Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Reading Trend

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. 
The man who never reads lives only one.”
-George R.R.Martin, A Dance With Dragons.
Reading, as a hobby has evolved for me over the past three years. As smartphones became more economic, I got access to pages and pages worth reading text, online.It is known that when the options in front of you are limited you have no choice but to pick one. Things became topsy-turvy when I had access to so many soft copies of books, Wikipedia articles, magazines etc. Maybe that would not have changed a lot of things for me just yet. Then I was introduced to the world of blogs.

Most of the blogs I come across are through being shared on Facebook. I read all kinds of blogs be it Science, Fashion, Fitness or anything for that matter. Some of the blogs that I always end up on include Mashable, ScienceAlert, Storypick, iDiva, MensXP (Yes! It's always good to know the other side of the story). I would say I read about 4-5 blogs a day on a hectic day. Some of them do not have a lot of reading content in it and instead have tumblr images that list out relate-able things to do with my best friends or trips that I should take (you know what I am talking about...)

So why am I writing a blog about this? The title 'the reading trend' refers to how my reading behavior has changed. I used to read novels (mostly fiction) before I started college (three years ago). Mystery and adventure driven books would get my undivided attention. I like the work of Sydney Sheldon and Dan Brown to mention a few. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite classics. It' such a simple story about five sisters yet it is so much more.One of my favorite books is The Host by Stephenie Meyer.Despite being a love story it was very unpredictable and that's what reeled me in. I started reading novels in the sixth grade and some of the first few books I read were the stories of Sweet Valley Twins (Jessica and Elizabeth) and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen books. Stories about high school and boyfriend drama had us all going crazy and these books just happened to be things that our teachers' would confiscate when we were found reading them secretly.(There were no mobile phones at the time :p)

Reading very suddenly changed from something I did leisurely to a 'To-do' in my list because I was required to read huge text books for college. Watching TV shows and YouTube quickly replaced reading. It was just easier to watch a movie than read a book after so much mandatory reading. I didn't realize this about myself until I met my sister after a year who would be deep in her fictional world of novels and said I had become 'shallow' since I stopped reading. At that time I did not see her point. I was part of the college Editorial board and  deep down I knew that I needed to keep myself updated and that I was failing to do that. I did manage to read one full novel somewhere along my second year. The brilliant book was  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

I have made the choice of watching TV Shows over books and only now have I realized how much I have missed. My vocabulary has suffered terribly and yes, I have become shallow. If I was reading books I am sure they would not have been about gossip or something along those lines which is irrelevant when it comes to the bigger picture of life. As I was looking at the introductory points for my GRE exam I came across the words 'cumulative knowledge'. I have let mine fall during the past three years by indulging in repeat episodes of my favorite TV Shows or watching YouTube vlogs.

So what now?
The past can't be undone. We can only work on the present and improve the future.As my blog says "Hakuna Matata" it means no worries :)

I hope to slowly pick up reading novels once again and tune down other useless internet wanderings. I did manage to complete an excellent non-fiction book about entrepreneurship called Dream With Your Eyes Open by Ronnie Screwvala. I am not against the online reading-writing process. Just make sure the content is relevant and is helping you grow as a person.


1. Read what you truly interests you. Now this is obvious but very important. Don't just read a book because everyone is reading it. If you are not drawn towards the book you are probably not going to finish it.

2. Everyday or once in two days set aside some specific time for reading. I recommend right before you go to bed. Just one chapter a day if you are on a bus schedule.

3. Discuss it with your friends. As your book progresses you can talk about it with your friends even if they are non-readers. It will make you want to continue the story and hence you will keep reading.

4.Carry a book with you everywhere. The truth is we all get time between our hectic schedule like when we are travelling etc which is spent aimlessly. Instead use this time gaps to refresh your brain with some light reading.

5. The next book: It's good to know what book you'll be reading next. This will keep you motivated to finish the current one so you can start the new one.

As you develop as a reader you can set goals and make lists or even join book-clubs! The bottom line is you should enjoy it and it should not come as a chore or else it will become boring.

I hope that through this blog I have been able to motivate you to read more just the way writing it has inspired me to do the same.
Happy Reading!

Signing off,
-Nishma Khetia.

Monday, 4 April 2016

The Time When The Ticket Checker (TC) Caught Us!

There are very few of us who can say that they have not had any funny travelling experiences when it comes to using the Indian railway. If you have not had the chance of such an encounter you need to do so immediately! 

It all began when my three friends and I planned a one night and two days trip to Gokarna. I knew something was bound to go wrong because nothing good happens when you bunk classes (just kidding :p). We missed four classes on Saturday morning as our train was scheduled to leave Udupi Station at around 7.30am. All of us were dressed in our beach dress and ready for the two hours journey ahead.

Sipping Chai at Railway Station.

Friendship Goals <3


Gokarna was a beach town located in Karataka state in India. It was not very far from Manipal and thus made it ideal for weekend trips. The train ride was not very eventful but things got exciting as soon as we reached our destination and got a taxi to take us to Kudle Beach. There was a cliff from where the view was said to be spectacular so we climbed up with a dog following us. One of my friends decided that it would be our pet for the two days that we had in Gokarna. It was a long walk up but it was worth the view. We soaked in the afternoon sun as we sat there for a while and clicked a few photos. I was using my Sony Cybershot Camera. The cliff looked down at Kudle beach and we could not wait to get down and soak our feet in the water.

Our Shack :)
Kudle beach had many shacks along with restaurants which gave out rooms for rent .After asking around at a few places we selected a Bob Marley-themed shack. We were starving since we had not had any breakfast that morning. The restaurant setting was perfect as all the tables were placed in the sand and faced the beach. They had a lot of items on the menu in terms of food but all we wanted was pizza. As we were on a holiday we went ahead and got banofee pies.One can only get beer on the beach and the option of other alcoholic drinks being available are rare. We enjoyed our delicious meal while soft music played in the background. 

 The evening was spent on the beach swimming in the warm waters and playing on the sand. The sunset that evening was magical and the sky was on fire. I had never seen anything like it before. 

The Sky on Fire!

My friends also tried the famous Magic Lassi. I had a sip of it and it tasted like banana milkshake but it was so much more!

For dinner we had lasagna which was out of the world. A local guy who taught surfing tried to strike up a conversation starting with the common drink Old Monk but we shooed him away saying it was an all girls trip.We went to lie on the beach after dinner. The clear sky was filled with stars and we lay watching it. We did this for a bit before we were disturbed by dogs and had to go to our rooms. We called it a night since everyone was tired.


The next morning we all were starving, again. One of the best things I loved about Gokarna was hands down the food. I ordered some pancakes and orange juice. We went to the beach one last time before packing our things and going to the main town area. Gokarna is a mix of two extremes. It is full of temples and religious people and the other half is into smoking weed and getting high.The streets were full of small shops that sold items of leather and other clothing for tourists. We were too broke to buy leather purse so we just took some photos of them instead.
The Shutterbug Life
Our train back to Manipal was at 3pm and we reached the railway station one hour early. It was so hot that afternoon that all the leaves on the trees were standing still while we sat on the bench drenching in sweat and drinking cold mango juices. 

Finally, the train arrived.This is when things got weird. Our tickets were of the general class and we could not see any general class coaches in sight. All we saw were sleeper class and we had no time so we just got into one of the empty coaches. We knew what we had done but if we got down again the train would leave us and we had no idea where the general coach was and if it was even there. Everything was fine for the first hour of our journey. Four stations before Manipal the Ticket Checker decided to pass by our coach and asked for our tickets. At first we pretended to be asleep. And then showed him our tickets. On being questioned about what we were doing in sleeper class (which by the way was totally empty and we were not harming anyone) we said we had no idea of the railway rules. He obviously knew we were bluffing and asked us to pay a fine. We said we had got no money and he then shooed us away asking us to go to general class.

The general class happened to be one, just a single coach in the entire train which was the last one and it was fully crowded. All of us were squished and stood there elbowing other people and being elbowed back for the next hour. What I failed to understand was why did they make just one general class on the train and if they knew that was the situation why did they have to sell so many General class tickets until there was absolutely no space to breathe?

Our Gokarna trip was absolutely fantastic on the whole and this funny ending was just a bad cherry at the top that did not matter in the end.  

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