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.

Until the next time,

Nia Carnelio.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

On Love and Laughter

I’ve never been one for relationships. Okay, that may have been because I’ve never had the opportunity for them. The only boys I knew are fictional and / or already dating. So Valentine’s Day wasn’t a big deal for me. It was another day I could make fun of couples being cheesy or way too much in love – but all that was before I started dating someone myself. And so, in honour of it being Valentine’s Week and all that jazz, I’m going to share the very hilarious (in retrospect, of course) tale of how my better half and I met for the first time.

The day began earlier than usual, because today was different. After four months of blood, sweat and tears, the fest was finally here. People hadn’t slept the night before – there were stages being built, banners being hung, final touches being put on the biggest thing we’d done in our lives. And amidst it all I stood, watching all the seniors move around and bark last-minute orders at their volunteers. I was a mere volunteer back then, part of a department with far too many other people for me to be anything significant. And I stood there, watching the quad being prepped for the big day and wondered how something so important could be done in a few hours.

I had been assigned to a particular event, the details of which evade me now. But I remember standing guard outside that room, waiting for the participants to show up, wondering if I would have to execute the ‘polite-but-stern’ phone call routine my senior had taught me to do when the participant would be late or beg for extra time or try to mess with the rules. I was prepared for anything and everything the participating colleges would throw my way, armed with my file of papers and a perfectly good pen, ready to crush this event (in the good way).

And then he turned up.

With nothing more than a huge smirk on his face, he sauntered into the classroom where the event was to be held, only to be greeted by my frown. “Unless you’re a participant or a CL or ACL, you aren’t allowed to be here.” I told him curtly, his grin unnerving me more than the spider crawling up the wall to my left.

He gave me another cocky smile and then said, “I am the CL of X college (hello, some privacy please) and I’m only here to inform you that my contingent will be a little late for this event. That’s all.” I grumbled in annoyance, ready to state the rules about lateness or absence and disqualification but before I could, he just sat down on the desk, hopping up like a monkey. He wouldn’t go away when I asked him to, instead he kept asking me inane questions about my department, what subjects I studied despite my continuous repetitions of ‘I’m not allowed to discuss that’. I wasn’t allowed the room, nor did I have a way of contacting my senior to come deal with this buffoon, so I endured on – distracting myself from his incessant chatter with score-sheets and watching the aforementioned spider spin a web.

He wasn’t deterred and even through my annoyance, I was impressed by his nonchalant behaviour and his infectious grin. Clearly, he was shirking a lot of his duties but he kept boasting about how his ACLs had things under control. Finally though, another volunteer came to relieve me seeing as the other participants had arrived and it was time for me to switch to another duty.

He parted ways a little before my replacement turned up and somewhere I was sorry to see him go, he had given me some company as I waited all by myself in that empty classroom.

I did some recon on him later in the day, there was still tomorrow to deal with of course. And I couldn’t get distracted by him again. Turns out, he actually was the CL (I thought he may have been bluffing). And I was prepared should he show himself again and try to talk my ear off.

He did show up the next day, but only after I’d called him – hold on to your hats, I had to call him for event purposes. His contingent hadn’t shown up and I needed to call the CLs to get an update on their status. Here’s how the call went:

“Hello, this is (my name) from X department from (my college’s fest). We just wanted to check in and know if your college contingent would be showing up for X event happening today.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m on my way, there’s a lot of crowd here today. You guys-” It was at this point that I saw him, talking on the phone to me, maybe thirty feet away, standing next to a pillar, without a care in the world. “-really need to have better crowd control.” He kept speaking, but I was seeing red by this time.

“I see, maybe you’d be able to make your way quicker if you actually moved and stopped leaning against a pillar, but this is just a personal opinion.” I mumbled and saw his head whip left and right as he looked around trying to pinpoint where I was. By then of course, I’d gritted my teeth and walked back into the classroom where the network was non-existent at best.

There were a few more incidents of course, but the last notable one was when he decided to take an impromptu trip to the washroom just before his contingent was to perform. Granted, the performance of the college before them had just started and they had about fifteen minutes, he didn’t have to go to the opposite end of the campus. Which meant I had to follow him – I stood like a guard waiting for him outside the Boys Washroom, wondering if I should’ve chosen the other department- one where I didn’t have to grit my teeth and smile and nod along everything the visiting colleges said and be oh-so polite.

Long story short, he was an idiot (he prefers charming and flirty) and I was just doing my job. Remember that time I’d called him to ask about his contingent? The sneaky little git (I say this with the most affection I can muster) used that to contact me and ask me out for coffee and maybe a bookstore browsing session, I couldn’t refuse the latter.

And so his college won a bunch of events at our college fest, including the one I was working for, and we both started seeing each other, except now we both chatter on and on, it’s always been my speciality too, to talk someone’s ear off.

So, that’s it. That’s our love story. We’ll probably be watching Deadpool to celebrate this Sunday, what are your plans?

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THIS POST IS FICTIONALISED AND I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.

Unfortunately, the only type of boyfriend I have is fictional. This story is a very, very distorted version of a jumble of stories my friends have told me and something I’ve made up – perks of being a writer.

Incidentally, this day marks three whole years of this blog. Can you believe it? I was nearly sixteen and single when I started this blog and as I write this, I’m nearly nineteen and still very much single. So clearly, other than my book collection, nothing else has really changed.

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Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

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

 

The Reacher and The Settler

Hey guys,

I’ve come to you from the great beyond – far away where continuous exams continue to torture the hell out of me. I know I said I’d write more often, and I did start a couple posts only to get distracted by something else – oops.

Anyway, today’s post is about this cool phenomenon / thing? called The Reacher and The Settler. A little bit of context – for my social psychology class we have to do a small study on Interpersonal Attraction between 40 or so couples. And in between all the questionnaires and the analysis, we’ve been looking up stuff for our paper. And one of things I came across was the Reacher and the Settler bit among two people. I remembered first hearing about it  on How I Met Your Mother [yeah, whoever says sitcoms don’t teach you stuff]. So, in every relationship, there is one person who is reaching for the other who is clearly above their standard and the other person is settling for someone who may be below their standards. They say any relationship where both the people believe they are reaching is a happy one – there isn’t a cause for disappointment or a feeling of inferiority.

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The reason for this post and this little spiel of knowledge is that off late, I’ve been feeling like I’m trying way too hard in every relationship that I’m part of. Friends, family, group members, acquaintances – heck sometimes, I think I’m way too nice to the people I meet on the train. There was a time in my life I believed I was actually mean and evil and all that (probably because I identified so much with the glorified Slytherin traits) but then realized that I’m actually a fairly decent – my only fault being gossipy and maybe making mean comments when people can’t hear me. But I can live with that.

Of course, there’s the whole bit where people I know and am friends with amazingly ignore me as though I’m invisible and never take something I say seriously (whether it’s the word limit for a particular assignment or an outpouring of feelings). I dunno, it’s not a wonderful feeling when the friends you trust make you feel as though you’re supremely unreliable. And then there’s the added feeling of reaching when I practically drop everything and help them out with essays or papers or whatever else they need my Lit major to do for them and then stand there empty handed when I need them for something. The thing is, this isn’t a one time thing – it happens several times from plans being cancelled and being uninformed about said cancellation, to friends not reciprocating your help or the effort you put into making their birthdays fun.

I’m not complaining, nor is this a passive-aggressive way of getting back at them (none and I repeat, NONE of my friends read my blog, so this is all safe) but this is me making an observation at how much we take people for granted. And I wonder then if I should stop trying. Because every time I’m the one who initiates the chat, messages the other one, or makes sure things are happening in the timeline we need them to. But then there was that tumblr post I read and cannot seem to find now that said, that even though people may not reciprocate your love and efforts, someone has to bow down in the relationship, otherwise there wouldn’t be any left, would they?

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So, I think it’s fine that my friends and family take me for granted, that they decide that I am not capable enough or reliable enough or that I’m trying too hard, because someone has to. And I think I’m okay knowing the truth, because I’m learning this brilliant way of life of not giving a fuck about what other people say or think about me. I may get mad, furiously pissed from time to time, but all I need to remember is someone has to be the Reacher, and if it’s gotta be me, it’s gotta be me. Who knows, I may be settling for them at the end of the way.

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This doesn’t mean that I’m keeping toxic people in my life and letting them take me for a ride. I’m rationing my effort, show me that you’re worth it and I will put in the effort that keeps our friendship/relationship alive, otherwise hasta la vista to you.

In other happier news, January is over and while the first week was absolute hell for me simply because of the little things – missing trains, losing stuff, not getting an email in time, too many exams to deal with etc, etc. and I thought I’d write about it but it’s been a busy month. I’m hoping to slowly get back to writing, especially since 7th Feb will set me free from these continuous tests for a month, until the semester end exams come to kill me. On the reading side, I’ve read about 11 books and I’ve read several of these books for my various literature assignments. Also, if you haven’t, you need to pick up Fight Club. What a book.

That’s all for today, the next time something bad or sad happens, I’ll be sure to write about it, that seems to be my theme anyway.

Hope you have a great day / night.

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

 

The One with the Recap: 2015 Edition

Hey guys,

2015’s pretty much done, there’s a little over six hours left for this year to end and for 2016 to finally begin. And here’s presenting what happened in 2015:

January:

Oh god, back in January I was still a First Year student and that seems like a lifetime ago. I was interning for Campus Diaries back in January, writing an article a week for them on their site. I really liked that internship; I did meet a lot of like-minded folks and learned so many things. Turns out, writing isn’t all that easy as it’s chalked out to be.

My brother turned ten in Jan and received his first Holy Communion too. I can’t believe how quickly time passes, it’s been ten years since I put a little chain around a little potato-looking infant which he promptly chucked away and I just can’t fathom how quickly kids grow (I am aware I sound like an old woman here).

February:

I finally turned eighteen in February, legally able to drive (still have to apply for a licence and learn to drive), vote (still haven’t) & get married (gotta find a guy for that first) in India. I got done with my internship with Campus Diaries and also had a brief stint interning at Tinkle (pretty much my entire childhood) before I fell ill and couldn’t continue. I spent both Valentine’s Day and my birthday at a doctor’s clinic. What a swell time to be alive.

But nothing tops that bloody white & gold dress that broke the internet on my birthday.

March:

The end of the second semester which means, end sem exams. I should say I didn’t do anything in March because I was diligently studying but that’s not true. I did nothing but watch TV shows, I remember binge-watching all of Modern Family and that was one of the shows to make me laugh so much. I also attended the YouTube FanFest with Salonie who is Vee from Whoa! And I did have a lot of fun. Comic Con in 2014 and YouTube FanFest in 2015, who knew I was becoming a social butterfly.

At the end of March I unveiled a second blog: Summer 2015 where I started daily posts for every day of my Summer Holidays and tried to chronicle all that happened in two months. You can find the older posts here, seeing as the blog has been renamed and restyled as a book blog: Books, Feels & Tears. There are also some really cool guest posts from the Fridays With Friends feature that I had running for two months.

April:

Oh, April was whirlwind of events and stuff happening. I applied for Raga Organizer-In-Charge and didn’t make it. I applied for Blog Organizer, Raga and made it. Two years in the making and I’d finally made it up the hierarchy. Most of my friends also made it to Organizers of other departments. I think I started Game of Thrones in April and watched the entire series in time for the last few episodes. And I decided I wouldn’t be reading the books because I can’t handle both the show and the books, my time is too precious.

And in April I also read this amazing book called Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and that kinda opened my eyes. I finally decided to embrace my love for Young Adult books and that I was done reading the stuff I really didn’t want to. So classics weren’t my cup of tea, big deal. And so I actively began reading again and I’m so happy with that decision. I also won about twenty books from YASH back in April so that made me plenty happy too.

May:

May was full of trains-college-Malhar-blog work. I met lots of new people, discovered how to actually work in a team (even if you hate one/all/no one). I was named People’s Author by Campus Diaries and I won a Kindle from them (which came in June but the certificate and the stipend turned up in May) and I probably had the busiest holidays I’ve had in a long time.

At this time, I also made an effort to talk/tweet more and get to know more people on Twitter and I may have become very attached to the site. And Supernatural Season 10 ended in May and I began the long, agonising Hellatus with every other Wayward Son & Daughter.

June:

And with the advent of June, I was officially in Second Year with only two years more before my undergraduate studies would end. And I started posting on The Malhar Blog and you should really go read some of the articles, I really like them (I might be biased) and you can really see how a college fest takes places and all the fun stuff I’m too lazy to sell to you right now. My very first Kindle arrived in June, and it’s a good thing it was a prize because I doubt I would’ve ever spent that much money and bought it. I was perfectly happy with reading stuff on the Kindle app and on my phone and my TBR was starting to resemble a huge pile anyway.*laughs at the mountain of books that form her TBR now*So June ended with my first volunteer interviews and group discussions and meeting more people than ever.

July:

The first day of July was all swell and dandy, it’s the second day that fell apart. I dislocated my knee in the college canteen and had a spectacular fall that ended with my tears and my yells as I was carted off on a stretcher through the full foyer of people. You can read all about my misery here. I’m still known as the girl who fell in the foyer in college. Sigh.

I spent July on a bed, most of it anyway. My mom came down on emergency leave to take care of lame ol’ me. But I did meet my friend who came down from the States on her summer break. She mercifully stayed with me in the hospital – true friendship right there. AND she got the books I’d shipped to her because people don’t ship internationally. In the meanwhile, I missed my first set of CIAs necessitating a slew of retests that were hell.

Also, the Raga video came out in July. You can see me act as the completely insane Potterhead I am here. I’m the one with the weird hair and one whose face you can’t see.

August:

I slowly crawled back to college in August, just in time for CIA II and Malhar prep. There were fifteen days to go and here I was blogging away to glory (on the Malhar Blog, as was my job). And then finally, five months of blood, lots of sweat and some tears, Malhar 2015 was here. It might be overrated, it might not be what you like, but it was a heck lot of fun for me. I wrote a post I’m rather proud of (seeing I usually hate my own stuff) right here which you are welcome to read.

September:

September saw me work through CIA I with everyday exams designed by Satan himself. Other than that, I finally finished the revamp and the Book Blog was now live. But of course, I kept procrastinating and posting very sporadically. Another thing that happened in September was me getting rejected for Ithaka Public Relations Head and volunteer. Simultaneously, I got accepted to be one of the Editors of the Ithaka journal. So life really does open doors when it shuts another. You’ll remember the Journal back from 2014 when I wrote a research paper and got published. So now I got to edit papers like mine in the Diwali holidays or what’s commonly known as the semester break.

October:

October was a blur of end semester exams that I absolutely did not study for and wonderfully mucked up.  I was in Doha mid-way through the month to spend the vacations with my mum and I spent most of it editing papers and watching shows and reading. This was also the month I kind of went close the depressed side of me but stopped. Other than that, I spent my October reading James and Lily and Scorpius and Rose fanfiction through the night.

November:

November started with the second semester of my second year and I am not ready to say goodbye to my college yet. I know June 2017 sounds far off, but it really isn’t. This was the first November I failed at completing pretty much anything productive. I didn’t attempt NaNoWriMo, and I stopped writing for NaBloPoMo after seven posts. This was when it hit me I hadn’t written much all year, nothing original or mine. I had written across places but they weren’t really mine. I think I’d edited more than I’d written all year by the time November arrived.

December:

I was coerced into attending Traditional Day with my friends and I did go and I also had a lot of fun. I attended a sleepover and that was the extent of my social activities in December. I’ve had a brilliant reading month though; I think I’ve gone through fourteen books. Although it looks like I won’t finish I’ll Meet You There in time for 2015’s end.

As I write this, there’s little time for me to go for mass and then have a sleepover with two of my best friends. 2015’s been a good year (although for some reason December seemed really long to me).  For all the books, movies and shows I went through this year you can read this Tumblr post: 2015 Books, Shows & Movies Recap.

Here’s hoping 2016 is amazing and is better than 2015. My bullet journal is in the works, I don’t feel a reading slump coming on, I’ll be ringing in the year with my friends so it’s shaping up to be a good one already.

This year has been full of ups and downs and loads of stuff that I won. I’ll be opening the Jar of Happiness in some time and going through the stuff that made me happy this year and I invite you to maintain a jar like that for 2016.

See you in 2016.

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Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

Goals For 2016 – Life, Blog & Beyond

Hello from the other side,

Okay, that was the first and last time I’m ever doing that. It’s been ages, I know. I promised to write thirty posts during November and I didn’t. It’s been a sad year for my writing all around, and I really don’t like that. So this post is simply me putting my plans for my blogs, my writing and my reading in 2016 out there. And since this is public, hopefully you guys will hold me to it and I will be motivated enough to stick to these resolutions and goals.

What have I been doing?

Literally nothing. I have been wasting away my time and energy doing absolutely nothing. I’ve been feeling very low from the past couple months, probably from mid-October and I think I’m standing on the edges of depression but books usually keep me from falling into that abyss. I’ve been reading a lot – I’ve hit seventy-five books that I’ve read this year and I really liked a lot of them. That’s probably the only silver lining. The last show I binge watched was Doctor Who, seasons 4-6 back in October-November. I’ve been losing interest in things that I’ve loved and writing has suffered the most in my opinion. Every year I write something, a short story, start a novel (probably don’t finish it) but I write. I blog – I intern with places that I can write for, but this year I haven’t done much of anything related to writing. But I hope to change that in 2016. There’ll be a 2015 Year Recap up on my blog on the 31st (thanks to a scheduled post) since in a drastic change of plans; I’ve got people AKA three of my friends coming over for a sleepover. That’s probably the most social I’ve been all year.

I’m excited for that post because I’ve got a little jar full of chits that I put in throughout the year (okay, till October) of happy things that took place in my life  – this includes things I accomplished, things I loved, books I read, movies, shows basically, anything that made me happy. It’s nearly full and I’m really interested in seeing how 2015 was for me.

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Isn’t that the truth?

Okay, enough with the chit-chat – getting on to my 2016 goals and resolutions:

Life:

  • To be more happy. I want to finally feel at home with my own skin, deal with my issues of feeling out of place (there’s even a word for this: Monachopsis) and all that stuff I mentioned in my post here.

Academic:

  • To finally make the proper efforts, to not do things last minute, especially when I know I can do much, much better.
  • To actually make an effort to study the right way and to enjoy what I’m reading and go in with an open mind while reading books I am unfamiliar with for University papers.

Blog:

(The one that’s the important for this post)

  • Post frequently, obviously. Something with either once a week or once in ten days. I aim to have at least three to five posts every month. And I am going to attempt thirty days – thirty blog posts again in 2016 and I’m going to be much more organized with my topics and blog posts this time around.
  • I’m hoping to write more personal stuff – tell you guys about the things, the people, the shows, etc. that I like and why I like them. I’m opening the book of my life and letting you guys read some of it.
  • I hope to write stories or post snippets of my work in progress and hopefully, I’ll be able to do much more in the future.

Writing:

  • Write something, from a sentence to a chapter every week. This should help me complete one full length novel in 2016. Hell, I know people who finished 50K worth of writing in four days.
  • Attempt Camp NaNoWriMo in April and NaNoWriMo in November and hit a respectable amount if not complete the goal of 50K words.
  • ACTUALLY WRITE LETTERS ON TIME TO MY PEN-FRIEND. (I’M SORRY, OVIYA).

(P.S. Anyone who wants to become my pen-friend, if only through email or something, you’re welcome to do so!)

Extra-Curricular Activities in College:

  • Try and participate in more fests. I only did one this year, Malhar. I don’t think being editor of the Ithaka journal really counts as doing a fest).
  • Meet more people, venture out of my comfort zone of like four people that I like and speak to in college.

Reading:

  • So while 2015’s goal was 65 books and I’ve hit 75 already, I hope to read a similar number. So keeping in mind that this is my last year at college and I need to graduate with a good GPA for outside-world purposes, I’m keeping it at 50 books.
  • Also, I plan on reading all 54 books of the Animorphs series. A book a week or so. And the companion novels. I’d read them as a pre-teen and loved them. I want to read them all, they were my first foray into Science Fiction and I want to go back to my roots and complete the series.
  • I want to read at least three classics, three steampunk novels, five LGBTQIA novels, two retellings, four series and three chicklit / adult / romance novels throughout this year.
  • I also hope to demolish a sizeable chunk of my backlist books TBR, as well the physical books I own and have borrowed from my friends.
  • And finally, I hope to enjoy reading as much as I’ve done this year.

Book Blog:

  • Post twice every week or review books as soon as I’ve finished them.
  • Post ARC reviews two weeks after publication dates so as to garner more interest for the author and the book.
  • Take an interest in reading and commenting back on others’ blogs and keeping in touch with them.

Other:

  • Being more open about sharing my work with people, if only to be critiqued.
  • Watching more shows, movies and keeping myself open to Bollywood and other movies, which should be good since I’m studying Cinema this semester.
  • Learn some skill. Anything. Something new.
  • I do not want another fall midway through the year.
  • Be social – attend stuff like prom, parties (here’s hoping I get invited) and generally be nice be stupid people.

Maybe get a boyfriend? *laughs until she cries*

Nope – realistic goals only.

So there you have it. These are all of my 2016 goals; hopefully I’ll be able to keep these in mind. I’m also working on being more organized; I’m creating a bullet journal and using it. I’ll be keeping the Jar of Happy Things as I’ve named it now for 2016 as well. Here’s hoping that 2016 will be a fuller one, with happiness and everything else mixed in.

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Living my life by this quote.

[In the event you want to follow my book blog Books, Feels and Tears, feel free to do so. There’ll be a post going up tomorrow with details of the Reading Challenges I’ve joined, the book blogging goals I have for 2016 and general stuff for the New Year.]

Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.

 

 

 

 

 

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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