SPOILER FREE REVIEW -NORWEGIAN WOOD BY HARUKI MURAKAMI

IMG_4106 I am listening to Norwegian wood as I write this, I could not help myself. This song has been playing on repeat for a while now, precisely since I finished reading the book. This book has also been made into a movie in 2010. I read the translated version by Jay Rubin.

How I came about reading this book:

I had a coupon for crossword bookstore which was letting me buy a book or books for a certain amount of price. This was a few months back when I got this coupon then I went book shopping and I saved the coupon for a bad day. So this one god awful day that I am having I visit crossword and browse through several books. I spend a lot of time thinking about which book to buy or should I buy 2 really in that money, I read the synopsis of over 30 books and then all of a sudden I decide that I want to dive right into a book which I know nothing about. The first book I happen to see was “Norwegian wood” and I just grab it and without even turning it over to read the synopsis or see what genre it was, I buy it. It sat on my shelf for good 2 months and 3 days back; just like that I decided to read it without knowing anything about it.

Rating: 4/5

Summary

The story begins with Toru Watanabe, the protagonist, who is having a flashback as he hears the favourite song of his first love Naoko, “Norwegian wood” (yes, this is where the title comes from and it has nothing to do with Norway. It is actually a Beatles song). From the moment of the recall, he goes back to the very beginning of it all, the days he spends with his best friend Kizuki and Naoko who happens to be Kizuki’s girlfriend, then it is all about his student life as a university student in Tokyo amidst all the struggles of having to deal with issues like losing somebody and the feeling of having lost yourself somewhere in the process, holding on to and finding love at the same time, figuring out friendships, and the sexual encounters. During his time in Tokyo he comes across Midori with whom he develops an unlikely friendship.

 

My review

There are a lot of things going through my mind right now and it is like every thought and word is just jumbled because I don’t where to even start talking about this book, it is one of those overwhelming books that when you finish reading it you are just like wait what? It is over? It feels like you were there in that book and you saw all of that happening and then it is over and you’re a little empty and left to interpret a certain things. Well, it was like that at least for me.

It was not an easy-going and pleasant kind of a read, even though bits and pieces of it were predictable, it still felt like it was taking me on a journey I’d never seen or been on before. The way it is written, it makes you think and ponder over a certain things. I love how the writing was so simple yet so impactful. The reading part of it was just flowing so smoothly unlike my emotions. It was so not easy in that aspect. Murakami knows the exact way on how to put the words together so the reader feels like a part of the story. Everything is described in meticulous details and just comes to life.

Watanabe is the clichéd protagonist types, the one who is lost trying to make sense of things and finding way out of the lost, dealing with things in his own way and trying to make sense of everything. One of the things I really appreciated about his character is how he is always honest about everything. Midori is that kind of person who makes the story her very own every time she makes an appearance, it is as if the room all of a sudden a little louder, the lights shine a little brighter, like she just has this spark or a lively way of talking as compared to anyone else in the novel. Naoko is portrayed as his past he is willing to hold on and Midori his present.

I loved how the story does not sugar coat anything and even the characters in it just say it like it is. It speaks of the struggles of loneliness, coping with death, mental health, and attitude towards sex in a realistic manner. But at the same time I do feel like the sexual encounters were not really contributing or more like adding up to the story, I understand that I am contradicting myself when I say this and talk about how this book deals with the attitude towards sex, but at times it just felt unnecessary. Other than that, I enjoyed reading and by enjoyed I mean it saddened me at times and was super depressing but it the kind that makes you want to keep reading.

Song suggestions for this read:

  • Norwegian wood (obviously) by the Beatles
  • Where  are you now by Alan Walker

 

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Imagining a life without anxiety

Has it ever felt like you have a reached a point where just thinking about anxiety makes you really anxious?

Like me, do you think about it all the time too? About what it would be like to be the person who is always confident and not anxious all the time?.

What it would be like to be someone who is not always afraid of doing things without the fear of being heavily judged/criticized?.

What it would be like to not let your panic attacks and anxiety get the best of you?.

What it would be like to not always doubt yourself and believe that voice inside which gets reduced to a whisper every time your mind starts panicking?

It is like there are these bars around you and even though they are very much breakable, you just freeze and feel like you can’t. That you are not strong enough. Anxiety is just exhausting to the point that it drains you of all your positivity. It is this inner battle you are fighting every single day that nobody is aware of. There are days when you want to make an effort and fight it but there are also those days when you just feel lost even before trying.

Anxiety either gets the best of you and makes you feel like a loser or you show your best self to anxiety and win one battle at a time. On the days when you feel like it is your day to win, weaken the power of anxiety and strengthen your soul by believing in yourself. Anxiety is just something you experience but it is not who you are. It is not what you are made of.

And then one day you won’t have to imagine a life without anxiety, You would be living it.

Once upon a time 

img_4057There was a time once in my life for a brief period , you know just like it is in the fairy tales where everyone knows the ending is going to be a happy one.
when i use to be one of those people who had it all figured out, knew exactly what i wanted, and I was pretty much in control of myself.
and then i wasn’t that girl anymore.
It seems like forever ago that time, that girl seems like a stranger as i flip through the pages of her journals, i am pretty sure if i meet her today i won’t even be able to recognize her. she would probably look down on this version of me or maybe i’d be intimated by her. The mirror wouldn’t show the same reflection if i went back in time, I am home and people don’t see the same girl smiling back at them and it is not the same daughter my parents had yet not a soul is aware of that and i don’t think anyone would ever be. It is an internal transition, a turmoil of pain, struggle, confusion and anxiety which in an unusual way is projected out as a perfectly normal girl who does not have any issues as long as she is a virgin and making an acceptable career choice.
It scares me to think of who i am and if that person was me at all, i have thought of it all, whether this is a phase, if my mind is just playing with me but somewhere deep down i hear a whisper from within trying to warn me that the girl is long gone and i should just let it be. I don’t want to fight this person, nor do i want to try and hold on that image of the 16 year old me. This it is time for some kind of transformation, this is time to move on from Disney movies to some hardcore real life drama where there is a lot more to life than just waiting for a guy to rescue you while you sing away your sorrows. My life feels like a a version of wild gone wrong where i get horribly lost in the woods and for some reason that feels anxiously comfortable. Is that even possible?
I want to take life as it comes rather than keep escaping it behind the image that society has of me. I would much rather want to experience it, with all of its raw and explicitness , let it hit me and hit me hard if that is what it would take to make me the person that i am going to be. So be it.
I am done being that girl, From now on it is always going to be about THIS girl. Someday this girl is going to be that girl eventually but till that time i will have learned how to not dwell on the image/identity frozen in time.

Manali haul

IMG_4025Recently I went to Manali for a trek and it was absolutely one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had, exhausting but beautiful. So being a trekking kind of a trip there was not a lot of shopping that we could do, I am not that fond of shopping anyway, unless it is about books then I go CRAZY. But we visited a couple of markets and found some cute stuff here and there. I only bought a handful of things which I really liked as soon as i saw them. I am the kind of person who shops at a very quick pace, like if  something catches my eye I will buy it, there is no time spent on browsing through things, I am that impatient. Which is why my mom does not like shopping with me.

Anyway, so first thing I did when we entered Manali was look up local bookstores and I found this really nice bookstore (they’re all nice tho). Our guide took me there because I kept requesting and would not let it go. So while everyone was shopping at the mall road, I was walking through these alleys and somewhere not so crowded as mall road to get to this bookstore. I will write more about the bookstore and the books I bought in the books section. I bought 3 books:

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  • Philosophy a very short introduction by Edward Craig
  • A farewell to arms by ernest hemingway
  • A Short History of a Small Place by T.R.Pearson

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I also bought an Eco-friendly handmade bookmark with a Dalai Lama quote on it and a few postcards for 15 rupees each.

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Next I knew exactly what I wanted so I went searching for it which was not at all difficult because almost every shop had it, The Prayer Flags. Yeah the ones which almost everyone gets when they visit the north. I could have asked anyone I know to get it for me whenever they visited but I wanted to get one for myself.

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The Flag comes in different sizes and I bought the first one I saw. I got it for 50 rupees, usually I bargain everywhere but here I did not want to, since it is a Prayer Flag. These Prayer Flags consist of the colours wherein each colour symbolizes an element. Blue represents sky, white-wind,red-fire, green-water, yellow-earth. The one I got is the horizontal flag also known as Lung Dar. After reading a bit on this I found out that it is better to receive them as a gift, well, good thing I got one for my friend.

On the last day we went to old Manali again and I bought a kurti which can be worn as a dress as well. I spotted this kurti while strolling through one of the lanes of old Manali,  it was displayed outside the shop. Not only did I buy it, I made my cousins buy the same one in different colours. Also convinced the shopkeeper to sell it for 300 rupees instead 600.

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Once again

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I need to start writing again. It has been a while since I actually sat down and wrote something in my journal. The constant restlessness that I am gripped by does not let go any further than a little bit of scribbling here and there in my journal or the notes app on my phone. These days, I find it so hard to just sit down and put my thought into words, it use to be effortless. Journaling was my thing, something I have been doing since I was 14. The past few months I have been disconnected from the things that bring me nothing but pure joy, like reading, journaling and even working out. I have almost forgotten what it is like to be navigated by my thoughts while my pen being the medium to help me get where ever there is. Pretty ironic considering how it my thoughts along with everything else that makes me feel so lost and confused but as soon as I start to pen them down, it is as if they become real and make sense. So even if I do not find the solution I feel better by the time I see the voices in my head on a paper.

I deleted yet another blog. No matter how many times I create one, I end up deleting, I start disliking it and become super conscious about what if someone is reading and about what they might think of me, Which is something that is obviously going to happen because it is a blog post and I am putting it out there in the world, my thoughts, so if someone reads it they are going to have an opinion. It is me who is going to have to not be so conscious and start believing in myself a little more, because if I don’t, who will? So here is another attempt at blogging, not for anyone but myself. This is my own little corner on the internet. I decided to go along with this because there is something that I am waiting for and while the wait feels excruciatingly long every day, I am going to blog my anxiety away.