Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen


November 2013

The A-Z Book Survey

I found this Survey on Attempting Reality’s blog and then on Underwaterraven’s as well. So, I thought of attempting it as well.

In the words of Attempting Reality (who’s totally awesome an if you haven’t already, do check her blog out), “It’s the A-Z Book Survey and I am about 90% sure that this tag was invented for me and the other million-or-so 17 year old girls who love reading, writing, chocolate and dogs.” (Psst! I think it’s totally true!)

Without further ado, here goes.

Author you’ve read the most books from:
If I could count books I read when I was younger, then it is Enid Blyton. I’d read all the books in the Famous Five series, the Secret Seven series, the St. Clare series, the Mallory tower series, and quite a few assorted books by her.

Best Sequel Ever:
The Harry Potter series. The only series in my opinion that became better as it progressed.

Currently Reading:
A good Indian wife, by Anne Cherian

Drink of Choice While Reading:
I don’t usually drink anything while reading, because it distracts me a bit.

E-reader or Physical Book?
I don’t have an e-reader, unless you count an iPhone to be one.
Although, in my iPhone, I do get to read books which aren’t available locally, nothing could beat the feel of having a real, physical, papery book in my hand. (One which has the true book-ish smell.)

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Um, Etienne St. Claire from ‘Anna and the French kiss’, or Zain Altaf Khan from ‘Battle for Bittora’ or even Sirius Black from ‘Harry Potter’, if it wasn’t for the huge age difference.
(Yes. I seem to have an attraction for handsome, dark-haired males with a bad childhood.)

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton

Hidden Gem Book:
The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton. (Again)

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
When I read my first Famous Five novel in second grade, it was my first book which crossed 200 pages and it took me around a month to read. But, I read the same book over and over countless times and improved my reading speed considerably.

Just Finished:
One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Kinds of Books You (generally) Won’t Read:
Werewolf-Vampire romances, fantasy.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
Will my Physics reference book count? It has nearly 1600 pages and I’ve read it entirely.
If not, I’m not exactly sure, maybe Eragon, or Ootp.

Major book hangover because of:
Harry Potter.
And more recently, “Allegiant”, the third book of the ‘Divergent’ series.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
One thin and tall one in the house where I’m living currently and two long broad ones in my house back in India. (Although only one of it is fully filled.)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
I don’t usually read a book over again, ’cause it kind of ruins the thrill of finishing it, for me.
But, the Famous Five book, “Five get into trouble”, is one book that I’ve read over and over for almost a year, because I didn’t have any other book which I considered good enough, in second grade.

Preferred Place To Read:
Somewhere in my room, sometimes dangling from my bed even. 😛

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
― The Fault in Our Stars

Reading Regret:
Reading the ‘Twilight’ series (the first two books at least), and actually fangirling over it for almost a month. (Thank god I came to my senses after that!)

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
The Lord of the Rings.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
PoA, The Book Thief, The secret Keeper

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Harry Potter. Legal thrillers, Jeffrey Archer’s books, murder mysteries.
Also, happy, light reads. The occasional chick-lit. (Occasional? Pfft. Whom am I kidding?)

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Well, I was excited for Allegiant’s release, but now that it has already been released, I don’t exactly know what books are coming out now.

Worst Bookish Habit:
Starting a book and then abandoning it midway.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Your latest book purchase:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, way back in July, although I haven’t read either till now. (Note: ‘Purchase’ being the key word.)

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Inferno, by Dan Brown.

So, there!
Until next time,
Anu. 🙂

P. S. If anyone out there is still reading my blog, I’m sorry to say that I won’t be posting anything new for another two weeks. I have my mid-yearly exams coming up (from tomorrow, actually) and I really need to study. But, I’ll be back in December!


The adventure of going shopping.

So, the last weekend, I went grocery shopping with my mother.
It wasn’t something I liked to do, since my mother has a tendency to spend too long at boring places.
Yet, I decided I’ll accompany her, especially since my father was too busy, and my mother wanted to go to an Indian shop, which was quite a few kilometres away from my house.
Then came the first obstacle. My father’s usual driver was on leave, so the spare driver from my father’s office, who was new to the city was to drive the car.
He didn’t know where he was going, yet he kept on driving to God-knows where, and after an hour-long trip around the city and a disastrous attempt to ask the way, we called my dad who promptly replied that he had no idea where the shop even was.
Finally, we called up the usual driver, who was on leave, and he directed us to our desired location.

If I thought that the trials of the day were over, I was hopelessly mistaken.
On entering the shop, I noticed that it was fully packed with other Indians, also out for shopping on a weekend. I told my mum that I’ll wait near the counter while she finished her shopping.
But, my mum told me firmly, that I was going to help her out with the shopping, and I agreed quickly and kept walking right into the heart of the crowd, swallowing my crowd-o-phobia.
No! I did not do that just to please my mum. It was because I had spotted someone whom I’d wanted to avoid, my math teacher, especially after my lousy math marks in the last test.
We came across a fairly deserted aisle, which contained shampoos and soaps and other such things.
While my mum was browsing through the varieties of shampoos, and I was staring into space, I noticed someone appearing at the other end of the aisle.
It was the very person I wanted to avoid.
“I’ll be back in a few seconds”, I told my mum.
“Stay right here”, she said.
“We’ll go.”
“I still have lots of things more to take.”
“We’ll go to the next aisle and that we’ll come back to this aisle a few seconds later.”
My mum just stared at me curiously.
By then, my teacher was getting more closer, but she didn’t seem to have spotted me yet.
It was then, that I was struck with a bright idea, which on retrospection, now seems like a rather idiotic one.
I whipped out my dupatta (scarf) from around my neck and tied it around my head and over my face like a Muslim niqab (face veil). I presumed that, with it being the Middle East, I wouldn’t stand out much. I stood there, pretending to closely examine a bar of soap and hoped my teacher would walk safely past me.
That’s exactly what didn’t happen.
My teacher noticed my mother instead. They didn’t know each other, but I had underestimated the limits two Indian women of around the same age could go up to.
My teacher approached my mother and said,”Excuse me, but you look rather familiar. Have we met before?”
“No. I don’t think so.”, my mother paused, and then asked,”Are you by any chance from Tamil Nadu?”
“Yes. I am.”
“Did you live in Chennai?
“Oh no. I’ve never been to Chennai. But, I realised why you look familiar. You look a bit like a girl in my class.”
Damn! I’d forgotten how alike my mum and I looked.
I was almost a carbon copy of my mum, except that I had a chubbier, rounder face. And that my mum was far more pretty, with her high cheekbones and all.
“Are you a teacher?”, asked my mum.
“Yes. In the Indian school. What do you do?”
“I’m an economist. What subject do you teach?”
“Math. In the 12th grade.”
Holy fudge. This just wasn’t happening!
“Really? My daughter is in the 12th grade math class. I think you might know her. She was here now. Where did she-“, my mum trailed off, on account of spotting me.
“Anu! Why are you wear-”
I interrupted her, by saying, “Amma, allergy, you know right”, hoping she’ll take the hint.
But, she didn’t.
“Allergy? What allergy?”, she asked oblivious to my frantic eye-signalling.
At that exact time, the scarf unravelled and fell off my face, on account of me being a novice in the art of veil-wearing.
“Anu! Just as I thought. You look like your mother, you know.”, exclaimed my teacher.
And there ensued a rather lengthy discussion between my mother and teacher which ended with them exchanging phone numbers and inviting each other to their respective houses.
So, one more reason added to the rather lengthy list of why I dislike going shopping.

I need somewhere to vent. That why I’m writing this. For all purposes, this is a rant.
I don’t know. I’m really angry now. My dad is acting more and more irrational each day. There’s a limit to criticise anyone or anything. After that, they’ll reach a breaking point, right?
Yes, so I love my Dad and everything. But, he never values anything I say or do. Everything I achieve is nothing for him. And today he kept telling me that my dreams are a just dreams and to be more practical. He scolded me, saying I’m too selfish, and that I never help anyone. Then, he told me that I’m self-obsessed and that I hate everyone of my cousins and family. (That’s because they hate me! Not the other way round!)
He called me ‘an anti-social brat’ who doesn’t know to be friendly. He doesn’t know my story, the one I kept to myself, and so he has no right to judge me.
Sure, I get it, he has his own problems. A bad childhood, in which he formed a sort of God-like devotion to his elder brother, who was his kind of saviour. And now, health problems and all.
But, there’s a limit, right?
And it’s like he has a kind of ego complex. My parents are always fighting. I mean, if they just can’t adjust, can’t they just divorce?
Why should they keep living together if they only hate each other?
It gets maddening at times and I keep longing for my senior year to end, so then I can go to college, leaving all this behind.
My mum told me that, once my senior year ends, she’s going to go and pursue her dream of joining LSE as a doctoral student, if they admit her, that is. It was her life-long dream, and one which she abandoned for mine and my dad’s sake, so we could all live in the same place.
My mum’s not exactly helping either. She keeps complaining about my Dad and tells all her problems to me. I can’t exactly blame her, because she has no other family left. No one who cares, that is.
But, all this sometimes becomes too much for a 16-year old girl, who has no siblings, no nice cousins and classmates who think of me as some sort of happy, cheerful girl, who lives a perfect life on a cloud of cotton candy. That’s just it, they don’t know the real me, just a fake, happy persona that I assume.
I’m kind of afraid to actually confide in those three people, whom I consider my best friends, not because I don’t trust them, but because I’m scared they’ll judge me. But, I might, someday. About everything, including my dark past. Someday, when I’m more confident.
I needed to vent to someplace, where no one will judge me. That’s why I wrote this post.


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My first guest post!

So, the awesomesauce folks out there at Teenage Bloggers’ Central decided to publish a series of posts written by five students in their last year of school. Every one of the five is from a different place, and the series of posts are aimed at documenting the gruelling experience of secondary school, from each place.

I’m happy to say that I was one of the five.
The first introductory post was published here yesterday.
My piece is the second one.

So, please take a look at it, and tell me what you think and also what we could do to improve it. 🙂


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