Red… For Hadia

SO we enter the abstract domain. Hadia, the inspiration behind this activity has herself asked me to write on “Red”.  This is what I feared. For me, anything that isn’t particular to the tee becomes nauseatingly close to psychoanalysis. And that scares me to pieces.

Yet, these are some disjointed thoughts that I associate the colour to.

*****

Mohabbatein was an all-round snooze fest. And as in every desert there blooms a cactus, yours truly took away a key message from the movie. Red Flower = Love, and Yellow Flower = Friendship. This of course was a part of the ever elusive Rose Day celebration in the cool college. And then the college I studied in had its own Rose Day celebrations. The only red roses I received that year were in a bouquet from a girl *cue confusion*. To her I remain eternally grateful for opening my eyes.

On a side note, I justified to myself that one offers red hibiscus to Ganesh idols because it’s “love”.

*****

I owned a red salwar kameez once which was just as gaudy as it was loud. It was bought for a school annual day event where the women were all “wives”. Of course the red was to be synonymous with married women. And that dress I wore whenever I felt like dressing up as Indian. I did the whole shebang with a bindi, and earrings etc. This phase went on till I realised the dress was suitable only in the context of “Ye Desh Hain Veer Jawaano Ka.” The only red I’ve worn since are a sporadic kurta here and there. Associations with choodha-wearing brides make me too conscious.

*****

I had an allergic reaction last year to who knows what. My face was swollen and was the shade of tomatoes. I ended up in the Emergency Room and then the ICU. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I realised this is what it must look like when an author says “he/she turned a brighter shade of red with embarrassment.” For me embarrassment is felt in the stomach, seldom shows up on my face.

*****

I remember my mother crying when I first started my period. I was 10, maybe 11. And she cried when she shared the “news” with her mother, then with her best friend and finally just cried every time she mentioned it to anyone. I didn’t get it then as to why she was crying if specks of blood showing up every month were normal, as she explained. A year later, the cramps began. Now, I cry every month yearning for the first decade of my life when I wasn’t bending double over my stomach.

*****

Marilyn Monroe looked like she had it all when she wore red lipstick. I think it was one of the late-night movies I sneaked a glance at oblivious to my parents. And then I noticed almost all of the “English film women” wore red lipsticks. At a discussion with peers (fellow preteens), I think one friend said it looked better on screen while another said it looked better on their skin tone than Indian actresses’. I bought my first red lipstick last year after a hijra woman I was interpreting for told me it would make my eyes stand out. Boy was she right.

*****

Priya Wal looked so damn cool in her red highlights in Remix, that Anwesha was my ultimate idol when I was in school. I wanted flaming red hair. Till I discovered naturally red hair. I realised I could never have those, or carry it off as confidently. The last time I was envious of the same was when I saw a senior colleague who carries off the red curls with better panache than Katrina Kaif in Fitoor. In my head, whenever I rebel, I have red highlights.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – First Impressions (Spoiler-free)! 

It’s overwhelming. Yup, that’s the word for it.

First things first, I’m giving out no spoilers. Read the rest of this post if you want to know what I thought of it and  to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Is it worth buying?
The short answer: If you’re not going to have the opportunity to watch the play, YES.

The long one:

Fans who followed the release and the news closely, would know that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes off where the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows left us. But here’s the thing, I don’t think Harry Potter ever left us. And that’s what J3 (Joanne, John and Jack) do. 
So,  yup. The play is a play on nostalgia, on our extremely fragile sentiments and of  course, takes you right into its arms from the word go. If like me,  you read all the books when they launched, a typical rainy Sunday; this script will make you travel across time and space. 
Without letting out much, let me tell you this, the play reads like it was made for the fans. And I’m not complaining! It feels like the fandom and its likes/dislikes were taken into consideration. Every time a new scene begins, you’ll either have moist eyes or pants (sorry!). If you’ve been a demented fan like me, you’ll know exactly what’s going to happen next. It’s the how it happens that I loved. 

At various points of my two-hour read I had to take a moment to wipe off a tear or really take it all in. This is something I could root for. This is it.

Is the play intense? Naah. Is it funny? In parts. But is it a fitting continuation of the series? Really depends. 

What I expected from the script of the   play was the story. The answer to ‘what next?’, and that bit was marvellous. Even if it’s not the same trajectory I imagined. What I’m now excited about is the actual stage production, because this reads like it was meant to be a movie. (Sidenote: I’d be really disappointed if this is not turned into another money-spinner on the big screen)

The plot in itself is complicated and at times goes into the implausible. You don’t want to believe J3 did that! SHE did that. But I guess, as the demographic of the Harry Potter fan changes (we’re almost all adults), some things had to. And boy does that bring about mixed feelings!

So, should you buy it? Yup, unless you get to watch it first. Even then, I guess I’ll buy the final script for posterity (this one was an ebook purchased on Pottermore).

Should you go in with expectations of it being the 8th book? Nope. Think of it as a tribute to the series. To its fans.

So did you finish reading it too? Are you reading it a second time already? I am!

Let me know what you thought of it!

PS. Please no spoilers in the comments! 

Week One: The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi.

Short Mein Bole Toh: The book felt like I’m lost on Wikipedia, clicking article after article through links and inter links; finally forgetting what the original point was.
If you’ve time then read the rest of my opinion of the book.
Desi Dan Brown. Long stories. Great research. Funny. Don’t read.
Those were some of the reactions I received when I announced that I was planning to read Ashwin Sanghi’s The Rozabal Line.
Let’s rewind a bit. I got the three books by Sanghi a little after Diwali last year just to see what was it that people were talking about! Itna hype kyun?! Then I wondered if I should read Krishna Key or Chanakya’s Chant or The Rozabal Line first. I decided to read his first novel for two simple reasons:
  1. Hmm.. this book takes up the missing years of Christ and brings him to India. That’s new, should try this book.
  2. Too much overdose about Krishna and Mahabharat; and I know literally nothing about Chanakya. So why not read about Jesus, who has been written about so widely that there is nothing new to say!

Boy was I wrong. Thanks to a misrepresented assignment in my first year of BMM, a classmate had said to the class that Jesus was in India and we had laughed. The professor included. What she said that day, came from the book Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten, I suppose. Every time I was reading a new line, I was reminded of something from her assignment. Obviously, that’s where Sanghi’s story was inspired from as well. 
As for nothing new being there to say, let’s just say that I lost it when the book said Mary Magdalene was from Magadh. If that’s new, I think we should totally throw the term “new” out. There’s a thin line of difference between new interesting and new ridiculous.
The book is gripping but shifts between periods in history and myth too rapidly for my taste. I barely understood what happened to someone in Jerusalem during Christ’s crucifixion that I was thrown into present time Afghanistan or London. Characters going into past life, discovering secrets of mankind, Dead Sea scrolls, Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, Vatican City, the Sossoons (Same Jewish family of David Sassoon I suppose) in England etc. are thrown into one huge cauldron expecting a broth that is delicious simply because it has all the rich ingredients.
What it ends up as: Parmesan cheese grated on top of rasamrice. It may work for you, but certainly not for me!
A book with a typo on the back cover?
(Violent as voilent)
After a while, the book got so tedious that I started counting the number of typos and errors in the book. Needless to say, there are many! (See my book copy’s picture) However, that wasn’t what irked me the most. 
The simplification of the concept of Karma, is a little too stretched in the book. (Bookhad explains this better by using math language/sign/symbols I will never understand. Link at the end of the review.) Someone was treated so and so in a previous life and hence in this life will be with that person with good taking over or justice being served or whatever. I couldn’t care less because it was just too convenient as a plot device.
All said and done, I have to acknowledge Sanghi’s thorough research. The book is sprinkled with Greek, Latin, Hebrew phrases along with countless obscure references to texts and events around the planet. All of which is true and credible. Then again, I started to imagine the author sitting with a huge white board and Encyclopedia/History of the World open with Wikipedia open on the laptop and drawing a link between random events.
All in all, this wasn’t the best book to start neither the year nor my challenge with. But it’s done now. Needless to say, I am not going anywhere near the other two books any time soon. I’d rather sit and read C. Rajagopalachari’s Mahabharat again. It’s complex, but not as farfetched.
Who should read: If you love Dan Brown novels and want to see a desi rip off. Possess immense patience and want to try an Indian author of popular fiction who is not named Chetan Bhagat.
Who Should not read: If you’re like me. You demand a good book! And /Or are sad to see a plot line with good potential go waste.

If you want a proper review of the book and not the opinion of a crazed 22-year-old book lover then you can read it here on BookHad.

The New Year!

Happy New Year!
Hope you have lots of fun this year.
Now let’s get to the news: I’ve taken up a challenge this year. Unlike my very straightforward, SAVE MONEY, this year’s resolution is to READ MORE. And if that sounds vague then here goes what I’ve planned:

  1.  I’ll read a book a week and post what I thought of it here every weekend.
  2.  I’ve a rough list ready of what I have to read and then I just go with the flow.
  3.  I’m not doing book reviews. They take effort and time. I’ll give my opinion, hopefully with no spoilers! If you want reviews for books, go to Bookhad. 
  4. The second part of this resolution/challenge is the fact that I keep posting here. The blog has regular posts too, or so I hope!
Easy peasy?
I’ve had only four days with Book #1 of this year. SO the opinion should be up by tomorrow. Also, this is not an exercise into reading more because I don’t read much now; this is because I want to read more and barely make any time for it at all!
I’m making a list of all the books I want to read, if you’ve an input or something you absolutely want me to read (fiction, non-fiction, comics, picture books), I’m open to knocking off a few from my list!


PS. Check out the absolutely awesome Aamil here. He’s doing a book challenge of 130 books this year. He’ll do one every 3 days. Or so he thinks!