Weekly Update – January 22, 2023, to January 28, 2023

As I sit here in the airport on my way back to Pune with a million mixed emotions, only a fraction of them good, I wonder how most of this week for me was driven with so much bitterness. I am not going to dwell on the details of what happened, partially because re-iterating them might resurface the anger and partially because I don’t want to have a written record of this week. Times like these make you wonder, maybe even hope for, a way to erase memory! It wasn’t a horrifying week; it wouldn’t even be the week that scarred me in any way; it was just a week I wouldn’t want to remember ever again. This was the week where all the minor behaviours of people around me that only mildly annoyed me before magnified to an extent where locking myself in the bathroom was the only peace I got.

Words and stories felt almost like a magical escape from everything that was happening, and I don’t know how thankful I am to have had enough books with me on this trip. Yes, I was on a trip to see the cities in southern India, and the silver lining to everything that happened was I found a lot of ways to read near water bodies. Ocean, sea, even backwaters with Mangrove forest! The vastness of the ocean, paired with these stories that felt larger than life, was enough to keep appreciating the small wonders in life.

Every time I am near the ocean, I have this intense longing, longing for something that I don’t yet understand. I want to be in the middle of the ocean, smelling the salty air and just letting the breeze take over. I want to sit in a boat and read for the rest of my life. Forget everything that matters and indulges in this fantasy. I know that’s something very naive, and I would probably get bored of it sooner than ever, but it’s just something I really want to try.

In terms of books, I started and finished reading The Secret History By Donna Tartt and instantly realised why this is such a beloved book. I love everything about this book, and all the characters somehow feel really close to my heart.

“Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw,' that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.”  ― Donna Tartt, The Secret History

In the meanwhile, I also started listening to the audiobook version of The Starless Seas by Erin Morgenstern because I couldn’t get enough of this book. It’s everything that I wanted and more. The contemporary fairytale is wrapped with a taste of modern folklore. I could keep reading this and The Night Circus over and over again as comfort books!

“Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are. It’s nice to finally have someone read stories I know so intimately.”  ― Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea

I also started reading The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alex E. Harrow. Even though I am like just seventeen per cent into the book, I am enamoured by the writing, and I already care way too much for January and wish that I could protect her and Bad from everything that’s wrong with this world.

“It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.”  ― Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Lastly, I just started reading Sense and Sensibility at the airport. As Jane Austen would say, this book is perfectly amiable! I forgot how many repetitions of words are present in Jane Austen's novels which brings certain rhythmic quality to the prose.

“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” ― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

One might say that’s a lot of books, and I wouldn’t disagree either. I believe the sheer amount of books was something that kept me from going completely off the rails this week and it has been really.

Weekly Update – January 15 2023, to January 21 2023

Anticipating another anxiety-inducing obligation that I seem to have voluntarily signed up for, I have decided to start the weekly newsletter. Again! If you are wondering, what happened to the previous newsletters, trust me, everyone is better off not knowing about them and letting them sit in the silence of deep-dark caves of the internet.

The one thing that I said after I read The Night Circus is that the book is a love letter for the nocturnal souls. People who are the most comfortable in the silence of the night, who would rather find themselves lost in stories and fairytales, let the wonder and magic be something that drives them. Who can feel, sense and imagine? The storytellers. Though, it would be impossible to deny that I would sell my soul to be a morning person. Even though I love being awake late at night with every fibre of my being, the thought that I could manage to do so many things if and only if I could wake up early eats me up. We will have to wait and see how the progression of my millionth failed attempt at being a morning person turns out.

Quote that has my ❤️

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that... there are many kinds of magic, after all.”  ― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

When I thought about this at the beginning of this week, I had a million things that I would have loved to write. Although, I think it’s more important that I am consistent than giving up on this idea all together because I kept second-guessing.