Happiness Is....

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Source: PsychConnection

Have you lately seen the "Happiness is..." posts on Facebook. I always notice that the posts which states the simplest of things as happiness have the most likes by people. Maybe that's true! Maybe the simple joys of life are worth more than the great accomplishments of life. Being around loved ones, sharing, fighting, teasing all form a part of the fun and brightness in life. For me, the simple things which make me most happy are:

1. Sleeping
Yes, well you know me by now. Getting to sleep till noon, then taking an afternoon nap, followed by evening nap, and finally sleeping early at night just describes my ideal day! :P I would rather spend weekends at home in a comfortable blanket than socializing! As they say, sleeping is like meditation. It de-stresses our brain, reduces stress levels and brings back our happiness meter to the top. I would recommend everyone take one day off the weekend and spend relaxing, just like me! ;)

2. Eating
Or should I say binge eating! I love eating. There were times in my life when I hated eating, literally! I couldn't eat more and I ate only to live. nowadays, I live only so I can eat more! :P I love any and every thing that's edible! And I'm hungry whenever I'm awake! So, whenever you see me, I will be either sleeping or eating. Actually, first two points pretty much sum up 90% of my happiness! Just kidding! :P

3. Writing
I love writing and I love reading what I write. Every time I'm down and feel that I'm a good for nothing person, I really go and read things I wrote 5-10 years ago and that really brings up my spirit! It just feels good because I'm not the same person and I don't even think that way anymore! It's like I watch my thoughts growing! :) But I'm not talking about my blog posts, as Naseeruddin Shah asks Farhan Akhtar in ZNMD, "Khud k liye bhi kuch likhte ho?" 

4. Talking
Not to strangers or acquaintances! :P I love talking to my people - my family, my close friends and my all loved ones! Obviously, every bit of it is absolute senseless and just blabbering! But that's what makes me happy. I cannot be a part of a serious conversation for more than 30 seconds and put in complicated technical words in it, I'll have drifted to my mind palaces before you blink!

5. Rains
Nothing, absolutely nothing, raises my spirit more than the soothing smell of rain. A coffee, a good book and rain on my patio - I don't think I have words to describe this combination. And getting drenched as well is like the icing on the cake! :)

6. Shopping
Source: QuotesValley
The image above summarizes my feelings towards shopping. There's no heart break that a shopping spree cannot cure. The quantity of things bought is directly proportional to the happiness incurred! Find a funding source and pretty much, every problem in the world is juts sorted! :P

7. Gossiping
Meeting with friends over a large pizza and pasta on the side with steaming hot gossip is just pure eternal bliss. Jokes apart, meeting with friends is a great stress buster. And yeah, every girl you know has a group named "Gossip" on their WhatsApp these days! And of course, we do gossip about every one of you! :P I think everyone must have heard the Mayonnaise Jar and Coffee story, where a professor teaches his students the importance of things in life. He rightly says, "No matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend". Or a coke for that matter!

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When She Smiled: Book Review

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Title: When She Smiled
Author:  Ritoban Chakrabarti
Genre: Romantic
Price: Rs 215
Number of pages: 226
Publisher: Notion Press; First edition (2015)
ISBN-10: 9384878251
ISBN-13: 978-9384878252

The Blurb:
Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more.
Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile.
As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery.
Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny.

About the Author:
Ritoban is an entrepreneur, author, internet marketer, and bathroom singer. He ran an internet marketing company for five years, before trying his hand at writing. His first novel, When She Smiled, a coming-of-age fiction released in 2014. He is an He is a freedom fanatic and an avid traveller, and believes in a life without boundaries.

My Review:
This review was long pending as I finished the book a while ago, but due to my preoccupation with so much these days, I am presenting to you a very delayed review. Now, I chose this book as I like reading books by first-time authors as the freshness they bring to the plot is amazing. The story is set in Shimla, about whom the author has explained beautifully. The description just made me run back to Shimla and enjoy the snowfall. The story is about a teenage boy who falls in love or better I call it "puppy love" with a girl. Now, shit happens and so do heartbreaks. The rest if I disclose, then I will be spoiling the plot for you.  However, the time he has described takes me back to the school days, which makes it so nostalgic. The fun days, the peer pressure, the study pressure from parents, the crushes, the heartbreaks it all came rushing back to mind. You can actually relate to Roy at so many instances, except when he starts stalking his love! :P The characters in the story are relatable- I surely knew one such person each during our school days. 

The plot, however, is not that strong, and nor is the climax. I read stories for twists and turns, but a perfect climax is a Must! This book lacked that perfectness. Also, the language and grammar aren't good too. The language is lucid, but not impressive and there are a lot of grammatical errors. I would recommend better editing for his next book. Also, at times, he is too descriptive with the scenarios. I literally, flipped through pages at more than one event. However, the author has put in an honest effort and has poured his emotions in a most realistic way, which deserves credit. 

All in all it is a one time read for me. Good option if you want to pass your time.

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
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F.R.I.E.N.D.S. - R.E.U.N.I.T.E.D.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Friends. (Source: F4Feeds)
There are days when all you need is a cup of coffee, soothing music and a good book but what you have to bear is full day of strenuous fieldwork, experimentation, fixing the instruments like a technician and attending presentations in between with just a two-minute lunch break! Yeah, Murphy's law ringing a bell! Well, that's how every day goes for me these days- in the desire of a vacation! :P

Last week had been such a hectic one as well but something different happened. I ran like a clock, ticking from 9 to 6.30. Finally I packed my bag, dragged my feet to reach the metro. Saying the metro was crowded would be an understatement. There was a flood of people - I mean a literal flood, people actually flow like water. You enter and exit the metro without any effort, but, alas, that's not comforting. I stood for an hour waiting to collapse but there was no space to do that even! Scanning through the crowd, I caught a glimpse of a familiar face but suddenly another pool of people entered the metro coach. I lost the face again. I tried looking again and there was a girl who looked like my school-time classmate but I wasn't sure. She looked like her but not exactly the same. Well, it's been 8 years since I left school so nobody would be looking the same now! I hesitated for some time and considering the amount of people between us, I couldn't even think of moving. After six more stations, I finally gathered some courage and a lot of energy to go to her. I said, "Hey! Priya?" She looked at me in amazement but finally her eyes showed a hint of recognition. She smiled and nodded! We hugged.

She had been the naughtiest girl in our class, always playful, full of energy, a little tomboyish and a perfect prankster. And look at her now. She stood in front of me in the most sophisticated manner, talking ever so politely! "Where is our Priya?", I teased her and she blushed. She was married now and settled with her husband in the United States. She was visiting her parents for a week and look at my luck that I met her in this metro to which I had been cursing all along. We got down at the next metro station and grabbed a table in the CCD. We were really close at the time of school, but different colleges in different cities kind of drifted us apart. We got so busy in our lives that we totally lost touch. But we were catching up now- we chatted for I don't even remember how long. We had missed such important events of each other's life! We talked about all the good times of school, how life had changed, where all our friends were.

After a long catching-up session, we exchanged numbers and bid adieu with a promise to stay in touch from now on. The meeting didn't last long but the feeling did. All the tiredness, the longing for a vacation, everything just disappeared in thin air. This was needed way more than the vacation! It will be a really memorable day for me. The nostalgia brought back such good memories that the smile it brought stayed on my face for a very long time. She went back this week but in the week that went by, we revived all our memories and our bond with it!

She'll be back in this winter and we are going to plan a reunion of all our school friends- all of us together! Friends- they bring back our smile and make us look up again! :)
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My first step towards Life!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Birmimgham (Source: BPS Birmingham Future)

I have always been an overly protected, extremely pampered and absolutely spoiled kid, thanks to my parent's tremendous love. I am an only girl in my paternal family, which just served as an icing to the cake. I have never been to field trips in school, night outs in college and usually, my dad drops me and picks me up from my college. Well, the last part is just because I'm too lazy to go by public transport! :P Lol!

While I was little, I had a dream to go and live in a hostel just to have an experience of what it is! My friends used to tease me that I will not be able to survive that! I have grown too used to living comfortably! Just to prove them wrong, I opted for a hostel once I joined my PhD but I didn't stay in it even for a day! I started thinking I will never be able o live on my own, neither do I intend to! 

Finally, one day during PhD, I was offered a chance to go to a foreign land! FOREIGN! OMG! Here, I was fretting over going to market alone and I had to go to another country, away from home! That is not possible at all. After fretting over it for a week, my parents forced me to go! Have the experience, they said! Everybody thought I would be happy, I was going to UK for a week, and I kept hoping that I will be sick and wouldn't have to go! What will I eat, how will I go out alone, with whom will I talk! Yeah, that's another problem, I am an introvert and when it comes on talking to strangers, I would die than initiating a talk, or even responding, nods work best for me! 

I was shit scared but the day finally arrived. My family came to bid my adieu and I felt as if I would cry, but to my amazement, I didn't. Well, not for long. I reached Birmingham at night and it was raining. I had to drag two heavy suitcases on my own with my laptop bag at my back! I somehow managed to get a cab and go to hotel. I went into the room, locked it and called my best friend and cried for half an hour! Seriously, with tears! I imagined I was going to end up dead in this different country without meeting my dad, eating this shit food (any food other than what my mom cooks is shit for me) and not talking to bhai bhabhi for a week! I imagined every horrible thing happening to me and I ended up being dead in each case. I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I literally dragged my feet to walk just out of my room, but I had to report at the university on time. To my amazement and comfort, everyone was so sweet to me. We had meetings which were, well, the boring part. But the researchers took me out on lunches, showed me around the place, and even taught me research related work. First day, I still reached back to hotel room at 6 and had cuppa noodles for dinner and Skyped home for 2 hours I guess. But before I knew it, I was comfortable there. On my third day, I tried going by their metro (yeah, I took overly priced cab on both other days, but I would rather be alive and poor than rich and dead!!) I started getting comfortable there, on my last day I went on a shopping spree for my family ALONE! yeah it's not a big deal for normal people but for cowardly introverts like me, it was the biggest step. I was so happy on my accomplishment that I treated myself but taking myself out to dinner! Table for one, she asked? And I felt stupidly proud in saying yes. 

I have been to three such trips in my two years of PhD, now my friends tease me that I am doing a Phd in Travel and Tourism! Lol. It may seem not like a big deal to any of you, but trust me that visit changed my life in more ways than one! Oh, this reminds me of Housing video I recently saw!

Look Up guys! The world is filled with ways to #StartANewLife
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The (wo)man who thinks (s)he can!

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Source: The Laws of Murphy
I am not a very optimistic person, infact, I am just the opposite. I have always worried about what could go wrong, what if it doesn't happen my way, what if something terrible comes out of this! I am an avid believer in the Murphy's law - "if something can go wrong, it will". I had been a pessimist all my life -up until now - but not anymore!

My parents decided to renovate the house, and thus, I was forced to clean my room! Yes, it sucks big time. But I had no better option - one was to clear out the junk and take out useful things or second everything will be considered junk and thrown out! So, I obviously decided to go with the second! :P But it had a catch - I was to be thrown out with the junk you see.. Haha! So I had to clear it out and when you haven't cleaned your room in more than twenty years, it is a very tough job indeed! :-$ So as I sat down to clean, amidst all the not so useful candy wrappers crushed between the books, I found my childhood diary. It was a diary in which I did not write my personal things (sorry to disappoint you but I burned that stuff years ago...No more proof of my stupidity exists anymore! *Evil Laugh*! >:) ) I found my diary in which i used to write poems which I liked! So I sat down reading.....

Some were really funny and childish but some just touched my heart.  I had a poem by Shiv Khera as well from his famous book , "You can win". One poem was from our class X Hindi textbook which I still remember by heart, it will always be my favourite I guess. But scribbled among all the heart shaped symbols and my innumerable attempts at finding a good signature were the lines that touched my heart, "if you think you are beaten, you are" from the famous poem "Thinking" from Walter D. Wintle. It struck me harder than lightning can strike- it struck home! It was as if my junior version knew my 24 year old pessimistic-self will read it someday! 

That was the moment, I sat to re-think about everything (No, I wasn't procrastinating! :P ) But somewhere, it sprouted in me the feelings of hope and optimism, the enthusiasm and curiosity of a child. It felt right, we kind of lose our battles before even we go to war because we believe we might lose it. The might is the game changer actually! Children are the most optimistic actually because they don't think about how this may go wrong; whereas we have an encyclopedia of this! :P So, now I have begun to believe- if it can be done, I might as well do it! Even if I lose, I can still add an entry to my encyclopedia, whatsay? ;)  Well, this ray of optimism and hope reminds me of when Shahrukh Khan says,  "if it's not happy, its not the end!". 

Chalo it's been a week that I have been thinking about it, so I might as well get back to cleaning my closet! :(

Leaving you with the beautiful lines from Walter Wintle's Thinking..
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can!
Look Up and let's keep trying guys! :) Happys Endings! :) 
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