Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Fault In Our Stars. Metaphor love.

Henri, there might be a book which makes you loose all sense of reality and truth and make you long for the book to never end. Then there are books which makes you rethink your entire existence and then after you finish you the book you realize that all that is left of you is a hollow empty shell that you cannot see filling up in the near future.
And then there is The Fault in Our Stars.
*Might Contain Spoilers*
I have written and erased this line so much. I know I tend to exaggerate a lot and the expression of my affection for things is rather alarming to some people, but when I say TFIOS is the book that makes you laugh, cry and then makes you want to curl up and continue crying and then you re read it again, repeating the same cycle of crying and laughing over and over again, then I'm not exaggerating.
It is hard not to fall in love with TFIOS. At first you'd be all, 'Oh it's another brave cancer kid surviving story' But then comes the Top Graduate in The Department Of Crooked Smiles, Augustus Waters.
The book is a love story. It is a love story in the truest sense. It has romance, foreign trips, and a tragedy. It happens to feature cancer ridden humans, but it is not a cancer story.
The Brilliant John Green writes about death in a frank, unapologetic manner which is highly refreshing and deeply profound at the same time.
He makes you fall in love with the characters slowly, slowly and then all at once ( if you have read TFIOS you would know the reference).
The Brilliant John Green is so Brilliant that he creates a work of fiction in a work of fiction then uses quotes from the former work of fiction in the latter work of fiction. 
Sample this: That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.
If your mind isn't blown away by this then there is something fundamentally wrong with you.
TFIOS is filled with quotes that make you want to stop and put down the book and scream at the mere awesomeness of it all. 
Sample this: My thoughts are stars that I can't fathom into constellations.
The Brilliant John Green veers the book from sweetly romantic to Gut Wrenchingly, Hysterical Tears Inducing and Overwhelming Depression Engulfing Every Pore of Your Body tale.
He doesn't conform to the conventional norms of this genre, where the dying person keeps their hopes and good spirits up until the point they stop, to quote from TFIOS, suffering from Personhood (seriously, it is brilliant).
I have read it countless times now, and I still face the same above stated reaction while reading the book. It is beautiful and powerful.
If you're still not motivated enough to read that book, Henri, then you're a soulless monster.
Just kidding, you're a part of my imagination, OFCOURSE you love TFIOS.
Till the next time
River Targaryen

Monday, 14 October 2013

Existential Crisis!!

Now that I've caught your attention with a fancy sounding title, let me assure you that this letter once again contains my profound revelations about my own life. Yes, I have managed to one up you in the 'self absorbed' stakes, Henri.
But on a much serious note (yeah right!) I suffered from a serious case of self doubt over the 'future' recently. I am not really proud of how I came about this sudden 'crisis'. 
I don't think you have any idea how obsessed I am with the idea of writing for Cosmo. It is one of my life's ambition to work at Cosmo (it's not saying much since one of my ambition in life is to poke my Journalism professor in the stomach and see if the rumors about his abdomen being covered by acrylic sheet instead of skin are actually true)
Anyways, I had always imagined myself, very conveniently, placed in Cosmo right after college and working there as a columnist. Now all my well laid plans of Cosmo glory are awry.
And why you ask? The Existential Crisis, my beautiful imaginary friend. 
I came across an article, while surfing Cosmo's website, 'How sexy bitches kiss: 10 ways that sexy bitches kiss'. I kid you not.
The 'EC' (acronyms are cool) came crashing onto me as I thought: Do I want to write about the techniques used by sexy bitches to kiss?
And it led to a chain reaction of questions and uncertainties for the future arouse in my brain. 
The idea of future scares me. Future has always been so abstract. And now it is in our faces expecting us to make *shudder* decisions.
I had everything planned. It was not a good plan, not even a feasible one, but it was a plan nonetheless.
I would get out of college. Work for Cosmo for a couple of years and then open my own bookstore. 
But now stupid reality has given me a big check and my previously held beliefs about my glorious future at Cosmo are being questioned.
Another thing working against me is the fact that I cannot write when told what to write. It's as if all the things I know and have learnt about writing, just fall right out of my brain. So faced with the mother of writing blocks, I came upon this realization.
The only option left for me is to do a J.K Rowling and become successful enough to write on my own accord. But you and I, both, know that the chances of that are slimmer than me riding my unicorn up to the moon.
I envy you. What with being imaginary and all that, you don't have to worry about the future or what you're going to do with your life. 
So I will figure out what I can do to become rich and famous, without doing anything and you continue to live your glamorous imaginary existence.
Till the next time.
River Targaryen

Monday, 9 September 2013

Of Art and Air kisses

When it comes to pretentiousness, who better to turn to than you, my imaginary French friend. You may be shocked to your Louboutins to know that I scored an internship with a magazine. Yes, I managed to extract myself from my bed and look for some productive activity. And as my first assignment, I was sent off to a hoity-toity place to interview an artist. So armed with my social awkwardness and rambling prone tendencies, I made my way to the 'place' to interview 'She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' (It's always appropriate to reference Harry Potter).
Henri, as you may have guessed, I survived my first encounter with your lot. You know, the high pitched giggling, air kisses throwing, 'dah-ling' pronouncing lot. 
Now before you get all offended and turn up your perfect nose and roll your eyes at my account, I should warn you that I have a tendency to exaggerate, for the purpose of humor. Here goes.
As I entered the 'place', I managed to keep my mouth from dropping down at the opulence of the 'place' in front of me, and so with my eyes barely managing to avoid the gigantic chandelier on top of my head, I strode up, seemingly confident, to a sharply dressed being, standing guard at the entrance of the 'place where the thing would be'. With great effort, I managed to make my voice sound less squeaky and tried to sound non-chalant and mature (failing to do either). After stating my intent and purpose, I was shown inside the huge hall, where the paintings were exhibited (I am giving away so much, I fear masked men will burst into my room with guns to 'remove' me for revealing these secrets!..alright,  I have a tendency to get a little paranoid.)
So I walked around the entirety of the never ending hall, with the abstract paintings hung up, trying not to look like a first timer. As I was standing in front of an amazingly confusing art piece, I was approached by another sharply dressed female, who informed me that 'She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' will be arriving shortly. I nodded along, pretended to be engrossed in the artworks and secretly kept wiping my sweaty palms on my pant legs.
So after two or three agonizing rounds of the huge hall, 'She Who Must Not Be Named' entered, looking all coiffed and elegant in subtle, yet expensive looking garb and flanked by her minion (who turned out to be her make up artist- fancy, I know) and the manager of the 'place'.
I stood at a respectable distance, away from the overwhelming aura she was extruding (or maybe it was Chanel no 5, I couldn't tell), pretending to be oh-so- interested in a light bulb.
Somebody was pointing at me and saying something in hushed tones, and I took it as a sign, to approach 'She Who Must Not Be Named' and her minions.
I was introduced to her and with calculated warmth, she smiled at me and asked me how I would like to conduct the interview. After some fumbling (on my side), the manager of the 'place' intervened and suggested that we can go around the hall and talk. I half squeaked and half nodded my agreement.
The minion took her leave, not before imparting a dozen air kisses around and announcing that 'Dah-ling, it would be a great success!. I can feel it', only she pronounced it as 'fill it', I know, I am a pronunciation snob and that's not the point.
'She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named turned to me, expectantly, waiting for me to begin the interview. 
And so I did.
You know, Henri, there would be times when you see something wrong happening or somebody saying something that is so blatantly wrong that you want to cry. You would stop and correct them and end up feeling good about yourself. This was not the time.
So I spent the next, what seemed like an, eternity biting my lips to stop myself from correcting her explanations about 'feminism', 'aesthetics' and 'Picasso'.
I am no art critic and my experience with art aesthetics is limited to the 'Intro. To World Art and Culture' classes in college, and this does not qualify me to be any sort of judge here but if you tell me that you don't know what monochromatic means, when it features in your work, then you will be judged. And ridiculed.
If I could go back in time, to the 'place', I would laugh my head off at myself that day. Nodding along with her at her comical explanations of her subjects and themes and using words like 'sublime' and transcending' in accordance to her work, I could have slapped myself. 
The time when I had to control myself from bursting out angrily and stomping off was when she said that a woman's dreams and hopes lie in wondering about her future with her husband and one of the two most important aspect in a woman's life is , to quote her, 'the kitchen'.
As we neared the end of the interview, I congratulated her on her exhibition (surprising myself at my own pretentiousness) and hastily bid a retreat from the 'place'.
I had to spend the next hour in the next door book store, to restore some sense of normalcy in my world.
The 'place' seemed like an alternate dimension, where everything was gold and everybody just adored you. It was a place filled with shouts of glees, laced with an underlying malice and a lot of fancy sounding food passed around in minuscule proportions.
Everybody announced how much they were touched by the subject of the paintings, while barely figuring out if the painting was upside down or not.
I know, I am sounding too cynical and perhaps I am in no position to judge anybody, but ranting about non important thing is the basis of our relationship, my imaginary French friend.
So this was my experience with the 'Poshes' and 'the Air Kissers'. Now now, Henri, don't get offended, I mean it in a good way!. 
Till the next time.
Be good.
River Targaryen.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Of the female kind

Ah, the complex creatures we, women, are. A beautiful mystery, an enigma and all such fancy synonyms that you can think of, I am too lazy to open a thesaurus. 
Deal with it.
Sometimes, I look at the behavioral patterns of our gender very objectively, I can imagine you shaking your perfectly coiffed head at this but I think you should be used to the randomness by now. So where was I? Yes, objective observation.
We are a random lot. We are naturally random. Being of the female kind and a passive feminist myself, I am not ashamed to admit that we are dramatically unpredictable. 
What we might like one day, we might detest the other. This unpredictability is the test of our character. We may let our 'unpredictability' (that's quite a mouthful) dictate our 'inner bitch' or we may be extremely reasonable with our 'unpredictability'.
Speaking of 'inner bitch', every female has it. We may deny it, but that doesn't change the fact that we do. Every human being has a good and a bad side, like Sirius black says, 'We've all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is what part we choose to act on.That's who we really are.' (It's always appropriate to quote Harry Potter).
We gossip, we manipulate, we play mind games (unknowingly or knowingly) and we are confusing (deliberately so). 
This is who we are. Some choose to accept it and move on while some vehemently deny the existence of these factors in our life. Once again the degree of these characteristics vary from one woman to another, and it determines who we really are.
We are emotional. That is what primarily sets us apart from the male species of our kind.
This is one of the reasons why we are very complex decision makers. No, I am not being chauvinistic here, we have a hard time seeing things as black and white, we always find the grey, no I am not referring to Christian Grey (Yes, you should realize by now that I am extremely lame).
While our emotional tendencies may make us look weak, we are extremely strong emotionally too. Confusing, I know.
We are much better equipped to handle high powered emotional situations than men, who are comically rendered weak at the sight of tears. 
Society expects us to conform to certain ideas. Women belong at home. 
A lot of feminists protest against this singular idea. I say different.
What is so 'weak' about managing a home? I think it is perhaps the strongest and the most powerful role a women can play. She has the responsibility of shaping the lives of the future of mankind ( I am being a little dramatic. Deal with it.). She takes care of the so called 'Stronger kind', and she does so without receiving any kind of renumeration.
I detest those feminists who look down on these house wives and haughtily brand them as 'weak'. Our society would collapse if we leave the managing of the day to day businesses to men. 
I know I am severely biased towards anything Harry Potter, but this idea is well perpetuated by J.K Rowling with the character of Mrs. Weasely.
Molly Weasely is your typical matronly figure. Her only concern is raising her children well and managing a happy household. And she does so with great ease. But that is not all that she is. You may mistake her to be frumpy and cast her aside as 'weak' but you threaten her children and she WILL kick your ass, (remember Bellatrix?).
Stereotyping anyone is wrong, and it applies in this case too.
One more issue that plagues the female species is the Body Image issue. 
The society is unashamedly biased towards a favorable body image ie. skinny, clear skin, long hair, big eyes and conventionally beautiful looks.
Once in a while, there is an uproar about ditching these ideas and embracing the 'real' woman. But this dies as soon as it begins. However much we try to convince others that these ideas do not dictate our ideas of beauty and perfection, we are just kidding ourselves. We always judge a book by it's cover. This does not make us a bad person, once again this is where the difference lies. Some people refuse to look beyond the outward appearance of a person, while for others looks our not the only parameter of judging a person.
This rant of mine can continue forever, but I know you have better things to do (yeah right, you are imaginary, you have nothing better to do!).
Stay strong.
River Targaryen

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Odd Life of a Fangirl

Since we are essentially communicating, ignoring your lack of existence, I think you need to know certain things about me. Why?, you ask. Why, because I say so. Argument invalid.
So where was I?
Yes. Me. 
I am a fangirl. And I have no regrets.
Fangirls or fanboys, for that matter, are a breed of humans who are, for a lack of better term, awesome. For your benefit, I will explain to you what being a fangirl/boy entails.
We are nerds. And proud. We find solace in Harry Potter marathons and the fact that Arthur will return to this world once again. We scream at the sight of a weeping angel and squeal in glee when we hear or see the number 'four'.
Being a fangirl is hard. You live so many lives, you die so many times. You are engulfed in grief one second and the other you are jumping with joy. It's an emotional roller-coaster, it's wonderful.
It doesn't mean that we belong to any one fandom, it embraces fandoms of any and every kind. We are so proud of our fandoms that we proclaim enthusiastically, our fandom status.
For example, I, very proudly, state that I am a Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Supernatural, Divergent, Hunger Games, Glee, Merlin and Game of Thrones fan.
We are a passionate lot. We don't settle for phrases like, 'It was nice' 'Yeah, I really liked that movie', we go all out declaring our undying love for the said movie, 'IT WAS AMAZING', 'I'M GOING TO WATCH THIS MOVIE A HUNDRED MORE TIMES'.
We don't have to underplay our affection and fondness for a character or a pairing. 
And we don't just settle for reading the book or liking the character. We need a full backstory of each and every character related to the character we like. We scour Youtube for videos or interviews related to the fandom.
We are easily pleased and are more often than not, socially awkward. We often find ourselves unable to hold a normal conversation with one of the 'mundanes', without launching into an in depth discussion of how the Doctor may be real (He is.)
Having said all that, being a fangirl isn't very easy always. You are always pining for a huge, hairy giant to knock on your door and tell you that 'Yer a wizard!' or You constantly scan the skies for a blue Police Call box. 
And the unrequited love. Oh, the unrequited love. 
There is a constant hollowness in our hearts, knowing that Colin Morgan, Tom Felton, Daniel Radcliffe, Bradley James, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jared Padalecki AND SO MANY MORE, will never be yours. Knowing that however much you love a character, they will ,in fact, remain fictional.
Then there is the constant, 'It's just a movie' or 'It's just a TV show!'. 
I have lost count of all the times I have to explain to somebody that it isn't just that to us. 
It's so much more. We get attached quickly and it's almost impossible to let go. 
My best friend has stopped thinking that it's weird that I break down crying after watching Merlin's last episode or Doctor Who. She has come to accept that it's all real to me. 
Now some might say that we don't have a sense of reality. True, we don't, but there is a fine line between a fangirl and a crazy bi***. 
What I can't explain to you, my imaginary friend, is the joy on hearing someone quote an obscure line from your fandom or see another person wear the T Shirt of your fandom.
As John Green very correctly states, Nerds win at life (It's not a direct quote). 
We are very easy going, and fun to be with. If you get used to the constant exclamation of excitement over fictional characters and exaggerated descriptions of awesomeness of a movie or book. Because we don't do subtle. 
Now I have to go and watch Doctor Who. 
River Targaryen
(My new supermegafoxyawesome identity, based on two of the most awesome-est female characters ever)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Of hot Italian businessmen and whimpering, blue eyed females.

My last letter to you was filled with my anguish over being bored this summer. Your reply of how many celebrities you've spotted already in Cannes this year didn't help much. You are remarkably insensitive for an imaginary friend, you know?
Anyway, after my angst filled days of boredom, I resorted to reading Mills and Boons. Now before you look down your perfect nose over me, with those judgemental eyes, let me clarify that I was desperate and I had nothing else to read.
So as I read through my I don't remember which number Mills and Boon (Seduced by the Italian Boss- I swear I'm not making it up), I realized the key features of a Mills and Boons, which make them so ridiculously same and unreal. 
So for no apparent reason, I'm going to tell you all these features. Brace yourself.
First and foremost, let me clarify these books have a plot, I swear. I know I sound like a teenage boy defending the porn industry, but some Mills and Boons have good story lines, if you manage to wade through the very graphic sex details. 
The Mills and Boons of my mum's time are the one in which the author actually paid attention to the plot, instead of the guy's incredible pecs and chiseled features. Though the common theme used to be the guy proposing an appalling arrangement to the girl, which required her to wed him and of  course have mind blowing sex too. Of course in the end, everything tied together and with a generous peppering of words like 'my darling' 'the love of my life', the guy declares his undying love for the woman and they live happily ever after. 
The name of the guy is mostly something supremely exotic like Lorenzo, Vincenzo, Santiago, Ricardo (I swear I'm not making anything up).
He is always a super rich business man who is in a position to help the poor girl, and he does so but only when she promises to sleep with him, I swear I'm not kidding, and because she is completely enamored by his stunning good looks, she doesn't even think how perverted that is. Who am I kidding? If Hrithik Roshan ever propositioned me like that I would say yes before he even finishes his sentence. I'm shallow like that.
In other situations, the guy (once again a super rich business man) finds out that his ex wife or previous one night stand (more often than not his secretary) has a child, of course his own. He is obviously enraged at being duped of fatherhood for so many years, very conveniently forgetting how ruthlessly he had informed the girl before sleeping with her, that he doesn't do relationships and how he thinks women trap men by getting pregnant.
I am not kidding, this is the plot of every single one of the Mills and Boons. Throw in an abundance of euphemisms for the male genitalia and you have a book!
O.K so maybe, I'm being a little harsh here, some of them are actually pretty good. And however many you read, you feel so happy when they finally meet you cannot help but smile stupidly. 
They are a good break from reality and restore your faith in the fact that one day you will find a Greek/Spanish/Italian, super rich businessman, who will instantly fall in love with you.
Yes, Mills and Boons are a huge indulgence, like chocolate, the difference is that they don't add fat to your hips. And objectifying men like that is strangely empowering.
So now I'll let you get back to your canapés and what-not. 
Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass.
(May your swords stay sharp)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

I was bored.

Dear Henri,
If my brain hasn't stewed to a heated mush in this awful summer heat, then thank the lord for His small mercies.
Moving on from the gross description of the possible state of my brain right now, let me get to a very pressing issue. Boredom.
Having nothing to do and sit around the whole day in an air conditioned room, freedom to watch as much TV as you want, sounds like a dream. At least it did to me.
But as much as I try to deny it, I have contracted the worst possible phenomenon a teenager can face. Boredom. Sheer boredom has been eating my brain and making me weep endlessly in frustration, since the onset of these vacations. 
And believe me, I have tried everything. I have read through all my books, watched all movies which were unseen and watched them again, re-watched Friends over and over again. The boredom got to such extremes that I (you might want to sit down while reading this one) I even tried to EXERCISE!.
Shocking, I know.
So with painfully aching muscles from my valiant, yet ultimately failed, efforts at working out, I write this letter to you, oh imaginary friend (possibly French and a Chris Hemsworth look-alike at that) , with great pains. I am bored.
To others it might seem a fickle matter. 'Go out and explore' they say. These 'others' don't know how hard it is to get motivated and leave Doctor Who or to put aside a book and go out and enjoy the delights the great outside has to offer. 
Us lazy people, we are stuck wallowing in the dark pit, that is boredom.
Cringing everytime I hear the word 'sports', I am a creature who is happiest when crying over a dying Arthur (Spoilers!) or shouting insults at the demons of Supernatural. 
Contrary to popular belief, boredom comes rarely to people of my kind. We are so happy in our little worlds, fighting over different ships (to the uninitiated, ships are two real or fictional characters paired together romantically by fans), discussing the possibility of the Doctor existing in real life and of course, planning the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
What I'm trying to say here is that, we rarely have time to get bored. But here I am. Bored.
You may guess the state of my mind by my inane ramblings. 
This has prevented me from enjoying the blissful time that is these vacations, and wallow in self pity. But no more.
I have made it my mission to destroy the dark force that is this boredom and ENJOY the rest of my freedom, from college and what not.
Even if it means reading trashy romance novels, or having a superhero movie marathon.
So for now, this is it. I will return to Chris Hemsworth and his biceps, while you can go back to doing whatever non existent, imaginary people do over the summer.
May the Force be with you.