Stay at Home Series – Episode 6 : Five Fashion Concepts/Designs

I was watching this episode on ‘Fast Fashion’ by Hasan Minhaj from his super entertaining show – The Patriot Act on Netflix, when this idea hit me!

I’m not into clothes (no I don’t walk around naked, you pervert :P). I just mean, shopping for clothes has never been a priority. If I could manage, I’d literally live in a pair of pyjamas or maybe two – to wash and alternate. But I do know about the love and satisfaction many of my closest friends from all genders get when they buy fashionable clothes. Its the same feeling I get when I buy and hoard new books πŸ˜€

So I thought I’d be philanthropic and just throw my superb fashion concepts and ideas to all the retailers out there to come up with their new ‘2020-2021 pandemic line‘. I don’t know if they’ll be eco-friendly, but they’re definitely feminist – big on gender equality, since everyone can wear them, or rather will have to wear them if they want to go out πŸ˜‰

I apologise for not having any graphics to give you a better picture, so I hope you’ll just read and let your imagination fly! πŸ˜‰

  1. The mask-tops : Get them in all colours and in turtleneck or boat neck styles. Masks will be attached to the neck of the garment so you can cover your mouth and nose with the neck of your top! Stylish, color coordinated and saves you the hassle of having to dangle another mask by your ears!
  2. The Sani-belt: No, not sanitary napkins. These will be the new in-vogue belts, in different sizes, shapes, designs, with or without bling, but with a holster, where you’ll keep those germ killing sanitisers! So buy that bling-y belt, wrap it around your dress/pants, hit that club/playground and sing, “PUMP IT! Harder!!” Now you’ll never forget your hand sanitisers or be worried about fishing it from that black hole of a bag!
  3. The glove-hand tops/shirts: Airport travel? Hanging out at a crowded place? Sweaty hands? We’ve got you covered! Now our tops will have detachable extended sleeves with finger fittings. So you can just slip on those snug gloves and not have to carry those strange surgical gloves and forget you’re not a surgeon πŸ˜‰
  4. The Devi-hands accessory: Inspired by the many hands of the super amazing kickass Goddesses from our mythology. These hands will be the new necklaces. Choose from a set of two extra hands to ten! Now you can use one set to scratch your nose, another to gobble that gupchup/golgappa/panipuri/puchka, and another for holding your toddler’s hand! The germs won’t even realise what hit them!
  5. The veil accessory: Never knew veils would be back in fashion eh? Oh sorry, we already have them out in the market in different forms – home made, designer, eco friendly, cheap plastic – they’re called masks these days πŸ˜›

I could come up with these so far, considering my brain seems to be functioning in strange ways (bordering hysteria and madness), during the new normal. I come up with jokes and ideas like the above and torment my family, while laughing hysterically like those evil villains. So I thought I should also torment strangers on the internet. I hope you guys were tormented or laughing hysterically – I’m praying its the latter, for my sake πŸ˜€

Random discussions

Please add on your ideas on the new fashion concepts in the comments too! The crazier, the better!

If you’re a retailer or a fashion designer and you like my ideas, I’d like a commission so I can retire πŸ˜‰

If you were offended by anything I wrote, I’m sorry ..I was just kidding πŸ™‚

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Maas – Thoughts

Through love, All is possible….

– Crescent City #1, Sarah J Maas

This is my first book by author Sarah J Maas and I am floored. It didn’t matter that it was an 800 page behemoth of a book, the longest book Ive read so far. Because the story just flew through. I felt like I was watching a fantasy show on Netflix! πŸ™‚

Trigger warnings: Death, abuse, gore, drugs, addiction

In this adult fantasy story, the first one from the Crescent City series, we follow our two main protagonists – Bryce Quinlan – half human half fae and Hunt Athalar – angel turned slave, team up to solve a gruesome murder case. Add in a missing relic, shape shifters, werewolves, Prince, a witch Princess, a 400 year old witch, many other angels in the backdrop of a brewing civil war between the humans and the beings with power, this book was one hell of a rollercoaster ride.

It took me a while to get a hang of all the different creatures in the story. I actually had to draw out the characters, the seven heads, and all the bits and pieces of information that is provided in the beginning of the book, to get it all straight in my head. But once you get a hang of it, the rest of the story quickly falls into place.

There were some difficult parts for me in the story though. One of them is mentioned in the trigger warning too and I can’t talk about it in the review post, without giving away spoilers. But those scenes made me tear up many times in the book. I read at night these days, before going to bed, and there were a few nights when I cried thinking about how much I missed my dad too. At least, it helped me remember him even more πŸ™‚

The ensemble cast was well written. Everyone gets a reasonable amount of story space to show their history and a bit of their personality. However, Bryce’s character stands out the most. I was impressed with how SJM brings to light the way we treat and judge women on the basis of their clothes or their lifestyle, without even getting to know them. High time we stop doing that, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ Girls like to have fun just like everyone else – what’s wrong with that?

I was dreading that this will be one of those books with a cliffhanger, because most series have that. But I’m happy to say that its not, so if you don’t like books ending in cliffhangers, this one is definitely for you! There will be more books in the series and I’m wondering if the next stories will continue Bryce and Hunt’s journey or will each book feature different protagonists in the lead. I’d like it to be the latter since I want to read more about some of the supporting cast in the story too πŸ™‚ Also, wasn’t Syrinx the cutest!! And Lehabah..respect. That one particular scene reminded me of Rue’s scene from The Hunger Games – goosebumps.

Bookish Conversations πŸ™‚

Have you read this book yet? I’d love to read your thoughts as well..so please leave behind a link of your review in the comments section if you feel like it πŸ™‚

What do you think the next books in the series will contain? More of Bryce and Hunt or more of some other characters – like Ruhn and Hypaxia or Fury and Juniper?

Have you read any other books from Sarah J Maas? Are they equally fast paced and filled with action? Which one would you recommend to read? πŸ™‚

Celebrating StoryFest 2020 at StoryADay

Calling all readers and writers! Story a day will be hosting StoryFest 2020 this weekend, June 27-28. Short stories from a variety of genres by different writers – some experienced, some amateur, will be available to read for free during this period πŸ™‚

If you’re interested in reading some short stories for free, do head over to the website https://storyaday.org on the coming weekend, and support the writers with your comments, feedback or simply by reading πŸ™‚

The Curse of the Purple Witch – A short story

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Colours, the little Prince was cursed by the Purple witch.Β 

The Purple witch kept to herself, and had a quick temper. Her crayons were her only friends and her paintings were her playground. But one day when the little Prince chanced upon her precious drawings, he thought they were just another set of colourful toys. And so, as was his habit with all colourful and interesting toys, he set about to investigate the drawings and in the process destroyed them.

When the witch returned from her errand to find her best friends destroyed by this little boy, she flew into a rage and cursed him instantly, turning him into a purple crayon. But once she had calmed down, try as she did, she was unable to reverse the spell cast in anger. She took the Purple crayon and flew to the Queen’s castle, apologetic and anxious. Queen Rangeena heard the Purple witch’s story patiently and held out her palm to take the Purple crayon, in which her son was trapped.

β€œOnly love and kindness can overcome a spell cast in anger”, she finally spoke, as she placed the crayon carefully inside a box of shiny new crayon set, to be delivered to the planets.

A few months later, a little girl with red hair found this special purple crayon in her colouring set. She had received it for her birthday present and she was delighted! But soon, she lost interest and started throwing her crayons here and there or snapping them. There was a sheer pleasure she felt in breaking the crayons especially.Β 

But when she broke a purple crayon, to her horror, something slimy started oozing out of it. And that slimy ooze started to take a form, a body, with hands and a mis-shaped head. It kept on growing in size! The little girl screamed, but no one seemed to hear her. The ball of ooze turned into a huge crayon monster and gobbled up the little girl. The crayon monster disappeared and in the place of the broken purple crayon, there was now a brand new red crayon. Within an instant though, the red crayon disappeared from the little girl’s room, to become a part of a new crayon set.

And so it went on, until after many years, the cursed crayon, now yellow in colour, turned up in an orphanage. Some wealthy donor had decided to do his act of charity for the little kids at the orphanage during Christmas, but had forgotten to take into account the sheer number of orphans living there and had turned up with just one small little box of crayons. The children were excited and disappointed at the same time. So the matrons of the orphanage handed over the crayon box to the oldest child in the orphanage – Maisy. 

Maisy was kind and patient and loved by everyone at the orphanage. It was just sad that no one wanted to adopt her. She couldn’t seem to form a word in front of the adults and most of the adults seemed to be afraid of her, because when she did manage to utter a few sentences, it would be a fact so accurate that they’d wonder how did she even know?? Some even called her a witch. She thought witches were cool though, so she didn’t mind that the people who came to the orphanage sometimes whispered β€˜witch’, after they met her. But she wasn’t a witch really. She was just very good at observing people and deducing stuff. Just like her hero Sherlock Holmes! 

She looked at the little box of crayons and the eager pairs of eyes in front of her, waiting and wondering, who she would offer the box of crayons as a Christmas present. But Maisy being Maisy, she decided that it was Christmas and no one should go without a present. There were thirteen of them and six crayons in the box. So she decided to break each crayon into two parts and pass each half to one child. She herself, would keep the crayon box for safe keeping. She didn’t mind that she wouldn’t get any. Just being able to be a part of the Christmas joy was enough for her.

As soon as she broke the yellow crayon though, the oozy slimy crayon monster started to emerge from the crayon. The rest of the children started screaming with terror and tried to find places to hide, but Maisy was mesmerised by the monster. It seemed to start taking multiple colours, like the colours of a rainbow – violet, blue, pink, mauve, cream, white, black, red, and finally purple. Every time the crayon monster tried to take a shape with a specific colour, only to start morphing into another shape and another colour! To Maisy, it looked like they were forms of little children, but she couldn’t be sure. Maybe she was just dreaming.Β 

In the end, despite the eerie scene, the monster never did materialise. And the yellow crayon had completely disappeared. In its place, were six brand new boxes of crayons with a letter addressed to Maisy.

Dear Maisy,

Thank you for letting my curse die and for freeing the Prince. Your act of kindness, compassion and appreciation for my colours, filled my heart so much with love! Queen Rangeena had been right! πŸ™‚

I would love for you to have the crayons from the original box and if you ever need a home, break a crayon from the box and I’ll come to collect you. Looking forward to meeting you in person some day.

The Purple witch.

Maisy tucked the letter safely in the pocket of her tunic. She smiled and the other children squealed with delight at their own shiny sets of crayon boxes! Maybe this whole thing was just some elaborate magic trick by the kind man who had dropped off the first box of crayons. Whatever it was, Maisy fingered the letter in her pocket and smiled. She couldn’t wait to break the purple crayon.

Acknowledgements πŸ™‚

I wrote this story using a prompt from Julie Duff’s StoryADay – May 2020 challenge, so a huge thanks to her for helping me with a prompt to begin with πŸ™‚ Also, many thanks to the StoryADay critique group and my critics Fallon, BSY and Gabrielle who helped me revise my story to make it better. A cute little thanks to my four year old who gave me the concept of the story by looking at that picture. And finally, if anyone read and enjoyed my attempt at a short children’s story, thank you for stopping by and reading πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston – Thoughts

This book was my GR book club selection to celebrate ‘Pride’ and I absolutely loved it. In the acknowledgements section, the author writes, that she wanted to write a book about ‘hope’, when she came up with this idea in 2016. And although many would feel like this story was too far fetched for a realistic romance, it did give me hope, a lot of it πŸ™‚

In a nutshell, this is a fairy tale love story, where the First son of United States falls in love with the Prince of England. They’re as star crossed as you can imagine, but are helped with a plethora of fairy godmothers in the guise of family, friends and personal guards, to fight for their love and get their happy ending. Oh, yes, rest assured, this book/story has the happiest of happy endings and I thought, that was a really good reason to read this, especially in the current times where everything else sucks.

The best part about Alex and Henry’s romance for me were the parts that came after they accept their attraction to each other. It was all their little texts, secret meetings, private jokes, and my favorite part of it all, all those letters with the P.S. of love letters/notes written by famous people! Those letters literally made my heart flutter and wish someone would write me letters like those too! LOL πŸ˜€

I also enjoyed the fact that this story wasn’t about coming out, it was about two really popular guys falling in love. I mean yes, we do have Alex come to terms with his sexuality as a bisexual, but that is a very short part of the overall story. I’ve read a few coming out stories, so I wanted to read about a love story between protagonists with different sexual identities and the challenges they face. The fact that both these men are extremely public figures with a political family background adds another aspect to the challenges couples could face.

Although Alex and Henry and simply #couplegoals and #dreamy, it was the supporting cast that had me hooked. I loved the White House Trio in the beginning – with the stylish and clever June, the supercomputer lesbian Nora and the sweetheart Alex. But when they become an even bigger group of six, adding in a very British Prince Henry, his best friend and young billionaire Pez and his younger sister Beatrice, I literally wanted to be a part of their group. I loved all the mother hen figures in the story too – Zahra, Amy and Shaan – their moments and dialogues added the required light heartedness in the overall story. Also, how cool are Alex’s parents, both his dads and his ideal Luna?? πŸ™‚

I think the only part that I didn’t enjoy much was the extra political angle towards the end. I know it was important to the storyline – regarding the re-election of the first Mexican female President, but all the build up to the final scene in the story made me feel like we got slightly side tracked from Alex and Henry’s story. But that’s a very teeny-tiny issue that I have with this book, because on the whole, I felt like this story was full of rainbows, sunshine, hope and all things ideal πŸ™‚

Book Talk with you guys

Have you read this book? Who was your favorite character in the book?

What are you reading for Pride this month?

The Queen of Jasmine Country by Sharanya Manivannan – Thoughts

Ninth century. In Puduvai, a small town in what we now know as Tamil Nadu, young Kodhai is taught to read and to write by her adoptive father, a garland-weaving poet. As she discovers the power of words, she also realizes that the undying longing for a great love that she has been nursing within her – one that does not suppress her desire for freedom – is likely to remain unfulfilled. Then, she hears of a vow that she can undertake that might summon it to her.

In deepest winter, the sixteen-year-old begins praying for a divinely sensual love – not knowing that her words will themselves become prayers, and echo through the centuries to come.

Rich with the echoes of classical poetry, in The Queen of Jasmine Country, Sharanya Manivannan imagines the life of the devotional poet Andal, whose sublime and erotic verses remain beloved and controversial to this day.

Goodreads Synopsis

I have to start this review with a heartfelt thanks to a lost friend, who had presented this book to me, after a lot of thought clearly, for my birthday. We used to have long conversations about sexuality, accepting desires, the relevance of monogamy or the traditional institute of marriage, poetry, feminism, history, among many things. So I can imagine why he picked this book for me to read, since this fictional retelling of the life of the south Indian devotional poet Andal, touches upon many of these subjects.

I really enjoyed reading this book. If you’re a fan of books with prose that sound like poetry, then this might be one for you. It is also a short book of just 156 pages, and I was able to finish it in a single sitting.

All the description about Kodhai’s desires, or the rituals she partakes in to find her life partner, or her love for words and poetry were simply breath taking. I could picture myself in that age, in that setting of the jungle, where people lived simply and loved deeply.

I’d like to read more of Sharanya’s books now – she has a collection of poems and a collection of short stories, and the description of both sound very interesting. Glad to have read an Indian author whose work I enjoyed after such a long time πŸ™‚

Bookish Conversations πŸ™‚

Have you guys read this book or any other by Sharanya Manivannan? If yes, would love to read about your reviews or thoughts. Do leave a link of your blog in the comments section..

I had read a similar book called Circe with beautiful poetry like prose last year, which I absolutely adored. I’d love to have some more recommendations of books that are written in a similar fashion and touch upon subjects of independence, especially with a female protagonist. Please leave behind your recommendations in the comments sections πŸ™‚

Stay at Home Series – Episode 5 : May Wrap Up

I should try and change the name of these series, since with the easing of the lockdown, ‘Staying at home’ may not be a given now. Yes, yes, don’t worry…I will not be going out without my masks, I’ll be sanitizing myself and the products I collect and Ill be maintaining social distance πŸ™‚

Usually, I try to aim high with all my goals each month. But I never achieve all of them. My logic however is that if I aim for the Everest, at least I’ll make it to the bottom of the peak. And so, that’s how this month went really – I underperformed in all my goals, but I made it at least half way through, so yay for that! πŸ˜€

Books I read:

I had plans of reading 7-8 books in May, including a couple of BOTM and book club selections. But instead, I ended up reading 4 books. I’m happy to say that I loved all the books I read and all of them were either 4 or 5 star rating for me, with a crazy obsession for the Mo Dao Zu Shi universe! πŸ˜€

  1. There’s something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
  2. Brief answers to the big questions by Stephen Hawking
  3. Mo Dao Zu Shi/Grandmaster of demonic cultivation (English translation via GDC Online) by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (obsessed, literally obsessed!!) – I’ll add a fan girl review one day maybe but you can check out my GR review here
  4. Mad, bad & dangerous to know by Samira Ahmed

Shows I watched

I literally just watched two shows in May. My version of binge watching them though, considering I dedicated 1.5 hours each night in the month of May and exchanged screen pleasure for dark circles :D. Both these shows are available on Netflix with English subtitles and I was hooked to both of them. The Untamed topped the list though. Even the music composition by Lin Hai is brilliant. If you want to check out what I’m talking about, see the composition – Wuji by Lin Hai on apple music πŸ™‚

  • The Untamed (Chinese adaptation of MDZS book that I’ve mentioned above)
  • Cinderella with the four knights (Korean adaptation of another book of the same name it seems)

Writing

Well, I think blogging was quite non existent in the month of May, but I had signed up for the ‘Story a Day- May 2020’ writing challenge. I wrote daily and was going strong till about 20th May I think, but towards the last few days, I completely lost my mojo and just couldn’t get myself to write. But still, I’m glad I participated since I got to meet so many lovely writers through this group and learned so many new things about writing and my own writing process πŸ™‚ This is still WIP, but I’ve got a draft of around 20 stories that I could come back to one day πŸ™‚

Random Life Updates

Hmm, so lets see, May was a really sad month in terms of the global crisis. There haven’t been any improvements or breakthroughs in the Covid situation and to add to it, we witnessed a horrible incident of racism yet again that sparked instant riots in America and global indignation. We saw a favorite author tweet transphobic comments. We saw hundreds of homeless and poor in India still trying to migrate to their hometowns and suffer – so news was crap. There was one positive news for me with the successful launch of SpaceX’s rocket to space πŸ™‚

I took my daughter out for the first time in 2.5 months in May, to collect a delivery. You should have seen the delight on her face. It was a 10 minute outing tops and she had to wear an over sized mask. But its really amazing how nothing can dampen a child’s spirit and positivity, because she kept laughing and jumping and pretending to be a superhero in a mask the entire 10 minutes! Now the lockdown has relaxed a bit so she gets to take her bicycle down, but that first time was just epic!

I didn’t learn how to cook anything new. And I still hate cooking. LOL πŸ˜€

My indoor running plan was a complete bust. So my workouts consisted of mopping, household chores and dancing with my daughter at home. I guess not being able to cook and eating the bare minimum helped offset the lack of exercise, since I lost 1 kg this month πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

And that’s a wrap!! I don’t think I had a very terrible month in May in hindsight πŸ™‚ I know the lockdown will relax and things will get better but we all need to support each other and stay positive I guess, even if its really hard πŸ™‚

How was your month of May and what are your plans in June? πŸ™‚

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed – Thoughts

I would’ve skimmed through this book, had I not been spending all of my free time obsessing over MDZS and The Untamed. But that’s a story for another day πŸ™‚

I’m not a history buff as such, even though I love to live in my own nostalgia, but I can imagine how precious this book would be for art and history aficionados. The story is a simple yet interesting one – a summer fling, a treasure hunt, lots of famous poets, two heroines connected over centuries and a story that needs to be discovered.

Our present day heroine is Khayyam – a Muslim, American, French teenager spending a summer vacation with her doting parents in Paris and trying to figure out her love life as well as her future. Our heroine from the past is Leila, a concubine to the emperor Pasha and probably the inspiration behind Lord Byron’s Giaour poems. I felt like the whole book was Leila and Khayyam’s stories, with all the other men – present and past, being present as supporting characters in this narrative. I actually enjoyed that perspective a lot.

I have very little knowledge of poems or familiar with the works of famous poets, so I actually had to Google a lot of stuff to figure out which parts were real and which were fiction. That’s why, the treasure hunt parts were confusing for me, and probably the least interesting parts because I just couldn’t catch all the literary references (my bad). For me, the most interesting parts in the book were reading Leila’s narrative, and the author’s introspective moments in the book, via Khayyam’s thoughts. I love the way Samira Ahmed writes – there is a certain poetic and melancholic element to her writing style, that tugged at my heart strings.

If you’re picking up this book for the romance, then its probably best not to, since really, I felt like both the male characters – Zaid and Alexandre, were just there to help Leila and Khayyam’s story move forward. I actually felt that Khayyam’s parents had more personality than both the male protagonists in the little story time that they shared πŸ˜€

I loved all the picnic scenes during the treasure hunt that Khayyam and Alexandre experience. I want to go and visit all those libraries and literary places and all those cafes whenever I get a chance to visit Paris πŸ˜€

I was a little confused with the few times that Dumas’s biracial background was mentioned in the story, especially by Alexandre when he is arguing with Khayyam regarding the rights of minorities, women and slaves in history. I felt like it might have helped to have more information regarding both Dumas’s background and his struggles as well as Leila’s struggle being a Muslim woman in that time in history. I was also a little taken aback with the mystical element of Si’La in the story, it felt out of place in the overall narrative, but I wished there was more of Si’La and Leila’s narrative considering I’m such a fantasy buff πŸ˜€ LOL

Overall, I felt this was a good book to pick up if you’re looking for a fictional book to read with relevant Muslim, female and South Asian representation along with a lot of art and historic references. Also, I felt this book was definitely more YA than I’m used to.

***Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book in exchange of an honest review***

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking – Thoughts

So remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the Universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.

Written by Stephen Hawking in his book: Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Those are the last words from the book and they are so powerful, don’t you think? This is Stephen Hawking’s last book and released posthumously. It draws from his personal archive and was completed in collaboration with his friends, family and academic colleagues.

You would already know, that I usually lean towards fiction and heavily towards fantasy, feminist and romance genres. But once in every two or three months, I do pick up a non-fiction, based on the description of the book. The author could be anyone, and the content could be anything from a wide variety of subjects. However, what I look for in a non-fiction book when I buy it is – Does the blurb pique my interest? Does it inspire me? Does it talk about some of my own questions and thoughts about life?

I haven’t read any other of Stephen Hawking’s books, so I have no point of comparison. But I had chanced upon this book at the airport once and was instantly hooked to the array of questions that he thinks and addresses in the book. Questions like, “Does God exist?” “What about aliens?” “What is the future of human race?”, “What’s inside a Black Hole?”

I have to admit that for the controversial questions – like the one about God and afterlife, we don’t exactly get a clear answer, and that’s fine anyway. But we get to understand some of his arguments. However, I really enjoyed reading his answers on some of the other subjects like, time travel, space travel, understanding black holes, the future of human beings the role of AI in our lives and so on.

His writing, at least in this book, is crisp and easy to understand. There aren’t a lot of technical and complicated jargons and formulae and I felt that this book is really one for the masses. For people and kids who are just curious about everything and want to know what one of the greatest scientists of our generation has to say about them.

I would recommend this book even if you’re not into science or non fiction or Stephen Hawking, just because of the fact that these questions can make for really interesting discussion points πŸ™‚

Also, is it strange that I just read the book and NASA and Space X announced sending humans to space for the first time since 2011? I for one, am really excited and wishing it to be a successful launch, whenever they do launch! πŸ™‚

Questions to you guys:

Do you read a mix of books like fiction and non-fiction?

What is a non-fiction you recently read and would highly recommend?

Deviant characters in Books & Movies – Why are we attracted to rebels?

I’ve been obsessed with the Chinese show on Netflix and the book its based on – The Untamed / Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, lately. The story has two lead characters – Wei Wuxian, who is the nonconformist and Lan Wangji, who is his opposite, a stickler for following rules and doing the absolute right thing. And that got me thinking, what is it that draws me and many others to literature or movies which have gray characters?

I started to think back upon my years of reading and watching TV/movies to find out which characters left a lasting impression on me, and I saw this pattern, that I was drawn to rebellious characters. As a society, we have all these rules of propriety and culturally acceptable behavior that we strive hard to follow. But then, why are most of us drawn to the rebels?

Warning: This might be longer than my usual posts, but I’ll love it if you read till the end πŸ˜€

Here are a few of my favorite characters and why I love them, to drive my point across a little:

Anne from Anne of Green Gables: Anne had stolen my heart from the first time I read about her. But did you notice, that at the period the story was set, Anne’s ways were quite unacceptable. She was loud, argumentative, boisterous, had too many opinions. But she had a heart of gold and she never judged anyone and was always ready to help, no matter what. And slowly, she endears herself to everyone in the village.

Fox Mulder from the TV series X-Files: David Duchovny playing Fox Mulder in X-Files was probably one of my first celebrity crushes. X-Files was one of my favorite show growing up. I just loved the slightly eccentric, untidy, rule flouting Fox Mulder, who wanted to find out the truth, no matter what it took. He never got promoted, wasn’t involved in any sort of FBI politics or power game and didn’t even care that people made fun of him. His passion was addictive.

Sherlock (from both the books and the latest TV series) – I loved Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the genius and utterly disliked detective, Sherlock. Sherlock doesn’t have time for petty discussions or even small talk. He is really rude. Everyone hates him. But everyone goes to him to solve a case since he just cant resist a puzzle. You’ll notice that he will go to any lengths to save the people he cares about, even if he doesn’t let it on.

Tea of the Embers from The Bone Witch Trilogy: I still have the final book to finish, but I cant argue the allure Tea has, being the youngest and yet the darkest bone witch with immense power. Her ideas of defeating the faceless are very nonconformist too and she doesn’t hesitate to voice her opinions and become unpopular in the process. But one thing we know is, she is fighting for the same cause and will unearth the truth.

Delilah Bard from Shades of Magic Trilogy: Delilah Bard is a cut throat thief. She doesn’t have time or patience to be pretty, friendly or nice. What she lacks in etiquette, she makes up with her sharp mind and skills. But once she’s got your back, she will protect you even if it costs her everything. Courage is something she has plenty of.

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows Duology: If he weren’t the lead character of the books, he could’ve almost easily passed on as a villain. Absolutely ruthless, money minded, cunning, and again, with no patience for playing by the rules. He makes his own rules. But one thing he protects even more than his sinister reputation, is his band of misfit friends.

And finally, the character who inspired this whole post, Wei Wuxian, Yiling Patriarch from the book Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation and TV series The Untamed: I haven’t finished the TV series or the book yet, but I’ll get there very soon. However, I’m in love with the characters already. Wei Wuxian has terrible manners and has complete disrespect for all kinds of rules. But his heart is in the right place and he never leaves his friends behind.

There are many more maverick characters like the ones mentioned above, that I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention, but what got me thinking next was, what sets these characters apart from similar geniuses like – Moriarty, Voldemort, The Darkling, and the Joker? If you see, most of them do have very similar personalities and I know at one point this year, I have rooted for both the Joker and The Darkling. So why are they the villains?

The answer according to me, lies in the very popular Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang and finding your balance. All of my maverick and rebellious characters were saved from over stepping and crossing over completely to the dark side by their Yang counterparts.

The soft spoke Jacqueline Van Maarsen for Anne

The straight thinking, rule following Dana Scully for Mulder

The kind and caring Watson for Sherlock

Righteous Kalen for Tea

Focused, loyal and dependable Kell for Delilah

And kind, quiet, morally upright, brilliant Lan Wangji for Wei Wuxian

That’s where Joker, Voldemort and The Darkling lost out, I think. They couldn’t find or keep their light-partners to save them from falling over. If I may get a bit more philosophical at this stage, sometimes I feel that we’ve all got this yin and yang within us, and finding the balance is usually the hardest part. Even now, I battle between my own selfish instincts and desires to remind myself that there are some lines that should not be crossed, no matter what the intent.

Questions to you guys:

If you’ve managed to reach the end of this super long post, a huge thanks a virtual hug first of all! πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Who are some of your favorite gray characters?

Do you enjoy reading books or watching movies/shows with gray characters?