Welcome to ‘The Pocket Diaries’ a global platform for every talent, a suburb for passions palpitating beneath the thick layers of necessities and indeed an initiative to unfold innumerable hidden talents forth you.
A peculiar concept to bring your dreams to existence by providing you the very platform you always dreamt off. An opportunity to publish your works worldwide and indeed an
endeavour to provide you a ‘mysa’ in this contemporary incessant world.
// even though no songs will be sung in our honour,
no eyes will stop at our sight,
no hands will applaud our achievements;
even though we will be forced to trade in our swords for sticks,
we will toil to wield the sword
with our unskilled arms and tired eyes;
even though our deaths be unlamented
and our fight futile,
our unruly arms will not accept defeat. //
“We are alive. A story and a song. Neither of those things can die.”
The Sound Of Stars is definitely one of my top reads of 2020.I had a major crisis when I
was left only with 100 pages. I was dreading the end of the book because I simply didn’t
want to let go of such a beautiful story. It’s set in a dystopian world ruled by aliens
where art is banned and our main character Ellie is a rebel librarian.
In terms of representation, the demisexuality snagged my heart. I love that both Ellie
and Morris had snippets of conversations about sexuality and sex while running away
from aliens. It honestly sounds laughable but I love how Alechia Dow weaved those
scenes seamlessly into her story. The Sound Of Stars shows us that consent matters in
every way. It doesn’t matter whether it is sexual in nature or a matter of invading one’s
privacy. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known someone only for a few hours or whether
you’ve shared intimate moments with them.Consent still stands. My heart swelled twice
its size every time Morris asked permission to kiss Janelle and the fact that he patiently
waited with a smile on his face, every single time that she said no.
I was also delighted to find that our heroine is black and plus-sized. These are both
descriptives that are nonchalantly imbibed into Ellie’s character and never take away
from the whole story. When they do show up in the form of discussions on race and
descriptions and brief mentions of Ellie’s body, it’s extremely well written. It’s so rare to
see plus sized main characters in sci-fi and fantasy settings so I’m delighted to see that
Ellie was written as one.
This book also puts arts under a golden spotlight. We see that Ellie is a secret librarian
who reads to ground herself and then there’s Morris who can only ever find happiness
in music. There are numerous pop references in this book and throughout the story we
just see an immense appreciation that both the characters and the author hold for arts.
Many times people don’t realise the huge impact a single song or book or painting can
have in their lives but The Sound Of Stars does a wonderful job in portraying that.
All in all, what’s not to love?
Leaders declare war,
Leaving children to fright.
They try to see some hope,
During sleepless hours of night.
Hate burns their dreams down,
Spoils them with nightmare.
Murders them inside,
With nothing to spare.
There’s always a desire of every millennial in our country to visit Goa, but what usually happens is as we all know ‘Abba nahi maanege!’ and alas! the plan is dropped even before the execution begins. Fortunately, me and my three buddies from college somehow managed to convince our families and save some money ourselves during our final year in college to have that once in a lifetime kinda trip in college to Goa. We were lucky enough to visit there during early March this year before the onset of Corona in our country.
The excitement was real and was evident from the fact that from our luggage to our playlist, everything was ready before a day or two. Trust me on the fact that if you’re a big group travelling there, Airbnb is the best go to option and we opted for the same as our stay was for about a week. But, if you’re a solo traveller, there are many hostels available throughout the year on the go. From the day one, we had our dream itinerary in place but as you know, things usually don’t work out as planned. Exhausted from all the jet lag and late night party from our maiden night in Goa, we couldn’t get up early so had to drop visiting Dudhsagar falls for the day one. We stayed in North Goa but had heard tales of the South ever since and there was some driving force calling us south. We planned accordingly as asked the local guy from our Airbnb for guidance. Man, we received the most awesome advice from him to visit one of the hidden gems of Goa.
‘The Butterfly Beach’ in South Goa is nothing less than a hidden paradise. It surely requires some research from your end to reach with a trek of about a mile before you set your feet on this jaw dropping beach. The visitors are usually foreigners and the beach is still in its pristine form. The adjoining hilltop blossoms during the season and you can do all kinds of cliff jumping here. After spending our entire afternoon swimming in the beautiful waters, we headed to our next destination.
‘The Agonda Beach’ definitely offers the best sunset in entire goa with music tripping in your ears, the sea washing by the shore and lovely calm of the place. A walk by the beach is must as the sky changes colour from blue to orange to a hundred shades of pink. It seems as if God himself was trying to paint you. A beautiful drive by the night brought us back to North Goa. There are all kinds of party places open throughout the night but if you plan on partying by yourself, remember to get your booze before 10 because that’s when the shops close.
We decided to explore away from the mainstream places for the next day, so we ended up visiting ‘Chorao Islands’ that offer a beautiful ride along a bird sanctuary.
You can reach there through a ferry by Old Goa. After exploring Arpora by night (that’s where we stayed, as it is in close proximity to all beaches of North Goa), we called it a day.
Our plan for the following day was to explore North Goa beaches. So, we started by the beautiful stretch of Morjim beach followed by a short drive by the sea to reach Arambol beach. Now, Arambol beach is famous for its fun activities like parasailing, paragliding but what most people miss out on is the hidden ‘Sweet Water Lake’ of Arambol beach. It isn’t that crowded and offers a beautiful swim which is rare to find in Goa as you always end up sipping some saline water when bathing in the sea. We spent the evening in nearby area and then went to the must-visit ‘Thalassa Greek Tavern’ for our dinner. It’s a deck by the sea and offers amazing views during night. We called it a night then as the next day involved some exploration to be done.
We planned to visit the mainstream places this day including the famous forts and all. We started by the Aguada fort and then planned to watch the sunset by the iconic ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ Chapora fort. Watching the sunset with my buddies listening the iconic song itself was a feeling out of this world and one which we will remember forever. It’s truly beyond words to explain how we all felt at that moment. The warm aura of friendship surrounded us as we made promises to visit the place, the same bunch of friends in some years to come.
For the next day, we bought a package for fun activities including parasailing, scuba diving and all but it turned out to be a huge disappointment. It’s not as much fun as it sounds as the activities are far off and consume your entire day. Goa isn’t really famous for all this, I mean it’s worth a try if you like but in my opinion, it’s not worth it. After a tiring day, we visited some party shacks in North Goa to wear off our fatigue. ‘Curlies’ and ‘Shiva Café’ are two famous late night party shacks offering a variety of menu. The ambience is really nice and it’s a fun place to be at by the night.
That was a wrap for our Goa trip. In my opinion, Goa has two sides to it. The North one being the party hub with music blasting all night and people high on energy, whereas, the South one is pretty laid back, chilled and spiritual for travellers like me. So, choose your side of Goa wisely while planning a trip and make sure to experience the fun Goa has to offer.
I hope my itinerary helps you out and make sure to check out my Instagram handle @travelwithshivam.
Israel was always on my bucket list. So I made this travel wish come true with one of my best friends.
The diversity of the country is absolutely stunning:
We started in the south at the Red Sea where Israel, Jordan and Egypt meet each other. The boarders are right in walking distance.
After some quite relaxed days at the beach with swims, readings, good chats and watching dolphins playing in the sun, we headed north. We passed massive rock formations, spent some time with climbing and hiking and explored ancient cave paintings. We met just few people and enjoyed the impressive-bizarre, calm times in the outdoors before we decided to spend one night in the desert in a camel camp. The next morning while the sun was climbing up the dunes in front of our small shack, surrounded by camels, felt so peaceful and absolutely priceless.
It is always worthy to watch out for alternative accommodations, so our next stop was a Kibbutz right at the Jordan boarder close to the Dead Sea. An early morning float in the Dead Sea with almost no people around was probably one of the most magical things I have ever experienced. Infinite width of the landscape, the wobbly feeling in the water, surrounded by bright and such intense colors.
After we soaked in so much nature we took our backpacks and the bus, heading to Tel-Aviv, the vibrant capital. Here we had an appropriate end of our travel. We spent some days in an amazing hostel, met so many kind and open-minded people from all over the world. Here you can find whatever you like, from going out for parties, strolling around flea markets, countless shopping destinations, discovering the old-town with all its traditional buildings and craft workshops, galleries, cafes and bars and especially the amazing food which is made to share and taste…
We ran out of time quickly and there are still so many places to visit.
Part II will follow for sure!
The air smells like a wildfire,
And I keep breathing it in,
I’ve found myself drawn to windows,
And balconies keep whispering,
They love it when I’m not around,
It’s silent and I make it grim,
Some things are best left emptied out,
It’s pretty when it’s never seen,
Perhaps that’s why I feel a void,
A void where no one’s ever been,
It’s pretty enough to hurt my eyes,
It’s best to leave it buried within,
I wish to come another time,
But I wouldn’t dare to begin.
Being cooped up in your house for three months is definitely not an idyllic state and it ends up
bringing fresh waves of anxiety and stress for many. I’ve been fortunate to be quarantined at my
house with my family rather than being alone on campus. I love spending time with my family
and I absolutely adore my mom’s cooking – it’s the only thing that makes quarantine bearable.
However, everything comes with its ups and downs.
My parents mean well but being locked under the same roof with them brings on new anxieties
for me, the foremost one being their inherent fatphobia. Almost every other day my parents and
I go through a back and forth of arguments over my weight and diets and exercise, or the lack
thereof. I do my best to stand my ground, because I’ve finally come to a stage where I’m starting
to love my body, but these constant battles often wear me down.
Which is why I couldn’t have started reading The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat and
Fierce at a better time.
The (Other) F Word is a collection of stories that includes essays, poetry, prose, illustrations and
so much more by fat people from all walks of life. This book has especially been cultivated
keeping in mind teen readers with an aim to instill them with self-confidence and love for their fat bodies.
What I love the most about this book is that it’s not like any other anthologies where all the
contributors are white and straight. Instead we get to hear from diverse voices who are queer,
black, poc, disabled and come from so many different backgrounds.
A large number of these stories brought tears to my eyes because I could see myself reflected
in them. A lot of the authors talk about coming from families and societies where fatphobia was
deep-seated and thinness was the norm. The shame and anxiety surrounding fatness and the
difficult journey of loving your body described in their narratives, is what I could relate the most
to. I still struggle to love my body. Some days I feel confident and upbeat and wear crop-tops
without shame while other days I just want to hide myself under flabby oversized clothes.
Reading these beautiful stories of the journeys of self-acceptance, confidence and love fills me
with hope and pride. Pride for these people who I read about, pride for my body and pride for
every fat person on this planet. A lot of these stories were inherently love letters from the
authors to their bodies and I feel blessed to be able to read them.
Some of my favourite stories were where writing and fatness intersected. In Write Something
Fat by Sarah Hollowell we are encouraged to write fat characters. Just because we don’t see
them in stories doesn’t mean they can’t be written! This especially hit home because until
recently none of the characters I wrote about were fat because the thought honestly didn’t come
to my mind, thanks to being brainwashed about thinness being the norm. Similarly, in How to Be
a Star of Your Own Fat Rom-Com, Lily Anderson encourages fat people to see themselves as
the main character worthy of having their own love story rather than being the fat side-kick
who’s there just for gags.
Does This Poem Make Me Look Fat by Miguel M. Morales is another beautiful piece that is a
sort of waking call and of course, a play on the anxious thought a lot of fat people have.
Elephant, Hippo, and Other Nicknames I Love by Jes Baker also struck a chord because similar
to reclaiming the word fat, the author goes on to reclaim all the fatphobic nicknames she is
given, something that I’ve recently been doing in my life as well.
I finished reading this book some time ago but the sense of pride and all the emotions attached
to these stories have stayed with me till date. I also didn’t stop at reading this book and went on
to follow a lot of these fat creators on different social media platforms. Every time I see their
posts on Instagram or my Twitter feed I smile to myself. I didn’t even realise that my feeds were
lacking fat representation until I started following these beautiful people. It has all been a
therapeutic process for me, a kind of self-care.
All I can really say is that every fat person is bound to see a glimpse of themselves in at least
one of these narratives and I would especially urge fat teens to pick up this book . For me,
reading The (Other) F Word has been a stepping stone in my ongoing journey of loving my body
This letter- it could have been another birthday tribute to you for teaching me everything that you did. For making me familiar with the ups and downs of a website, for making me acquainted to the technical aspects of both laptops and life… But this letter- it wouldn’t be one of those.
Today, I don’t want to acknowledge everything that you did for me but I want you to take a moment and appreciate everything you did for yourself.
Maybe it’s because of you that I find it funny as to how people say support is necessary to accomplish any considerable thing in life. For you, you accomplished a good, (beyond good 😉 life itself with the support of no one but your own enormous will power.
I read it somewhere, “Fast success builds ego, slow success builds character.” And today, I want you to give yourself a pat on the back for the man you carved yourself into.
If a person ever is asked to create a perfect human, then for sure you wouldn’t be half as similar to what he’ll be creating.
But I am more than sure that whenever a person, someone who knows you, would be questioned to name the most ideal man he has met, he wouldn’t think of anyone other than you.
And that is the beauty of you. You’re a set distinguished flaws and distinctive strengths , a set far from ordinary yet relatable to all, a set you can always look up to yet a set that never would look down upon. A set too simple to be put into words, yet a set too complex to be cherished alone.
Happy Birthday Nitesh.