Whisper of the Heart

「耳をすませば」– more commonly known as Whisper of the Heart, is undoubtably one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films – or films of all time. I urge you to watch it this very moment if you haven’t seen it already. 

I found the Cinema Comic book version in a Japanese bookstore today.

Am I being delusional? I asked myself as my eyes landed on the book. I couldn’t believe it. 

Having the movie in a tangible format; pictures that I can touch and read over and over to my heart’s content: intimacy only the cordial words and illustrations of a book can offer, is quite honestly, the best thing.

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Here’s to new beginnings.

2016 seems to have arrived unwaveringly, striding through the threshold of time without once looking back. But before beginning this year, I wanted to take time to thank 2015 for all the opportunities and new experiences it has given me; I am very grateful.

What would a new year be without slurs of resolutions and talks of new beginnings? Newly regimented exercise schemes that are never started, aims to study harder never really accomplished – the list goes on.

Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour.

Above is a remark made by Ovid, a long time ago.

Instead of failed resolutions and disappointment, know that some things are destined and some are, well, not. Be patient and content and confident; the course of nature will find its way to you. I have been inspired by Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’, which I am in the process of finishing. It has given me hope – a mere fable, but a story so touching and profound. It has been a great start to the new year.

It’s odd to think that this new year really will mean a new adventure for me. I leave to Japan in early January: the beginning of my true gap year. I look forward to what fate has kindly predestined for me.

Travel Memoirs

I found myself rummaging through one of my mom’s old boxes, when I came across some of her travel memoirs from two decades back. Packed in a grey, dull looking box, I initially put it aside. I eventually opened it, and I found photographs. They were in the form of slide pictures – the kind that are inserted into a projector, so they can be displayed for the world to see.

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_DSC3730They were beautiful; a hundred photographs from the unknown land of Petra, Jordan – a place I long to visit. Rustic, sandy and arid colours were exposed, with a wave of reticence. These photos were concealed away in the depths of her memories. I sat qualmishly for a moment, hesitant, wondering whether I should have seen these pictures of her travel memoirs.

That's me. I'm marvelling at one of my favourite photographs.
That’s me. I’m marvelling at one of my favourite photographs.

_DSC3627I don’t think my photographs or words will do them justice, but here are some of my favourites with a collection of my thoughts.

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A portrait of a boy. A nameless boy, lost in the abyss of oblivion in my mom’s memory. “I wonder where he is now; what he looks like, how he is…” she says as we stare at the small image together. I wonder the same. And that’s what I write in my journal. I wonder if this is how fictitious characters are created: from lost memories and a portrait. Bringing back to life what once was lost, perhaps. His gaze tore straight into my heart; I could feel the captured emotions running through his face, though indiscernible to me.

The boy in the photograph reminds me of a young character in ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, by Khaled Hosseini. (I’ll be writing more about that marvellous book soon!)

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My mom standing by the towering landscape, leading into a two thousand year old city of the past.
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Though slightly blurred, the deep hues of gold pigmented in the landscape caught my eye. I yearn to see them for myself.
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Carvings and ancient construction in rocks that once overlooked a civilisation of the past.

Photography – sometimes considered a menial and an all-too-common pastime, but there’s something about the reveries and pleasant thoughts that something so small can leave you in. I can only wish to capture photographs with so much meaning and emotion, as my mom did.

Winter

Ambivalence prevails when exposed to the thought of winter. It seems as though autumn has almost come to its end in London; fog is widespread and yesterday evening, the world was so still.

And so, to ignore that and my cold (Really winter? Couldn’t you have come up with something better this time?) I will indulge into yet another novel.

‘And the Mountains Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini is what I’ll be reading. Having read ‘The Kite Runner’, which is a truly wonderfully written novel, I am intrigued to read his other works. I will be sure to post my thoughts once I have finished.

Autumn in Glasgow

Reading the beginning pages of Atonement by Ian McEwan on the train to Glasgow, my eyes began to pick up smallest of details. McEwan has an extrinsic gift of bringing out the beauty of the simplest of objects, emotions and people through the meticulous alignment of words.

Upon arrival in the beautifully historic town of Glasgow, I too began to pick up the minutiae of everything around me: the silver lining of the curve of each tile on the ancient roofs, the discolouration of the decrepit brickwork, the autumnal hues of the foliage surrounding the university buildings.

The only other way to better illustrate the landscapes and architecture I saw would be through photographs. Enjoy.

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

The golden leaves of Autumn


If you’d like to share my photography, I would love for you to share my blog along with it too as credit! Thank you so much to everyone who has taken time to read my blog.

Just a book

‘The Book Thief’, it was called. The book that changed my life.

I love loosing myself in words. Wandering into the abyss of imagination and wonder: becoming lost, and wishing it could last eternally; wading in a sea of thought that seems to extend forever.

Just like Liesel, I found myself marvelling at the power of words.

When I finally came to the last few lines of the novel, tears spewing uncontrollably from my eyes, I read slowly, with trepidation. Why? Looking back now, I think it was because I did not want it to end. This book – these words – had given me a way to escape into a fictional dream, ignited with colours and life.

Before the very end, I experienced a flash of the scenes of people and emotion that was created with words: Liesel, who read to her neighbours in a crowded basement, Max painting the tightrope towards the sun, the stars that burned his eyes, Hans’ silver eyes and his accordion, death himself…

The paradoxical themes of innocence and destruction consumed me. Like the narrator, I questioned how beauty yet so much pain could coexist. He says,

I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

This book filled the empty shell of my imagination and curiosity. So little gave me so much.

For that reason, it is not just a book, but rather a wonderful, intricate collection of words thought through with inscrutable detail, creating a fictional dream in which you can perambulate forever; a world which allows you to stride beyond human imagination – words so powerful, they make you concede the notion of what at first you thought was not imaginable. I became part of that extrinsic imagination, and I struggle to figure out whether I’d ever like to leave.

Rosemary

I began reading Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and a quote stood out to me. It reads, “You’re the only girl I’ve seen for a long time that actually did look like something blooming.”

Putting that quote into a different context, I think that more recently, that girl may be me.

For those of you who have read this book, I do not consider myself to be Rosemary, though I feel like I can connect to many aspects of her innocence, dreams and the subtle transformation of her character. But reading this one quote captured me, as if slowly everything in the world came to a halt. At that moment, I felt like I was motionlessly looking at myself through a mirror, self-examining and wondering about how I myself had finally bloomed perhaps, into a more complex and intricate being.

Everyone around me is going to university, and I feel as though I have strayed from the usual path. I have started making my way, but I can still see everybody, and I question whether I should turn back while I can. Looking at my past self, I sometimes realise how naive and anxious I had been, but I have made the decision that time is not worth wasting on things that ultimately won’t matter to us and determine who we are if we don’t let them.

The primal reason behind my gap year is not getting into my first choice university because of 1 mark (literally). But I have come to realise life moves on and we have little control in that matter.

And you know what? I think that can sometimes be a great thing. Life is constantly ushering you forward, endlessly propelling you into the future. Unlike the Rosemary, we are not fictional, and someone else does not and cannot control what we say and do. We exist. This is reality. And we have to seize it.

There is always a part of us that blooms with new experiences, like Rosemary; and for me – I think it will be this gap year.

I hope that my journey can reassure someone out there that it’s all going to be okay. And it will.

“In any case you mustn’t confuse a single failure with a final defeat.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night