Thursday, 26 February 2015

Being an Introvert.

          People are either introverts or extroverts. Both types of personalities have some pros and cons. But it is completely unethical to say that one is negative and the other is positive. Introverts are the kind of people who are mostly shy and enjoy their own company; whereas extroverts are the kind of people who are usually bold and enjoy company of many people. Among the 16 personality types, INFJ (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judgement) is very rare, covering only 1 % of the people across the globe. I am proud to be a part of this unique club.
          I am an introvert. It simply means that I am a thinker. I am an appreciator of the many forms of art. I like to talk to only a handful amount of people rather than 'being social' with everyone. I favor in-depth discussions over topics like life, death and humanity rather than gossiping and catching up on strangers' lives. I feel more happy with a book and fictional characters rather than a spotlight and an audience. I feel more comfortable reading my written thoughts rather than contemplating the jumbled up thoughts in my mind. It is just so much pleasant to be home rather than being outside. It is just so much appealing to be alone and recharge rather than failing to try communicating with people.
          I am not saying that being an introvert has no downfalls. I think, there are more demerits than any other personality. The biggest one is misconceptions. We often get misunderstood as anti-social, egoistic, socially awkward, weird, depressed and so on. We live in a world where people's first impression for a person who stays aloof starts with rude judgements. The next worse thing is the conversation. Till the time we make up our mind to express an opinion on a topic, the conservation already moves on to another topic, staring us anew; followed by more thinking and a cycle forms. This just makes us look uninterested and even arrogant. Many other things are attending official parties, get-togethers and the like.

          In my personal experience, I used to be frustrated with my unwillingness to meet people or engage in small talk. I used to be angry with myself for not sharing anything with any one and for being secretive. I used to feel weirded out by not having the interests and hobbies that most people around me had, such as partying, debating etc. But then, I had a hobby; reading. It taught me more than anything. I also liked photography and gardening. Soon, it hit me that I am an introvert. there was no reason to feel bad for being different. It is something to feel privileged for.
          There will be circumstances when you are forced into situations not suited for your personality. There will be days when you will have to talk to people all day. There will be occasions when you will have to put that pen and book down and attend to your commitments. And all you fellow introverts should realize that the world has its fair share of extroverts and that it  can get a bit grim out there. It is just our real selves which make us unique. It is that element which truly makes us introverts, at heart. And in case you feel strangled by people, you can always read these quotes by some of the introverts.

1. "I think a lot, but I don't say much." ~ Anne Frank.
2. "Quiet people have the loudest minds." ~ Stephen Hawking.
3. "There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas." ~ Susan Cain.
4. "I don't hate people, I just feel better when they aren't around" ~ Charles Bukowski.
5. "In a gentle way, you can shake the world" ~ Mahatma Gandhi.

Friday, 20 February 2015

'If I Stay' and 'Where She Went' (Book Review #2 #3)

          You don't just read books like 'If I Stay' and 'Where She Went' and get over them in a single day. Such books stay with you forever. They make you believe in love, tragedy and above all, in life. The story is so captivating that it is impossible to keep the book down. Gayle Forman has written this story with such conviction and flow that you get engrossed in it quickly. And without even knowing, you are hooked to it! Even if it is a continuous series, the actuality of both the books differs a lot. 'If I Stay' is nothing like 'Where She Went' and vice versa and yet both of them turn out into a lovely story. (This review contains spoilers.)
          Starting with the characters, I loved them all. Mia is someone who is passionate about the cello. Her intensity in playing music is very inspiring. She is a very sweet girl to have to go through all the tragedy. Adam (Mia's boyfriend) is a very handsome and punk guitarist who is in a band named 'Shooting Star'. The love story of this guitarist and cellist is the most amazing romantic story I have read. Mia's mom and dad; Kat and Denny's love story isn't less romantic. Then there's Mia's baby brother; Teddy, who I loved the most (which is obvious.) Mia's best friend, Kim is literally what every girl seeks in a bestie.

          The book, 'If I Stay' is partly into flashbacks and partly in the present. Needless to say, I loved both the parts. Even though there is more of life in the flashbacks and more of death in the present, it just makes perfect sense because it develops a sync with the reader. Mia's various roles are seen in the flashbacks. The role of a daughter, sister, friend and a girlfriend. The cute love story between the popular guy at high school and an average classical-music-obsesssed girl is sweet. This is a love story of two musicians. Reading 'If I Stay, was a whole new experience. It was not a cliche young adult fiction book. Sure, it had a beautiful love story but it also had a death story. Mia's ghost felt impossible but it also felt very real. Mia and Adam's love story felt like a lot of sadness but it also felt like perfection. Mia's family felt so alive and then they weren't.
          After finishing 'If I Stay', I was speechless. I just sat there holding the book dearly and trying to bring myself back to reality. What I felt was wonder and magic. I was astounded by it. Decisions, I believe now, are something that we ought to make by ourselves. Every decision is going to have its impacts. It doesn't really matter what impact it has on others. It matters what impact impact it has on us. Mia decided to let go and it was okay but then something changed and she decided to live. She stayed for the people she loved and the things she loved. She stayed for her cello and for Adam. The power of love made her stay.

          'If I Stay' ended with Mia waking up and hence I was keen on reading 'Where She Went'. The sequel is conveyed by Adam, three years after the accident. It was a lot to take in as the theme totally changed. Adam and Shooting Star became an international band with huge popularity and fan following. And somehow Adam became 'that kind of guy'. I, for one, danced around when Adam finally met Mia at Mia's first ever official concert at the Carnegie hall. It was destiny or it may have been Mia's dead family that got Adam to Mia. Their first conversation in three years was very hurtful as it was very professional. But later they were on a New York farewell tour. They visited all of Mia's favourite places; the garden, bus station, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge. Then finally, it was time to get some answers and for mysteries to resolve. Mia had known things which she wouldn't possibly have known. She may not have known that she roamed around the hospital as some sort of a ghost but she was aware of everything that happened when she was lying on the hospital bed. She dealt with the death of her family and it became a positive energy for her when she escaped Oregon. They were close to her through their voices. As for Adam, he broke his vow and Mia had every right to to be mad and she chose to move on as she hated him. As the ending comes near, I was hoping for them to get back together somehow and they did. I loved the part where Mia plays her cello and Adam plays his guitar. It was a pleasant, rhythmic and aesthetic pleasure to behold.
          I felt a mixture of all the feelings; happiness, sadness, fear, hope and pleasure throughout the reading experience. There was a surge of happiness when they both finally meet. There was sadness over the kind of life Adam was leading. There was fear of not wanting them to break up and move on all over again. There was hope for their patching up. There was freaking out at Kat, Denny and Teddy's dead voices but there was also some weird kind of belief about their super naturalness. There was pleasure for the constant love for music in their lives. At the end, all that was left was a feeling of completion. The invisible broken pieces filled up, making me feel whole and complete. I felt free. 

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