2016:The year gone by

It’s the last day of 2016 today, with 13 hours and 52 minutes more for the dawning of a new year.  Its the time of the year when we recall our most beautiful memories and resolve to never repeat the mistakes. We want to start a fresh year, a new start for a better life. I thought I would wrap up my blogging journey this year, with one post about 2016,which we can never get back.

The best memory this year, is how much Oxford University became an integral part of my life. This year saw the height of my obsession.  The university is my dream and my ambition. Thinking of studying there, made me get through boring homework .It is my source of motivation. Not one day passed without me thinking of Oxford.

But I am very well aware, that staying grounded to reality is best in the long run. Towards the end of this year, I started paying attention to Plan B also, namely BA English from St. Stephens, Delhi.

One thing happened in the early part of the year, that convinced me I had at least a small chance to get into Oxford. I took the British Council Level Test,  and they said that my mastery over the language, was above that expected of kids my level.My joy was boundless. I joined a teens course, and there the tutor complemented me on my essays. I had a very good time there and was grateful that we were trying something to make my dream come true.

Another memorable experience, was our trip to Hampi, where we stayed in the luxurious Orange County Resort. We had a great time with family, exploring the ruins of the glorious Vijaynagara empire, enjoying great food and the utmost comfort possible. I didn’t want to budge from the place.

This was also the year, when I wrote most of my blog posts. I wanted to improve my writing skills. Father linking all my posts to his twitter handle, ensured that a significant number of people read my posts. I would be very thankful, if you could all give me some useful feedback.

Coming to books, this was the year I read Ruskin Bond’s short stories, which made me appreciate the beauty of simple words. I also was introduced to Jane Austen, through Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. When reading the former, I first couldn’t see the point of the story, then got used to her language and style, and was able to admire the story. But I loved Persuasion. Austen’s witty portrayal of characters and the emotions of love,along with her elegant writing,make it a must read.I reread Heyer’s Frederica, and liked it very much ,but I was hooked to Friday’s Child. That was an amazing story.

I read a couple of Chetan Bhagat’s books. Some parts were nice, some were not. Good to read for one time, as entertainment. But Five Point Someone was very good. I am reading Crime and Punishment, from last year. But I have stopped it for a while,as it is too heavy and I am not sure I am able to fully appreciate the text. Same goes for Foucault’s Pendulum.

In the later part of the year, I read John Grisham’s The Firm and The Confession, and they were mind blowing. Dan Brown is a favourite after the Da Vinci Code and remains after The Inferno and I am on with Deception Point. Agatha Christie continues to stun me with her detective stories. I reread many of her stories and a new kind of hers,Number Four, which,for a change,is predictable but thrilling.

Preeti Shenoy’s Life Is What You Make It is an insightful book about bipolar disorder.John Green’s Paper Town, was a beautiful book about individual space within love. I loved Sudeep Nagarkar’s You ‘re Trending in My Dreams.I enjoyed reading Anne of the Green Gables and Prisoner of Zenda.

I am reading Amartya Sen’s The Argumentative Indian,and am greatly impressed by the precise and clear cut arguments he makes, everything based on solid facts.I loved how he argued against Hindutva,the part about class in India and friendly fire and the part about Rabindranath Tagore and India-China relations. I might as well say I love everything about it.

Coming to the lighter side, I made a new group of friends this year, and we are having a gala time together.2016 was,overall,a fulfilling year.

My resolutions for 2017 would be: getting rid of self-doubt and negative thoughts, striving to do my best in academics, learning how to read literature critically and working hard for Oxford.

Happy New Year, everyone!



Thank you, Mr.Ruskin Bond

I seriously need to write something . It’s ages since I have done so,and all my father’s pleadings did not push me to write. But today, as I sat in front of the computer,I convinced myself that no matter how much time it takes,no matter how hard it is,I must write something.I am in awe of all you people who write regularly.How do you manage it?

Sometime back, I read two collections of Ruskin Bond’s short stories, and I was mesmerized. They were  accounts of normal people,but never ceased to be interesting.He had portrayed his characters very charmingly. The detailed description of the natural beauty of the Garhwal hills,rather than being monotonous, blended easily with the narrative.Every story, though without much suspense or thrills,stirred some kind of feeling, be it joy,sorrow or something in between.They were heartwarming accounts of the lives of people,stories of love,of kindness,of longing for times gone by.

I had,and still have, a tendency to use complex words and lot of adjectives while writing.I thought this added a certain appeal to my writing. I don’t think that I can ever change that,because its such an integral part of my style.But only after reading Ruskin Bond,I realized that simple words have the ability to create a more profound impact than my complex ones.I learnt that they were more effective and enjoyable than my flowery phrases.

I had enjoyed reading his Children’s Omnibus immensely, and his short stories made me realize how great a writer he was. I think there are few writers who have the ability to write such engaging stories,about the lives of ordinary Indian people.I am in awe of his ability to weave such beautiful and natural stories.They are very rewarding, and no one can regret reading them.

He also has a great sense of wit and humor. I was reading one particularly clever and funny article he had written for the editorial column of the Times of India. I was telling my father how superb it was, and he told me that I should become a writer like him.

I also aspire to be so. Time will tell, but for a person who wants to become a writer,he has been a great source of inspiration.