Befriending myself on an airport

There is something about taking a long flight alone that makes me excited and thoughtful at the same time. As usual K dropped me to the airport, and usually while in the middle of one trip, we are always half way to planning the next one. Some alone, some together.

Trying to put his finger on why is long, solitary travel a must for everyone, he said “It allows you to be friends with yourself.” Now he is back at work and i’m figuring out in the ‘Leisure Zone’ of Frankfurt airport if i am already friends with myself?

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I think I have such a love-hate relationship with myself that i’m in that post break up, let’s try to be friend-zone.
But this whole instead of being self obsessed, ‘itel’, right-out-of-self-help-book-in-love-with-self, wouldn’t it be cool if we were just friends? But all these concepts of being friends or in love or in hateful relationship with self will mean self and i are two different entities?

On both sides between this journey, there are people to meet, places to see and still why does the time spent between starting from somewhere and reaching somewhere has a value of its own? Is it because this could be the time that makes me a different person?

Bah! Look what a long solitary flight can do to your mind…

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Insane fame, accessible writers and John Green…

My German copy of The Fault in our Stars (Das Schicksal ist Ein Mieser Verraeter)
My German copy of The Fault in our Stars (Das Schicksal ist Ein Mieser Verraeter)

I’m unable to decide if I want this post to be about how writers deal with fame or just a rant about how dealing with daunting fame could be tough for a seemingly normal person. Let’s see where it ends up…

Like a lot of awesome things in my life, JK Rowling was indirectly responsible for how I ended up on the youtube channel of John and Hank Green. In 2007 when I heard ‘Accio Deathly Hallows’ along with the concept of Wizard Rock as a genre and the existence of the vlogbrothers kind of changed the way I looked at the Internet. For a long time it existed in the background of my mind till I read ‘The Fault in our Stars’. The hysteria-inducing book didn’t make me realize at first that it is the very same John Green and then followed a binge youtube video surfing that these days happens the moment you come across a ‘celebrity’.

And still applying the term celebrity to John Green felt difficult. As someone who has worked around celebrity culture through tabloid writing, interviewing film related people I understand that celebrities are often those who go around with a sort of attitude of entitlement and behave as if they are a gift to their fandom. They want to guard their privacy which they very well can if they wanted to and still complain about a lot of things after fake thanking their fans for everything. It is very easy and very difficult to  see genuine people these days. May be the fault lies in the way we treat our ‘stars’, or the way they treat fame.

And here comes an internet savvy author whose entire USP is deeply rooted in how accessible and normal and yet extra ordinarily talented he is, becomes so popular that you start worrying that at some point hope he does not shut off from the world.

His books don’t only communicate to the teenagers, they are little pieces of new age literature sans the pomp of the traditional literati and catch the edginess associated with our times with appropriate amounts of sugar.

I’m gobbling up all things John Green at the moment and have reached ‘Papertowns’. Perhaps instead of fearing how fame of this magnitude may change him, there is a possibility he may directly or indirectly dole out a few lessons to a lot of old and new celebs about how to deal with fame and still be normal and productive. May be a Crash Course video on How to survive Fame? Looking at his this week’s video, I’m pretty sure there isn’t much to fear. He just needs to stick to his own mantra, DFTBA.

Adventures of Sally and the simple pleasures of reading Wodehouse

adventures-sallyApart from ‘Piccadilly Jim’, I haven’t read anything PG Wodehouse that isn’t about Jeeves.

Totally out of the blue, I dived into ‘Adventures of Sally’ this week. Near the end I realized how uninhibited his prose, especially his humour could be. It is a thing of marvel.

Not that I would dare to analyse or critique or try to ‘review’ Wodehouse, I’m just here to gush, if that doesn’t sound too eeky.

Some really cool insights apart, I loved it how Ginger (Mr. Lancelot Kemp) has an uncle Donald (oh the Wodehouse uncles and aunts..) and he uses his mustache as a soup strainer. Now now, there have been several ‘walrus mustaches’ across the pages of literature but none in particular that ‘heave gently upon one’s labored breath, like seaweed on a ground-swell’ or the one that gets employed ‘during meals as a sort of zareba or earthwork against the assaults of soup’.

It also made me realize how since time immemorial, in a story involving any kind of romance, if the girl or a guy are engaged to someone else, they are often incompatible and heading for a break sooner or by the end of the story.

Amazing how a lot of characters are kind of selfish but good-natured and quirky. Since I married the man who introduced me to Wodehouse, I have a different filter for this humour, but Wodehouse kind of gives you a funny lens to view your own world along with the world in his pages.

This week has been comparatively lighter, what with our detour to Nuremberg Nazi Rally grounds and Munich’s Deutsche Museum wing of airplanes and zeppelins, I could only read John Green’s ‘Looking for Alaska’ and Wodehouse’s ‘Adventures of Sally’.

The coming week looks promising. A woman’s mag article, a couple of travel bits and loads of reading. Not too shabby.

The Bookworm Resurrection loop…

When i decided to set a target of reading at least 50 books this year, there wasn’t a fixed list and a lot of YA books trickled in. I blame The Fault in our Stars that I’ve already listened to and read three times since past ten days, thanks to its compact size.

My April reading list looked something like this:

April reading list...
April reading list…

Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth (It is so derivative from a lot of fantasy and dystopia pieces from the past few decades that one could easily play a ‘spot the inspiration’ game with the story.)

The Fault in our Stars  by John Green (This one is staying with me for a long long time. Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace are carved in my mind permanently. Yes I am a soppy teenager at heart, ‘Okay?’)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Captivating, interesting dual narrative. The end is highly criticized, but I loved it. There is something about an open-ended cruel, chilling story…)

To Kill a Mockingbird (re-reading) by Harper Lee (As usual elevating.)

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (No fan of hers but the research is commendable, she should have kept some of it out of the book. Loved Alma Whittaker though.)

I use a combination of audio books and real books. My obsession with audio books has doubled this year since they are easy to stay hooked to while I’m otherwise occupied. Gilbert’s mammoth book was read while burning the midnight oil. It isn’t easy to keep up with the target keeping up with the scheduled deadlines for my articles, but I’m not going to let even a genuine reason be a hurdle this time till the end of the year.

My List for May is a bit tricky. But I’m pretty sure I’m up for the serious reading after the April full of YA.

Up for the coming month are Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, Hemingway’s The First Forty Nine Short Stories, Monisha Rajesh’s Around India in 80 Trains, John Green’s Looking for Alaska and the long pending  Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. (Nope there is no pattern here yet) I think except John Green’s Alaska, this list is a toughie. But as a birthday month, I’m generally in high spirit through May and am sure I can pull through.

PS: The passive consumption of online crap and blog writing hiatus is officially over. Expect more posts.

A Tired Rant About “Female” Writers

roxanegay:

I have seen this list of 21 women authors you “should be reading,” passed around. I have thoughts about the composition of the list, though I am thrilled to see Elliott Holt named because I loved her debut novel last year.

No two lists will ever be the same and this list at least makes an…

A Tired Rant About “Female” Writers

Writer

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