My Rain

I love the scent,

the sensation,

the droplets

precipitation

trickling down

my forehead

and crown

The colors

everything bright

everything new

ah what a sight

droplets of dew

The sky a stormy gray

It is selfish

yet I pray

for it never to cease

and the gentle breeze

never to stop

so I can sit in solitude

a book in arm

coffee in the other

so in love with the rain

that haunts so many,

and gives them such pain.

Thousands shivering

Clothes soaked through

while I am gazing

at my cordoned view

Blissfully unaware,

oblivious,

enjoying my rain.

(Pictures are taken by me FYI)

So I recently re-evaluated my life because of this book

 

So I recently re-evaluated my whole life because of this one book. It’s non-fiction and I don’t read those very often, but it really spoke to me. Mindset, by Stanford professor Carol S. Dweck, is a very interesting read. It not only helps you identify aspects of your personality that you hadn’t noticed before, but it also advises you on how to overcome your weaknesses.

The book covers the differences between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset in the four core aspects of our lives; parenting, business, school, and relationships. These categories make it a good read not only for adults, but for teenagers as well.

I realized that I while I did have some growth mindset traits, I was pretty much a fixed mindset person. I related to so many fixed characteristics that it was kind of sad. If you do yourself the disservice of never reading the book, you can check out the key points below. 

Fixed Mindset:

  1. You don’t put in effort because you fear not having an excuse for failure
  2. You are resigned to the fact that some things just aren’t meant to be and so you don’t try for them.
  3. You avoid challenges
  4. You feel threatened by the success of others

In short, you believe that your abilities are predetermined and cannot change.

Growth Mindset

  1. You put in effort because you know you’ll get better
  2. You give everything, you attempt your all
  3. You undertake challenges
  4. You get inspired by the success of others and learn from them

So how do you make a shift between mindsets? Well, you simply become more aware of your actions and their implications. You try to refrain from remaining in the fixed mindset loop. Here are some ways how I’ve tried to shift my mindset.

Welcoming challenges

So in my school, when we go for class trips there is an unusual system. You pick one or two friends to sign up with and then rank the places you’d like to go from those you like to ones you completely detest. At least that’s how I used to look at it. When we were assigned a week of trekking and camping in Bhutan, our last choice, I almost burst into tears. I was terrified of bugs and snakes and couldn’t imagine myself camping in the woods. Additionally, I sincerely doubted my athletic prowess and ability to trek for such a long period of time. I complained for a week that I was not the kind to go on long treks, and I would not be able to manage it.

Yet when given the option of switching to Nepal, something in my mind protested. A part of me was looking forward to overcoming those fears and accomplishing something I wouldn’t have ever dreamed possible. I wanted to get better and I wanted not to fear anything anymore. So I begged my friends not to switch and yes, they thought I was out of my mind. But I had never felt more certain about a decision in my life. I’m now actually looking forward to my trip in February and am curious as to how it’ll turn out.

Taking feedback

Defensive. The one emotion I’d always feel when anyone tried to correct anything I did. It’s how I felt when my mom told me that when I speak in public my eyes dart around way too much. I was doing slam poetry in front of my entire school the next day and so as she helped me rehearse she wouldn’t stop pointing it out. “Fine!” I yelled. “Record me and prove it.” And that’s what she did. When I saw the video I was horrified. I looked like a character out of some horror movie with my eyeballs rattling around my large eyes. My mother just smiled and said, “Just maintain eye contact with me and you’ll be fine.” During my next practice, I paid extra attention to where I was looking. I think it’s safe to say that this video was far better.  And on the day of the ‘performance’ people actually told me it went off well, so for once I was glad I listened to my mom. 

Putting in effort

So I don’t really consider math my forte. At its worst it gives me a pounding headache and at its best it makes me have to really apply myself. We recently covered logarithms in school and the entire unit was a nightmare. I didn’t have a clue what was going on even the weekend before the test. I’d done terribly on the pop quiz and felt so lost in class. I knew Maths was not my thing, so I wondered at first whether it even made any sense to even try some practice sums. I was sure I wouldn’t do well on the test. But  that Saturday I sat myself down and did something unthinkable; I put in effort and studied hard. It still pains me to admit it but I read the textbook and took notes and attempted practice papers until I finally got it. And, I ended up doing well.


While I obviously have a long way to go, I think that reading this book has been a huge step in the right direction for me. Even though it doesn’t offer concrete steps you can take, it inspires change in all aspects of your life. Besides, the same things aren’t true for everyone, so it makes sense that the author doesn’t try to classify all of our different lives and struggles under the same category. This book simply acts as the catalyst for you to become more aware and change in small ways that are beneficial to your life and those around you.

 

The Kite Runner-review

Kite_runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a classic and rightly so. As someone who prefers fantasy and dystopian fiction to tales about people and the lives they lead, I was skeptical about delving into this novel. I had considered it a chore to read it for school, but once I started I couldn’t put it down.

I sat down to write this moments after closing the book, completing the final chapter. I’m still not off the emotional roller coaster it took me on. I have never read a book so full of raw emotions and the truth about humanity as this.

The story follows Amir, we watch him grow from an entitled guilty boy in Kabul, to an adult who atones for his sins. It is a pure story of friendship, loyalty, and regret. It shows us the power of redemption and doesn’t shy away from the truth.

Amir’s best friend is Hassan, their servant Ali’s son. Yet Amir and his father (referred to only as Baba) consider them a part of the family. Ali and Hassan are Hazaras and are looked down upon by society because of their ethnic and religious differences. Despite this Hassan and Amir share a kinship, but their friendship is often imbalanced due to society’s influence on their young malleable minds.

Amir also has a complicated relationship with his father and constantly seeks his affection and approval. He is a budding writer, yet Baba isn’t interested in his work and sees him as weak. So Amir seeks solace in Rahim Khan, Baba’s best friend. He is the true father figure in Amir’s life.

Some may consider Amir selfish, weak and inconsiderate. The way he treats Hassan is shameful, what he let happen is awful. But he realizes his faults and spends his life trying to rectify them.

The book is first set in Afghanistan and Hosseini describes Amir and Hassan’s childhood as fun and free. However when the military coup and the Russians enter the once-peaceful country, it all falls apart. Amir and his father are forced to leave and find a new home in America. It shows the sad truth of how war can reduce successful businessmen, doctors, professors and government leaders to beggars and vendors who sell knick knacks on the street for a couple of dollars. 

Amir’s life in California should seem complete; he has a house, a booming career and a loving wife. Yet the ghosts from his past continue to haunt him. As he matures all he seeks is repentance, the chance to give back. In the end, he does set out on a quest for redemption and what happens would have made all the people he disappointed proud.

The book brings his story full circle with dramatic reveals that leave you in awe. The raw emotion it portrays is incredible. You feel along with the characters. You live their lives and that is one of the best things a writer can achieve.

The relationships between the characters are dynamic and honest. The novel explores the depth of personal connections and a variety of obstacles people face when interacting with others. The strife for a father’s love, treating others as equals, standing up to bullies and making amends…

It promises no happy endings, no sun-shiny days in meadows with all love restored. It shows that if you want to be at peace and live life knowing that you have made up for your sins, you have to make it happen. And if you’re lucky, you can make the sun shine on the meadow you mowed.

It is by far one of the best written books I have read and I think the author has done a fantastic job on this first novel. The only quibble I have is that I will never know what happens next to the characters I have become fond of.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

harry_potter_and_the_cursed_child_special_rehearsal_edition_book_cover

Words can’t even begin to describe the excitement I felt when I had heard that the play I had been enviously longing to see was going to turned into a book. Finally the universe was no longer partial to those residing in London. So when I went to the book store and picked up my copy of this long-awaited book on July 31st-incidentally Harry Potter’s birthday- I was filled with joy. I was so happy not to have pre-ordered it, I didn’t have to undergo the awful wait like some of my friends.

Anyway, as I opened the book when I got home I was filled with  a small sense of disappointment. I knew that it would be a script, but some part of me was hoping for a detailed eighth novel, J.K Rowling style. I missed her vivid descriptions throughout the book. Without those, it kind of reads like a fan-fic. I would have obviously preferred a book, but for a script it was pretty good.  The format of a play made it a super quick read, I finished it within a couple of hours. I tried to pace myself, I really did, but the story of Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Severus Potter was too interesting to resist.

This play takes you through time and space. Even though there aren’t long descriptive paragraphs, you feel like you’re going along with everyone for all their adventures. You feel like a part of the journey, one of the best things about all of Rowling’s books. Small appearances by all your favorite characters -other than Fred and George (which makes me sad)- are woven in, just reading them speak new lines gives you butterflies. From an utter fangirl’s point, it’s pretty great.

Set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the play starts off like the last chapter of the novel. Except Albus’s worst fears come true. I really want to tell you the story, but I can’t do that to fellow Potterheads. Although I will say, reading it is worth it. Everything about the plot is great, things you never saw coming but secretly hoped for actually happen. The characters stay true to themselves. For all you Draco fans out there, don’t worry, he’s pretty important too. And it may be hard to believe, but he gets better.

The possible let-down I had with this book/script is that I found the last few parts a bit too preachy. I get that the under-lying theme is understanding your kids and accepting them for who they are, but I feel like it could have been woven in more subtly. The other seven books taught us all kinds of things: friendship, courage, faith. But they weren’t as in your face as some parts of ‘The Cursed Child’. Also Ron loses his touch, it feels like he’s just comic relief.

The Cursed Child can feel a bit stilted at times and others may have issues with how convoluted it is. But personally, I’m just glad that I could read one more story about that magical world that we’ve all fallen in love with. And I’ll probably re-read it as I’ve re-read all the others, regardless of its flaws.

 

 

The ‘girly-girl’?

 

Being a girl, at a young age at least, has become associated with the color pink. The words ‘princessy’ and ‘8 year old girl’ have become almost interchangeable to the general unaware population.  

I was at Hamley’s the other day with a friend. We had gone into the store just for fun and mostly to mock the new extravagant toys. I was so accustomed to the clear segregation of toys based on gender that half the room being pink and the other half being mostly darker colors didn’t strike me as particularly odd. It’s only after reading a non-fiction book called ‘Cinderella Ate my Daughter’ that I realised that it annoyed me. Deeply.

Why should all girls have to love shopping and dressing up? Why is the trend of aspiring to look good impressed upon us? What’s worse is that there is an assumption that all of us dream of having perfect hair and finding ‘Prince Charming’. I’m not saying that a lot of girls don’t want that, myself included. But those things don’t complete us and certainly shouldn’t be our priorities. Instead being thought of as those working towards finding the perfect shoes for a certain outfit, girls should be thought of as normal people, working towards success in whatever field they desire.

Apart from what girls are expected to like, what bothers me the most is how girls are expected to act. Granted, the stereotypes are becoming less rigid in many parts of the world, but they are still pretty restrictive in most areas. Although the days of girls being considered meek doormats are hopefully behind us, bold isn’t usually the first quality that comes to mind when someone tries to describe the gender. But that raises another question, should one try to describe a gender? The answer is probably not, but some ideologies need to change.

How many times have you heard variants of the phrase ‘a girly-girl’? People saying, “Ew that’s too girly.” or “OMG, you’re such a girl.” in the most derogatory sense possible.

We as a gender are not cowardly, we are not frail and we are not incompetent. Being a girl should NEVER be an insult. It’s quite simple really and how people fail to understand it is beyond me. I’m going to spell it out nice and clear in bullet points if that’s what it takes for the message to stick.

  1. Being weak doesn’t make you a girl and similarly being a girl does not make you weak
  2. Liking pink, princesses, makeup ( all the stereotypical ‘girly’ things) doesn’t make you a girl and being a girl doesn’t mean that you need to be interested in specific things.

In conclusion each individual is unique and is allowed to have their own preferences, their own likes and dislikes and their own emotions. According to me the bottom line is classifying people is wrong, and classifying people by gender is even worse.

The closer you look, the less you actually see

The sequel to the popular 2013 movie Now You See Me, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo and several well known actors, was released a few weeks ago. The franchise focuses on four magicians (the horsemen) and them performing committing crimes using ‘magic’.

On the surface, Now You See Me 2 was brilliant; filled with breathtaking graphics, mind-blowing tricks and frequent comedy. Although a tad convoluted at times, at first glance it was certainly a film worth watching again.

The acting by the entire cast was amazing. Daniel Radcliffe playing a (SPOILER) villain was a bit shocking at first but he magically pulled it off. The three original horsemen were just as talented as in the first movie, possibly even funnier due to the comic writing. I was a bit disappointed when I had heard that Isla Fisher wouldn’t be returning for this sequel. How could you have a Now You See Me movie without Henley Reeves? But her ‘replacement’ Lula, played by Lizzy Caplan, was hilarious and added flavour to the show. She fit right in with the other magicians and after a while, it felt like that’s how it had been all along.
However when it ended, I started to question the entire plotline. I can’t say too much without revealing pretty big spoilers but thinking too hard about the movie gave me a pounding headache. If you are a true NYSM fan who reads between the lines, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Regardless, I suggest that you don’t delve into the intricacies and don’t pay too much attention to the details. Don’t over-analyze every scene and every trick. Leave your critical brain at home and watch it just for enjoyment. The closer you look, the less you actually see, the less you appreciate the tricks.

I would summarize the movie for those of you living under a rock who haven’t seen it yet. But alas I am not the nicest person on the block and being a diehard fangirl, I need you to watch this movie (and the prequel if you haven’t done so either). If you like action, magic, comedy and being enthralled, it’s not something you should miss out on. Eye (ahahah I’m so punny) fully recommend it:)