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An award, an award, an award!!! September 19, 2009

Posted by Nila~ in Miscellaneous.
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Alisha, a freakin’ fabulous blogger herself, just awarded me with…

I knowww, I can’t believe it either. It’s been a couple of months already since I created this blog, but I still feel kinda new to the whole thing…and I didn’t think I’d written enough as yet to make any kind of impression…
But I have no intention of disputing the statement in that purple box. So, here we go :D…

Rules of the Award:

  • List five current obsessions.
  • Pass the award on to five more fabulous blogs.
  • On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.
  • When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well.
  • Don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by leaving a comment on their blog.

My 5 Current Obsessions:

Mon nouveau Macbook Pro, a thing of beauty. I don't believe I've left its screen for much more than food and sleep since it arrived in the post last Monday morning.

Mon nouveau Macbook Pro, a thing of beauty. I don't believe I've left its screen for much more than food and sleep since it arrived in the post last Monday morning.

Photographs. There’s no better way to waste time than leafing through old photos, and letting yourself be overcome with nostalgia...as one of my "projects" for this summer had been to scan and store each and every photograph from the pre-digital days in my possession. I think I'm about a tenth of the way through O_O.

Photographs. There’s no better way to waste time than leafing through old photos, and letting yourself be overcome with nostalgia...as one of my "projects" for this summer had been to scan and store each and every photograph from the pre-digital days in my possession. I think I'm about a tenth of the way through O_O.

Cheesecake…everybody has some form of food obsession; right now, this is mine…a slice of Sainsbury’s vanilla cheesecake, dripping with caramel or chocolate sauce, every afternoon for the past week. *Sigh*. This can’t last.

Cheesecake. Everybody has some form of food obsession; right now, this is mine…a slice of Sainsbury’s vanilla cheesecake, dripping with caramel or chocolate sauce, every afternoon for the past week. *Sigh*. This can’t last.

Scarves, a long-standing obsession. I collect them the way some collect bags and others shoes; you know perfectly well you have no need for more, but you’ve gotta buy them anyway...

Scarves, a long-standing obsession. The way some collect bags and others shoes, I collect scarves; you know perfectly well you have no need for more, but you’ve gotta buy them anyway...

Making Lists, like I am right now, only pretty much all revolving around university: lists of books to read and movies to watch before I go, of things to buy and forms to fill, of clubs to join and costs to meet, and as you see here, lists of the lists I’ve made.

Making Lists, such as this one, only pretty much all revolving around university: lists of books to read and movies to watch before I go, of things to buy and forms to fill, of clubs to join and costs to meet, and as you see here, lists of the lists I’ve made.

For five further fabulous bloggers…

1) The Numerator

2) Ajla

3) The Dark Lord

4) Joud

5) Filhaal

I realize several of the above have already done this tag, lol. And wellll, there’s a reason I’m not the first to award them.

Nila~

P.S Apologies for the ridiculous delay in this post! I blame pre-uni stress.

Catastrophe September 1, 2009

Posted by Nila~ in Miscellaneous.
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Last afternoon, my grandfather, looking up from the day’s newspaper and noticing me in the immediate vicinity, called on me to check out what he’d just been reading (my grandparents are presently the only ones in the house that read the news from cover to cover – all I use the paper for on a regular basis is as something over which to cut my nails :|…)

Anyway, as I began skimming through the article,

Him: Solar flares……they say catastrophe, disaster…
Me (chuckling): Ohh, it’s okay, thatha (grandfather, in tamil). Such stories –
Him: So it’s just a story?
Me: Yes, yes…well, no :?. But this kind of news story comes up all the time…
Him: Then why are they so worried?
Me (shrugging): Wellll, scientists worry about a lot of things… (Well, it’s true; meteorites, epidemics, global warming…I feel rather sorry for them.)
Him (with a thoughtful look): You say it’s not serious, then. Hmmm, okay…

bluesflareAs if I was some kind of authority, lol…but you could tell this would still weigh on his mind for a while. *Sigh*. I guess he’d never come across this kind of hypothetical Doomsday scenario before. And ignorance is bliss. How much can you possibly worry about at a time?? Like there isn’t enough that could go wrong right here, before we laypeople concern ourselves with cosmic disasters.

Because obviously, it can be the end of the world even if it changes no one’s life but our own…

The only end weighing on my mind at present (mm hmm, I’ve grown the ability to twist pretty much any train of thought so as to lead back to university) is the end of my life at home. The end of my utter dependency on my family; of having everything done for me, and with the little left to be done, being told to do it. The end of my childhood in a way my 18th wasn’t, lol…you’re an adult not when you begin thinking of yourself as one, but when your parents decide to risk humouring that notion, and allow you to go prove it.
Arghhh, but independence has never really been something I cared for…

In time, I guess.

Nila~

Finalement… August 20, 2009

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I got out of bed this morning with the feeling I was about to go on trial – in fact, perhaps closer to what someone on death row might experience upon the dawn of their execution (yes, dawn; I can’t remember the last time I awoke before the sun of my own volition). The past few days have been somewhat busy, in an I’m-not-sure-what-I’ve-been-doing-but-the-time-has-passed-so-I-must’ve-been-doing-something kind of way, so I’ve had little time to brood…but every fear shot back to the surface of my mind as I F5’d relentlessly at UCAS Track, well over an hour before I had any right to expect a response. But it’s okay, all’s well that ends well…I got in.

Image1😀

It took a while before I could accept that I need no longer wish upon every star, every dandelion, every fallen lash I see, for today to go the way I wanted it to go. The build-up (though more than anything in my own head) had been excruciatingly long, and I’d been able to see nothing beyond this date. It’s impossible to be otherwise…I’d never really let anybody down before as far as academics were concerned, and I didn’t want to start now.
Lol, and I get the impression everyone around me feels the same, that they can finally breathe easy, too…for all my mother insisted about me not worrying, having done my part, and leaving the rest to God, she slept less than I did this morning. Achhh, I owe my parents a lot…and with each passing day, I grow more and more apprehensive about how I’m possibly gonna survive university, without my mom bringing up soup while I’m studying, my sister occasionally barging in to provide breaks I didn’t ask for, and my dad…simply there.

While I’m at it, I would also like to thank my teachers, my friends, my neighbors, and everybody else whose helped pull me through these trying times. Wouldn’t be here without them. 😉
One of my neighbors came over earlier today, to hand me a congratulatory present – a ginormous book of poetry, which she hoped would provide me with a welcome change from all the horrific maths and science at university. I was touched ^_^.
A poem I noticed on skimming…

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone –
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.

~ Adam Lindsay Gordon

(And a new blog title saw the light of day…)

Even better, she later gave me permission to raid the library that is her house. I returned home with an armload of books so high I couldn’t see beyond it, including stuff like Schindler’s Ark and One Hundred Years of Solitude (you know, as part of my resolution to embark upon real literature). All I’ve gotta do now is read them…

Nila~

P.S I should apologize for the messed-up chronology and tenses in this post…I started it on the morning of the 20th, but it turned out a load of disconnected rambling, so I kept adding, until it became several loads of disconnected rambling…which I couldn’t be bothered to fix, but decided was better than nothing, and so here it was.

Hooked. August 15, 2009

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The blogosphere officially has me in its thrall…flitting through post after post, opening links to a dozen new ones with each blog I read…losing myself in those lives, chronicled in far superior writing…to such an extent that I seem to have, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the novel I was smack-dab in the middle of. Something unheard of, as far as I’m concerned. Hmmm…I’m not sure when it was that I went from living and breathing fantasy, to finding the appeal of realistic fiction (or real life, even…)

I remember a couple of months ago, having just recovered from the poignancy of A Thousand Splendid Suns, I’d decided to watch Sleeping Beauty for the first time in years (a little classic Disney is good for the soul!). I recall somewhat lamenting the fact that I now rarely find stories with perfect protagonists (Aurora is given the gift of beauty and song…along with wit, grace, generosity and temperament in the original story, which featured a lot more fairies to receive boons from), villains swathed in black and evil to the core, or the all-important untainted happily ever afters. But the simplicity, the black-and-white nature of these stories inevitably grows hard to swallow, and you begin looking for something more believable, and easier to draw parallels to your own life from…

Anyway. My grandparents finally arrived early Wednesday evening…jet-lagged and exhausted, but all amazed by just how green England was. 🙂 The clearest sign that they were here? The night before, our dinner looked something like this:

Pizza, nachos and mango sorbet ice cream in a ceramic plate...

On the following night, however, it was more like this:

Basmati rice, rasam and kheer (semiya payasam) on stainless steel (y).

Lol. I’m sorry, I got carried away with finding the pictures. Speaking of which… I’d asked my dad to bring with him all the old photos he could find in my grandparents’ house, when he went to fetch them from India…

Ze Photos

On his return, he handed me a tiny white envelope, within which was every photo he had of his childhood…*sigh*. I felt spoilt, and somewhat saddened at the same time (the alliteration got a little out of hand there, lol…); my own photos would fill album upon album…

Man, the times change.

—————————————

Late yesterday afternoon, my grandfather summoned me and my little sister to him, asking to share something with us. He went on to say that he wished to teach us something of what little he knew before he returned…what little he knew about everything.

My grandfather is a physics teacher by profession (and was headmaster of the school at which my father and his siblings studied for all 12 years of their education – I can only imagine what that was like), but I think the term polymath totally befits him. He began talking about everything from Indian history to philosophy to science, with such passion in his eyes, rimmed a cloudy blue with age, that I felt tears in my own from time to time…it is at such moments that you can truly see past the eccentricities of old age, and appreciate exactly how much they’ve experienced, how much they know. 🙂

On the subject of not taking elders for granted, I thought I’d end with a video I was shown by a friend some time ago…

Nila~

P.S. Oh, for any Indians reading…Happy Independence Day! 😉

‘You know what you need? Car Sympathy.’ August 8, 2009

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That’s what I was accused of lacking, during my very first driving lesson yesterday, Apparently I wasn’t being too gentle with the hand brake… achh, driving is every bit as hard as I imagined it would be. But I did manage to traverse a full 20 metre stretch of straight road without crashing or stalling.
I count that a huge achievement.

Onto cheerier thoughts, I had an amazing time in Birmingham last week. 🙂 It was everything I imagined a camp to be, lol…our dorm had the atmosphere of one giant sleepover; we awoke at 5.30 each morning instead of the scheduled 6.30 as we each tried to beat the other to the freezing showers (which I can now look back on fondly…), went to bed around 11 at the very earliest (in full disregard of the “strict” lights-out-at-10 policy), and filled every minute in between with lectures, scriptures, arts, or preparation for the show we were to put together in 5 days…

Ze diya...> One of the art workshops involved making little clay lamps – I’d spent a full hour perfecting the shape of my own around the plastic cup I was using as a mould…before realizing that I’d done so too well and that there was no way I was gonna be able to extricate the clay from the plastic with its shape intact x_x. The clay was stripped to pieces, and I decided instead to simply take a lamp from one of the little girls there, who seemed to be churning them out at an incomprehensible speed. 😳 I did paint it myself, however…

But above all that, I met a ton of incredible people – people who thought so much like me, who held so many of the same questions, shared so many of the same experiences, that I was left almost speechless for the first couple of days. I love learning about different cultures and different languages and all, but at the same time, it’s hard not to get excited when you find someone whom you don’t have to explain those deep-rooted parts of yourself to. It gives a sense of community you don’t realize you’re missing until you find it…

So despite the fact that I arrived home exhausted and sleep-deprived, that was one of the best weeks of my recallable life.

Now though, it feels like the summer’s begun drawing to a close already…well, not so much a close as having its focus shifted to a build-up to Results Day, and preparation for the following year. At least, in my mind. Though I do still have something to look forward to over the holidays…my grandparents are arriving from Bangalore on Wednesday, and it’s been over a year since I’ve seen them. I can’t wait to show them a little of England ^_^.

Nila~

Camp. July 25, 2009

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I’m gonna be in Birmingham the following week, at a kind of summer youth camp being held in the temple there (apparently the largest in Europe)…lotsa cultural activities, lectures, discussions and debates…it’s something I’m majorly looking forward to. And it seems like as good an outlet as any for somewhat philosophical thoughts I occasionally get plagued by, lol, especially over the past few months – you know, on the state of society, the nature of God, the answer to life, the universe and everything (42?) – that kind of thing. 😉

Not to mention, it’s the first time I’ve stayed away from home since a sleepover in like the third grade. Something I should get used to, if I’m gonna be moving out come fall x_x.

Speaking of the third grade…I spoke to the host of that sleepover this week, for the first time in 10 years. Crazyyy.
Having very little else to do with my time over the summer, I was looking through photos and the few old stuff I brought with me when I moved here. I came across a couple of goodbye notes from my old friends from Schenectady, along with their names and numbers on little index cards. I was all overcome with nostalgia, and decided to look them up on facebook…it’d been so looong, but I was curious.
Let me say, nothing makes you feel all warm and fuzzy like finding you’re remembered so many years later, by someone you’d known for such a short time ^_^.

When I think about it, New York isn’t that far away. Just across the Atlantic, or whatever…but the time that has passed, the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met since I lived there, makes it seem oh so distant, lol. It all makes me more desperate than ever not to lose touch with the friends I have now, as we all scatter for university. Reminds of the little jingle my sister learnt in primary school, lol: ‘make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, and the other gold!’ Hehehe…it goes better with the tune, I swear.

I’m gonna stop, lol…I have the impression little of this will make sense to anybody but me…and in the words of Mark Twain, ‘the more I explain it, the more you don’t understand.’ 😆

Goodbye for now!

Nila~

Eighteen =) July 23, 2009

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As of Tuesday.

The day was just as a birthday should be…my sister shook me awake, a little earlier than I’d intended, so I could open her elaborately wrapped present before she left for school. My mom made all my favourite dishes, leaving the house smelling alternately of ‘badam kheer’ or Betty Crocker cake mix, and my dad hung up balloons and our ancient ‘Happy Birthday’ banner around the living room (I know, I know, should’ve outgrown balloons by now…) I received phone calls from my grandparents, and had the same conversation as every year: them wishing me, me thanking them, followed by a few mumbled words in broken Tamil enquiring after their health before I thrust the phone back to my parents, unable to think of anything more to say…it isn’t a birthday without that ^_^. I ended the night watching the Curious Case of Benjamin Button – the subject struck me as strangely appropriate for a birthday, lol…and the movie was incredibly well-taken…poignant. I totally recommend it.

I’m the kind of person that lives for milestones and mementos, so my 18th felt like a huge deal. Entering the world adulthood, and all. But do I really feel any different? Lol, is anything different??

True, I can now legally…

  • vote
  • sue or be sued
  • perform professionally abroad
  • serve on a jury
  • get tattooed
  • buy cigarettes and tobacco
  • buy and drink alcohol in a bar
  • see an 18 category film at the cinema
  • buy fireworks
  • leave home
  • marry or register a civil partnership
  • make a Will
  • own land, buy a house or flat & apply for a mortgage

…if I were so inclined. Not to mention, I’ve finally seen the back of all the underage jokes. Most definitely a plus.

I guess it’s just that, it’s not like I’m being left to fend for myself in the big wide world quite yet. For one thing, my parents have told me I needn’t start earning at least until I’m 22, and I guess I have no real intention of doing so, despite my earlier ideas of a summer job. I might feel differently once university starts, of course…but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. 😉

Nila~

Hmmm… July 16, 2009

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I think I just became a fan of Banksy.

I first heard of him just over a month ago, what with all the recent publicity of his Bristol exhibition, and finally checked out some of his work. Quite fascinating, lol.

^ Pretty much sums up my blogging.

Be that as it may…I watched Harry Potter yesterdayy! Definitely not bad. It was clear a lot of work went into it, and the settings, castings & costumes were awesome. Even so, it could’ve been taken better…for one thing, I doubt it was easy to follow for those who hadn’t read the books. For another, the tempo of the movie didn’t exactly match that of the trailers, lol…

A couple of pretty major scenes were omitted, such as Dumbledore’s burial in the white tomb and the fight scene in Hogwarts towards the end (which I suppose was replaced by a confrontation at the Burrow somewhere in the middle of the movie). I was also kinda annoyed by Dumbledore’s occasional references to Harry’s love life destroying the mood, lol, and by how some of the scenes I found almost nail-biting in the book, such as Aragog’s burial, were turned entirely humorous. And I failed to cry upon Dumbledore’s death (hope I’m not ruining this for anybody :oops:), which is saying something. The story simply wasn’t as compelling as in the book.

Still, I laughed (a lot), and the euphoria of watching it on the day of its release, coupled with my early birthday celebrations prior to the movie, meant I had an amazing evening :DAnd I certainly don’t wish to dissuade anyone from watching it…a must-see, either way!

Nila~

Harry Potter… July 14, 2009

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and the Half-Blood Prince. How can I possibly not give mention to this.

The trailer makes my heart race…I just reread the book a couple of weeks ago, to refresh myself before the movie, and realized I’d forgotten exactly how crazy I was about Harry Potter. I mean, on my 11th birthday, a small part of me sincerely thought about how it’d be to receive a letter – written with emerald green ink, in a thin, slanted scrawl –  inviting me to Hogwarts. When none arrived…it was like finally being told Santa Claus doesn’t exist, even though you’d always known it was a bunch of hooey…

Despite that, for my 12th birthday, I insisted on buying a Harry Potter cake:

The Cake.

(You have to look at it upside down – it’s the flying car from the Chamber of Secrets. Lol.) But I’ve gotta say, the cake tasted terrible. Tooo much icing…

*Sigh*. Here I am, getting excited over Harry Potter, while I have friends currently perusing War & Peace and 100 Years of Solitude (both of which are very highly recommended, in case you’re interested). I promise, as resolution for my 18th birthday, I’ll start covering more serious literature. There’s still a week to go until that time, however, so…

Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t WAIT for the movie!!!

I’m done.

Nila~

Paris, la ville-lumière… July 10, 2009

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…was beautiful.

Paris
~Paris~

But, above the art, the architecture, the lights and the fashion, what struck me most about Paris was its people…I hadn’t pictured the city as being so varied, so multicultural in its population. Perhaps it’s news such as the debate over the burqa that left me with the impression of France being…somewhat intolerant. But everywhere we went, I saw people in sarees and salwars, or hijaabs, or reeally traditional-looking African dresses ^_^. During my first evening there, there was a even a kind of festival on our hotel street – food, music and floats with black (African French?) or Indonesian people performing, and ‘Unité dans le diversité’ written across them. It was a pretty amaazing sight.

This wasn’t my first time in France, but I guess I was able to appreciate more than I could when I was 12. The language, too…at that time, everybody could be speaking utter gibberish for all I knew or cared. But after the limited vocabulary I obtained from my GCSE’s, I was able to carry on the occasional conversation in french (okay, that may be stretching the truth, but i did have one fairly long discussion  – admittedly, liberally scattered with english words – with someone in the metro about the differences between England and France, and being wary of pickpockets, lol). And when I heard little kids speaking in what seemed to me ridiculously fluent french, I couldn’t help thinking of them as prodigious, lol…

What I didn’t appreciate quite as much as I did then, lol, was Disneyland. I think I’d been to Disney theme parks – Paris…Florida…and we had a year’s pass to Disneyland, California, lol – just one too many times. I didn’t think that was possible. :|I’m still open to Hong Kong, though, lol…

But the highlight of the trip was easily the shopping on the last day, lol. I got a couple of summer dresses and, more excitingly (not that I needed any more), three wayy pretty scarves. From a teeny road-side stall!! I’m in love with them…

All in all, a great holiday.

Nila~

PS: Allow me to mention, the above photos (though the clarity isn’t what I’d like it to be after resizing) are my own. Yesss, with my brand new camera.

PPS: I spoke of my prom in my last post; it was so totally fun! I was presented with yet another chance to say goodbye to the friends and teachers around whom the last two years of my life revolved…and I’m tremendously proud of my performance in the heels – nothing more than minor tripping ^_^.