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.