

That’s all that I’ve been doing – watching shows and trying to read. I’m also all caught up on the shows I watch regularly:

Quantico (don’t ask me why), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (SO GOOD, you must watch), Castle, The Big Bang Theory (refer to Quantico’s bracket), Arrow, The Flash, Supernatural, Modern Family, Grandfathered and Permanent Roomates.

So yeah, while my batch-mates go out and intern at fancy places and make money and gain exposure and all that, I’m sitting at home and probably gaining glasses. Good job, eh?

Until next time, (which I promise will be soon)

Nia Carnelio.

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Thank you for reading!❤

 

The Birthday Eve

Hey guys,

As I write this, it is less than five hours for my nineteenth birthday. Yep, I am finally entering the last ‘teen’ year of my life, never to return again, soon to lose my youth and everything else I hold dear – my sheltered life of not figuring out how to adult.

So as you can see, I’m taking growing older splendidly.

Not.

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But yeah, turning eighteen was pretty damn magnificent. I was finally legally allowed to do things I had probably done before I should’ve. Now I could vote (gotta get that Voter’s ID made) and marry (have to find a willing guy for that), but most importantly, I could now watch R-rated films without any hassle – HELLO, DEADPOOL.

Turning nineteen comes at a pretty chaotic juncture in my life. I’ve only just taken an ‘Application for Major’ form which basically means I need to choose a subject I want to write six papers for and then graduate in it next June, pretty simple. Except for the little fact that means life as I know is soon coming to an end. Time flies pretty quickly, and soon I’ll be leaving college with no idea of what to do with my life.

If you would’ve asked me last year, around this time what I wanted to do, I would’ve had an answer for you. But now? I’m not so sure I do. Hell, sometimes I’m not sure about what I’m doing either. I’ve dreamed about coming and studying at St. Xavier’s since I was in the seventh grade, about eleven years old. And I knew I would have five glorious years to bask in the marvel that my college it. But I’ve just got the one year to go now – and I seem to have done everything I could in all these years, but sometimes, I just wish I could spend some more time here.

I know life goes on, days blur into each other. There are teenagers who just got confirmed the previous Sunday whom I knew as little kids. I used to help them sit quietly and pay attention during mass; they came to me for advice when I got into Junior College – on how to convince their parents to send them across the city for more than half the day. Now I see them writing their twelfth board exams, having more of a social life than I ever did and I’m just nostalgic for those simpler times.

For those simpler times when I knew what I wanted to do in life, and even had a couple backup plans, for when I trusted people blindly, for when I could get away with not keeping up with current things and not get strange looks in class, for when I was not such a calculated person.

As the clock ticks and I get closer to being nineteen, I’m not ready to say goodbye to my teen years. Next year, I’ll be graduating at twenty and I hope I have something in mind to do in the coming future. Life is so bloody complex, and it gets worse as you grow older. I know I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but as someone who is conflicted about change and its effects, the ‘growing older’ part doesn’t necessarily mean good things.

But then again, I also strongly stand by the beliefs that life never hands us more than we can handle & that everything happens for a reason. I just have to find reasons, find my way and then accept it, no matter what the results may be.

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This post is also a way of saying thank you.

If you’re reading this and you know me IRL please know that:

  • You have probably made me smile at some point.
  • You’ve probably influenced me in some way or the other – I tend to pick up your best bits and mould it to make it my own.
  • You’ve probably taught me how dangerous it is to trust you.
  • You’ve taught me that life goes on, and sometimes you have to be left behind.
  • You’ve laughed with me, shared my secrets in return for yours, been my friend or more, and I have learned so much from you.

And if you I know you online (probably from Twitter or my blog) then thank you for taking time to make friends with someone across the world, making her feel good and making her smile.

My life isn’t a white or black piece of paper, it is filled with colours from all of you and I thank you for lifting the brush and painting a stroke or two, whether you’ve known me for five months or five years or since forever, you have changed my life. For the better.

Thank you. Here’s to nineteen more years, if not more.

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Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

Judge the Book by the Cover

It wasn’t unusual for her to be leered at, to hear those offensive comments made on her looks and her body in the city. Unfortunately, like almost every other woman in the city, she had learnt to ignore it. It annoyed her, irritated her, yet she walked on, adjusting her earring as she made it to the bus stop.

As she sat on the bus, awaiting her stop, she did a final check on the contents of her bag – file, check; application, check; past experience memorabilia (for nostalgic reasons), check. It wasn’t the first time she was applying, but this would certainly be her last. It was her final year at college, the place she called a home, and this was her last chance, her final opportunity and she was determined not to let it slip away.

She’d been part of the department for three years, and it wasn’t an easy time, especially when ninety percent of the department were males. After all, it was uncommon for a girl to be a volunteer for a Logistics & Production department. Uncommon, but not unheard of – but what was uncommon was how much energy and effort she’d put into the department.

Lifting chairs, moving desks and tables, arranging furniture in the proper fashion as needed by the event, all that was handled by them – after all, the entire set up didn’t simply turn up in the middle of the night. It took literal sweat, and sometimes some blood to make it happen.

She’d been a volunteer her first year, her senior looking at her as though she was mad because she wanted to apply to this department when World Performing Arts or something in that vein seemed more suited to her appearance.

She was of an average height, and loved wearing Indian traditional wear so arguably it caused some furore when she turned up for work wearing a kurti-leggings set, with pretty dangly earrings to match. Of course, after they’d finished checking her out, the boys started snickering – clearly, she wouldn’t even touch the dusty desks, what if she broke a nail? Or smudged her makeup?

All snickers came to halt when she effortlessly and uncomplainingly lifted one edge of the desk, waiting for the guy in front of her to stop staring and pick up his edge. That wasn’t the end of the jokes, it seemed harmless at the time, but as she sat watching the city pass by from her seat, she knew it had been the spark that had lit her fire to prove to them that she wasn’t any less than them.

She became a Co-ordinator her second year in the department, this time earning much more respect and less snickers and jokes at her expense, but it was when she became a senior who managed a whole sub-department that she realized that subconsciously and sometimes even consciously, the guys treated the girls as delicate flowers, doing their work for them or letting them do the easiest tasks even when the division of labour had been pre-created.

She had known then, that becoming the Head would be the only way she would be able to tackle his internal sexism that had taken root in the department. She had some excellent plans on how to manage the department, new tactics and ways to economize labour and save time but she knew she would be facing tough competition in more ways than one.

The department handled eighty odd students, all from the ages of eighteen to twenty, and apparently it stood to reason that twenty year old males wouldn’t take orders from their batch-mate, not when she looked like she could be one of the models on Femina and Grazia.

She knew she would have to fight tooth and nail for the post – the guy, who was her only competition wouldn’t have to deal with comments on how he would manage the guys and the girls, on how he would set an example when it seemed like he couldn’t move or set up anything himself. Even though he was a year younger, it seemed that the chances for her didn’t look so great, but she was determined to try.

She’d reached her destination, ready to face the panel who’d throw questions and curveballs at her. But she knew one thing, if they saw even a fraction of how much she wanted the post, how much she needed it – to prove to the world, to her parents, her friends, to herself that she was equal to the guys – then she’d get it with her eyes closed.

She adjusted her earrings again, applied a fresh coat of lipstick – her own battle armour- and jhola slingling, walked into the interview room.

Twenty five minutes later, she walked out with the broadest smile that lit the room she’d cleared and reassembled in ten minutes, because she knew that the good news was imminent.

And so it was, that seven hours later, at five in the evening, she got a call. A spire of nervousness curled in her stomach, but it needn’t have. She’d gotten the post.

This year, there would be no snickers and no assumptions about the girls who would be selected, because she’d shown them – that someone who wore lipstick, dangly earrings and took efforts to dress well everyday was their equal, and it didn’t make a difference how you looked, what gender you belonged to, what you wore if you could work and do it well.

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This story is inspired by something a friend told me that had happened to her. She has graciously allowed me to adapt it into a blog post.

“I’m breaking stereotypes based on appearance by sharing my experience for the #IAmCapable activity at BlogAdda in association with Nihar Naturals.”

Until the next time,

Nia Carnelio.

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The Helium Balloon Strategy

By the end, neither of them knew or remembered or even cared who had started the fight. As they laughed, toasting to each other’s attempts and successes, their grins lit up the room more than the little lamps on the table.

A few hours earlier…

On a rare day when both of them had the same day off from work, they decided to have a chilled day, visit the mall, have some food, and maybe catch a film on TV. The past few weeks had been tough on both of them, several new projects to handle, each more complicated than the last.

They’d been dating for just over two months, a short span by any measure but they both knew that this could be much more if they let it. The day of love approached (thankfully, on a Sunday this time), with both of them choosing gifts and the declarations of love to be made to the other on that day.

It happened when they were walking around the mall, probably close to the food court, which is usually the source of calories and evil. As they walked, hand in hand, laughing at the kid smearing all of his ketchup on his face as his mother chatted with her friend, her ex-boyfriend appeared.

Grinning at her like nothing had changed; he came forward and hugged her. She looked helplessly at her boyfriend over his shoulder, as her ex released her and went off on a constant string of rambles neither of them had any interest in listening to. She politely tried to take leave, but he wouldn’t give her an opening to leave and then with a sharp word or two, he was brought to his senses and the two of them left him standing there gaping.

That was the first spark of the fight. She hadn’t told him about him – sure, she’d mentioned she’d dated before, but there hadn’t been any need for specifics. He wondered if he tall, handsome guy was her type. If so, what was she doing with him? He was chalk, her ex-boyfriend was cheese and he didn’t know what she preferred.

It was in this gloomy, jealous and slightly mopey mood that they ran into the second spark of the fight – his sister with his ex-girlfriend. Clearly, this was going to be the day of the exes, a twisted reunion of sorts. He was overtly friendly with his ex, laughing at her lame jokes, asking about her life and all that jazz. She stood stone-faced next to him, his sister glaring at her from time to time – it’d be a while until his sister warmed up to her.

Finally, they were left alone. As they walked on, window-shopping in silence, they mutually decided to pick up some food and go to her place, her roommate was visiting her parents for a couple days and that was the most peace and quiet they’d get in a long time.

They were both pissed with each other, and both of them knew the reasons for that as well. It would be an all-out war soon, the sparks had been lit, it was only a matter of time.

And that came in the form of him throwing his hoodie oh-so-casually onto the sofa, she was a neat-freak, very organized and this was what it took to get the fight started.

It started off calmly, with her asking about the sister and the ex’s friendship, with him retaliating with questions about who her ex was dating now, if he was.

And then it turned into yells, about past partners, about exes, about the future, about things they couldn’t control, of rare holidays they had to spend with each other. It could’ve been a bloodbath, who’s to say the relationship wouldn’t have ended there?

But he walked out in the middle of the fight, and in despair and anger she sat down, resolutely refusing to look at the food they’d brought or think of the movie they were gonna watch.

He returned, in fifteen minutes or so. Imagine her surprise when he walked in with some helium filled balloons in his hand. She wondered if this was his way of apologizing. Or was this something else altogether?

The latter was proven correct. He told her, they would both inhale the helium, and with those high-pitched voices, they would resume their fight. The idea? The first one to laugh would win and the fight would simply end.

And so they began.

She started squeaking, “You didn’t have to go and be oh-so friendly with her, seeing as she was the one who dumped you!”

His squeak countered with, “Yeah, and what about Mr. Handsome you had back there? Were you ever going to tell me about him?”

And on and on it went. Until she couldn’t take it anymore.

Every time they spoke she was feel the urge to laugh, so would he, but he seemed to do better job at hiding it. And the final sentence, “Yeah, well-” was cut off because she has started giggling loudly.

At the sound of her laughter, his face brightened and soon both of them were laughing, and then laughing at the high pitched laughs coming out of their mouths.

They soon made up, knowing that this was just a small bump and they’d overcome it. Maybe this helium-balloon strategy would be useful the next time they fought as well.

It was a good thing his friend had mentioned it when he spoke about a fight he’d had with his girlfriend. Relationships were complicated, but they weren’t very difficult to figure out if there was love, laughter and of course, some helium balloons to save the day.

This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.