Book Review- Finding Audrey

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

This is the first Sophie Kinsella book that I’ve read and it was a pleasant surprise. Finding Audrey is a cute and quick book ( I read it in a day) which is fun and light-hearted while dealing with heavier issues like anxiety and depression.

“To put you out of your misery, here’s the full diagnosis. Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Episodes.”

As a psychology student, I’ve learned about these disorders, their symptoms and treatment options. That’s why I avoid reading books dealing with mental health issues out of the fact that they misrepresent the reality of mental illness. However,  Audrey’s insight is humorous and real enough to believe which means Kinsella has done her research. The therapy sessions with Dr. Sarah mirror genuine techniques and valuable information for those suffering from anxiety and depression.

Also, some of the the things Audrey said were so on point.

“I am owed so much laughter. Sometimes I hope I’m building up a stockpile of missing laughs, and when I’ve recovered they’ll all come exploding out in one gigantic fit that lasts twenty-four hours.”

While it may sound like romance is the key aspect of the book, it really isn’t. There’s just as much emphasis on Audrey’s family as there is on Linus. However, what’s not very convincing is how Audrey’s recovery speeds up after meeting Linus which misleads people into falsely thinking, once again, that a boyfriend will fix all your problems. However, I appreciate that Kinsella wrote Linus as a balanced character, with moments of understanding as well as frustration. If he’d been a sweetheart who has endless patience and cheesy lines I’d have given up on this book. One moment that stood out in particular was when he shouted at Audrey, “Why can’t you just snap out of it?”, highlighting exactly what you DO NOT say to someone suffering from a mental illness.

However, Linus’ rhubarb analogy was spot on, uplifting and apt. This conversation via little notes was my favourite part of the book:

Linus: It won’t be for ever. You’ll be in the dark for as long as it takes and then you’ll come out.

Audrey: You think?

Linus: My aunt grows special rhubarb in dark sheds. They keep it dark and warm all winter and harvest it by candlelight and it’s the best stuff. She sells it for a fortune, btw.

Audrey: So what, I’m rhubarb?

Linus: Why not? If rhubarb needs time in the dark, maybe you do too.

Yet, my favourite character was neither Audrey nor Linus but actually Frank, Audrey’s brother.  In fact, Audrey’s whole family was nice to read about.

However, if I could change one thing about the book, I’d provide a little more backstory on what happened to Audrey and the other girls who bullied her. Yet, in a way, the fact that it wasn’t clarified helped keep the focus on the future instead of the past which is the motto of recovery.

Overall, I enjoyed this book with its humour and sensitivity and am glad to have read that those suffering from anxiety and panic attacks have found the book just as enjoyable.

Fill out a survey for Game of Thrones Research, please?


Hi everyone! I’m in my final year of college and am currently working on my research dissertation in psychology. My research is on the personality traits and and preferences of the viewers of Game of Throne between the ages of 18-30. Anyone across the world can take it by opening the link below which will take you to a survey I prepared to collect data. If you could spare some time to fill out the survey, I would really appreciate it! Also, feel free to pass the link along to other people who might be interested! Thanks for your time!

If anyone has any queries, please feel free to email me at :)

Cultural In-Betweenness and Being Indian on ‘Master of None’

In her Emmy speech, Viola Davis had said, “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” The same can be said for stories. They can’t be told without platforms that aren’t there which is why I am glad that Master of None has one because it has a lot to say. Created by comedian Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, this Netflix original series is an episodic vignette of various slices of life. Ansari plays Dev Shah, a 30 year old actor, trying to weave between dating and establishing a career in New York City, figuring it out as he goes along.

The title in itself is quite apt, since Master of None cannot simply be pinned down as anything, instead choosing to dabble in a bit of everything, like someone dipping his or her toes in the pool yet executed with a great deal of skill. What it does manage to master is telling the story of being a millennial, featuring sporadic references to social media (which are not annoying but rather realistic), an interrupted conversation about the singularity and the habit of flaking on people last minute, which I can assure you most of us are guilty of. Not only does it do a good job of capturing the life of the meme generation but it seamlessly assimilates racial and ethnic diversity without drawing attention to the fact and that’s what appealed to me the most.

With each episode acting as a comedic social commentary on various issues, my favourites were the Indian themed ones because they truly resonated with me.

The episode ‘Parents’ focuses on the stories of Dev and his friend Brian’s parents, how they came to America and made a life for themselves so far from home. Ansari even cast his own parents for the roles and the series is genuine in portraying the reality of first generation immigrants. The take away from this episode is that ABCD’s (American Born Confused Desi’s) and other second generation immigrants don’t know all that much about their roots. I think it’s an important point to highlight because with America being a bit of a mixing pot of cultures it’s easy to merge with the dominant one and you see Indian kids being raised there who have no connection or idea about their own culture. Recently an American university student of Indian origin came to our class and as part of her introduction she said she was excited to experience Indian culture which, if I’m being honest, made me cringe at how contrived it sounded. YOU’RE INDIAN.

In Indians on TV, Dev points out to his friend the Indian in Short Circuit 2 is actually a white man with a brown face, saying, “They got a real robot and a fake Indian.” That one line sums up Hollywood’s whitewashing that’s been seen in the case of The Social Network and more recently in The Martian where Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Dr. Vincent Kapoor when the character in the book was actually was written as Dr. Venkat Kapoor.

The simple matter of the fact is that Hollywood rarely ever gets Indians right and it needs to be called out. Either they whitewash Indian roles or they portray ridiculous stereotypes. Just look at Raj from The Big Bang Theory. I’ll never forget his ludicrous joke about the McDonald’s in India serving curry sauce as the special sauce. I can assure they do not. Master of None even points out the racist connotation of the overdone curry jibe when Dev accidentally receives an email referring to him with the racist joke. When his friend, Denise suggests leaking it he launches into an all-too-true rant pointing out the reality of it, saying “People don’t get that fired up about racist Asian or Indian stuff. I feel like the only way to start a brouhaha is if you say something about black people or gay people…” I couldn’t agree more.

This series has given me a lot to think about that I probably wouldn’t have. It’s the little things you deal with so often you forget they’re even an issue.

As an Indian kid born and raised in Canada for half my life and in India for the other half, I can easily relate to the neither-here-nor-there box you’re in when you’re accultured.  On moving to India, I studied in an international school with other NRI’s and OCI’s and it was like a little glass you’re swimming around in  which I’d taken for granted until graduating and going to college where I felt like a bit of a fish out of water.  Even if I looked like I belonged, I certainly didn’t sound like it and my accent had warranted ridicule. I’ve got people asking me why my accent isn’t more ‘Indian’ even after having lived here for 10 years. What does that even mean? I don’t hear anyone asking my Korean friends that though they’ve stayed here just as long. Accents don’t permanently change, people. And not to mention how ridiculous it is for me to have been called a ‘firang’ which is a derogatory term for a caucasian person in Hindi.

So I guess the struggles of cultural in-betweenness don;t just appl t children of immigrants as it does in the show but also to those of us who move back to the homeland. I’ve never spoken much about this except to a friend of mine from New Jersey. He faces the same issue and we’ve turned it into a huge joke ( a mutual defense mechanism of sorts) but it is it really as hilarious as we’ve made it out to be? Maybe. Or maybe not.

That’s some food for thought right there and I’m still chewing on it. If you’re interested in taking a bite, go binge-watch Master of None.

Art Journal- Lyrical Lulls (Part 1)

Don’t you love those moments when you’re listening to a song and a certain lyric just sings out at you?

Art journalling is such a mindful and expressive process but the wonderful part is when you open a blank page and have an idea about what you want to paint but along the way, it turns into something else entirely, the synapses firing as watercolours drip and merge. I’d begun with the idea of painting the entire page but the way it shaped was far better by adding a lyric to a song I was listening to. This was my most in-the-moment art journal page.


Swallows, some tea and burnt edges gave me this…


IMG_0500 IMG_0501


Movie Review- Begin Again

Rating: 4/5

If you’re looking for a feel-good movie centred around the magic that is music, then look no further because John Carney’s Begin Again really delivers. This past week, I’ve watched it around three times but before you judge, let me tell you this…it really makes you appreciate music differently (Granted I haven’t seen Once and Begin Again is said to follow along the same lines.)

Begin Again follows the story of a down-on-his-luck record label executive Dan Mulligann (Mark Ruffalo) who discovers an occasional and fiercely independent song writer named Gretta James (Keira Knightley) who’s just broken up with her boyfriend and song-writing partner Dave Kohl (Adam Levine). The two set off to record an outdoor album all around New York City, fixing up some old wounds and tying up loose ends along the way. If you think Dan and Gretta get together, think again. This isn’t a ride-off-into-the-sunset rom-com and I love it. Dan and Gretta’s platonic relationship made the movie what it was and I would have been sorely disappointed if it had become anything slightly romantic.

I think that’s what helped make the characters feel real. Ruffalo pulls off the drunken-mess-sort-of-charm that defines his character and Knightley does well to represent the musical integrity that Dan is looking for, probably wouldn’t have survived without, in fact. Musicians like Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green are welcome to the melange and James Corden is the perfect comedic buffer in a movie of heartbreak and bourbon.

The moments between Dave and Gretta where the music did all the talking and they didn’t have to say a word were some of my favourites. This happens a few times in the film, once in the beginning and again at the end. The best scene, however, is when Gretta and Dan plug in a splitter and listen to the music on her iPod, aptly saying you can tell a lot about a person by the music they listen to (a friend of mine is even doing research on that fact).

Undoubtedly, the soundtrack accounts for most of the film’s appeal. With songs like Lost Stars, Tell Me if You Wanna Go Home, Coming Up Roses, No One Like You and A Higher Place, the soundtrack is undeniably good. Knightley did a decent job for someone who hasn’t sung before and you know it’s not going to disappoint when Levine is on the tracks. I suppose watching how Gretta’s tracks get recorded around New York with no filtering made it even more interesting. I enjoyed the part where the kids are singing ‘hold on hold on’ in ‘Coming Up Roses’ in some alleyway and the entire scene where they play ‘Tell Me if You Wanna Go Home’ on the rooftop with the city lights in the backdrop. Magic.

Ultimately, the movie makes me want to stroll down the street listening to my favourite playlist or cycle through the streets pondering about life and that feeling is what makes me want to revisit the movie time and again. Just watch the movie and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

(Oh and on a completely unrelated note, I would also like to steal Keira Knightley’s entire wardrobe from the film.)

Album Review- Made in the A.M. Deluxe Edition

Rating: 4/5

Made in the A.M is the fifth studio album by the UK/Irish group One Direction, released before their one-year hiatus. While it was speculated that the band would suffer after having to deal with Zayn Malik’s abrupt departure, it has indeed proven to be the opposite. Whether or not this change has fueled the remaining four members as they claim, it is by far the best album they have released and the maturity from bubble gum pop to an older school influenced sound is transition enough to leave on. They set out to make this album their best and they’ve achieved it. While it is disappointing that they will not be touring for this album, it is nice to hear this quality music from them. The album overall is a mix of different influences, some more obvious than others and overall, for this group, the overall sound is definitely a road that had never been taken.

Here’s my track by track review mixed with inconsequential personal opinion:

Hey Angel

With Harry having tweeted quite a few lyrics from this particular song, my first impression was that it was going to be a slow ballad but it turned out to be a refreshing upbeat start to the new album, picking up on the euphoric note that Clouds left off in Four. The difference, however, is that this tune has a more mellow sound than the in-your-face ecstatic tone of Clouds. I’m pleased that the song isn’t too direct in terms of romantic references as I had expected.

Notable lyrics:  

Hey angel, do you look at us and laugh, when we hold on to the past? 

Hey angel, tell me, do you ever cry, when we waste away our lives?

Drag Me Down

This is the first single off the album as well as the first song that had been released after Zayn left the band and it certainly makes a point.The experimentation is evident and might take some getting used to, as it did in my case where it actually grew on me over time. The message is clear though, a ‘you can’t hold me back’ anthem of sorts. The group had a lot to prove and this song encapsulated it with the edge in its tone. Niall and Liam’s solos were what hooked me most in Drag Me Down but I must say I was disappointed that Louis didn’t sing much in it.

Notable lyrics: I’ve got a river for a soul and baby you’re a boat


It’s safe to say that Perfect has been the media’s favourite to hype what with the suspected Taylor Swift references, acting as One Direction’s retaliation to her track Style off 1989. Apart from that little bit of entertainment, I don’t find this song fitting in too well with the album overall, maybe better fit for Midnight Memories. It’s not the best lyrics wise.

Notable lyrics: 

But if you like causing trouble up in hotel rooms
And if you like having secret little rendezvous


I feel as if One Direction’s team promote the wrong tracks. When I heard Infinity for the first time, I did enjoy it and thought the rest of the album would follow in this line but how wrong I was. Now that I have heard the entire album, it seems misplaced. Just like Perfect it belongs on one of their previous albums with its dramatic proclamations. Nonetheless, it was excellent in terms of vocals.

Notable lyrics: 

How many nights have you wished someone would stay?
Lie awake only hoping they’re okay

End of the Day

Another upbeat tune with clapping hands and a quick beat, yet I’m in a bit of love/hate relationship with this track. This hasn’t been the first time I’ve found that the verses and chorus of one of their songs don’t match, sounding a little like a mashup of two different songs. While I love the verses, the chorus throws me a little with the overpowering tone of it in comparison. That being,said, I can’t deny that it’s a feel good tune about no apologies. Not to mention, Louis kills the high note.

Notable lyrics: 

Just me, her and the moon

I set you on fire, babe and down came the lightning on me

If there’s something I’ve learnt from a million mistakes
You’re the one that I want at the end of the day

If I Could Fly

Following End of the Day, the momentum slows down significantly. If I Could Fly could be aptly summed up as the most heart-wrenching song by these lads, in my opinion. Despite having recycled the lyric ‘I’m missing half of me’ from Half a Heart, it’s definitely an upgrade. It sounds genuine which is definitely not One Direction’s trademark what with their previous overwrought ballads that ooze romantic cliches (no hate). The song revolves around the apprehension and insecurity following showing someone your true colours, the mask ripped off summed up when Harry sings ‘And I hope that you don’t run from me’. It’s achingly beautiful.

Notable lyrics: 

If I could fly
I’d be coming right back home to you
I think I might give up everything
Just ask me to

Long Way Down

This is the type of track you can imagine yourself rolling over in bed, just lying there reminiscing about how you build something only for it be broken. Or it’s the type of song you’d play on a long car ride, staring out the window thinking about someone you wish you never lost. This track, for me, has some of the best lyrics, meaningful and beautiful, coupled with soothing backtracks. Hats off to Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Julian Bunetta, John Ryan and Jamie Scott for writing this one. I really enjoyed it.

Notable lyrics: 

Built a cathedral
But we never prayed
We had it all, yeah and we walked away

We had a mountain, but took it for granted
We had a spaceship, but we couldn’t land it
We found an island, but we got stranded

Never Enough

This is one of my favourites. I can’t help but laugh at the grunting in the background but it’s catchy and runs like a Vine loop in your head (if you let it). The fast singing is a nice change from the previous emotional tracks and I like the come on’s and other background vocals. It’d be a challenge not to dance around while listening to it because of the slightly residual pop sound. This track has got Niall written all over it and I was happy to hear one penned by him since his writing style isn’t sappy. He did not disappoint. While Never Enough has been hyped up as No Control 2.0 I’d like to disagree. But yes, it has some of it’s undertones.

Notable lyrics: 

Lips so good I forget my name
I swear I could give you everything


Think Willy Wonka leading the Beatles through Candyland eating rainbow fluff along the way and you’ve got Olivia. Yes, it sounds absurd but what else can you expect from Harry?When he spoke about the song, he said it personified an emotion and I understand that actually. While I did chuckle a bit when I initially heard the song it truly is pure joy, giving you the feeling of just being in love but yet not with anything specific. Olivia could be so many things and I like that. For me it’s sprawled across a picnic blanket sketching something or going skating and grabbing a hot cocoa. Whatever Olivia means to you, it’s certain to put you in a terribly good mood, the type that annoys people, in fact.

Notable lyrics: 

This isn’t the stain of a red wine
I’m bleeding love

When you go and I’m alone
You live in my imagination
Summertime and butterflies
All belong to your creation

What a Feeling

The sensual, sexy groove of What a Feeling is reminiscent of of the 70’s disco with a chill vibe. I think the vocals are extremely on point in this track, with smooth transition between the verses and chorus, the antithesis of End of the Day. The chorus and guitar make this song memorable.

Notable lyrics:  What a feeling to be a king beside you

Love You Goodbye

First thought when I heard the beginning was that it sounded like Apologise by One Republic. It’s about breaking up with someone but spending one more night together but honestly, this track didn’t stand out much to me.

Notable lyrics: 

Why you wearing that to walk out of my life?

Even though it’s over you should stay the night.

I Want to Write You A Song

Cute is what comes to mind. It is literally lyrical fluff that could have easily stemmed from Tumblr posts which is welcome with the fans of course. I like the stripped down simplicity of I Want to Write You a Song with no instrumentation but a guitar. The chorus is the highlight what with the soft ooh’s that could just as well fit in a lullaby coaxing you to sleep and Louis taking charge of the chorus was a well made decision. I think this song makes the most out of the softness of his voice. I could fall asleep listening to this, it’s just that soothing.

Notable lyrics: 

So when the world is cold
You’ll have a hiding place you can go
I want to lend you my coat


I was walking around campus while listening to this and it makes for good company if you’re strolling around aimlessly with time to think. And it will make you think because it is dedicated to the fans and the crew. Nostalgic and personal, History will revive memories of the past five years or so, all the ups and downs the band and the fans have had. Liam mentioned how it’s Toy Story-esque, providing closure and I agree. My favourite part is Louis’ solo because of all the direct references. Though it’s repetitive, History is the literal perfect swan song to this chapter of One Direction’s career, ending on a positive note in the standard edition of the album.

Notable lyrics: 

Mini bars, expensive cars, hotel rooms, and new tattoos, the good champagne, and private planes
But they don’t mean anything.
Cause’ the truth is out,
I realize that without you here life is just a lie
This is not the end, this is not the end
We can make it you know it, you know

Temporary Fix

This is is real No Control 2.0 with a pop-rock feel. Written by Niall, you can see that the songs about sex have been written by the member marketed as the innocent one, which is telling in itself. Keeping in mind who wrote it, it’s easy to see the bar scenario playing out and the dirt in this track is more than welcome.

Notable lyrics: 

You look like the kind of girl who’s tired of speaking

You can hold me I’m always what you like
Let me be your good night

Walking in the Wind

Clearly influenced by Paul Simon as Harry said, Walking in the Wind is another one of my favorites off this album. Though it has romantic tones, I don’t necessarily equate it to a romantically inclined relationship but rather loss of a loved one, with their soul free to walk in the wind. The ‘You will find me’ lyric resonated with me personally and it feels like an inexplicable of sadness, upliftment and freedom.

Notable lyrics: 

Goodbyes are bittersweet, but it’s not the end
I’ll see your face again

You will find me and you will find me


I liked the name of the song and based on it, expected it to sound somewhat fierce but then again when has One Direction ever done that (just kidding)? It’s a nice surprise with the analogy of guys approaching a girl as wolves closing in. For a song about taking down guys and not going down without a fight, it’s quite cheery.The chorus is the best part. Another track written by Niall, this is one of my favourites as well. I catch myself unintentionally singing the chorus when I least expect it, the mark of a true ohrwurm (earworm in German).

Notable lyrics: 

In the middle of the night when the wolves come out
They head straight for your heart like a bullet in the dark
One by one, I take them down
We can run and hide, ain’t goin’ down without a fight


A.M is the most relatable, revolving around a group of friends who are talking shit in the early morning only for it to course into the bigger scheme of things. It’s the ramblings of a daydreaming mind drunk on youth and possibility with a nostalgic tone. I think anyone in their 20’s would enjoy this one.  Personally, I really connect with this song because some of the best conversations I’ve ever had were in the wee hours of the morning, completely unfiltered.

Notable lyrics: 

We’re just swimmin’ ’round in our glasses
And talking out of our asses like we’re all gonna make it

Won’t you stay ’til the A.M.?
All my favourite conversations
Always made in the A.M

You can tell over the years that One Direction have tried out so many different styles and it somehow seemed like a glove that didn’t fit right but I think with Made in the A.M it’s the perfect size.Overall, I love the older influences. Since they knew they would not be touring this album, it allowed room for less stadium hits which improved the quality of it all. Made in the A.M is more meaningful and shows how far the band has come since Up All Night. Although fans who preferred their pop tunes more might not be enthusiastic over Made in the A.M, I think it shows possible directions that the band could go in, whether they choose to reconvene or pursue solo ventures. Good on them and good luck.

Order Made in the AM on through any major music retailer.

Favourite Songs: Walking in the Wind, Wolves, Never Enough, If I Could Fly, Long Way Down


Vanilla Cupcakes!

I’d pledged a while back that I wanted to learn the art of baking and my first attempt at baking cupcakes was a disaster to put it mildly. Never having baked them before, I’d gotten hyped up about the cute cupcake holders’ I’d bought at a shop called Itsy Bitsy. After buying the cupcake tray and all the ingredients, I successfully managed to botch the batch. Thankfully I tried again and it all worked out. With a little icing and sprinkles they were all set and best of all they taste delicious! (Not that I can take full credit for that since I used the Pillsbury Vanilla Cake Mix and Vanilla Icing).




4 out of 5 dentists recommend this blog :)


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