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Book Review: Open-Eyed Meditations

Books are an infinite treasure

Books are a means of escape

For those who don’t travel

Can’t or won’t socialize

For people like us

Books are our modes of transport

Books are our language of interactions

When I first received Shubha Vilas’ book ‘Open-Eyed Meditations – Practical Wisdom For Everyday Life’, I didn’t think I would be able to reach the last few pages, as you see this was the first self-help book or for that matter non-fiction book I was about to read after “The Secret” which I had read 10 years back. However, simplicity is the charm of this book!

Sprinkled with snippets of Indian Mythologies like Ramayan & Mahabharat, it is composed of 64 chapters of two-to-three pages each, which makes it simple to read. Especially for people like me who have a short attention span, this book can be devoured in small bites just like dark chocolate.

The author has covered several aspects of day-to-day life and given us simple yet effective means to deal with them. In several instances, you will be able to relate with the advice given as it matches your beliefs but has simply been put to words in a simple yet impactful way.

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Each chapter mentions an excerpt from either the Ramayan or Mahabharat, hence in some cases it’s difficult for us readers to find the connect if we are not too well versed with the myths. However, this has been well-balanced by the messages that are explained in depth before the examples.

Each chapter comes with a small summary at the end, which would help a reader go back any day and reread the crux of a chapter in a few minutes. This is something that I really liked as I have marked nuggets of wisdom that I really loved in a few chapters.

Here are a few quotes from the book that I loved the most…

“Yoga of communication is essentially a combination of three limbs, namely the yoga of interaction, the yoga of participation, and the yoga of non-intervention.”

“If the deep-seated addiction to conclude before listening is sacrificed, healthy interactions will begin.”

“Leadership is not about impressing people but about impacting people.”

“Peace and Joy cannot be purchased by forcing someone to love us more but by hating our self less.”

“No matter how much you try, you cannot make friendship deepen faster. The test of friendship remains time.”

Hence as you can see from the snippets above, the book is a simple trove of wisdom that we can put to use in day-to-day scenarios of life. An interesting read that I took a couple of weeks to complete vis-à-vis my usual quick day or two reading of fiction books. A suggestion to more people like me who do not like self-help books that much, read it with an open mind, with the perspective of understanding human psyche as an onlooker rather than with the objective of improving your self.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Broken

jLike a kaleidoscope
With broken pieces of glasses
Dancing together
A waltz more beautiful than any

An old pallette
With old dried up hues
In itself is a masterpiece
In itself the story of a lifetime

A worn out book
With pages folded
And tea stains
Memories concealed in page turns

For Everything Broken
Spoiled and worn out
Outshined others with their beauty
For their beauty dazzled with the truest of emotions

An Instagram Repost poetry… extending someone else’s thoughts with my own…

On losing my Jane Austen!

You know when you lose your old book
The one that was withered
The one that you knew almost by heart
The one that had your print all over

It’s heartbreaking
It’s as if you’ve lost a part of yourself
It’s as if a part of your memories are gone
It’s as if you’ve misplaced a line of thoughts

Especially when you had read that book over a hundred times
Especially when you had cried and laughed with it
Especially when it helped you breathe through the worst of days
Especially when it brought a smile on the gloomiest of days

Yes you do buy the expensive and classier replacement
But you still want the old bundle of tatters back
For that book was yours
Etched and rewritten with your memories and imprints!

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Television – Poem by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

 

What a beautiful poem, with fantastic rhyme and meter making it an upbeat poem! It may be long but once you get in the flow there is no way you can stop without completing it at least twice all over. Truly its a joy to read this poem, its one of those poems that is stuck in your head and you still absolutely love it!

Reading turning into an addition?

I’ve spent the last two years reading one book after another, not stopping for a minute as well…  Anything to keep me from thinking about a blank future and continuing to ignore the present. Anything to keep me busy when I don’t lose myself in work…

Not that I’ve not lived my life in the present and made the most of each day, but I believe there’ve been days that have been spent doing nothing but reading books and more books…  Living life through other people’s stories more like. Important daily tasks have been ignored just to escape in the beautiful happy endings I’ve been pursuing.

Call it a new year resolution or realization but isn’t this being addictive. as well?

Of continuing series and series of novels, for no other aim but to deal with stress.  It’s then that I realized that my love and passion for books has turned into an addiction just like alcohol and tobacco. An attempt to escape life.  An attempt to avoid dealing with problems.  It’s turned from a love of reading to something not so right.

Reading is to be done to improve the mind, to nurture it, to become more curious and above all to keep learning.
Not to forgo realities to deal with later,  but a means of improving how we deal with them.

Thus, I’ve come to a conclusion,  more like rehab.. One book a week instead of a book a day, and one article or poem on my blog here instead of a blog a week…

Going forward it’s going to be my aim to find something I am curious about or something I just learned or understood and writing about it…

Having said all this I’d truly like to know your thoughts about this…  About whether I am thinking right or not…  About whether you have faced something similar or not?

Have you ever considered or taken to reading just to forget realities everyday and every hour instead of reading for the true love of it?

Movie Review: The Book Thief

the-book-thief-movie-liesel-max

The credits rolled on

As my tears came to an end

A heart wrenching saga

That adds a new meaning to the value of books

A saga of love and tears

A saga of death and fears

A saga of life and dears

A saga of books and need

A film about words

A film about DEATH

A film on book lovers

A film on those who survive on books

My heart goes out to

Those who survived the wars

For what’s more painful

Facing your demons once

Or wake ascream each nigh

This movie touches your soul

With its innocent charm

With its green-eyed girl

With the fact that Hope Springs Eternal

With the fact that life truly goes on

It stops for no one and teaches you

 To pick up yourself and

Shed the dust for smiles

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The Fault in our Stars

Here are some quotes from one of my favourite books –

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Where My Books go by William Butler Yeats

ALL the words that I utter,

And all the words that I write,

Must spread out their wings untiring,

And never rest in their flight,

Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,

And sing to you in the night,

Beyond where the waters are moving,

Storm-darken’d or starry bright.

Travelling through books…

figure in book_after

She boarded the bus
She hopped onto the streetcar
She took the flight
She jumped on the broom ready to fly

Each book she breathed in
Was a journey a new
Each book she opened
Brought her travelores from afar

Unknowingly so her father gave her a life boat
A life jacket to protect her from the treacherous waves of life
A breath of fresh air when she was down under
A bottle of blood when she had drained hers

Each day she broke free from societal chains
As she leafed through pages and traversed
She bid adieu to norms and swam under currents
She lived through them

They were her best friends
Loyal as loyal could be
They were her only companions
Caring as caring could be

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