Category Archives: #BookBytes

Faces in the Crowd #BookBytes 16

I have come to realise that one of the best places to look for book recommendations is my children’s English textbooks. They curate excerpts from some of most wonderful reads. I have been doing it for the longest time actually – since my own school days. I’d read an excerpt and find it so engrossing that I’d go looking for the book.

That’s how I chanced upon The Little Prince. I first met this book when I was a tween and I remember being rather unimpressed, probably because I couldn’t get much of the hidden meaning between its pages. When I recently stumbled upon an excerpt again in the twins’ text book, I simply reached out for my phone and ordered it.

Reading it now, as an adult, I find it loaded with profound wisdom. Before I get lost in more nostalgia (something that’s happening very often these days), let me get to the passage I’m sharing today:

“…. What does that mean — tame?”
“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.” 
“To establish ties?” 
“Just that,” said the fox.
“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….” 

– The Little Prince By Antoine de Saint-Exupery

We’re just random people in the crowd till we form ties and then we become special and unique for each other. Making friends and forming relationships is as much an act of choice as it is that of fate. The ‘fox’ goes on to add that one needs patience and effort and understanding to build a friendship.

Do you agree? Do you think one needs to make an effort to form a friendship or do relationships happen because they are ‘meant to happen’?

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If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage from a book that leaps out at you demanding to be shared join in with #BookBytes.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Do join in.

The next edition is scheduled for October 1st.

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All for the Perfect Match #BookBytes 15

Hola folks and welcome to another edition of #BookBytes. I’ve been re-reading Gone With the Wind and what a nostalgic trip it is proving to be! I’ll probably need a whole series of posts to explain what I’m feeling as I go over the familiar words of Margaret Mitchell.

That’s where I picked my quote for this fortnight.

It gives an idea of what women endured during those times only to snare a man. They all did it, some gladly, others grudgingly.

In the passage here Scarlett is being forced to eat before she heads out for a barbecue so she wouldn’t have an appetite and could pick at her food delicately rather than exhibiting a healthy appetite, which was considered unladylike. It’s so bizarre, it’s comical.

“I wish to Heaven I was married,” she said resentfully as she attacked the yams with loathing. “I’m tired of everlastingly being unnatural and never doing anything I want to do. I’m tired of acting like I don’t eat more than a bird, and walking when I want to run and saying I feel faint after a waltz, when I could dance for two days and never get tired. I’m tired of saying, ‘How wonderful you are!’ to fool men who haven’t got one-half the sense I’ve got, and I’m tired of pretending I don’t know anything, so men can tell me things and feel important while they’re doing it… I can’t eat another bite.” 

Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

My heart goes out to this 16-year-old Scarlett , bursting with verve and vigour, who has to constantly restrain herself to appear delicate and docile in order to be desirable. It’s another matter altogether that a few pages later she’s glad she’s not married and can preen with her bunch of beaux rather than being relegated to the sidelines. But then teenagers are allowed to be fickle.

Mercifully we’ve come a long way since this, and women are getting comfortable in their own skin. They are looking for their real selves and taking pride in them for where’s the point of losing yourself in order to find a husband?

More importantly, it is men who need to learn to be comfortable around smart women, to understand, love and respect them. And they’re getting there, albeit slowly.

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If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage from a book that leaps out at you demanding to be shared join in with #BookBytes.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Do join in.

The next edition is scheduled for September 17th.

Importance of Dissent #BookBytes 13

Here’s a quote from my current read The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafaq. This isn’t a book one can rush through and I’m making steady, though slow progress. More on that when I review the book. For now savour this quote.

“To her way of thinking, anyone who can’t rise up and rebel, anyone devoid of the ability to dissent, cannot really be said to be alive. In resistance lies the key to life. The rest of the people fall into two camps: the vegetables, who are fine with everything, and the tea glasses, who, thought not fine with numerous things, lack the strength to confront. It is the latter that are the worse of the two.” 

Elif Shafaq, The Bastard of Istanbul

Wise words, aren’t they?

Dissent is such an important thing for any healthy system – specially for a country, a democracy like India. Dissent implies a thinking, feeling mind.

I agree when Shafaq says so eloquently, if one is ‘okay’ with everything, one is but a vegetable. However, I’m not sure I completely agree with the second part of the quote – is it worse to feel something and not have the courage to stand up for it or to not feel at all? How frustrating it must be to not be able to speak your mind. I’d feel sorry for such a person.

What do you say?

Before you leave:

Here are two must-read posts with some fabulous quotes:
One, by my dear friend Anamika. These quotes need to go up as posters in the rooms of boys and girls. Do drop by her post here.
And the second one is by Nabanita who picked out some powerful quotes on feminism. Do drop by for a read.

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If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage from a book that leaps out at you demanding to be shared join in with #BookBytes.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Do join in.

The next edition is scheduled for August 20th.

Ghosts and Writers #BookBytes 12

I am currently reading Eating Wasps by Anita Nair. Here’s a quote that caught my eye, specially as a writer.

“Ghosts and writers are more alike than you think. We can be what you want us to be. We can hear your thoughts even if you don’t tell us. We can read the silences and shape your stories as if they happened to us. And I was both: a ghost and a writer.

Eating Wasps by Anita Nair

I firmly believe that observation is the most important tool of a writer. Do you agree? Do you see the stories behind people, even strangers? You might not know the stories but do you shape them in your imagination?

When you’re travelling in a bus or a train do you watch the man standing with an impassive face and understand the turmoil of his mind? Do you look at the vivacious group of giggling teenagers and smile at their naive thoughts? Do you watch a couple sitting together and know the relationship they share?

Do you weave stories about the people you see around you?

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If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage from a book that leaps out at you demanding to be shared join in with #BookBytes.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Do join in.

The next edition is scheduled for August 6th.

Memories #BookBytes 11

“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.” 

Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

That’s the quote I’ve picked today. Isn’t it a beautiful thought?

The big moments of our lives remain etched in our memory for a long long time – winning a race at school, that first job, your wedding day, holding your baby for the very first time – those are the big ones, the ones we’re not likely to forget.

What I’d like to bottle, however, are the small, innocuous moments when life seems perfect for that one day or one hour, even though there’s nothing special about it.

I would pick out moments from my childhood – when we went on one of our precious few vacations to a hill-station and climbed a mountain peak then sang our way down with dried leaves crunching beneath our feet. I’d bottle up memories of freezing winter days when we’d come back from school and mom would hand us warm freshly ironed clothes to change into or a cold glass of lemonade on a hot May afternoon.

I’d bottle up this weekend when the kids and I snuggled together and watched Hunger Games while it rained outside, or when we sat out in the balcony studying together or even now as I sit writing this post on a cool cloudy day with sparrows chirping at my window.

A million happy moments disappear undocumented into the labyrinths of our memory, those are the ones I’d like to keep bottled up.

What are the memories that you’d like to bottle up?

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If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage from a book that leaps out at you demanding to be shared join in with #BookBytes.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Do join in.

The next edition is scheduled for July 16th.

On Loving Your Children #BookBytes 10

It’s time for BookBytes and I’m doing something I’ve not done before – sharing two quotes instead of one. In my defence – they share a theme, and the first one reminded me of the second.

The first is from Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, which I read recently. It’s a wonderful book – just the kind I like. It talks of a family, two families actually, and the fascinating ways the characters’ lives intertwine – the way they connect and affect each other. Here’s the quote I picked.

To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all at the same time. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she’d been and the child she’d become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

There’s so much love in this quote. How beautifully it depicts what a child means to a parent! It reminded me of another quote from another one of my favourite books – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. The book will remain with me forever as a bit of heartache.

“It’s just that the thing you never understand about being a mother, until you are one, is that it is not the grown man – the galumphing, unshaven, stinking, opinionated off-spring – you see before you, with his parking tickets and unpolished shoes and complicated love life. You see all the people he has ever been all rolled up into one.
I look at him and see the baby I held in my arms, dewing besotted, unable to believe that I’d created another human being. I see the toddler, reaching for my hand, the schoolboy weeping tears of fury after being bullied  by some other child. I saw the vulnerabilities, the love, the history.” 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This is perhaps why parents find it so hard to separate themselves from their children, why they forgive them so easily, why they’re ready to face the worst odds for them. In their heads they see the baby, the toddler, the teen in a grown man/woman.

Agree?

Picture Credit: Pexels

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If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage from a book that leaps out at you demanding to be shared join in with #BookBytes.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Do join in.

The next edition is scheduled for July 2nd.

Celebrating Differences #BookBytes 9

Some books come into your life at a particular time, at a time when you need to read them. When that happens the book takes on a whole new meaning, it becomes more than a story to be read and forgotten, it becomes part of you.

Hola folks. And welcome to another edition of #BookBytes. I’ve been reading The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak and the age-old Sufi wisdom in its pages has blown me away completely.

Here’s the quote I picked for today:

We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

These lines hold special significance in the modern context when countries, societies, communities, even thought processes are getting increasingly narrower, more intolerant and rigid. It pains me, terrifies me even, somedays when I think where this could lead us. And I wish I had a magic wand that would make us all more accepting, more open to and appreciative of differences.

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If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage from a book that leaps out at you demanding to be shared join in with #BookBytes.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Do join in.

The next edition is scheduled for June 18th.