Week 2 of 2019

The trips to the University continued but to no avail. Again. Talk about bureaucracy.

Other than that, my mind is in overdrive. I’ve realised, though, that books continue to remain my best friends. They somehow help me sail through whatever is happening in my life. I finished reading the book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, and was left impressed, to say the least. I started reading another great book, Becoming by former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

The mood, though, was still sombre in spite of the feeling of freshly blowdried hair. It was so difficult to even smile for a selfie. Worry worry.

And then, on Monday, that call came. “We have received the sanction from the Vice Chancellor.” Ah! Those words! They were like a lover whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Well, some good news at last.

Let’s hope the good run continues. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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Book 1 of 2019

Name: Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind

Author: Yuval Noah Harari

Genre: Popular Science

Pages: 298 (including Notes, Image References, and Index)

Publisher: Vintage

My rating: 5/5

This book is what all of us, Homo Sapiens, need to read. Written simply, Yuval Noah Harari has managed to say what most of us would think a thousand times before saying. Harari, an academic, has done brilliantly. Objective, well-paced, this book is highly recommended.

P.S. I’ve also completed this course, A Brief History of Humankind, on Coursera.

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The 72 I Read in 2018 – Part III

To read a book is to discover stuff you didn’t even know was out there somewhere. Every book I read in 2018 made me a happy person by the end of it. Books, for me, acted as a way to forget the ups and downs of life, even if just for a few precious moments. With this, I present the last set of books I read in 2018:

  1. The Red Sea Sharks by Hergé (4/5)
  2. The Case of the Mischievous Doll by Erle Stanley Gardner (4/5)
  3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (5/5)
  4. The God Illusion by Richard Dawes (4/5)
  5. Sphinx by Robin Cook (3/5)
  6. The Case of the Fabulous Fake by Erle Stanley Gardner (4/5)
  7. The Case of the Screaming Woman by Erle Stanley Gardner (5/5)
  8. Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella (3/5)
  9. The Case of the Crooked Candle by Erle Stanley Gardner (4/5)
  10. The Case of the Gilded Lily by Erle Stanley Gardner (5/5)
  11. Harmful Intent by Robin Cook (5/5)
  12. The Case of the Terrified Typist by Erle Stanley Gardner (4/5)
  13. Tintin in Tibet by Hergé (5/5)
  14. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (5/5)
  15. Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress of the Game by Tilly Bagshawe (4/5)
  16. Dream With Your Eyes Open: An Entrepreneurial Journey (4/5)
  17. Cross by James Patterson (1/5)
  18. The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé (2/5)
  19. Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks (5/5)
  20. Flight 714 to Sydney by Hergé (3/5)
  21. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (3/5)
  22. Tintin and the Picaros by Hergé (5/5)
  23. Tintin and Alph-Art by Hergé (3/5)
  24. Kiss the Girls by James Patterson (4/5)
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Week 1 of 2019

‘Tis the time to start anew; the time to make and break resolutions or simply looking forward to another year filled with hope. And look, we have already completed a week in this new year.

Honestly, New Year Day couldn’t have got any more drab for me. In fact, the best thing I did that day was sleep, and sleep like a log. Bliss! Yes, of course, I took up the Goodreads Challenge (planning to read 12 books this year) and readied my to-do list for January.

The next day I had to resign from my job! Yeah! Tough decisions right at the beginning of 2019. After much discussions and what-not, I did formally resign. Email sent! Done!

You’d have thought that the drama in my life would stop but, oh no, it just kept unfolding. Next, police clearance because I’m travelling abroad. Now, I’m not really a criminal (in fact, I’m really nice) and I was hoping getting a clearance wouldn’t be that difficult. But, drama drama drama. And not even from people but technology! Oh, a major glitch made my otherwise highly organized life miserable. After five futile hours, I learned about any alternative way and took a chance on that! Yeah, I managed to get that all clear signal. Phew!!

What else! Ah yes, my favourite, Ph.D. Now, you’d think after all the hard work you put in, you’d reap the sweet fruit of success. Well, not happening with me. Still running around and knocking on bureaucratic doors for that elusive degree . . .

All I can say is after this drama-filled week, I’m still standing. Yes, I’m sad and frustrated but nah, I won’t break; I’ve got things to do and miles to go.

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The 72 I Read in 2018 – Part II

And, the next 24 I read are:

  1. Jack and Jill by James Patterson (4/5)
  2. Roses Are Red by James Patterson (4/5)
  3. Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison (3/5)
  4. Violets Are Blue by James Patterson (3/5)
  5. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (3/5)
  6. Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow by Tilly Bagshawe (3/5)
  7. Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan (3/5)
  8. Sita: Warrior of Mithila by Amish Tripathi (2/5)
  9. Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan (3/5)
  10. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (4/5)
  11. Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Lisa Marklund (3/5)
  12. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (3/5)
  13. A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern (3/5)
  14. Land of Black Gold by Hergé (4/5)
  15. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (3/5)
  16. Destination Moon by Hergé (5/5)
  17. Sidney Sheldon’s The Silent Widow by Tilly Bagshawe (4/5)
  18. The Case of the Lucky Loser by Erle Stanley Gardner (5/5)
  19. The Case of the Musical Cow by Erle Stanley Gardner (3/5)
  20. The Case of the Foot-loose Doll by Erle Stanley Gardner (5/5)
  21. The Case of the Careless Kitten by Erle Stanley Gardner (5/5)
  22. The Case of the Stepdaughter’s Secret by Erle Stanley Gardner (5/5)
  23. Explorers on the Moon by Hergé (5/5)
  24. The Calculus Affair by Hergé (3/5)

What a wonderful, wonderful experience! 🙂


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The 72 I Read in 2018 – Part I

I wasn’t quite sure I’d manage to read anything beyond 10 books this year but I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. First, I increased my target to 36, then, when things were looking up, I updated it to 48 and finally, 60. After 60, it was just sheer intrinsic motivation that eventually led me to read 72 books this year.

Here’s a list of the first 24 I read in 2018, and my ratings for them:

  1. Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless by Tilly Bagshawe (4/5)
  2. The Perils of Being Moderately Famous by Soha Ali Khan (3/5)
  3. Oliver’s Story by Erich Segal (4/5)
  4. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (3/5)
  5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (2/5)
  6. Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish Tripathi (5/5)
  7. The Secret of the Unicorn by Hergé (3/5)
  8. The Treasure Hunters by Enid Blyton (3/5)
  9. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened  by Allie Brosch (4/5)
  10. ‘It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers’ by Louise Rennison (4/5)
  11. From XL to XS by Payal Gidwan Tiwari (1/5)
  12. The Appeal by John Grisham (3/5)
  13. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella (3/5)
  14. Leap of Faith by Danielle Steel (2/5)
  15. Red Rackham’s Treasure by Hergé (5/5)
  16. Sidney Sheldon’s Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe (3/5)
  17. Calico Joe by John Grisham (2/5)
  18. Aisle Be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya (2/5)
  19. Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (5/5)
  20. Mandate: Will of the People by Vir Sanghvi (4/5)
  21. Introducing Marquis de Sade by Stuart Hood (3/5)
  22. Sidney Seldon’s After the Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe (4/5)
  23. The Seven Crystal Balls by Hergé (4/5)
  24. Prisoner’s of the Sun Hergé (5/5)
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Pondicherry: Teeny Tiny with a Big Heart

Pondicherry, also known as the French Riviera of India, is a small union territory located in the state of Tamil Nadu. When I say small, it, indeed, is small. A teeny tiny place along the Bay of Bengal, India.

As for me, it was a wonderful feeling being there in Pondy, as it is colloquially known. The major attraction is obviously the Rock Beach, along which runs the promenade and has quite a few erections in honour of people. If you’re in Pondy, ensure that you visit the Paradise Beach, too, for which you will have to catch a boat from the Chunambar Boat House.

It goes without saying that Auroville (which is at a little distance) is a must-visit, too. Go there if you seek a little peace or just to view the brilliant Matrimandir.

An important tip: wear sturdy shoes because, believe me, you’re going to have to walk a lot but it’ll all be worth it in the end.

P.S. A brilliant thing I noticed was women in beautiful sarees working alongside men in places such as the museum.

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