Seven Fictional Heroines who rocked their short hairdos

It’s a fact widely accepted now that much of what a female body and everything about how her appearance should look like is dictated by everyone else other than the woman herself. And if, for some reason, women choose to dress and look as per their own wishes, they are either stereotyped or dismissed or ridiculed.

I myself have been waging a daily war with my family and so-called well wishing friends with regards to the length of my hair and the number of tattoos on my body or the lack of jewellery I adorn or the fact that I have a functioning and comfortable wardrobe but nothing that suits the conforms of the traditional society I live in.

So, I keep looking for inspiration from real and fictional women who have defied gender stereotypes with their looks and absolutely rocked in it. In this post, I’ve put down some fictional female characters who I absolutely love 🙂

Note: A lot of the images below have been taken from Pinterest and are not created by me.

Delilah/Lila Bard from Shades of Magic series. She needs to blend in, so what better way to do so than looking like a guy. She is fierce, ambitious, courageous and unapologetic about everything she does and desires.

Runin/Rin Wang from The Poppy War trilogy. Never have I come across a more badass and strong female character in my reading life. Rin is absolutely ruthless, but she gets the job done. I think she was the first asexual fictional character I read about. She was someone who valued her friends much more than the person she loved romantically.

Juniper James Eastwood – the youngest of the Eastwood sisters from the book – Once and Future Witches. This character is differently abled and even that doesn’t stop her from waging a full war against sexism to support the Suffragette movement. She is clever, quick to act and again, has a lot of courage and grit. Even a watered sewered prison will not break this one.

Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault In Our Stars. I fell in love with her character from the moment I met her in the book. I loved her passion towards her favorite book, towards wanting to meet her favorite author and towards experiencing everything she could, despite fighting a chronic illness.

Juliette Cai from These Violent Delights is NOT a tomboy, just because she has short hair. In fact, she is your femme fatale, who is sexy and lethal. However, she also loves deeply and is loyal to the people she loves.

Velma from the Scooby Doo series. Now, I agree, now when I watch the shows again, I’m not a big fan of the way Velma was portrayed in the shows and the comics – she was definitely boxed as the boyish, spectacled nerd in the show. But I was always inspired by her. I loved her no nonsense attitude and her intelligence all throughout the Scooby Doo shows 🙂

Dani Brown, from Take a Hint Dani Brown. I can’t tell you how much I loved the characterisation of Chloe and Dani. But Dani, with her short pink hairdo, her intelligent mind, her kind heart and her focus towards her career completely had my heart.

And then there’s finally me. Oops! Definitely not a fictional character this one, but I just wanted the world to know that just because I chose to have my hair short, I’m not asking to be boxed into any particular category – tomboy, older woman, non binary, feminist, blah, blah.. This is simply a choice that I don’t want to be questioned about. I don’t want people to stare at me or tell me the very obvious, “oh, you’ve cut your hair very short eh!” Just let me be, just like I let you be 🙂

I’m sure I must have missed a lot of other fictional female characters who rocked in their short hairdos. Who are your favourite short hairdo women characters – real or fictional? Do you think that the length of the hair of a female character changes the way she is perceived by both the readers and writers?

Dead Weight – The obsession with female bodies and their weight

Photo by SHVETS production on

I went for a Hindu funeral ritual last weekend. A distant family member had died, and we have this ritual on the thirteenth day where friends and family are invited for a meal, after a puja is done, to say goodbye to the spirit of the one who has passed.

I don’t know if its an Indian thing, or this is the case with all family gatherings – be it a wedding or a funeral – its hilarious, annoying, petty, political and well, as good as watching any reality TV show. As long as you are not the topic of speculation that is.

This time, the topic of conversation is a favourite – the shape and size of the bodies of all the women present in the room. You would probably think, oh, the men are at it again is it? But no, it was the men and the women – the ones passing judgement and the ones accepting that yes, something needs to be done about their body size or weight.

A gentleman sporting a pot belly remarked, “oh these are your daughters ? They are so skinny though. Girls at their age should eat more and have a ‘fit’ body you know. They look really weak.”

Another gentleman who was very skinny himself, remarked at another young girl, who had lost a lot of weight with a lot of dedication and will, “you know, you lost too much weight though.”

She replied, “Two years back, when I was heavier, you said I needed to lose weight.”

The sarcasm was lost on the gentleman in question however.

An older man remarked on another older lady, who had recently lost a lot of weight to a serious illness, “Madam, you have lost so much weight! But you know, now you look much better!”

She replied, “I just wish I felt as fit as you think my body looks.”

Two other slightly curvaceous older women remarked, “well, we couldn’t lose weight even if we wanted to! We love to eat so much!”

Another girl said, “but why does it even have to matter as long as you feel good in your body?”

This went on for hours. The same conversation took different forms and was aimed at different people in the room – all obviously women. How to lose weight, how not to lose weight, what to eat, what not to eat. How to be ‘just the right size and shape’. But what is the right size for a woman? Who gets to define this? And for how long will women have to carry the burden of ‘dead weight’ that constantly brings them down or makes them uncomfortable in every darned social gathering?

Instead of talking about size, wouldn’t it be easier to talk about feelings and health? How are you feeling in your skin? You look great, just the way you are! 🙂

Life Diaries and Reading Wrap Up – Feb 2022

Thank goodness the month of romance is over. I’m not against love or romance really. In fact I believe I’m a hardcore romantic and have a high place for all sorts of love in my life. But really, all those red heart balloons and sugar sweetness were starting to get to me..LOL

February was a good month though, I feel like I was able to manage my time especially with respect to work, exercising and reading much better. It also helped that my daughter’s school started offline classes so I get two extra hours to focus on work now. Here’s a quick recap of my month 🙂


  • How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell (⭐️⭐️⭐️) – Non fiction collection of arguments by Jenny Odell, where contrary to the title of the book, she urges readers to pause and spend some time mindfully. Given the current attention economy and hyper capitalism, it is impossible to actually do nothing. But it is possible to take a pause, spend physical time with friends, family and neighbours, go out for long walks in nature, give yourself some offline time, to recharge and help yourself and the planet in general.
  • Vengeful by V E Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) – I won’t lie, this might be completely biased, but I love VE Schwab’s writing and the X-Men kind of Universe. I love having explicit Ace representation in books and reading about morally gray characters. I love books on the found family trope. The writing was fast paced and exciting and I had a lot of fun reading the second book from the Villains duology 🙂
  • A Spindle Splintered by Alex E. Harrow (⭐️⭐️⭐️) – Alex E. Harrow has become another go-to author lately since I loved both her full length standalone novels – 10,000 Doors of January and Once and Future Witches. This book however is a novella and a fairy tale retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It has some really good themes, but I guess I didn’t enjoy it as much as the others because the characters were much younger and I wanted the story to take a different path I guess. A recommended read for Young Adults nevertheless 🙂
  • The Greatest Odiya Stories Ever Told (⭐️⭐️) – My only disappointing read this month. This book is a collection of translated short stories from Odiya to English, so I really wanted to love the stories and promote them. But I guess the era the stories were written in didn’t make me relate to them as much.
  • Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) – A gorgeously illustrated book with Zen and Buddhist philosophies about navigating life. Great for a coffee table book or to read to children.
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) – I know this book had some issues, but I won’t lie, I did enjoy this book a lot, mainly because it talks about the power of books and book clubs in healing and providing a community of like minded people who can become friends eventually too 🙂


I had reduced my writing goal to trying to write just on the weekends instead of daily. And that could include any form of writing , such as journaling, working on my short stories or full length novels or blogging. The miss was that I didn’t even stick to writing on all the 8 weekend days. I wrote just on three of those days. I am still working on trying to improve my writing frequency and making it consistent, like I’ve been able to do with my workouts. My friend and writer Tammy inspires me a lot to write more and make time for writing. You can visit her blog here.

The success however was that I did write, edit, review and submit a short story for an Indian online magazine – Tell Me Your Story! 🙂 I haven’t heard back from them and in most probability my story might not get selected, but I’m still glad that I was able to write and submit a short story 🙂

Other Life Updates

  • My workouts have been getting better in terms of consistency and I am enjoying it like that. I went for some cycle rides, ran 5k and 7K, walked a lot. But the biggest find of February was the Nike Training app, suggested by my best friend. This app worked for me because they have short workouts for HIIT, Strength, and Yoga stretches ranging from 10 mins to 45 mins. It’s also fun to share your progress with your friends and try doing the same workouts together..:)
  • We discovered some really good Asian food places in Feb. One was a food truck right next to our house serving Vietnamese Pho and salads! Since Ive eaten Pho from Vietnam, I felt that the taste wasn’t exactly recreated, but still, it was better than not having a food truck altogether! We also went to a Japanese place and I had some really good Tonkatsu Ramen and sushi..yum!! 🙂
  • I had a girls night out with my neighbour after ages and we had a lot of fun drinking Martinis and talking about everything under the sun. I had a few good chill Friday nights too, where we relished our stock of Glenlivet with some awesome music and conversations – just me and my husband and watsapping my friends 🙂
  • We were invited for a dinner party and our host made some delicious local cuisine of missal paav and falooda. And I also made quite a bit of progress in reducing my intake of packaged junk food like chips during my 4 pm hunger pangs, and replaced them with yogurt, fresh fruits, salty nuts, rice cake with seasoning or cheese chilly toasts 🙂
  • Finally, the only thing I managed to watch and enjoy (embarrassed to say I still haven’t finished it though lol) was this Korean romantic drama called ‘Nevertheless’. I loved one of its songs – Love me like that, a lot too 🙂 I love how nicely they make these Korean dramas and how realistic they seem to be. Are Korean people really this gorgeous and thoughtful and romantic though, or is this another fairy tale that mainstream feeds us? 🙂

That was how my February went…how was yours? What went well and what didn’t? Tell me anything you want in the comments section 🙂

Life Diaries and Reading Wrap Up – Jan 2022

First wrap up post for 2022!! Wow, its that time already! A lottt happened in Jan I must say, so this might be a long-ish post. Read or skim through or skip altogether..whatever suits your fancy 🙂


  • Under The Whispering Door by T J Klune (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) – I am in love with TJ Klune’s books. I couldn’t have picked a better book to start my year with. Warm, funny, all about found family and gay love, about love, death, loss, grief and hope. Everything packed up like a warm hug 🙂
  • Summer Days and Summer Nights (⭐⭐⭐) – A good book for a pool side or beach read, but I think the stories are more suited for young teenagers or young adults than a 40 year old like me. I do love YA fantasy but somehow I felt aged out of the romance stories.
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (⭐⭐⭐) – Book 1 of the Schoolomance trilogy. Imagine a dark Hogwarts mixed with Lord of the Flies. Only, with more helpful children. And a really sarcastic and yet lovely anti heroine as the lead. I managed to read the book because of the main character El/Galadriel, but somehow I didn’t feel much for any of the other characters. Maybe book 2 will solve that?
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (⭐⭐⭐⭐) – I know this book received mixed reviews and I agree there were some issues with the book and the overall writing quality. But my reading experience wasn’t marred by it somehow and I really liked this book. Its a book I read in a single sitting and would recommend to amateur readers.
  • The Greatest Odia Stories Ever Told (⭐⭐) – I had high hopes from this translated collection of Odiya short stories, but I was disappointed. There are some really good cultural descriptions but those are mostly of an older Odisha or the villages where the population is still poor and superstitious. Being an Odiya from the 21st Century myself, I didn’t find the stories uplifting or enlightening.


I still haven’t found a schedule to call my writing time. But lately I have been thinking about not taking my writing as seriously. Between my job, family, health and reading – I am left with no time and I dont want to stress myself out just thinking about the fact that I’m not writing. So I’ve decided not to make any writing goals and write whenever I feel like. In Jan I journaled almost daily and I wrote a few blogs. I feel content with that 🙂


  • My entire family was down with Covid for the first two weeks in Jan, so it was mostly a lot of resting and reading and watching shows on screen. Slowly, we started to get out energy back and getting back into the world by the third week. I was glad for the time off from work though, because I had a lot of weakness during the first two weeks
  • We went for a couple of treks to a nearby hill top and I cycled my first 20K with friends. I also ran 6.5K and a 5K in Jan and I definitely worked out a lot more once I got better 🙂
  • I tried out a lot of different food over the last few days. Ordered Nepali momos from a friend who opened her shop recently, got mom to try Japanese cheesecake, and discovered a food truck selling Vietnamese Pho which is one of my favourite dishes to eat 🙂 I also bought two delicious pork jam and pork thhechha in jars and been relishing them with breakfast and lunch whenever I can 😉 On one weekend, we stepped out for lunch with cousins and it was a lovely day of asian sushi and sunshine 🙂

That’s how my January went. How was yours? I’d love to hear about your highlights or even lowlights from Jan 🙂 Drop in a comment 🙂

Favourite Reads/Books from 2021

I stopped writing book reviews on my Blog since a while now. I know I loved writing these reviews but I realised that I was reading faster than I had the time to write long review blogs for the books I read and so I just stopped.

However, I did still want to list my favourite books that from 2021. I love books that make me feel something – joy or heartbreak or teach me something new or have realistic protagonists. And all of the books below did that.

Here is a peak into some of my favourite reads from 2021 🙂

Standalone Fiction

  • Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut: Satire on saviour complex and the pointlessness of human evolution
  • Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri: A diary like story about a middle aged single woman’s journey to self discovery
  • Daura by Anukrti Upadhyay: An eerie folktale retelling set in Rajasthan, India
  • Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu: A dark comedy on Asian specific racism in America
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger: A new age fantasy murder mystery with an Ace protagonist!!
  • My Grandmother Sends her Regards and Apologies by Fredrik Backman: A heart touching story on found family and the power of love and helping others to deal with grief and loss
  • Loveless by Alice Oseman: Another Aro-Ace lead protagonist’s identity journey. A book I wish I had available when I was younger.
  • Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon: A refreshing YA romance where the lead female protagonist stands up for why romances are equally important as any other work of literature
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alex E. Harrow: A brilliant feminist retelling of many classic fairy tales with three famous witches’s journey during the beginning of the Suffragette movement
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood: Shortlisted for the Booker 2021, this modernistic writing takes you out of your comfort zone with its acerbic and poetic description of life on the internet, along with personal struggles

Non Fiction

  • Chup by Deepa Narayan: On the life and subtle yet permanent discrimination that middle class Indian women face
  • Annihilation of Caste by B.R. Ambedkar: An essay written by Dr. Ambedkar to the Indian leaders at the time stressing on the importance of abolishing the caste system in India
  • But You Don’t Look Like A Muslim by Rakshanda Jalil: The author’s autobiography on life as a middle class Muslim woman in India and the day to day racism she faces due to her religion
  • Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn: A collection of essays written by various prominent authors on what Love means to them
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: Extremely funny and sometimes heart warming advice on Life and Writing
  • Hunger by Roxanne Gay: The author’s autobiography depicting her rape and her subsequent relation with her body and food and her eventual healing
  • Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability and Making Space by Amanda Leduc: An impressive argument that the author makes around how ableist Fairy Tales are and how we can make space for differently abled protagonists in our stories as well
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle: An inspiring and uplifting account by the author who found herself in her 40s, and now she asks every woman to be the Cheetah she is born to be
  • The Comfort Book by Matt Haig: I prefer Matt Haig’s non fiction to his fiction books. Another book that is great to read every morning or before going to bed..short, uplifting messages on life and how to deal with it

Books that are part of a Series:

  • Sourcery and Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett: Books 5 and 6 from the Discworld series. I love the sarcasm and the humor in this series..simply rib tickling!
  • The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart: The first book from The Drowning Empire trilogy. I loved the book, the characters, the plot – everything!
  • Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman: I didn’t know this was part of a series, but then the second book released last year, so looks like we will get a lot more from this group of Septuagenarians and their murder solving skills 😉
  • Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert: The last of the Brown Sisters romance trilogy. A romance that I’d recommend to every romance lover for the warmth, love, supporting cast and witty banter
  • Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas: Books 2 and 3 from the Throne of Glass series. I simply loved the scenes with Abraxos and Manon and Dorian. Need to finish this series soon though
  • A Dead Djinn In Cairo by P Djeli Clark: So, Im not sure if this can be called a series, but basically this is the first novella where our protagonist and the steam punk world is introduced. There is a follow up novella and then the novel – A Master of Djinn, set in the same world featuring the same characters. Hoping to finish all three books from this world in 2022 🙂
  • The Burning God by R.F Kuang: Oh man, what an epic and spectacular and heartbreaking ending to this superb trilogy! I can’t stress on how much Ive loved all the three books from this trilogy and how much these books taught me about Chinese history
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab: I just loved this X-men sort of story about two best friends who become villains. The first book from the Villains duology and also another book with Ace rep.
  • The King of Scars Duology by Leigh Bardugo: Aah, the end of Grishaworld and I’m in love with this feminist fantasy. In love with Nikolai, Zoya, Genya and Nina!
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: First book from the duology set in Shanghai, with a Romeo and Juliet retelling. Loved it and can’t wait to finish the finale 🙂
  • Dune by Frank Herbert: I actually didn’t like the fact that the book has many sexist themes, but then I can understand it was written in a time when the world was predominantly patriarchal. But the entire concept and the author’s imagination was mind blowing!

Poetry and Illustrated Books:

  • Dearly by Margaret Atwood: A collection of poems on feminism, death, ageing and other subjects
  • Kari by Amruta Patil: An illustrated book set in Mumbai with LGBTQIA and mental health representation
  • Coffee Days Whiskey Nights by Cyrus Parker: I loved this collection of modern poems on life alternating between morning poems and night poems

Whew, I finally finished writing this post..LOL! Have you read any of these books? If yes, which was your favourite? If not, tell me some of your favourite books from 2021 that you’ve been going around recommending to all your friends? 🙂

The ‘No-Goals’ 2022

Half of January from 2022 is over already and I am just writing this post. I had decided that I didn’t want to have any goals or plans for 2022, before the year started. But the Universe seems to have approved of my no-goals plan for 2022, considering my whole family has been indoors and recovering from Covid from the start of the year itself. I literally only have the energy to clean myself, cook a bit and eat. Gah, I hate this virus.

Whilst in 2021, I had goals with regards to my reading, writing, physical health, travel and life in general, with the never ending pandemic I seemed to have lower and lower energy to actually work with enthusiasm towards any of those goals. Except for reading, everything else felt like a chore. And reading became slower too, because I have so much work in office and have to spend considerable amount of time parenting since schools are closed.

I always used to follow the mantra – that if I don’t set impossible standards for myself, how will I get even half way to where I want to be?

But during the pandemic years, my existential crisis has struck into full force. I am finding myself questioning the point of everything and anything at all. My mental health and physical health have started starring in the chicken and egg problem movie. I can’t figure out if my low energy physically is impacting my mental health, or vice versa. I use all of my energy reserves to be a good mom, since at this point I feel like I only have to live and try to be happy for my daughter.

Back on the no-goals subject then, here’s my plan for 2022. NO PLANS and NO GOALS!!

Of course I have wishes. But I am going to hand in the reigns to the Universe this time and just go with the flow.

  • I still want to read a lot
  • I want to travel locally and internationally (and visit my sister)
  • I want to see Coldplay’s Concert
  • I want to write more
  • I want to take care of my physical health
  • I want to quit my job and do something that I like – like open a bookshop
  • I want to take care of my mental health
  • I want to take care of my family
  • I want to be there more for my friends
  • I don’t want to be too active on social media – and by that I mean Instagram, considering that’s the only social media I’m on. But then, how do I promote my reading or book cafe or blogs?

Some people make vision boards for all of this. Do you think I should do the same? Or just throw these out to the Universe and see where I end up by the end of 2022?

How about you? Have you made any goals or plans for 2022? If yes, I’d love to read them..maybe it will provide me with some much needed motivation? 🙂

2021 Life and Reading Goals Summary

Flashback to the start of 2021, and the whole world was surprised India had overcome COVID! Alas, we were just late for the second wave. I also wrote a year of Failed Goals as my wrap up post for 2020’s goals and guess what? This year’s wrap up post will be quite similar in the fact that I had set myself up with many goals and while I managed to do some of them, I failed some of them too 🙂

So here is a quick wrap up of how I did with regards to my 2021 goals. If you’d like to read the original 2021 goals post, you can visit the link here. 🙂

  • Reading: I could not finish my target of reading 72 books in 2021 😦 I was close though, managing to read 69 books in 2021. I had decided to read more books from certain categories, and I’ll do a more detailed reading summary post later 🙂
    • I managed to finish 2 out of 3 series that I had planned for, so again, well done!
    • I signed up for Storygraph which would help me track my reading life in graphs
    • I read a few backlists from some of the authors I had listed, but missed a few 🙂
  • Writing: This was one area where I had a lot of hopes for. I had really thought I’d do better with finding a writing routine and at least finish one draft of the multiple projects I’m working on. But none of that happened 😦
    • I wasn’t able to write 500 words daily
    • But I did track my writing as planned, but somehow it didn’t help me much
  • Other life goals that I had set up for myself for 2021:
    • I wanted to exercise for 30 minutes daily, with one cheat day allowed per month. But I ended up exercising for 179 days out of the planned 353 days. Which is a 50% success rate..LOL
    • I wanted to do more charity, but I didn’t. That’s something I’d like to try and again focus on this year
    • I wanted to learn a new skill and I’m glad to say that I did pick up a bit of gardening and now am a proud owner of around 10 outdoor and 4 indoor plants. I’m enjoying it and might decide to continue this into the current year as well 🙂
    • I also restarted my Spanish practise on Duolingo 🙂

And that’s a wrap!! I hadn’t included any driving or traveling plans for 2021, but surprisingly, I ended up traveling a lot more in 2021, even if they were just short nearby trips. So that was an absolute added bonus! 🙂

How did you do with your Life goals in 2021? Or are you more of a no-goals sort of person? I’m going to write about my no-goals 2022 plan soon 😉 Drop in a message and let me know what was your highlight of 2021? What went well and what could’ve gone better? 🙂 Wishing everyone a very Happy 2022!!!

Coffee, Books, Shows and Things That Bond Us

The other day, when I walked to the kitchen to have a glass of water, I overheard my mother talking with the excitement of a teenager with her sister about the latest shenanigans from the show they were watching together. I smiled to myself and thought of last Sunday, when I spent an hour on Facetime with my sister and best friend, discussing the latest episode of Wheel of Time, cheesy romances that we were reading during the last month of the year, and the coffee/hot chocolate/wine/tea that we were currently drinking and loving.

Later that evening over dinner conversations, I said to my mom, “You know, I just realized what makes the strongest bonds or communities!”

She said, “Is it? So what did you discover?”

And I said, feeling all wise and sagely, “It isnt politics or religion or geography or genes. Its food, beverages and a common love for what entertains us or keeps us happy!

For me and the people I’m drawn to, I realised, it has always been our love of food, coffee, or drinks. Its our love for music and books. And our love for satire and sarcasm. Our love for well made screen adaptations.

For my mom, it is food, recipes and the latest romantic soap she’s watching.

For my sister, its her love for music and friends.

For my husband, its fitness, music and a dark, sarcastic, satirical show, cars and sports probably.

For my daughter, its currently My Little Ponies or The Powerpuff Girls 😀

I realized, with the things that actually bring us peace and joy, there is never any conflict. If I love coffee and my mom likes tea and my friend likes non caffeinated drinks, we dont get into an argument over which is better and which one the other should drink or not drink. It’s always an additional prop that helps us have a better time.

I read a book last week – The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab and there is a statement in the book that says,

So much of life becomes routine, but food is like music, like art, replete with the promise of something new.

V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

and I agree. Without art, without books, a meal made with love, a beverage to be shared with kindred spirits, a captivating show to escape into and discuss with enthusiasm, music to make you feel whatever you want to feel at that moment, life would be such a chore 🙂

Art , ideas and words are according to me, things that bond us. Things that we can’t fight over or about. Things that help us appreciate life and each other.

What about you? What are some of the things you look for when forming a community? 🙂

Independent Bookstore Feature – Pagdandi (Pune, India)

As readers, I’ve seen many of us stand by Independent Bookstores and Libraries, over certain online behemoths. One of the major reasons we do so, is to support smaller businesses who work so hard to curate their book collection and keep their customers happy by offering customised and personal service and we love them for it. But I recently found another reason to support independent booksellers even more – and that’s because a lot of them help promote literacy, inclusivity and diversity among their customers!

In this post, I would like to share the responses from Pagdandi and talk a bit about the bookstore as well 🙂

Nishita (our Interviewer): How do you handpick your collection of books?

Pagdandi: Both Neha and Vishal have different interests and likings in genres. Between them they are able to cover the gamut of classics, contemporary fiction, speculative fiction and non fiction books. Both spend hours going through the front, mid and backlists, ordering books as per their philosophy.

Nishita (our Interviewer): When and how did you decide to become a Chapter representative for Belongg Library Initiative?

Pagdandi: Neha came across a tweet by Belongg Library Initiative and expressed interest in collaborating with them to help promote inclusivity and diversity. The Belongg team was supportive and explained to them the whole process. Neha and Vishal liked that the books Belongg had represented diversity and that’s how it all started.

Nishita (our Interviewer): How can readers become members and make use of the Belongg Library collection of books from your bookstore?

Pagdandi: Currently the books are available only for reading on the premises as lending library is closed due to Covid restrictions. Hopefully the lending library will open up soon. The store otherwise is open from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm. Readers can walk in and pick up any book from the Belongg Library collection in the store, to read.

(Note: This interview was taken three months back, so will need to check with them regarding any updates with the lending library)

Reasons why I like to buy or visit Pagdandi 🙂

  • They have the best Vietnamese Iced Coffee!! (Oh did I forget to mention, they are a bookstore and a cafe ;))
  • You can order from them via Instagram! I follow their Instagram handle and if I can’t visit the store, I just send them a message on Instagram or Watsapp, pay online and that’s it! The books are delivered at my doorstep within the day!
  • They use eco friendly packaging to package and parcel their books – used newspapers, or recycled boxes, and bookmarks
  • They are my go to for books by Indian authors or historic fiction 🙂
  • Most of the times you will bump into Neha or Vishal and they are such amazing souls, its a delight having a conversation with them. I always go with the plan of just having a coffee or buying that one book, and end up returning with definitely more than one book, with no buyer’s remorse!! Now that’s called special customer service 🙂
  • Its so close to my place, I can literally cycle down there 😉 Workout + book shopping! Yay!

So, have you been to Pagdandi in Pune? If yes, tell me what you love the most about this bookstore? If not, what is your favorite local independent bookstore that you like frequenting and why? 🙂

Golden Apple, Green Pear

Once upon a time, there was a Kingdom, somewhere, I’m not very clear about the specifics of the location, but then that wasn’t the important bit anyway.

Let’s call this Kingdom, the Kingdom of good fortune and fruits. All kinds of beings lived happily here, if social media was anything to go by. But when you have everything, you end up getting bored. And that’s what started happening in this Kingdom too. People were bored and all the good fortune started dwindling because no one wanted to work, or play. The boredom started turning into hatred which started to lead to violence. And this is how we found our King, in his current predicament.

The King, like all leaders, didn’t have much to say for himself except for the fact that he had a very supportive family and an extremely wise cabinet of advisors, who basically ran the Kingdom for him.

“What do we do?”, asked the King wearily. He himself was bored and now worried. It was a deadly combination that usually led to self doom.

One of the ministers spoke up, “I think we need something to engage the Kingdom in. Some kind of a challenge with a reward at the end of it.”

The King’s eyes shone with admiration and he clapped his hands in delight and said, “Yes!! We shall have a challenge then!!”

The next day, the King made an appearance in his Castle’s balcony and addressed a live audience. But before that the audience who had paid handsomely to attend the King’s Concert were also entertained by some of their famous artists. All of this was also being streamed Live on all social media platforms.

The King announced, with all the swag he could muster, “My dear bored fellows! The time for boredom has ended! I announce that whoever from you can bring me the elusive Golden Apple, will be blessed with eternal happiness and will never be cursed with boredom again!!”

The crowd went mad and immediately, the hunt for the Golden Apple began. Never had the Kingdom been so busy! People were traveling far and beyond. Some were digging into the soil looking for this treasure. Some scaled mountains. Some tried to use magic, while some resorted to scientific experiments. Many leaders sprung with false promises of leading people to the Golden Apple. Many businesses sprung up to help the seekers find the Golden Apple. An entire industry featuring the winner of the Golden Apple merchandise originated and thrived. Years passed but without any luck.

One day, many years later, a little girl was walking alone the forest, which was less of a real forest and more of an artificial forest. But nevertheless, one of the few special places this little girl enjoyed since her parents were extremely busy looking for the Golden Apple. Her favorite spot in this forest was that of the Pear Tree.

Someone had planted a bunch of Pear Trees sometime ago. No one knew who had planted them and for what purpose. And no one touched any of the low hanging green pears from these trees. Most of the time they ripened, fell to the ground and were eaten by birds and bugs. The Kingdom folks didn’t have time to stop and try out a green pear, for goodness’s sake! Everyone wanted only one thing – The Golden Apple.

So, this little girl, walked up to the Pear tree. She plucked one of the low hanging fruits. A light green one. Lightly spotted with brown dots. They always made her smile, those brown dots. Because this little girl had similar brown dots on her nose and cheeks. She took a bite of the fruit and revelled in the juicy, sweetness of that bite. She savoured the bite and then took another, followed by another, until the fruit was gone.

Once when she had brought her parents to the Pear tree, to share with them the same joy and delight she would feel while eating the fruit, her mom had remarked, “oh honey, you’re adorable. Why don’t you go ahead and enjoy the pears. Mummy and Daddy can’t stop their quest for the Golden Apple. Can you even imagine how lucky we will be if we find the Golden Apple? A lifetime of happiness! A lifetime without boredom!!”

The little girl had thought her mom looked tired and her dad looked angry. She really wanted them to find the Golden Apple. Maybe that would make them happy. Because she couldn’t make them happy. She didn’t understand what boredom was. She had so much to explore and enjoy that it had never occurred to her that people could have been bored once.

And so the Kingdom went on. Most of the inhabitants looking and searching for the elusive Golden Apple. And a few sitting beneath the Pear Tree, munching on the sweet, juicy fruits, watching the world go by, and smiling.

Did you enjoy my story? I would be grateful if you would share or reblog this story, if you enjoyed it or liked it 🙂 Any other writing feedback would be welcome in the comments too.

Copyright: This story was first published on 18th Nov 2021, on Starryeyedenigma’s blog.