The Sixth & The Seventh: On Beliefs in Love & Similar Things

Hey guys,

Yeah, I know this is also a couple days late but in my defence; time really flies by when you’re sorta unwell and on tumblr at the same time. So I’ve decided to combine two days’ worth of posts at the same time and maybe, when I’m a little better write an extra one on another day.

Have you ever fallen in love with fictional characters? So much so that often, you wondered why your reality was cursed and they weren’t real? Because I sure as hell have – in fact, in my head, the only place true love exists is a fictional world. I’m not talking motherly love, friendly love and other stuff – romantic love, the significant others, the soul mates, the lovers, something I don’t truly believe exists in our world, or well it doesn’t seem to exist around me.

People love each other, sure, they love their partners, their husbands, their wives, their girlfriends, boyfriends, and they do. But having read so many books, watched so many TV shows and movies where the love portrayed is incomparable, incomprehensible and irrevocable I find it hard to believe it exists in the world we live in, in the society we belong to.

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Trust, an integral part of being in any relationship is missing, more often than not, and to be honest, my generation isn’t really bothered about it. And here’s my deal – I can’t fathom why I have to put all my trust in one person and hope that they won’t crush it? I’m a huge cynic, especially when it comes to romance and love and all that jazz. I like reading about it in books, it’s cute with fictional couples but if I were to see a real life couple do what book-couples do, I’d probably gag. And I think that’s a testament to the culture I’ve been brought up in.

Here in India, kissing is illegal and punishable by law. I’ve seen people on beaches and other places kiss and make-out under dupattas and hiding behind bushes. As a nation I suppose, we’re not too open about sharing our affections in public and that’s another reason I think love isn’t really all that possible. Because if love is so pure and makes people happier and nicer, why should anyone have to hide it? (I’m looking at you, Section 377.)

I’ve rambled on a bit; I think I’ve lost my point. Ah, all I’m saying is that I’m sure true love exists, all that soul-mates and ‘the one’ stuff is probably true, but until I get a sample or an example of the same, I’m a little hesitant to believe in it. After all, the same people who once loved their partners, their husbands, their wives, girlfriends and boyfriends often end up breaking up, or trapped in unhappy marriages and hating each other or murder (the last one’s probably less popular). Love exists, but that true, all-consuming love probably doesn’t.

I’ve had several crushes; there was a point in my early college life that I had a mini-crush on a new boy every single day. I spent the better part of last year dragging my friend down during free lectures to look at this one boy I had a big crush on. It ended soon enough, as it always does. But here’s the thing eh, every time I have a crush I just know, that I won’t agree to a date should the guy ask me out. And I’m not so interested that I ask them out either. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I don’t want to date. I find it time consuming and fairly useless as I know we’ll probably break up in a month, a year or soon enough.

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And the part of me putting expiration dates on relationships that haven’t even seen the light of day is the same part that doesn’t really believe in true love and soul mates and stuff like that. But I do hope, whenever I think about this, that I’m wrong and someday we’ll all find our significant others, whether platonically or romantically.

Until tomorrow,

Nia Carnelio.

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The Fifth on The Sixth: On InDesign, NaNoWriMo and Fanfiction

Hey guys,

If you’re wondering why I didn’t write yesterday (you’re probably not, to be honest) I was a bit caught up navigating Adobe InDesign and watching Doctor Who and one of them took up literally the whole day and I am sorry to say it wasn’t Doctor Who.

InDesign is probably the most frustrating thing I’ve ever encountered and that’s saying because I’m still trying to map out Eleven’s and River’s timelines and how the hell they are so complicated?

I’ve been working on getting the hang of InDesign because being one of the editors of the English department’s annual journal apparently requires me to have skills in laying out papers. A few months ago, my co-OGs handled all of the layouts for Raga (Malhar’s official publication) and I was mercifully free. I do remember them having to slave over my trashy layouts when we were laying out the Rules and Regulations.

I didn't try...too much.
I didn’t try…too much.

So, I decided to take a break from the laptop (also because mother has been kind pissed about all the time I spend online – radiation and other similar concerns) and post The Fifth on the Sixth. Don’t worry; I’ll post the Sixth in a while too. I’ve been reading Demon Road in the meantime and I’m almost halfway through it. It’s a fairly large book and interesting too. So far (spoilers) a serial killer has been digested by a car, we’ve met a wonderfully talkative Irish chap and our protagonist is demon (with a little less brain power than I’d like but you can’t have everything in life), pretty cool, yeah?

Now, for some news on the NaNoWriMo front: I have absolutely none. It’s been six days and I haven’t penned a word for NaNo yet and you know what the scary part is? I might not, in the next few days either. I still don’t know whether I’m doing NaNo this year or not. Because I don’t want to start off for the first week, then lose steam for the next two and then hurriedly finish 50K in the final week. It is madness and it takes a negative toll on me and that’s not even counting how much time I spend writing when I should be studying for my forthcoming CIAs or blogging or interning or something. I dunno, maybe I’ll do in December or January or not at all. I’m still working things out on the NaNoWriMo front but I will keep you guys posted.

I hoping I can at least write some one-shots in the hopes of writing something this month. Something that is not a blog post, an article or an answer in an exam paper.

In other news, I only have a little over a week before college re-opens and that means I only have seven more days in Doha. It sucks that we can never stay long enough for my mom’s birthday on the 21st but we’re used to it now. But more importantly, I am not ready for the holidays to be done. I’ve been living life in a very peaceful way – reading and watching shows and catching up on some needed fanfiction (Mostly Scorose, but I did read Jily on October 31st).

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Fanfiction is important to me, I try and read something someone else has written to take the story I love so much forward and appreciate the effort they put into it. I’ve read beautifully written fanfiction (grammatically correct too) with amazingly conceptualized characteristics (next-gen, marauders) and I can say I’ve been blown away. I’ve read horribly plotted, terribly written books that have gotten published and compared to that, fanfiction is absolute good. I adore fanfiction and I think everyone should read some of it.

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My holidays are going well, and hopefully I won’t be taking any more breaks (I seem to be getting the hang of InDesign, finally). Apologies if you think this was a filler post, because I swear I had something to write about but I seem to have forgotten the topic. It’ll come back to me soon, I hope.

Until tomorrow,

Nia Carnelio.

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The Fourth: Of Reading & Happiness

Hey guys,

Earlier this year, somewhere around March after my first year end semester exams, I read some 2015 debuts and ARCs. Last year, I read only 18 books. I didn’t even hit 20, what even was that year and I’m sure the year before that would’ve been in the single digits. My reading has decreased drastically since I left school and entered college and this year, I managed to figure out why.

It’s because I walked into a college where a majority of the students devour Austen and Marquez for their daily breakfast. Everyone around me reads the classics from Bronte to Dickens and then there are those that have the nonfiction books along with their morning newspaper.

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Where’s a girl like me who likes her books young adult and very much contemporary fit in? For about two, three years I tried. I tried reading the classics, had my friends gift me Wuthering Heights (untouched as ever) and Lord of the Flies (read for college reading, liked it immensely) for my birthdays and watched as the number of fiction books I read that year drop and slowly fade out of sight.

But then I saw that one of my old school mates ran a book blog, primarily young adult fiction book reviews and I was in price to reevaluate my choice in books. At the start of the year I decided I would read already fifty books, that goodreads challege really inspired me to keep going. My friend, Salonie joined in too as did Christina. Now, Salonie and I have this friendly (pfft) competition of who can read more books, which she’s currently winning. We’re both reading 65 books now and I’m so bloody happy to say that I’ve read over 50 books this year and more than 16,000 pages. Now, that’s not much compared to the other readers but for me that’s huge. Seeing as I barely hit 18 last year and that counting books I had to read for my literature course.

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I have finally begun accepting my live for young adult and new adult books, contemporary, fantasy, science fiction and best of all, dystopia. I rarely shy away anymore when someone picks up the book I’m reading and asks me, “Why on earth are you reading about teenage vampires?” (Vampire Academy books). I like it. And it’s none of their business which books I choose to read and love. I’m not judging you for reading books that are outdated and fairly old and boring, then you don’t need to judge my choices, thanks.

Reading has always been a source of happiness for me. Escaping into a book, feeling one with the characters and loving the plots and twists and turns has always been home for me. But now I’ve come to realize, life is too bloody short and the list of books I want to read is too bloody long for me to keep reading books I’m not enjoying or interested in.

I’ve started to DNF (Did Not Finish) books, because it is alright not to like a book and it is especially alright to not like a book millions love and rave about. Life is all about making choices that make YOU happy, not others. And there are too many brilliant books in the world for you to continue reading that dull, boring old book. It’s alright, leave it be and maybe the next one will blow you off your feet.

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It’s been a tricky time, accepting who I am and what I love reading. And I’m slowly beginning to see why so many people stop doing the things they love because of what others say about it. Well, here my advice, screw them. If you want to read all about how intricate politics is, go for it my friend, if you want to read Pride and Prejudice for the hundredth time, I don’t see why someone else saying something about it should stop you. Screw those elitist readers who believe that there is one particular type of book that you just read at your age /status for your gender. Pah, you want to read erotica, go read it, if you like some Chicklit make sure to bash the head of the person who calls you girly like it’s an a insult with a massive Sophie Kinsella.

As for me, you’ll find me reading the books of my choice, I’m not too bothered about what my classmates in Literature class think about me reading a contemporary romance novel, I’m pretty much done with them elitist readers.

So, read what makes you happy.

When an amazing book ends.
When an amazing book ends.

Until tomorrow,
Nia Carnelio.

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The Third: To the Phils, The Rons, The Kevins and To Me

Hey guys,

This is going up later than I planned, but I got caught up doing things at home. This post has been coming along since a while, all in my head of course and I thought it was time I put it into words.

Have you ever noticed that in every duo, every trio, every group, there is always someone who is left out, someone who is considered lesser or inferior to the others even though they might not be? Someone who has lesser fans, lesser friends outside that group / trio, someone who is less popular, whose achievements aren’t taken into account during comparison? I think you do.

From the internet YouTuber duo, Dan and Phil, more commonly known as Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil, everybody knows and assumes Dan is more famous than Phil and it is true. Phil only recently hit three million subscribers, having been on YouTube from 2006 whereas Dan has about five million. And that’s not to say Dan isn’t brilliant, because he absolutely is. But even though they’re both essentially similar and good at what they do, Dan is viewed as better. Phil is amazing (zing!), he is, he chooses not to swear on his channel so younger viewers can watch his videos too and as the older sister of a very inquisitive and interested-in-YouTube ten year old, I am very thankful for that. I do think Phil doesn’t get the credit, the popularity and the love that he deserves. And I am happy that he and Dan have such a wonderful friendship so that these things don’t come between them, they are enough for each other and they are so very good at being that.

Among trios, I think the prime example is Ron Weasely.

If you haven’t heard about the Harry Potter series, then you’ve been living under a rock, especially now that it even has a play as the eight part being released in 2016. Everyone knows of Harry Potter, the titular character, the hero. And everybody knows Granger too, the intelligent one, the smartest witch of her age. Everyone knows Ron too. The best friend, the funny sidekick who left his friends and wasn’t very brave once.

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Ron Weasley gets a lot of flak for that decision for leaving his best friends in a forest but we all know that if we were put in a tent at seventeen, with a locket that magnified our malevolent aspects with no news of a family we loved, we’d probably do the same or worse, wouldn’t return as he had. Ron is loyal and excuse you, he is brilliant too. Or did you forget the eleven year old who fought his way across McGonagall’s chess set? He was kind, helpful and brave. He was Harry’s best friend and confidante. He defended Harry at every step and so what if he made a mistake. We all do. But talking about how people treat him or view him, it’s always as inferior to Harry and Hermione. As someone who got in with the popular crowd. As Peter Pettigrew with the Marauders. But then, Pettigrew didn’t have any qualities. That was Ron’s fear too, being inferior as we saw when he faced Slytherin’s locket. But again, having that kind of friendship where the trio views themselves and each other as equal is really important and necessary and helpful.

Before I talk about myself in this context, my final example is of Kevin Olusola from Pentatonix. The cello player is the beatboxer of the a capella group and is a Yale Graduate who is fluent in mandarin. Yet sometimes, I feel like he gets far less credit for his talent than the others. As a black person he is also part of a minority. Even then I get the feeling the crowd prefers the rest of the four and sometimes, subconsciously what the group puts out is along the same lines. But then I watch them interact with each and I realise how much they all respect each other and how very important they are to the group.

In all three aspects, it is the outsiders who sow the doubts in the minds. And that’s the way it happens with me. Since middle school I suppose, when I was quite the snob I have always tried far too hard to fit in, to be liked, to be worthy of the group I was with. I spent my seventh and eight grade recess breaks with the toppers in my year and every time they spoke about their marks, I felt a little bit inferior. As a loser, in simple words. I soon discovered better friends of course, but this little inferiority complex, this feeling of I don’t belong with them, I’m not smart enough usually came around pretty quickly. It started when my then best friend refused to let me so with her during break because I want tall enough or in the same house (ruby, school houses were divided by color and I was in topaz) to sit with her and her friends. Funny how that’s still haunting me.

Even now, the friends I have are brilliant. Each one of them is good at academics, they study hard and study to achieve their marks. They work hard to reach the position they want to, the earn the respect they gain. They are amazing people, kind and they have welcomed me as I am, the eccentric, weird little fangirl.

9i But every now and then I wonder, how does the world see us. Do they see a bunch of smart, academically brilliant people and one misfit desperately trying to belong or do they see us as a bunch of diversely talented people who happen to like each other because of how well we go together?

It’s questions like these that keep me up at night. They make me think, am I the Phil, the Ron, the Kevin of my friend group? And even if I am, is that so bad, as long as my friends know the real me and believe in me.

It’s not easy to let go of such insecurities. But I’m trying and on most days, I can do it effortlessly. Some days though it takes a bit of reminding and remembering that I am pretty cool too.

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So here’s to us, the Phils and the Rons and the Kevins. Screw the world, believe in yourself. Because your best friends, your group and your fans love you no matter what.

Until tomorrow,
Nia Carnelio.

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The Second: Of Journeys of Change

Hey guys,

Welcome to the second day of NaBloPoMo on my blog. Yesterday, I wrote on depression, today I write on “A journey of change in a belief I’ve had” given by Salonie, another friend from college and a fellow blogger at Whoa!.

I’m picking my belief in religious faith. Two years ago, on Halloween I wrote on the topic of my religious faith: Born on Halloween. But a lot has changed since I was sixteen.

I’ve been studying anthropology for the past year and a half, and one of the papers is Anthropology of Religion. And I have learned so much, so much from those lectures. From learning how religion is a man-made creation for the stability and the order in the society to understanding how very commercialized it has become, to the different levels of faith the youth holds today in religion I have now gathered several perspectives with respect to religion and the way we practice it.

Living in India means you’re subjected some festival or the other being celebrated every month. From the big ones like Holi, Navratri, Easter and the forthcoming ones –  Diwali and Christmas, you are either religious or an idiot.

It’s been a while coming, but now my faith in my religion has slowly declined. There’s just a little bit left, after all, I’ve got over fifteen years of conditioning to get through. I’m not an atheist, I am simply hovering somewhere around agnostic and the I-believe-but-I-don’t-understand. Most of it stems from how people act when they are religious. Often, humanity is forgone to be religious and having seen that all around me, all the time, it has me questioning my faith. People who pray religiously, give their offerings to the religious institutions are the same people who may come home and engage in spousal abuse, the same people who might fight to deprive LGBTQ+ people their rights, the same people who might force their children to follow the path they set, with no regards for the dreams of the child / youth. Sometimes, I feel as though people selectively listen to that which they want to from their scriptures.

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Yeah, you fast on religious days but then I hear you insult the person who is eating a rather large meal – maybe they’re hungry, maybe they want to, it’s none of your business. I feel so confused when I see someone acting one way in front of someone who is high up on the religious authority level and another way with their junior.

Another thing that irks me is so many religions, including the one I some-what follow are so very patriarchal in nature. As a staunch feminist who believes in equality for both the sexes, this is something I cannot get behind. I simply don’t get the need for only male priests, only male authorities in religious institutions. And then there’s the fact, that most of the people who are entrusted with guiding the people are biased with their own thoughts and beliefs and may not make an effort to be inclusive or educated about the different aspects to people, their personality and their choices. And more often than not, all of these leaders have given the wrong information to masses that follow them blindly, adding to the misogyny / misandry / inequality in today’s world.

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As someone who values humour as a powerful tool of change in today’s world, the fact that some religious people cannot take jokes on their belief or their religion (when it’s not personal, of course) I wonder how much they tolerate vs. accept everyone else. And then when they actively try to reinstate old, out-dated ideas of social systems that should be way past their expiry date, it leaves me fuming. How lovely of them to make judgements on others as they pray to be saved on Judgement Day.

When I was younger, I blindly followed all that was taught to me during Sunday School and told to me during sermons. I never bothered going online or reading up about the things told to me, I accepted them as true. But having chosen Arts as my stream and picking Sociology as my subject back when I was fifteen was one of the best things I ever did. It taught me to look beyond what was told to me, to seek knowledge and understand on my own. So I asked questions when I was studying for the sacrament of Confirmation, but nobody ever really answered me. They shushed me. Well, it seems they shushed me right out of the religion.

I think of myself as more spiritual now than religious, I have hopefully gone from blind faith into the light of knowledge as they put it. But I still have parents, relatives and friends who would rather see me back in a church rather than not, so here’s hoping they understand that I am free to make my own choices, and unfortunately for them, the time I believed people and their messages blindly has passed.
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Have you ever dealt with a change in your belief – religious or otherwise? How did you manage? I’m still learning to deal with the changes this has created in my life.

Until tomorrow,

Nia Carnelio

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The First: On Depression & Educating Yourself

Hey guys,

So, it’s the first of November. People across the world are attempting to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. And I am writing thirty posts this month, of which, this is the first. My first prompt was given by Christina, a fellow blogger and my friend from college. You can find her at Cartoon Heart. It seems she has been reading a lot of Sylvia Plath (she says so) because the first thing she told me when I asked her for a prompt was ‘Depression’.

Depression is very touchy subject for a lot of people, often because of the way it is represented in the media. I first learned about it back in eleventh grade or junior college, during our psychology lectures. Even then, the full understanding of mental illness and its impact upon people wasn’t very clear to me. It took tumblr, Twitter and people raising their voices for me to comprehend how stigmatized depression is today’s society. People are quick to dismiss mental illness as something that is different from physical illness or injury. Simply because you cannot see the part of the body being affected, does not mean you can dismiss it as a figment of somebody’s imagination.

I have never suffered from depression, but from the way people speak about it and from what I have read and studied about it, it involves acute sadness for days and months and involves an inability to generate interest in doing things – everyday or otherwise. It isn’t something you can simply will your mind to ‘get over’ or ‘snap out of’. If you can’t snap out of a fractured arm or a broken ankle, you can’t snap out of a depressed state of being. This is your brain being affected, the primary organ in everybody’s life – the one that pretty much keeps you, ‘you’. I am not going to cite research and statistics, if you’re interested you can Google it. What I am going to tell you is how many people, including teenagers suffer from it across the world.

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People my age shouldn’t have to feel hopelessness and despair; they should be out enjoying life, studying about the world and making relationships to last a lifetime. What is happening is far from it – the change in the way people treat each other, the constant worry about being number one or being one of the top ten to secure a place in the highly competitive society, broken families thanks to the decreasing value of love and trust are among the causes that lead to depression. It sucks, it sucks when you can’t motivate yourself to do anything to help yourself – you just can’t.

What can help is a good support system – good friends, observant family members who pay attention to you and understand what you’re going through. I know living in India equals people who often scoff at the idea of a mental illness, and then immediately stigmatize it. Why though? Why should be ashamed of seeking help for your mental health and security? If you were to attempt to bandage your fractured arm on your own, wouldn’t they say, “Isn’t it better / safer if you went to the doctor to get this done? You might make it worse if you delay getting help.” Why should it be any different when you seek help from a psychologist or a psychiatrist?

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This is one of the primary reasons I am so happy and supportive when celebrities reveal their struggles with depression and other mental illnesses. Actress Deepika Padukone opened up about her depression and now she has opened up a foundation named ‘Live Love Laugh’ to help those who are battling depression. This gives out the message that it is okay to talk about it, it is okay to seek help.

If you have friends who suffer from depression, please make a point to support them – emotionally and mentally. Simply be there for them, it might take some time but they will respond and hopefully, they will not be another statistic in the growing numbers of suicide cases across the globe taking place due to depression. Make sure your friends and family know that they can confide in you if they ever want to talk. If you happen to be battling with depression, feel free to message me and talk to me. It doesn’t have to be about helping you overcome depression, we can discuss books and TV shows.

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Please don’t joke about being depressed or make comments like “You look depressed, what’s up?” if you’re simply talking about mundane things. Sadness and depression aren’t the same things. Try and understand what so many people around you might be going through, depression is a silent spectator in our lives and we might help each other fight it off. Take care of yourselves and the people around you.

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Until tomorrow,

Nia Carnelio.

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The Thirtieth: NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo

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

― John Green, Looking for Alaska

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Nia.

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The Twenty-Ninth: On Qualities and People

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

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

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

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

Antonyms: disloyalty, treachery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Nia.

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The Twenty-Eighth: Alaska and the Great Perhaps

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

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Nia.

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

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

Harry Potter Questionnaire

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

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

Slytherin. Or Ravenclaw. But mostly Slytherin.

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

Sadly, nope.

3. What did you think of the Deathly Hallows?

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

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

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

5. Whose death was the saddest? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, my friend lent me her copy.

10. When did you first become a Potter fan? 

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

Favorites:

Female character? 

Hermione Granger.

Male character? 

Fred Weasley.

Professor?

Prof. Minerva McGonagall.

Death Eater?

Draco Malfoy. Yummy.

Magical creature?

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

Spell?

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

Quote?

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

Movie?

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.

Hogwarts House?

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

Place?

The Room of Requirement.

Weasley?

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

Couple?

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

Gryffindor or Slytherin?

Slytherin.

Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff?

Huffepuff.

Fred or George?

No comments.

Ginny or Luna?

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

Butterbeer or Firewhiskey?

Firewhiskey.

Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade?

Diagon Alley.

Books or Movies?

Books all the way!

Half Blood Prince or Deathly Hallows?

Deathly Hallows.

Philosopher’s Stone or Chamber of Secrets?

Philosopher’s Stone.

Snape or Slughorn:

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

Lupin or Sirius?

Sirius. And, I’m not answering why.

Harry/Ginny or Harry/Hermione?

Harry-Hermione. Harmony is an amazing pairing.

Lavender Brown or Parvati Patil?

Parvati Patil.

Seamus Finnigan or Dean Thomas?

Dean Thomas. He remained loyal throughout.

Kreacher or Dobby?

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

Muggleborn or Pureblood?

Pureblood.

Dan or Rupert?

Dan.

Bellatrix or Narcissa?

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

Voldemort or Tom Riddle?

Riddle.

Hedwig or Crookshanks?

Crookshanks.

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

Until next time,

Nia.

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