Friday, 25 July 2014 3 comments

Manners Maketh Man

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

"A funny thing happened on my way to the book store last Sunday. And it got me thinking. About manners. Simple courtesies. Basic etiquette. A code of conduct.

Do we even have a code of conduct? A sense of what is polite and what is outright rude? The definition of good behavior?

I encounter people who make me question my belief in good behavior while I’m out – walking on the street, buying groceries, standing in long queues, travelling in the bus, crossing a heavily congested road. People who are the connoisseurs of pushing and shoving others for no reason. I’m sorry. Is pushing and shoving or being mean to people an activity that requires a reason? I think not. These so-called ‘busy bodies’ have got all the world’s work and burdens loaded on their shoulders. Poor souls. They think that being impolite is justified and is a byproduct of their demanding and hectic lifestyle. They don’t wait to think that the person on the other side is, like them, a victim of challenging times. And just like that empathy goes down the drain.

But there she was! The one who would refute my crumbling belief in the existence good manners. All of 60, draped in a cotton sari, a tiny clutch (not the designer kind but the old school purses I saw my Mom carry ages ago) wedged beneath her arms, and she was making her way just like the rest of the harrowed people on the street. Our paths crossed carelessly. I was looking ahead towards the bookstore with pulsing excitement and she probably had pressing family concerns on her mind when it happened.

She stepped on my toe.

I winced and looked up.

Her reaction to the ‘incident’ shook me. From the inside. It astonished me.

She bent down and started touching my feet, not with reverence, but with sincere atonement. As if I were her child who came home one day hurt with a gash on my foot and it was her onus as a mother to heal it. To make it go away.

She looked up at me with earnest apology radiating from her eyes as she uttered those two words.

“Sorry dikra.”

Endearing. Appealing. Powerful.

I pulled myself out of the emotional limbo her actions had plunged me in. I realized that she was at my feet and immediately bent down wrapping my hands around her arms as I persuaded her to stand up. She did.

I said something about how it was alright and that she didn’t have to do that.

It doesn’t matter what I said.

It mattered what she did.

It resounded.

A buzzing sound reeled in my ears as she left, a smile lighting up her wrinkled countenance."

The above incident which I narrate is true and actually took place a few years ago. I still remember her whenever I come across people who are too ill-mannered to ever notice the other’s feelings or state of mind. There may be some for whom this isn’t a big deal.

‘You come across imbeciles like that every other day, so what?’

At the risk of sounding preachy I would say that it is this attitude that makes it ‘OKAY’ for others to be disrespectful towards us. Just because we’re strangers. Because we don’t know each other. Because it is a passing incident. Because we will forget about it the next day.

She didn’t know me either. I was no one to her particular. But she stopped in her tracks to apologize. Even though she was older than me, wiser than me, she knew better than to stoop down to a stranger’s feet.

It’s amazing how a few seconds can influence you in different ways.

It’s funny how strangers can compel you to think. 

Monday, 21 July 2014 0 comments

My Book Review - Gone Girl

Reader Beware: If you haven't read Gone Girl, there are spoilers ahead.
However, if you do decide to read it, do it anyway - I'm Team Freewill...  

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned..."

It had been awhile since I had read a book so amazing that it stays with you. Good books never leave your side. The characters and their stories are forever etched and continuing in your head.

I stumbled on Gone Girl while perusing the internet. It got me interested when I read its summary. It got me even more interested when I read that it was to be made into a movie. And here I am writing why I loved Gone Girl by Gilliam Flynn.

Nick Dunne gets home one day to find his wife, Amy Dunne, missing. That day happens to be their five year wedding anniversary. After the usual drill, he finds that he is becoming a prime suspect in the investigation. The fact that he appears disinterested (and he is) only adds to this. And he also has a very young mistress. And the neighbors heard them fighting like cats and dogs the night before. And there is a very incriminating diary that belongs to his wife in which she has chronicled every little detail of their life together. Crucial details. Like when he shoved her. Or when he told her he didn't want kids. Or when he started becoming so cold and distant that she wanted to buy a gun for herself, just in case. Slowly, everyone around Nick start suspecting him, at one point, even his twin sister.

The book is broken down into three parts:

Boy Loses Girl: The reader starts getting accustomed to the life that was when Nick and Amy had just met, how they fell in love, got married, all hell broke loose, they drifted apart, started living like strangers, she went missing, police investigations taking place in full swing, Nick's affair being revealed, Nick is the bad guy (oh! I hate him).

Boy Finds Girl: Halfway through the book, and bam! I was in for a surprise when I found out that Amazing Amy wasn't really missing. She's alive and kicking and far away from Nick. The reader comes to know of the highly elaborate, intricate and full proof plan that Amy had set in motion a year ago as she set out seeking revenge on Nick for his infidelity. The ways in which she has covered her tracks, paying attention to the minutest of details is commendable and what makes her truly Amazing Amy. And it only helps that she reads a lot of true crime novels to hatch her plan. She is manipulative, cold, and methodical and that is what makes her dangerous. She keeps herself updated about her husband's miseries through the TV and/or internet. She anticipates everything that happens to Nick after her disappearance and even leads the cops to her carefully planted clues and evidence by giving tip calls every now and then. Everything goes as per her meticulous planning, until some things change her course of direction. All this as Nick tries to come to terms with the fact that he has been duped by his wife. And I mean royally duped. You almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost. Then Nick hires a smart lawyer and doles out a few smart tricks of his own by projecting himself as the lovesick puppy he is who screwed up and wants to make up for his mistakes. Sincere Nick. It hits bulls eye when Amy realizes she still loves him and needs to get back to her darling hubby.

Boy Gets Girl Back (or Vice Versa): These final chapters of the book is where the story takes a whole new turn because Amy coming back was definitely the last thing on the reader’s mind. We imagine her driving into the sunset leaving Nick to deal with the problems she cooked up but she comes back. Then begins an ultimate game of cat and mouse between husband and wifey. You know by now how the book might end but when you get to the last page, it still haunts you with a magnified effect.

The three things that I liked about Gone Girl:
  • Style of writing: It is sheer brilliance. This book is extremely witty. The way Gillian Flynn adds humor in the darkest of scenarios is just amazing. I found myself chuckling a lot of times as I devoured page after page. And the descriptiveness. I like it when a writer pays attention to every detail and incorporates it in the book in such a way that it doesn’t exhaust you. It gets you even more interested. Her observations of people, varying depending upon their age brackets, where they come from, their behavior, the nuances of marriage, the ups and downs of a relationship, how a once-in-love couple starts living like strangers – that is the most unsettling thing to me. That you could get so indifferent towards the one you love.

  • His and Hers: This is the first time I read a book where you get to know the point of views of both the central characters simultaneously. Yes, the chapters keep alternating. The writer once again has done such a great job with this feature which might have otherwise turned highly confusing for the reader. But that doesn’t happen. So we start developing a heart for both of them – the cheating husband as well as the calculating wife.

  • Character Sketches: Both the characters have been so perfectly etched that there are no loose ends or any loophole that the reader can point out. A topic as complex as this needs to be dealt with a lot of detailing and that is what the book narrates. From the always emasculated, not-so-perfect Nick Dunne to the cunning, psychotic Amy Dunne, they’re all very well planned, well understood, well written people. And the fact that they are both in more ways than one broken and twisted in their own light only emphasizes their fabulous character arcs.
I have a belief that the best and worst thing about a story that you read, see or hear is that it is happening somewhere in reality. If that is the case then I truly feel sorry for the Nick Dunnes of our world. Yes, the occasional feminist in me bobs her head up to give a thunderous applause to Amy Dunne, her spellbinding mind, her techniques, her mind games, her much validated revenge and her talent of fool proofing everything – thinking and planning about things to their last detail, but I do believe that no man, NOBODY deserves to live a life trapped and helpless.

For now, I wait for the movie version to hit the screens so that I can watch it!
Hope David Fincher does justice to this brilliant book! 

Image Courtesy: Google 


Paint It Black

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at 

“I’ve been 40 years discovering that the queen of all colors was black.”

— Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Black is not a color. It’s a statement. 

To write about the 5 black things that I would want is not just a mere wish list.
It’s a “crave list.”

So I am going to go ahead and be unabashedly vain.

1967 Chevrolet Impala 

One of the most classic muscle cars of its time, this dreamboat (yes, dreamboat) is a four door hardtop and is an entity of its own. I daydream about driving it. Picturing me behind the wheel, the wind whispering through my hair as I drive this beauty. (Sigh)

A Black Leather Jacket

I remember ogling the black leather jacket as Miranda Kerr strutted in an advertisement for Mango. Every day on my way to work, I used to indulge in window shopping as I shot a glance at the same leather jacket propped up on the display window at their store near my place. That was the only time I was envious of the mannequin that was dressed in it.

A Black Sheer Outfit by Zuhair Murad

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, does sheer better than Zuhair Murad. This Lebanese designer who has dressed celebrities the world over and whose beautiful creations adorn models on the runway has defined style in a whole new different way, giving it a unique perspective altogether. A black sheer lace outfit spells a killer combination of sensuality and an unmatchable elegance! Me likey!

A Dell Inspiron 15 3537 Laptop 

A graphic designer should have the best of all systems, right? Hence, I would like to have this 4th Gen, 15.6 inch screen size, with the latest Windows OS for all my designing and writing needs. I can even imagine myself sitting in a coffee shop somewhere working the keys.

A Sony BRAVIA KLV-32R422B 32 inches LED TV

I wanted Michael Fassbender in a crisp black suit but I’ll settle for this one. My love for the idiot box is so deeply ingrained that it even governs my moods. On any given day, I’d love to curl on the couch in front of my TV catching up on my favorite shows and watching my favorite classic movies.

 I would also love a black vintage 1900's typewriter, or a hand-carved 18kt gold 18mm black onyx stone Garland Ring by Dunay Joaillier, or the Juda Leopard Mesh shoes by Jerome C. Rousseau or a sinewy black cat as a pet. 
The list is never ending.
But for now, the 5 dazzlers above should suffice...

Image Courtesy: Google