A Letter To Myself That Will Remind Me To Be A Good Daughter.

Dear Self,

You’ve been so brave this year. Yes, you can applaud yourself. It’s known to be uplifting and pleasing. But have you been loving your loved ones enough? Hmm. That is something to ponder over.

You talk to yourself a LOT. And when the phrase ‘a lot’ is being used, it refers to the fact that you constantly over-think, critique and analyze yourself. It could be in front of the mirror, or while staring at the ceiling of your bedroom or just looking out of the window.

But amid all this, how do you leave out the most important thing to think about?

So think: we always choose to take for granted what is already being given to us. Things such as food and emotions such as love. Like, you feel the swift rush of love in your heart when your Mother says something that is sweet and intrinsic to her maternal nature. But sometimes, you fail to reciprocate and then you end up becoming the worst daughter this Earth will ever host.

You forget what her favorite food dish is.

You forget her shopping list.

You forget what makes her tear up.

And, you forget that apart from being a person who caters to all your needs, she is also a brilliant woman who has desires of her own.

You forget that sometimes when you go shopping, she furtively expects you to come back and surprise her with something she has desperately wanted for a long time. It could be her favorite lipstick that just ran out or the fancy shampoo she has wanted for a long time but is somehow hesitant to buy by herself because she hates Materialism and loathes high maintenance even more.

You forget that your decision to help out in the kitchen should not be born out of obligation but out of compassion.

You forget that rambling on about your life and your miseries sidelines what she is feeling.

You fall. You fall like an ill-prepared solder on the battlefield. And so this letter should help and serve to you as a reminder to not view your mother as your mother ONLY.

View her as this goddess who experienced such visceral pain while giving birth to you that she almost blacked out.

View her as a woman whose mind is filled with drowsy dreams and candid curiosities.

View her as someone with a cerebral mind and a warm heart.

View your mother as a human being and not as a refuge to dump your emotional baggage in.

View her as your everything.

Yours truly and sincerely,

Conscience.

EXPLORING THE LURE OF SUPERHERO MOVIES AND WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH THOR: RAGNAROK ASAP.

Yes, I know. It’s been a while since the movie was released but you should give this article a read anyway.

So, you might never confess it but as you were growing up, you definitely had a phase where you wanted to be a superhero of some kind. Whether you desired The Dark Knight’s pricey automobiles or his bat-shit crazy strength (See what I did there?). Or, you could have wanted to fly like X-Men’s Archangel.

It doesn’t matter, though. Because you have grown up now and you have given up on becoming a superhero. So what do you do? You watch Superhero movies to satiate your power-hungry self. Marvel and DC are to be thanked in this department. Especially Marvel, because over the years or from the beginning of time, it has rolled out some tremendously fabulous movies. Guardians Of The Galaxy, Iron Man, we are looking right at you.

But apart from the fact that we all love our superhero fantasies being played out on the big screen, why do we watch superhero movies, anyway? After all, there must be a valid reason why my 26-year-old brother was practically bouncing to watch Thor Ragnarok weekends ago.

For example, I watch Superhero movies because I love the before-story that has been attached to it. How the superhero became one or specifically their Origin, who their nemesis is and what their weaknesses are. In short, you love the trivia that makes these movies what they are.

Also, trust. I trust Marvel to present its viewers with hilarious quirks and memorable punch-lines during the movie that also stay with me even after it’s been fifteen days since watching it. And, exhilaration. Being energized is so important in life. Whether you carry out any small task or a big one, energy is paramount in every one of your actions. These movies are guaranteed to give you the enthusiasm you need. 2 hours and 10 minutes of it and you are pumped for three days or so. Why? Because it’s so fictional that you start believing and enjoying it. You start believing that somewhere out there, there’s a race called The Stark that worships Tony Stark as their God. So these movies
help you glorify the word “NERD.”

Thor: Ragnarok is in the theatres right now and if you are a fan of the Marvel Comics, then I suggest you get off your bum and treat your eyes. It’s not about watching every Marvel movie that comes out. It’s about how lively it makes you feel after you have watched it. I bet that you will come out of the theatre saying-“Ah, what a great time to be alive.” Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of Thor, Tom Hiddleston’s or better, Loki’s mischief and Cate Blanchett’s Hela’s evil antics will have you chortling in no time. Go watch Thor and feel refreshed. Action-comedies like these don’t come around often.

IMAGE COURTESY: GOOGLE.

#NaPoWriMo: Month For Leaning, Experience & Recognition.

There are a lot of undiscovered secrets in this universe such as what bizarre planets lie beyond Planet Earth and what more creatures swim agilely in deep waters of the oceans. However, that is all very dynamic and high-profile for a low-key poetess like me. So, I uncovered a paltry secret this April that changed my life more than ever. I acknowledged the presence of #NaPoWriMo: National Poetry Writing Month wherein you write thirty poems until the Sweltering April comes to a halt and Moody May begins.

I took part as well, of course. And, while I had been apprehensive of the response I would get, I did not back out. After all, I have written close to two hundred poems till date and they could use some rehashing. Again, I was scared of being crushed under the hoofs of internet trolls and other cynical writers who consider themselves the best out there. Thankfully, none of that happened and I surpassed the month by garnering some likes here and there on my Instagram page. YOU CAN FIND THE PAGE IN THE SIDEBAR TO YOUR RIGHT.

What? That’s me being subtle.

So, I awaited likes and comments that would follow right after I had grilled my poem under a phone application that would make it look pretty, accessible and presentable.

Continue reading “#NaPoWriMo: Month For Leaning, Experience & Recognition.”

Is My Poetry Powerful Enough To Possess You?

There’s an endless satisfaction in seeing one’s poetry splayed over parts of the Internet. And, this blog post conveniently links you to some of my works. I constantly try to outperform myself and I should just put it out there with as much candor I can-I don’t know whether I succeed or not.

So that is for you to decide.

Being relatable and relevant, especially while writing poetry is tumultuous. I hope my efforts do not go to waste and you actually end up reading texts that my eccentric mind conjures.

Love Unfounded

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Where Am i Getting Lost Today?

 

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This post reeks of grotesque gimmickry and to make it worse and potentially lucrative for you, my reader, I present to you  The Filmy Babe Magazine. It’s a digital magazine originating from the south Of Asia. It does monthly features works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Head over and submit to see your work floating through for many eyes to see!

 

Recounting Oxford And Its Magic-A Travelogue.

I had the most magnificent opportunity of attending a summer school for a course of Creative Writing at Christ Church, Oxford University this July 2016.

Now, every experienced traveler will inform you of the riches of where they have been and what they have done. What they may miss out on is the fear, the anxiety and how it clouds your head like fog on a cold winter morning.

To travel is to paint. Your canvas is blank until you pick up the paintbrush and give it some masterful strokes. One wrong move and the picturesque scene is ruined.

Well, I was enshrouded with the same fear when I took a train from Paddington Station, London to Oxford Station, Oxford. Was I on the right train? Would the British regard me warmly? Would my train ticket be the right one?

Mine was a one-way ticket and my parents held onto two two-way tickets since they would be coming back to London after seeing me off. Dear Reader, don’t doubt my stress for my parents do not come from an eloquently English speaking background. Thus, the chances of them interacting were next to zero. However, that is the beauty of it all. An eighteen-year-old girl, figuratively on her own.

Regulating the whole trip emboldened me.

We reached the station and it was freakishly deserted. On asking a very helpful and efficient receptionist (skipping the part where I drooled all over his thick British accent), we made our way to a far away part of the station that hosted taxis and buses.
I think it was destiny or the timing was just impeccable. Because we managed to catch hold of a taxi driver from Pakistan who spoke Hindi. Let’s just say that it was one interesting ride and the thought of my parents bidding me goodbye in a few minutes flew from my mind hastily and conveniently.

We reached the gorgeous Christ Church in an hour. And we stood before it, gawking, taking its beauty in. Moments of questioning your sanity come seldom but when they do, they blow your mind.

We were not formally made to try the local cosine of England but Google was a big help. Some everyday foods eaten are English muffins, scones, scrambled eggs etc.

Christ Church is not only famous for the fact that Harry Potter was shot there but also because it hosts both a college and cathedral. This is why we would always hear the ringing of bells and mellifluous songs being sung by faceless choirs in buildings athwart our dorms.

Oxford is like a beautiful, tangible and invisible scar on my arm. Even today, I trace my nerves unknowingly and the memories come rushing back. It is safe to say that its chilly breezes and beautiful architecture grew on me.

If there is one walk that you should have, that is the Bill Spectre Ghost Walk. Bill is a vivacious, senile and notorious man who hosts the ghost walk across many colleges of Oxford, explaining their ghastly history on their way.  More than intimidated by what horror his stories would induce in us, we were cracking up by his theatrics. He would trundle and suddenly walk to a nearby window and shout-“A young woman wearing black with blue eyes haunts this library!”. Or, he would engage us in mysteries of a serial killer who had walked loose on the very streets that we were walking on. Bill Spectre filled us with mirth and enthusiasm by all his dramatic antics. He is so adorable that I follow him on Twitter too!

Another activity that one should not even think of omitting is punting. It is a big deal there since Oxford University and Cambridge University have annual punting races and both use completely different techniques to do so. Punting is boating in broader boats. One uses a pole to steer the boat in very shallow waters. My group and I did it too. Alex, our student helper whimsically informed us that chances of us falling in water would be very high. Even moving the boat at first proved to be a taxing task!  As we punted through, we came to a surreal halt. The sun was retiring, the birds were singing lullabies and the water was calm. It was very peaceful and an unforgettable memory.

We also attended an hour-long Vivaldi Concert inside Sheldonian Theatre of the Radcliffe Camera, a graceful building with a humongous dome on top. The concert constituted of various musicians showing their phenomenon skills in playing many instruments.

The weather in the o.k. is unpredictable. One minute, you are basking in the sunlight and the next you are scurrying away for shelter because of pouring rain. While I was in Oxford, I conjured a quote by myself that I still stand by even today-“Oxford is a labyrinth I would not mind getting lost in.”

Oxford University comprises of 38 colleges and we were also given a tour of the same. We were a group of five very strategic females who managed to tour some of the biggest colleges like Somerville College, University College, and Worcester College.
Since I was provided with adequate space in the form of a well-furnished room to stay in, I would not know a lot about where you should stay in Oxford.  However, a brief conversation with my Course Director revealed that there are plenty of Bed & Breakfasts’ in Oxford and they are very popular with tourists.

London may be a cosmopolitan city but Oxford is its little sister who is more legendary and too beautiful to describe in words.

A jog in the University Parks near Christ Church or a scalding cup of hot chocolate from Paul’s will lift your spirits incredibly and before you know it, you don’t want to take that taxi and then train to London in order to fly back home.

Now, I am drenched with nostalgia after telling this tale.

I sketched some. I got interviewed some.

I was recently interviewed in the capacity of a teen age blogger and that is what makes me happy and hopeful for the prospects of this blog. In the said interview, I let you know in a little more detail of what I have been up to and how my blog has stemmed into something I never imagined it would become.

READ MY INTERVIEW HERE!!

Now, within me, there is a massive ubiquity of happiness and apprehension as I present to you some of the drawings that I have been doing in the gap year that I have chosen to take oh so boldly.  I was always under the erroneous impression that sketching would not be that hard.

 

img_68541Well, that was until I picked up my thoroughly run out black ball point pen and started scratching aimlessly on the paper.

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The tip of the pen or pencil is so powerful. Every stroke, every slant line, every kind of shading done is imperative to the bigger picture. Every picture demands a preciseness that may take years to master.

Now, viewer discretion-I am not Picasso so you better teach your eyes to not fall out of their sockets because all that I have drawn and showed here is not very good, it’s not even close to perfect. Also, you can indoctrinate me in the techniques of sketching better.  (You can also make fun of the sketches but hey, do it in a corner where no sound reaches you.)

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It is just my very sad and very brave attempt to tame the black ink.

 

Please read. Please comment. I want your words. I want your feelings to reach me.

Renovatio. 

Probably the lengthiest poem I have ever written! I hope you like it. Please give me your honest opinions in the comments below! 

P.S The title of the poem is in Latin and translates to rebirth. 

She was made up of words,

They all said. She was meant

To be an author, they proclaimed.

But her mother, Mrs. Smith

Cooked dreams of an early

Marriage and a crawling toddler

For her. Thus, she ran.

 

She ran, leaving a world

Behind only to step into another.

She would paint her own life,

Embellish it with colloquialism,

Flowery words and further,

In her haste, she could only

Collect what her greedy hands

Touched. A toothbrush. A

 

Satchel and not as much a

Glance to the lady who was

Constituted of belligerence and

Hostility for her shaky career.

Betty was the bird emancipated

From a wooden cage. She would

Flap her wings around a strange

 

Place. She would grasp the

Feather and let it sink into

The welcoming ink and let the

Words spill out on an otherwise

Blank page. Oh! The jolts of

The train were like droplets of

Water flicked hurriedly after a

 

Nightmare. She was in a rocking

Carriage with people carrying

The burdens of their own stories after all.

She never batted her eyelashes

At another. Her concentration

Was pinpointed on the leather

Of the ledger she had managed

 

To gather. Her dexterous fingers

Groped the skin of the new diary

And her heart beat faster by

Imagining what would go in it

And which magazines her work would

Travel to. She was the witch and

This diary was her wand. She

Would cast enchanting spells

And thrive from it all.

 

For once, she heaved and a

Bizarre fear settled in the pit

Of her stomach. She knitted

Her brows deep in worry and

Anxiety for the thought of

Starting over. But the word

‘Valiance’ quivered in her mind like

Trees from an arrogant wind

Before a storm and she felt

Bolstered again. Because, she

 

Knew that no matter how harsh

The wind howls at the tress, they

Quiver but they never crumble and fall.

“Ma, I put lipstick on and I feel so pretty!”. 

Grip the brush with the tightness
that a  warrior exhibits while holding a sword.
Dip it in a powdery box much like a king
does after a war. Except his fingers
caress the crimson Tilak and gently
graze his forehead. You are no less than
a king or a queen, for that matter. Spread
the colored powder across your skin,
with the delicateness of your mother
who watches with fascination as her
fifteen-year-old daughter lives out
her dream to look more beautiful
than she already is in her dressing
room. Now, smudge all the sprouting
blemishes that might have bloomed on
your skin, it will cover not only spots but
also your imperfections. Apply
lipstick now. Brush the tip across
your dry lips with the artistry of
an artist who has ample experience to
recreate Mona Lisa in his basement.
You are ready to face the world.
You wear a mask on the outside and
conceal yourself from within.

A lengthier poem, this one.

I have so much on my plate right now and this is why I come bearing some of the contents that are on my plate.

I have devoted myself to the empowerment of teenage girls. This is why I am going around interviewing young girls around India (virtually, of course) to document their life-changing experiences and interesting discoveries.

Check out the Facebook page and hit like-  Teen JWB

For any writing assignments, comment below or just email me-avantikainghal216@yahoo.in

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does it feel like to move on?

It feels like exactly how
it sounds. You move
three steps ahead of
a force that was once holding
you back. You break
away from shackles that
were rooted around
your wrists and ankles.
You had fallen down
and now you have gotten
up-stronger and with
much more vigor. Your
mind can conjure images
of a healthy future. And
you can actually smile
without feeling the torture.
You can look
back now, it’s safe,
because what you will
see won’t be a mistake.
It will be a lesson of a
lifetime. And you will
remember his face
without fear or tear
streaks. You are not
reading these lines. You
are reading between
them because you know
exactly how it feels to
have moved on.
Yes, you have conquered
the art of moving on
and looking back with
courage and not scorn.

I am talking to you. Yes, YOU. The beautiful woman who fell head over heels over someone who does not give a damn. I want to help you move on. (I rhymed here too. Give me a cookie). If you are feeling down for any reason (related to boys), feel reassured after reading this poem because you can do so much better.

Personally, I never moved on because I have never fallen in love, (But does falling for Nutella count?). And, this was only my imitation of a sanguine woman who feels that she is strong enough to forget.

Thanks.
Good night.
I love you all.
Stay blessed.

Why Submitting Poetry To These 4 Places Is A Big Mistake!

When your literary creations don’t get the credit they deserve, you feel like the boat that you built with so much effort just capsized.

2016 proved to be a boat wreck of some sort as I sent my poetry to a lot of WRONG places. Now, these wrong places I speak of are dominantly ONLINE. And they are wrong because they never reverted even though I was persistent they do so.

Therefore, I bring you a list that will alert you to look out for all those dormant specimens plaguing the internet in the name of “publishing” you.

1. The education Tree
This Delhi based organization took an initiative to promote aspiring writers. It was called #WriteYoung. I submitted. They never reverted. Thus, don’t waste your time in sending your work to organizations that only know how to stare at a wall, waiting for it to stare back.

2. The Madras Mag
Impudence at its best. I queried the Editor In chief on Twitter and all she said was that they were a small team. I was slightly assured by that. However, I waited and no one responded. It angered me so much that I wrote to them-“Is my work that repulsive?” Did they reply? No. Shocker, hun?

3. Paprikashta Magazine
Friendly Admin made sure that they deluded me into thinking that my work was being “assessed” by the “Editors”. I kept inquiring and nothing happened. After some time, even I let go of hope. It was brutal. I had sent five of my most favorite poems too.

4. Baatein
Wonderfully stupid Instagram page posting poetry. I was promised that my work would be published on a specific date. I waited. Nothing showed up. They promised me another date. I waited again and nothing changed. I threatened to retract my work and they promised that they would publish my poem for sure this time. Still nada. They then said that my poem was not worth it. That really downed my spirits and filled me with anger at the same time.

It is true. We, writers, struggle. And our struggle to get published is exacerbated by these ignorant and dismissive people who care less about promoting young writers. But at the same time, not everyone is like this. And others at least offer a gentle apology and reason as to why they could not publish you. My point is that you can reject my work. But notify me about it. Don’t make me feel like my vision and efforts were wasted.