The Intern

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It’s weird that I am writing up a post about a movie that released 3 years ago but yes I watched it now and liked it a lot, so had an urge to express my view in a few words about it.

We spend a lot of time on Netflix and other online movie portals and there’s a bunch of movies and Tv shows in there which we can spend our entire day watching, however, most of the time, we end up watching things that are senseless, yet entertaining, but we don’t realise that once it’s over, it’s over, nothing new than the other shows we have watched.

After being in my watch-list for months, I finally decided I’d go ahead and watch the movie ‘The Intern’. To be honest, it made a great sense to me and made me think of the concept in many ways. I mean we as youngsters, tend to underestimate the abilities and talents of the elderly people by referring to them as slow or backwards. It’s true that they may not be updated with the new technology or there maybe a big cultural gap but these things don’t matter because they have got something that acts as a great aid to the youngsters these days, i.e. EXPERIENCE. It is indeed a tool which may act as a guidance to the present generation. The movie sketches that it’s never too late to learn, in-fact learning is constant. We learn something everyday and that’s going to go on till the very last day of our lives. We can take our elders for instance, they were born at a time, when the world was devoid of gadgets like cellphones or computers, but now we see them sending messages to all their friends, scroll through Facebook every few hours and that’s refining. Therefore, age should never be set as a limit to learning, working etc.

Anyway, coming back to the movie, Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro have done an outstanding job. The acting is marvellous. The script was meant to attract an audience from youngsters to adult and it did, because we definitely need more of such movies to learn from.

So if you feel someday that you want to watch something different than usual then this one of your go to movies. I’m sure you will love it.

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Sky Burial

By Xinran

I had never been interested in China or Tibet [except for His Holiness the Dalai Lama] as a country, neither its literature nor history. However, thanks to Penguin Drop Caps Edition, I bought it as a part of my collection. I didn’t intend to read, but randomly picked it up to read in the train while I was visiting Calcutta last month; unaware of the hidden beautiful story inside it. Moreover, as soon as I started reading it, I was absolutely intrigued. It was hard to put it down. The book definitely managed to capture my interest.

” Survival is Victory. “

This is a story about a newly wed Chinese girl Shu Wen , whose husband goes off to war in Tibet. A few days later ,she learns from the Chinese army that her beloved husband is dead, with no explanation for the same. She is deeply saddened and refuses to believe the news. She is sure that her husband is alive and is waiting for her help in the mountains of Tibet or at least find out the reason for his death. And henceforth, she decides to visit Tibet.

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Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains 

By Antonia B. Kent

Land of the dawn-lit mountains is a travelogue by Antonia B. Kent. She recounts her travels through the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It’s not an ordinary travelogue, describing places, tourist attraction; on the contrary, it focuses on the historical events that has uncovered the place, and the geographical terrain of the region, the cultural aspects and current economic condition.

Exploration is a state of mind. But in a world that has largely been mapped, clicked, blogged about, uploaded and tramped across, it seemed unbelievable that such a place still exists. Arunachal it was.

I love how the author has provided excerpts from the history for each place she has visited.  She has highlighted the role of the people of the east during the various wars. She has also been able to extract plenty of stories from the elderly tribals and provided this significant information to the readers. The stories that interested me include the invasion of Tibet by China and how the Dalai Lama reached India, fleeing from his Palace in Lhasa, stories about the incarnation of the monks and many more.

This travelogue will enlighten you about the salty Tibetan tea, the tribals eating habits, their belief in yeti, the constant rainy weather of the north east, white snow covered peaks, whether the Tsang po and Brahmaputra (river) actually converge, the Tibetan monks and so on.

The author has emphasised on the muddle of modernisation, globalisation and other global phenomenon hitting this state, which was previously untouched by any such things. Issues involving building up of dams, losing of precious forests and habitat of the tribal people whose life is totally dependent on nature, is well highlighted. She has also revealed how corruption has dismantled the Indian administrative system and has become a stumbling block in people’s (especially the tribals of the north east) life.

The journey starts in the state of Assam, where she seeks blessing of goddess Kamakhya Devi & sets off in a bike to witness the state, however being a woman of immense courage, she keeps going and exploring; meeting people, listening to stories, collecting souvenirs, capturing every account of her travel.

I was heading next for Wakro, a small town in the neighbouring Lohit district in the southern part of the Mishmi Hills. Described by Verrier Elwin as ‘the most formidable in the whole of India’, the hills surrounding the Lohit and Dibang Valleys were renowned for their terrible climate and extreme inaccessibility. Because of this, and their proximity to Tibet, they attracted more early explorers than anywhere else in the Northeast –soldiers, surveyors and missionaries wanting to pit their egos against the wilderness and proselytize the local tribes. Perhaps embittered by failure, their reports of the Digaru, Miju and Idu Mishmi tribes –the hardy Tibeto-Burman inhabitants of the region –were unanimously vile.

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Persepolis 


By Marjane Satrapi

If you fancy reading comics or graphic novels, then you should absolutely read this epic memoir by Marjane Satrapi.

 Born and brought up in the capital city of Tehran, Iran and belonging to modern Persian family, Satrapi describes her life amid war and violence in a comical manner.

She outlines the plight of the women in Iran & raises questions about gender equality. The book describes the various invasions, Islamic revolution & how these have affected it’s people, the economy, and has led to political instability.

Young Marji is a vibrant girl and frequently discusses politics with her family. She has her independent perspective about the war, though her father has a great influence on her learning. She wants to be a Prophet and reads all the religious texts, participates in demonstration (during revolution) without her parents knowledge, which portrays the rebel and courageous side of her. She hates wearing a veil and openly disregards the norms formed by guardians of revolution.

Excerpt from the book

She meets her uncle Anoosh( who has been a prisoner in Iran and had escaped to Russia later) whom she immediately gets attached to and falls in love with his life story. However, she is saddened by his execution later.

Further due to political instability and war conditions in Iran, her parents decide to send her to Austria for her higher education.

And the second part of the book describes her return from the Europe.

This book is filled with remarkable illustrations. The author’s creativity is splendid. Every emotion whether it be, love, hate,anger,sadness,disgust etc is enunciated well through the drawings.
I literally laughed at most illustrations while reading this book. 😃

Excerpt from the book

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A Little Princess

By Frances Hodgson Burnett

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This is a story of a little kind-hearted girl, Sara Crew, daughter of a wealthy man Captain Ralph Crew.  She is deeply adored by her father and is fond of dolls. Sadness erupts, when Captain Crew has to leave his daughter at a boarding school while he is taking a business trip to India. Sara is provided with all the luxury at the boarding school, making her richest pupil in the school.

The author depicts Sara as an imaginative girl who has great story telling skills, which astonishes people around her. She pretends to be a Princess and loves being graceful just like any other princess would be. The way this little girl sees the world as a 10-year-old is wonderful, the character instantly captures the reader’s mind.

“Somehow, something always happens just before things get to the very worst. It is as if Magic did it. If I could only just remember that always. The worse thing never quite comes.”

The story takes a leap further, when on her 11th birthday, the warden hosts a grand party for her , the cost of which she thinks would be reimbursed by Sara’s father. However, that very day, she receives news that Captain Crew has died (due to loss in business) and hasn’t left a single penny for his daughter. Sara on receiving this news about her beloved father  maintains immense calm.

Sara’s life turns up side down, when her warden decides to deploy her as maid and is forced to live in the attic. She is made to run errands, harassed severely and starved. However, she doesn’t change her perception about life and is hopeful. She still believes she is a princess.

“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

“I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.”

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Visit to the museum 

Museum is one place that gives me immense ecstasy.  Even though I have been to the famous Prince of Wales museum in Mumbai several times, this visit was a special one. The reason being the worlds most renowned author, William Shakespeare’s work was on display. Yes, you heard it right, First folio was brought all the way from England. Being a history lover and a literature enthusiast, I decided to pay a visit to the museum, just to get a view of the First folio.

The hall was beautifully decorated with the timeline, right from Shakespeare’s birth, exhibiting all the major events of his life, until his death. I will be sharing a picture of the same.

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Year wise timeline on the wall, Year 1602 and 1603

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At the corner of the hall was a spinning wheel with 3 wheels of different sizes each had the answers to the questions: Which character are you? How did the character die and another one, I don’t remember. When you spin the inner most wheel, it would tell you which character from Shakespeare’s work you are? For instance, you maybe Julius Caesar or Romeo or Hamlet. Similarly, next question was how you would die? So, spin the second wheel, and get the answer to it, for instance, by stabbing! It was a creative thing, that entertained the visitors.

The spinning wheel

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Ceremony 

By Leslie Marmon Silko

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This is the story of  World War II veteran called Tayo (a Native American) who is in great distress and suffers mental trauma after the experiences of war. His thoughts are constantly inclined towards the death of his cousin Rocky, who was fighting alongside him, his time spent in the Japanese prison and he also feels responsible for his Uncle Josaih’s death.

Being a man of mixed ancestry (Half Indian and half white) he faces rejection from his people in his native Pueblo.

The author reflects back to the past, outlining the situation wherein Tayo was brought over to be taken care by his Mother’s family, because she could not take care of him, and how he had developed special bond with his cousin and uncle.

He could still see the face of the little boy, looking back at him, smiling, and he tried to vomit that image from his head because it was Rocky’s smiling face from a long time before, when they were little kids together.

The other characters include Robert, Auntie, Tayo’s Grandma, his few friends and his enemy Emo. The author describes the kind of relationship he shares with each one of them. It is a mixture of strained relationships and special ones.

The author also depicts the life of war veterans, how they indulge themselves  into alcohol at the bars, drinking enough to forget the trauma of the war. They discuss their lives during the war,and their encounters with white women and how things have changed thereafter.

Belonging was drinking and laughing with the platoon, dancing with blond women, buying drinks for buddies born in Cleveland, Ohio. Tayo knew what they had been trying to do. They repeated the stories about good times in Oakland and San Diego; they repeated them like long medicine chants, the beer bottles pounding on the counter tops like drums.

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Diary Of a Wimpy kid

By Jeff Kinney

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I fell in love with this series. It is a diary of a boy, named Greg Heffley, who describes his life, essentially  his struggles and tiffs with his parents with high expectations,his aggressive elder brother Rodrick and his best friend Rowley.

The Illustration in the book were one thing  which attracted my attention, other than the font and synopsis. They’re hilarious. Jeff Kinney’s creativity is at its best.

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Out of Africa

By Karen Blixen

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I have always been obsessed with Africa ;anything related to Africa and reading this book made me feel as if I visited the continent itself. It’s a beautiful memoir by Karen Blixen of her life and times in Ngong hills in Kenya (British East Africa),  where she established a coffee plantation. I love the opening lines of the book:

“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”

The novel is based in early 1900’s ; and encompasses a mesmerizing description of the hills, valleys, cultures, tradition, religion, races during that era. Its covers the ideas, perceptions, beliefs and values of the natives on various matters of life.  for eg. crime and punishment. The author describes Africa as:

“When you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find out that it is the same in all her music.”

The author has beautifully depicted  various characters from her life, her interactions with the tribe  called ‘Kikuyu'( also employees in her plantation)  who were dominant in the Ngong hill area and encounters with animals of African Savannah.

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Little women

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By Louisa May Alcott

Firstly, I loved this edition of Little Women by Penguin threads. It’s a very creative and the most beautiful cover of this book I’ve come across till date.:D

The Review:

The novel revolves around the life of March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. These little women are so zealous and incredibly amusing, you would feel like reading their conversation time and again.Despite poverty, they try to be happy and have their own dreams and fancies. They dearly love and support each other. The family consists of the father who is in the battle field (American Civil War) and ‘Marmee’ as they call their mother is the most patient woman,who enlightens her children’s life with beautiful lessons and Hannah, the housekeeper.

“I’ve been trying to cure it for forty years, and have only succeeded in controlling it. I am angry nearly every day of my life, Jo, but I have learned not to show it; and I still hope to learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so.”

-Marmee to Jo(who has anger and temper issues).

Meg is the eldest and the beautiful,kind,who is a governess too, Jo is the tom boy, harsh and short tempered girl with a soft heart, Beth is musician though she has her own sources of entertainment and Amy is the youngest and also the artist of the family.
Their neighbor is an old wealthy man Mr. Laurence and his orphaned grandson Laurie, who become pally to the March’s. Each character is funny and has their own charms.

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