A Daydream

It’s so peaceful.
Another world,
Another universe.
The sound of waves gently lashing on the beach.
Each one with its own song to sing.
If only you could hear,
At a far distance – a bird
No, lots of birds – their sweet calls
Then someone calls me ..
Breaks my reverie,
And I’m back on this beach,
On earth.
I look around.
I can no longer hear the music of the waves,
Lost are the songs of the birds.
I am in this world
Trapped!
I want to be free …..

– By Abizer Lokhandwala

Spotlight is a new category on Into Words. Here, I will be posting poems from people who have shied away from sharing their work/don’t have a platform to publish their work/never considered putting their work on a public platform.

Sometimes we don’t realise how good our stories, poems, and thoughts can be and like the saying goes, “This world needs more art.” and art in any form is always appreciated. This section is all about sharing and appreciating ideas. It doesn’t have to follow any rules of perfection. If you feel you have a story/poem/idea to share, then please give me an opportunity to put you under the spotlight.

Email me at: nuraine.sadaf@gmail.com

Shout-out to Abizer Lokhandwala, thank you for sharing this beautiful poem with me and the community. If you enjoyed reading this, then don’t forget to show your love and support by liking or commenting below. Looking forward to reading your writings. ❤

A Stream of Consciousness

There’s always a time limit on everything.

Gone are those days when I could spend hours sitting in my room doing anything I like without worrying about where’s the food coming from, is it the day to wash my laundry, who is going to clean the house, wash the dishes, or who’s going to clean the cat’s litter box.

Grown ups need to deal with a lot of things. In a few hours that I get for myself, I need to think of making the most of my time by doing something that I absolutely enjoy.

The problem here is that I enjoy doing a lot of things. In one hour, how am I supposed to write, sketch, listen to music, learn a language, or do a course in interior design? When I finally decide what I will be doing or when I am just about to get into that mood to write the story of my life, time’s over. Or oh, last one, I mindlessly spend time doing nothing, totally waste my precious hour, alas time’s up!

It’s either time to go for a walk or time to cook or time to spend time with your partner, or time to study, basically it’s time to get up and do the household chores which do not come under the “me time” category.

The thing is we all put ourselves under unnecessary pressure to be over productive, I don’t know why I do this to myself, why we all do this to ourselves but I guess it helps us to keep going. If there’s no pressure then I will never feel the need to perform.
So, probably pressure is good at times.
Who knows.
My time is up, need to stop writing and attend to other obligations.

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas

Book Review

Fiction | Romance | Hope | Emotional

Reading Your Perfect Year made me feel like I was watching a rom-com movie. It’s a feel-good, emotional, and inspirational kinda dreamy love story. Set in Hamburg, the story is centered around fate. The two protagonists in this book are Jonathan Grief and Hannah Marx. Hannah fills a New Year journal for her boyfriend with a list of things to do for every single day of the year. But Hannah’s boyfriend suddenly goes missing on New Year and her Filofax planner is found by Jonathan Grief on his bicycle handle.

Jonathan Grief is a rich man in his 40s who has inherited his dad’s famous publishing house called Grief and Sons. He is a lonely, uptight divorcee with only a drowning publishing house left to look after. He constantly complains about everything that doesn’t appeal to his sensibilities. He believes he is living a perfect, content life until he finds the Filofax and realises how much he has been missing out on life by not paying attention to the simple joys.

I’ll tell you one truth: if life’s taught me anything, it’s that you should only do what excites you. Everything else is a waste of time. No one should act against their heart and their own convictions.

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah Marx on the other hand is an optimistic, happy, and over-energetic person who runs a successful child care business called The Little Rascals with her friend. She makes a journal full of ideas for her boyfriend to bring hope and positivity in his life. However, she loses all her zest for life after she finds out that her boyfriend is never coming back.

Fate plays a major role in this book. It all starts with the Filofax finding Jonathan. He tries to find the owner of the Filofax but in vain. So, he decides to live his life by following the things planned in the diary which include tasks, motivational quotes, attending events, etc.

Make a break with your habits, test yourself, expand your horizons! If you usually hold the phone in your right hand, use your left. Do your shopping in a different supermarket and buy different brands..

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein.

Jonathan laughed and shook his head. He had never seen it like that, but it was so true. It was insanity!

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah inevitably finds out that some insane stranger has been religiously living according to the things that she had planned for her boyfriend. Finally, the day comes when they meet. Of course, the story doesn’t end there. There are more emotional ups and downs that they go through which you’ll have to read to find out.

Life was for living, regardless of how long you had left.

Charlotte Lucas

Not highly recommended but a good read. Your Perfect Year is about love, friendship and also some serious topics like dementia, death, and divorce. You can indulge in this light and breezy book if you’re in a marshmellow mood. Cozy up with your cat and enjoy reading this book on the weekend!

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. From the Talmud, or so it says here.

Charlotte Lucas

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas, translated from German by Alison Layland.

Candle Girl

It was a silent dark night, the windows flew open and the candle flame quivered – an unexpected storm.

The grumpy old man had fallen asleep by the fireplace while reading a book and was disturbed by the storming wind. The wooden floor creaked in pain when he got up from his rocking chair. The dog lying beside his feet jolted up and whined in fear. The old man barked at him and asked the dog to shut up.

A bolt of lightning struck close followed by a loud thunderous, crackling sound. The dog howled and scampered around the house.

The power went off.

The old man cursed continually under his breath and began to walk slowly towards the kitchen to look for candles.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door.
“Who now?”, he thought.

It took him a good amount of time to reach the door. He opened it and saw a little girl with two braid plaits smiling at him.

“Who are you?”, croaked the old man.
The girl replied, “I live down the road. We moved-in yesterday. I.. uh, we need candles. Can I please borrow a few candles? One will also do.”
“You are soaked to the skin, girl! Come in.” said the old man and started walking, “There’s a dog inside, don’t get frightened. He will bark but he is a fool, never bites.”

The girl followed him, “Thank you sir, you are very kind. I am not scared of dogs, you see I have grown up playing with two massive hounds at my grandma’s place. Do you live alone? Where are your children? Why don’t you sit, it seems like you are finding it difficult to walk. I can help you light the candles. Point me to where they are and I will get them.”

“Chatty little prick, I am not kind. The candles are somewhere in the kitchen, go find them. Take one for yourself, light one for me and leave!”, said the old man and went back to his chair.
“Yes sir, I will be quick. Is there anything the matter with your back?”, asked the girl with a worried look.
“I slipped in my backyard and landed on my back. I was taken to the hospital for a surgery, those damned doctors placed two metal plates in my spine.” said the old man with great effort.
“Oh I am sorry to hear that, can I be of any help? My mother’s making vegetable broth I can quickly fetch some for you. Specially in this weather sir, I am sure the hot broth and some toasted slices of baguette will do you good.”, she said hopefully.
“Like I said earlier, there is no need for you to get pally with me. Take the candles and leave, girl”, he said dismissively.

The girl found the candles in a wooden box beside a pair of oven mitts. While in the kitchen she noticed its messy state, “Clearly he is finding it difficult to do things by himself, silly ol’ grandpa!

She lit a candle and placed it on a table next to him. While the rest of the house was still in darkness, she sneaked out quietly, leaving the door slightly open and ran out.

The girl returned in a few minutes and noticed that the old man had fallen asleep. She placed the hot food on the dining table and lit another candle next to the food. She also left behind a huge basket in the kitchen filled with bread, butter, strawberry jam, and some fruits.

A few days had passed. The old man woke up early in the morning and decided to go on a walk to look for the girl. He had recovered and was neither grumpy or hungry anymore. He searched long and hard but there was no sign of the girl. He asked the neighbours and nearby stores but none had heard or seen a little girl with two braid plaits around. He went back home feeling disheartened.

One night, there was an unexpected storm again, rain pelted on the roof, windows rattled, winds howled, lightning flashed and crackled in the sky. The dog whimpered and hid underneath the old man’s chair. The power went off and he heard a soft knock on the door again.

Photo by Skylar Kang on Pexels.com

Books That I Read in 2020

Hello New Year!

Before I start my journey with books in 2021, I am sharing the books that I got the time and opportunity to read in 2020. Also, writing a brief summary about the books (without any spoilers). Hopefully, this post helps you find some interesting books to consider reading this year.

1. Educated by Tara Westover
Educated is memoir that discusses the life journey of the author. Born in a Mormon survivalist home, Tara’s father isolated the children from the mainstream world. He does not believe in the government, public schools, or health care. Tara never attended school and only receives formal education at the age of seventeen. Despite her innumerable setbacks, Tara educates herself and lives a successful life. This powerful tale is narrated beautifully and is very inspiring. Educated is a book about family ties, personal struggles, power, and success.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Educated by Tara Westover

2. Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
A debut novel, this book has three distinct sections – Folly, Madness, and Ezra Blazer’s Desert Island Discs. The first part discuss a romantic relationship of a young American editor, Alice, with an older famous writer, Ezra Pound. The second part is a tale about the struggles of an Iraqi-American man who is detained at the Heathrow airport by the immigration officers. The last part is a detailed interview of Ezra Pound and his experiences. Asymmetry is about love, daily struggles of Iraqis, power, and justice.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday


3. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
An incredibly unique book that I couldn’t put down. It plays with multiple themes and concepts. It is one of the few books where a clear story is not necessarily important. However, it is extremely interesting as you keep wondering where the story is really heading towards. It can have multiple meanings depending on your viewpoint. Written by Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore is a book about a 15-year old boy called Kafka and his life experiences.

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You can change direction but the sandstorm chases you. This storm is you. Something inside of you.”

-Haruki Murakami

4. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Mahabharata is one of the most famous epic mythological Indian stories. It is about a war between two families – Pandavas and Kauravas who fight the epic battle at Kuruskehtra for the throne at Hastinapur. The author Chitra Banerjee recreates this story of Mahabharata in The Palace of Illusions but from the point of view of a woman. The lead character of this story is Panchaali, also known as Draupadi, who marries the five Pandavas and goes through a life of pain, suffering, and also triumphs. This book discusses the identity of women in a male dominated world and is mainly about revenge, family, power, and war.

5. The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Forest of Enchantments is a journey of Sita and her tragic love story. This is another book by the author Chitra Banerjee that retells the other famous epic Indian story called the Ramayana. The original Ramayana is written by Vyasa from a patriarchal perspective. In this book, the author brilliantly narrates the story of Sita while highlighting the emotions and sufferings of the women that are often neglected. The struggles, humiliation, disappointment, and tragedies faced by Sita, Madodari, Kaikeyi, Urmila, and Surpanakha are, for once, not downplayed when compared to the men – Rama, Lakshmana, Ravana, and Dasharatha.

6. Quiet by Susan Cain
The quiet ones often prefer listening over talking. However, they are often misjudged and face issues of self-doubt. This book emphasizes that introverts are equally important and powerful. Susan Cain, who is also an introvert builds this confidence and teaches us to be more kind to ourselves and the people around us. She shares success stories of some of the most powerful introverts such as, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, JK Rowling, and more. Quiet, is a great read for introverts as well as extroverts.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Quiet by Susan Cain


7. Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki
This is another uniquely interesting story which is about a friendship between a young boy and a reclusive older man whom the boy refers to as Sensei or teacher. The central theme is loneliness and how Sensei has lost faith in humanity. It is about their life choices, how destiny can affect their life, and how some mistakes can never be forgotten. Excellently narrated by Natsume Soseki, Kokoro connects with you on a strangely deep level.

8. Life by Lu Yao
Gao Jialin, the protagonist of this story is a school teacher in his country village. Due to local politics, he loses his job and it throws his whole life into disarray. At this low point, he finds comfort in a romantic relationship. But, Gao Jialin is ambitious and believes he deserves to have a better life. To fulfill his stubborn dreams he decides to leave behind his rural life and moves to a big city. An easy read, Life is an emotional story that gives a very realistic portrayal of the urban and rural divide.

9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
It is an amazing story about a little French girl and a German boy during World War II. Loved this war novel, it is a must-read!

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

10. ⭐️Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson⭐️
Oathbringer is book three of the Stormlight Archive, this epic series has got me hooked! You cannot help but lose yourself in the fantasy world of the Stormlight Archive. It is a story about Roshar, Parshmen, Knights Radiants, Shardblades, Sprens, war, and a lot more. If you enjoy reading high-fantasy, then Stormlight Archive is one of the best ever!

11. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
There is an explosion of a therapeutic medical device called a HBOT chamber. Was it an accident or a planned murder? The story is centered around murder mystery that deals with a fast-paced and thrilling courtroom drama. It is about challenges of parenting, secrets, lies, identity crisis, troubles of a teenage girl, and relationships.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Miracle Creek by Angie Kim


12. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Finally, got a chance to read this famous classic novel and I loved it! It is a story about four sisters and their journey from childhood to womanhood. The rich descriptive language and wonderful character buildup make this book extremely personal and special.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


13. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Oddly comical, this book is about two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Ayoola murders and Korede cleans up after Ayoola kills her boyfriends. Korede loves her sister and cannot hand her over to the police but what happens when Ayoola starts dating the person that Korede has been in love with?

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite


14. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
One morning, Kya wakes up and watches her mother walk out of the door and she knows life will never be the same again. Where the Crawdads Sing is a story of a young girl left alone in an isolated marshland and an intriguing murder mystery of Chase Andrews.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


15. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
This graphic novel is a piece of art! It narrates the famous story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but with a dark twist, a must-read!

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman


16. The End is Always Near by Dan Carlin
This book is written by the host of the popular podcast, Hardcore History, Dan Carlin who takes us through a crash course in history. He shows us how all the great empires have suffered similar problems which continue till date such as, climate change, famine, plague, and war. This book gives us historical perspective on problems that we think exist only in this generation. Dan Carlin makes the reader aware that while the end may always seem near, humanity has prevailed so far.

17. Alone by Christophe Chabouté
A stunning tale beautifully illustrated by Chabouté. It is a story about a lonely hermit who has spent his entire life alone in a lighthouse and has never interacted with the rest of the world. This graphic novel is a heartwarming masterpiece!