Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Before I jump on to the book review, here are some facts about the Birkenau Concentration Camp, Auschwitz.

1. The Birkenau camp was the largest of the more than 40 camps and sub-camps

2. The Auschwitz camp consisted of 28 blocks. Most of them were residential buildings for prisoners. The blocks were intended for about 700 prisoners, however, their number reached even 1,200. In the second part of the camp – Birkenau – there were two types of barracks for prisoners: brick and wooden. Each of them lacked sanitary facilities, lights, and heating. 

3. Prisoners had to undress before bathing in their barracks and – regardless of weather conditions – go naked to the bathhouse. For many prisoners, it ended with illness and death.

4. Jewish prisoners were persecuted during the procedure of admission to the camp. Authorities treated Jews most ruthlessly, often with sophisticated cruelty. According to SS the value of their life was the lowest. All of them became victims of hunger, cold, work beyond strength and constant abuse or died in gas chambers.

5. There were about 232 000 of children under the age of 18 years deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

6. At least 1 million of Jews were killed in Auschwitz

7. A lot of prisoners were used in cruel Joseph Mengele’s pseudo-medical experiments.


The book is based on a true love story of Lale and Gita (Ludwig Eisenberg and Gisela Furman), who survived the horrific time at the Birkenau Concentration Camp. This book doesn't necessarily represent the dark truth of the concentration camps unbeknownst to the humans of 21st century, but it beautifully, does take us through the pain and sufferings of two hearts who found love amidst pain and torment.

Why should you read this book:
1. If you haven't read any book based on WW2, this is one of the books you should begin with.
2. It's a love story! 
3. The writer beautifully takes us through the bunks, blocks, buildings of the camps with each character strongly exhibiting grit and strength. This is a book that will instill your dying hope in humanity! 
4. World history is very underrated. You must read first hand stories and not what is only written in text books!
5. You will appreciate everything you have in life! This story must be shared, told, heard and read!

Why shouldn't you read this book:
1. This is not one of the best reads, in the genre of Holocaust fiction books. Sure there have been better. 
2. This book was written for a movie, I guess, so the flow of the story is a tad flawed, but the bright side is, it is very easily imaginable and easy to read
3. If you are not a fan of love stories don't pick this up!
4. If you want to stay in denial about WW2 and the holocaust, you can give this a miss!
5. There was definitely a lot that could've been there in the book. It could have been more inclusive. You feel the need to know more about other characters! 

But this was about Lale (32407) and Gita and you end up falling in love with their personalities!

Read it anyway! :)

Lale - Tattoo # 32407

Rating this book - 4 stars out of 5

Thank you Sarvesh for recommending this one!! :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The Year that Was - 2018

2018 has been a year of ups and downs. There have been times when I thought - 'life's over and I cannot keep going on anymore'. And then there have been times, when I thought, 'hmm...not so bad!'

One thing that I learnt in 2018 was - to never give up! When 2018 dawned, I had chosen a word for the year - Resonance!

I stuck by it, and only tried to do things, or be with people with whom I resonated!
Mind you, the word did not pop up on it''s own! It was this message, that I kept seeing on Instagram for a number of times, and I decided to hold on to the sign! 

Going by that, here are some of the "tops" of 2018! 

Top 5 moments of 2018:
1. Meeting my nephew and nieces - Sheer Joy!
2. Chance to be a part of Heartfulness movement, day after day!
3. Meeting my Best Friend after 2 years!
4. Family Reunion!
5. Baby news - from BFFs!

Top 5 "Firsts" of  2018:
1. My First House!
2. My First long drive in my new car!
3. My First time watching a Live Cricket Match!
4. My First time making Sizzlers!
5. My First time with Keto Diet! - Meh! :/

Top 5 things I "Learnt (Skillwise)" in 2018:
1. Self-Love
2. Anger/Mood Management
3. Technical Skills
4. Guitar - Still a long way to go
5. Meditation/Introspection Techniques

Now coming to the Not-so-Good parts of 2018

Top 5 "No-so-good" things that happened:

1. Physical Health - took  a toll! 2019 - Will be the year of transformation!
2. Mental Health - breakdowns and anxiety did not leave me. I managed to live with it, thanks to sincere Meditation and Inner Connect! I have had trust issues, and they continued this year! I cannot easily place my trust in anyone!
3. Though, I learnt really well to manage my anger, but there were times, when the gush of emotions, the heat would consume me! I was thankfully, able to manage it!
4. I did not do well, work wise, hence money wise. 
5. My center of attention was always something/someone apart from me.
(Though, Self-Love was a constant struggle, I did try to draw my attention to the more important things, than other people and other distractions. Late last year, I did a 21 days stint to inculcate a habit and it worked well!)

Top 5 "Lessons from mistakes" of 2019:

1. Don't take your health for granted!
2. Be smarter, when it comes to money!
3. Have goals - short and long term and work towards it!
Can you imagine, I did not have any goals this year - personal/nor professional! I completely missed the point of self-improvement, while trying to manage other weak points of my life
4. BREATHE. Properly. It helps - so so much!
5. Gratitude! No matter what happened, I learnt to accept and be thankful for it. This made things a little easier!

Philosophical Achievement - I understood the meaning of Killat (Less Money), Illat (Ill-Health), Zillat (Criticism) in true terms, and I am so thankful, the experiences in 2018 taught me humility in true terms.

The word/phrase of 2019 is - "Let Go" (Of Inhibitions and blockages which have been holding me back for so so long!). "The Art of Life is "Letting Go" - (read this on instagram again!)

May 2019 be a year of learning/yearning and earning - good health, wealth and peace for one and all!

Happy New Year!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Where I want to be!

Where your fingers get entangled in mine
Where your head rests on my shoulder
Where your breath caresses my skin
While you slowly fall asleep...
That's where I want to be..

Where your tiny toes tickle my tummy
Where your hair kisses my cheeks
Where your smile converges into mine
While you look for me...
That's where I want to be..

When nights turn into day
Listening to your stories
Where sun-rays are warmth
Like you holding me..
That's where I want to be..

Wednesday, November 29, 2017



No.. She's not an illusion. None at all. 

But, the idea that you can own her, sure is. 

She is like a firefly. She'll light up into a flame and attract you. And you'd catch her, perhaps. But don't think she'll glow at your whim. She owns her spark and you can never grab it. 

Not between your lips, or fingers or palms.

You may wonder, why doesn't she talk; and sometimes she's full of stories. It is annoying, intriguing, senseless. All at the same time... 

She wants more and more of everything on certain days and on some days she is as benevolent as the grace of God - so giving!

She can let go easily and not ponder over things that tear you apart. 

She'll instead whine over trivial matters. 

She'll hold you when you are weakest and not hold you at all when you are worse. Not because she cares less. 

It's because she needs to hold her self together. 

A broken hook cannot hold a mantle. 

She breaks and remains broken. 

Until she's ready to be whole again. Sometimes, she tries to make things alright. 

She tries to proves that she's done it before, but most of the times she's just gotten accustomed. 

Most of the times, she remains who she is. And you should let her be. 

She may be a mystery, but she's real. Don't make her a figment of your imagination. She's not an illusion. She's a real person. 

But let go of your ideas about her. Those are illusions- Dangerous ones!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017



Envy. Envy is bad. But it is genuine. 

You know what's better than envy - hate. 

Because there is no dilution in that emotion. And you, my love, feel that you are far from love because of the milligrams of hate you harness in tiny corners of your heart. Every human does!

I know he left you crying. I know your friends don't get you. You have no friends whatsoever, but you exist. And believe me, if you exist with a little love, life would be so different. 

Do you believe in magic? Do you want to see it? 

Love people despite the hurt and see what happens to their eyes. 

Dance and tell. Write and tell. Sing and tell. But, express. I know you can't. The hurt is too overpowering. You believe that no one deserves your grace. 

But you do, sweetheart!!

In loving others you will discover yourself again. Forgive the annoying little habits of people. Forgive all those who have taken joy away from you. Forgive those who have betrayed and those who have left you because of your incompleteness. 

It's difficult to complete others when they are not complete themselves. 

You are. 

Forgive yourself and love. 

Love like you are a magician, born to turn every wailing face into a smiling one. Let the spark in you ignite one more time and pass on your light to the people around you. Enough of this hate. 

When you keep love to yourself, it never grows. So is the case with hurt. 

Stop wherever you are and breathe. 

Live the moment and feel the love. 

You are now the light bearer, Zuri. You don't know it. Don't pretend that you are cold with remorse, whereas you are an entity of love. Go forth and be yourself. 

You are not enveloped by sadness or pessimism, they are just illusions. 

Love oozes out of cracks and you are full of them. 

Let it flow, like a stream, a never ending stream and let all those who've let you down know, that you have gotten back up and forgiven them. 

There is nothing more powerful than forgiveness

Let go. 

Friday, November 24, 2017



How you burst into fits of laughter while tears trickle down your cheeks. 
Your lashes hug each other like they were separated for ages - insomniac, dreaming with eyes wide open!

You hide your face as if the monsoons are hitting you hard, but my love, you are Rayn!

Pour down, like an endless drizzle, or a thunderstorm and laugh your heart out. Do not hide the freckles that redden up or your crooked teeth that twist your lips. 

Don't bother about how you look. 

You are beautiful, you needn't look so. Because you already ARE. 

Live like you will never live again and embrace the tiny bits of happiness that come your way, even when you are picking up broken pieces of yourself. 

There is wit and humor all around. You have a lot within you, let the happiness pour out and hold that sadness in your palms. Open it and let it go every time you are tempted to laugh. 

Let people think you've lost it. Let people question your sanity. 
Everyone out there is insane; fighting an unknown battle and crying over it.

But you laugh. Laugh, my dear like you will never laugh again, and let the giggles echo in the hollows of the universe. Let each organism know what it feels like to vibrate in optimism despite sheer agony. Laugh. 
And pour down, love. Whenever you want, as much as you want!

My darling, Rayn. 

Monday, November 06, 2017


Picture Location: SRCM Retreat Centre, Panshet
The clouds were murmuring in what seemed like a thunder.
The downpour had just shown us a prelude,
Of what lay ahead.

While talking on the phone, people appeared to convey to their loved ones that they will be passing through a storm, perhaps. And they might reach their destinations a tad late. 

There seemed to be a tenderness about the communication. Eyes moist, no smiles, as if the silent rustle was warning the humans of an impending doom. 
I stood there, looking at nature in its alluring synchronicity, both living and non-living entities reacting to the brontide. 
I realized, sometimes, what you hear, see, feel and know, are in different dimensions. 

You cannot put them together to make sense out of it. Perhaps a thunder somewhere is actually a rocket taking off from a space station. Or a huge truck unloading rocks on a construction site. The vision gets clouded automatically as the senses start working in tandem leading to a beautiful illusion, or sometimes painful.

But, I have been through many such illusions and I chose to stay still in both calm and storm. 

The residuum is a wonderful thing to observe. It's me, left with rasping dichotomy. 

And I undo it one by one, learning nature all over again.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

The Contrast!

Look at this picture!

Picture Taken in Paris, France, near Notre Dam

What do you see?

The little girl playing merrily with the sparrows? Unmindful, fearless, happy, naive, welcoming!?

Have you done anything like this in your life?
Of course, you must have. We have been carefree, outgoing, not worrying about the repercussions of indulging in little pleasures. 

We have played with people, friends, things, animals our parents warned us against. We have climbed roofs and yelled at the top of our voices?

We have been children, enjoying life insouciantly!

What has changed now? Why do we not do this anymore? Societal rules, norms? Fear of being judged? Fear of masks falling off?

What do you think is the old man doing? Can you picture yourself in the place of the old man? 

Can you gauge his expressions? What must he be thinking? What could be his life story?

This beautiful contrast depicts two extremes of our life! What we make of it in between is all that matters!!

“If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You'd lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You'd say to the wind when it took you away:
"That's where I wanted to go today!” 

― A.A. MilneWhen We Were Very Young

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Have you ever been on a date with yourself?

Try it!

Excerpt from Love in the time of  Cholera : 

“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that 

human beings are not born once and for all on the day 

their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges 

them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

― Gabriel García Márquez

Monday, October 30, 2017

10 Years of Blogging

10 years ago, sitting in a plush office, in an IT park, I wished I was someplace else. 
Daydreaming creatively found an outlet and I started blogging. A fellow colleague taught me how to get started, and there was no stopping.

From tiny life experiences to poetry attacks, to story writing leading to fictions - you name it and I was on it!

Slowly, like every good thing, the enthusiasm died - but what did not die was the urge to express.

My very own has now turned to a well deserved

It was high time, I gave the place it deserved. I wanted to start a brand new blog, I have done it a couple of times, but I did not know where to archive the older posts. 

So, I carried them with me, to this new space too!

Most of you, have read, lived this blog with me for years, and now I hope for you to tag along in another journey of - regular blogging and expressing - hopefully!

Find me on Social Media!

Facebook Page: The Obscure Optimist

Instagram: obscureoptimist

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Midnight, sharp, my cell beeped. I got a message from an unknown number that wished me the most beautiful birthday.

“No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves."
be you! always. Happy birthday!

No, it wasn't my birthday.
Yes, I wished it was.

Because this person on the other end was quoting a Murakami. And he/she had effortlessly used one of his quotes as a birthday wish. Who could possibly be as crazy as I am about an Author of a foreign origin, who writes about dysfunctional humans and cats!

"Sorry. Looks you have the wrong number", I replied.

After waiting for almost an eternity, the cell beeped again.


My fingers went over the qwerty in million different patterns.

I managed to type, "No! Wrong number."

An instant response almost ended the conversation.

"Murakami, huh?", I pinged back again, curiosity piling up.

"Seriously?!!", came the response.

"Sorta!", I replied.

"Very Impressive"

"This was perhaps Shruti's earlier number", I pinged resorting to small talk.

"Chance encounters are what keep us going!", the ping came back.

This person was referring to Kafka. That was my favorite read. I wondered if soulmates ever existed.

"No small talks please", the request instantly came in. Rude, I thought!

Our talks didn't limit to Murakami alone. It spanned over my favorite authors and favorite discussions. I had no clue who the person on the other end was. Was it a man, woman, girl, boy, an aged gentleman, a well read retired principal from a school, a librarian, a college student or a doctor? I had no idea at all. I started looking forward to late night chats, discussing books after books, the interpretations, philosophies, how characters came to life in our mundane lives, and how silly quotes from books made utter sense in real world. We lived in parallel universes, entwined in a love affair - unknown, yet very true.

I liked how the fling lasted more than a week. For a month. Almost a year. 

"I saved your name as Reiko", I pinged one fine day.

"How about Midori? or Sumire?", came the reply.

I had not imagined a girl to be on the other end discussing books with me all these days. I did not know, suddenly how I felt about it.

"Good choice", I responded, not sounding too surprised about the discovery.

I saved her number with the name as "Sumire", while she called me Miu.

Like an ethereal escape, both of us deluded into our own lives, realizing, how Sputnik Sweetheart must only be a fiction.