Forgotten Books

“Hid by the garret’s dust, and lost
Amid the cobwebs wreathed above,
They lie, these volumes that have cost
Such weeks of hope and waste of love.”
– Forgotten books

There are so many ‘over-rated’ books lying in a crossword that can disappoint you and there are ‘under-rated’ books in second-hand bookstores that can do magic for us.

I have experienced this when buying books from a bookstore was a thing and I came across so many gems. Those ‘under-hyped’ books had a unique composition that never failed to make my heart flutter.

I usually ponder upon the thought, that there might be so many geniuses existing around the world right now, who aren’t appreciated and rewarded just because they don’t have a marketing budget! It disappoints me to see genius go unrewarded.

Give a chance to books that are not so well known and which are not much appreciated. Leave one encouraging word for an artist that’s making another inspiring work of a lifetime. That’s all.

I know that some stories may even disappoint you, but to meet that one perfect story you will have to live through many disappointing one’s. It will be worth it.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

After reading a certain number of thriller novels, you start finding every other plot twist expected and cliche. But, coming across this incredibly narrated thriller was certainly astounding experience.

Alicia went into a stumping silence after murdering her husband. Was it grief, guilt or a performance remained a mystery till the end. Theo Faber, a psychotherapist, piqued a strange obsessive interest in helping Alicia. Therefore, to unravel the mystery Theo took a job in the hospital in which Alicia was admitted. Then began a series of curious search for answers.

I loved the fact that the author jumped in action with the first line itself, “Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she murdered her husband.” This line itself is enough to get us intrigued. The narration was simply extraordinary and every chapter leaves us with a page-turning question.

The plot developed so smoothly that you hardly realise that you’re reading words and not watching a movie. He portrayed the characters as enigmatic as possible which doesn’t allow us to form any conclusion.

All the elements of mystery, greek tragedy, psychology and love were perfectly blended. Lastly, the mystery leaves us with image-shaking and belief-shattering experience.

Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide

Yesterday my favourite Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput died. He killed himself. He hanged himself. He was only 35 years old.

I am shaken. The whole country is shaken. Each one is affected. He was successful and doing great in his career as an actor. He was smart. He was an inspirational figure. He could have the life that he wanted. So, we think. He was reserved and lonely. He was alone in his house. He was battling with depression past six months and had been taking anti-depressants.

Rumours and assumptions are floating around as to what could have been the reason for it. I simply can’t fathom the reason why he did what he did? What made him give up on life, give up on himself? He was a dreamer then why?

But, weirdly I understand it. Life can become so hard. I understand what could have pulled him into that darkness. I empathize with him. I understand what made him take that step.

Although he didn’t know me, I still feel like turning back time and telling him ‘you’re stronger than you think’. ‘You’re not alone’. ‘There’s more to life’. ‘Please stay’.

That can’t happen now. But, the one’s who are reading this, I want to say to you,

Be kind to yourself. I know that sometimes you also might get overburdened with your own expectations. You might be scared of unfulfilled potential. You have made a wall around you that’s hard to penetrate. You are not just away from others but also away from yourself.

But, I want to say,

Don’t be so hard on yourself. At the end of the day please forgive yourself. Embrace yourself with all your imperfections. Accept life as it is.

After Sushant’s death maybe we’ll learn a few things.

Maybe tomorrow we will pass a smile to a stranger.

Maybe tomorrow we will be kind to others.

Maybe tomorrow we will not make someone feel less.

Maybe tomorrow we will be more empathetic.

Maybe tomorrow we will be more considerate.

Maybe tomorrow we will be kind to ourselves.

Maybe tomorrow we will not be hard on ourselves.

Maybe tomorrow we will forgive someone

Maybe tomorrow we’ll forgive ourselves.

I’ll miss watching him in movies. I’ll miss his smile. I’ll miss his voice. I’ll miss his simplicity. I’ll miss him. We all will miss him. But maybe, now he must have found his peace.

1984 – George Orwell

Power of words is such that it can create or annihilate anything. If it can create an imaginary reality, then it can destroy the past. If it can feed thoughts then it can kill the mind.

It can strip off a person’s humanity. It can make a person love or un-love. It can kill a person’s heart or it can make a person believe that they don’t have a heart to love.

It can make anyone kill anyone. That’s what George Orwell has warned us in his Masterpiece.
It’s a warning against those who have power and their manipulation.  1984 was written during the time of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. The horror of their torturous ideologies, could have been the future if their totalitarian regime continued to exist.

In his created dystopian land nobody had a free mind but everything belonged to the state. People were no longer loyal to the land but to a party whose sole purpose was to destroy a person’s ability to think.

Innovations and inventions existed only for the purpose of wars. Wars existed only to obstruct progress. There were boundaries only to restrict the spirit of man.

There weren’t real wars or real progress.  Both existed only in the mind to take away from a man his hope and perseverance. To make him believe that there exists only darkness and change is not possible.

Unspeakable horror of this novel has made me ponder upon a lot many questions. I find myself seeking answers for the questions I can’t form yet. Makes me stop and wonder about what the past was and what could have been the future. Should I feel lucky having not to witness such terror of the past or be cautious of something in the latent future?

Reading A Book Isn’t Easy!

People often say reading a book is easy.
Well, obviously they didn’t read fault in our stars and threw the book out of the window after Augustus died.

They obviously didn’t cry when Mariam sacrificed herself in thousand splendid suns.

They obviously didn’t meet Hassan and wept for him.

They didn’t get attached to Allie and Noah’s love story and didn’t have to burn their soul to get over them.

Their heartbeats definitely didn’t slow down on every page of To Kill A Mockingbird

They didn’t have to leave anything behind after closing the magic portal and come out of the wonderland.

What do they know of the efforts it takes to pull out from an alternate life and come in terms with the real-life when we know how beautiful could it be and yet we can’t achieve it.

They are not aware of how tragic it is when we know that there exists a world with magic and hope and yet we can’t be in it.

What do they know about laughing, crying, longing and losing a friend every day?

Life is momentary and they don’t have to feel the pain of not being able to read all the books in this small moment called life?

How many of y’all agree with me? Reading is really important for me. Books are my heart and soul. But the pain it entails in it’s tragedy and then leaving it behind is heart-wrenching. Thus, this is what I feel like. Do you feel the same?

Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Ikigai means ‘a purpose for being’ , ‘a purpose in life’ or ‘the happiness of always being busy’. Seems interesting. All of us are in search for meaning in life, a purpose and something to care about. Some have found it and some are still finding.

This book talks about the same. It has written down stories of a few people belonging to Japan who happen to live very long. It contains their secrets of living a long life.

It’s not much of a secret though. We can live a long and happy life only by leading a healthy and purposeful one.

First rule being happy and that’s the most important of all. We have to choose happiness in every aspect of life and we can do that by following our passion every day. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary or anything. It can be really simple. But, it does not mean that you have to be happy always. There are times when you’ll even feel low and that time you don’t have to deny or intellectualize it, just experience it and let it pass.

Second, a sense of community. Sharing and friendship can make you feel fulfilled. Unfortunately, today’s times aren’t getting any closer to that.

Third, fill your stomach only till 80 percent. Go for a walk, do yoga, exercise and meditate. You don’t need to join a gym for staying healthy.

Fourth, eat nutritious food and don’t drink too much.

Fifth, work till you retire. Ikigai has emphasized on this as work gives a meaning to your life. Find the work that is closely related to your passion. And, every day focus on your Ikigai.

This book has taught a lot more and in detail. It has given me a fresh breath of life.

You’ll be surprised that all these principles are not just followed in Japan but in many parts of the world. In India, there are three spiritual paths i.e. Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga. And, Karma Yoga means ‘Yoga of Action’. It means for a karma yogi, action means prayer wherein, it is a path to reach moksha (spiritual liberation) through work. It is rightful action without being attached to fruits or being manipulated by what the results might be, a dedication to one’s duty, and trying one’s best while being neutral to rewards or outcomes such as success or failure.

Thus, work and focus on your purpose without being attached to the results.

Her Last Letter By Chitrangada Mukherjee

We all try to hold onto the past. And, maybe because, we don’t want to lose who we were. But, we have to. We have to let go of the last, to embrace the sunshine that the future promises.

Her last letter, is one such story of longing, moving on and letting go. Our story depends on the decisions we take now. If today, we decide to be stuck and not take a step forward, we may lose ourselves, forever.

Hence, Meenakshi writes her last letter to her lost love and chooses happiness. In the end, she says, we meet people with whom our journey is for a short while. But that’s how it’s supposed to be. Cherish the experience.

Chitranganda Ma’am’s writing is engaging and like always, I finished it in one go. Her stories make us curious about the character, their life and their decisions. And, the meaning she implies through her stories always are deep and leave a lasting impression on our heart.

21 Kesaris by Kiran Nivran

Our present is shaped by valour and sacrifices of our brave men who laid their lives in defending our country. And their names are not to be forgotten. Hence, I am so attracted towards history; to understand our present situation and also, to feel pride about our ancestors.

21 kesari, is one such account of history that shook the globe and even now, we can hear the roar of the brave Sikhs. Anyone would have flinched by numerical strength of 10000  Afghans, but Sikhs remain undeterred and gave a
brave combat while defending the post of Saragarhi.

Book also, has a detailed narrative of the political scenario which existed then and what circumstances led to the battle.
I only feel pride and honour to belong to a country whose ancestors fought  manificiently and courageously. Somewhere, we are being respected and our image is being held at high esteem, because of the determination and fortitude of brave men in battles and warfare.

Coming to the writing, I am amazed at the flawless and easy-flowing narration. A non-fiction has to be just that to maintain the interest of the readers. I was so engrossed in the book that for a couple of days I wasn’t much online or didn’t even talk to my friends; that’s what a remarkable book does.

Sikhs are known for their exemplary strength and courage. It was an honor to read about them.

Tarikshir By Khayaal Patel

The cover and the title had already intrigued me since it’s publication, so I was elated on getting the opportunity to review it.

What seemingly appeared to be mythological fiction, turned into a blend of various genres like historical fiction, fantasy, and spiritual. The author has instrumentally used a unique plot to teach morality and basic human principles.

Plot is a crossover between two eras, that is, one of epic Ramayana and the other, British era.

Devangarh is in a turmoil with the Britishers closing in to claim the state under their rule while, the sudden death of the King wreaks havoc. To make matters worse, Rudra, the next heir to ascend the throne, learns that Death of his father was not an accident but a murder.

Rudra, while uncovering the truth of his father’s murder also discovers strange secrets which date back to Ramayana.
The secrets that are revealed changes his life forever.

It’s an engrossing read with the plot not being too slow or fast-paced. The literature of the book is commendable. Setting is elaborately described transporting the readers to a different world of fantasy swiftly. The author has done admirable work with the characterisation helping the plot develop effectively.

It’s enjoyable and definitely a page-turner

After All This Is Over

The cars shall start moving again.
Motors of the industry shall roll again.
People shall start running again.
Planes shall fly again.
Trains shall convey again.
But, let the birds fly,
Let the animals walk free, On the planet which
By the way, also belongs to them.
Let the air be pure;
Let the sky be clear;
And, let the silence persist
Around us and within us..