Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Thank You, 2019!

Hi Readers! This post is an addition to all the Year Review posts. I realized that when I reviewed the 19 Things to do in 2019, I was being way too practical & realistic. It was more work than fun. And then, today I read something I had written exactly one year ago – Thank You,2018. After reading that post, I felt really happy. Like I had actually achieved something.
In that one year old post, I quote-

“It was a good year. I know I keep saying ‘good’, because I just want to be honest. I really hope a year from now, I can say that I had a ‘great’ year.”

And then, I reflected more about the year & indeed turns out, I had a ‘great’ year.

Reading these past posts & then comparing those to the present is so important. Whether you are doing better or worse, that comparison is important. It helps to set clearer & more ambitious goals. It helps better prepare yourself for the next year. And then, it also helps in having some fun in between of achieving these goals. If we can check out Year on Year performance almost every day at work, then why not in our personal life as well? This is why, I did a bit of retrospection & thought of this 2019 Photo Post!

Until next time,

Monday, 30 December 2019

Top 12 Web Series of 2019!

Hi Folks! As part of the Mindscape Reviews, you have already seen the Top 12 Books I Read in 2019. That leaves us with the other part of reviews – web series! I binge watched a lot this year. Some series were exceptional (Dark S02 & Fleabag S02) , some much awaited ones were a disappointment (Game of Thrones S08, Sacred Games S02 & Little Things S03) , some were just plain boring (Trinkets & Typewriter) while some were standalone great first seasons (Russian Doll & Modern Love.) And, I also rewatched my favourite shows (FRIENDS, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, Seinfeld & HIMYM.) I watched a lot of shows released in 2019 & also some amazing shows released earlier (The Golden Girls, Broadchurch & Bates Motel.)
Over the year, I made a note for all the web series I watched (because obviously I did.) Turns out, I watched 45 Web Series this year! Below are the 12 best web series of 2019! Have a look!

After a long run of fun-filled, sarcastic & amazing 12 seasons, The Big Bang Theory has finally ended. I thought that the beginning of the last season was quite average, but as it progressed, the episodes were really good. And, as it has to be, the last episode was perfection, with all the feels!
Where to Watch: Netflix
IMBD Rating: 8.1/10
~~DARK S02~~
This was the best recommendation I received in 2019. This show is indeed dark & full of things that are so advanced, it is impossible to understand it entirely, let alone point out loopholes. It is about time travel & mystery. The kind of infinite & unpredictable stories that happen in this show are beyond anyone’s contemplation. This is quite underrated, but definitely a must-watch!!
Where to Watch: Netflix
IMBD Rating: 8.7/10
I don’t think I need to say anything about Fleabag. When it won 4 Emmys this year, it was obvious that I had to watch it. And, after watching this show, I became a life time fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Not only is she an amazing actress, but also a brilliant writer & producer. And, absolutely a perfectionist in all the three! Go watch it now & if you have, rewatch!!
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
IMBD Rating: 8.7/10
This show is in Hindi talking about the brutal & inhuman rape case of Nirbhaya which happened in Delhi in 2012. It is nail-biting, but it will also make you want to pause now & then because of the horrification of it all. The actors have done a great job in showcasing the story in the best way possible.
Where to Watch: Netflix
IMBD Rating: 8.5/10
This is another show about rape cases & harassment to women. Two brilliant female detectives work together to solve the multiple rape cases that take place over a period of time. While solving the rape cases & throughout the show, it hints on sexual harassment that women face; outside, at the workplace & just about in any random situation. The story line & direction is really good. While the end is predictable, it still makes you obsessed about the whole situation & its intensity. You got to watch this in your leisure time!
Where to Watch: Netflix
IMBD Rating: 8.5/10
I recently watch Modern Love, which is an 8-episode miniseries with 8 different stories of real people. These stories are inspired by a real-life personal essay from the New York Times column ‘Modern Love.’! It has amazing actors such as Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Dev Patel, Andrew Scott, Cristin Milioti & more! This show is entirely WHOLESOME & make the most narcissistic & pessimistic person feel hopeful.
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
IMBD Rating: 8/10
Stranger Things needs no introduction! We all are hooked to it. Young kids, monsters, evil corporations, girl with super powers! It’s all A-AMAZING. The third season is as good as the earlier two. Watch it, right away!
Where to Watch: Netflix
IMBD Rating: 8.8/10
The most wonderful things I like about Killing Eve is the women trio of actress Sandra Oh, actress Jodie Comer & writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge! (Did I already mention that I absolutely ADORE Phoebe?) This is such an adventurous & nail-biting show. You never know what will happen next. This is a must watch because of its unpredictable story line, brilliant direction & amazing actors!
Where to Watch: Hotstar
IMBD Rating: 8.3/10
Kristen Bell starrer The Good Place is your stress-free & fun show to watch when you are not sure what to watch. I had loved the first season. Second season was average, but the third one is really good & picks up. Fourth season is on-going, but yet to be broadcasted on Netflix.
Where to Watch: Netflix
IMBD Rating: 8.1/10
This was a show I did not expect to like. I only watched it because the actors are Priya Bapat & Siddharth Chandekar. I ended up liking it for its unpredictable story line. While some part of it can be anticipated, most of it is a suspense as the story revolves around politics.
Where to Watch: Hotstar
IMBD Rating: 7.7/10
Natasha Lyonne starrer Russian Doll is unlike anything you might have seen. You need to watch it to know what I am talking about. I loved Natasha’s performance in Orange is the New Black, which is the sole reason I watched Russian Doll & I was not disappointed. Not in the least!
Where to Watch: Netflix
IMBD Rating: 7.9/10
When the bogus season 3 of Thirteen Reasons Why came out, people started comparing it with Euphoria. While the former is just a teen with attention issues, the latter actually focuses on different types of addiction; drugs, sex, fame etc. It also promotes body positivity & getting out of toxic friendships & relationships. I loved all the actors, especially Zendaya, even when she is passed out most of the times.
Where to Watch: Hotstar
IMBD Rating: 8.4/10

Have you watched any of these OTT web series? What were your 2019 favourites? Let me know in the comments below!!
Until next time,

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Top 12 Books I Read in 2019

Hi Readers!
As promised, here is the list of 12 books that I read this year 7 absolutely LOVED. These are not all published this year, but just the ones that I happened to read this year. From the 40 books that I read (never going to NOT MENTION this), these 12 are the top ones!

As the title suggests, ‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone’ is about therapy. Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist & talks about her different patients who see her for a lot of different reasons. Their therapy journey is beautifully showcased from start till end. We also get to see Lori’s therapist & their sessions. Throughout the book, there is SO MUCH character development from all these characters that is nothing but inspiring. Lori, her patients, her therapist! It’s brilliantly written & after reading it, even you will take something from it in the form of therapy.

The Moment of Lift is a book reflecting on how empowering women changes the world. It has topics such as Maternal & Newborn Health, Family Planning, Girls in Schools, Unpaid Work, Child Marriage, Women in Agriculture, Women in the Workplace & the last chapter – Let Your Heart Break: The Lift of Coming Together. It is now the BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN MY LIFE. Not just this year, not just in non-fiction, but from all of the 200 some books I have read in my life, this is the best one.

‘Daisy Jones And The Six’ is what you can call historical fiction but in the most intriguing fashion possible. It’s like reading a documentary about the best band there ever was. Daisy Jones is someone who is popular for nothing in particular, until she finally starts singing & writing songs. The Six consists of 6 members of the band. They have a lot of talent, but not as much fame as Daisy. So, together, they become a perfect combo.
It starts off with different chapters wherein there are story lines happening for Daisy & The Six parallely until the stories finally merge & the outcome is a beautiful song named 'Honeycomb'.
Thereon after, they realise, one is not complete without the other. They need their combined talent to create something really epic. This is how ‘Daisy Jones And The Six’ come into existence. From the beginning of the novel, as individual musicians until the end as a Band, it’s an extraordinary story which will make you want to come back for more.
It is simple. It is intense. It is glorified. It is magic. It is 70s rock n roll!

Whisper Network is a story focusing on women in the workplace; how they are treated as against men, how their promotions are held off, how one mistake costs their career, how cases of sexual harassment filed by them are not believed or taken seriously. From being judged either as a working mother or a stay-at-home mother to deciding whether women were really harassed by men in power or is it just for attention, this story has it all. It’s also a story where we learn that despite all the injustice against these women, incredible things can happen when women have each other’s’ backs.

In ‘My Lovely Wife’, the protagonists are a couple who are married for fourteen years with 2 kids, who live in a nice neighborhood & have decent jobs. It’s almost another too boring of a family. But, not quite, because they have their own dirty little secret. Their hobby involves kidnapping women, torturing them & then murdering them. With such an interesting story line, it is impossible to put the book down. But when you read such a riveting novel in such a short span of time, it’s pretty much like watching a murder documentary, only it’s way more intense. At times, you do need to pause to gasp for breath because of the intensity of it all.

‘The Hate U Give’ is what I would call modern revolutionary novel that will be termed as a ‘classic’ few decades down the line. Its focus is on why Black Lives Matter. It is all about how, even in the 21st century, there is still discrimination against people of colour, how they are treated by the police & how there is still so much prejudice involved. It really shows how much needs to change & after reading the novel, it feels like it will still take decades for things to change.
This novel will leave you with something to think about. As I am neither a black or a white person, I can never fully understand how people of colour actually feel about the discrimination, but this book got it real close. What’s wrong is wrong & it doesn’t take race to understand that.

‘Force of Nature’ is a mystery thriller fictional novel written by Jane Harper. This is the second book she has written with Aaron Falk as one of the main detectives. The base story is set in the Giralang Ranges, which is basically a forest. A group of ladies & another group of men who work at BaileyTennants are supposed to take this particular corporate retreat with the motto of team building, working under pressure & what not.

Interestingly, 5 ladies start their journey in the forest, but after a few days, only 4 ladies come out. To quote the book, “It wasn’t any one thing that went wrong, it was a hundred little things.”

The Dry is a mystery thriller by Jane Harper. After I read her book ‘Force of Nature’, I was obviously going to read all of her books! Her writing is wonderful & always leaves you wanting for more. With Aaron Falk as the main detective, the novel is about solving a homicide. In a family of four, the father (Luke Hadler) kills his wife, his young son & then himself. Or does he?

 It is the story of Bernadette Fox; how her crazed past & her anti-social present ultimately led to her mysterious disappearance. Once you start this & get completely in the groove of it, it will be impossible to put the book down.
You will love the characters & their development throughout the story. The beginning, end & past flashbacks, everything is nail-bitingly interesting to read. It is an amazingly well-written character-focused story with a great end as well.

A Wild Sheep Chase is exactly what the title suggests. It is the story of a man who goes on an adventure in search of one particular sheep. The novel is a mix between a mystery and philosophical story. There are so many things in it which make it a lot weird, but the weird part is the beauty of it which makes you not stop reading it.

The Shooting Star
The Shooting Star is a travel book written by Shivya. It talks about her preferred way of travel, how freeing it is. She is a digital nomad with the world as her home. For travellers, it is truly inspiring. 

So, those are the Top 12 books I read this year! Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below & as always, I'd love some book recommendations!!

Until next time,

Top 12 Posts of 2019!

Hi Readers,

This is one of the 2019 Year Roundup Posts, specific to Mindscape in Words. A lot of things depend on a post getting more page views than other. When I did an analysis, I was shocked to know which the top posts were. So, here are MiW’s Top 12 Posts of 2019! I'm happy because it's a mix of book reviews, travel posts & Diary Logs!

5.       Daisy Jones & The Six

If you hadn't read these posts earlier, I hope you did now! Stay tuned for the next post for the Top 12 Books I read in 2019!

Until next time,

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

2019 Year in Review!

Hi Readers!
I know it has been a while. More than a month! It’s not that I had been super busy or anything, it’s just that I did not have anything to say. But now that the year AND THE DECADE is about to end, I sure have a lot of thoughts. There will be quite a lot of Review Posts on here! Year in Review, Top 12 Posts of 2019, Top 12 Books I read in 2019 & 20 Things to do in 2020 & lastly all the travelogues from my trip to Dalhousie, Dharamshala & Amritsar! For now let’s start with what I accomplished of the 19 Things to do in 2019!

This was the Original Post: 19 Things to do in 2019
This was the mid-year Review: Reviewing the 19 Things to do in 2019
And now, here goes: Year in Review!

      1.       Original Goal: Read 19 Books.
Revised Goal: Read 30 Books
Goal Achieved: Read 40 Books!
The reason I had kept a small target of 19 books was because I had read really less in 2018. And, when it came to books, I did not want to lose. But, here we are now & I read 40 books this year! I am so proud of myself for this! Wait till you see what I have planned for next year when it comes to reading! And, before that, there’s a special post coming with my 2019 favourite books!

      2.      Original Goal: Plan 3 trips
Revised Goal: Plan 4 trips
Goal Achieved: Planned 6 trips
I am not the one to shy away from my accomplishments. I planned 6 trips & visited 9 places this year! It was amazing, exhilarating & fulfilling. Yet, it was also tiring & expensive. So, there is going to be a drastic change for travel next year.

      3.      Original Goal: Write 50 blog posts
Goal Achieved/Will Achieve: 56 blog posts
From the above two things, I get main content for my blog posts, that is, book reviews & travel journals. And, because I read a lot and also travelled a lot, I was easily able to write more than 50 blog posts. This number is going to remain the same for the next year.

      4.     Wealth:
I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I did save money, but quite inconsistently & not in all the months. Few months I did way too much shopping, but these past few months, I did save a lot. This is something I definitely need to work on.

      5.      Health:
I think I did well. Be it an on-off relationship, but I did my part. Exercising, doing Yoga, walking & so on. But, of course, it needs to be more consistent. Getting fit is going to be a priority in 2020.


      6.      Listen to one TED Talk every week:
Done! I listened to 52 TED Talks this year & I’m beyond proud that I kept it up. #OneTedTalkPerWeek
      7.      Doodle once every week:
I actually did a level up on this. Apart from the 52 doodles this year, I also successfully completed the Inktober Challenge! This continues in the next year!
      8.      Improve photography skills - More or less done.
      9.      Learn one recipe every month - Done! Learnt 13 recipes this year!
      10.   Donate books & clothes - Done!
      11.    Focus on relationships - Done, doing & always do!

Both courses completed! Alas, I couldn’t do an Adobe Photoshop workshop.

15. Go to a concert/music festival/play - Done! Saw The Kite Runner Play
16. Go out more - Did my best!
17. Do things alone -Happily done!
18. Go for camping - Goal not accomplished.
19. Do something you’re scared of - Goal not accomplished.

From the 19 things, I couldn’t accomplish 3 things, which I suppose is all right. Some of the things I did achieve are way more important than the ones I didn’t. Watching a TED Talk every week not only helped me increase my knowledge, but also increased my ability to commit to watching it every week, without fail! I actually looked forward to TED Thursdays. Because I learnt a few basic recipes, I saved a lot of takeout food money.

I’m incredibly happy with this progress & I have decided to continue it in the next year! After a few 2019 Round Up posts, I will soon share my 20 Things to do in 2020! Stay tuned!
Until next time,

Friday, 8 November 2019

Whisper Network. (Mindscape Reviews)

Hi Readers! Book 36 of the year is read & done. Lately, I have read a lot of GOOD BOOKS! There was a time where I only read bad books, but gladly that has changed. I do miss writing critical reviews though. Anyway, this one is going to overflow with only GOOD THINGS! I absolutely loved reading Chandler Baker’s ‘Whisper Network’. Not only is the story full of mystery, it also sends such an important message on how women lift other women up.

Whisper Network is a story focusing on women in the workplace; how they are treated as against men, how their promotions are held off, how one mistake costs their career, how cases of sexual harassment filed by them are not believed or taken seriously. From being judged either as a working mother or a stay-at-home mother to deciding whether women were really harassed by men in power or is it just for attention, this story has it all. It’s also a story where we learn that despite all the injustice against these women, incredible things can happen when women have each other’s’ backs.

The story is set at the workplace of Truviv Inc., which is a top sports brand in Dallas. Sloane Glover is one of the female leads, who is a senior executive in the in-house legal team at Truviv. She has been at Truviv almost 12 years. She is married to Derek & has a young daughter named Abigail. She is the bad bitch of the group. The leader who everyone follows & kind of worships.

Adriana Valdez (Ardie) works in Tax & she has also worked at Truviv for a good 11 years. She is divorced. Her ex-husband is Tony who is with a girl named Braylee. They have an adopted son named Michael. Ardie is the reasonable & logical part of the group. She sees everything to reason, but is also not a pushover. She speaks when it is needed. She seems like Sloane’s right hand woman.

Grace Stanton works in the Compliance wing, but basically they all work together in the in-house legal team. She has worked at Truviv for 6 years. She is married to Liam & has just had a baby named Emma Kate. She is the junior in the college of Truviv. Not as experienced about people’s real nature at the firm as Ardie or Sloane. She is portrayed as the kindest person in the group who can do no wrong.

Katherine Bell is the new joinee at Truviv, also in the legal team.
Rosalita is a cleaning maid in the housekeeping department at Truviv. She has worked at Truviv for about 8 years & has a son named Salomon. She has a good friendship with Ardie. Sloane, Ardie, Grace & Rosalita are the leading women who rock the story. Another important character is Ames Garett, General Counsel at Truviv, who is soon to be the CEO. To put it mildly, he is the villain of the story. Let’s get into the story now, shall we?

There are 2 things which I absolutely enjoyed reading in 'Whisper Network'.
ONE – Story line.
TWO – “We” Monologues.

Chandler Baker has written a thrilling story. There are two timelines. One is the present & then second the future. In the present timeline, we get acquainted to our main ladies. We understand how Sloane is the most dominant & Ardie the most sensible & Grace the kindest. And, soon enough these women start feeling like your friends & you feel a part of the group. There is strong friendship among them. But, there are ups & downs between them too. How else will their friendship cement even more otherwise? Ardie helps out with Sloane’s daughter because she is bullied at school. (ANOTHER IMPORTANT TOPIC.) Sloane gives tips to Grace on new motherhood. Ardie helps Rosalita’s son to pass exams. Rosalita, in turn, becomes a help to them all. We also understand how Ames, who is in line to become the CEO, had sexually assaulted Sloane many years ago. And, so, when Katherine is hired, they all try to keep her away from Ames so the history doesn’t repeat itself. In a way, it is full of office politics revolving around these characters until it is no longer politics, but real lives being portrayed in the most real way possible.

In the future timeline, we already know that someone died. What we don’t know is whether it was murder or suicide or whatever other possibility. In due course, it is also obvious who dies. But, in this case, you won’t feel disappointed that it was so obvious to know that. Because, there are a lot of things that will be unpredictable later on. So this story line is very mysterious & brilliant. It is mostly in the form of interviews conducted by detectives or talks between the company hired lawyer & the women.

And when, these two timelines merge, then is the real climax. There are so many shocking things that you will find out that you had never dreamed possible. It will leave you with your mouth open in surprise & shock. You will feel so many feelings at once. The woman in you, who might (MUST) have faced inequality some time in her life, will roar her way out & stand for feminism!

I started reading ‘Whisper Network’ as it was a recommendation from Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. So far, the book I absolutely loved from her Book Club was ‘Daisy Jones And The Six’ & now ‘Whisper Network’ has beaten that record.

For the first half of the book, I was reading it just because. But, when the ‘We monologues’ started, I knew at once that it was going to be an absolute banger! Also, when the story picked up & went beyond gender inequality to sexual harassment & deaths, it had me gripped. When you mix a genre like mystery with real life issues like gender inequality in the workplace, the result has to be something truly horrifyingly brilliant. You need to read it! I have rated it at 4/5 stars on Goodreads

Until next time,

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