Books that Inspire Human Spirit (A Discussion) – Guest Post #2

A guest post by literati Sandy Chin 🙂

I know I had been absent for sometime now due to my academics, so here I am with my next guest post by Sandy Chin. She runs an amazingly informative and extremely vibrant blog – The Olive Beetle. Do stop by her blog to get adrenaline kicking. Now, off you go and read this inspiring article she submitted 🙂

There are many books that remain with us. They live in our memories for different reasons. Often, we recall Roald Dahl with warm feelings of childhood, and recall J.R.R. Tolkien with feelings of other worlds. But today, I am going to talk about books that inspire our human spirit. So, I shall be mentioning two of those books.

The first is The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. In this book, readers are led through the history of cancer and witness human struggles and triumphs against this pervasive disease. With the humanness of narration, one can’t help but be drawn into this “war against cancer”. One is constantly delighted to find a vaccine alongside the researchers. One celebrates as the vaccine eventually gains success in human trials, albeit only ten years later. Two, one sighs as patients hold on dearly to their lives. Through these centuries of sheer perseverance of researchers, doctors and patients, we gain hope. We learn that hope is borne not out of blind faith, but out of effort – of continuous struggle, perseverance and unity. We may regard such a grave subject with apprehension; yet we must remember that human spirit is formed only through struggle.

The second is Awakenings by late Dr. Oliver Sacks. In this book, readers are led into lives that have been thwarted by the sleeping-sickness epidemic after World War I. Of the millions that fell ill to this encephalitis lethargica, only a small number survived. These patients were admitted to total palliative care institutions, where they lived in frozen states – unmoving, unmotivated – as non-persons. In 1960s, the drug, L-Dopa was introduced and these patients awakened. Finally, after decades, they were able to move, speak and write. They became persons again. However, the miracle was short-lived as many began to suffer side effects such as manic episodes of uncontrollable urges and temper. A few patients decided to be taken off L-Dopa, and receded back into their frozen states. Dr. Sacks recounted these individual experiences with deep reflective intelligence, honesty and compassion. The reader cannot help but be moved by their struggle, triumph and loss. Also, one gains wisdom through Dr. Sacks, in his determination to accommodate the sea of troubles. One learns that human spirit is borne not only through individual struggle, but also through having deep compassion for others.

Okay! So, if, you have any books that you wanna add to this list, then plz do. Also, you are welcome to comment the list of books that left a deep impact on you, in any special way 🙂

Cheers xoxo!

Moonlight Movie Review – Showcasing Black Lives Matter!

Usually, I don’t review movies but I found it to be an extremely influential one (and also, because it won so many awards). So, I thought I should dedicate one post to it. Thus, here are my thoughts on it :-

“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.” – Juan to Chiron (Moonlight)

This is the phrase which reverberates throughout the 74th Academy awards winning movie, Moonlight. Lately, you must have seen a lot of Hollywood movies dealing with the theme of searching one’s own identity, exploration of self or going through an identity crisis. But, one thing those movies never portrayed was the journey of self discovery of a character who is socially, culturally and economically marginalized. This is what the director producer of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins beautifully portrays through the cinematic front.

Moonlight, is basically a bildungsroman of an African-American boy called, Chiron. The story is set against the time when there was a crack crisis (drug-dealing) in Miami city. The timeline of this movie is divided into three parts. It begins with Chiron in his early childhood, then his struggling teenage years and finally, concludes with Chiron being a fully grown up man. Audience is served with three broad social questions as soon as the first part sets into motion. The first two obvious questions being the cultural & economical marginalization faced by an African-American in a white man’s land. Third being the question of homosexuality. Chiron is called, “little” at school because of his homosexuality and he has Paula, who has completely failed as a mother due to her obsessive addiction with drugs. The unfortunate part is that he is neither aware of being gay nor has someone to talk about it. Finally, he finds a father-figure in Juan, a drug dealer, who probes Chiron to find his own identity and come to terms with it.

But soon, Juan is also snatched away from Chiron by the hands of death. Then, comes the second phase, where we see Chiron stepping into his teenage years. He is already carrying a ruptured psychology and a mother who is a non-existent entity in his life. He is still bullied for being gay. But, amongst all this, his friend Kevin comes to his rescue. He provides him the familial support and even helps him understand his sexuality. There is a scene where they kiss each other and share some intimate moments on a moonlit beach. Soon this also fades away when Chiron gets arrested for hurting a fellow student.

In the third and final phase, we see Chiron coming out of prison and becoming a dealer of drugs. At this point, he forgives his mother for failing terribly at motherhood and is reunited with Kevin. Although, Kevin is now married to a woman, he expresses his discomfort towards the ways things turned out for him. This shows how most of the black gay men are impelled by the society to confirm to hetero-normative relations. Chiron confesses his love for Kevin and the scene ends with the two embracing each other.

Undoubtedly, it is a must watch movie and Barry Jenkins has done a marvelous job. He has provided a prestigious place in the cinema to explore the potentials & struggles of “Black Lives”.

What are your thoughts on this movie? Have you seen it yet or not? Or are you planning to watch it anytime soon? And do you think I should do movie reviews along with book reviews? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

Cheers! 😀

Young forever?

Ups and downs are a part of our lives. Learn from your mistakes and move ahead. Don’t give up so easily!
Read this wonderful post by my fellow blogger, who doesn’t shy away from propagating that life is a journey full of learnings. Don’t lose faith so quickly 🙂

OaktownVibes

Life is meant to be hard. Life is meant to be challenging, but not all lessons come through heart ache and struggle. Hardships are there to force us to dig deep and grow, as with positive situations that bring smiles to our faces. From the day we are born, until the day that we pass from this life, we will be learning and hopefully, becoming more valuable to those around us.

I like to look at life as on going schooling. Everyday there is something new to learn, whether it be from a bad experience or a good one. Where people go wrong in this learning process is that they have a tendency to take things personal as though negative things shouldn’t be happening to them and then they reject the lesson being taught…but its not there to break you. As we journey through life, lessons will be on going, some taught through pain and others taught through observation…

View original post 334 more words

“Greatness Lives On The Edge of Destruction”

Will Smith says these inspiring lines in an interview!

I am a big fan of celebrity interviews. In my free time, apart from reading books, I have this habit of watching the interviews of my favorite celebrities. Hence, one such interview is this – Will Smith & his family’s interview with Oprah! I have never seen such an inspiring motivational speaker like Will Smith. I always learn something new, something more motivating, whenever I watch his interviews. He is someone who has a lot to share. His experiences in life has made him such a great person that all of his words are so precious. He is definitely the one for me, whom I look up to. Especially, when I am in distress/struggling to stay positive/ facing hard times, I search for his interviews. Therefore, one day, when my morale was completely annihilated, I watched this interview of his and found these inspiring lines. Will says, “Greatness lives on the edge of destruction” (in regard to his son’s hard training for his movie, Karate Kid) and he explains how you become strong when you survive those hard times. After watching this interview of his, I couldn’t keep these lines off my mind. If today I have a better, positive outlook towards life then I would give a part of credit to him!

Will utters this phrase at 38:00 secs, you can skip directly to this quote or if you like, you can watch the whole interview (it’s about family, relationships and the making of the movie). You can watch it here

Andha Yug (The Blind Age) – Dharamvir Bharati

Because a War procreates none, but losers and carnage all around!

One of the most influential plays I have ever read!
// http://c.amazon-adsystem.com/aax2/assoc.js

Every word, every phrase of this play is so true that I could literally feel how morally wrong our age has become. Why the present age is the age of darkness and why humans are losing their calm is beautifully answered in this incredible play.

Click here to buy now!

Andha Yug (The Blind Age) is a well-crafted play by a prominent Hindi dramatist Dharamvir Bharati. It is based on Mahabharata, which is considered to be the longest Indian epic ever written.

This play depicts an apt picture of our present times .The centralized theme of the play showcases how we easily blame god in our bad times. The play conveys how future is determined by our present actions and is not predestined. And, the major theme of this play is how violence and wars can only produce large-scale carnage without any victors!

Click here to buy now!

The play has five acts; each act presenting a particular character and his/her blinkered vision of life. After losing the war against Pandavas, the left Kaurava characters – Ashvatthama, Gandhari, Dhritrashtra, Yuyutsu, etc – begin viewing Karma according to their own selfish interests. Their attitude towards life becomes so much blinkered that they commence on the path of further degeneration. They totally discard the idea of repent and instead, choose the path of further violence & carnage. The presence of the character of Krishna (Lord Vishnu in his human avatar) in each act through several things such as peacock feather, ringing of the bells and the melodious sound of his flute, is symbolic of the chance to repent available to the Kaurava characters. But, these characters are so much blinded by their rage that, these positive things are not visible to them.

Click here to buy now!

After presenting us with an abominable picture of Kauravas’ actions, Bharati is ingenious enough to show us the deteriorating picture of Pandavas after their victory. Pandavas are also leading a decadent life as they do not know how to rule, they have killed their brothers and are equal participants in the bloodshed as much were the Kauravas. Their conscience is guilty and it seems as if one set of selfish rulers have simply replaced another. They do not prove to be any great rulers of Hastinapur.

Click here to buy now!

Hence, through this play, Bharati questions the idea of aiming peace through wars. He clearly depicts how wars are destructive for both the sides. It does not matter whether you lose or win, a war can only lead to loss of human lives & peace.

I totally recommend you to read this play and realize how violence can only result in bloodshed without any happiness!

The Beauty Paradox

For all those who cannot resolve the conflict between real and ideal beauty. Read it to know what real beauty is like!

‘Beauty comes from within’, she said.
But how can you look beautiful when you have small eyes, big nose, thin lips and an almost dark complexion? This was the question that kept resonating in my mind.
At last, I voiced it out and said, ‘No way! There’s no such thing as beauty coming from within. This is all nonsense, okay! Beauty comes from confidence and you feel confident when you have an appealing physical appearance’.
To this, my best friend said, ‘So, you mean there are some sort of standards to measure beauty? Well, tell me what are they?’
‘Come on, Tina, you know what I mean. Look at all those gorgeous celebs with perfect figure & sharp features. People like those are beautiful, not us. Not me, at least’ I answered.
‘Okay’ said Tina calmly, ‘But how do those people know they are beautiful?’ she asked after a pause.
‘Tina, what has happened to you today? They know they are beautiful because as I’ve said they have great physique and facial features. They look amazing in every photograph and we adore them,’ I replied annoyingly.
Tina walked to her house door and turned a little to say, ‘I thought they look beautiful because they don’t compare themselves to others. They have accepted their selfhood and thus, they derive beauty & confidence from within. They stand as an ideal beauty because they admire themselves first and then allow the world to do the same. Start accepting yourself, Shanaya & you will become beautiful’.
And she went inside, leaving me with her piercing words which made me rush to my house and stand in front of the mirror. That day, like an epiphany, I saw myself in the mirror; my real self. I was looking beautiful; I was admiring every feature of my face. It marked the beginning of my self-awakening and I started loving myself!

Food For Thought Quotes!!

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when we look back everything is different.” ~ C.S. Lewis

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” ~ Patrick Rothfuss

“Give a man a mask, and he will show you his true face.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.” ~ Walter Payton

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.” ~ Serbian proverb

“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ~ Admiral Grace Hopper

“Of all sad words of mouth or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself.” ~ Rumi

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ~ Mister Fred Rogers

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne

TheSecretLogoSo, this inspiring book was recommended by my class teacher. She narrated her real life incidents, after reading it, that she experienced and which changed her life.

This novel was my first book that I read and I am so glad that it was my ‘first’ novel. Why? I’ll tell you the reasons in a while!!

I’ll start with the cover. I know, there is a saying, “Do not judge a book by it’s cover”, but I am a kind of person, who likes to checkout the book cover before reading. And, I can surely say, that when you look at it’s cover, showcasing, “The Secret”, you feel like, there is something, some secret in it, which I too should know.

Well!! It is so true, because this book definitely contains a SECRET. SECRET of life, positivity, health, relationships and your goals. It contains a secret of living life, having positive and relentless attitude. Faith & believe are two words, that should never leave your dictionary of life. Giving & taking, but through a positive way.

It unravels in front of the true power of ” Law Of Attraction”, meaning, through your consistent positive desires, you send a strong, magnetic signal in the universe, which reverts to your desires, resulting in their accomplishment. You just need to have faith and believe in that positivity of desire (without getting it affected by the vibes of negativity and disbelief)  and you will surely come close to your dreams/ambitions.

Rhonda herself experienced the change, after she got to know about it. And I can say that, it was my destiny to read this magnificently inspiring book and get exposed to the world of books too.

My experience- I had this dream of pursuing literature and with my stubborn positive aim, I got my chance to fulfill it.

This book narrates various real-life incidents which some doctors, teacher, authors, etc, experienced after reading this book.

This book ends on a “Mantra” of-

“THINK GOOD, FEEL GOOD & GET GOOD”

and it is as powerful as it looks like.

A must read book for a positive living!!

 

Amazing Toni Morrison Quotes!!

“A dream is just a nightmare with lipstick.”

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

“Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.”

“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.”

“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”

“Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging.”

“Not knowing it was hard; knowing it was harder”

“What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it?”

“Writing is really a way of thinking–not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.”