Drew a paper town on ruled lines
But the sky was clear and blue
Hanging above rooftops cutting
Into it like crooked teeth
Smoke spilling, the place filling
The sky and the city were always
My favourite dichotomy
I heard a schizophrenic
Patient say inner beauty
Is better than putting on
A plastered face
That a little electricity
In the right place
Can make a difference
Even if only a microvolt
Piles of cases, papers
Stitched into a history
Peppered with mild doses
Of diazepam and loxapine
In the corner sits
A standby defibrillator
The switch with a red light
But can precaution
save the fated?
I do not know.
But I do hope.
So I started interning at a neuro-psychiatric hospital and this was inspired from the happenings inside.
Toes dipped in cedar green
Gold manacles clinking in time
To the wind lifting noir fringe
Brushed with velvet fingertips
The tap of storeyed footfalls
With the hesitation of peppermint lips
In a plum dress
Designed for a soirée
In a world of effervescent sparkle
Remember to dance with your eyes
Dizzy them like a paper airplane
The flashes will fall in line
When I first read
I hadn’t been in on Harry Potter from the get go, only having jumped on the band wagon after the first three books were published so the Goblet of Fire was the first of the series that I had to wait for in agonising anticipation and boy was it worth it. I devoured the book in less than four days and was already itching for more.
What I remember
With the first three Harry Potter books I was completely familiar with Hogwarts but the Goblet of Fire expanded the world of magic from just Hogwarts to an international world cup and to the introduction of other magical academies like Beauxbatons and Durmstrang through the Triwizard Tournament. The Quidditch World Cup was an exciting start to a game changing book in the series. Not only does the magical world seem more concrete but it also seems more dangerous because of the ominous emergence of Death Eaters and the return of Voldemort. That was why I found the fourth book so intriguing when I first read it!
Why I want To re read
As I’m re reading the entire Harry Potter series it’s inevitable but since the Goblet of Fire is one of my favourites I was eager to revisit it!
How I felt after re reading
The Triwizard Tournament is brilliant as far as I’m concerned. It’s such a a great way to break the tedium of the school year and read about so many new things and new characters like Mad Eye Moody.
Sirius is a great god-father and it’s nice to read about he and Harry keep in touch through out the year, finally a parent figure for Harry to confide in and look to for advice when he really needs it. Of course, what makes it even better is Dobby working at Hogwarts. His misunderstanding of how socks are not supposed to be matching is endearing and I love how Ron takes a liking to him as well, giving him his Christmas jumper.
I think Hermione’s efforts in securing wages and holidays for elves is underrated and needs more attention. She’s fighting for what she believes in and it’s admirable, though her determination is frequently met by road blocks. It’s a shame the movie didn’t bother to include this important side to Hermione’s character. She’d make a great lobbyist!
On the down side, I’ll always hate whenever any of these characters fight, particularly Harry and Ron. When Ron disbelieves that Harry put his name into the Goblet and gets jealous of all the attention Harry gets, it marks the worst fight they’ve had so far which leaves Hermione as a referee between the two of them.
Though they have a huge fight in the Goblet of Fire, I still think this is the book that highlights how important Harry’s friendship with Ron is to him. Though Hermione still talks to him during their spat, Harry himself says it’s not the same, with much less laughter and much more library hours and books. Then when it comes to the second challenge, the most important person to Harry turns out unsurprisingly to be Ron.
Rita Skeeter’s trash about Hagrid being dangerous was what made me angry the most. Poor guy can’t catch a break even though he’s one the kindest character in the series.
While Skeeter is a right old hag who should mind her own business, as we all know, I confess myself disappointed (get it?) that Mrs. Weasley actually believe Hermione was two-timing Harry with Krum. I didn’t think she was that daft to believe such dribble considering she actually knows Hermione. It just highlighted that girls get the brunt of media attacks and people seem predisposed to falling for it.
The drama around the Yule Ball was Romione-centric more than anything else. Ron is a disaster when he sees Hermione with Krum which I feel was a a needed kick in his ego. Harry’s not any better since he’s just glum that Cho went with Cedric. Though I know where they’re coming from, it doesn’t justify how they treat Parvati and Padma at the ball. I’d be mad too if my date just sat around sulking while everyone’s having a good time.
On the lighter side, I have to say I was in splits at times while reading this book. I could not stop laughing when I read this sentence:
Snape stretched out his hands like a blind man and began to move up the stairs… (trying to find Harry wearing his Invisibility Cloak).
I guess I was having too much fun imagining Alan Rickman doing this on the stairs in the middle of the night :)
I also had to put the book down when reading about Dobby waking up Harry ten minutes before the second challenge and offering him the Gillyweed:
Dobby cannot let Harry Potter lose his Wheezy!
How I love that Dobby calls Ron Harry Potter’s Wheezy. It’s just too good. And if you don’t laugh at that then I’m not sure I know what sort of sense of humour you’ve got. Just kidding.
I just love this book so much.
Would I re read again
Would Dobby help Harry no matter what?
The answer to both questions: Of course.
We know a lot of things about people around us but what exactly makes them tick? That’s what psychology is all about and social psychology in particular is everywhere. It’s in the books we read, the movies and TV shows we watch and the social interactions in our daily lives. It’s funny how after studying the subject for an entire semester, you know the reasons for a lot of common phenomena. So much of what we learned in class was actually something we already knew, just unaware of what it was in psychological terms.
And I just had to connect it to TV shows and books!
Ever wonder why you can’t remember anything from your early childhood, like it was some blur in time and then everything became clearer a little later? It’s called childhood amnesia. It is not possible for your autobiographical memory to recollect anything before the age of 3-4.
In a book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, the protagonist mentions this clearly:
“Except I can’t remember anything before I was about 4 because I wasn’t looking at things in the right way before then, so they didn’t get recorded properly.” – Christopher Boone
We readers and writers savour words on the tips of our tongues as does the wealthy man with his ‘tartes crustilliant’ and hors d’oeuvres at a sumptuous feast. So lovely to say serendipity, mint, perspicuous and frantic. They’re all wonderful.
So when that pesky question of what your favourite word is arises in a conversation or perhaps an infuriating writing assignment to be built around the elusive ‘favourite word’, what do you say…what do you write about?
Twenty years in and I did not have an answer until reading a lovely book called The Miniaturist and it suddenly struck me, reminding me how powerful the right string of words can be in invoking memories long forgotten and emotions one can’t express.
So my favourite isn’t one but in fact two…
On reading the sentence containing those words, I was taken to an afternoon in the month of March where the cold is biting and the frost bite nips at your ears, reddening them. Those afternoons where the sun shines and lights up the ice cemented to the road and sleeping on the fields, a wondrous crystal surface on the ground. Your cheeks are warmed by the rays and it’s such a thrilling paradoxical feeling of being cold yet warm all at once, like you’re on the brink of two sides, tapering on it.
How beautiful it it sounds, how wonderful it is. The contrasting joy in feeling warm amidst perpetual seasonal cold. When winter sunlight gleams down upon rouge cheeks and warms them teasingly is a feeling incomparable. If heaven had light like that then it is everything I’ve heard. Perhaps more.
I miss that feeling quite often, one of my favourite things about winter. I’ve always felt that it’s nicer to be warm in cold weather than cool in hot weather.
In searching for a relevant descriptive noun, I stumbled upon apricity. I can’t be sure of whether it’s urban, obsolete or utterly fictional but I’d gladly start a petition for it be an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary (it’s worthy of being there instead of words like selfie) and then that way, I’ll finally have just the one favourite.
p.s What’s your favourite word?
p.p.s I know it may seem like a preposterous dilemma to solve but it’s a satisfying one:)
It really was March madness in terms of reading this month despite exams! Here’s the round-up of all the books I’ve devoured:
*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon: This is a unique, brilliant book that I find emotionally investing yet humorous as well. I read it as part of the Re Read Challenge so do check out my re-read post here!
Verdict: Give this one a definite read!
* Re-Read Challenge
Literary Theory: A guide to the perplexed by Mary Klages: Given that this book would not have made my reading list but for an entire semester of slogging through the contents of literary theory, I have mixed feelings about this one (with the negative ones tending to dominate more often than not.) Having this book as a textbook made me want to tear my hair out by the roots. However, I suppose reading it for information would be a more pleasant experience particularly the chapters on deconstruction, feminism, psychoanalysis and postmodernism.
Verdict: Read at your own potential risk.
InuYasha Volumes 4-9 by Rumiko Takahashi: There’s quite a lot of interesting things that happen in these volumes! Now that Shippo is tagging along with InuYasha and Kagome it’s funny to see the love-hate relationship between him and InuYasha, sort of like two brothers always fighting with one another. When Kagome returns to the modern world, she saves a girl ghost wreaking havoc upon her family, from the brink of hell and InuYasha sees exactly what she’s capable of. We also discover that the night of the new moon strips InuYasha’s of all his demonic power turning him mortal till the sun rises.
I’m glad that InuYasha and Kikyo’s misunderstanding fifty years ago is revisited when Urasue revives Kikyo though it puts Kagome in an awkward position. InuYasha and Kikyo’s unrequited love is beautiful. Yet for me, the best part about these volumes is the introduction of Miroku, a lecherous monk and Sango, a demon slayer and her demon cat Kirara. Now it’s odd how I could have read the earlier volumes when they weren’t around.
Verdict: These volumes have the most interesting developments!
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton: After having heard considerable praise for this book, I was interested to see what all the fuss was about. Immediately I understood.
Jessie Burton’s writing style is so refreshing to read, the likes of which are very rare. The book is written in a very poetic, lilting style that makes Nella’s strange world come alive and as a reader, I was always kept on the edge of my seat with the various plot twists interspersed in the narrative. I adore how the characters are complex and atypical. We have the protagonist, an 18-year-old mistress of the house Nella Brandt envious of the freedom and lax enjoyed by her maid named Cornelia. Nella’s husband Johannes and her sister-in-law Marin have odd ways of showing that they do in fact care about one another, something Nella always questions. The dynamics of the book are unique which is why I can understand as many as ten or so publishers fighting tooth and nail for the rights to it.
However, I did have certain issues with the book especially with a lack of closure or acceptance towards the end. There are some serious plot holes and I believe the back of the book misleads the reader into thinking it’s a mystery when it’s not actually quite so. That’s all I can say without spoiling the Miniaturist .
Verdict: Despite its flaws, I was so captivated by this book that I’d finish studying for my exams early just so I could curl up in bed and read it late into the night. Please grab a copy!
My main source of disappointment is that Nella never uncovers how the miniaturist is able to foretell events in her life or how she possesses the gift to craft such exquisite and eerily accurate miniature pieces. She merely finds out the miniaturist is her name sake but that is the end of the road when it comes to this mysterious stranger whose intrigue was crucial to the books appeal. Sadly it isn’t about the miniaturist at all which makes me question why the book is titled in such a way.
I was digging into some old poetry and came across this one I’d written in the fifth grade. It’s one of the few that built up my interest in writing poems.
Afar from the starboard it could only be
But a monster lost at sea
Its eyes gave a sudden glare
Only you and I could stare
Never had such a beast been seen
Now you’ve seen in between
An epic battle had begun
But sure enough, the men had won
Skies dotted with flicks of colour
Strings tied down to souls beneath
My eyes watch the heavens come alive
Hoping to find what I seek
You are standing not too far from me
Weaving kite strings like it’s fate’s design
A child like air lighting up your eyes
As if all worry and fear resign
The kite sails high above our heads
In a sea amongst its own
Like the mast of a ship held high
The most beautiful sight I’ve ever known
Wishing that the sands of time would stop
So we can come here everyday
And just let kites fly loose
Getting lost in the fray
Kites are like the ships of the sky
You and I, their captains
Sailing through thick and thin
Beyond shadows of the mountains
Yet time goes by and the moments all passed
You have gone and never to come back
But your kite still lies in the corner of my garage
Hurting like an incendiary heart attack
It looks sad, desperate for flight
I can’t bear to let it be stilled
So I do the only thing I can think of
And take it on over to a field
But when the kite flies, I see a quiver
And it looks a touch miserable
Until the wind picked up
And snapped the string formidable
And I watch the kite fly far away
And I know it’s flying right to you
It’s coming home after having missed you so
If only it could take me too
*In loving memory of my father