THE THING ABOUT BOOKS

Here’s another post in “The Thing About” series.

I’m making it sound more and more like a book series, aren’t I? Harry Potter series, The Twilight series . . . ugh, I need to be less condescending. But trust me, it has nothing to do with conceit. It’s just something I figured would make things easier for future reference since I’d be writing quite a few under the title, with different topics.

Okay, now I’m blathering like a gormless eejit because I have slept only for three hours and maybe I’m also showing off the new words I’ve learnt from my crazy binge-reading session, which is yet to end. Sleep-deprivation makes me mentally unbalanced although reading negates the side effect.

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Because I’d be reading

I’ve been reading ever since I have received my first fairy-tale book as a birthday present when I was four.

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But never had I been bitten by the reading bug as hard as now because I devoured three books in a week and still counting. That might not be a lot for some but it is for me given that I have countless chores to attend and a handful of duties to fulfill on a daily basis. Kindle has become my constant companion and Goodreads has ended up being the only “social medium” I’m active on; apart from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Oh boy!

Please don’t hate me, I just can’t keep my hands off the big “F” icon and I’m still talking about social media before you guys let your minds wander and ponder about what the F could mean.

Anyway, let me get back to the topic.

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Reading elevates me. It takes me to places I can’t go, gives me knowledge I have pined for and lets me escape into a magical world where everything ends on a happy note. Mostly.

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I’m not talking about the novel where the protagonist meets a grisly end and the serial killer goes on his next hunt. No. It messed my brain up for days. I’m referring to the beautiful book in which the maid falls in love with a prince and they live happily ever after; the cop catches the culprit and the prospective victim escapes a horrible fate . . . and lives happily ever after; the married couple resolves their misunderstandings and decides not to divorce each other . . . and live . . . well, you get the drift. Happily ever after is almost like a binding requirement for me because I have seen too many unhappy endings in real life. The story has to come to a reasonable, gratifying conclusion.

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I have been to London, New York, Spain, Rome . . . and even Antarctica when I read the book “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? How you can imagine a whole new universe in your head as you embark on a reading adventure.

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Excuse my cheesiness

The only downside that comes with it is now I want to go to Antarctica for real. It’s a firmly fixed goal of mine—Mission South Pole. Obviously, that has left my family members in an unsettled state especially ever since they have read somewhere that to work in Antarctica, one has to have their appendix removed. Somehow, they missed the keyword “work” and no amount of assurances and evidence to prove their beliefs otherwise would do.

I’ll figure out someway. So, getting to the point, today I want to share the marvelous benefits of reading, besides the ones I have already mentioned above.

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Previously, I used to ruthlessly abandon a book if I found it even remotely boring. But later on, I have developed a habit of finishing what I start no matter how painful the task is. As long as the task is “reading” all right. Now, don’t expect me to try solving the Rubik’s cube or keep scrubbing the toilet till it’s spotless.

There are three possible reasons why I could be reading a particularly insipid book.

  1. I have no choice.
  2. I don’t know that it’s going to be terrible.
  3. I want to see what shot this wretched piece of work over to the top of the bestseller list.

So, whatever the reason might be, I usually end up with a takeaway—a treasure-load of vocabulary, a flash of creativity, an awesome idea for a story and if all else fails, then maybe, I could at least learn how to see a potential hero in the solemn, brooding, lonely, handsome guy with a dark secret, talking to himself in the car by the roadside. Okay, now I’m worried. I should probably call the cops.

Book reading is on the top of every successful individual’s daily routine and there’s a reason for that. The activity stimulates brain cells, thus supplying with a creative edge one needs to make headway. Just mechanically drudging all day would never give us the result we hope for. Success requires a level of effort so as to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. And that effort comes in a simple form of entertainment—books. For those not used to it, the beginning might be uncomfortable but the journey is incredible; and the fruits are invaluable.

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I want to encourage, persuade, urge and even implore my readers to take up the habit of book reading because I believe if there’s anything that’s both entertaining and illuminating then it’s a good book. I don’t want people to miss out on all the fun.

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THE THING ABOUT BLOGGING

Here’s another post in the “The Thing About . . .” series. It is an attempt to inspire and motivate my fellow bloggers and also myself.

The first post is always the hardest. That doesn’t mean you’d overflowing with ideas from the second one. But at least you won’t be afraid. As for me, I had deferred blogging for so long that I forgot it was even on my agenda.

The reason for the holdup was fear and lack of confidence. I was scared that my work might not be appreciated. I was apprehensive about the kind of response or absence of it thereof. I was decidedly doubtful about my cerebral capacity—whether it could produce interesting topics to write about. I’m not sure if I’m really dishing out riveting features right now but at least I’m coming up with distinctive ones each week despite arriving at the sinking juncture of blogger’s block (is that even a thing?) by the weekend.

Blogging gives me a sense of disenthrallment. And also enhances my vocabulary or else a word like “disenthrallment” wouldn’t even occur to me. I get to open up publicly in the comfort of my beloved bed and quilt. There would be no judgements, no analysis. I could be my own self and make my thoughts immortal.

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I don’t consider my blog as some sort of a journal. Trust me, my diaries won’t be half as intelligent or neat but let me differentiate between these two. So, when I fight with my partner, I might write/rant about that specific fight in my journal. But on my blog, I would write about the various issues that cause rifts between couples. Or I write about how one of them could adjust or compromise for the sake of peace. See! Blog and a personal diary are as different as cheese and chalk. But both have the same effect on me—relief that I had poured out the bulk in my mind onto a paper or screen. It also gives me a sense of detachment—that whatever is happening is not just happening to me but the whole world. It makes me realize the universality of the situation, helps me ponder more and then come to terms with it.

The most important aspect of blogging, I’ve realized, is consistency. You gotta keep going no matter what. Again, easier said than done. But hear me out. I know you’ve got a lot on your shoulders. I know you’d be juggling with work, family, cooking, and kids. But if you’ve decided to add a blog to the list then you should be in it for the long haul. If you can’t then don’t do it in the first place.

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For me, it’s virtually impossible to even think of my laptop while I’m in the village. Yet, I’ve never missed out on updating my weekly post because it has become a necessity for me irrespective of the number of readers or followers I have. I treat it more as a responsibility, less as a chore. That is not to say that you have to drop everything even during direst circumstances and go about with your blogging activity. You need to assign priorities and weigh out. We need to finish what we have started.

Blogging need not have to be a lifelong commitment but you should be dedicated enough to carry it through at least for the time period you’ve initially planned to invest.

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In these four months, I’ve learned several things from my blog—perseverance, stability, and diligence. I hope to keep the spirit going and wish my counterparts and new bloggers-to-be all the very best in their endeavours.

Happy writing!

SAYING AYE TO NAY

I heartfully thank you, my dear naysayers. Please keep doing what you’re doing. Add fuel to the fire in me.

Don’t you just looove the kick you get out of doing something that 99 people out of 100 say and strongly believe you can’t?

As for me, I would sell my soul for that high. No, really. But it has to be pretty big. Not something like opening a tightly stuck bottle cap or swatting a housefly with bare hands.

I know, I know, I sound like Jabez Stone from “Shortcut to Happiness”. Relax! I would wet myself on seeing a poster of Satan, let alone selling my soul. But seriously, showing your naysayers what you are capable of is the biggest and best possible achievement, period. It gives immense gratification, the courage to believe in ourselves and confidence that we have chosen the right path.

When anyone divulges their aims and aspirations, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is a word of encouragement, no matter how ridiculous their dreams or fantasies are. Because such seemingly absurd thoughts and visions have compelled Alexander Graham Bell to invent an instrument, on which I’m relying to stay in touch with my loved ones. It’s been called an idiotic contraption that has no more use than a toy. Walt Disney was told that he lacked imagination. Now I can’t imagine the world sans Mickey Mouse.

I run these stories through my mind every time I get demotivated and that’s a lot of times. Choosing a “road less travelled” has its disadvantages. Of course, in the end, the pros outweigh the cons. It’s the unrelenting determination that counts.

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What’s strange and sad is that the people you’ve known for the longest span give you the hardest time. They’re the ones who end up labelling you as a good-for-nothing eccentric fool. And that’s the reason why so many aspirers lose hope when they are just a few kilometers away from their goals. If my own people can’t trust me then who would? Well, you should. YOU should trust yourself. YOU should believe in your potential. YOU should prove to your detractors that a road not taken is not road forbidden.

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Let me recount the phrases I’ve heard during my course of chasing my dreams.

“It’s a waste of time.”

“You don’t have what it takes. You’re just trying to copy your idols. It doesn’t come a long way.”

“Don’t live in dreams. Reality will become harder to face.”

“So, what’s up with your so-called dream (titters)?”

“Look at everyone around you. Settled in jobs and earning in six figures. Be like them.”

Here are my answers to them.

It’s not a waste of time. If I let it go, it’s a waste of my life.

I beg, borrow, steal and will eventually conceive.

I don’t live in dreams. I live in the real world, sweating every second to shape my dreams into existence.

Well, I’m working on it and will achieve it. One day. For sure. Or I’ll die trying but won’t give up.

I’m like me and I’ll be like myself. Because I love myself more than the “successful” people around me.

As thankful as I am for the people who support me, I’m more grateful to the ones who dispirit me. Without them, the spark in me wouldn’t stay ignited; the hope in me wouldn’t multiply uncountably like it’s doing now; and finally, the faith in me wouldn’t camp in every cell of my body filling me with the thrill of future after the trials of present.

I heartfully thank you, my dear naysayers. Please keep doing what you’re doing. Add fuel to the fire in me. Keep breathing life into the statued grails in me. It hurts, yes. But it reaps too. And that’s the outcome I’m focusing on. A mother has to endure excruciating pain in order to bring another life into this world. Can’t I take a few blows for my better future?

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THE THING ABOUT NEVER GIVING UP

This post is going to be the first in “The thing about” series. I’m trying to be inspirational with this series so please bear with me.

Well, here I am prepared to be all preachy about hard work, determination, and faith. And what am I doing right now? Lazing on the couch with the laptop over my chest and a bowl of ice cream over the table while I’m supposed to work out to lose the million pounds I’ve gained in the past few months, and finish the assignment to gain the degree I’ve applied for last year. God, I’m such a klutz.

But, you know what? I have a quality which even I’m envious of sometimes. That doesn’t make sense at all but anyway, that quality is – perseverance. I might put off finishing a task at the moment, I might get sidetracked while doing something important or I might even stop doing what I’m doing, on purpose. But if I say to myself that “I have to do this”, then I WILL do it. No doubt about that. If there’s a deadline, then I’ll meet it. If there isn’t, then I’ll go on till I’m dead.

Here’s the thing about not giving up. So, you want to reach a spot. Getting to that spot is, for you, the most important objective of your life. You walk in that direction. Obviously, the distance between you and the spot gets shorter. But you don’t know that since you don’t have a map. You just know that you need to walk straight till you arrive at the destination.

If you stop midway and throw in the towel, then you would be left hanging there not knowing whether to go back or stay put. WHEN IN DOUBT, ALWAYS GO FORWARD. You could be two steps away from the destination for all we know. And there’s nothing worse than packing it in when you’re so close to winning it all.

When you picture the possible superb outcome of your struggles and hard work, you would challenge life to hand you more in your way because it makes your achievements all the more sweeter.

Which would make you happier? A basket of chocolates gifted to you on your birthday or a piece of paper certifying your win in a quiz competition?

The result of hard work is always, always, always gratifying. Without the hope in my fate and faith in my determination, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. I’ve been working on reaching the “spot” for about nine years now . . . and still counting. But I won’t stop because who knows?pexels-photo.jpg