Kabootar Ja Ja Ja

Dear Pigs… errr I mean Pigeons

Hello. I am told that you and Doves belong to the same family of birds ie. Columbidae. Tell me, how is that your cousins Doves are the symbols of peace while you are labeled as terrorists! Yes, I am not mincing my words. You have terrorized us in our very homes.Pigeon

Early in the morning, I open the door leading to the balcony to enjoy some fresh breeze, the peace and the tranquility around, with my mug of tea and newspaper in hand…. but lo and behold, all I see is you and your brethren sitting on the railings.

Seeing me come, you decide to give me a shock by collectively fluttering your wings madly coupled with that scary noise. Even though, I know the routine, still I am not able to train my body to be immune to your intimidating tactics and I shudder without fail and sometimes I let out a shriek and sometimes it is some spilled tea.

Do you know, how much I love watching the rains from the swing in my balcony? All that talk of smelling the wet earth after the rains has just become some words in the books. And it is all because of you. You have no manners and you poop around like crazies. The concoction of rains and your poop is so fatal that even my nasal hair cringe and singe.

I thought since you specialize in terrorizing us, you must be some pretty smart guys! But no, you refute my belief. By chance if the balcony door is open, you decide to explore our home. On seeing you inside our rooms, we are empathetic and close all the other doors and keep only the door to your freedom open and even guide you towards the exit with our ‘Shoo-Shoo’, but you are so dumb that you don’t understand our directions and cant find your way out.

And today was the limit. When I switched on the air conditioner in the guest room, it made some unusual whirring sounds. I went out to check and I saw a few remnants of  your nest on the top of the AC body. I know that you make nests in the balcony and Krishna Bai regularly cleans you out of your home but what I saw today, after the AC mechanic opened the AC,  filled me with awe and disgust at the same time.

Am I confusing you? Let me explain.

I felt awe for what I saw, because I believed that you certainly took lessons from the high-rise builders whose buildings you have occupied forcibly without any landlord-tenant agreement. You have learnt from them that the foundation of any home/building should be strong. I really admire the learning you have acquired.

I am disgusted that you chose my AC to practice that learning. While it is kind of ok for me to see you building your nest on top of the AC, it is certainly not acceptable that in order to implement your learning you give a strong foundation to your nest by adding so many sticks INSIDE the AC.DSC_0124

Yes, can you believe it that this is the amount of twigs and sticks that were taken out from the INSIDE of the AC!! While it is kind of shocking and I was seething with rage on imagining the possibility of my AC going kaput because of you filthy birds,  and not to forget the hole in the pocket because of paying the AC mechanic, I was filled with admiration for you too.

I admire your perseverance in building a strong beautiful nest for yourself and your babies despite Krishna Bai sweeping away your nest from the top of the AC every other day!

So, I have learnt a lesson or two from you in perseverance and tenacity and love for your family etc etc, but I seriously suggest that let’s be strangers only, like earlier times. You making a home in my home is an intrusion and I condemn and abhor it, strongly.

Please GO AWAY!!

Miss you NOT

A resident of a high-rise building

Linking this to the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words

Day 4 – Prompt – Write a letter

Image Courtesy : Pixabay

 

Datsun redi-GO : The Ultimate Urban Cross

“The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete in the urban compound.”  Marshall McLuhan

Cars have become an integral part of a wider transport network, in fact they form a large part of the growing “urban” culture.  Recently, my cousin GT, who completed a year of work after studies expressed his desire to buy a car for himself. With so many new cars flooding the Indian market, he really could not figure out which car would work best for him. We had a discussion on the pros and cons of the various new models, till KG suggested that he should go for a car that defines him. And that got everybody thinking. After some brainstorming, we came up with some ideas for a car that would gel well with his personality and lifestyle.

GT is from a generation that believes in going all out to get more out of life, and believes in challenging the norms of the society. He is from the generation that is always on the go and believes in doing a lot more in life. So, a car that would strengthen his sense of freedom, a machine that gives him the confidence to go further ahead in life, one that’s full of fun and life, just like him, should be his first four wheel drive.

And we found a car that defines just that! Yes, that’s the Datsun redi-GO.

Datsun redi-GO

Coming from the house of Nissan, Datsun redi-Go is an unique fusion of compact crossover & urban hatchback, offering the best of both worlds. While the boys oohed and aahed on it’s superior i-SAT (Intelligent Spark Automated Technology) Engine along with its impressive fuel economy and ultimate manoeuvrability, I liked it because of its unique combination of style and comfort.

Modern Design Exteriors : Datsun redi-Go has styling that is anything but conventional. It is compact and sleek, and yet has an aggressive and robust stance which gives it an impressive room and a sporty attitude.

The heightened stance on the Datsun redi-GO puts your head and shoulders above those around you. So, you can enjoy a wider view of the road and the surroundings.

The high ground clearance of 185 mm helps you deal with low obstacles that you may encounter on the roads.

Sporty and Classy Interiors :  Datsun redi-Go is pretty spacious . A family of five can sit comfortably and there’s ample space for luggage too.

The dashboard is pretty modernistic and fabric inside the cars is inspired by sports cars which provides an energetic feel with premium comfort.

Radio, CD, MP3, USB, Aux-in – it’s all here in one convenient audio system.

Comfort Drive : With the mercury breaking all records in our desert state, superior air conditioning is a must in a car. And Datsun redi-GO has precisely calculated air circulation which ensures that the passengers are comfortable inside, irrespective of the outside temperatures. And am I glad for this feature!

The 5-speed manual transmission gives smooth control, with precise shifting for a more seamless response to the demands  of the roads. The easy-to-read shift indicator shows the ideal time to shift for maximum efficiency and performance.

Datsun redi-GO is a drive computer, as there is instantaneous and average mileage, distance to empty, fuel remaining, and much more is displayed right in front of your eyes. 

I’d love to go on a test drive on the wide and smooth JLN Marg or the Jaipur-Ajmer super expressway or the Jaipur-Delhi highway to check out its engine performance, fuel economy and air conditioning. And yes, also in the narrow by-lanes of the wall city of Jaipur, where driving and manoeuvring a car is pretty challenging. So, I’d like to check out Datsun redi-GO’s 4.7-metre turning radius. 

I am sure, Datsun redi-GO will be the car for the young, for it spells…

Fun. Freedom. Confidence. The ultimate Urban Cross – Datsun redi-GO – the capability of a crossover with the convenience of a hatchback.

Why do People Behave Differently in a Group?

Earlier this week, I was returning back home from Bangalore. After all the security checks, I checked in the Premium Plaza Lounge and relaxed a bit after the hectic day at work.

The silence in the lounge, the comfortable chair and a hot cup of tea did wonders for my state of mind. In no time, I visibly relaxed and enjoyed some time by myself  as I read and watched the world go by.

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As we know, the good times don’t last forever and it was time for me to leave this peaceful haven and move towards the gate to board my flight.

As I approached the gate, I stopped in my tracks. There was a lot of commotion at the far end of the waiting area. On observing further, it was actually loud boisterous voices of a large group of people. It appeared all were talking simultaneously. Ignoring them, I boarded the airline shuttle bus and peace was all around once again, with everybody in the bus busy looking either the activity on the ramp and taxiway or their smartphones.

As I settled in my seat, the raucous laughter and loud chatter filled the aircraft. One look in the direction of the noise and my heart sank, it was the same group from the waiting area. The group consisted of some 30-35 middle-aged men and women. In high spirits and booming voices they kept the luggage in overhead bins and occupied their seats. No, some never sat on their seats and took the role of airline staff and made sure that their group mates were comfortable. So, they kept moving back and forth from the front end to the back of the aircraft, since their seats were scattered.

The airhostesses tried their best to bring some order to the proceedings but in vain. The group carried on with their party, with chanting of ‘Jai Shree Ram” when the plane took off and generally talking non-stop and loudly. Neither did they listen to the announcements nor did they let anybody else do the same. They were totally oblivious to the amusement or disgust of other passengers.

Soon, it was time for food service and pandemonium broke loose. The volunteers from the group opened the overhead bins and took out boxes and bags of food. Different aromas soon wafted through the air. The volunteers served kachoris, samosas, mathris, home made paranthas, namkeen, sweets, juices, cold drinks and even pickles to their friends. The airline girls requested them to carry on with their food party after the airline service, but did they listen?

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The airline staff was visibly annoyed with the way they had taken over the aircraft. But the group just turned a deaf ear to their pleas. And the party continued with renewed zeal after the hearty meal they had, and were more raucous than ever. There was not a single moment of peace and quiet in the aircraft during this two hour flight.

And all this made me wonder why people behave differently in a group? Would these people behave in a similar manner when they were travelling alone? I know for sure that it would be a big No.

Then what transformed them? And what made them behave this abominably when they were in a group? Is it the comfort of large numbers? Is it the feeling that they are less likely to be caught doing anything wrong because the anonymity a group provides. Or is it that being in a group made them feel that they were not personally responsible for the collective actions of the group? Whatever happened to their moral code of conduct and how could they change their priorities? Is it the herd mentality where people look to others to see how to behave?

Whatever it is, it is pretty disturbing. What do you think about it? Have you experienced this herd behaviour anytime?

Reading Books is Similar to Human Relationships

Recently, I was reading a book. Raakshas by Piyush Jha to be precise. It’s a thriller and is a story of India’s No. 1 serial killer. It’s about how and what made him a cold blooded, savage murderer and a serial killer at that. The story started with a bang and I was hooked to it from the word go. I read more than half of this book at one go and then I suddenly closed it.

No, I was neither bored nor tired. I had all the time in the world to read the book and yet I stopped reading it. The thing was that the book was taking me to new heights of reading pleasure and I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to prolong this excitement and happiness. 

And when I did pick it up again after a lot of delaying tactics and finished reading it, I felt as if I was having a heartbreak. I was sad that the story could not go on and on and that it had come to an end. It was like I was mourning the end of good book. Has this ever happened to you?

Have you realized that reading a book is like entering into a relationship with a book. And it’s similar to the relationships we have with people around us.

Here are the four different types of relationships I have had with books which are similar to human relationships.

You Had Me At ‘Hello’ : You see the cover of the book and you know that it will click with you. You read the blurb and the flirting begins and as you start reading the first few chapters, meet the characters, you are in midst of a whirlwind romance and with each turning page you fall in love deeply, in the most all-consuming way. I had this love at first sight with Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan, Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon, Marley & Me by John Grogan….

And The Spark Fades : The story in the book starts with a bang. There’s excitement and thrill with turning of each page, each chapter. And when you are moving on to build a deeper connect with the story, something goes awry and it’s all downhill from there. The relationship changes from intense to bland and that magical spark just fizzles away. You feel so deflated and exhausted and a bit cheated too, for you invested your time in reading this book and it leaves you unfulfilled. I have a long list of books that fall in this category.

The Accidental Relationship : It was just a coincidence that you picked that book. It’s not the genre that you read or not an author you have read before and it is just by chance you find yourself leafing through this book. And the next thing you know is that you are enjoying reading it and can’t stop yourself from reading it at every available opportunity. I had this relationship with a non-fiction book which is not my favorite genre of books. I picked up F?@k Knows by Shailendra Singh on a whim and I simply loved reading it.

The Slow To Warm-Up : You have this book in your hand and you start reading it. It does not excite or enthrall you much, but you keep reading it. And that’s because you are not a quitter or the book came with high recommendations or you are just stuck with that book. And then suddenly you are sucked deep into it and how! The book becomes simply unputdownable and  it stays with you for a long time. This happened when I started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling. I picked it up because everyone was reading it and felt that the wizards and kids were not my scene. But after the first few chapters, well… there was no looking back.

Like human relationships, the relationships with books are good as well as bad, but whatever it is, it’s a learning and growing experience as a reader! What say you?

With which books you have had these kind of relationships?

Overwhelmed by Love

Loved. Touched. Supported. Gratitude. These are some of the feelings and thoughts that are running through my mind. What did I do to deserve all this? May be something right?!?

I ranted about my inability to write and my friends came all out to encourage and support. That I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from all of you, is putting it mildly.  I don’t know where I would be without it.  You, my friends have lifted me up again from the depths of despair and anguish and inspired me. Thank you all so much for the love, understanding, support, caring and friendship you all have given me.  I love and cherish you all so much and I don’t think I could ever tell you all that enough.  Thank you for being here for me.IMG-20160303-WA0012

And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and wishes for Aaryan. means a lot to me. Inshallah, with your prayers and wishes he will be up and running real soon. Here’s his picture taken by the nurse in the school infirmary.

As promised, I am writing this post from my hotel room and I have given myself 10 minutes to write this post. Tomorrow is a big day at work and I am dog tired after travel and all the preparations.

Talking about travel. I had an early morning flight and was ready an hour before the cab’s scheduled arrival time. As expected, I went about checking my bag (not my wallet, though), making lists mentally, cleaning and dusting the house. KG told me to leave all that and sit and relax.  But did I listen? No!!  Yes, I am mad that ways.  The cab arrived on time and I left for the airport. As soon as I opened my wallet to pay, I saw that my ID cards were missing. I wouldn’t be allowed to even enter the airport without it.  I had a mild panic attack as I realized that I had given the two ID cards to KG for some work a few days ago and never took them back. I called him. He was certainly not happy about leaving his early morning TV watching routine and after some cribbing and whining, he drove 20 kms to hand over my ID cards. And was I touched?

And just the evening earlier, 7.30 pm to be precise, I realized that the Dhobhi had not delivered the clothes I had given him for ironing. The lot had my 2 jeans and I  NEEDED them for my trip. (The Dhobhi could not home deliver them because of  amavasya which is his monthly off day).  So, I call KG who was at work then and made him go house hunting of our Dhobhi in some narrow lanes in an unknown area. Not an exciting thing to do, I know. But he did it.  And these two incidents made me realize that what a blessing it is to have a partner who is so supportive and understanding. And especially when I am pretty capable of testing his patience to the limit, but he has put up with me through thick and thin….and with a smile and just a dash of cribbing!!

Today, I’d like to thank you, KG and all my blog buddies… Shailaja, Sheethal, Cathy, Tulika, Parul, Roshni, Jayashree, LuAnn, Mithila, Geetika, Genevive, Asha, Nabanita, Madhusmita… truly overwhelmed by your love and support! Thank you for being there for me!! ♥

Challenging Self

It has happened again. Is it permanent? The mere thought has sent shivers down the spine!

Yes, I am not able to write.

I tried the whole day…no… a few hours actually, thinking, imagining and writing some 100 words for the phrase prompt at BAR.

And the result?

Well, if those words were written on paper, I would have crinkled it into a ball and thrown in the far corner of the room. Since, that was not the case and it was my beloved laptop which had those obnoxious 100 words, I merely pulled my hair in frustration.

The guilt of having not written a single word on my blog since the last nine days is overwhelming me. I have signed up for the April A to Z Challenge and with the current state of mind, I have half a mind of pulling out of it. But the other half is the reason I am here today. It is pushing me, challenging me and look, I have taken the bait!

I have given myself 10 minutes to do a free write and get done with a post. And I am determined to do these free writes till I actually get into the groove of writing. I am hoping that this will build the momentum and it will help me to push myself and test my limits. Looks like a post is shaping up and I am breathing a bit easily now.

In other news, Aaryan has injured his knee while playing football at school.  It’s a ligament tear and a plaster cast has been applied to hold the knee for 3 weeks. He is fine and is able to walk around and is attending his classes at his boarding. But I am stressing about it and harassing the life of the nurse at the school infirmary and the Dorm Matron by calling / pinging them frequently! Thank God for they are nice people and have not blocked my phone number as yet!

Eight minutes are over and I must wrap up this post. Have a early start in the morning, work and travel beckons. Will write another post tomorrow from a hotel room, probably… no definitely!

In the mean time, may I request you to suggest some memes, tips, prompts that my right part of brain (which is currently pretty challenged) can take up easily! TIA!

Challenging self

Do Plan for Better Blog Engagement

“I don’t understand myself. I want to do what is right but I do not do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate … It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what’s right, I inevitably do what’s wrong.” (Romans 7:15)

What is it with me? Why do I act the way I do and that is just the opposite to what I know is right?

Engaging meaningfully with the readers is one of the pillars of blogging success. We all know that comments on our blog posts not only help us to get feedback, it also aids in developing and maintaining relationships. So, responding to the comments from the readers is essential to make this interaction more meaningful and it also helps in increasing the connect with them. Even the BAR’s tip of the week talks about the same.  

I am totally convinced about the engagement with my blog readers. But knowing something and actually doing it are two very different things. Do I engage with the readers on my blog, efficiently? Well, you know the answer!

Let me tell you that this faltering on timely response to the comments disturbs me. It leaves me pretty unsettled and restless. And yet I don’t do much about it.

I pondered over this and came to a conclusion that I am stuck. I am stuck for I am trying to find the balance among…

  • reading and leaving comments on the blogs in my niche,
  • writing the next post and
  • responding to comments.

I’d like to believe that I am doing a fair job with the first two to-do things but I am failing miserably on the last one. And it’s not that I have to respond to a lot of comments per post!! But visiting other blogs and writing new posts takes a considerable time and that leaves no or little time for responding to comments. I know, I cant use that as an excuse. So what do I do? How do I boost the engagement with the readers on my blog?

I believe, I need to have my Do Plan. This Do Plan for better engagement on the blog should include the following…

  • Stop procrastinating and make blog engagement a priority.
  • KISS: Keep It Small and Simple. Set small, achievable goals.
  • Set time limits. Devote a few minutes daily to respond to comments.
  • Make it a habit.

They say, success is about progress, not perfection. As long as I keep moving in the right direction, keep acknowledging the changes, and keep working on the goal, it would work out in the end. So, one post at a time, it shall be for me. And I am taking the step in the direction of meaningful interaction with my readers from TODAY! Fingers crossed…

How do you manage your time as you visit other blogs, write on your own blog and respond to comments. Please do share your tips and suggestions.

Linking this to #MondayMusings

Mondaymusings

Facebook Reactions : Causing Havoc and Grief

Facebook’s Like Button has got 5 new friends. By hovering over the good old Like button, you meet   *Love*, *Haha*, *Wow*, *Sad* and *Angry*. So, now your simple update can generate five different reactions and you have more ways to express and engage on Facebook.

Since the company announced the arrival of these Reactions, there’s a lot of excited anticipation on Facebook.

FB Reactions

And now that these Reactions are here, I think they are going to cause much havoc and grief than it’s worth. Here’s why…

  • You will be wasting spending more time than ever on Facebook. For now, you will be taking the time to first hover the cursor over the Like button and then deciding whether to Love or Haha or simply Like that status or picture.
  • You will be over analysing your relationships. ‘Oh, she just liked my picture. Jealous B!’, ‘Oh My God! He LOVED my status!!’, or ‘Why is he loving all my pics and updates?’
  • With the earlier just the Like button, Facebooking was simpler. All you had to see was the number of Likes your update or new profile pic got. But now, you will have an additional task at hand. Yes, you will be tracking how many Loves, Wows and Hahas you got and if you are the one who’d also track from whom you got these reactions and why too, then I wish there was a *Rolls Eyes* reaction too!
  • This Haha reaction may cause some real misunderstandings. Is the person who Haha-ed your update, laughing with you or laughing at you?? Think before Haha-ing any update!! Wow
  • Your life will get more complex. In the good old days know you knew what your friends like or ‘Like’. But now you will have a tough time understanding and knowing who thinks what and may be ponder ‘Why?!’ 
  • Warfare!! Yes, these reactions have the potential to start a mayhem on a post with heated debates and arguments. You can relax for the time being, as these reactions are restricted only to main updates / posts and are not applicable to the comments. But that day is not far when you would show reactions to comments too! I need a *Shudder* reaction. 
  • Grammar Nazis will have one more reason to crib and/or revolt because soon friends will say, “I Sadded his post of tragic accident”.

sad[3]Of all these 5 reactions, my vote is for *Sad*. I think this one was certainly needed. No, don’t get me wrong. Allow me to explain.  Earlier, the sad and tragic news or update too received Likes.  That appeared to be truly insensitive and crass. Why people Liked such news is beyond my comprehension, still. I mean they can simply express their concern or grief in the comments. Anyways, now, you can express appropriately and share your *Sad* reaction without typing any comment!

Now that these new reactions are here, we can’t do much about it, but I seriously wish that there was a *Dislike* and a *Rolls Eyes* button. Hope that they are rolled out in the near future.

In the mean time, have a good time reacting on Facebook.

What’s your take on these new Facebook Reactions? Loved them? Or it’s Haha or Wow for you? Or are you Sad and Angry too? Do share your Reactions!

Writing Without the Muse

It’s been a week since I wrote on my blog here. I fretted and fumed, struggled and strived the entire week. The more I tried to get the thoughts and ideas flowing, the deeper the brain went into the freeze mode and stiffer the fingers became as if suffering from an advanced stage of arthritis.

It was not that I had paucity of time or there was dearth of ideas. I have been exploring and soaking in all that Kuwait has to offer and my camera is testimony to that as it  is capturing all that action. I have so much to share about my experiences here and still I am not able to express it. Is it the excitement of sharing the unusual treats, sights and experiences that I am having here and or is it that I am stressing too much about writing all that? Whatever it is, fact is that I am fed up of the blank page on my laptop screen.

I know, I can coolly say that it’s that awful writer’s (blogger’s) block. But I can’t just sit around, wring my hands and wait for the muse to arrive.

I decided to take the bull by its horn and am committed to write without bothering much about the block or the muse or the pressure or the blank page.  In fact, today, I simply fired the muse and showed up myself here and got working.

And here I am with a short post and hopefully, this will get me in the groove. Here’s hoping that the words will flow effortlessly and smoothly without a break at this space.

Have a great week ahead, folks and see you all soon! Cheers!

Mondaymusings-1

My Book Reading Challenges for 2016

If I have to pick up one word that I want to dominate my life this year, it would be BOOKS. I want to read all the good books I can lay my hands on. I can see that I am getting addicted to the written words more with each passing year. And off late this addiction has taken me by a storm. So, I am planning to read new authors, favorite authors, different genres (biographies, classical literature, self-help, non-fiction), re-read some books, big fat books, ebooks, audio books; read for fun and entertainment, read to explore and learn, read to soak in the emotions and to be at peace, read and read much more.

To chart the progress of my reading this year, I am taking 6 reading challenges.

1. Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge

I plan to read 150 books this year. I know, it’s a bit steep, but I am all for it.

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Shilpa has
read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
hide

2. HT Brunch Book Challenge

It’s a simple one. All one has to do is read at least 24 books before the end of the year and at least three of those 24 books must be Indian

3. Pop Sugar : Now this one is pretty interesting and creative. I had taken it up last year too and had ticked off most of the books listed in the challenge. This year, I want to focus on it and check all the books that would fit for each book prompt.

Pop Sugar 2016 Reading Challenge

4. New Authors Challenge : I found this reading challenge at my April AtoZ Challenge Co-wHooligan, LuAnn’s blog.  Literary Escapism is hosting this challenge! The premise of this challenge is to read books by authors you’ve not read before. I am planning to read 20 New Authors this year.

New Authors 2016

5.  2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge : This is hosted by the lovely and inspiring Corinne. This challenge has 4 levels :

Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1–5 more books (or 250–1,499 more pages)
Out of Breath: read 6–10 more books (or 1,500–2,749 more pages)
Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages)
I’m on Fire!: read 16+ more books (or 4,000+ more pages)

And no marks for guessing that I’ll be on Fire for this one!

Corinne Rodrigues

 

6. Audiobook Challenge 2016 : I have read just one audio book so far. I want to explore more of them, so signing up for this one too.

2016-Audiobook-Challenge

This challenge has various levels…

  1. Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
  2. Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  3. Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
  4. Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  5. Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  6. My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+
  7. Marathoner (Look Ma No Hands) 50+

  And I’ll give it a try so 5 audiobooks it will be for me this year!

I am now stepping away from my laptop and curling in my bed with a cozy blanket and a brand new book. 

Are you taking up any book reading challenge this year? How many books are you planning to read?

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