Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gonna Get Over You

I have been beaten by a truckload of university work this week (all of it brought on by myself) and with it comes my personal apologise for the late post. This little video by Sara Bareilles (one of my favourite singer/songwriters) is cute and quirky. She sings about heartbreak but her emotions are juxtaposed against a catchy upbeat tune that, on initial thought, doesn't seem to fit the mood. Plus the dark eyeliner, quiffed hair, and pink lipstick is hard to get past. I'm trying this look out on my next night out...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our Screwed-Up Baggage

"As I say the words, I realize how true they are. And maybe that's the trick to getting through it, through life: realizing that everybody, including ourselves, is lugging around some kind of screwed-up baggage. Maybe we are put here to help each other carry the loads." - Lisa Ann Sandell, A Map of the Known World
A couple of years ago, Juan Mann set out on a mission to brighten people's day with the simple act of a hug. He took to the streets armed only with... his arms and a giant sign that read "FREE HUGS". Of course, this became a massive YouTube phenomenon, and as a result of its popularity, there have been many adaptations of the campaign throughout the world. His official website can be found here along with a video that showcases his interactions with the public - some turning away but many jumping to the occasion. 

I adore giving and receiving hugs, especially from someone I haven't been in contact with for a long time. And, if welcomed, the random stranger every now and again doesn't hurt either. The feel of someone throwing their arms around you, enveloping all that you are in the act of a physical embrace, has the power to change your day - complete with the feeling of being loved and wanted. All of us living on this planet can always offer more than just that of our own selfish desires at any given time. We all have the ability to help and support one another with their 'baggage', no matter the weight of our own.

And according to my Twitter feed, it is National Hug Day here in Australia. How fitting! Have you given someone a hug today?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Road Not Taken

Picture found on: wehearit

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

- Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Cruel Gift

Source of picture: James Nord
"People who have only good experiences aren't very interesting. They may be content, and happy after a fashion, but they aren't very deep. It may seem a misfortune now, and it makes things difficult, but well- it's easy to feel all the happy, simple stuff. Not that happiness is ncessarily simple. But I don't think you're overwhelmed by the bad patches. You must not let them defeat you. You must see them as a gift - a cruel gift, but a gift nonetheless" - Peter Cameron, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You
I once had this crazy, superfluous idea that other people's experiences of life were far better than my own. They always seem to come across as more fortunate than I was. In addition to that thought, I was convinced that if they ever should find themselves in a position where they had to struggle for something, they wouldn't have to struggle all that much.

But I know now that that is far from the truth. After many deep reflections of oneself over the past couple of years (and a recent reading of a particularly inspiring novel), I can conclude that all of our experiences - be they good or bad - are equally important as one another. And to envy those who only have good experiences is quite a wasteful way to spend my time. For a fulfilling life, we need a combination of worthwhile experiences as well as those that find us beaten and worn down. They make up who we are, and most importantly, shape our outlook on life. And those who only have good experiences may be content, but they aren't as well-received as those who turn their ill-luck into learning blocks. 

Happiness is rarely simple, although I try to find ways in which to find happiness in everything. But there's also something to be had from bad moments. And maybe one day, I may learn to find the fortune in my misfortunes - to see all my experiences as gifts in all their glorious shapes and forms. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The God Of Small Things

Source of picture: phobus
"Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvagted remains of a burned house - the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture - must be resurrected from the ruins and eamined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstrued. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story."
I am on a crusade to read every single book that has won the Man Booker Literary Award Prize since the event was created, starting with Roy's The God of Small Things. The book itself is quite tragic (a necessary element to win a Man Booker prize so it seems). But a beautiful sort of tragic nonetheless.

There's no surprise that I love books that explore love and the meaning of it. What can I say, I am a romantic at heart, in soul, and in body. One of the major underlying themes of the book is forbidden love and the disheartening consequences that can follow. The type of love that can't be felt, seen, or acknowledged openly, and the burden it has on those affected. Roy explores many of the different forms that it can inhibit - love between castes, interracial love, and in some taboo cases, incestuous love. What the author tries to accomplish is that love is a powerful, overwhelming and uncontrollable emotion, of which cannot be contained in the confines of an everyday rigid social structure. And in saying that, the forbidden nature of it leads to the sheer intensity of the many affairs portrayed.

I have a fondness for Indian literature and wish there was more of an emphasis on it when I took my Asian Studies course at university. There is an ability for these books to speak of poverty, struggle, and love so well. More importantly, I enjoy any literature that discusses love against a backdrop of cultural and social circumstances. For this, I recommend The God of Small Things  to those who feel the same.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Tropical Island Getaway

2012 started off with a bang. There's nothing like the experience of spending New Year's Eve/Day in another country (which I have done for the past 3 years - I'm making it a tradition!). But when all the fun is gone, the real kicker is coming back to 'reality'. There's no hiding it. If I could live everyday like I didn't pay taxes and had all the time in the world, I would spend every second of it on a beach with a plentiful supply of coconuts. Mmm... coconut water. I've yet to finish a whole one. 

Keeping to the point, Phuket was lovely. The beaches, the weather (albeit sometimes unbearable), and the people were all lovely. And because of this atmosphere that encompasses the island, it's all too easy to forget that Thailand predominantly thrives on tourism to sustain their economy, and many of the locals make a living serving wealthy tourists whilst by being paid in shekels. It's a wonder how they manage to keep a smile on their faces when they greet us fondly every day. I suppose the pristine waters do help...

For me, the next few weeks consists of work, work, study, and more work. The only thing that will keep me going is the money being spent towards a trip to Northern India. I'm saving up for my next big adventure which I will partake in after I graduate in July/August, and, fingers crossed, I'm hoping to have some sort of spiritual awakening/enlightenment (ala: Eat Pray Love). With so many temples, ashrams, and holy cities to see, I could possibly write a No. 1 bestselling novel about my experiences. But I suppose for now, my lovable blog will just have to do.