Saturday, April 30, 2011

'Good ol' times'

Yep, good old times - or at least what I can remember of them! Consider this a disclaimer: this incident happened eons ago. And forgive me, but I have the attention span of a squirrel, and the memory of... something that has a despicable memory! So there might be exaggeration involved in my 'narration' to a certain extent thanks to my rusty recollection of this.

It was some school function- Independence or Republic day, I'm not sure, I just remember a lot of flags!- that morning, and my parents had come to pick us up. I was already sitting in the car with my dad, while my mother was still out hunting down my sister. I kept the windows open and my head hanging out like a dog, because our car was, if possible rustier than my memory - it was impossible to stay locked up in that thing! Anyway, there was this butterfly outside- a pretty orange and black one. My dad identified it as a 'Plain Tiger' and went on to tell me about a thing called Batesian mimicry in butterflies. It's a thing, where one butterfly mimics the colours and patterns of a poisonous butterfly to stay safe from predators who mistake as the poisonous one! Who knew butterflies did stuff other than just, you know, flying!? You know what, apparently, we have something similar in our human world: take a look at this! After that incident(probably), I was hooked. Every weekend after that was spent watching, running after(and tripping, a LOT) and capturing(Fine, I never managed to do it myself!) butterflies with my dad!

Like I said though, this happened eons ago. Today, I was out with my mother, and she pointed out one really pretty, small white butterfly fluttering about near us. I spent an hour wondering which one it might be, and I still didn't get it. Then I came home and read a book, did my home work, ate and saw a movie. If it was 'eons' ago, I would have rushed home, took out my 'butterfly watching'(is that a thing?) books and looked it up.

I guess 'eons' is enough time to change someone. And I realize I have changed a lot! But there are some things that are just worth changing back to, don't you think? I think this just might be one of those!!

P.S - Picture courtesy: here! Those weren't the digital camera days, 'eons' ago remember?

Wait a minute...did I say "pretty, small white butterfly"? Way to go, there's actually a butterfly called 'small white' and it kind of fits the description. My memory may not be as bad as I thought! (Oh and by the way, 'eons', though very "American", is my current favourite word!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #5


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • I am almost done with American Gods by Neil Gaiman and I am already recommending it to any person who cares to listen. I won't go on to give a review till I'm done with the book; and in any case most fantasy fans must have already read it. The remnants of the gods of the old world are fading away as people's belief wanes, to be replaced by the new gods of today's world. But they won't give up easy. Beneath the every day troubles of the mortals a real war is taking shape. And Shadow, right after being released from prison, seems to have stumbled his way right into the middle of it.
    I couldn't even put the fascinating book down, till right now, to write this post. Here are my teasers (hardly two sentences, but what the hell):

    "Odin's Wain, they call it. And the Great Bear. Where we come from, we believe that is a, a thing, a, not a god, but like a god, a bad thing, chained up in those stars. If it escapes, it will eat the whole of everything. And there are three sisters who must watch the sky, all the day, all the night. If he escapes, the thing in the stars, the world is over. Pf!, like that."
    _____________________________________________________________________
    "My mom used to say, 'Life isn't fair,' " said Shadow.
    "Of course she did," said Wednesday. "It's one of those things that moms say, right up there with 'If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?'

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Top Ten Tuesday #1

    This is my first time at Top Ten Tuesday, but what better first time than Top Ten Tuesday Rewind!
    Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there will be a new Top Ten list complete with one bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join.
    Top Ten Tuesday Rewind is a chance for you to go back through the archives and chose a past TTT that you want to do or even redo!

    Since it is my first time, re-doing is out of question! I chose: What are your top ten Favourite Book Characters?

    1. Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter by J.K Rowling: It is nearly impossible to choose one Harry Potter character that I love the most. But between Dumbledore and Voldemort, I'd definitely go with Dumbledore! Unless of course, I can say: All of them!!

    2. DEATH from Discworld by Terry Pratchett: The Grim Reaper of the Discworld. I never thought 'Death' could seem so...cute! He is fascinated by humans and loves cats, and isn't cruel - just extremely efficient at his job!!

    3. Lestat de Lioncourt from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice: Two words: Brat Prince. ;)

    4. Julian Carax from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon: The mysterious, little-known writer, Julian Carax is the reason I fell in love with the novel.

    5. Dr. Hannibal Lecter from the Hannibal Trilogy by Thomas Harris: Hannibal the Cannibal, the most fascinatingly intelligent and revoltingly scary character ever.

    6. Marley the Dog from Marley and Me by John Grogan: He is so CUTE! This is the only book that really made me cry!

    7. Professor Van Helsing from Dracula by Bram Stoker: The best vampire hunter in the history of time!!

    8. Anthony Crowley from Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: The demon, serpent to be precise, who tempted Eve in Garden of Eden, and changed his name after the "unfortunate incident"!

    9. Hank Rearden from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: I am not the Ayn Rand-worshiper, that I was for a teenie period, anymore. But she does come up with some pretty great characters!

    10. Sirius Black, Hagrid and the Weasley twins from Harry Potter by J.K Rowling: Sorry, but I think they deserve a special mention!!

    TT #4 The Witching Hour


    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • After reading and falling in love with the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, I wanted to read the Mayfair Witches trilogy. The Witching Hour is the first novel in the series, and while I've just started reading it, I think I'll like it. The novel is a about the family of Mayfair witches and the mysterious Lasher, a spirit that has haunted them for generations. Here's my teaser:


    When he saw the woman lying there with her eyes open, he felt a catch in his throat. Her black hair was brushed out over the stained pillowcase. There was a flush of unfamiliar color in her cheeks.

    Did her lips move?
    "Lasher…" she whispered.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    *Long pause*


    I was sitting quietly at my desk listening to some music when this girl showed up out of nowhere and settled herself next to me. After a while, it became impossible to ignore the face that I could see smiling at me from the corner of my eye. I yanked out my earphones and gave her a polite smile. I found myself involuntarily cringing, fearing what was about to come next. The painful conversation lasted for about five minutes, with only a series of "hmm-s" and "ya-s" contributed by me. After the longest pause in the history of time, the very nice and friendly girl gave me the most withering look she could manage, and left. I returned to my music, after this near daily drill. She really was nice, believe me, that's what I thought too. At the beginning. When she finally finished answering, in excruciating detail, the one question I managed to come up with, however, I wasn't quite sure about that. If only she didn't talk so much...

    Someone asked me yesterday why I never talk. And today, someone asked me if I was scared of them. I plastered a meek smile on my face, and mumbled the usual, "I'm just shy. I don't even talk to my friends!"

    Now, the first part is true. I really am shy and I have the social skills of a hamster(who happens to be a very shy animal). This might seem a little strange considering how much I have been blogging lately. No, actually, a blog adds just the finishing touch to my 'image'.

    Anyway. I am the girl who can't think of what to say to babies.
    Seriously.
    If you're a baby, and you happen to look at me; I'll display an alarmed expression for the tiniest fraction of a second, before I quickly adjust it to resemble a smile, but not before I mutter an unintelligible 'uh-oh'. Then I'll pointedly look in every other direction but yours. Still, it's easier with babies. Babies can't 'small-talk'.
    If you're not a baby, I will try to be a little more interactive.

    Just one little tip for all you nice and friendly people out there, (as they say), some silences are best left unbroken.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

    *spoilers*

    I recently read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, a science fiction novel also called The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death. It is about the World War II and the bombing of Dresden. While it is a book about war, it is definitely not a book about heroes. It is about innocents who are made to fight for reasons they couldn't begin to contemplate. About people who suffer terribly for no apparent reason. Combining black humour, satire and a great deal of imagination, Vonnegut has written this book without any overt drama or overflowing emotions. It's a pretty incredible book.



    Billy Pilgrim is unstuck in time. He believes that he can go back and forth in time. He has experienced his childhood, he has seen his death, and his birth and everything in between. He is a weak Earthling and a very ill-trained American soldier. In the book's present, he is an optometrist. He is awkward and pathetic, and he cannot control the things that keep happening to him. He is a subject of great interest to the Tralfamadorians, a race of aliens who kidnap Billy Pilgrim and bring him to their planet to study.

    The Tralfamadorians can observe time the way you can read a book. You see, just because something happens, doesn't mean the time is gone. The past is just behind us, inaccessible to humans, but visible in its entirety to the Tralfamadorians. The aliens teach Billy Pilgrim the unimportance of death. You see, when a person dies, he is just unavailable in one time, when he is perfectly alright in another time. So why worry? The Tralfamadorians, who, incidentally, look like green toilet plungers, can live in all times at the same time. They do not fear death. Neither does Billy Pilgrim. He dismisses any mention of death with three simple words, 'So it goes'.

    Billy Pilgrim is an optometrist. He wants to change the way people see. Billy Pilgrim wants to change the way people view time. He tells people about the meaninglessness of death and also about his alien abduction. He is shot with a laser gun after his speech on flying saucers and the true nature of time before a large audience in the United States, in Chicago, to be precise. Billy Pilgrim dies on February 13, 1976. So it goes.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon



    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
    Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


  • The Shadow of the Wind is a gothic thriller-romance written by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafon and translated into English by Lucia Graves.


    The book opens in the summer of 1945 in Barcelona. Daniel Sempre is taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his father. It is there that Daniel first finds the book, 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Julian Carax. In love with the book, Daniel tries to find out more about the obscure and mysterious author. To his shock, he discovers a man who is out to burn all of Carax's work. He claims to be a character from the very book, LaĆ­n Coubert, the Devil. On his quest to find the truth about Julian Carax, Daniel's life is altered in ways he couldn't have imagined possible.

    I notice I have been using the word 'indescribable' to describe books more often than should be allowed, but let's allow it this one last time.

    I chose this teaser because if there's anyone who can tell exactly what the book is about, it is the writer himself.

    'Well, this is a story about books.'
    'About books?'
    'About accursed books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal and a lost friendship. It's a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.'


    The only thing I think I should say is that I loved how the essence of the story isn't lost in translation. The magic is still there.

    I had this book for a long time, but never got around to reading it. It was a comment by Stephen King that made me want to pick up this book : If you thought the true gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind. Shadow is the real deal....Be warned, you have to be a romantic at heart to appreciate this stuff, but if you are, this is one gorgeous read.

    It took me four days and four hundred and seventy four pages to realize that I might as well be a 'romantic at heart', because I think I fell in love with this book.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Good Omens - Book Review


    It is time for yet another book review! The book in question is Good Omens (The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch) by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

    The world is going to end soon; next Saturday, to be precise, right after tea! Anathema Device is a witch. Newton Pulsifer is a witch hunter. They team up to stop the Apocalypse that the seventeenth century prophetess, Agnes Nutter has predicted in her Nice and Accurate Prophecies (where nice means precise). And they aren’t the only ones.

    Crowley the demon and Aziraphale the angel, are representatives of Good and Evil stationed on the earth. As the End-of-Times is nearing, they seem to be in a bit of a mess. Not only have the managed to develop a liking for the earth, but they have also lost the one who is supposed to bring about the Armageddon – the Antichrist (who is an entirely different 11 year old boy from the one they thought was the actual son of Satan!)

    While a whole lot of people, including the Four Horsemen (Bikers) of the Apocalypse are out to track the Antichrist, somewhere an 11 year old boy is naively using powers he doesn’t know he possesses to change the world according to his will.

    Before you know it, you are transported into a zany, faced-paced, indescribably awesome world, full of characters so surreal; they might as well walk right out of the book. Who knew the Apocalypse would be so funny!

    Aziraphale stared out at the rushing hedgerows.
    "It all seems so peaceful," he said. "How do you think it will happen?"
    "Well, thermonuclear extinction has always been very popular. Although I must say the big boys are being quite polite to each other at the moment." said Crowley.
    "Asteroid strike?" said Aziraphale. "Quite the fashion these days, I understand. Strike into the Indian Ocean, great big cloud of dust and vapor, goodbye all higher life forms."
    "Wow," said Crowley.
    "Doesn't bear thinking about it, does it," said Aziraphale gloomily.
    "All the higher life forms scythed away, just like that."
    "Terrible."
    "Nothing but dust and fundamentalists."
    "That was nasty."
    "Sorry. Couldn't resist it."

    The book is 'ineffable'. That’s what it is.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Teaser Tuesday #2

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page

  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • I wish I had come across this book sooner. Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a strange and slightly bizarre story, and a combination of two of my favourite genre: horror and fantasy. Written in 2002, this book has received many awards and has even been compared to classics such as Alice in Wonderland. It is known essentially as a children's book, but it has a lot of offer even for adults. It is short and simple and the writing has a wonderfully eerie flow to it. This is my teaser from the book-

    "It was a rustling voice, scratchy and dry. It made Coraline think of some kind of enormous dead insect. Which was silly, she knew. How could a dead thing, especially a dead insect, have a voice?"

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Duet - Illustration

    Well, a duet doesn't necessarily have to mean a pair of singers, right? It can also be just a pair.

    My attempt at drawing the kind of thing I would rarely attempt to draw! I can point out many technical errors myself, but as this took only a matter of minutes, and as I was able to draw hands that actually looked like hands; have pity on me, and don't point them out. That would be very nice!

    I wish I had a scanner to scan stuff, than having to take photos all the time (I never realize where the light is supposed to be; behind, on top of, next to(?) the camera!) And then I have to edit the stupid thing with my even more awesome editing skills!!

    Another Illustation Friday entry for 'Duet'.