The Mystery of the Dwindling Sense of Wonder


The first time I ever saw a plane I was six – dad and I were dropping my mom off at the airport, cause she was going to work abroad. I don’t have many memories of the time I was six before we moved but I still remember how huge the flight my mom took looked to me. I remember marvelling at the sheer size of the plane, it looked like it could fit more than a thousand six-year-old Nias and I wondered just how such a huge thing was going to go into the air and stay up there (I still don’t know how they do that till today, tbh).

It would be another six years before I took a plane myself for the first time. By then I was twelve and was a little less enamoured by the size of planes. Sometime in those six years, I’d grown older and the planes had gotten smaller. I was quite disappointed at how non-amazing the inside was – I was imagining something on the lines of a luxury cruise – basically a holiday in the air. (I believed they gave free books on the plane to read – actual novels – imagine my crushing disappointment when all they handed out was activity books for the kids).

Over the past year, I’ve felt that particular tinge of disappointment several times. You know, when you build up something so much in your head, expecting it to be absolutely amazing and life-changing and what-not but in reality, it’s just something else you add to your experience and it’s nice but nothing ground-breaking as such. It’s quite a disappointment, because you only get to do something for the first time once.

When I left home for higher studies, I had too many expectations of what a year abroad would entail. And yeah, it’s been a life-altering, life-changing year and what not for sure, but it’s sad because it took me like two days to get used to it and then it was mundane, absolutely not a big deal to me anymore. The part of me that was excited for new experiences and cities and everything in between died so quickly, I wondered if it was ever alive.

Yesterday as I stood ‘crushed’ during London’s peak hour in the tube, it didn’t seem any different than being properly crushed in the Mumbai local’s peak hours. The only difference was that there were fewer people in the former, but the blazing heat, the indifference of the people united in those thirty minutes in their want to get home quickly, the chatter of those who still had some energy left was all very familiar to me.

I think it’s quite a pity how quickly humans adapt and how soon the ‘new’ becomes the daily. Something we’ve wanted to do for years and years becomes yet another thing we’re accustomed to in a couple days. Sure, the fascination remains and from time-to-time I still pause and wonder how I’m in the country I only read about in Enid Blyton books, eyes still sparkling with wonder before I remember I have to do a grocery run and the moment ends.

But I also believe the quick and easy familiarity with new experiences and places and people allows us to make more wishes, to want for more experiences, and that insatiable desire to explore and that curiosity simply gets transferred into a new goal. Cause even though twenty-one-year-old Nia has been on enough planes now that she can go do the whole process in her sleep, I still enjoy the little thump of my heart when the plane leaves the runway and when it lands with a jerk and a half. It’s also a good time to observe the first-time fliers – especially the kids who see the plane fly through cotton-candy clouds for the first time, their minds blown and the first seed of “wow this is amazing, I want to see it again, I want to do it again” planted within them. Because being familiar with something allows you that privilege, you get to see how other humans bond in those moments where you think, yeah, that’s why we continue to exist in this miserable world – for those few seconds where we’re part of something more than our individual selves.


This disjointed ramble about flights, first-time experiences and the settling in of familiarity in an unfamiliar space is brought you by the lack of Wi-Fi in the airport I’m currently in, co-sponsored by the deep, horrifying realization that the time for my safety blanket to come off is alarmingly close and that soon I’ll have the scary bit of new experiences at my door again and then you can find me complaining about how nothing is familiar anymore and how much of a pain settling into something unknown can be.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio



The Surrealism of Travelling in Your 20s

There are some experiences you assume you’ll only read about in books, places you’ll only see pictures of, things you’ll only see done on the screen. Occasionally, the universe becomes a little less shit and lets you experience and do some of the things you thought you never would, not in this life-time. And as an added bonus, you may get to do them with the people you love and if that’s not hitting the lottery, then I don’t know what is.

The past fifteen days of my life seem to be straight out of a novel, the things I’m doing seem so surreal, half the times I wonder if I’m dreaming or if I’m normally living a nightmare and this is one of the nicer dreams my brain deigns to bless me with. I’m not too fond of travelling, I like it well enough when I have company and / or motivation but the whole ‘travel’ bit of travelling takes a toll on my body that I don’t really care for. My knees ache, my thighs sting and my lungs practically give up on any tiny hill I’m asked to climb. But nine out of ten times, it’s worth it.

Last night, as I sat at Trocadero staring up at the Eiffel Tower as it was lit up it hit me just how fortunate I was. I was seeing something I had only studied and read about four years, when I was first introduced to French. Unfortunately, I didn’t take to the language as well as I did to the country. I had a similar feeling when I entered the Louvre for the first time and saw the magnificent glass pyramids I’ve only seen on postcards and in pictures. For a tiny moment, I felt like I’d made it.


It’s been fifteen days and I’ve reunited with my best friends a year after college ended in another continent and we’re all mostly doing okay. We’re confused about what to do next and then after that but that uncertainty is as common to us as the monthly exams we used to have for three years. Fifteen days and I’ve visited three countries, and nearly seven cities. I’ve learned to (mostly) navigate the Paris metro and can proudly say I only ended up taking the wrong train once. I ended up at the end of the line at Montrouge, immensely confused when the French announcer lady said “Terminus” because what the fuck, which end of Paris had I made it to unknowingly. It’s okay, I made it to the Louvre in time to see the Mona Lisa and would like to report that it is thoroughly unimpressive. First of all, it’s tiny as fuck and it’s behind two glass cases and honestly, I found several other paintings to be much better. In fact, I got lost in the museum too, and that’s how I found my favourite piece of art –


It’s weird, but somehow, I had never planned on travelling around Europe so early in my life. I always assumed I’d go around (maybe) when I was twenty-seven or so, to escape the aunties hovering around me with the marriage noose when I’d started earning. I didn’t even plan to do my Masters immediately after my undergrad, but things happen and sometimes it’s better to go along with the flow rather than fight it.

So much travelling has given me several opportunities to confirm that we, as humans, are inherently stupid. We’re odd creatures. We want to tread the line between life and death so much that we build cable cars over the Rhine, to take us up to fortresses that we’ve built high up in the mountains; we build bridges to make it to the other side of the Seine not knowing what’s awaiting us – we flirt so much with death, no wonder it loves us so much. We’re curious, odd, stupid creatures who go looking at sites of mass death, to make ourselves feel bad and remind ourselves of the cruelty we’re capable of.

That inherent desire to do the stupid thing reared its head so many times during my time travelling around Germany and France, it’s insane (but it’s really not). From wanting to jump into the river Maas in Maastricht just to see how deep it is, or just to feel the violent current of the Rhine to wanting to crush the flowers at Le Jardin de Luxembourg, my brain really brought out the destructive side of being human. The need to break and crush and destroy wars with the want to protect and to preserve, to build and to fortify. We’re such complex creatures, aren’t we?

But so fragile. In front of a to-scale African elephant whose thighs my head barely grazes, to seeing just how heavy the paw of a Bengal tiger really is, I came to the unfortunate realization that humans are made for death. We’re fragile, stupid creatures who build things and then tear them down and then go look at the ruins by exchanging pieces of paper.

I went off on a tangent there, but can you blame me? I’m currently sitting in a McDonald’s (I am a broke Uni student who has three hours to kill until she can leave for her bus) opposite the Palace of Luxembourg where I can actually picture people walking around with floaty skirts and parasols around the fountain, chuckling at the ducks and discussing assassination plots over a hundred or so years ago. I am incredibly fortunate and privileged to be able to travel to places my parents have only heard of or seen in films. Every time my dad used to tell me to look at the scenery in the background of the Bollywood film set in Switzerland or in France because we might never be able to go there in real life, I used to wonder, oh, how would snow feel, if I’d ever get to see the Eiffel Tower up close, if I would ever make it out of the country I was born in to see how people lived in other places. I wish I could tell twelve-year old Nia that it happens, snow feels wonderful and it tastes amazing until you’re freezing your fingers off, the Eiffel Tower really is that huge and sparkly, it really is worth that hype and that you should avoid that one part of the tower where people are making out and drinking champagne worth eighteen euros a tiny glass. It happens. And it’s surreal and amazing and unbelievable but also expected and common and you get used to it faster than you want to.


I write this in the middle of the month, I still have a few more places to see before I return to the UK, I have a few more days to spend with my friends before we part again, not knowing if we’ll see each other in a couple months, years or decades. We are creatures slave to time (and if you’re in the West, the made-up nonsense of Daylight Savings) and circumstance and it is of utmost importance that we enjoy every moment we can with our loved ones, no matter where in the world we end up because after all, we’ve a short life to make fun before we disappear into the void.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

On Belonging & Familiarity

Five and a half years ago, I walked into the Xavier’s first quad along with my best friend full of hope and joy at leaving my small suburb behind. I didn’t have any idea how much my life was going to change that moment – in that one moment I was happy to have made it to the college of my dreams, to have proved the people who told me Humanities was a futile endeavour a little wrong by choosing to pursue what I loved instead of what would probably land me a stable job and an easy future.

When I came to Xavier’s I didn’t know who I was – I had maybe two friends and we were shaky at best. I was afraid to tell people that what I liked best was reading and writing but thankfully, that was the best thing to tell people at Xavier’s. I met my best friend on the first day and when she told me her grades, I was so disappointed that once again, I had managed to befriend all the nerdiest people I could find. My hopes of finally being one of the popular kids were dashed right then and there.

But at fifteen, I had expected too much and too little of my time at Xavier’s. I wanted it to be this magical time, where I would study what I loved (this actually happened) and be popular and party and be cool (this did not happen). I made loads of friends, learned so much and finally found myself in those five years at college.


This past week has been full of longing to return to Xavier’s. I want to go back to what I called home for five years, I want to see the same people I saw for years, sat with during break and traded stories and had discourses with, I want to curse myself for choosing subjects I knew would drive me mad, I want to go back to double-lit lectures where I fall asleep during the class reading of Hamlet, I just want to go back to the familiarity.

It was difficult, giving up that daily safety to come far away from home, to somewhere you know maybe one person if you’re lucky. It’s been a while since I had to second-guess my humour, since I had to think before I playfully traded jabs with another person, since I felt I belonged somewhere. Because Xavier’s wasn’t just a place where I studied and then went back home – I carved my entire social circle around people there, channelled my work and my being into being a part of it for a really, really long time.

By the time SY came around, we stopped giving fucks about what people thought. We were comfortable enough in our own skin, our own groups and our own selves. We knew the people in college, we did things that were familiar and routine and safe. We were okay. We were happy and content.

Then graduation came along and split everyone up. Sure, some of us landed closer to each other than others. But five years seemed to have passed by in seconds and now there was no knowing when we would all be together again. There was no knowing when we’d find another place we truly felt at home again.

I will forever be grateful for the age I live in – I can see what my friends are up to in different countries, continents and time-zones and send them messages of appreciation or love immediately. I can video-call my best friend for five and a half hours or ring in the new year over drinks over Skype at the annual sleepover (even though I’m in my room, miles and miles away) with my group or send them daily snaps as a way of checking-in to make sure we’re alright. It takes effort, that’s true. It takes effort to remember to call or to text, especially when you’re busy and are making other friends and settling in a totally new place.

I know I’m glad it’s over, some things in life have to end at the right time otherwise they’ll stagnate. That’ll turn what you loved into something you hate. I know all that. It’s just a little hard to remember why it had to end when I’m struggling with making friends, constantly on unsure footing, having to actually check myself from over-sharing or befriending the wrong person. When you second-guess if you’re cool enough or funny enough or whatever enough to justify asking x person to be your friend. It’s hard to put yourself out there again when you’ve grown so used to a sheltered, protected circle of support and love.

But you do it. Because you have to. It makes you appreciate your friends better. It makes you appreciate what you had a little more, and this time you’re armed with the knowledge that there are people who love you and it’s okay if you fail this time.


I miss Xavier’s, it was home for me. But it’s okay because the building or the college itself wasn’t home, it was the people that are still around, that are still an incredibly important part of my life. Once we all figure out what’s happening and have a little more control over our lives, we’ll be back to the grind.

Meanwhile, I’ll just reminisce about my youthful college days with my best friends as I grow older and wiser and bitter and still fall asleep in lit lectures.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

I know I use this photo a lot, but it really says so much, doesn’t it?

Surviving 2017

Hey guys,

If you’re reading this, you’ve survived another year, kudos to you. Welcome to my 2017 year-end recap. The one post I write every year because we all know my blog is just my public diary at this point.

2017 was possibly the most convoluted year of my life. I have never been more confused, more sure, sadder or happier in my life than in 2017. I look back and wonder how I survived this year, when I came close to giving up so, so many times.

I rang in the new year with my best friends at our annual sleepover that will take place over Skype this year, so we started out just fine. January was a pretty uneventful month except for the knowledge that I was entering my last few months at Xavier’s, without a clue of what I would be doing post May. I went to Khandala for a French presentation with two of my best friends, and that was a really nice way to begin this horrendous year.

I started watching my first k-drama in January, and looking back, Goblin was probably the thing that influenced me so much so that I obsessively got into k-pop & k-dramas later in the year.

I turned twenty in February, and began a month-long internship at a publishing company, which was my first experience in something I want to do as a career. I also made a film called Kairos, along with a couple friends but we haven’t posted it anywhere. We made it as part of our assessment for our final lit paper, on being flaneur. I also had my college farewell in the last week of Feb, and that really made it real. That I would be leaving this place I’d called home for five years, I’d be done with college. (What actually helped was the knowledge that I would never have to give any CIAs again, bless).

March marked the end of my college days, for real this time. Other than my end sems, there wasn’t much I did in March. I did meet Caspar Lee at the Youtube FanFest which was pretty darn amazing.

April was a particularly happy month for me. I went to Goa with my best friends, as a graduation trip and it was one of the best trips of my life. AmazingPhil thanked me for watching his live show on YouNow, I passed all my finals with flying colours (except French), went to The Li’l Flea with friends, had a wonderful Easter with my best friends and did well on my IELTS (oh, did I not mention, I had decided to apply for my Masters to the UK, to Exeter & Durham, sometime in March). But yeah, Goa was undoubtedly the highlight of the month.

May brought along applications and writing samples for grad school. I hadn’t written anything in two years so I had to try harder than usual to get the words out. It was a huge difference from last May, when I grappled with depression and couldn’t write anything because I mentally and emotionally couldn’t come to terms with failure.

In June, I got accepted into the University of Exeter for Masters in Creative Writing. It was is a huge gamble, choosing to spend so much money on a degree most of society would scoff at but I couldn’t bear the idea of doing more lit in such an intense way.

I officially graduated in June. It was also the last time I saw all of my friends in one place.

July was an uneventful month compared to the others. I mostly spent it filling out forms and paying fees. Xavier’s gave me a scholarship for highest score among catholic students for my course, which still has me bewildered.

Of course, July was the start of my descent into my bts (bangtan sonyeondan) and k-pop in general. I spent time trying to master the choreography for As If It’s Your Last by Blackpink and remember my dad laughing and telling me not to bust my knees.


I don’t really remember August to be honest, not past the first week. I lost my dad on 4th August, and buried him on 5th. The rest of month, I remember being awake, but not really. I know I did things, went out and actually breathed but I can’t remember most of it.

I wrote about losing my dad, because writing is one of the only ways I know how to express my feelings. If you’d like to read it – the final goodbye.

We moved in September. My mom and my brother relocated to Doha. My brother transferred schools and I left home, cold and unyielding ten days earlier than I wanted to. I met my friends for the last time as they saw me off.

I arrived in Exeter mid-September, this was my first foray into the West.  It’s nice, it’s a small town and mercifully in the South, so I’m not totally freezing to death because of the cold. I’ve made some really lovely friends, people who are kind and cool and really welcoming.

I went out and socialized more in October than I have my entire life. So that was a fun aspect of October, other than writing more than I’m used to because of my course.

I went to visit a friend in Birmingham in November, it was the first trip I’d taken without family or best friends and just for the sake of travelling, really. I think I want to travel more in 2018, to just be in a place where no one knows me or anything about me.

And here we are, in December. I went back to Doha for a quiet Christmas. The first in twenty years without my dad, and the first one not in India. I’m back in Exeter now, and I will ring in the new year by either watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine or sleeping.


It’s been a fucked-up year, I’ll be honest. I have lost way too much and gained too little in comparison. Last year, I said my only goal was to be happy and I tried, I swear, but it didn’t work as well I wanted to. But I was happy enough, so that counts.

A special note, I would not have survived this year without my friends. I have never felt more loved and appreciated. I have taken for granted in the past just how unequivocally my friends have had my back. But I am so grateful, so very grateful.

For those who came to help in August, for those who just text me when I’m feeling low, for those who let me stay with them in a new city, for those who send me books they love, for those who I video call late at night, for those who write me postcards, for those who keep encouraging my writing, for those who discourse with me, for those who offer their friendship and their homes and their love, I am grateful.

Thank you for helping me survive 2017. I hope we all survive 2018 & maybe find small moments of happiness to keep going.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio




The Write Way

Lack of Representation: My Villain Writing Origin Story

Writing didn’t come to me as easily as reading did, it took me a while to accept that writing was what I wanted to do most of my life really. I dabbled in fashion designing the one dress I knew how to draw well, journalism until I realized I would have to stay awake at odd hours and have no social life (look at me doing those things now anyway) and finally decided to pursue something in publishing and social media because I spend all my time tweeting about books anyway.

When I wrote my first story at eleven, I named the twin protagonists after my brother and myself, and even wrote my parents into it. But with one major difference – they were all living in America and were white. I remember setting the whole story, my parents, brother, everyone else I knew in a small town in America from one of the other YA books I’d read. I’ve never even been to America, all I know about it is from TV shows and movies and books – so many books.

Even back then, I’d pinpointed an important trend in the books I was reading – the protagonists were white, they weren’t set anywhere in Asia and they definitely didn’t have any issues other than finding some mystical treasure to save the world or choosing between two lovers. So, wanting to be successful, I chose to write about something I had absolutely no idea about rather than write about my own life, what I knew best.

So, I went on, writing about twins who were twelve whose lives change when they’re sent to a boarding school and they’re separated for the first time and realize they have telepathic powers. Some other stuff happened, and then the pages of the notebook ran out and I got distracted with the professors introducing the alphabet into equations.

The next big thing I tried to write was when I was sixteen, when I was consuming dystopian and fantasy fiction in YA by the kilo every month. From the obscure to the popular, I’ve read pretty much everything that included some sort of love triangle in the wake of a crumbling society. College was the first time I was exposed to books that contained protagonists of colour, of books set across the world but it still wasn’t enough to change my primary influence of American and British novels with white protagonists.

That’s why, when I was sixteen, I wrote about a young girl in her early twenties going to France and meeting a guy and having a whirlwind adventure and falling in love and some drama while they explored France. Truth be told, it was just a way for me to incorporate and practice the French I was learning then, from unnecessary facts about Frances’s ports to them teaching each other how to speak basic French, my story was a tutorial in disguise. But that was important was that this time, I made the protagonist brown. I kept the guy white, thinking a hero like that would appeal more to the masses and maybe they would “forgive” me for having a brown protagonist. [Thankfully, in the past two years there has been an incredibly boosting surge of protagonists of colour, of settings that are not America and Europe, of protagonists who are broken and flawed and human, and I can finally see myself in the type of books I love to read and that has inspired me to write what I want to, and now what I should, in order to sell.]

I actually wrote the French love story for my first NaNoWriMo, the same year I started blogging. I wrote fifty thousand words of that novel and it’s still around somewhere, deep in the recesses of google drive. That was one of the last things I wrote for a long time. Then came a period of intense self-doubt and depreciation, which meant I wouldn’t write anything (except blog posts, though even those dwindled).

When I figured out that I wanted to get my Masters immediately after my BA, I knew I wouldn’t survive another year of reading literature I couldn’t bear and that meant I would take a huge chance and choose Creative Writing. I applied to a couple universities, writing for the first time in three years – writing something that wasn’t an essay for class or wasn’t half bullshit for an assignment, heck, I even wrote a bit of poetry that I’m sort of proud of but didn’t send it in. It was too precious to be used as a writing sample.

And now here we are, I’m almost done with my first term and I’m procrastinating writing my final pieces by writing this long and rambling blog post. But I know a few aspects of my final pieces – they’re going to be set in India, and they’re going to feature brown people. Now that I’m experiencing it, I finally truly understand diaspora, I have a new-found desperation to write about home, to connect in any way I can, to express my longing for the food and the people and to feel like I belong somewhere – even if it is only within my words.


I know I haven’t written in a while. It’s been a chaotic few months, filled with loads of changes – some of which were my choice, others, that weren’t. But there’s another post coming your way around the end of this month – my annual recap, which is easy to write so hopefully I don’t procrastinate writing it too much. It’ll include all the fun aspects of my life – depression, nihilism, and graduation from Xavier’s (which I miss incredibly).


Until next time,

Nia Carnelio



The Only Way I Know

[Trigger warning: Death]

You don’t look the same.

You might look the same as you did the day before, but the reflection in the mirror is a lie. A part of you is dead now, a part of you, gone forever.


My dad died on Friday. It was a good day. It was a good day because he didn’t suffer, he went quickly and peacefully. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good day for us. You see, we’re still here, alive and quite in pain.

Death is inevitable, it stops for no one and the only mercy it provides is the end of suffering. Because that’s what life is, suffering until you find one shred of happiness to keep you alive for just a bit longer. Some of us last a bit longer than others, but we’re all suffering.

It’s been a while you see, since I had both parents around the same time. My mom worked abroad to provide for us, she had a good job, a good position and most importantly the encouragement of her husband and children who lived back home. My dad retired seven years ago to take care of my brother who was only four and a half when my mom left. She was coming back this October you see, because I was leaving home. She’s back a bit earlier now, and there’s so much to do and so many questions to ask but we’ve gotta do it on our own now. It’ll be difficult, it’ll be painful, it will take time but it will happen.

My dad was far too helpful, far too kind, and far too good for this world. That’s not to say he didn’t have vices, but he was better that that. He didn’t discriminate who he spoke to – he was friends with the watchmen, the vegetable vendors (who helped him trick me into eating my veggies), the Bishops and the Principals of schools in the same way. He helped everyone, whether or not he could. He was hundred times the person I’ll ever be, and if I achieve even ten percent of his way of life, I will consider myself fortunate.

If you came for the funeral, the above sentence will be familiar. It was a part of the eulogy I gave, but it was unpolished. Someone did tell me to write a bit beforehand, but I was a tad preoccupied with something else, you see. But I think I did a good job, and that my dad would’ve liked what I said. He and I shared the same brand of gallows humour, I learned to makes jokes about death and the inevitable end of life from him. It’s where I learned that death is permanent, but the memories I hold will be with me for the rest of my life.

To my friends who came through for me, you don’t know how much your support means to me. You have come across the city (across cities, in fact) to support me and I am truly grateful. You are the family I chose, you are the reason I believe in the goodness of the world. To the neighbours who helped me out more than I can explain, when mom was on her way, you gave me the extra few minutes my dad needed and I will never be able to repay your kindness. To family that came through, I am grateful.

To those that asked me why I didn’t inform them immediately or call them for help, I’m sorry you were a little less important to me than my mother and brother. Maybe I would’ve called you, if I didn’t know of your insensitivity beforehand. I only hope this never happens to you so you never know what it’s like being in my shoes. Because let me tell you, this is the kind of shoe-bite that never stops aching.

To the four-hundred odd people who showed up to celebrate the life of my dad yesterday, you made his journey into the afterlife a little brighter and I thank you for that. Your presence and support keeps us going. Keep us in your prayers (if you’re an atheist, keep us in your well wishes) and if you do one thing today – do something nice for someone else even if (especially if) you have to go out of your way to do it. It’ll make my dad proud and it’ll add a little more joy in this miserable world.

If you didn’t know my dad but still stuck around to read this simply because you were curious or because you knew me (or you stumbled upon my blog accidentally) thank you. This is the only way I know how to say goodbye.

[For those that want to make it, anticipatory mass will be held at IC Church, Borivali on 11th August, 2017 at 7 PM.]


Time is too cruel
I hate us
Now it’s hard to even see each other
Even once anymore
This place is all winter now
It’s winter in August too

How much do I have to miss you
How much does it have to fall like snow
For spring to come



Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

On Punishing Happiness

There’s something wrong.

I’ve had too many happy days in this year already, in this past month itself. More than I have in the last year put together.

When things start going good for a while, you start wondering, worrying, waiting for the other shoe going to drop. When is it going to stop being good? Where is the bad stuff that is constantly in my life? They say you can never appreciate summer if you don’t go through winter, that you can’t appreciate the light when you haven’t experienced the dark.

In the past month, as I have waited for my happy times to end and for the shit days to come and claim their rightful place in my life, I have realized I don’t let myself be happy without simultaneously expecting to be punished for it. Being happy does not come naturally to me, it takes effort and a lot of cajoling for me to accept that this is not going to be the reason for something bad in the near future. After every Happy Ever After, there are silences, irreparable relationships and broken people. How can I believe that something good truly does last? Or even if it doesn’t, that it will come back again?

A couple weeks ago, I was speaking to a friend and we’d both had bad days. I told him about a quote I’d read earlier that day, “Life is never so bad that it can’t get worse, nor is it so good that it can’t get better.” And that’s true isn’t it? My happy days are bound to end some time (soon, by the way my final exams approach next week) but they’ll be back again. Maybe this time they’ll stay longer, they’ll manage to erase most of the effect the dark days have on me. I’ll be able to appreciate the good days better, to not worry about when they’re going to end, or whether they’ll be back.

Maybe today I’ll enjoy the sunshine and the sea and not worry about if and when I’ll come back to the same view.


As I write this, I’m sitting at Marine Drive, watching the waves crash onto the shore. They’ve done that every time I’ve been here this week, which makes me feel calm and not so worried about my future. I’ve just finished my last day in college and now I only have six exams before I’m completely free of Xavier’s. What a surreal feeling. Five years of college seem to have passed by in the blink of an eye (although I remember every single second of Lit double lectures) and I can’t believe I have to leave this place I called home in two weeks.

The last few months of college and the first few months of this year have been the happiest in a long time. I’m ready to leave.

It’s time for a new beginning.


Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

2016 Recap: Dealing, Depression and Dancing

Hey guys,

Another year, another recap post. Yes, I’m one of the millions who had a shitty 2016, but it wasn’t without some good moments. I mean, I could argue that this year was the best in terms of teaching me things, but you’re not here for that nonsense.

In January, there wasn’t much that happened. I started the year with a sleepover with my best friends. What I did do was make a short film with my group in Media and Cinema studies titled Avenoir. You should check it out, if only to see how badly I act in the four seconds I’m in the film.

In February, I turned 19 and watched Deadpool. Yes, Deadpool deserves a mention. I also joined instagram (which would lead me to meeting some of the best people I now call friends, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves). You can check my Bookstagram here: PerceptiveMadness.

In March, I met Connor Franta. He signed a copy of his book for me and hugged me. Nothing else of importance happened in that month.

April is when things started happening. And by happening I mean destroying my life (can you tell I have a penchant for melodrama?). The department I was going to apply for as Head got canned (thanks, best friend) and I thought I was mostly okay about it.

Narrator: She was not okay about it.

I wrote a post I’m rather proud of about what Raga meant to me and how it shaped my life. Even in its absence, it has taught me so much and I’ll forever be grateful for everything it’s done for me.

Remember last year I told you about how I was staring into an abyss of depression, well, this year I fell into across May- July. I was unable to read or blog or do anything without thinking about my failures. It got a bit better in June when I wrote about it and people went out of their way to tell me they loved and supported me and had gone through similar experiences. Sharing what I was going through really helped, and I strongly believe that mental illnesses should not be stigmatised. Speak out, ask for help, professional help if you must. If you take one thing back from this post, let it be this.


In June I met the Bombay Bookstagram group – people who loved reading as much as I did and who are amazing people and even better friends. I also started my final year in Xavier’s, and had my first job as a social media consultant.

In July I failed at another thing I really, really wanted and while it didn’t hurt as much as Raga I was still pretty cut up about it. I dealt with that by reading the most books in July.

In August, I read the Cursed Child. And I have one question: WHY.

September was when things began looking up marginally. I did adult things (made my own bank account) and went socialising with people who weren’t in my immediate group. It was a beautiful feeling. Oh, and obviously, I watched the two best shows of the year in September: Parks and Recreation and Fullmetal Alchemist.

I went for Comic Con with my friends in October, where Salonie had the most badass cosplay ever. And I wrote a post about being a teenager, sentimentality because as I write this I have two months left of being a teenager.

In November, I went for my first concert and I watched The Vamps, Coldplay and Demi Lovato perform live. This festival alone could’ve salvaged 2016.

I went for my last Trad day in college in December and for my first Prom. Both involved a lot of…dancing, among other things. And that’s it, really.


2016 has been full of good people and shitty circumstances. I learned about dealing with people who don’t share my views on socio-cultural issues, and how not to simply cut those I don’t agree with out of my life. But I am working on cutting those who are toxic out. It’s been a great year for reading, fiction definitely helped me escape the nightmarish reality that 2016 was.

I don’t have any goals for 2017 except to be happier.

Favourite posts this year (other than those linked):

Five by Five

On Life and Memories

The Reacher and the Settler

I hope you had a better 2016 than I did, and I hope you have a brilliant 2017.

Until next time,
Nia Carnelio.

P.S. If you’d like to know which were my best reads of the year, check out the latest post on my book blog.

Feels Like Teen Spirit – The Hundredth Post

Being a teenager is being impulsive, reckless, passionate. It’s wanting to explore and learn a hundred new things at once, but being unable to because you’re preparing for your future, your jobs that’ll help you exist, but not really live.

Being a teenager is falling in love with everything, from people to things, and hating others with fiery disposition. It’s being proud of yourself one moment and deeply ashamed the next. It’s the moment of exploring sexualities, of arms and legs touching, of limbs coming together, of mutual learning and understanding.

Being a teenager is when you realise the world is not yours for the taking, it’s right there, but it belongs to someone else. It’s getting your heart ripped out a thousand times, when you face rejection, when unhappiness looms over the horizon like a constant hoverer. It’s happiness in creating memories that may make you cringe when looked back upon, but with a fondness for your innocence.

Being a teenager is when you realise you’re not immortal or eternal, when you realise that death is coming for you, and it has already come for someone who is your age. It’s realising that life sucks, that there’s nothing you can do to control your circumstances, until you’re finally free. It’s learning to accept that you can’t just get up and leave when you feel like it, there are feelings to be considered, people to keep relations with. It’s wanting to be free, to be independent and wanting to be cared for.

Being a teenager is realising the fallacy of your childhood dreams, of how they’re probably never going to come true. It’s realising how far you’ve got to go, and there’s so much more left to explore and experience. But never again will there come a first kiss, your first time with someone, magical in the moment. Sloppy tongues and clashing teeth, leaning to discover another body like your own.

You’re going to leave school and college and probably leave the comfort of home to brave a new world, with or without a significant other. Being a teenager is when you realise how complex the world is, how jarring reality is and how much it affects you. You have new appreciation for your childhood innocence and the way you’ve been protected from the cruel, unfeeling world.

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

― John Green, Looking for Alaska

But now is the time the world is yours to seize and all you need to do is believe in yourself and put in efforts. You dream big, with ambitions that reach beyond the sky, with the failures turning into guidelines for your eventual success.


Being a teenager is being powerful and powerless at the same time, wanting to be a part of the world and wanting no part in it. The period of learning, of growth and experiencing what’s going to befall them in the future.

Being a teenager is tasting the very first slice of the cake that life is.


I woke up a couple days ago with the horrifying realisation that I only had a few more months left of being a teenager and this was born of exam stress, a lot of procrastination and a desire to put into words what I’ve been feeling for a long time.

Also, this post is my hundredth post on this blog. Fitting ode, don’t you think? I began this blog as a clueless teen at the age of sixteen and here I am, still clueless at nineteen hoping to find her place in the world and just be happy. Thanks for sticking around, you’ve been great.


Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

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.


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.


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?


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.


Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.