The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton


Twelve men gather in secret to discuss a series of mysterious, unexplained events that link their fates together like beads on a string. The gathering is disturbed, however, by a thirteenth man who has recently stepped onto New Zealand soil; aiming, like everyone else, to get a fair share in the gold rush. As these thirteen men start to narrate their experiences, a story emerges. A story which is intriguing and opium-laced and scandalous, involving broken dreams, a murder, a disappearance and an accumulation of a series of unfortunate events, some induced and others serendipitous. 

A reclusive man (hermit?) has been murdered, a large unaccounted treasure is found, a young and wealthy entrepreneur has disappeared and a whore has attempted to commit suicide.

The Man Booker Prize Winner 2013 forces you to take it seriously when you’re past the first page. Eight hundred-odd pages thick, it is quite an intricate ride with an arcane approach towards chapter titles and pleasant descriptions (the first paragraph itself, for example, talks about frock coats, tailcoats, Norfolk jackets with buttons of horn, yellow moleskin, cambric, twill...). Miss Catton does justice to her nineteenth century New Zealand where gold dust made dreams just as fast as it destroyed them, women were few and far between and the slightest excitement caught the imagination of the whole town. Miss Catton has also done her research because she has painted a colorful, detailed picture when it comes to relationships, individuals and places.

The Luminaries is many things but the true nature of its plot is rather slow to unravel. The first half of the book is a narrative of the stories of the twelve-plus-one men who have gathered to discuss the scope of the clandestine incidents they have witnessed or borne. These stories are revealed in a gripping manner and clutch you as you start to understand the many threads that are woven into the narratives. This first half of The Luminaries was its most interesting part, which is good in a way I suppose, because afterwards you cannot stop yourself from reading forward.

After the men have discussed their stories, we still do not have enough to piece together the mysteries and so the crowd disperses but over the course of the next few months, the mystery plays out and the missing pieces are found. That’s quite all right but the problem is the way the writing of a book with such tremendous scope seems to appear partly disjointed and the psyches of the characters do not get the justice they deserve.

The undue emphasis given to drawing parallels with the patterns of the night sky makes little sense, as do the astrological references. It seems to me as though the patterns of the sky are as absurd a notion for Miss Catton to depend upon as is the seance and afterlife communication the book so easily mocks.

However, I am only forced to offer this judgment because the first half of the book raised my expectations sky-high but the last one-fifth of it in particular, brought then crashing down. In order to maintain the ‘pattern’, the narration seemed to suffer and the characters are not as fully explored, as their potential earlier seems to suggest. It is, infact, weird how jarred the story becomes towards the end. Like the waning moon, subsequent sections of the book turn half in size, until the very last section is one page thin and contains more description than action.

But I would still recommend it because it is a page-turner, despite its downside. At its heart, The Luminaries is a love story and the rest of the mystery revolves around that aspect.

Read for beautiful descriptions, colorful characters. Read for Hokitika, for undisclosed relationships and hidden agendas. Read for secret letters and misplaced bullets. Read for opium-laced incidents and a well-described seance. Read for cunning characters and innocent ones and reasonable ones and boisterous ones and selfish ones and self-destructive ones and unfailingly optimistic ones.

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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison


The great American dream is colored by a tragedy that staggers somewhere on a line between irony and horror- the story of untold heroes, cursed by history and invisible to mankind. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man explores the depths to which men- all men, but the African Americans in particular- are always standing on the cusps of  helpless revolutions, useful but never indispensable. 

Trained to be a Yes Man and forced to know his place in society from the very start, our nameless narrator is plunged into a journey where he believes the sky to be the limit. Freed from the past of his ancestors but never quite forgiven, entrenched in dreams as sweet and naive as youth can make it, he believes himself capable of ambitious realizations and is blind towards the deep discrimination that are omnipresent in his world. He follows through with resourcefulness, doing the best he can under the circumstances that he faces but it does not take him quite as long to figure out that something isn’t quite right. He is plunged headfirst into a world where the powerful have mysterious objectives and he is only putty in the hands of them. Through a few blunt encounters, he picks up on what his place is supposed to be. He picks up on it but doesn’t quite accept it.

Some of the most gripping early experiences in his life are outlined through an encounter with an incestuous dark man who is not supposed to be seen by the ‘benefactors’ of the black people and an electrocution experiment where our narrator is a helpless, inactive human body with nothing to do. As his disillusions wash away, he becomes aware of the disparities he has been blind to. And then comes a change.

From being a thankful college student to an aimless wanderer in New York city, he traverses through the length and breadth of a colored life but collides with a parallel world of the Brotherhood; an organization which recognizes his usefulness (and just that). Here he discovers a motive- but he is truly blinded by his belief in the power of truth and equality. He sees his brothers as men and women who are all to be his equals, irrespective of color. Despite his theoretical convictions, he is still dauntingly subversive though not totally aware of it. It takes an awakening- sudden, cruel and nocturnal- to make him see that he is indeed unnecessary, irreplaceable and cumulatively invisible.

My feelings while reading this book were mixed- at points I was horrified, at other points somewhat bored. During certain political passages, I was trying my hardest to find the underlying meaning in phrases that seemed foreign only because I have never known or studied the African American history except as a vague, distant tapestry for certain novels and movies. So I had to grapple with the reality at places. I dogeared a few pages in a quest to discover hidden meanings. I suppose I scratched the surface at places but I am still learning. Overall, this book was a quest in terms of the topics it touched. I tried to pick up what I can. The gloomy picture dissolves as soon as I open my eyes but I found a strange relationship with the protagonist.

He was invisible.

And who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, he speaks for all of us?

Borderline Bottlenecked Boredom


I found their skewed objectivity quite appealing. It was that time of the day when the streets were full of people returning after a full day of work. I saw literature in that. In the fine print of the greasy overalls and large work shoes of factory employees, the immaculately manicured hands and uniformly tanned skins of beautiful women whose hair were tied in high ponytails or buns as a sign of their officious and compulsive ambition, in the corporate ties and shiny shoes but sagging faces of the brilliant young gentleman. I loved every bit of it.

There was a cafe. Now, I wouldn’t want to tell you its name because my anonymity is too dear to me. Dearer than the thirst for fame. So I’m holding back on that little piece of information, if you will. Anyway, there was a cafe. It was quite disastrous too. The coffee was too weak, the music was the kind of international jazz that has stray notes of pop in it because that’s apparently what the young ‘uns listen to nowadays. The chairs were dilapidated and the floor was covered with a tattered brown carpet through which you could see the broken wooden paneling down under. But I went there because it was shady.

You wouldn’t know it. There are two things that are most important to a devil’s advocate writer like me. The first is anonymity and the second is shadiness. I deal with them both on a daily basis. I hunt out inspiration like others do money. I smell it and then I drink it. But I need shady place. And this place is the shadiest of ’em all. I notice I’ve used shady a lot. But its not time to go back to school yet. My anonymity protects me. I think you see what I mean to say now.

Anyway this shady cafe is on a busy junction but the delicious thing about it is that it’s kind of invisible. That’s because it’s got these huge and phony showrooms on either sides. The kinds that look like glittering palaces where only the really rich dare step. You might want to walk into one but I promise you, half an hour later when you walk out, you’ll feel small. Small and damaged because these places suck your identity and give you the kind of perception that makes you want to kill yourself.

But this keeps my little cafe safe, thank heavens. I wouldn’t walk into such showrooms myself but I’ve seen the expressions of people who’ve come out of there. They mask their horror and shabbiness and their poverty but their hearts are broken. Most poor folk don’t bother with my shady cafe when they’re done but then there are those who do. Oh sweet Lord, how I love those people.

Let me tell you about this couple for instance. I was in my regular spot, drinking the disgusting piss that seems to pass as coffee in this shady establishment, when they walked in and sat on the table next to mine. As you might have guessed if you have any sense about you, my table is right next to the giant glass window. It’s never clean but that just serves as an advantage. Everything I see outside is somewhat opaque but they can’t see me either.

So this couple came and sat on the only other window table in this cramped little slice of heaven. My brain starts to fizzle immediately. The details of their manners! The woman looks like a borderline prostitute. Dark lipstick is smudged untidily across her thin lips and her hair is in a net. She’s wearing something maroon but her body is quite deliciously curved. She looks like the kind of person who starves herself for days on end, eating nothing but lima beans for a month or two until every single bit of her oozing flesh is tucked right in. She has tacky rings on her fingers and her brown eyes look dazed. Drunk, maybe. I feel disgusted but that’s what I love. Disgust keeps me going. Without it I’d be like a car without engines. Wouldn’t know how to function.

I tear my eyes off her to observe her beau. Beau would be too fancy a word. I settle for philandering husband. He has on a dirty brown coat with sued patches and his checked shirt is tucked too high up into trousers that look like they haven’t been washed for days. His hands are greasy and his nails have dirt under them but his woman is leaning forward in animation. Whatever they see in each other, they seem quite aptly paired. I fall back and call over the waiter.

‘Yessir?’  he says in a bored voice. He knows me too well and he knows I know him too well too. We’re all peas of a pod in here.

‘I’ll have another one of these. And get me some bacon,’ I say, pointing towards my empty cup.

‘Yessir’ and he’s off.

I turn back to my couple and get ready to listen in.

Apparently the woman is chugging on about something. The man seems somewhat bored but also aware of his helplessness. Yup.  He’s a definite philanderer. I smile. I love this breed. So much of dissatisfaction. So much of manhood. I make a bet to myself that his wife’s fat from childbirth, wrinkling from age and sickened by menopause. I win.

‘So it’s not about ya’ wife or ya’ kids or any of that,’ the woman is saying, quite loudly. Her voice is hoarse but it still has a husky sexiness about it. ‘I mean, I knew from the start that ya’ family comes first. Bu’ I just thought I knew you better. Y’know?’

The man grunted. I was surprised he bothered at all because she didn’t seem concerned with him at all and anything he would say would only spur her on. Trust me, I know pal, I told him in my head.

‘Bu’ what’s done’s done and now there’s no need’t regret. Y’know? If you’ll jus’ gimme them bucks, I’d leave you in jiffy. I know a clean place where they do this kinda stuff, no questions asked.’

Now the man leaned forward. ‘But you can’t do this to me!’ he said and I smiled. I could see what was happening here. ‘You know I don’t have any money! I’m in debt for heaven’s sake. I thought you knew the odds of somethin’ like this happening. I didn’t! I never expected this and I can’t raise a child now anyway. You’ll have to think of somethin’ else!’

The woman rose, her voice was shaking now and she was trembling. She clasped her hands together and I noticed how long and pointed her nails were. And they were painted deep green but it was the kind of green that shimmered ostensibly under the slightest light.

‘Thinka somethin’ else, he says!’ she exclaimed in anguish. Her eyes were starting to well up and her smoky eye makeup was getting smudged. ‘I’ll tell ya how to thinka somethin’ else, you bloody beast!’

She reached into an ugly grey purse and I leaned further in my seat, excited.

Just at that moment, my waiter returned with weak coffee and steaming, greasy bacon. He settled the plate in front of me with the same vacancy in his movements that utterly exhibited his boredom. By the time he cleared up my old cup and took off, the moment was gone. The woman was putting something back into her purse triumphantly and her guy was white as a sheet.

‘Take tha’, you unfaithful piece’a shit,’ she crooned. I cringed but I could take a guess about the contents of her purse. The man was leaning backwards now, defeated.

‘But I have no money,’ he repeated as though that ought to settle everything. There was a pause while they both looked at each other; at an impasse.

Then his shoulders lifted slightly. He seemed to have thought of something. His eyes sparkled a little but the woman couldn’t see it. ‘Fine.’ He said and his voice had a decisive edge to it. ‘We’ll do this tomorrow. But gimme a day to sort things out. I’ll come with you. Is that okay?’

I reached out for my coffee and took a sip, feeling my stomach turn.
The woman seemed happier now.
I phased out and picked up a spoon.
There seemed to be reconciliation underway at their table.
I dug a fork into my greasy bacon and swallowed the damn thing right up. It tasted like vomit and I felt my bile rising. I swallowed back and called the waiter over to settle my bill. My couple seemed to be doing the same.

They got up and left a minute before me. I took my time but I was done for the day. Then I got up and put on my overcoat. By the time I was out in the street, the couple was turning a bend, way ahead of me. They were holding hands. I turned the other way and walked off.

It was in the papers a week later. Her photo.  Found murdered under a street lamp on a quiet street. I took a double take as I studied her features in the photograph they had fished out for the media. It said there that she was a theatre actress. An actress who slept with the director, perhaps?

But I’ve told you I love anonymity and shadiness. This was my print and the rest was up to the police. I don’t know why they never figured out who did the killing. Maybe that man was way to clever for them. He hadn’t seemed like a murderer to me, his features had been tired and burdened with age. But desperation makes people do weird things, right? Who knows. Certainly not me. Nor is it my job to know. I’ve done my duty and this story is out there now. You decide.

Gonzo journalism? Erm.You be the judge. Thanks for reading.

The Twisted Sherlock Finale


*Spoiler alert*

Sherlock’s The Last Vow unabashedly threw a montage of creatively threaded together plot twists comprising of comedy and tragedy, mixed with intense drama and suspense and of course, the absolute and utter madness of Sherlock Holmes.

(Picture: Hartswood Films / BBC)

In short, the complete package. And nothing less was to be expected from the grande finale of the much awaited Sherlock. If the first two episodes were fleeting disappointments, then this one surely made up for it in the eyes of whoever was complaining (not me!). Sherlock’s finale presented us with quite a few interesting details when it comes to our central characters. It delivered through the high points and low ones (as if it could have low points! Phew!) and what we are left with is an uncompromising portrait of Holmes, better defined than ever before.

Sherlock likes to provide its viewers with Jack-in-the-box moments and usually we’re taken for a ride with John Watson. But our flawed central character took quite a hitting this time too, when questions of betrayal nagged the space he usually keeps reserved for his nemeses. Because this episode revolved around Holmes fulfilling the promises he made to his best pal on his wedding day. The Sherlock-Watson friendship grew into something three dimensional because Sherlock was tugged in different directions but he managed to reel it all back in for that one person.

The highest point of this episode of course, was watching Sherlock’s mind palace in all its chaotic splendor when he got shot. We got to experience hands on, the richly physical interpretation of every single turmoil in Sherlock’s head as he figures out how to survive. Stop me if I am wrong, but I have never seen anything this gripping on television before.

It was spectacular, the way everything Sherlock ever does was beautifully compressed into a sequence where he has to figure out the best ways to survive and we explore the nooks and crannies of his head while he’s at it. The crooning, glorified nothingness of Moriarty’s existence as a light-sucking bug inside Sherlock, the little things Sherlock loved as a boy and the insecurities his brother built inside him, even the incessant chatter of Molly Harper’s broken little heart. It was all packed into the moments Sherlock took to explore his options in order to save himself and Watson. And John Watson forever continues to be the one guiding factor that justifies his moves.

But our fallen angel goes steps further. From a junkie detective to the world’s best crime solver and back and forth again, Sherlock’s life swings in jeopardy in the hands of  Charles Augustus Magnussen- a worthy foe because when you see his secret and learn how he guards it, you understand why he deserves to beat Sherlock, even if Sherlock does get to have the last say. Magnussen is delicious as an opponent- slimy, uncharacteristically eccentric and bursting with self-importance. He is a bit of a disappointment when it’s all said and done because somehow, you felt, more was to be expected from him. But the way he presents himself as a villain and the things he does create an aura of disgusted awe around him which made him repulsive but interesting at the same time.

Mycroft’s role continues to miff me slightly. The way in which I enjoy Molly’s continual revival is the same way that makes me roll my eyes at the Mycroft of it all. He is unnecessary in many places, though you could justify his presence in Sherlock’s brain by talking about the impact he’s had on his little brother. And since I absolutely adore every instance where we delve into Sherlock’s mind, I’ll let that pass.

Mary Watson came through to- the wife who wasn’t, her secret personality will come to cast a shadow across further episodes (and let’s raise a glass and hope it does), because her past agendas continue to be fuzzy. But in the same breath we traveled with John Watson from love to hate and back again, because love is just blind when it comes to a hopeless like Watson (he loves Holmes, for goodness’ sake). Some brilliant scenes between the two were quite the highlight of the episode.

But the build up to the ultimate Sherlock climax was the real wonder- I was thinking, oh no, not again. Are we supposed to spend another year (or two) believing Sherlock walked off to his own death, only to find out he didn’t quite? Even when Lestrade’s face rolled in and the screens started to go fuzzy, I wasn’t quite expecting the unexpected- because, seriously, how many twists can one episode have?

But when the phone call got through to Sherlock a mere two minutes after he’d been in air, calling him back (because nobody can solve crimes like he does and broadcasts can never be posthumous so that justifies the impulsive act of banishing your brother’s banishment), I was watching wide-eyed as Jim Moriarty flashed back on screen.

Did you miss me?

Notes: 1) I simply adore Watson. I feel everything he feels and not only does Martin Freeman do a most delightful job, every single John Watson quirk makes me happy!

2) I cannot help but overlook any errors that crept through the Sherlock episodes. I mean, try as I might, Sherlock seems to deliver nothing less than perfection for me. Maybe because very few T.V. series seem to have this much innovation in every frame. Sometimes you spot something that makes you go, oh that’s such a gimmick, and I try to put my critic-spectacles on but even if I go over Sherlock with a fine-tooth comb,  I’d end up pushing the lint back under the table. As of now, Sherlock’s minor errors do not seem even slightly close to suicidal and as long as these twists keep coming, I’m all for it! Our favorite villain is back, let the fireworks go crazy!

Pools of Disconnect


I saw this and realized there’s a poem here somewhere. So here goes nothing!

Singing under the pink sky
You think the world is your Golden Globe
But there’s days you’re here, there’s days you’re there
And none of it feels even remotely like home

You buried your tears under the smoke somewhere
Thought standing out could make you stand in
But you buried your hopes in an empty parking lot
And belonged to nothing while you were raring to go

You whispered and the streets lit up
But those days now seem so far behind
When even those purposeless sounds induced loving touches
Now there’s nothing but wild fire

There are places you thought you’d find love
And you entered shady deals with the same sad smile
Thinking, this time the mask could come of
But all you found were wardrobes full of elaborate get-ups

You strung fancy words in a row and thought it was sexy
And wore diamonds and pearls and laughed out gaily
You thought mascara and powder was touch-up enough
And happiness was just a word in the dictionary

You mingled and drank and danced and sang
You thought transience was utter nonsense meant to be abusing
You picked your way through a line of disgruntled men
Found reasons to fill your heart with stones

And when it all ended you stood back alone
You saw the smoke coil through the morning light
It was biting cold but nobody to share with
You became the outsider of your own life.

A Wedding and an (Almost) Funeral. And the Heart of Holmes


After a arguably imperfect debut, Sherlock’s season three produced a heart-warming episode meant to touch the chords of the hearts of its fandom and bring tears to eyes, perhaps- but also keep up with the tradition of providing a mystery that the world would need Sherlock Holmes to solve.

The most recent Sherlock episodes have, I believe, concentrated more on delivering things with a flourish, rather than focusing on the story. Keeping up with that trend, The Sign of Three was largely concentrated at the wedding of the Watsons. Given that Mary Watson is a delicately new addition to our Sherlock team, it is interesting to note how she has been incorporated into the hearts of the audience. They’ve had to make her charming and delightful, in addition to having her keep up with Holmes (which, as we very well know, very few people can). Let’s face it, a Mary Watson who was at constant loggerheads with Sherlock and kept trying to hold the good doctor back for herself, would be a real pain in the a-r-s-e.

I don’t quite know what to report about the shift this season seems to have taken from a story-line that pulled its audiences largely through theatrical suspense, to one where wit and sarcasm leave us entertained but the cases are less baffling and more dependent on good screenplay, rather than head-scratching plot twists. Perhaps the shift does not seem as radically mortifying as it could be expected to, because Benedict Cumberbatch manages to effortlessly slide from role to role, bringing Sherlock to life like no one ever could (sorry, Robert Downey Jr.).

I keep wondering again and again, what makes this Sherlock better (or worse) than the original paper version. It’s quite clear to me, at least as far as this season is concerned, that Sherlock has been converted into someone who is charmingly intellectual, yes, but also likable! I don’t think Sherlock Holmes is ever meant to have a heart- but this one does. It’s partly adorable but also a little disconcerting to see Sherlock express his heart’s love and anguish as he battles with all things Watson. It’s a little painful to watch because you’re starting to find Sherlock human and this humanness is making you like him, but on the inside you know Sherlock Holmes isn’t supposed to be anything less than invincible when it comes to emotions. So it’s quite strange, the way Sherlock delivers a socially acceptable best man’s speech at the Watson wedding- at least until he starts to anticipate that things might get heated up.

I quite enjoy travelling inside Sherlock’s head, though, and the writers always try to find innovative ways to make that happen. There are dynamics around Sherlock which he might not understand but when it comes to solving crimes, he reconstructs the most stunning visions inside his head. This Inception-ish vision building sustains the Holmes phenomena, adding to the power he brings to each case, no matter what you might think of the story after it’s been stripped clear of all these special effects.

For my part, I enjoyed the mystery bits of The Sign of Three. It was interesting to watch Sherlock solve it; anything different might not have been quite as effective. A tiny appearance by Irene Adler simply added a delicious sense of retrospection. No rendition has ever tried to justify Holmes this deeply and whether it all adds up in a positive direction or a negative one, remains to be seen.

I think we need to give Sherlock a break. High expectations do pull down the end result and Sherlock has been on a pedestal for two years, simply because it waited too long to make a comeback. A swifter return would have led to fewer disappointments but I don’t personally think any less of the show.

This episode did make me feel a little emotional towards Holmes (which was obviously the intention, in addition to making us want to quote the Holmes-Watson friendship as the best the world has ever seen). In short, the magic quite worked on me and as Sherlock Holmes donned his cape and made to leave off in the end, I felt his brooding silence.

Until the next, and final time then.

 

 

Warning: Loading Inspiration. Do Not Disturb.


Warning Two: Another blog post about writing blog posts!

I was just thinking, ten seconds ago as I waited for my wonderful, super-fast college internet connection to load today’s daily post (just to check back and see, you know, whether there’s something there that would spark off my creativity ‘coz this head ain’t working today), how different it is- writing from home and writing from college.

I guess it’s because when I am at home I have so much time for self-discovery and self-introspection (whatever that might mean. Even if it doesn’t sound like something young people should need to do a lot!), that my imagination seems to turn juicier and flow quicker. In college however, my head starts to spin with the burden of confronting so many different equations with a multitude of different vibes that the part of me that sparks off the creative cells in my head seems to coagulate. Or go into hibernation, or something!

There’s this thing I have which I’ll call the creative itch though I’m not quite sure if that is the term which will be valid in this context. It’s like, there’s times when you want to write and you know exactly what needs to go on your blank white screen. Then there’s the time when the creative itch is so strong that you’ve simply got no option but to do something about it. The catch in the second case, however, is that you got nothing! Try as you might, it’s like you might as well be brain dead because your head just refuses to fly about or generate a penny’s worth of thoughts. I hate when that happens.

When somebody disturbs me in the middle of a writing frenzy- I  hate that too

Maybe this is a writer thing. Maybe it’s like, you’ve got to be a little eccentric when you’re writing. And in that respect, I kind of am.

I wouldn’t mind being disturbed in the middle of a novel unless I’m two pages away from finding out who killed Roger Ackroyd. But if I’m at any stage in any sort of writing, it can be a real blood boiler if you’re disturbed. Unless it’s to eat. I’m always ready to eat. Yeah, call me if you have food!

So. I guess, when it comes to writing, this is how it goes:

It’s not always about having to prove yourself. It’s not always about having to come up with something fabulous because people believe you can write and you want them to keep believing that.

It’s about satisfying that urge inside you, the urge that makes you want to write.

I don’t know where that comes from. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what it takes. But I know that that urge comes to me in the strangest places, in the strangest hours. Sometimes minutes before I drift to sleep, I come up with a few ideas for stories but the next morning they’re gone. I know, I know. Keep a pen and notebook handy by your bedside. But do you know how inconvenient that is? Because you have to get up to switch on the light anyway (sorry, table lamps- is that still a thing?). Yeah we have phones now but using my phone just doesn’t seem to work somehow. Anyway, inspiration doesn’t usually hit me in the bathroom, no. But sometimes it hits me when I am staring at the computer screen, undisturbed for a while.

So to sum up:

  • I need peace and quiet.
  • If you’re talking to me and I’m not listening, it means I’ve sadly drifted off to irretrievable dreamland but if you start yelling things like, ‘Pizza! Chocolate chip cookies! Sandwiches!’ at me, I’ll come back to you. I promise.
  • Bathrooms are only good for singing. But concerts can spark off teenage romance novels over brooding, tall guitarists who’re vampires after the show.

I think that answers the question.

Random Thoughts about Blogging and Writing-NEWNESS.


Blogging regular stuff?

It used to be so much easier for me to pour everything out on paper (or computer screen). Even when it was out there on the big scary Internet. It seems like it’s getting harder! Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

I dabbled with impersonal posts for a while but sometimes you crave the journal entry. Since I’ve put my blog out on Facebook now, I know people who know me will    definitely   are going to might end up here by some curious stroke of fate which’ll make them go, ‘Oh this sounds interesting, let’s give it a read, shall we?’ if they accidentally press the link connecting their Newsfeed to my blog post. And then, ka-boom!

Walking down the street, trying to be all nonchalance?  No way, they might have read your blog and now they know what you’re thinking. Oh haha.

Still, as a writer I’ve got to get used to that. But I can’t get this thought out of my head. It’s a line from a song, actually.

It feels like I’m naked in front of a crowd and these words are my diary screaming out loud.

Yup. That happens. How would you know? It does. Anna Nalick is singing it right here.

So people are telling me to take the big step and just let the unknown gobble me up.

‘Be a writer!’, they urge me.

And suddenly:

How, exactly, do you be a writer?

Hey. I’m not Robert Frost.

But that was then and this is now.

Can I even dare?

My conditioning kicks in.

But why shouldn’t I work at something that could be fun?

Can I dream of doing something where I get paid to write?

I was penning a story recently. And when I was done, I realized I was very cold and it was midnight and I hadn’t noticed.

Isn’t that what any work you do should feel like?

Probably.

Possibly.

Maybe.

Definitely?

So will I follow my heart and do something new? With time, maybe.

“Welcome Back, Mr. Holmes”


*May contain spoilers*

Everyone’s favorite modern Sherlock rendition is finally back in an episode that threaded its way through the hearts of a long-pining Sher-locked fandom.

I am not sure what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have thought. I really feel for him at times, turning in his grave, the poor chap. It is a well-known fact that Sir Doyle couldn’t bear his own creation: Sherlock made him but he also killed him. When you see Sherlock in action, especially in Benedict Cumberbatch’s curly-haired, brown-eyed, suave silhouette, it ain’t hard to figure out why.

Two years in the making and Sherlock comes back cocky and as  inhumane as always but less self-assured than he used to be. The pressure has been on to bring him back with a bang. Let’s face it. Anything less than what was delivered would have been a disappointment. Sherlock had to be inept at understanding the impact his absence had on our favorite sidekick. ‘I grieved for you, I cried over you’, the Watson-Sherlock bond comes out stronger than ever in this episode and Sherlock says sorry a bunch of times. Coming from him, it has to be a guilt-trap or a way to extract something. But as far as Watson was concerned, Sherlock’s apology was heartfelt. His apology to Molly, on the other hand, took me by surprise. I didn’t expect warm, crinkly eyes, a pat on her shoulder, a kiss! Sherlock’s inconsistency in regards to the few people who seem to matter to him is what makes him appealing. He’s not an angel, he admitted in the masterpiece that was  The Reichenbach Fall, but he is on the side of the angels. And perhaps, this season his love or whatever it is that such geniuses feel, is going to be put to test because everyone now knows that Sherlock does hurt every time Watson gives him that condescending, I-didn’t-expect-anything-less-awful-than-this-from-you look.

But Sherlock is simultaneously laughing at his fandom too. . The question on everyone’s mind, every time Sherlock comes back from the dead, is how did he do it. Ask Sir Doyle, he was the one who had to revive the beloved character he was glad to get rid of in the middle of an infuriated readership which wanted Sherlock back, at all costs.

How indeed, did Sherlock pull this one off? Did he do a Felix Baumgartner from the top of that building? Did he have a bungee cord attached to him? Did he land on a gigantic airbag and simply bounce off to Neverland? Did he kiss Molly afterwards? Was he making out with Moriarty all this time and thought this would be the best way to get rid of Watson’s obsessive-compulsive need to be around him? Don’t laugh ‘coz Sherlock’s writers sure did; these are all theories they put into this episode.

So what really happened? The truth is, we may never know. Sherlock has played his cards close to his chest and this secret is going to remain a secret. For people who can’t get closure without knowing, it’s going to be hard to accept that their favorite hero is back but that sure as hell doesn’t mean his best-kept secret has to be out as well.

Through the streets of London and the brain-map of Holmes’ intellect, we’re on quite a ride again. Congratulations, fandom. A new villian is on-board and he better be far more lethal than Moriarty.

PS: Oh please never show us that awful moustache, ever again Mr. Freeman.

Start of 2014 and My Sixty-Second Resolutions


I thought staring and staring and staring at my laptop screen would fill me up with ideas like a sock on the morning of Christmas. But no, things don’t quite work that way.

I had  a brilliant idea for a last post for 2013. And a brilliant idea for a first post for 2014. I was working on it. I really had things figured out.  I was going to research, for crying out loud.

Well, it looks like things didn’t quite work out, did they? So I thought I’d explore some options last night and write a wrapping up post for the year that was 2013. But then my brothers poured in and we got to talking and we had to order pizza and we had to do it right then, before the rush started. So we hurriedly placed the order and spent an hour watching a lame movie about a guy who falls in love with a girl but is killed by a rich dude who is another contender for her affections. This guy then comes back to protect her, after being reborn as a common housefly. Ugh. Thankfully we switched to a better movie at 9 pm but this was still one of my good new year eves of the past six years. How pathetic am I?

Well, what I did like was that it was just an intimate family affair. That felt very, very good to me. More on this later (see resolution 5)

Then today, I thought of this gem (Ahem! Shameless plug alert) :

Oh and then I decided to follow it up with some new year resolutions. Of course.

So this post wasn’t meant to be about that but I’m going to be a bit of a hypocrite and do it anyway:

(1) Will try to make this year be more about doing and less about thinking. Am I going to succeed at this? I doubt it. I recently re-discovered (and I say re-discovered because I had known but forgotten) that this no-action-multiple-thoughts syndrome is heredity. I get it from my family. It runs through us, in our very blood and bones. In our DNA, self-replicating and reproducing. Yup. So my resolution is going to be to try and beat the genes. I don’t really think it’s possible to do this but I shouldn’t say that. That’s just more thinking. Never mind.

(2) Never compromise on my writing. Writing isn’t a chore, it isn’t a waste of time. It’s a hobby, yeah but one day I wish to see it sustain me. That’s my big dream and has been since before I could write. I mean, I didn’t even know it then but it was right there when I was trying to write my first ‘A’. I was meant to be a writer. Maybe not a brilliant, successful, published bestseller (though who knows). Maybe just a regular old blogger or a columnist. Maybe none of these at all. Maybe all of them. Anyway, the point is I want to keep writing. I don’t want things to get in the way of that. I have let it happen before but resolve to never make that mistake again. Writing is often an erratic spoilsport (ask anyone about the writer’s block- everyone knows). But I didn’t just buy huge black-rimmed glasses last week for no reason at all. I want to be able to deserve having them pushed up against my nose, blocking the borders of my vision.

(3) Keeping in the spirit of writing, I resolve to venture further along the dark paths of my brain and pull out stuff- I don’t know what yet. I don’t know how good it’s going to get. Or how bad. But I’ll figure that out as I go. At least while I’m blogging, I’m going to keep providing heart-felt content, in one way or the other. Anyone can tell you how the only true work is the kind of work you give your heart too. We’ve all heard this mantra. We all know it. We’ve just got to see it and be it.

(4) And to be an adventurous venturing writer, I’ll need to back myself up with good content. After all, you are what you read. So. I’m going to resolve to read better content. I try to keep a check on what I’m reading but I’ll have to work on that. The world of words is a big labyrinth and I need to keep my GPS turned on at all times.

(5) And I discovered, I’m going to let it be okay to be just me. I’m a book lover. I cannot bear loud music; I can’t go to concerts unless they’re the acoustic kind. If you’d call me up at midnight and say, ‘So this the plan. Get your ass out here, we’re going to have a marathon through the city streets, like, right now’, I’ll say no. And I swear this wouldn’t have much to do with the fact that as an Indian girl, I cannot really afford to be seen in the streets after 10 pm. And though this has never happened to me, hey, I might have friends cool enough to have a midnight marathon!

Just kidding, I’m going to let it be okay to think of things that aren’t conventionally cool, working out as cool for me. Glasses, heavy books, lazy afternoons in the sun, staying indoors on a Friday night  and yes, a New Year’s eve with my brothers, watching a funny movie on TV.

Vintage books, Pinterest

I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to keep up with any of these resolutions, though I think I can stick to some of these. And like always, the 1st of January wasn’t quite a smooth ride for me. My new years always start on slightly sour notes. But that I am used to.

It wouldn’t be the first of January,
without teary-eyed me

Oh I’m gonna let it be cool to cry as well. And to write lame poetry too. Roger that.

Happy New Year to anyone who read this 🙂

And to people I love who don’t care to stop by my blog too. I still love you if I love you. 😛