The melody of your voice, has always been a little too dear to me. I held onto it like Scrat from the Ice Age held onto his acron, at times a bit too possessively and at other times, obsessively. I feared that if I didn’t hold it tight in my grip, I might lose it forever. So much that it did not occur to me to relish it in the present, just as Scrat. I kept on pursuing it, holding it close, but doing nothing else to ensure its safety.
Until there came a time when I started living life afresh, experiencing new things, things I never imagined I would ever be able to do, like moving seven oceans across, to a completely new land. I actively grew more engaged in changing how I would deal with certain emotions. Before I knew it, I had stopped thinking about you altogether. The new environment had a lot to contribute for it.
The other day, while rummaging through an old, dusty pile of e-mails, I accidently stumbled upon your voice recordings. That crisp, croaky sound gave me company for a good full day. While I was nearly going back to forgetting your voice, the following week, I came across a couple more of these recordings. These ones, probably the last of the lot that I still possess, took me back half a decade down the memory lane.
Its funny how such minute long vocals of vibrations confined in your recording devices can affect your mood, your emotions. How subtly can they give you goose bumps before you even realize it. How they can cause these tiny little droplets of salty water traverse the path down your lower eyelids, through your round, bumpy cheeks, then steeply down your jaws, and then jump down on your clothes making them moist.
It makes me wonder if you too ever find such broken pieces of our memories and if you take some time out to dwell on them a little, and try to fit those pieces together along with the salty water doubling up as glue. If you too cherish the times, while listening to the same old songs that we both loved listening to. If you too would want to go back to those moments and live in the melody of our love, if only for a few more minutes?
Sometimes life brings you to a standstill. A complete, terrible standstill. You eat, to survive and not because you love to. You try to read and write and draw because you want to come of the loop. The thinking loop that you are continually stuck onto, like it’s the only song on your playlist that plays on repeat. Slowly, your heart starts pounding, faster than usual. Closing your eyes at night is a task in itself, for when those eyes shut – your thoughts amplify, speaking louder than it does during the day. Someone sneezes mid sleep and you wake up wide eyed. Someone else gets up for a little pee in the middle of night, and you rush to them, asking if everything is fine.
That is what anxiety does to you. It creeps up to you without you knowing how far up it has reached already. By the time the realization finally dawns on you, panic has hijacked your mind. It has crept up to the point wherein you do not feel in control of your own body or thoughts. You start to feel helpless, like the world around you is crumbling, along with your hopes and dreams. Your first urge is to give up, and why wouldn’t it be? Isn’t that the easier option? But that is your real test, it is at that exact moment when you need to take a step back and focus on the feeble voice far off towards the end of your vision that tells you to keep going. Well, it might sound unreal at first. For a while let’s just pretend it is real, and take some deep breaths. Those deep breaths wouldn’t make any difference immediately, but it will help you pause, few minutes at a time. It’ll allow you to reconsider your thoughts and help you in breaking their flow. One deep breath at a time.
Heyyaa people! How are you all doing? I’ve missed you loads and I have missed blogging. Hopefully I am back here now. I don’t have a plan yet on what my future posts would be about, but I am happy to be back. It’s much more peaceful than the buzz on other social media platforms.
I was once travelling in a car, I do not recollect what day it was or month, but the scenes I see so clearly. The house, our house, my friends’ houses, our playground, our school, our market, our grocery shop still flashes across, like a happy memory, yet distant, someplace I’ll never set foot again, at least not for long at a time.
There was a time when everything was different, and there soon will be a time when everything will be different, again. As I leave, I try to imprint as much as I can in my head, the blossoming of the gulmohars and the ripening of the mangoes in summer, the harsh and wet rains, the sole fabric of extra layering required in the winters. I think I’ll miss our neighbourhood crows, parrots and pigeons too, for they kept me going when times were dull. I hope to fix up these happy memories in my eyes so as to remember and revisit the place forever and ever, without having to come back. The sad ones can be wiped out, or if possible be burned up, to never be restored again.
Have you ever taken an effort to actually listen to a song mentioned in a book that you read? Do you end up liking such songs?
Space Oddity is one such song that I heard because of a book and ended up loving it way too much. Astronaut Chris Hadfield in his memoir, ‘An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth’ talks about recording this song on the International Space Station (ISS), which is his modified rendition of the classic Space Oddity by David Bowie. If you ever ask for non-fiction recs, you’re sure to hear about this book from me. Although it’s a perfect book to read for people from any profession or field of study, it’s a must-read for astronomy enthusiasts!
While I was thinking about this prompt, my mind raced through some other ideas at first. At one point, I thought about drawing something related to Robinson Crusoe; but then this book popped into my mind out of nowhere, and what’s more outpost-ly than an astronaut floating far, far away from the Earth?
If you’re interested, do listen to ‘Space Sessions: Songs From a Tin Can’, an album of songs that Chris Hadfield had recorded on the International Space Station.
We first meet the little Prince in the Desert of Sahara, asking for the drawing of a sheep. We meet him last in the same place, falling as gently as a tree, without a sound.
‘It is here that the little prince appeared on Earth, and disappeared.’
The Little Prince is a classic novella by French aristocrat, writer, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It starts with the narrator crashing into the desert, and then meeting the young prince. The prince is childlike, but not childish. He talks about mundane things – about his life on his asteroid B 612, about his lovely Rose, his tamed Fox and the others that he meet while on his way to Earth.
The book gives us an insight into how deeply are we bounded by ‘matters of consequences’, how we as grown-ups slowly start forgetting the little things that made us happy and inspired us, as a child.
When Vaishnavi from vcreative learnt that I was reading this book in September, she made sure that I saw its movie too. The movie has a different POV, that of a young girl’s. It even explores the story after the book is finished. It’s a really beautiful movie. Embedding its trailer below:
How do you decide what to read next? Do you have your TBR (To Be Read books) all planned out in advance? If yes, is it planned yearly, monthly, bi-weekly or weekly? Do you rigidly stick according to your plan?
I’ve never really planned my TBRs. Ah, that doesn’t mean I don’t have any TBR pile. Of course, I do- in the form of physical books and ebooks! But since July this year, I tried to make a monthly TBR, and surprisingly did read according to it. I couldn’t tick off the entire list, but at least could read half of them each month, some of the titles that were burdening my pile since years!
How do I decide what to read immediately after my current read? Ah, that’s simple.
If the current book is a 5/5 for me, I’ll check out the blurbs of the other books by the same author. Then I’ll start binge reading all the works by the author one after the other (only if the next books keep me interested too).
If the current book’s setup and timeline catches my fancy, then I’ll google up more books based on that era (like I do for books related to WWII), and thus stumble upon a completely new book – that was originally absent from my TBR – and start reading it.
If I like nothing about my current book, I merely look through my TBR (I have an excel sheet maintained for it) and then pick up one book based on the blurb or sometimes even randomly.
If I have ample of time and energy at my hands, I’ll start a new book series or something non fiction.
If I don’t have much time yet want to read, I’ll check out some light, standalone books – mostly YA (Young Adult genre). Even graphic novels are perfect for this category.
In some cases, I randomly come across a book on goggle or bookstagram, will check their reviews and start reading that immediately!
I’ve read a good number of books related to the Holocaust, and yet Maus by Art Spiegelman stands out. It stands out for its approach on the subject, it’s raw and honest delivery and its comical style, which is rare for a subject as serious as the Holocaust and WWII.
Maus is a graphic novel by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman, serialized from 1980 to 1991. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The work employs postmodernist techniques and represents Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and Poles as pigs. In 1992, it became the first (and is still the only) graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Part one of this book deals with the father’s experiences before and during the World War. Whereas part two shows us the story of the survivor’s son, who was born after the war and yet had to face scores of difficulties due to a troubled relationship with his father, and the suicide of his mother. I’m currently reading the second part.
I ship Jamie and Brienne from the ASOIAF (A Song of Ice and Fire) series so so much! I haven’t watched the GoT (Game of Thrones) series yet – except for season one – but the character arcs of these two people in the books is one of my favourites.
I tried to depict the scene where Jamie gives his sword to Brienne so that she could save the Stark sisters with a sword that was reforged from Ned Stark’s sword, Ice.
The description of this sword as given in the ASOIAF books:
The sword has black and red ripples through the steel. Its scabbard glitters gold and is decorated with a row of lion’s heads and smoldering red rubies. The pommel has a golden lion’s head with ruby eyes that shine like two red stars.
What’s your OTP? Um, what is an OTP you ask? OTP equals One True Pair/Pairing, meaning your favourite couple in any series or book or fandom. They need not actually be a couple in the story, but in your head, they make a perfect couple.
Based on the Peabody Award–winning podcast, this tech-filled adventure series pits intrepid Mars Patel and his outcast friends against a brilliant, enigmatic billionaire as they race to figure out why kids are disappearing from their school.
Mars Patel’s friend Aurora has disappeared! His teachers are clueless. His mom is stressed out about her jobs. But Mars refuses to give up—after all, his own dad disappeared when Mars was a toddler, before he and Ma moved to Puget Sound from India. Luckily, Mars has a group of loyal friends eager to help—smart Toothpick, strong and stylish JP, and maybe-telepathic Caddie. The clues seem to point toward eccentric tech genius (and Mars’s hero) Oliver Pruitt, whose popular podcast now seems to be commenting on their quest! But when the friends investigate Pruitt’s mysterious, elite school, nothing is as it seems—and anyone could be deceiving them. Slick science, corporate conspiracies, and an endearingly nerdy protagonist make this a fresh, exciting sci-fi adventure.
Interweaving podcast transcripts, instant message threads, emails and newspaper stories, Chari deftly constructs a mystery that is strong in both plot and character. Mars’s friend group is as diverse as their unique abilities, and their teamwork and loyalty are unshakable. Based on the Peabody Award–winning podcast, fans of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner and Stranger Things will clamor for more of Mars Patel. —School Library Journal (starred review).
Sheela Chari is the author of THE UNEXPLAINABLE DISAPPEARANCE OF MARS PATEL, based on the Peabody Award-winning mystery podcast. Her other novels include FINDING MIGHTY, a Junior Library Guild Selection and Children’s Choice Award Finalist; and VANISHED, an APALA Children’s Literature Honor Book, Edgar finalist for best juvenile mystery, and Al’s Book Club Pick on the Today Show. Sheela has degrees from Stanford University, Boston University, and New York University, where she received an MFA in Fiction. She teaches fiction writing at Mercy College and lives with her family in New York.
This book is based on a podcast, sounds fun already? Well, I don’t remember reading a Middle Grade book with an Indian or an Indian-American rep before, so the fact that one of the protagonist- Mars Patel is of Indian ethnicity was so relatable. The use of pronouns and also bullying someone with the wrong pronouns was subtly inserted into the story, but has made a mark. The book is like a fast paced thriller, the kind of which MG kids are sure to enjoy! I really wanted to see more of Mars’ mom, to get to know her. I loved the family dynamic and also the friendships portrayed in the book. Plus, it’s a sci-fi adventure, involving many little drones. I loved the book, can’t wait for the next book in the series!!
About the Show
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel is a scripted podcast for middle-grade kids performed by middle-grade kids. It is a fun, high-quality serial mystery that can be described as Goonies meets Spy Kids meets Stranger Things for eight- to twelve-year-olds. It was selected as one of the top fifty podcasts of 2016 by the Guardian, was honored with a Peabody Award, and was nominated for two Webby Awards (Best Audio Drama and Best Sound Design/Original Music Score). The show is enjoyed around the world by kids and adults alike. Check out more about the podcast on www.marspatel.com.