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The LIST!!

This game has been going on Facebook for a while – you know where we are supposed to do the following – “In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard—they don’t have to be the ‘right’ or ‘great’ works, just the ones that have touched you.”

I have been tagged at it a few times but have been unable to respond with the list due to recent events. Also this time away from Facebook (since many people have posted their lists by now) made me realize that a lot of people are doing exactly what they were asked not to do…thinking too hard and making sure that the “right” works get listed! Therefore I publish this away from Facebook and share my bookish musings on the same with people who live, breathe and love books!!!!

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
  4. Tintin Comics by Herge
  5. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  6. Shadow of the Moon by MM Kaye
  7. The Source by James Michener
  8. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  9. The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  10. Maskeradeby Terry Pratchett

Deciding on just 10 is REALLY REALLY hard!! But there you go…that’s my list!!

What are your 10 favorite works? Can we do this on activity on our blog sites as well?

A special Thank You to Emily, who gave me the idea to share the list on this forum instead of Facebook!

A philosphical debate on man’s fate & the diadatics on action leading to equal and opposite reaction…aka Phew….saved by the bell!

There are some things that are simply fortuitous and in the very hackneyed way, one can say that whatever happens happens for the best. (Hang on! I will get to the particulars after I spend some time on general rhetoric’s) I am strong adherent of this school of thought, though as God be my witness, I am sorely tempted in abandoning this principle of goodwill and sanguine hope many a times. In fact, there are a couple of incidents in my life about which, I am still waiting to find out what this best is/was???? But then, such things do happen that kind of restore your faith and make you realize (albeit kicking and screaming) that there are greater forces at work between heaven and earth and there is a reason behind almost every action.

Now for the particulars –

I realize that I have been off the blog for some time and it is kind of hilarious, when on my Aug 1 post, I claimed that I was writing more this year. However, irony aside, I do believe now that there are some matters that one should never talk about because that invariably leads to tempting the faith! For instance, last year, my mother was getting her house renovated and while clearing the house for the carpenters and decorators to work on, she came to realize that she had over the years collected a huge amount of crockery and cutlery. I do mean huge and not just you more than general, but something to the effect of 77 serving trays!!!! She called me and said that she had no idea when or how she bought so much of stuff and there was a sneaking pride in her voice, when she said that my aunt (a very weird woman who is actually obsessed with material gains) also could not rival her sets. I know I am resorting to clichés, but sometimes they do have a lot of truth in them – in my mother’s case pride did come before a fall!! After the renovation was done, she went for a small vacation with her sisters and yes….the inevitable did happen! Her house was broken into and among the various items that were stolen were her prized crockeries including 52 of her 77 serving trays! My mother is now adjusting to the life of simple living and high thinking while spending hours practicing how to keep her mouth shut!

You know how they say, that as time passes by, daughter’s become more like their mothers! Well there is a lot of truth in that as well! Having philosophized and lectured my mother about her lack of circumspect  and failure at being humble, I declare to the world, that yes…I am indeed writing more! So the fates decide, that this mother daughter pair are really thick-headed and they SO NEED A LESSON! Therefore one fine evening, I come back from work, make myself a cup of coffee and sit down to write. My guilt conscience was at its paroxysm, because, I had not touched my novel in more than 2 months and I was determined to make up for my slackness. I switched on the laptop and then DISASTER stuck!

My system had crashed. I do not know when and I do not know how, but it had crashed. All my files, notes, music…everything was wiped off from the damm system. After getting hysterical and hyperventilating for nearly 3 hours, during which my flat mate tried all recovery recipes from smelling salts to chocolate ice cream, I called the system repair guy. He gave the laptop back to me last night with a I-have-no-idea-what-you-did-but-there-is-nothing-I-can-do look. Oh! Wail! Oh! Horror! Why has the Lord forsaken me???

So what’s bright side, you ask??? Well, music and photographs I can recover…..thanks to iPods and Picassa. But more importantly the writing….well remember, how I said that I had not written in well over two months, well …..the last cut that I wrote, I had mailed it to a perspective publisher….so ITS ALL SAFE….in my Gmail. All my short stories are uploaded on Goodreads and thank the blog…well you know is a web-based portal……so really….no loss!!!! While I was bemoaning the fact that for 8 weeks, I was neglecting my craft, there seems to be a greater plan at work. Had I written in those weeks, after sending the work so far to the publisher, all would have been lost! For whatever reasons, not writing during that time was definitely fortunate incident!

Hence, enlightenment came to me and I decide –

  1. Keep my trap shut…especially if I am doing good stuff.
  2.  Hang in there…there is a reason behind all that happens, even if it’s not apparent immediately.
  3. Get a backup for your system….do not save everything on your desktop!

Bring on the Sunshine……

Ahem Ahem….So Thanks to the magnificent Lill and Jill, (awww I am still so touched…sob! sob!!Thank you Guys!) I have been nominated for the Sunshine Award. I would like to take these 15 seconds of fame and Thank my Father/Mother/dog/cat/neighbour/fellow students at my University from Slovakia and Turkmenistan…..No I have not really lost it (yet!)  and I  am not really doing this, so please do not drop your jaws or start reading another blog!!!

So per the Sunshine Award rules, here comes the detail –

  • Favourite Colour – Oh! Gosh! There are so many of them that I love – red, blue, aquamarine (I know its just another shade of blue, but it sounds nicer), pale yellow …let’s just say I am a colourful person (Yes! I know this is a really bad pun, but I was tempted!)
  • Favourite Animal – Oh! I am so old-fashioned here ….give me a doggie anyway!! I mean a doggie and not a dog; there are differences between the two – one is more of an impersonal creature and the common noun can often be used as an adjective….the doggie is a friend preferably a golden retriever type of friend who is always around to share your chicken and life…..I hate apartments cause you cannot bring up a doggie here.
  • Favourite Number – All even and never odds…don’t ask me; got something to do with childhood memories of times when we learnt HCF and LCM
  • Favourite Non Alcoholic Drink – You mean there is any other type of drink in this world? Er…water and tea!
  • Favourite Book – Oh! The list is long and only the brave can survive …here goes Pride and Prejudice and everything else written by Ms Austen, To kill a Mocking Bird, All Terry Pratchett, All Harry Potters, Everything written by Conn Iggulden, All works of William Dalrymple, Wild Swans, All works of John Steinbeck, All works of Orhan Pamuk, War and Peace, All works by Saki ….I will stop now that you have an idea!
  • My Passion – Let me start counting …reading, writing, cooking actually food, travelling, history, architecture, talking nineteen to a dozen, bugging my best friend when she is trying to watch a movie, laughing, dancing, theatre …I think I should stop!
  • Prefer giving or getting presents – Giving, I love giving surprise gifts, but my problem is always choosing the right gift for the right people. Love receiving food or book type gifts though!

Have we reached 10 yet? Does this list end?!!!!

  • Favourite Place – Mountains and more mountains…anywhere in the world
  • Favourite Day of the week – Friday; after I shut my office laptop and head for car parking…yay yay no work and only play for two days!
  • Favourite Flowers –  Not particularly flowery or planty…it’s a struggle to keep my Moneyplant alive but I do love Bougainvillea …reminds me of spring during my university years when there would be a riot of various colour of them and it would seem as if somebody had poured large vials of paints on the trees

Phew done!!!!

Finally the part I really like – I would like to highlight the following blogs for being brilliant, wonderful, funny, beautiful and generally enriching lives –

http://somanybooksblog.com

http://12novels.com

http://nonamesnofaces.wordpress.com

http://freepagenumbers.wordpress.com

http://classicconfusion.com/

http://tamarindandthyme.wordpress.com/

http://eggton.com

http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com

http://eagleeyededitor.wordpress.com

http://photobotos.com

Thank you all of you for inspiring me every day to laugh more, read more, write more and think more, especially from point of views contrary to my own!!

And here’s saving the best for the last – Thank you Lill and Jill for sharing your lives with us! You two make life a fun place to be in with all your roller coaster adventures and experiments! Discovering your site was one the best things and I think everyone should take a big slice out of your celebration of the joyous and downright funny takes on all the “moments” of each day!!  You gals are the best! Thank you for all those moments of sheer sitcom joy!!

The missing clue of relatives and social networking

I once believed that introduction to Facebook was one the most epoch-making events in my life. I was finally in touch with friends who were once so dear to me but had lost track off. I could now be in touch with them and other people easily without drafting a mail or calling…posting on the wall was enough!! The world was perfect; I had reached an equilibrium between my social side that wanted to keep in touch and my lazy side that had issues with making too much of an effort, thanks to Social Networking. “Like” was the key to liking life…..life was perfect! But in the words of Yogi Berra “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

And then came the relatives…….

Now on any normal day, most people would concede that relatives are one of the more irritating fractions of their lives, considering the fact that most of the time we are also relatives to someone and might be part of the irritating fractions. (Self-Introspection is good and helps us develop into…whatever it is Dr Phil thinks we should develop into!) Anyway since the relatives’ piece is always dicey, I stay away as much as possible, especially considering they are my relatives. Now I know you are all raising your eyebrows and nodding your heads and are ready to contest with the wildest story about the most asinine relation you have. However I win hands down…you will just have to believe me (not like you have a choice considering I own the site) and take it from me literally that when I say I have a real bad case of relatives, I do!!

After haunting me through my childhood and young adult years, they suddenly in masses decided to invade my cyberspace. I was getting request from that cousin and this aunt and that uncle……the works. Woebegone if I decided to refuse (not that I could refuse, so I pended all unpleasant friend requests), there would be calls from the East to my mother who is in North, who would then call me in the West and ask me why was I being rude to the FAMILY. (Yup! She is a bit of a cookie herself; but years with my father have made her saner; though she breaks out now and then!) There would be no way to explain to her that I was not rude and I had not refused and really, I needed some space! The second stage of the ordeal, after becoming friends with me would be to get curious about me. I live more than 2800 km from them and thank powers greater than me for this miracle; if they can go crazy on a virtual social networking site, then imagine what they can do in circumstances where I am physically present. Every photograph is peered into with comments like “Who is that guy?” or “What are you drinking?” or better yet “You are clubbing again!!!” This is absolutely nothing compared to the phone calls my mother would get from the FAMILY about how these days I am partying everyday (cause somebody tagged me on some clubbing pictures) or the Guy in the photograph does not look good enough to belong to the FAMILY (For Christ sake! He is a friend and is already married/engaged/gay!) My mother would with her streak of cookieness call me and well you know what happens when mothers and daughter’s collide. It’s apocalypse times 4! Then comes the last and joyous part of embarrassing me in public “You have put on so much of weight! This is your father’s family genes taking over!” (Duh! I have always been what I would like to term as “Pleasantly plump” and this fact is not an earth shattering revelation for them to proclaim with such suprise and at least I am “pleasant”) Or better yet “Your sister looks much better!” I love my sister and she is gorgeous! But why do you have to  compare and contrast on a public page for the world too see?  My favourite of course is any photo with a restaurant ambience would without fail merit a comment in the lines of “Eating again?! Living live King size are we not! Have you seen the mirror lately?”

Now I defy you to come up with more nastier and embarrassing examples.

Net result is that I have really really given up social networking. There is indeed a silver lining to everything and enlightenment came as I discovered that as I move away from FB and such sites –

  1. I am mailing a lot more again and reading mails and receiving them is a pleasure which I had forgotten
  2. I have started calling people over the phone a lot more and the human touch is always special
  3. I opened an account anonymously on another site and it’s fun to be free of all social imposed restrictions and standards
  4. I do not have to spend a considerable time of life refusing My Calender and Farmville and Petville request
  5. Finally the FAMILY has no idea where or what am I up to and they are forced to call my mother who can only divulge what she knows and I make sure she knows only on a need to know basis

I still have an official Facebook page, which I still log in for the sake of keeping in touch with people who matter and generally check out the madness around me, but I really kick of my shoes and pull out all the stops in mails and the “Other” page of my life!!

Valentine and All that Jazz

I am aware that today is Valentine’s Day and people round the world will be offering me the pros and cons of celebrating or not celebrating the day. I am really not interested in the debate…. I mean really, I am not and I repeat not concerned with –

  1. You are celebrating the day only because your wife/girlfriend/partner/dog/cat/rabbit wants you to
  2. You are celebrating because you feel that it is a special day to showcase love
  3. You are not celebrating because you feel that you do not need a special day to showcase love

As far as I am concerned, I really do not care mate! Do whatever you feel like and do not go boring the world and yes…..blocking my Facebook, Twitter and mobile accounts with mush. Really! One should have some compassion for one’s fellow creatures.

What I really find intriguing about this dastardly boring day is the idea suggested by Saki in his short story “The Feast of Nemesis”. Clovis, Saki’s alter ego and principle protagonists suggests to Mrs Thackenbury about day to pay off old scores, grudges and where one makes a list of “People who must not be let off!” as an antithesis to all Valentine/Christmas/New Year events. I would strongly recommend reading the story ….trust me it provides a whole new perspective! You can read it online at http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/FeasNeme812.shtml, if you do not want to go the old fashioned paper route!

This story along with a real fun blog by Renne Fisher called “A Valentine for Someone I Hate” (http://lifeintheboomerlane.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/a-valentine-for-someone-i-hate/) got me thinking of a couple of people for whom I would really really really want to spend some quality time planning how not to “let them off”. I am not vindictive, but sometimes one is compelled by circumstances! So in the lines of Anna Karenina “Vengeance is mine! I shall repay”; here goes my top three master plans –

  1. My aunt who never let me eat enough on family dinners because I was overweight – I would want to throw a gala dinner party only and only for you and keep feeding you until……well until I feel like and you are extremely uncomfortable
  2. My erstwhile best friend who planned and succeeded in taking away my guy from me – I will pay another woman to do the same to you, especially now that you are both “committed” to each other and you are completely financially dependent on him. It would not hurt him too much either if the woman dumps publicly either!
  3. My Boss – Lesser said the better; just read my other blog (http://madcapdownsideup.wordpress.com) and you would get the idea! I hope someone does to you what you have done unto us and in the whole balance of life kind of thing, I do see it happening! His boss is as erratic and unreasonable as it gets! So no plan here…only let the nature take its course!

This would be my plan! But really in a life that is so short and unpredictable, do I really have the time and energy to even wishing such things, let alone execute? Naaaaaaaa!

Like I said, life is far too much to offer to get caught up in such petty details, no matter how much they might have mattered to you at one time….besides, the more I see my boss and his plight, the more I am convinced that what you do is what you gonna get! So one good dead will beget another….or vice versa! Better to be in the first boat me thinks!

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