Almond Blossom

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Illustration- http://www.bitesizedsanity.com

The chatter around us seemed to have multiplied, the music ebbing into a gentle stream. I looked out of our bubble and felt only a hum, reverberating around us but not quite touching us. I was secure, I was happy.

My mind tugged onto a single stream of memory, a thread I had looped around it to help me remember. It’s been a while and I have stopped being surprised by how easily our conversation flows, how I want to tell you everything and not hold anything back. From the most inconsequential event to things of great urgency, they flow like a tide between us, back and forth.

My words spill their letters and, in that moment, you take my hand and intertwine our fingers; the alcohol gently making its way to our bloodstreams. You sit there wearing a lopsided smile, absorbing my words and looking so nonchalant. Like as if this was the most ordinary thing in the world, like as if my heart hadn’t slipped through my ribcage and into the pit of my stomach, like as if affection was a commodity to be shared so easily.

In your defence, you have never viewed affection as a commodity to be sold and bought. I come from a world where love has a price and hearts are broken with the speed of lightning. A world where affection is hoarded, a wasteland of hearts. I have only ever been robbed of my soul, for I am well versed in the art of giving.

If I love you, I will let you have my all. You can move into my heart, strip my body of all its shame and haunt my soul. I have been told to be careful, hearts break easily. But, what else is the purpose of our hearts? The heart is for breaking, for feeling, for loving recklessly. How can the heart grow softer if we never let it break, never allow it to grieve and feel?

But, I am getting side-tracked. You laughed, and now I understand why making someone laugh is such a treasure. I could do this all day, hold your hand and walk you through my world of absurdities. This is a world of my own, my vulnerabilities are alive and breathing. You should know I do not bring people here, not so often anyway.

You are gazing at me like I am the most important thing in the room, I have never seen your eyes drift away from me. We are held together by electricity, buzzing and alive in our hands. We get ready to leave, my hand held firmly in yours. Tugging me along the next adventure at 10’o clock in the night.

It’s a hot night, spring is coming alive in the form of almond blossom trees, their pink petals strewn all over the streets. You kiss me then, and it’s as if I have never been kissed before. It’s a heart thumping, mind reeling, fingers tugging onto skin kind of urgency. Your kisses are always urgent, like as if you are boarding a train to an unnamed city at the crack of dawn, tasting me for the last time.

Through the thumping of my heart, emerges a single delicate thread of whisper- I hope the night sucks us in right this moment, the geometry of our lips intact and our bodies communicating in a language private to them alone.

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Book 16 (and 15) of 2018- The Last Town and Tin Man

Yes, I know that I skipped yet another book but I will tell you just how I liked it here in a sentence. The 15th book of the year was The Last Town, the third and last book from the Pines series and well, it was underwhelming. I was excited to reach the conclusion and to read about how they fought the abbies or maybe how the abbies took over the world because that would make so much more sense. There is a conclusion in this book, but I guess it wasn’t the one that resonated with me. Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

 

Moving on, the 16th book of the year was Tin Man by Sarah Winman. I purchased this book without reading reviews and so I had no idea that people were already praising it. Tin Man is not a book you finish in one sitting, and I really hope you don’t. Tin Man needs to be relished. Every sentence in this book is like several pieces of juicy plums, the pit of which you suck at out of sheer joy and prolong it, just to enjoy the moment.

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Tin Man is a story about two men, and a woman who changed it all. It’s also a story that starts from a painting.

Men and boys should be capable of beautiful things.
If this phrase speaks to you, you know you need Tin Man in your life. Tin Man left me feeling warm, but also melancholic. Tin Man is the kind of book I want to hug when the sun is going down, take it out on a picnic and watch the world pass by. Sarah Winman has crept inside my heart and decorated her little space with paper doilies of phrases, each more beautiful than the other.
I am going to conclude this post with the notes I highlighted in my kindle. Why? Because these phrases are beautiful and all the encouragement you really need to sit down and read Tin Man.
When the breeze ripples, petals of pink and white and fuchsia fall on me and I imagine myself a garlanded pyre alight under the fiery sun
I try hard to be liked, I always have. I try hard to lessen people’s pain. I try hard because I can’t face my own.
I’m broken by my need for others.
There’s something about first love, isn’t there? she said. It’s untouchable to those who played no part in it. But it’s the measure of all that follows, she said.

Book 14 of 2018- The Butterfly Garden

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I am currently reading my 17th book of the year and have been lazy in writing book reviews more frequently. The 14th book of the year was The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison.

Goodreads Summary

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

I am not saying this is the most engaging book you will read this year. I am also not saying that this book is exceptionally well-written. This one really is a gamble.

The plot is interesting, the main voice of the book, Maya stays with you throughout the book. I didn’t feel frustrated with the plot line, as many Goodreads reviewers seem to have been. Nor was I exceptionally let down by it. Truth be told, this is a good enough book that will disturb you and repulse you, but also keep you reeled in.

There is a second book in the series, but I don’t think I am ever going to get to that.

Women’s Day Apology Letter

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Artwork by www.bitesizedsanity.com

 

I see a group of people mock a beautiful fuchsia skirt, its pleats akin to an accordion. They do not mock the colour or the fall of the skirt, only the hairy legs that peek out from underneath it. Today I read nasty comments on a makeup tutorial video, they said that makeup is for girls.

I have grown up witnessing parents scold their boys for their tears.

“Boys don’t cry”

I wasn’t aware that tears too have a gender and that society is hellbent on pouring women into its role.

So, we systematically oppressed boys and men who cried, who tried to express their hurt and anguish. We took up arms against the poems that could have been, against a healthy way to grieve. We didn’t let our boys be soft, for soft is feminine.

Men are tough and made of arrogance and ego. Men open fire in public spaces when their advances are rejected, men believe a woman’s body is owed to them. Men engage in violence, men shrug off softness.

“Boys and men should be capable of beautiful things”- Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Oh but we don’t let them, do we? We tear their self-respect down, we try so hard to torch their feminine aspects. They bleed poetry but all we see is ash flying in the wind. They build walls and nest in the farthest corners of rooms. They blend with shadows and choke the throat of their opinions.

God forbid they find their voice, because when they do, we question their temerity. We ask, “how dare you stand up for your own rights?”

We reduce them to ridicule, a public object of humour meant to be pissed at whenever it pleases us. They have flowers blooming inside their lungs but all we see are 100 ways to trample them.

Women too, conditioned by patriarchy are suspicious of their femininity. Femininity, they think is something to be claimed only if you have a vagina.

No, I said no. You are a woman if you identify as a woman. Repeat that after me. You are a woman if you think you are, you are a woman if you believe yourself to be.

Nature didn’t fuck up, you weren’t born in the wrong body. You were born human before we tried to shove you into a box of gender conformity. I apologize profusely for the number of times you thought cis straight women were your allies and they spat at you, unacknowledged your femininity and mocked your softness. I am sorry they didn’t realise the toxicity of the term “man up”.

I apologise for the number of times you were told you are not enough of a woman, when they said makeup is not meant for men. I am sorry they didn’t appreciate your beauty.

I am also sorry for the times your humanness scared them. For when they thought a trans woman too should shave her legs to be more feminine. I am sorry they think they are entitled to define what ‘femininity’ means. I am so sorry that they don’t let you be, that they treat your existence as a bad joke.

I may not be able to make this all go away, but I will fight for you. I want you to know that my feminism is intersectional, that I am raging and expressing sorrow for a world that has taught itself to hate you. I will stand by you, I will support you.

The world has never known what to make of us, we weren’t born to comply. All we do is exist, on our own terms and free. The world retaliates, builds monsters who encroach on our personal spaces and question our rights to be. I want you to know that we are in this together, you and I, and this is a fight we will see through.

Happy Women’s Day to anyone and everyone who identifies with feminism. May we drag patriarchy out the door and torch it, together.

Book 13 of 2018- The Librarian by Kavitha Rao

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Books about books and the people who love them passionately are my favourite kinds. They feel like a warm hug on days life seems hard, enveloping you in their reassurance. The Librarian by Kavitha Rao is no different.

Goodreads summary:

Ever since she could read, Vidya Patel realized that she preferred books to humans. Her family disapproves, but Vidya meanders through life with her nose in a book. When she is ten, she visits the Macmillan, a struggling heritage library in Mumbai. It is in the Macmillan that Vidya truly, finally, feels whole. Vidya befriends Shekhar Raghavan, the brilliant, eccentric librarian, who becomes her mentor. As soon as she is old enough, she joins the library as junior librarian, and throws herself into keeping the Macmillan going, with consequences she could never have foreseen. She also learns the destructive power of obsession, and what it does to people. Will Vidya be able to save the Macmillan? And at what cost?

I have cherished books since the moment I discovered them. I started reading when I learnt the alphabet and have never stopped. For me, The Librarian felt so very personal; a monument to my own passion for books. This book is for everyone who has been mocked for reading, and for everyone who cannot fully explain why they love reading so much; why the characters in a book feel so real, why they get so emotionally attached to them.

The Librarian explores human obsession and the streets of Bombay too. Kavitha Rao writes so wonderfully, her writing draws you in from the first word and does not let go. I can see myself returning to this book sometime soon enough. If nothing else, then to read about other people who fell in love with books and didn’t quite know how to fall out.

Kim Kardashian ain’t your bitch

A quick stalking session of Kim Kardashian’s Instagram profile will bring you up to date with the amount of sexism that truly exists and flourishes in the world. Now, I do not keep up with the Kardashian clan but on those few occasions when I randomly visit her profile, I am always astounded by the societal pressure placed on a woman day in and day out.

kim-page-001Yesterday, I stumbled across this image and a whole lot of garbage in the comments. Notice comment number 3,4 and 7. Pieces of art, right? The thing is, almost every nude that Kim posts on her Instagram seems to always be followed by a bunch of internet morality upholders reminding her that she has a husband and kids and therefore is not ‘allowed’ to do whatever the fuck she wants.

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If the internet is to be believed, motherhood is basically a party pooper. Being a mother means that you now have an obligation to erase your identity and wear a thick shroud of morality.

“You wanna post a nude?” Think about your kids ffs.

“A blurred nipple?” Oh girl, you have a husband now”

Why do we expect a woman to carry the onus of being a wife and a mother on her shoulders? What if Kanye today posted an exposed butt picture on Instagram? I bet you that he will have thirsty comments on that instead of men and women asking him to think about his wife and kids.

When internet morality upholders aren’t shaming her for being herself, there’s always the “Young girls look up to you” comment. First of all, let’s get something straight. If you are a parent and you think your young daughter should not look up to Kim because you are offended by her lack of morals, you are doing parenting wrong. When I look at Kim, I see a smart as fuck woman with a shrewd sense of marketing, someone who is sitting on a shit ton of money than either of you will ever make. Granted, Kim cropped up from nowhere. I would even go on to admit that I do not know why the world is obsessed with her. I tried watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians and it just wasn’t my thing. However, you would be a hypocrite to turn your back on the sheer amount of fame and popularity she has garnered through how well she markets herself. Kim IS a brand.

Take a moment to critique your own sexism when you ask her to have morals and shame before posting a nude because 10 years down the line, her kids would be offended by it. A woman is allowed choices when it comes to her own body and you are no fucking body to try and shame her into letting her choices seem wrong. Her kids would be offended by her pictures? Kim Kardashian would then do good to remind her salty kids that they basically owe her their lives and the lavish lifestyle they live and it’s all because of how well mama crafted herself in the public eye.

Women make choices about their own bodies. Motherhood does not erase her identity. Being a wife does not mean that she can’t do whatever the fuck she wants. Your idea of morality stems from internalised patriarchy and it’s time to educate yourself into getting rid of it. So, in conclusion, stop being a prick and do something productive.

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Book 12 of 2018- Wayword (#2) by Blake Crouch

I have been MIA but that’s only because I went off to Calcutta for a holiday and also managed to finish three books on a 8 day long vacation. This year is certainly looking good in terms of my reading progress.

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The 12th book of the year was the second part of The Wayward Pines series and if you are thinking of getting onto this bandwagon, I would suggest you start here. As I have already mentioned before, I am a complete fan of Blake Crouch and this second book definitely packs a whole lot of punch.

Ethan Burke has been beyond the fence and knows what lurks beyond. He is however, also the new sheriff in town. Here we follow his state of mind as he tries to acclimatise himself to the functioning of Wayword Pines. The danger that lurks beyond the fence takes on a renewed importance, now more than ever before. Will the town ever know what Wayword Pines really is? Another character is introduced in the book who happens to have played a significant role in Ethan’s wife, Theresa’s life before Ethan came to town.

Wayword is a fitting second book in the series and I raced through it, like I do with every Blake Crouch book. The writing keeps you hooked and there’s not a single dull moment in this part.

This is it for now. Keep your eyes open for my review of the last part of this series! 😀