Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 in books


At the beginning of the year, I set a challenge on goodreads to read 20 books. In between lots of travel for work, I was worried I may not be able to complete the challenge but as always I carried books wherever I went and not only 20, but I completed 22 books and I’m on the 23rd book of the year. At this rate, I’m sure I can beat that challenge of 55 books before I hit 30 in life.

I cannot help but brag about this achievement of mine. But again I feel truly embarrassed when I see my goodreads friends setting 70 books challenge and completing it. 70? I gape at them. I’m amazed at how they could do it, but again, it’s all about priority and the love for reading. After a while, it becomes an addiction, which of course is good.
If I sum up my 2015 in books;

-The highlight of the year has been discovering Jhumpa Lahiri. I came across The Namesake four years back, but then I just shrugged it off and never gave a second glance. I must have been living under the rocks all this while not to pick up her books again. I restarted with Namesake. I was blown away. 

The buttery texture of her writing is so irresistible. Once you start reading, she keeps you on the hook and I especially love the details in her writing. Coming from a Bengali descent, she mostly writes on the lives of Non Resident Indians in America.

A master story teller she is. I loved her writing so much that I picked her three books; The Namesake, The Lowland and The Interpreter of Maladies.
It was like a discovery of a whole lot of gem.

-I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird a couple of years back but didn’t enjoy it. Perhaps, it didn’t bear any significance in my life that time. I picked it up again this year and loved it to bits. 

Initially, I read The Mockingbird Next door by Marja Mills, a non-fiction, written on the lives of the Lee sisters. It gave me a deep insight into the lives of the Lee sisters and made it so much easier for me to appreciate the timeless classic afterwards. It’s said that Harper Lee was given a year off from work (she worked as a Receptionist for an airline) as a Christmas gift to write a book. What could be more rewarding than that for a writer?

Her recent book, Go set a watchman, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird was published after 50 years and won the goodreads award for Best Fiction 2015. However, it was an awful read. I didn't enjoy it. 

- I have been meaning to include non-fiction in my readings. I included The Spinster and The Girl with the Seven Names. The Spinster explores the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. 

One thing that struck me was evaluating your life in the last ten years. More particularly, it was about taking stock of what I’d gained and lost in ten years’ time. It struck me so profoundly that I actually sat down one night and started writing about all those ten years. It amazed me so much, the level of maturity I exuberated over the years was astounding. 
On the other hand, The Girl with the Seven Names was a killer. More about the book can be found here

- A Little Life was the most hyped book on my tbr list and it didn’t disappoint me at all. As I mentioned already, it was the book of the year for me. Though, it drags on quite a lot over 720 pages, but it’s all worth the read. And yes, I confess that I love fat books.

Speaking of fat books, 1Q84 was a fat book in itself, a trilogy in fact. And my reading list would be incomplete without Murakami. I started with 1Q84 and loved it tremendously that I recommend it to everyone. I even started dreaming about the stories in 1Q84 and one time I was so disturbed that I had to put away the book for a week. 

What is there not to love about Murakami? Dance Dance Dance was the other book and I loved how there’s a nameless character in the book. You cannot help but be curious till the end and like always he leaves you estranged, the best part of him. 

But The Strange Library was a huge disappointment. I paid Nu. 480/- for the 72 pages book with lots of illustrations like a children book and finished reading it in one sitting. For the first time in my life, I was filled with remorse for investing in a book. I couldn’t help but rant about it to him. Heights of disappointment!  

A few other reviews can be found here

How was your 2015 in books? I'd love to hear your recommendation as well. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

How did it get late so soon?

Hello blog buddies. How’ve ye all been? I’ve been out of this space for quite long and of all things, I’ve missed this space tremendously, this community. Writing and reading keeps me sane.

I have missed reading all your blog posts, I promise to catch up with you guys soon, on your life updates.

How did it get late so soon? 

Now that we are in the last leg of the year, I’m sure you all have been reflecting on the goals you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year. And I’m sure you have already achieved 98 per cent of it. Even if you didn't set goals, I’m sure you have been living a purpose driven life and that’s basically the same thing.

For once, I thought I will not blog about my recent life’s experience. Then again, I pondered upon it, and was heck, why not? I have to document this, an experience of my lifetime. Strike when the iron is hot and here I am, rambling about my recent experience.

I’m just back from experiencing a three week military training, Integrated training program. It’s a program for my office where we instill discipline, integrity, sense of ownership and loyalty. A program which is initiated upon the command of His Majesty the king, a privilege in itself.

When I informed my friends and families about this training program, they all sympathized me, said that it would be challenging physically. With that skepticism in mind, I kept on postponing my schedule for the longest time. I had initially planned to go early next year but somehow, I took the last leap of action and confirmed that I will go by November. And I did the right thing.

Now that I underwent the program, the whole world seems an entirely different thing to me, at least for now. It embarrass me to think that the life I had been leading till now is so mundane and laid back, physically. 

Routine and discipline are the order of the day in military life. From the moment you open your eyes to the time you close it at night, it’s all about discipline. The word NO is non-existent in the military dictionary. This depicts positivity in the life of the armed personnel.

For someone, who had never seen a gun first hand before had her heart on the throat when trained to fire the bullet. It’s all about the routine, they said. It was so true. After a while, the morning jog with 4.4 kg SLR on the shoulder and 10 push-ups anytime of the day seemed very normal. The commands seem quite funny for the civil mind to register and articulate at first. But now that you have been totally immersed in it, it becomes part of you. And that’s routine again.

With my lovely comrade, friend and a confidante K.C

It’s all about taming your mind. The mind game. If you think you can do it, you can! I had this chill down my spine every time I thought about waking up at 5am and doing the physical training. Just the thought was enough to give me a fever because I have never been that morning person. But with routine, I could wake up and start my day. I was able to see the sun rise and sun set for the entire three weeks. Another achievement there!

It astounds me to know the capability of a human body. How it can be trained to build so much stamina and how it can withstand anything. I'm amazed at my body's capacity to brave such physical strain. 
This program opened my eyes to view the armed personnel from a whole new level. My reverence for them has increased triple fold. The sacrifice and life-long commitment they have given to serve the king, country and people is remarkable.  I have nothing else, but deep respect to the armed personnel.

Letting your hair loose and wearing flip flops felt like a guilty pleasure. It was also a total disconnection from the outside world when we were not allowed to wear a wrist watch and carry a cell phone. Sometimes, it felt timeless when you are tuned to the routine and the last thing you need to do is look at the time.  

Its funny to learn that our organization skill is nothing compared to the armed personnel. Starting from tying your shoe lace to ironing your clothes and making sure that your belt and cap are straightened, uniformed personnel knows it best. They are so organized, like pomegranate seeds.

I can rant on forever about my thrilling 3 weeks experience, but I need to stop. Perhaps, we can have a coffee date and listen to me rant further, if you're interested.

All in all, it was an amazing experience, an experience of a lifetime.  And I’m so proud of myself for conquering it. My lovely ladies and comrades K.C and Ana Tshering made it further delightful, I have never laughed so much in my life before than with you ladies. Thank you 8th Batch for being awesome comrades, you guys made it more merrier. Sometimes, all it needs is a little will power to learn life’s greatest lessons.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review // A Little Life

As I turned the last page and closed the 720 pages book, I was sobbing, silently. It had me taken on a tour of the life of an emotionally and physically damaged man, Jude St. Francis.    

Hanya Yanagihara’s A little Life published in March is a story about four college friends who have come to New York to make their way out in the world. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, ambitious artist; Malcolm, a frustrated architect; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude who serves as their center of gravity.

It is seemingly the story of four friends and their friendship over the decades which is tinged by addiction, success and pride. 
But it’s the story of Jude alone at the end, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man haunted by his insurmountable past.

Jude walks with a limp, suffers from episodes of severe spinal pain and will not say a word about his life before college. He cuts himself. Early on the book, we come to know that Jude cuts himself but one is kept on hold as to know the reasons for self-harm. 

The graphic depiction of abuse and physical suffering is so raw and severe in A Little Life. At times, I had to get away from the book, distract myself from thinking it too much, get some fresh air and start from where I left it.

This is one of the books that leaves you speechless and makes it extremely hard for one to do a proper review. I absolutely loved this book and there’s no way that this little review of mine will do justice. I knew even before starting this book that I will be completely invested in the lives of the four friends. I braced myself for the emotional turmoil I will be put through.

Let me tell you what this book deals on. It deals on a lot of difficult subjects including physical, emotional and sexual abuse. If you’re having a bad day or going through a rough patch in life then this is not the right book to pick.

Even before I picked it, I knew this was going to be the book of the year for me. It indeed is! 

It was like knowing that he is going to be THE ONE for you, even before meeting him. Heartbreaking yet a beautiful book on the true meaning of friendship. It astounds me to think how humans can be so brutal yet the same humans can be so loving and forgiving in Jude’s life.

Adult adoption is something I read about in the book for the first time. It’s interesting how Yanagihara immaculately brought about the beauty of male friendship which over time turns to love relationship. I have never read a book where the deep love between two men are so intimately portrayed as in A Little Life. Female characters are less or non-existent for that matter.

Art and photography, legal practices, medical jargons, paintings and architecture are so well detailed in the book. 

The last art by JB ‘Willem listening to Jude Tell a Story’ had me weeping literally. I cannot fathom the pain Jude goes through on seeing the art and later Harold. 

It was surprising to find Bhutan and Punakha, particularly being mentioned in the book. How did Bhutan strike to Hana Yangihara when Jude and Willem goes on a vacation and the vacation happens to be in Bhutan?    

I love it when a book leaves me emotionally draining. That’s when I find the outside world immaterial, and all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for days. This is what exactly this book did to me. 
Is there a life after A Little Life

Friday, October 16, 2015

Visit to Taj Mahal

Visiting Taj Mahal had always been on my bucket list. And it happened at the right time in this Delhi work trip of mine. This trip was not planned at all. It happened overnight. Everything fell into place like a jigsaw puzzle like it was forever meant to be. For this, I really thank my boss for being so considerate and having that trust in me. 

So overnight, I discussed with Kipchu, my young friend and a blogger who is currently studying in Delhi on the prospect of visiting Taj Mahal in Agra in one of the days.  He suggested we take the direct train to Agra from Nizamuddin station in Delhi and return by the same in the evening. He did the reservation for us as well.

At 6:30 am in the morning, we reached the train station. I had never experienced the local train journey in India before. So this was the first time for me and I was pretty thrilled. Early morning and the station was already swarming with hurrying people. Time was not a standstill here. Everyone had a destination to reach. We followed suit and scurried off to our platform after asking the direction from people nearby. Our broken Hindi was of immense help.

At 7 am sharp, the train left the station. Comfortably seated by the window seat, we could enjoy the sunrise. Soon vendors started selling tea and breakfast and for Rs. 30 we could get a cup of nice sweetened milk tea and 2 slices of bread with some pokora filling. A little conversation with my friend, few pages of reading from my current read and after a short nap, we reached Agra in approximately 3 hours.

From Agra Kant station, Taj Mahal is some few kilometers away. We took the auto at Rs.100. Since Taj Mahal is a highly tourist site the chance of getting ripped off is extremely high. From the self-proclaimed guide to cabbies to the auto drivers and the vendors, every one of them seems to be fixed on harvesting the maximum benefit from the tourist. One should not be surprised when numerous vendors pulls you and offer you so many things.   

Once inside, we took ample of pictures of standing in front of the Taj, holding the Taj and Taj from different angle. With the bombardment of technologies we no longer take time to admire and applaud the architecture of the world heritage. Instead we are so busy taking pictures for social media updates and forgoing the art of being present. It’s a sad times we have come to. 

After touring the Taj Mahal, we had another 6 hours to pass until we catch the train back to Delhi. With lots of time on hand, we wanted to visit the local market nearby. This is when we made a blunder.  We hailed an auto to take us to the market. The auto driver took some 45 minutes to take us to the market through some streets of all sorts, God alone knows where and if we were asked to get back, it would take us forever. We didn’t get to the market we wanted. Later we realized we were being ripped off. 
The predicament didn’t end there. 

Once back to the train station we caught another train, early by 4 hours from our scheduled train. After changing a coach, we found that it was a general compartment where there was no space to stand also. We tagged along a kind and fierce lady who was on the way to the hospital at Delhi to visit her brother-in-law. Her college going son was with her as well. Somehow we managed a seat. By then we were the center of attraction in the coach. We were bombarded with lots of questions and despite our limited Hindi, we were quite comfortable to converse with them. 

On that three and half hour journey, we could have a glimpse into the life of the locals. Their conversation centered on the daily wage, communalism, thefts and robberies, education and the advent of digital technologies. They shared their local sweets and hailed a cab for us when we reached the final station. It’s strange how the same breed of people wants to rip you off and help at the same time. We were so grateful to have met the kind lady and her son and another kind gentleman.

I shall not forget their kindness. Their kindness was infectious. We passed on this kindness to another gentleman at the airport, a Bhutanese who was returning from his Masters program from Europe. He must have had a lot to bring home since he had excess luggage.  Another Bhutanese we met at the embassy and the two of us checked in as group along with the guy, since we were travelling very light. It helped him to avoid paying for the excess luggage. He felt so grateful that he was repeatedly thanking us. We smiled and told him to pass on this kindness.  

It was the shortest work trip yet the memories was immense. And that’s what it counts, I believe. If you are reading this Kipchu, I’d like to thank you and your friend Jigme for showing us around and taking me to book heaven. I died there once. And making our trip to incredible India an amazing one. Thank you so much. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Embracing and living in it

The heart bubbles and the rhythm quickly pace up. I swear that the person next to me can hears its thumping. I start to sweat profusely as if I’m too nervous. It’s like I'm trying to profess my love for someone and the feeling that I may get turned down is unbearable.

I become too restless to sit in one place. Like my dog, I want to jump up and down and squeal in delight for no reason at all.  It’s like my love hormones are all over the place. I feel darn romantic. No, I’m not being romantically involved with a person. But with this season. The season of abundance and the year’s last loveliest smile.   

There is this yearning of telling someone far away about all these romantic bubbles in me. That he and I alone can understand and no one else. It’s like that first kiss on that moon lit night down that curvy country road. 

An abrupt drop in the temperature has set about this feeling. The gentle morning sun rays fills my room when I open my eyes, a new day and a new hope awaits me. There is this crispness in the air which alone is enough to set my heart aglow. The splashed water on my face is rather icy. 

I cannot stop exclaiming how clear the blue skies are over the mountain tops. It’s like being that little girl showing your favorite doll to everyone you see.
I always run out of words and the reasons to express how I feel about this season. Thus, I will stop looking for reasons and start living in it.

When all else fails, autumn never does. Also it’s my birthday month. Cheers to October!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Review // The Girl with Seven Names

One fateful night, just when she is one month shy of her 18th birthday, Hyeonseo Lee crosses the frozen Yalu river into China, with little more than curiosity and a rebelling spirit.  The first words of her mother when she calls was “Don’t come back.”

Thus begins a tormenting and gripping story of fear and the uncertainty in which Lee must figure out how to navigate in a foreign country with no money and identity. 
It’s a story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.

Lee was born in North Korea, one of the most secretive and oppressive countries in the modern world. At age seven, she witnesses her first public execution and self-criticism sessions were part of her daily sessions at school. Those who did not cry when Kim Il-Sung died mysteriously disappeared.

In this powerful memoir, Lee recounts her life inside the secretive communist brutal regime. As a survival strategy, she changed her name for seven times, thus the title of the book.

In her dire effort to reunite with her mother and brother, she plans to meet her brother arranged through the local broker.

‘Sixty thousand yuan - a fortune representing ten years’ wages at the restaurant-and a week’s imprisonment with the threat of rape, and all I achieved was a three minute reunion with Min-ho.’ 

In 2009, a little over a decade after she left North Korea, Lee gets an opportunity to get her mother and brother out, taking them on a long, extremely risky route through China to Laos where they could seek asylum in South Korea.

I’m aware that there is a ‘situation’ in North Korea. Yet other than knowing the name of the leader Kim Jong-un, I was unaware of the tightly suppressive dictatorship. The movie The Interview  provides a better insight, perhaps. 
I’ve thought that such regimes existed only in Hitler’s Germany. However, I’m baffled to learn that this is happening right under the sky we live in.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the ordeals she went through to escape to South Korea. Lee’s journey is harrowing and inspirational. She is a hero. This memoir is simply unputdownable. What happens next? Will she survive the journey? are the constant questions that looms your mind until you turn the last page. It’s an incredible book.  

The Girl with Seven Names is one of the best memoirs I’ve read so far. And it was terribly hard for me to come to terms that this is not a work of fiction. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How would you feel if you’re a guy…

Image via pinterest

It was a couple of months back. I was lying on the couch at home when this sudden urge to take a stroll outside hit me. I glanced up my pink wall clock and saw that it was 6:30 pm. A slight glimmer of dusk was seen outside my window. I debated whether I should go on the stroll or not.

Now or Never, I thought, slipped into a pair of leggings and sneakers and darted out the house with a pullover and cellphone with the earphones plugged in. 

I crossed a small wooden bridge alongside the Minister’s enclave in Motithang and walked up towards Sangaygang.

At the base of Sangaygang, children were playing at the outdoor gym. Some were cycling uphill, huffing and puffing. Young couples were walking their dogs and older men and women were strolling around. I bumped into a college mate on his evening run.

With my earphones still plugged in, I climbed the hill. Normally I walk up straight on the road. But that evening, I thought I will challenge myself to hike up. 

The time on my wristwatch showed 6:45 pm. I reassured myself that I’d be able to reach the hilltop before dusk. It took me exactly an hour to reach the hilltop. Darkness engulfed me. I switched on my cellphone’s torch and started walking downhill.

No one was seen there. All of them had returned home. 

I quickened my pace and took the shortest route as much as possible. As I was nearing the base, three men emerged all of a sudden from a nearby bush. They kept walking behind me.

Almost instantly, my heart swelled and started thumping louder. I could feel it on my throat. I took off my earphones and started jogging, pretending that I’m cool about it. I kept my thumb on the speed dial on the cellphone ready to call and scream.

What was I worried about?
These men did not do anything to me.

They must have gone somewhere and probably must be on their way home. But. But my female natural instinct? When alone at night is to be fearful. To feel anxious, weak, fearful, vulnerable and alert.

Women feel scared and vulnerable when alone at night. If a guy walks behind us, we feel being followed, vulnerable even if he doesn’t say or do anything particularly threatening. If a guy try to smile to make us feel comfortable, it may come off as creepy. I’m not sure what males could do to make us feel less scared in situations like that.

It’s such a sad world that we live in. As a girl, I have been taught to be vulnerable, not to trust strangers and not to walk home alone at night. And we pass on the same advice to our daughters, niece, girlfriends, mothers. 
I’m curious about how men feel? When you see a woman alone at night. Whether you make a woman worried or nervous. Whether you’re afraid that you’re making the other one afraid. This makes the men seem not trustworthy. 
Then again, there really is nothing for them to do. 

I’d love to hear the perspectives from men.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hike to the tiger’s nest

Last month, Rima and I hiked up to the tiger’s nest, Taktshang in Paro. Now I don’t think I need to introduce Rima to this Bhutanese blogosphere. Because. Because who doesn’t know her? Anyone out there?

I met her for the first time when she visited Bhutan the month before that. When I told my family that she’s my internet friend visiting Bhutan, they rolled their eyes at me. Thanks to the internet, the world has become small.

I love that she’s filled with infectious positivity towards life that she tries to share that with people around her. How to live one’s life, one at a time, I think I should take lesson from her. I’m sure you all agree with me on this.

The hike up to the tiger’s nest was the second time for both of us. For me, particularly, it was after 11 years. 

I hiked to Taktshang as a teenager then, on a school field trip. 

So much has changed in over a decade now. The hiking trail has improved. The railing at Taktshang was not there, now it is there. A nice cafĂ© is there for the visitors to rest and enjoy a good cup of coffee/drinks. And the number of visitors has increased subsequently.  
That morning, we were blessed with the perfect weather. The sun was behind the clouds, making the day very cool for the hike uphill. 

On the way up just before reaching Taktshang, we lied down on the bench for a rest. The sun was up on the face and there was the sound of blowing trumpets somewhere up on the hill. Listening to the distant trumpet with the eyes closed brings such bliss to one’s heart. In that moment, it occurred to me ‘yes, if there’s one place I want to be, then its here.’ Somewhere up in the mountains, where sorrows and frets are a distant thing of the past.

It was an easy climb uphill for me where the calm Rima took her time with such grandeur and ease. However, the descend downhill was a little difficult for me. But no complaints, it was a good hike. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

sixth edition of the Mountain Echoes literary festival

The sixth edition of the Mountains Echoes literary festival began yesterday in Thimphu. It will be held till August 22, 2015 and is dedicated to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo in commemoration of His Majesty’s 60th Birth Anniversary celebration.

This is the sixth edition but the first time for me to attend the festival. I have always wanted to attend it but somehow, I never got around to do it. So a year back I promised myself that come hell or high, I will be attending this year and I made it. I’m so proud of myself.

As a bonus, it happened just 2 blocks away from my office where I can sneak out from work and attend the programme at my discretion. It’s quite interesting that you have a plethora of choice on the programme catering to your convenience since the sessions are being held at four different venues.  

What particularly piqued my interest was Jamie Zeppa’s conversation with Neha Tara Mehta and Pawo Choyning Dorji’s session The light of the moon: The legacy of Xuanzang.

I read Zeppa’s memoir Beyond the sky and the earth during my freshman year in Sherubtse. The book is so full of wit and humor and I could relate to the places she mentioned for I was physically present there when I read it. 

Her underwear story in the book is particularly so funny. When she mentioned the story this morning again, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

Beyond the sky and the earth is one of the books which I loved immensely written by a foreigner on Bhutan. When I saw her name for this year’s festival, I had to double check it. For I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought she left Bhutan for good.

Jamie Zeppa reading excerpt from her book Beyond the sky and the earth
Zeppa says that she is back to the country after a decade and it’s difficult for her to navigate around Thimphu now, for it was a small town in 1989 and now Thimphu is a city.

I loved it when she said “When you fall in love, you lose yourself” when asked about how she came to write the memoir.  She further says that when she fell in love with Bhutan, it changed her profoundly. Just like in her book, I found her very witty and candid in person. For her writing process, she says, it’s very helpful for her to have a boring life to write. So much inspiration there. 

Please excuse the grainy photos from the phone.  

With Nawang and Zhonba
I have been following the works of Pawo on instagram and facebook. His series #sacredpathsproject on instagram and adarsha photography on facebook are absolutely beautiful. 

In his moving tale of The Light of the Moon: the legacy of Xuanzang presented this morning at the Royal University of Bhutan, Pawo has crisscrossed the ancient silk routes to retrace the paths of Xuanzang, a Chinese Buddhist monk and has come up with astounding tales. 

He is such a good storyteller. The facts, stories and photographs supported to bring about Xuanzang's tale simply blew me away. Nawang said that he was moved to tears at the end of the session.

I wish I had no work so that I could attend the festival full time. There was not a single empty chair available. Luckily I met Nawang and Zhonba and we sat on the floor on the aisle. In an earlier twitter conversation with Zhonba, I was informed that I have to join the floor gang, which I didn't mind. It was so worth the time. 

If you haven’t attended this season’s mountain echoes, I’d recommend you to attend it and show some love. You can check the programme here and accordingly attend if you are not able to devote your full time.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

On writing

It wasn’t a deliberate hiatus from this little blog. Work wasn’t that stressful as it had been for the past eight months. I had plenty of time on hands to sit down and write on the mundane things in life which are as vast as the sky. Perhaps, the vastness of the mundanes overwhelmed me to write, you’d think. Or I was unplugging from the internet. Neither of it. I chose not to write.

There were some mornings when I got out of the bed and thought to myself, ‘I will start writing today.’ Then like this August weather, my mind would change and I would find myself lost in the sea of activities only to come home tired after a long day.

Other times, inspiration would strike me while in the shower or when out on a stroll. I’d immediately write it down for consumption at a later time. Later, I’d sit down to work on the idea on my PC, but to be lost for an hour or two in the internet black hole. Exhausted, I’d shut down and sleep.  

I thought, “Hell, what’s happening to me? Is it a creative block?”

There were too many thoughts and ideas running on in my head. The thoughts were fogged-out landscape from which occasional memories appear like isolated trees, in an almost broken panorama.

Like in Stephen King’s words, I was approaching the ‘act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair – the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart.’

The sense of nervousness and excitement from too many thoughts stopped me from writing altogether.

This morning, I put off the TV, carried my PC to the living room where the light is good and where my adored stack of books lies to give me strong vibes. I sat down on the couch and started writing with cups of coffee to pull me through the whole process.  

Usually, I write on my desk in the bedroom where I have the pastel wall as complete front view and the jungle view to the right from my window. But from my living room, I have the view of a small set of my neighbor’s kitchen garden where tall maize plants have overgrown and I can see the quaint neighborhood. The change in the writing space was the perfect vibes for me.

How’s your writing process like? Do you have a favorite place to write or you write where you can?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Book Review // La Ama

La Ama (a mother’s call) by Chador Wangmo is a story about one woman’s harrowing journey from a terrible marriage to the past which was equally ruthless and to an uplifting future. 

It’s a story that deals with a lot of difficult themes like betrayal and domestic violence, adultery, LGBT, and the recent popular entertainment culture of drayang.

One fateful night Dechen Zangmo runs away from the ‘mad house,’ the house that she once had set her heart in, only to be met with an accident. What’s she running away from? 

From a jealous and an abusive husband who treats her as a piece of furniture.

One is immediately narrated a series of events from the past which led her to the present situation. In that series of past events, it tells us why Dechen Zangmo could never complete high school. The teacher who is revered the most in the society is the reason behind Dechen’s leaving school. The circumstances Dechen faced is still prevalent in many schools in rural Bhutan.

From witnessing her parents separation to taking refuge in her annoying aunt and uncle’s crammed house in Chinese line in Phuentsholing to working in a Drayang for a living until she gets married, Chador Wangmo gives us a vivid and engaging story of one woman’s journey for survival and the triumph over the forces of violence.

It’s a bold book that depicts the tolerance of Bhutanese women to adultery by the significant other for reasons of their own, about how being a gay is a taboo in our society and the large influence of bollyhood in the life of an average Bhutanese girl. 

I felt extremely conflicted at times where I had to put down the book, contemplate and start reading again. 

All in all, it’s a nice read with just 198 pages which can be finished in one sitting. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bloggers Meet

I’m still giddy from yesterday’s blogger meet. Giddy from having met so many wonderful souls. Are you not?

Already, a couple of blog buddies shared about last night’s experience and I’m also bitten by this bug to be on this bandwagon.

Well, well  it was an epic bloggers’ meet last night, since it was my first time ever to meet such a large group who shared the same love for art-the art of reading and writing. 

I have always wanted to go to a bloggers’ meet but somehow the universe conspired against it. Nawang and I discussed about it a couple of times on chat the past year too. When it happened last night, I was super excited. And the positive response from all lovely blog buddies was even incredible.  

It was the meeting of your kindred spirit. It totally blew me away to meet people whom I have always admired, imagined about, traveled and shared the same thoughts through their writings. It was like meeting my favorite radio personality. When you hear the person on radio, you imagine so much about him/her and only when you meet the person in real, you can fathom it.   

Time flew so fast. I feel like I didn’t get enough time to sit and talk with everyone present. A good chat over some drinks was not enough since you have so much to talk about. Everyone has a blogging niche. It is this niche that separates you, makes you unique and makes you stand out in the crowd. This is what makes you truly special as a person and a blogger or a writer for that matter. 

I feel privileged to have met so many wonderful people. And thank you all for the 100% attendance. I hope to see you all again not somewhere across the horizon but in the next bloggers’ meet which my friend Nawang has talked about in detail here.

Happy Holidays!   

Picture stolen from Nawang's blog since I forgot to take any. :P

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Readings

If you have been on this little blog for some time now, you’ll probably know that I’m an avid reader. A book on the coffee table, another on the nightstand, on the refrigerator in the kitchen, in the bathroom and sometimes on the shoe rack and in the car. That’s how I tend to carry books everywhere I go.  Sometimes, I get so broke yet the urge to buy books and read becomes arduous for me. It is unhealthy, I know.

With 2015 as the National Reading Year, I often hear people picking a book to read. It’s never too late to start anything, I believe. This small step by an individual will go a long way once the reading habit is developed. My brother and sister has picked up this habit as well. It’s such a delight to see a book on their nightstand. It fills me with immense joy.    

I have recently completed reading these books amongst others and I’d recommend if you’re looking for light summer reads like me (I’m forever on the hunt for good book recommendation).

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

One of the most important works in American Literature, The Great Gatsby is a novel that offers damning and insightful views of the lives that are corrupted by greed which is incredibly sad and unfulfilled in the roaring 20’s.

The events are narrated through Nick Carraway, a young Yale graduate. Upon moving to New York, he rents a house next door to the eccentric millionaire, Jay Gatsby. Every week, Gatsby throws a party at his mansion and all the great and the good come to marvel at his extravagance and gossip about him.

Despite his high-living, Gatsby is dissatisfied. 
Long ago, Gatsby fell in love with a young girl, Daisy who is now married to Tom Buchanan.

The novel portrays the unfinished love affair of Gatsby and Daisy, Tom’s suspicion and his mistress, Gatsby’s fortune through illegal gambling and bootlegging.

However, the reality of the situation is that Gatsby is a man in love. Nothing more. He concentrates all of his life on winning Daisy back.

This book is definitely one of my favorites.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

I enjoyed this gothic classic five years ago. Five years later, I picked it up and felt the same enjoyment as I did for that very first time. The story, and in particular the language blew me away. 

Also known as The  Modern Prometheus, it is about a scientist who creates a monster and the awful events that follows.

Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, he assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

However, I like the fact that the book allows reader’s to see events from the monster’s perspectives. I could sympathize with his loneliness when humans spurned him away. It’s a painful book. It’s hard to believe that this book was written by an 18 year old girl in 1818.

My Beautiful Shadow by Radhika Jha

Set in Japan, it tells the tale of a young Tokyo housewife, Kayo whose obsession is beautiful clothes and accessories. A drug that threatens to destroy her life as a good wife and a mother.

Reunited with her beautiful childhood friend whose life appears glamorous, Kayo wants to become her. In that pursuit, she is pulled deeper into a dark underworld of yakuza, debt and prostitution.

So far I have been fascinated with Murakami’s works and whatever little I have come to know about Japan is through his books. Compared to Murakami’s Tokyo, Jha’s Tokyo is a total different world. It’s about neighbors being your police, judges and your jailors. It’s about the Japanese bias against Koreans who probably owns small businesses and the Americans whom her husband seems to enjoy working for.  

A powerful tale of one woman losing her way and a mesmerizing tale of consumerism gone mad.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

This was my all time favorite book as a child. Now even as an adult, I enjoy reading it as it brings back happy memories of my times spent in Tsirang with my mother and brother.

Our quaint little house was in the middle of a guava, mango and orange orchard. On summer afternoons on weekends I used to sit down under the guava tree in my turquoise little frock and read Heidi while my brother used to pluck guavas and hand me down. He was my soldier and my provider. 
These happy memories were tucked inside the book and it never fails to bring a smile on me till today.

Memories aside, Heidi is a story of a five year old orphaned girl who is left by her aunt to stay with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. Heidi soon becomes a local favorite. Several years later, the aunt snatches Heidi from the Alps to become the companion of the wealthy but specially challenged child in Frankfurt.

Transported to the anonymous city, Heidi is lonely and longs for the Alps and in the meantime she learns to read and turn to God. The story encourage honesty, integrity, kindness and deep religious faith-the sort of reading that parents should encourage but sadly seldom do.

Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson

I was curious when a friend talked about emotion code and the trapped emotions all of us have. A couple of conversation and I was already intrigued. So I asked him to email me the pdf copy and the audiobook. Boy, it was truly fascinating.

The book talks about a form of energy healing that helps to get rid of emotional baggage. The Emotion code uses muscle testing to find and release trapped emotions that affect your health, your relationship and your successful mechanism. 
It’s one of the simplest and the most effective form of energy healing.

It provides you with amazing facts and research which helps to understand your body to a greater level. Interestingly, you can check your trapped emotion yourself and treat it as well.  

I got pretty excited about the book and shared it with a couple of friends and family. If you would like, I’d love to share. Drop me a message in the comments section below.

Have you got any recommendation for this summer?


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