A Potterhead, Always…..

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I read this post by Ravenclawsam and I realized that it’s sort of true that Harry Potter has been pushed to the background recently, even when I don’t want it to be that way. I mean, earlier it used to be HP this and HP that, read about it on the net, watch movies, read my most favourite chapters. Recently, I am doing the same thing about Sherlock, but that’s besides the point. 

I talk so much about Sherlock that my Mum finally asked me if I was over Harry Potter! Obviously I told her that I could NEVER be over HP, how could I be? Harry Potter is something that is ALWAYS going to be there, it just cannot be replaced. So I have assured myself that I have not forgotten Harry at all. I was assured of this because of an absolutely random thing really. In one of the lectures in college we were talking about 14th century English literature and how writers needed royal patronage to be successful and all that. The professor was talking about royal ‘decrees’ that were taken out and I was sitting there and grinning like an idiot because all I could think of was the absolutely unnecessary and stupid Educational Decrees that Umbridge keeps releasing in Book 5. I was actually imagining Filch hanging those decrees high up on the wall and Umbridge standing there all in pink with a smirk and then obviously THE EPIC, Fred and George’s fireworks. 

So you get my point? Harry Potter is most definitely not going anywhere. No other book in the world has given me what Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling have. It’s magic… 

 

                                                                                      

Summer Memories….

It has been a long and fun weekend, which is why I couldn’t post before. This weekend has made me reminisce a lot. It has made me think of the good, old days (makes me feel old!!). The days are not so old but they are a part of my amazing childhood. The nineties!! Summer holidays in the nineties were great fun. 

It all started when my cousin came to stay at my place this weekend. We were talking about our favourite movies and two of our most favourite movies are Dil To Pagal Hai (DTPH) and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ). We were talking about how long it had been since we had watched either, and guess what? I switched on the T.V. and there was DTPH!! The great thing was that the movie had just started. So, obviously, we watched the whole movie. It was so amazing especially because it felt like old times. It had been so long since we had sat together and watched a movie. When I was in school I used to go to my aunt’s place during the vacations and all of us cousins had loads of fun. We don’t really have summer vacations any longer. 

Our favourite past time was, ofcourse, eating. My aunt used to make all sorts of dishes and we ate a lot. Even my mom made all kinds of special food in the vacations. When my cousins visited we went to the beach, played in the water and at the end of it, ate chaat, sev puri, paani puri, bhel!!! When we were at home we watched movies or listened to songs on audio cassettes. My sister has a whole drawer-full of audio cassettes at home, but sadly no one listens to them anymore. Another thing about those cassettes was that many of them had the lyrics of all the songs on their covers. I’ve learnt so many songs from those covers…

The movies! We were all crazy about Shah Rukh Khan, absolutely crazy!! We watched his movies, sang and danced to his songs. Recently at the Mirchi Music Awards, SRK was given the Face of Romantic Songs award and as a kind of salute upcoming singers and older singers sang many of his most famous romantic songs. It was such an experience! Ten or fifteen minutes of songs and a whole two decades of memories! Wow!! SRK was THE romantic hero. When he stood with his hands spread out in that classic pose of his, so many girls dreamed of running into his arms.

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I just remembered something else! When I went to Switzerland a couple of years back, we went to Jungfraujoch and I was sooo happy to see this…

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A cut-out of Kajol and Shah Rukh in DDLJ

                                                                      

You cannot think of the nineties in India and especially in Bollywood without thinking of Shah Rukh. In recent years that craze has diminished a lot, but the performance at the awards reminded me why I liked him so much before.

Summer holidays (and school days too) meant watching cartoons. The old Cartoon Network, not the new short form one. I miss the old one so much–Scooby Doo, Johnny Bravo, Tom and Jerry, Captain Planet, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Loony Tunes, The Road Runner Show, Dexter, The Power Puff Girls, Flintstones and Pokemon!!! Am I missing anything? Those were the days…(sigh..)

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This is the only Cartoon Network for me

                                                             

Summer evenings were spent in playing badminton, going to parks. And swings!! I love swings.It was so irritating to read ‘Children above 12 years not allowed on swing’ in later years. I have never understood why people have to categorize something as awesome as swings into age groups. Anyway.

As I was saying, I remembered a lot of my childhood in the past weekend. And it felt great. People say we should always move forward towards the future. But, I think, whatever we know and whoever we are is because of our past. We don’t have to sit wallowing in or regretting our past but once in a while if we look back at our happy memories I think they will give us the strength to go forward. Because they remind us that we were happy once and we can be happy again.

So be happy and have an awesome week ahead. Until the next post.

Aside

It is my dream to see the entire world. I want to travel everywhere, I love travelling. It has been almost a year now since I travelled anywhere and it makes me feel so fidgety somehow. My family is one of those who travel somewhere every year, it is a kind of habit. For the last couple of months I have been feeling extremely bored. That happens to everyone, we feel the need to escape from our life sometimes. Obviously, since I cannot travel every single time I feel like this, I read. That’s the next best thing. Nothing can take your mind off unwanted things like reading does. It allows me to escape into the world of the characters, their lives, their stories, their struggles. It makes you forget about your own worries. 

Reading has its own place in my life but travelling is something else. I thought earlier that by travelling I meant actually travelling outside my city or country. But recently I have come to realise that that is not what it means at all (though I have to agree that getting outside the city for a few days is fantastic).  I saw this advertisement two days back for a new building project. It asked ‘When was the last time you felt peaceful?’, ‘When was the last time you saw open roads and spaces?’, ‘When was the last time you breathed freely?’ etc. etc.Now they meant to say that their building project would provide nice open spaces, lawns and all that right here in Mumbai, but I thought of something entirely different. I was actually feeling all that-peaceful on open roads and breathing deep and easy while in a cab on the streets of my city. That actually did surprise me a little.

It surprised me because I had never thought of feeling as if I was travelling while in the city. For me travelling has always meant packing bags and catching a train or plane to go to a never before seen city or country and seeing new sights and hearing different languages, seeing new people. But that wasn’t what I was doing at all. I was on my way home late at night, in a cab in Mumbai!

I travel everyday. I travel in the local trains to get to my university and I travel in rickshaws and taxis. But I have never considered that to be travel because it is something that I do everyday, its somehow monotonous. I travel on the same stretch of railway tracks everyday, see the same things outside the window, the same suffocating crowd. The only difference is whether I have got a place to sit or whether I have to stand the entire way. There is nothing new. But it was something different altogether, that one ride in the taxi.

Since it was late the roads were pretty empty, there was no choking, congested traffic like there is in the day time. Mumbai is something else at night. Its beautiful. The cab was travelling at a pretty good speed since there was no traffic. The best thing was that I could roll down the windows. I like comfortable travelling, air-conditioned car and all that because in the city it is necessary. During the day there is so much noise due to the honking of cars, the pollution, the slow-moving traffic. But at night, there was a cool breeze blowing and we could roll down the windows. That feeling of the wind whipping through your hair, the glimpse of the sea and the beach between buildings and the beautiful sea-link!! I don’t have enough words to explain.

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I always knew my city was beautiful. There are definitely many problems, when aren’t there? But that one ride has made me feel so much better about my city and about travelling too. There is so much I haven’t seen in the world, so many places I want to visit. But it is just as true that there is nothing like your home-city, anywhere you go. It has made me realise that it is only that feeling that is important, whether you are travelling within your city or outside it.

I felt so wonderful that I had to write about it. I can’t think of a title, any suggestions?

The Longest Words in Literature

Interesting Literature

What’s the longest ever word in literature? The longest word in the English language (leaving literature to one side for a moment) is a staggering 189,819 letters long. Or rather, it is and it isn’t.

The chemical formula for the protein otherwise known as titin runs to 189,819 letters, but whether this constitutes a ‘word’ is a moot point. Science abounds in long formulae like this, but are such formations really ‘words’? We have to turn to literature to find the bona fide, non-specialist tonguebusters.

Welsh signThere is a word for those who are scared of long words: hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. There is also a word for somebody who is fond of using long words: sesquipedalian. It stems from the Latin for ‘a foot and a half’, and was first used to denote someone who is given to longwordiness in Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1853 work Cranford (or at least this is the earliest instance the

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Writing About Writing

How do writers write?

You might say its a pretty stupid question. Considering how everyone knows they probably use a pen and paper, computer or laptop or phone or something. But really, no kidding. How do they do it? We had a lit fest in our university last week and we heard from many playwrights, poets and novelists. All of them spoke about different genres in literature and also about different languages. In my country we have rich literatures in all regional languages too. But I have always wondered how people go about writing something like a novel or a play. 

A visiting author was asked about it in an interview at the fest. She said that it isn’t something that is fixed. Obviously. Everyone has a different way of looking at things and so everyone will write differently, will have a different creative process. She said that the first thing one should do when one thinks of writing is the reason behind it. Do you think you should write because you want to become famous? Earn money? Because you think its the ‘in’ thing to do? Or because you feel that there is something that you want to write about, you feel, really feel, that what you want to say has not been said before and that you think the only way you can get your point across is through writing about it? If that’s the reason then go ahead and write. I attended an interview of an Indian novelist named Jerry Pinto who said that people criticize an author’s work and say that ‘I don’t agree with you’ or ‘You could’ve written it in this way’ or something like that. But he said that his answer to such questions and comments is ‘Why don’t you write about it?’ He said that if you have something you really want to say there’s nothing better than writing about it. It is one medium which can reach people world over in one go.

Then she said that once you have decided your reason, your motivation to write, don’t stop and think about it or ask people what they think. Just go ahead and write. Whatever it may be, however it may be. Once you have written something, try to read it objectively, like an outsider would. See if you like it then. If you do you’re good to go.

Okay so when I heard all this I thought it sounded kind of easy. But I know it isn’t really. I have been writing this blog for seven months now and I know its not easy. I mean its not that I don’t enjoy it. Now people might say that if you enjoy doing something then it shouldn’t be difficult to do. But its not always true, is it? Atleast I don’t think it is. Writing takes effort, especially if it has to be good writing. I definitely don’t think I am anywhere near ‘good’ yet, but its ok. I am going to take efforts and I am hoping that I will eventually get there. 

Let’s get back to the question I started with. How do writers write? I have heard many writers say that they take from their society. They develop things and incidents they see in their surroundings to make a beautiful poem or a play or a novel. I understand that, I can see it, I can read it. But its not just developing something that is already present. You need an imagination, you need a way with words. Why is it that not everybody who writes becomes a writer? There is that talent one needs alongwith an imagination. An amazing sense of observation, another thing that a writer needs. I don’t know why I am listing out these things, like qualifications for a course or something. But anyway. 

I have always thought how amazing J.K.Rowling is. She thought up an entirely new world. I mean, I find it difficult sometimes to put into words things that are already present around me. But to make an entirely new world and base an insanely successful story on it! That need skills and talent. Her writing makes the wizarding world seem so real. I have been waiting for my Hogwarts letter for ages, but I know it isn’t going to come. But I can’t help thinking what if Hogwarts or wizards do exist. I just can’t see them because I am, sadly, a Muggle because Muggles don’t see wizards even when they are right in front of their noses! Very unobservant, Muggles. This is dangerously close to becoming an HP post again….

Let’s talk about some other author. I have read a couple of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, Jeffery Archer, John Grisham and many many many more. These are some which take stories based in the real world. Even romantic stories by,say, Julia Quinn or Meg Cabot books (okay so these have a lot I can write on but now is not the time, I am just giving examples here). There are so many people who write biographies and autobiographies. An imaginary world is not necessary for an interesting read. Books are written about all sorts of things and people read everything. 

If what is written is good it is read. So that’s my whole point. So many good books, poets and plays, so many good writers. How do they do it???

It would be so totally awesome if I could write a good book! But there has to be a good reason for writing and there has to be something interesting to write. Till then there’s my blog. I have written an entire post about how people write! That’s kind of funny, isn’t it? 

Until the next post then.