Live the Story

We talk about good storytellers all the time. We also talk about the good work they produce. But about the reader/watcher/listener? What about the audience? If the storytellers have the onus of creating good work, doesn’t there lie some responsibility within the audience to be good consumers? If the writer should write beautiful prose, the reader should spend time devouring it. If the actor should give a performance of a lifetime, the audience should focus on each of his nuanced displays. If the painter should portray all the magnificence life on canvas, then the viewer should gaze deep.

The Office

I’ve spent the last month binge watching The Office (US). I’ve watched 10 years of television in a month and it’s been a roller coaster ride (I’m not done yet, so no spoilers, please). Today I watched a character contemplate infidelity and I contemplated it with her, through her. I felt the pain, anguish, confusion, moral dilemma and animal urge to ignore it. I played my part as a responsible audience member. I invested myself in the characters, actors, writers, the entire theatrical.

The feeling was fleeting but in those few seconds, I lived the story. I hope you do too.

What’s So New About the Year, Anyway?

New Year

It usually starts around the first week of December when that one over-excited annoying friend pops the question, “What plans for New Year’s, guys?” If you listen closely you can hear a thousand grumpuses like me roll their eyes. “What’s so new about the year, anyway?” we ask ourselves. You’ll make the same resolutions as last year and break them before you can even plan them. The parties will suck as they inevitably do. I hear you disagreeing with me here, and let me tell you that you are wrong. Think you had that one epic party in 2005? It’s because you’ve probably forgotten the horrendously loud music, cold food, warm beverages, sweat, excessive body contact, piercing shrieks at midnight, or the throw up you definitely saw somewhere near the dance floor/bar/flat balcony. Considering that around 90% of the New Year hype is about the parties, that’s a pretty poor show.

The few sensible ones among you out there will say, it’s not about the party, it’s about the actual New Year—the beginning of something new. Well, that’s at least an acceptable way to look at it, I think. But bear with me for a second and let’s think of it as a restart rather than a start. That way you don’t discard your past mistakes, failure, etc. Instead, you make them a part of the journey. Because let’s face it, there are times when we all need a reminder of that one embarrassing day when we drank too much in front of people we wanted to impress and ended up with memories we wouldn’t want to discuss with our mums.

A restart also means renewed hope and faith. Faith that you can be better this year and hope that you manage to pull it off. That’s quite nice, isn’t it? Now if only I could manage to forget how this same new hope can be a crutch quite a few times, I’d be sailing calmer seas. But calms seas usually indicate a lack of adventure, or warning of a gathering storm, and I guess we wouldn’t want either of those things. So, fine; go on with your pointless parties and useless resolutions. But also remember that this is a restart with renewed hope and faith in you. Sail those rough seas because you can and want to. The shore will find you eventually, if you don’t manage to find it first, that is.

I know I’ve gone from complaining to some sort of sailing metaphor but that’s just how things go sometimes.

Turning 27

I have possibly been more involved this year with a fragment of a dead man’s imagination than I have with any real person (barring my biologicals). I’m referring to reading The Wheel of Time series, nothing weird. I’ve also realised that maybe that might not be very acceptable anymore. What if this version of reality is the only one I’ll experience in this life? What if those book characters really aren’t going to magically appear in front of me? What if the only dark lords to defeat are the ones in my head?

What if the optimists are delusional, the realists are too hopeful and the cynics are the only ones who’re right?

The Other Side of Working from Home


It’s been three years now since I’ve had to put on pants to go to work. Each morning I switch on my laptop, make some coffee, don’t bother to comb my hair, and start working on my tasks. I’ve sat on my bed, at my “work desk”, on the couch, at the dining table, and on the exceptionally nice days, lounged in the balcony while working and trying to maintain an appearance of professionalism. Fun, you think? Not really… Continue reading on Medium.

My Life’s Rhythm

Writing 101 Day Three Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

1. The Strokes – I’ll try anything once

There’s something about this song that makes everything about it feel right, which is strange considering I will definitely not try everything once.

2. Brian Adams – Everything I do

This one is just something that takes me back to my childhood.

3. Jamie Cullum – Just one of those things

This song reminds me of certain days in 2009 and 2010 that were simply some of the best days of my life. I feel the urge to put a “:)” here.

What are your top three songs? Tell me in the comments, maybe?

My Favourite Things: June 2014

My Favourite Things: June 2014

I haven’t done one of these posts in a very long time but now seems a good time as any to get back to it. So, here we go. My favourite things for June:

1. The Great Hunt


This is the second book in The Wheel of Time series. I got into these books last month only, and already, I cannot get enough. For the uninitiated, The Wheel of Time is an epic, 15-book, fantasy series written by Robert Jordan. It’s set in a world where magic is in the form of the “One Power”, and starts with the protagonist, Rand al’Thor’s battle against the Dark One (who must not be named. I see now why JK Rowling got flack for some of her “inspirations”). This series will appeal to readers of the Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire series. Also, please note that each book is around 700-800 pages long, so you really do have to be ready to commit to take on this beast. As I mentioned earlier, I’m only making my way through Book Two right now, but I think it’s worth the investment already.

2. The Strokes – Razorblade

Does anyone ever need to explain why The Strokes make it to their list of favourites? I think not. Fans of The Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, The Zutons, and similar bands are going to love them. But if you’re a fan of any of those bands, chances are that you’re already a fan of The Strokes. So, let this be a reminder for you to re-listen to them. I’ve chosen Razorblade here only because it’s currently stuck in my head. Special mention should go to “I’ll Try Anything Once”, their demo version of what eventually became “You Only Live Once”, which is my favourite Strokes song of all time.

3. Swimming


If you know me personally, you’ll know that this has been my favourite activity for quite a while now. However, I’ve had to take a break recently. So, I’m very excited to get back to it regularly now. I find it hard to believe these words even as I’m typing them—me, taking health things seriously! I suppose this is a by-product of old age. You finally realise that unlike your iPhone, you’re not going to be able to trade in your body for a new one. Though, it would be very nice to be able to do that, no? I’d get one without Siri though. I have enough voices in my head already.

4. Baking Bread


I’ve tried cinnamon rolls and mini pretzels so far. Both have not been great successes. I basically didn’t add enough sugar to either. I thought I could get away with sneaking in a bit of “health consciousness” (I blame all the health freaks on the Internet who tell me substituting honey for sugar tastes the same. It does not.). I could not. These things taste the way they do because they’re not really good for us. And you know what, I’m going back to adding sugar as per the recipe. You can cheat on food if you work out later. That’s what I’m telling myself.

On the upside (or the downside?), I put together an excellent Upside Down Apple cake a while back. I recommend this recipe.

5. OS X Yosemite Beta Sign Up

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 1.45.20 am

There. I said it. I’m a little bit of a Mactard (for which I apologise), and I’m quite excited that Apple’s finally opening up Beta registrations for us “generals”, as I like to call us non-developers. I will make no apologies for my excitement. I’m genuinely looking forward to the new features of Spotlight, Safari, and iCloud Drive. I’m also pumped about Continuity. Gone will be the days when I have to actually lift my phone to answer a call when I’m on my Mac. The lazy person in me is rejoicing.

So, there you have it. Those are my picks for my favourite things for June. Let me know about yours in the comments or on Twitter @anujap.

Note: This post is a response to the Daily Post’s Writing 101 Day One Challenge