Monday, February 23, 2015

Dreaming Under The Starlit Sky!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, February 23, 2015 8 comments

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” 

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

It has been a long day. I had a tough time explaining the cab driver the route to my office.

My morning coffee wasn't strong enough. My evening coffee wasn't even warm.

My feet ache. The high heels have paid their due. The radio played the music I hate. And my phone stopped working for an hour. 

It is a Monday. It has to be dreadful living up to its name, I reckon.

Just when I assumed that, things changed. 

I was stuck in traffic listening to a song by Maroon 5. As I was slightly obsessing over Adam Levine's voice, I look outside the window to see a world brimming with different people.

Bantering couples, children going home from tuition, teenagers on their way home from college, a bunch of friends laughing wildly over coffee, women looking at showrooms in awe, a child dressed in bright yellow with an ice-cream in her hand and glee on her face.

What would their stories be, I wondered.

I go a little further to see a different set of people. The working class--men driving through a terrible traffic jam, women waiting to board a cab, people walking to their closest destination with a laptop bag, and some with a bag full of groceries.

But you know what was the common thing? It was the fatigue that was written all over their faces. 

What do we work for?

Is it for the corner office? It is for the even cushy corner office? Is it for that much coveted lifestyle that our friends take pride in? Is it for fulfilling the dreams of our parents? Is it for paying our bills? Is it for the ailing children at home? Is it for creating a name in the society? I don't know. There could be a lot of things.

No matter what we do and what we say, I believe that we all work towards that one dream that has been giving us nightmares since childhood. A dream that has been simply pushing us to make our lives beautiful. I mean, it is just a small dream that keeps us awake in the night. Of course, it is a tiny dream that influences everything we say, and every step we take.

And sometimes, it is just a vague dream that makes us let go of our relationships, tampering them, and ends up being a sour moment between our parents as well; a trivial dream that never leaves our mind though we hide it under the fibers of our brain hoping it would wean away. Someday.

But guess what? That dream is here to stay!

And if you have no clue on what your dream is, keep exploring and experimenting with a lot of things. You will get there. 

Because we all deserve that lovely story that we can tell our grandchildren under a starlit sky.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ramayana The Game of Life: Shattered Dreams #2 - Shubha Vilas

By Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, February 22, 2015 2 comments

First things first. I had to delay the review of this book because of work issues, but I made sure that I would use this weekend for this book. So, here am I, a little late, but with the review.

I do not know when was the first time I actually listened to Ramayana. But I knew I was enchanted by it from then. It was delightful how it became a ritual of listening to my grandmother narrating Ramayana every night. 

I believe that's what Indian mythology does to you. It makes you fall in love with it, and no matter how many versions of Ramayana you read, you always crave for more.

Summary of the book:

Shattered Dreams is the sequel to the national bestseller, Rise of the Sun Prince, in the new spiritual and motivational series Ramayana - The Game of Life. Twelve joyful years have passed in Ayodhya since the wedding of Rama and Sita at the end of Book 1.

Now, in Shattered Dreams, Shubha Vilas narrates the riveting drama of Rama’s exile. Through tales of Rama’s unwavering and enigmatic persona, the book teaches us how to handle reversals positively; through Bharata’s actions, it teaches us to handle temptation; and through Sita’s courage, to explore beyond our comfort zone. This complicated family drama provides deep insights on how human relationships work and how they fail.


When Blogadda listed Shubha Vilas' Shattered Dreams Part 2 for a review, I knew I was going to apply for it. 

A week later when I received the book, I was absolutely pleased.

For starters, the most notable parts of the book are the lucid language, the flow of emotions I have experienced while reading it, and the footnotes.

The footnotes makes it easier for anyone who hasn't read Ramayana earlier.

I haven't read the first part of the book, but I was able to decipher the second part without any difficulty whatsoever.

Like I've already mentioned earlier, this book was written with a good flow of emotions. And these emotions were experienced by the readers too. As this part majorly focuses on the exile of Rama and Sita, I appreciate the way Shubha Vilas wove the intricate details. And he has done that well enough.

I liked the book. Having said that, I also felt that the book got a little preachy on several occasions. It could have been safely avoided.

Well it always comes back to one thing--Can't we just narrate a story without preaching? Can't we accept a good story without a little preaching?

Because that was the deal breaker for this book, and I believe it could have been avoided.


On the whole, this book makes a pretty lucid read for people who haven't read Ramayana earlier. And I would recommend it to people who take interest in Indian mythology and want to start it small.

The best part: The footnotes, and the lucid narration.

My rating: 3/5


Paperback: 404 pages

Publisher: Jaico Publishing House; First edition (23 January 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8184955316

ISBN-13: 978-8184955316

Price: 350 INR

You can purchase the book here: Shattered Dreams

This review is a part of the biggest <a href="" target="_blank"> Book Review Program </a> for <a href="" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bookstores & Libraries: Their Stories and Enigma!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, February 17, 2015 4 comments

“I didn't go to bookshops to buy. That's a little bourgeois. I went because they were civilized places. It made me happy there were people who sat down and wrote and wrote and wrote and there were other people who devoted their lives to making those words into books. It was lovely. Like standing in the middle of civilization.” 
― Jerry Pinto, Em and The Big Hoom

A quaint little bookstore, shelves stacked with a diverse range of books, the musty aroma of the wooden lofts, and more books scaling till the roof. Paradise!

Surely, the storekeeper was old, but he seemed to remember the names of the writers on his fingertips.

He was well versed with what they wrote, and the ones that were good.

Conversations with him were lucid, but strangely unusual. He spoke from the experience that came along with the company of books and words. An experience any reader would lust for!

Again, I felt like a child. I knew this is exactly how I felt when I stepped into a library for the first time ever. 

Don't you feel like an entirely different person altogether when you are in a bookstore? Or for that matter, a library?

And let us not forget those nostalgic second hand bookstores where you find books with dry leaves and roses, feathers, notes written by a mother to her son etc.

After buying a bunch of books and comics from the bookstore, my mother and I, we went home in glee. I believe we cannot buy this glee on Amazon or Flipkart.

The whole emotion of touching the books, reading their summary, and purchasing one right away with the anticipation of unleashing its mystery after you go home is absolutely lost each time you purchase a book online.

No, I am serious. I have got nothing against the online stores. I practically live on Amazon.

However, let us consider this scenario too. We go to a bookstore on a whim. (Yes, these days buying books from an online store or going to a library has mostly turned into a whim for 90% of us.) We walk from one shelf to another; we touch one book to another waiting to find that one book that would turn into our favourite for the next 5 years. 

We look for that one book that will end up being a major part of our memories.

In this process, we also reunite with books that have made our childhoods lovely. We do not go home with one book, but with three more books that the librarian or the storekeeper suggests us.

We fall in love with more writers and their words accidentally. 

We explore. We discover.


Come 2020, I am not sure if people will still visit libraries and bookstores. Utterly sad, I know. But I don't know. We are so dependent on the Internet. To top it all, rumours like "No bright future for libraries and print versions of books" because of tablets and ereaders is even depressing.

As a child, I still remember going to a library every evening with my mother. It was a ritual she never missed. And I made sure I was a part of it. Even today, my mother purchases books from the local stores instead of relying on the online stores. So does my father.  Taking the cue from them, I have firmly decided that I would purchase books from bookstores only. 

I am quite obstinate about it.

Let me tell you this. Libraries and bookstores are magical. You will never know what stories they hold high up their chest unless you visit them. Walk up to your closest bookstore or library, and fall in love with a world that will cast a spell on you forever.

We cannot let libraries and bookstores go extinct only because we refuse to visit them. 

As long as human race exists, stories and storytellers will thrive. While we are at it, we might as well give our next generation of individuals a fine experience of being in a library than learn about them on their iPad.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Little Joys of Life!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, February 13, 2015 2 comments

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” 

― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

I have been counting my highs and lows this week.

Yes, that's what free time does to you. I  haven't had time to think about the trivial things for quite a time now. Needless to mention, I pay a lot of attention to the inconsequential things.

The tiniest of things that do not matter to you, they matter to me. So the next time you cringe at my Instagram profile, I urge you to think twice.

Tell me, have you ever wondered what are the little joys of life?

Cannot think of any? Let me explain.

Do you remember that moment when you first saw your younger sibling? A newborn looking all pink and staring at you with big black eyes.

Or that night when you sat with your best friend watching 'Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani' over cake and cups of coffee, talking about love and its enigma?

For instance, do you still think of those days when you find the man you love walk towards you? Have you ever tried figuring out why that person can make your day better by just walking towards you? 

The little joys of life, I tell you!

While talking about the little joys of life, have you ever wondered how the smile on your mother's face can make you forget all your woes after a long day at work?

For that matter, do you love that moment when you find your cup of coffee still warm and strong?

Do you still feel the flutters and butterflies that your first love gave you? Or that period when you loved going to lectures because your English teacher was absolutely amazing?

Have you ever had a moment when your father read something you wrote or painted and appreciate you for the good work?

Or that incident when you gave your unused clothes to a person with limited means. The joy on that person's face illuminated the joy within you. 

I am sure we have moped around in pursuit of healing our broken hearts. Can you still remember the smile on your friend's face after she has gotten herself through a terrible heartbreak? 

Of all the joys, we try and remember, we never forget the happiness that our first salary gives us.

Or that day when you go out on a long drive and a sudden rush of rain surprises you. Sometimes, you find an old shoebox full of photographs and polaroids that takes you on a trip of nostalgia.

Your childhood home, the room that once belonged to you, your window and the raindrop dripping on its sill.

Your grandmother and the giggles you share with her; your grandfather and the stories he tells you; the stream near your grandparents' place and the memories it evokes.

The aroma of old books, and the poems you have written in your first journal.

The playful Summers and the solitary Monsoons!

The little joys of life, I tell you!

They are so tiny and almost ignored. 

The little joys of life are everywhere. They lie in your memories. They lie here and there. They lie in you.

You just need to take a break and look for them.

Thursday, February 05, 2015


By Sunaina Patnaik at Thursday, February 05, 2015 4 comments

“I'm not sentimental--I'm as romantic as you are. The idea, you know,

is that the sentimental person thinks things will last--the romantic
person has a desperate confidence that they won't.” 
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThis Side of Paradise

My one point agenda for today: Write something. Just anything.

I need to get too many things out of my system right now.

So while doing so, I was racking my brains trying to recollect the conversations I had with people over the week, and I figured there was this certain friend who asked me why I write a lot about love.

A. For one thing, I am not drunk in love.

B. But then, I suppose I really do write a lot about it. There have been a lot of people who asked me why I do that, but I guess I never really answered their question even decently well.

Isn't love worth writing about? I am constantly amazed at the fact that it can define or destruct our lives. 

It destructs, but, leads us to the right places.

I cannot stop wondering why love is that one thing that we all think about, but barely talk about.

We all watch great movies, we all read epic love stories, we all admire the couples who make it happen, we hire insanely expensive photographers to shoot our moments of love.

And in cases when love comes with self destruction written all over it, we are so broken that only love heals us again.

But we refuse to talk about it.

We wonder why we have the need to talk about it. I mean, even commercially, love sells.

For instance, you as a reader, refuse to read a book review. However, a post on love receives the highest number of hits for the week.

Love thrives--be it in cinema, or in literature.

People talk about hate, massacres, cruelty, and things that are worse. Things that make you cringe. Things that give you sleepless nights. Things that steal your peace of mind.

Literally. You can take my word for it.

This world needs more people who can talk about love, and spread its good cheer. 

I tell you what? Do not just pack that little Eiffel Tower dream of yours in a box and store it in the back of your head.

While you are here, you might as well have that 'A walk in the rain under the Eiffel Tower' moment with your loved one.

Just make sure that you write and talk about it. 

Because your story could begin someone else's story. 

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