Why i take myself out every once in a while

IMG_3221As i sit here beside the window overlooking this city finally being blessed with the rain, all I want to do is just smile and take it all in. I know it is supposed to be a vacation and I am supposed to be somewhere else with someone, anyone. I should be whining and cribbing to someone about how much period pain sucks. I should be going to bed because I have a french class to attend early in the morning tomorrow. Even though it is a Sunday.

But here I am, sitting on a bed sans a bed sheet in new room with absolutely no one around me (there probably isn’t anyone on the entire floor) and I cannot help but feel really content. I love it, I am not going to lie, as much as I love being around friends and family there will always come a point where socializing becomes too much and I yearn some solitude. I treasure those secluded times I get.  Then there is always that someone who tells me that my life is sad when they find out about this. But I think everyone has their own definition of what makes them sad. 

It has become a ritual now. One of the days of the weekends I take myself out and explore this place by walking around and going to Cafés. I have a thing for cute and cozy looking cafés and they get me really excited for some reason. And just because my friends are not in town does not mean I will just sit in my room and binge watch shows (which also is a good option). Today I did not have a choice of going very far so I just went to Starbucks because that will always be my back up when I am running late or too lazy to go to a new place. I sat in my usual cozy little corner, grabbed a cup of coffee and read Harry Potter. 

If there is one thing that I really like about myself, and there are not a lot, is how I am so okay with being by myself and how I don’t always need people . I don’t wait for anyone if there is something that I want to do, I just do it because I am doing it for myself and it makes me happy. And mind you, I have a very low self-esteem but that does not stop me taking myself out now and then. Honestly I enjoy my company the most, which I will admit is weird. But that is okay because I like weird. Going out and spending time with myself among strangers has not only been building my self-esteem but has also been giving me confidence and making me believe in myself.

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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

 

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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