A Break

This year has been a blur and it feels as if all I have done is live from one break to the next. I find myself unable to recall what I had been taking a break from most of the times. It had felt good to dissociate nonetheless. I think.

Tonight, I am taking a break from taking too many breaks by taking yet another break. It involves me, a book (which I am co-reading with a stranger; he reads aloud while I read quietly, otherwise known as an audiobook), and some loose granola with chocolate chunks in it (got to keep things interesting). Have a great Saturday everyone!

*The featured image has been captured by me.

Cheating

I hate to cheat

On books,

But lately,

I feel scared

For there is a lot

That I need

To read,

But not enough time,

So with three

Books open

At the same time,

My heart looks

For a home

In the fourth one.

Two eyes, one mind,

One lifetime,

And your entire world

Nothing but

A giant shelf,

With books spilling over!

©Aaysid

Lost and Found

to lose yourself

in the pages of a book,

someone else’s strange,

immortal world,

is not that unusual,

for the real

magic happens

when you find

yourself in there.

©Aaysid

I captured the featured picture today while enjyoing homemade dalgona coffee and reading Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevesky, translated by Constance Garnett.

Bookish

I.

We.

One book.

Separate pages.

Distinct contexts.

Bookmarked.

Dog-eared.

At different times.

II.

She checks herself out

From her personal library,

Based only on what she sees;

For she was not like a cover,

But more of a book jacket,

Comfortable and beautiful.

III.

He always buys books

From the wandering peddlers;

There is more than one town

On his nightstand.

©Aaysid

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Coffee Overload

If you do not want to hear a strange buzzing inside your ears, and do not feel like thinking faster than you can act, then it is wise to not have coffee muffin cake (with dalgona coffee icing) with coffee! I feel like staying up all night to read and watch a movie (taking a little break this weekend), but I’d be surprised if I manage to get anything done tonight! Turns out there is such a thing as too much coffee after all. 😁

I am currently halfway through Normal People by Sally Rooney, but I am not so sure if I’d finish it. The pile of unread books on my nightstand is calling out to me.

As for the movie, I want to watch Stowaway as I have heard good things about it, but I am pretty sure that I’d end up rewatching either The Shawshank Redemption or The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

A Coffee Muffin with Dalgona Icing

Featured Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

To Read What You Need

The mystical aspect of life can both be wonderful and bewildering at the same time. You cannot help but marvel at the way certain events unfold sometimes – unexpectedly but not unnecessarily. I had Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet on my to-be-read list since ages, and a few days ago I suddenly got this strange urge to shelve the other book I had been reading, and go for it instead. I had not realised how much I had needed to read it until then. The universe must have known though!

It is rare to come across a book that does an excellent job of describing everyday feelings this eloquently. It is a marvelous, melancholic, and achingly wistful book, with so many quotable passages.

“Impressions are incommunicable unless we make them literary. Children are particularly literary, for they say what they feel and not what someone has taught them to feel. Once I heard a child, who wished to say that he was on the verge of tears, say not ‘I feel like crying,’ which is what an adult, i.e. an idiot, would say, but rather, ‘I feel like tears.’ And this phrase – so literary it would seem affected in a well-known poet, if he could ever invent it – decisively refers to the warm presence of tears about to burst from eyelids that feel the liquid bitterness. ‘I feel like tears’! That small child aptly defined his spiral.”

“I’m a navigator engaged in unknowing myself. I’ve overcome everything where I’ve never been. And this somnolence that allows me to walk, bent forward in a march over the impossible, feels like a fresh breeze.Everyone has his alcohol. To exist is alcohol enough for me. Drunk from feeling, I wander as I walk straight ahead. When it’s time, I show up at the office like everyone else. When it’s not time, I go to the river to gaze at the river, like everyone else. I’m no different. And behind all this, O sky my sky, I secretly constellate and have my infinity.”

Excerpts from The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

Co-reading

It was on a night as cold as this one when I had found out that I was one of those people who could study comfortably with noise in the background.

Everyone else in the house was sleeping soundly that night and I had a lot of studying left to do before I could go to bed. I felt angry and sad that I had to study so much and had to do it alone. I had one of those early mobile phones in which you could listen to the live transmissions broadcasted from the local radio stations but I was not a big fan of those. However, I ended up playing one of those stations in my ears while I studied that night and felt oddly at peace knowing that someone else had to be awake as well. I had studied that entire year with those radio stations serving as white noise. I got a better phone later and could play other things besides the local radio stations. I would then have my own playlist on while studying. I do that to this day. I cannot study at night without another noise inside my head.

I have listened to a few audiobooks but had to read the physical books later. Not a fan of those either. Yesterday, I stumbled across the audio-narration (on Youtube) of the book I was reading and I decided to do a little experiment – I tried to read along with it! It did not go well. I had to increase the playback speed but even then I kept reading at my own pace and completely ignored the audio-narration. It turns out that I can study with the background noise but I cannot co-read.

Here’s a short poem inspired by the above-mentioned events:

We are not keeping pace with each other,

one of us is always a few words behind,

pausing after every other line,

and exclaiming loudly at all the wrong points,

but we are still trying our best

to asynchronously co-read the night away!

©Aaysid

In a General Slump

This year hasn’t been great for reading for me. No surprises here, since this year hasn’t been great for pretty much anything. Despite having enough time on my hands in Summer while I was working from home, I couldn’t bring myself to finish whatever I was reading. I was not in a reading slump exactly – it was more of a general slump (apathy in other words)!

Last month was a little better though for I was able to finish two marvelous books. Now that the bookworm in me has slowly crept out of its den, I hope it will be making the ambitious November proud. Out of the eight unfinished books that I have on my nightstand (oh, my), fingers crossed, I have planned to read the following three books (small steps, if you will) to the end:

  1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  2. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
  3. The Plague by Albert Camus.

Happy reading to everyone out there! 🙂

I am drowning in a sea

Of unfinished books, calm and unafraid,

Don’t throw me a raft, I do not want to be saved!

©Aaysid

A Murakami-esque Day

The Octobers are all about fun experiments. Since I am a huge fan of Haruki Murakami, here’s an idea:

Wake up and pretend for the entire day ahead that you are a protagonist from any one of Murakami’s stories! Let the weariness wash over you, pick up those calls from unknown numbers and be creeped out, boil some pasta, stare and pet a few stray cats, take a stroll and listen to The Beatles all day long. Even then if you don’t feel blue enough somehow (highly unlikely), then start recalling every little thing you may have done wrong in your life, while lying awake at night with The Beatles still playing in the background (of course).

That’s pretty much the introvert’s version of things but if you are too out there, then you can throw some people in the mix too – the strangers with weird hair, pretty eyes and other physical features or personality traits you can spend hours mulling over in your head!

Wow, what an extraordinary day you’d have! 🙂

©Aaysid

Disjointed, Short Stories

Being a fan of comic strips, I have been thinking about making my own comics since quite some time. Unfortunately, I lack the necessary drawing skills. Maybe one day I can collaborate with an artist and write the script for comic strips instead. Also, I have recently watched a good show on Netflix- Love, Death and Robots, and it has rekindled my fondness for short stories. With my sources of inspiration explained, I share here a few short-stories that I wrote about an hour ago:

   1. Losers

We did not win because three stones had remained unturned. Plus, one of them had shattered. Unturned pebbles are a complete deal-breaker.

2. Biked-in

I took my bike out for a walk one day. We went to the beach and heard some uncalled-for laughter. We came back home with sand in our feet and pedals.

The next day, my bike took me out for a ride. We went to the movies and attracted some unwarranted stares. We came back home with life in our hearts and handlebars.

One night, my bike and I decided against going out. We stayed at home and nurtured some unprompted sadness. We came back to our senses with a void in our minds and drive chains.

3. Scarlet’s Letter

Scarlet wrote a letter and forgot to post it. As the night darkened, Spirits of Unfinished-business descended and claimed the letter as one of their own.

Scarlet remained unaware of the aforementioned event. She even forgot about that letter completely.

Consigned to oblivion in her writing desk, the letter oozes out demented words into every single thing that she writes. Everything that she writes now, becomes the unsent letter!

4. June

June would look in the mirror and marvel at her own beauty. With sun-kissed hair, sparkling seas for irises and a brilliant, sandy complexion, she would scoff at May and July, oblivious to the fact that she was sandwiched in between those two. May and July, however, couldn’t care less. They often forgot she existed.

5. Grass

The grass was greener on the other side so he borrowed some. Two shades of grass then grew on his side. The other side immediately regretted sharing.

6. No Fight Left

I roll up my sleeves with a great effort and feel the thick, sticky sweat trickle down my forehead. As weariness finds a home in my bones, I am made aware of the fact that there is almost no fight left in me. With my sleeves now out of the way, I dip my arms in the lukewarm, stagnant water and a wave of nausea hits me. I cannot bear to look down. Or sideways. Or anywhere where there is a chance of me locking eyes with the unwashed clothes! I hate doing laundry!

©Aaysid

 

 

To All the Books I Have Read Before

Familiarity. A comforting concept. Warm, safe and satisfying. It is reliable too. A thing to fall back on, or in some perturbing cases, a thing that doesn’t let you get up thereby preventing a fall altogether. Everlasting? Why not! However, like all good ideas in the world, it is too good a notion to be just good!

I wonder if my spirit animal (I don’t know the exact meaning of this term but I guess it is somewhat like a Patronus) is a beaver now (was definitely a turkey in the past)? I wonder about that a lot. Beavers make dams and that is the only thing they make. Their fragile dams, constructed entirely out of twigs, stones and leaves, do not stand the test of time but that doesn’t stop them from constructing new ones. Why don’t they make other things? Dams are pretty advanced structures and if they can make those they can make almost anything, but they don’t. Then again, why build anything else when you have mastered the construction of dams? I have never built a dam in my life, just a few bridges that I forgot to check up on later, but I am beginning to relate with beavers so much. Just like them, I am getting too comfortable with familiarity.

Now coming to the real problem – at the start of every year I make a list of books that I plan to read throughout the year. I had been doing quite good with that list in the past, maybe because it was realistic (just had five or six new books, none over thousand pages). Since a few years, however, I find myself struggling with it. The fact (more like a sudden realisation) that there are too many unread books and just not enough time anymore (ageing and shortening of attention span) makes me start more than two books at a time and not all of them manage to get my fingerprints all over their last pages. Life has always been busy in one way or another, but never before I had turned my back on a book. It would feel like a transgression. Now, I am just an unapologetic abandoner.  This, unfortunately, is neither the only reason of the ordeal, nor it is the biggest one ! It all comes back to the beavers, dams and the concept of familiarity…

I never had a proper place to put all my books in the house. I just had two shelves so that had meant not keeping too many books. I had access to libraries most of the times and felt good selling and buying books to and from the thrift stores. Sharing with friends, rather pestering them to read, was and still is a hobby, but somehow or the other, there are some books that I couldn’t give away and some that I cannot ever give away (the ebooks). Those books have now acquired ghost like characteristics. They are haunting me. In the worst way possible.

I pick up a new book, and after a few pages, I get this urge to read that part from Stephen King’s IT where Mike Hanlon calls everyone from the Loser’s Club, or that part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Ron manages to find that secret radio show hosted by the members of the Order of the Phoenix or that ending from The Catcher in the Rye where Holden watches his sister ride the carousel…the list goes on. Thus, what I have been trying to convey is that recently, whenever I manage to find time to catch up on my to-read list, I end up reading the books that I have already read (not just once, but about a hundred times)! My mind refuses to handle new stories and form new affiliations. It has grown accustomed to familiarity. I wonder if there are other people out there, presently being haunted by the books they have read before?

I bet somewhere out there, beavers are not amused.

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