Book Review: Lord of The Flies

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In my secondary school we as a class used to finish a novel each year in our Literature period. In grade seven, LoTF was introduced to, and most of us including me finished it for the sake of passing our exams. Last year I stumbled upon a post on my Tumblr feed which sparked my interest in the book. And then I started to read more about the heavy symbolism present in it.

Sir William Golding set out to write a more realistic novel, by the way, using the same names for his main characters as Ballantyne did (although Golding’s characters are slightly younger). So, all the posts about Lord of the Flies showing the “human condition” insofar as it pertains to young middle-class British boys who grew up in a boarding house in the middle of the Cold War are correct. But I get the feeling that most people don’t realize that was the point of the novel.

Lord of the Flies was meant as a huge “fuck you” to the ingrained belief that English people are the most noble and wise of all people and thus incapable of descending into savagery. I doubt it was ever meant to be a sweeping generalized metaphor for the universal savage nature of humanity, and shame on the teachers who force that interpretation on their students.‘ [x]

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Anyway, eventually I bought a copy of LoTF last winter. My edition includes an introduction by Stephen King and I was reading it during my papers. It frankly, chilled me to the bone. The perverseness of human nature is on complete display in the introduction and it sets up a somber mood for the story following it.

Since I was picking up this novel again after a period of 8-9 years, the details were a bit hazy. Like I had forgotten how Piggy dies, and that a ‘littleun’ gets missing in the very start. Back in grade 7 I hadn’t quite understood how Simon met his death, I simply assumed he slipped from the mountain while it was raining. But all of that started coming back to me as I flipped through the pages and each time I could only manage to mouth ‘holy shit,’ because each act of violence seemed so utterly surreal to me.

Can I just say that Golding’s writing style is extremely impressionable? The way he describes littleuns vulnerability and dependence on the older boys hurt my heart. Roger and Maurice’s initial messing around with them foreshadows the harm littlun’s will eventually come under Jack’s rule because these older boys in the absence of ‘parents and school and policemen and the law’ understand their power and are lured into exercising it through violence, which was literally one of the main things they were surrounded with before landing on the island.

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The last 70 or so pages of LoTF were intense and gripping. I was remembering the deaths before actually coming across them. My eyes opened wide when i realized that Piggy’s head had shattered just like the conch. It felt like a final blow to the reminder of a civilization which the boys had left behind. And more horrifying than this was how the boys were getting used to the deaths, the cold-blooded murders, taking them as part of life, as a part of establishing the order which they wanted.

Favourite quote: “Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.” […] “What I mean is, maybe it’s only us.”

Book Rating: 4/5 stars.

What’s Inside My Bag?

I decided to do an about me post, something like ’20 Facts’ and so on but I had no idea where to begin from. Plus, that wouldn’t have allowed me to insert loads of pictures either. So here’s a stuff-inside-my-bag post instead, hopefully y’all would get a glimpse of my personality through it, or maybe not.

In my first year of medschool, i went around carrying a small backpack only because i was too lazy to go to an actual shop and buy something else. Also my university isn’t exactly high on cleanliness so a huge backpack wouldn’t have made sense since i didn’t want to put anything on the ground. I got the following bag from RTW Creations for $8.

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Fast forward to second year, i realized that a good bag was indeed necessary to survive in university. I couldn’t exactly go around carrying 2-3 books in my arms. My previous bag also had no pockets, so i was forever rummaging around; searching for my car keys or the sanitizer or my wallet. I did some online window-shopping to get an idea regarding the prices and then decided to buy this bag (pictured below) from Khaadi. I went to the store the next day to check it out properly. It appeared to be of the perfect size and shape, plus since its from Khaadi, i knew the stitching would be spot-on. It cost me $22.

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Anyway, now to the main part. What is exactly inside my bag?

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A notebook. I got this from my university’s shop $3.5. It has 5-6 partitions in it, and i labeled each one as anatomy, physio, biochem, patho etc. Hence, this notebook will ideally last me my whole semester as i’ll basically write down only my lecture notes in it. Sometimes i do carry short books such as baby Guyton or my self-study notebooks if i’m planning to study apart from the classes in university.

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A pouch. It is 2.5 years old and has a faulty zip now. I have all my colored pointers and pens in it except the eraser which i keep in a pocket of my bag.

The three most essential things in the bag are my car keys, wallet and a sanitary pad. You’d think that being in medschool, sanitary napkins would be easily available but they aren’t.

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Apart from that i have some folds of tissue paper and a sanitiser. These aren’t that necessary because even if i forget them, anyone in the uni will lend those to me.

Also this may seem a bit comical but i stuff my dupatta in the bag too. I have got a couple reasons for doing that:

a) i am a clumsy person so naturally i can’t handle wearing the duppatta all day long without having half of it being dragged on the floor
b) i am 24/7 carrying the bag on my shoulder, wearing the duppatta on that seems too much.

Anyway, how did i manage to forget about my cellphone and hands-free??! Yes, i have my cellphone in the bag most of the times too since my primary mode of clothing is shalwar kameez and there are no pockets in it ;_;

So that’s all, folks. I hope you liked this post. Please suggest me what else to write about since there’s a scarcity of creativity in my brain. *slits wrists*

Book Review: Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal

In my one week off from school, I read around four books from my massive winter book haul. It was honestly so relaxing, to spend entire days lying in bed under the sunshine with the air conditioner switched on, reading and sleeping and then reading again. These four books were:

  • Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal
  • Lord of The Flies by William Golding
  • The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I read this for the 12th time so won’t be writing a review for it)

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Okay,  so the first book I read was: Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal. I’ve already read a novel by Meera before, and she has a poignant writing style filled with hilarity here and there.

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In the aforementioned book of hers, Meera writes about 3 Indian women who are trying to manage their housework and jobs. She mentions the daily compromises these ladies have to make, the cultural restrictions and how hollow it eventually makes them.

Last but not the least, these women, Sunita, Tania and Chila are also living in fear from their spouses or men around them. There has been an incident where a desi wife demanded divorce and got custody of her children but the husband in a fit of passion locks himself and their kids inside the car and sets fire to it. Sunita and Chila constantly are reminded of this in order to not overstep the set boundaries; while Tania battles with her past, remembering her father’s moods and how her mother tip-toed around them, fiercely promising to herself that she won’t end up like such desi wives.

And this is exactly why I don’t understand how people could term it, ‘spicy, hilarious and sad,’ or ‘page-turning comedy’ when there was an overall theme of horror looming around the heads of these three women, reminding us that if they make one fatal move, something really bad would happen. And it does happen, in the very end, but these three make through it by standing up for each other; establishing an even larger theme of love, friendship and betrayal.

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My exact thoughts about this book are penned down by a Goodread’s user:

‘I didn’t write a review before, but reading others’ I felt I had to respond. I thought it was a bit offensive that people labeled this light–just because it’s about women’s lives doesn’t mean it’s light at all. Do you call death, infidelity, social injustice, etc. light? In fact, I think this contains quite a meaningful examination of a lot of important issues (diaspora, women’s roles, the intersection of cultures and generations) and is really complex and beautifully written. Don’t even get me started on those who called it “chick lit.” While I find that term problematic enough, I can appreciate the type of book generally named in that category; yet this is definitely not part of that group. This is literature, pure and simple.’

Favourite quote from the book: 
‘After all, any man who can’t meet you without bringing his parents along is hardly the type to make your heart sprout wings and dance the tango.’

Favourite paragraph from the book:
‘Ask most of my girlfriends, ranging in hue from tinted copper to Dravidian blue-black; between them they run business empires, save lives on operating tables, mould and develop young minds, trade in non-existent commodities with shouting barrow boys, kick ass across courtrooms and computer screens. In the outside world, they fly on home-grown wings. Then they reach their front doors and forget it all. The step over the threshold, the Armani suit shrinks and crumples away, the pencil skirt feels blowsy and tight, the head bows, the shoulders sag, within a minute they are basting and baking and burning fingers over a hot griddle, they are soothing children and saying sorry, bathing in-laws and burning with guilt, packing lunch-boxes and pouring oil over choppy waters, telling everyone who will listen they don’t mind, wondering why they left their minds next to muddy wellies and pile of junk mail in the front porch.’

Book Rating:
4/5 stars

Facing the Music

Hi guys!

My finals finished last week and i’m on a break these days. Just like always i’m planning to write down a couple of posts and put them on queue for later but there’s no inspiration striking me right now. What should i make a post on? My daily life isn’t that interesting, nor am I hooked on to TV shows like last year, or else I’d talk about them. But then i came across this 30-Day Music Challenge on Twitter and since I can’t exactly follow it for 30 days, i decided to make a post on it!

Without further ado:

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  1.  A song you like with a color in the title
    Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat [x]
  2. A song you like with a number in the title
    James Blunt – 1973 [x]
  3. A song that reminds you of summertime
    Susheela Raman – Yeh Mera Deevanapan Hai [x]
  4. A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget about
    Shayne Ward – Breathless [x]
  5. A song that needs to be played LOUD
    Madeon – City [x]
  6. A song that makes you want to dance
    Jay Sean – Fire burning on the dance floor [x]
  7. A song to drive to
    Hello/Gimme More – Roots x Farhan Zameer [x]
  8. A song about drugs or alcohol
  9. A song that makes you happy
    Mai Dhai & Atif Aslam – Kadi Aao Ni [x]
  10. A song that makes you sad
    It’s a qawali actually; Tajdar-e-Haram by Amjad Sabri [x]
  11. A song that you never get tired of
    Dariya – Arko Pravo Mukherjee [x]
  12. A song from your preteen years
    Piya basanti re – Ustad Sultan Khan & Chitra [x]
  13. One of your favourite 70’s songs
    Thare Rahyio O Banke Yaar by Lata Mangeshkar [x]
  14. A song that you would love played at your wedding
    Meesha Shafi – Bijli Aaye Ya Na Aaye [x]
  15. A song that is a cover by another artist
    Agar Tum Saath Ho – covered by Ali Sethi [x]
  16. One of your favourite classical songs
    Bally Sagoo – Noorie [x]
  17. A song that would sing a duet with on a karaoke
    Agar Tum Saath Ho – Treat You Better by Penn Masala [x]
  18. A song from the year that you were born
  19. A song that makes you think about life
    Teri Meri Baatein – Anupam Roy [x]
  20. A song that has many meanings to you
    Feverkin – Turn to Salt [x]
  21. A favourite song with a person’s name in the title
    Boney M – Rasputin [x]
  22. A song that moves you forward
  23. A song that you think everybody should listen to
    Sleeping At Last – Saturn [x]
  24. A song by an artist no longer living
    Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche [x]
  25. A song by a band you wish were still together
    *NSYNC – Bye Bye Bye [x]
  26. A song that makes you want to fall in love
    Breathless by Shankar Mahadevan [x]
  27. A song that breaks your heart
    The Weepies – Somebody Loved [x]
  28. A song by an artist with a voice you love
    Troye Sivan – Wild [x]
  29. A song that you remember from your childhood
    Whigfield – Saturday Night [x]
  30. A song that reminds you of yourself
    Sulk Station – Bindya [x]

What I Read Last Month

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جو مشال کے ساتھ ہوا تو آپ کیا کریں گے؟ [x]

Sahir Lodhi’s new film Raasta is a list of reasons to not hire Sahir Lodhi by Hasham Cheema [x]

The Saint and the Skyscraper by Mohammed Hanif [x]

Census: (Dis)Counting Others [x]

People who have killed another person, accidently or on purpose, what happened? [x]

What Abortion in America Looks Like Right Now by Alexa Tsoulis-Reay [x]

The untold story of Pakistan’s blasphemy law [x]

The fatwas that can change Pakistan’s blasphemy narrative [x]

Why blasphemy remains unpardonable in Pakistan [x]

Blasphemy and the death penalty: Misconceptions explained [x]

Kids Like Us By FARIHA RÓISÍN [x]

I Love Doing Things Alone And People Should Stop Worrying About It by Grace Bains [x]

The Face of Miscarriage by Soniah Kamal [x]

Here’s Exactly How Much Less Money You’ll Make Than A Man by Mehreen Kasana [x]

Dystopian dreams: how feminist science fiction predicted the future by Naomi Alderman [x]

The Letters of Mikael Muhammad (VIDEO) [x]

Meet the woke misogynist by Nona Willis [x]

How to be a good friend to someone with depression by Beth McColl [x]