Somewhere in the forests and waters of Nainital…

… I left a part of my soul. Nainital, if you don’t know, is a hill station in the state of Uttarakhand in North India. It is situated at the altitude of about 6800 ft from sea level. I was lucky enough to visit this charming city this month. And it was hands down, the most beautiful one out of all the Indian cities that I’ve ever visited.
I’m going to stop talking now and let you enjoy the pictures…

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Naini lake

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Bhimtal

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Bhimtal

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The city as seen from above.

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A bit of adventure

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Seen at Bhimtal

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That little one…

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QUAAAAAAACKKK!!!

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Garud Taal… One of the seven lakes of Sattal. A secluded one among the woods.

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The woods.

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View from Golu Devata Temple, Gorakhal. That little water body on the right is Bhimtal.

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DSCN3047 Thousands of bells at the temple.

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DSCN3114 Himalayan View Point

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Nainital from above – mango shaped.

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Khurpatal

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Lover’s Point.

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Back to Nainital

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Sunkissed waters!

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Our last night in this beautiful city. A full moon night.

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The Immortals Of Melu-BLAHH!!

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Alright! Time for the first negative book review on here. Most of you following me wouldn’t even have heard of this book. And if you happen to be an Indian, following me, reading this post, having an interest in reading books and intending to pick this one up… DON’T!! (Although the odds of all of that happening at once is quite low… but still.)

The Immortals Of Meluha by Amish Tripathi, more like The Immortals Of Melu-blahh!! is actually quite blah! in the truest sense and I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t like this one, not because I’m an extremely devoted Shiva worshipper who couldn’t take a story written with a different perspective which showed Shiva as a normal human being who went on to become a hero. But because there is absolutely nothing… NOTHING original in the entire book. Amish Tripathi has played with the age old formula of  a prophecy, a society that needs a saving, a common enemy, a ‘normal’ 20 something man aka our hero in making. Oh and of course, for a little bit of romance, a girl,who, although is shown to be a very strong character, but still needed to be saved thrice by the hero in the entire book, because obviously you can’t write a book with the female lead NOT being dependent on the male lead. Okay, I’m not trying to bring up feminism here, but I think it’s time for the writers to do away with the clichéd ‘damsel in distress’ concept. It’s getting monotonous and boring.

Talking about ‘cliché’, the love story between Shiva and Sati does justice with the word. Every single scene between them and every single dialogue seemed straight out of some typical Bollywood movie. Love at first sight, then fighting together, some taboo in society due to which they can’t be together, Sati taking an arrow for Shiva, then Shiva charging towards attacker, easily turning away all the arrows coming towards him with a sword… I mean COME ONNNN!! I could almost imagine the scene in slow motion, the way I’ve seen it a thousand times in TV serials and movies. And that’s not just it, Sati almost loosing the battle against death, but then Shiva’s miraculous idea saves her life curing her with something which has NEVER in the history of Meluha cured anyone. Because, obviously our heroine can’t die. And don’t even get me started on the war scenes. (Okay Amish Tripathi, so you paid attention while watching the fight scenes of Lord Of the Rings and 300? Good job!)

So in a nutshell, the story was flat, unoriginal, bland and… what’s the word?… SOPORIFIC! The charachters were under developed. Did I tell you how in less than 50 pages, our hero made a sexist joke? Well, he did. So I pretty much started detesting his charachter even before I was properly introduced to him. But it turned out, there wasn’t much to like about him anyway. The author miserably failed at setting the scenes and the environment. The book ended at a terrible point. It ended at a cliffhanger, but the one, which didn’t induce any interest in further reading the sequels whatsoever. The writing was mediocre. And, and, and… I almost forgot to mention how many times the characters used words like ‘damn’, ‘dude’ and ‘shit’. I mean DUDEEEE! AM I REALLY READING A STORY SET IN A PERIOD 4000 YEARS AGO ? Because it sure didn’t feel like it.

Furious 7

Furious-7Amongst all the madness of exam season, I somehow managed to take some time out to go and watch Furious 7. Before I start on how much I LOVED it, here’s a short summary of the plot from IMDB, because I couldn’t have explained it better…

Dominic Torretto and his crew thought they left the criminal mercenary life behind. They defeated an international terrorist named Owen Shaw and went their seperate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde, and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called God’s Eye, that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between terrorist and the United States government.

The movie was overwhelmingly mindblowing! Right from the very first scene, I knew this was going to be good. And when I say good, I mean CRAZY good. And I was right about that. Yes, the film showed some really silly gravity defying stunts and it was a little bit cliched at times. Also, the plot could’ve been stronger, considering how Dom’s group was fighting Somalian terrorists for a computer program and it’s maker, all of which basically had nothing to do with them, all because a covert ops team proposed to ally with them in return of their help to deal with Deckard Shaw. I mean most of the time they were just fighting a third party, when actually their enemy was just one person. That looked a teensy bit off to me. BUT, who cares?? I mean, despite all these little flaws, this movie has everything you want to see in a blockbuster. Who doesn’t want to see cars skydiving from an aircraft and racing through one skyscraper to another at such high altitudes? Call it mindless all you want, but you can’t deny, it was fun to watch.
Jason Statham, the new addition to the movie’s cast, playing Deckard Shaw was brilliant in his role. That guy had some real issues though, throwing bombs everywhere and at everyone. An extremely strong antagonist and a very tough one to beat. He practically looked ‘indestructible’ to me throughout the movie. I really really hope he comes back in the next installment. Vin, Paul, Michelle, Dwayne, Jordana, Tyrese and Ludacris were all fantastic as usual.

Putting all of it’s action packed, adrenaline rush inducing, edge-of-the-seat thrill aside, we all know what this movie stood for. This movie was meant to be a tribute to it’s late actor Paul Walker and that, it did beautifully. Salute to it’s makers, who gave this movie an exceptionally moving and poetic end, and more than succeeding in bidding a warm farewell to a departed family member. In the last scene, you could see it in Vin Diesel’s eyes… it wasn’t Dom saying goodbye to Brian, it was Vin saying goodbye to Paul. That scene gave out some major sentimental vibes. The song ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth only added to the beauty of the climax. It got me, to be honest. And every single person at the cinema. In my twenty years of life, I had never seen the entire hall clapping in unison at the end of the movie. But it happened today. That in itself says how much people loved Paul.

It’s been a long day without you my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

For Paul.

Second Interview aka THE NIGHTMARE!

Second one, more like the screwed one.

Seems like the ‘heaven’ didn’t like my humble gratitude towards it the last time, and so it dropped all the ‘accountancy’ bombs on me this time. (*looks up* “WHY?!?”). Not like I’m too bad at it. At least, my mark sheets don’t say that. But the thing is that my brain just likes to randomly shut down when I need it the most. Here’s the scene which went down yesterday:

After four hours of waiting, I was the last one left to be interviewed. I entered and there were four panelists sitting. I wished them and they asked me to have a seat. I sat down, not realizing the chair had wheels. So it slipped backwards. And in my desperate attempt to avoid losing balance I caught hold of the table which tilted a bit towards me, then dropped back with a BANG! and I almost drowned in embarrassment with an apologetic look on my face. (Self confidence status: down to 50%). Next came a few questions and I answered them (“easy, easy!” I told myself) and then the downfall started. One bad question and I lost it. My brain went into the sleep mode whilst I struggled through every single question from then on, thinking like “Okay okay I know this one. They’re all staring at me. Okay. Calm down. Think. THINK! Have you really studied anything about this? Ever? …. But … they’re still staring. It’s too late, think of an answer, say something. ANYTHING! “ (*knocks skull* “Hellooo!! Is anyone/anything thereee??”) and finally coming out with “Sorry sir, I don’t know”. (Self confidence status: down to 20%). So the kind lady on the panel, maybe judging by the looks of me, asked me  to describe my hometown which I did thinking, okay now they’re talking about something else. But NO! I was asked a few more finance related questions until my self confidence level came down to zero giving not-so-impressive, not-so-satisfying replies. 
I could almost see it in their eyes that they were thinking ‘How the hell did she manage to score so good all this time?!?’. And so the interview ended on an extremely bad note. I got up, thanked them, turned around and started walking, then turned around again, came closer, looked them in the eyes and said “I hate finance. And it’s the reason I’m making a career switch and applying for a specialization in another subject. I want you to know that and also that I’m the kind of student you wouldn’t want to lose.” And then I left them looking at me in astonishment while I walked out of the room. Like. A. Boss. …. In dreams.
In reality, I just walked out and didn’t look back again. To be honest, I was just happy and grateful to be finally out of that gloomy room. (But just you wait. Until that summer when I’ll sit and write ”a novel that would fix a lot of people”.)

So then, on my way back, my mind surprisingly woke up (Did you sleep well? Did you have a great nap, huh?) and I suddenly recalled the answers to every single one of those questions I couldn’t answer inside. Oh no, it was from THAT chapter… Damn I knew that  one!… Bloody amalgamation, I always hated that topic…. what the hell was I thinking though?…  I HATE MYSELF!!! …URGHHH!!
  Blah blah blah! All said and done, another milestone of embarrassment level achieved!
*confetti blasts*

End of story.

Good Night!

P.S. : Later this day, I went to a bookstore with my father and bought a book for myself. Not much but enough to boost my mood a hundred times. So that was basically a happy ending to a super disastrous day.  😉

First Interview Experience

HELLLOOOO !!!…to anyone who’s reading this.

How is your day going today? My day is going pretty fantastic. A little over 13 hours of sleep, street food and ice-cream. Talk about guilty pleasures of life ha! Enough to make me happy. 😀

Although I kind of deserved it after a couple of mentally stressful days. College interview, you see. After a panicky and quick revision of stuff that I studied in high school (you should remember the basics, they say) and the national and international current affairs, two almost-break-down-moments, and asking my father to cancel the tickets, all because I was having cold feet, everything went surprisingly well. The first two rounds were okay (or I might have just screwed them) , I don’t know! But let’s just fast forward to the personal interview round. The only round I was dreading the most. One minute into it and I knew I could do it. No academics, thank the heavens! Everything personal. From two uses of a toffee wrapper, to a couple questions about HR, leadership skills, to ‘describe your city’ to ‘Have you ever been into a fight? Don’t you think it’s time you got into one?’ kind of weird questions, everything just turned out to be a super smooth ride. But before all of that, I think I already had them when I was asked about my reading choices. But the absolute golden moment was when I realized that one of the two interviewers was a movie buff too. (To be honest, this is the whole point I’m writing this post because more than 30 hours since it happened, and I’m still in awe because HOW COOL IS THAT!!! ) Can I just say that we really ‘hit it off well’ because of our mutual love for the movies? Honestly, he didn’t look like a man who would be much interested in it, until he brought up Birdman and had me like HE KNOWS ABOUT IT!?! (And for the fact, yes, in my country, that was an unusual thing to know about, until now, of course, when it has won an oscar) And that wasn’t it, he also asked me what I thought of The Theory Of Everything (I was the first to mention it, btw), PK, Badlapur and Baby. Right up my alley! I could talk about movies for hours! Not to mention, after everything, he said, that maybe I’m making a ‘wrong career choice’. Okay, now that’s a direction I wasn’t hoping that he would take. I don’t know whether they had ‘wow-she-is-a-book/movie-nerd-I-totally-like-her’ kind of impression or ‘too-much-into-fiction-not-serious-about-career’ kind of impression. I’m hoping it’s not the latter one. But anyway, it was absolute fun for me, at least. So that’s the story of my first interview.

Also, now that we’re talking about movies, I think it’s only fair to mention HOW HAPPY I AM THAT EDDIE TOOK HOME THE OSCAR. YAASSSSS!!! I was rooting for him all along. And this is the first time in 7 years that someone I was rooting for has won. Although I’m a bit gutted about Interstellar not making the most out of the only four nominations it had. Especially Hans Zimmer. Because, let’s face it, that man deserved it more than anyone else. (Damn you, academy awards, what do you have against big commercially successful movies?)

Okay, so that’s all about it. What did you think of the Oscars?

Also, it’s unbelievable that you read this post till the end. That’s great! 🙂

Have a good night’s sleep.
Later,
Srishti.

The Bell Jar

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“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

This book was recommended to me by Ekatemari, when I reviewed Catcher In The Rye. If you’re reading this, thank you so much for the recommendation. 🙂  So here’s what I think about it…

I’m at a loss for words. I don’t know where to start. So dark, so gloomy yet moving and relatable to an extent.
Esther Greenwood, 20 years old, talented, successful, has everything she ever wanted in her life. But she’s not excited. There are way too many things which worry her, and ultimately she finds herself trapped under a bell jar.

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What I liked so much about Esther Greenwood was her eccentric character. She doesn’t want to waste away her life limiting herself by the rules set by the society. She wants to do everything and be everything. Yet, when she meets people more talented than her, she doubts herself and feels inadequate. She hates hypocrites. She absolutely hates the idea of living her life in the way girls were expected to in that time. She throws out all of her new, expensive clothes, one by one, out of the hotel window as a symbol of rejecting to conform with the expectations of society. She’s not fascinated by big cities and parties. Cadavers and pickled foetuses catch her attention.  She imagines things she should have said to people. And then one day when nothing goes right, she decides ‘to spend the summer writing a novel that would fix a lot of people’ , gets stuck on the first line, then ditches the idea. She’s bold. She’s determined. She’s talented. She’s crazy. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT HER! I don’t remember how many times I screamed “Yes! Yes! EXACTLY!” while reading this book. It’s amazing how much you can connect to a book written 53 years ago.

By this point in the book, Esther had become like a friend for me. She made me laugh, she made me think and made me privy to all of her deepest secrets, and then as she descended into depression, I watched her lose all of her battles with herself. However, the book ended on a rather positive note. Positive, as in, open ended, leaving it on the readers to decide whether in their opinion, she managed to overcome her inner demons or not. Considering the semi autobiographical nature of this book, what Sylvia Plath endured in her life is a secret to none. Every single page of this book felt haunted by Sylvia’s spirit. And it’s really saddening to know in that much detailed manner how she battled with her own self every single day and eventually ended her life. But the fact that she left an open end for Esther (who is basically her own self) tells that among all the struggles she went through, she had a hope for herself. And I believe that Esther lived. Giving support and hope to thousands of people fighting depression.

The other characters of the book weren’t developed in detail, just the right amount was explained about them as required for the story.  Esther was the sole star of the book and the way her character was written was commendable. Every single thought of her was nicely described. The book, altogether, was very intense and powerful most of the time, filled with dark humour at times. I started reading this book knowing that Sylvia Plath was a poet, but she proved herself as an equally good author too. The imageries set in the book were absolutely alluring, the fig tree one being the most striking of all.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

The best thing about this book was it’s straightforwardness and pure truthfulness, taking us into extreme depths of a mind of a neurotic person. It made me empathise with her on levels I didn’t know I could for any person long gone. But I don’t want to just remember her for someone who was clinically depressed. She was independent, she was an individual having an unconventional  approach to life, she was loving, she was funny, she was brave, she was intrepid and more than anything, she was extremely talented who could put out her thoughts into beautiful poetries. And the world should remember her for all these qualities, rather than just sticking her head in the oven.

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Yayy! Resolutions!

tumblr_nhga0wZi8C1qjefdlo1_500Hi! First of all, A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to you if you’re reading this. I’m probably a bit late to jump on this ‘new year resolutions’ bandwagon, but it’s never too late. Before starting, here’s something my friend posted on the new year… “What To Do In 2015?” (Also, check out the entire blog for some real motivation). 🙂

(Just a heads up, you don’t have to read ahead unless you’re really really interested)

Ok, so… I have made a number of resolutions this year. Even though my friend here suggests that we should make only one and abide by it strictly. I never learn, you see. 😛 But maybe, declaring them all here will make me stick to them. We’ll see what happens at the end of 2015.

1. Read More: 2014 was a really low year for me in terms of reading. And honestly, I haven’t been able to complete my annual reading challenges since past two years. So the first thing I resolve is to read more. And I challenge myself to do at least 20 of the following list. I’m putting up a new page which would show my progress. (Don’t check too often, ok)

2015-reading-challenge2. Write More : If you’ve been following me, then you’d know how rarely I post on here. So resolution number 2 is to post more often. And write more, in general, whether or not I publish it here.

3. Re-read Harry Potter : I don’t even remember how many times I’ve read Harry Potter books. But usually I pick any of the parts randomly and read it. It’s been aaaaaaaagesssss since I last read the whole lot. So I’m going to binge read all the parts this year.

4. Be Self Confident : Because as much as I try denying it, I care wayyy too much about what people think of me. So this year I’ve decided to go with the “I-love-myself, FTW” attitude. Yep!

5. Learn something new, lose weight, do something good : I’m putting all of these in one to spare you the boredom of reading them individually (See I’m so thoughtful ya). Actually I’m putting these in one because I think of doing these every year. But this time I’ll do it. 2015 IS GOING TO BE MY YEAR! (I say that every year) 😛

I realize some (actually, all) of them are pretty basic. But it would be a big achievement for me if I manage to do them. So that’s all about my resolutions for this year. Good Luck to you too if you’ve taken any.

Happy 2015!:)