Have a Little Faith (Review)

Maybe all you get are opportunities to do good, and all that bad you do ain’t much bad at all, but because God put you in a position to always do good, when you do bad, its like you let God down.

A break between my exams saw Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith on my desk. It is hardbound, with a jacket that gives the impression of being a beloved old prayerbook, or something akin to an old diary of someone you just met.

Now that I’ve read it I can’t think of any cover more befitting of the story told within its pages.

The chronicles of the Reb and the Pastor are brought along side by side, and portrayed almost simultaneously. They run in tandem, each their own little world, and though worlds apart, each connected to the other through something inexplicably human, something that beats at the very core of our conscience.

The feeling of embarrassment at having to deal with a childhood mentor on a personal level is one I share with Mitch, although I was hardly recognized enough to be asked for a eulogy. (Not that we do eulogies in our faith; remembering the dead mostly consists of praying for them, preferably at their graves.) The confusion and nervousness were palpable from the first page. And just like being around Al grew on Mitch, the book grew on me too. It felt somewhat like I think it would if I could get to know my grandfather now. He was no preacher, but he was wise beyond anything I could hope to achieve. Reading about the Reb Albert felt like living an opportunity I never got.

Henry’s story had many more ups and downs. If the portion about Al was akin to catching up with childhood friends, the portion about Henry would be making new ones at college. Much more nerve wracking and full of uncertain potholes. The former feeds fuel to the age old fire of bonding and faith, and lends light to the ignition of the later, which seems to spread out into uncharted waters.

There were a couple of things that struck a cord in my heart.

Maybe all you get are chances to do good, and what bad you ain’t much bad at all. But because God put you in a position where you can always do good, when you do bad, its like you let God down.

~Cass

This. In a world where there’s nothing to stop anyone from doing evil, it is faith put in these simple words that holds the lens that could change someone’s paradigm.

Why keep serving God? …Where can you go from God? He’s everywhere.

…You can’t work your way into heaven. Anytime you try to justify yourself with works you disqualify yourself with works. What I’m doing here, everyday, is only my way of saying ‘Lord, regardless of what eternity holds for me, let me give something back to you. I know it don’t even no scorecard, but let me make something of my life before I go.

‘And then, Lord, I’m at your mercy.’

~Henry

All the sufferings and mistakes in his life taught Henry a powerful and all encompassing lesson. These words are the gist of that lesson. Us puny little humans could never even hope for our actions to measure up and make us deserving of prizes. God’s prizes come from His love and His mercy, and if He decides that I don’t deserve His mercy there’s nothing I can do. But I can make other people’s lives better, even if its just a tiny thing, because my actions can measure up to that.

The messages carries forth in this book may sometimes seem trivial and easily derived from common sense, while at others far fetched. Nevertheless, they are important codes to love by, and it is definitely for you if emotional stimulation is what you need in the realm of faith. The human soul relies on emotional instincts when it comes to the question of these things. The unlikely routes as are portrayed, shows us many facets, shared by almost all major religions, that would otherwise not shine.​

Daily Prompt: Faded

Some dreams wake me up and leave me in a haze.

I remember seeing the dirty unreachable corners, between the bed and the bookshelf, between the TV stand and that chest of drawers. I remember the old red curtains, faded from continuous direct exposure to the sun, hanging from every one of the abundant windows and doorways. I remember the old paint peeling off the ancient walls.

The TV plays a cliche cinema about a rich girl falling in love with a poor guy. It’s always the same, with slightly different plot points every time. Everyone in the room knows all the actors and actresses and acts as if it were their story. There’s in-scene commentary. There’re sing-alongs every time a song comes up. They can’t count how many times they’ve watched each of these. Continue reading “Daily Prompt: Faded”

It’s “O-U”

Like in “shout”

I love my name. The first two words are long and a hard combination of syllables to remember, and have very beautiful meanings (they’re Arabic words). The nickname is short and easy, and still very beautiful. I love my name, because it is as much my identity as my body, or my mind, or my writing, or my knitting and crocheting, or my reading. It’s all a package.

I love being addressed by my nickname. It makes me feel safe, like I’m home and don’t need to worry about anyone judging. I don’t have to worry about socializing and wondering if I should step it up or down. Continue reading “It’s “O-U””

Daily Prompt: Unfinished

via Daily Prompt: Unfinished


This has been bugging me for some time.

It’s not the first time I’ve started something only to loose interest somewhere down the line.

Wait. Let’s back up a bit. I used to be the person who was afraid of starting anything. The thought of anything new, or any change, to this day, makes me nervous, and I hate feeling uncomfortable. The start of something new is always a drastic change. It requires effort and constant getting used to. Continue reading “Daily Prompt: Unfinished”

Word-count Expectations

What do you owe your massive word counts to?

There are those legendary days when the words gush out of you like a healthy river. Ever wondered how the current gains it’s velocity?

I don’t know how it is for you, but I’ve pinpointed the glaciers that feed my river.


Planning Continue reading “Word-count Expectations”

Interview with Arpita from Scribbles@Arpita

Writing 101 last September lead me to meeting many awesome people, bloggers, of whom Arpita is one of the most significant. Her humor and sheer variety of blogging themes inspired me time and again. Today, we have her over for the first EVER interview on Khan’s Lantern! For those of you who’ve been with me through the past few months will know her from my post Comment Inspired.
Arpita Pramanick
The engineer-cum-writer in all her glory
What meaning does blogging hold for you?
Arpi: Honestly speaking, I started Scribbles@Arpita (March, 2015) because every author must have a blog, or so they say. I had, of course, been planning to be an author from much before that, but my first ebook had not been published until a few months later. The idea was to have a platform to promote the book. But having blogged here for close to a year now, I realize it is so much more than having a platform. I mainly blog about books/writing and once in a while about random stuff happening in my life.
Blogging for me is an extension of my writing. I don’t have the discipline to write every day. But blogging does not take much time, and also, I like to share my thoughts with others. Having blogged for several months, I have a set of readers who keep coming back and sharing their thoughts with me on my blog-posts. I cherish that a lot. That’s probably the one thing that keeps me going.
What inspired you to start writing? What keeps you inspired?
Arpi: I have written for as long as I can remember. I know that sounds clichéd, but well, clichés are clichés for a reason. As a kid, I wrote poems for my school magazine. You won’t believe the thrill I got from seeing my name in print – just like those of bigger, famous writers whose stories and poems we read in our textbooks. Until the next issue of the magazine came out, I kept going back to the page of the current issue where my poem/story was published again and again.
I remember creating same notebooks by stitching white pages and writing about the early human civilization – something that we were taught in history. The idea was to make a small book for my brother, to make history a fun thing for him! I wrote chapters like, “The invention of Fire” or “The invention of Wheel”. I don’t remember what happened to those journals – I guess my mother probably threw them in the trash thinking it was nothing, but the point is, even as a fifth or sixth grader, I had the desire to have something book-shaped where I could pen my own thoughts and which would have my name on the cover. I even had a small travel book, in which I drew pictures with sketch pens and wrote small travelogues every time we went to some new place.
I am not sure what really inspires me. I guess I am simply in awe of other writers – people who create worlds at the stroke of a pen/keyboard. Also, writing was one thing that my teachers praised me for when I was in school. I wasn’t much of a sports girl, so I wanted to do keep doing the one thing that I was told I do well. Of course, that kidlike desire to see my name in print is still there – you can call that an inspiration, too!
You self-published a book last August (or June, was it? Please correct me if I’m wrong.). Tell us about that journey.
Arpi: Bound by Life, my first (and until now, the only) ebook, was published on June 20, 2015. I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing program sometime around March/April 2015. By then I already knew how hard it was to be traditionally published, and I did not know if I had the patience to go to publishers’ doors. So I logged on to Amazon KDP and gave myself the deadline to publish my first book by June 20. I had published a small short story before that on Amazon KDP, just to test out how the entire process was. It got no buyers of course, and I realized that nobody would want to read a single story for 99 cents, especially from someone as new as me. That was an added trigger to finish an entire book fast and see if it was marketable.
bbl1 (2) - Copy
Writing Bound by Life was hard, because at that time I was in my final semester of college and the exams were coming towards me at a fast pace. I wrote in whatever time I could get, pestering my then roommate and a few friends to beta read. Their appreciation helped me a lot making me feel confident in putting the stories together.
The deadline was also coming up fast. Now it was March and suddenly it was June. I had finished the last exams of my college life and was behind on the internal deadline to finish writing the stories and starting with editing. The one thing that I regret about Bound by Life is not being able to put as much time as I wanted towards editing. I believe it could have been a much better book had I had more time to edit.
After I hit the publish button, it was pure marketing. Marketing a book, especially at this age, is as important as writing it. I had send out Advanced Reader Copies before publishing the book, but that it was not early enough to get early reader reviews. I had also asked a few blogger friends to post their reviews of the book on their blogs.
The initial months since publishing did not really see much activity from the readers. The number of reviews and ratings on Amazon/GoodReads are still few. There has been close to 100 free downloads of the book on Amazon, even though till today the paid count is 10. I also see a lot of readers reading the book via Kindle Unlimited, which has the book for free if you have a KU subscription. Sales have actually picked up since November, 2015 and I am hopeful Bound by Life will reach more and more people in the coming days. At this point, I am truly happy with the response I got for Bound by Life, sales-wise/feedback-wise.
I am thankful to all the readers who thought it was worthwhile to read the book. Thank you for your support! I’d urge you all to share your honest opinion of the book on Amazon/GoodReads. Your feedback is extremely important for me.
Now onto books. What sort of books do you like to read? Are you among the ranks of those who think reading is a form of escapism? Your thoughts.
Arpi: I like fiction, mostly. Though I am open to almost every genre, I don’t read much fantasy or sci-fi. I avoided horror/dark novels as well, but since I finished Gone Girl, I thought I should broaden my horizon. I also like reading the classics, because again, every aspiring author must read them, or so they say. I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice a lot – I love old-era books (just like I like black and white movies).
Reading is escapism, yes, but you are escaping into someone else’s world filled with someone else’s problems. And you have to engage yourself in that world to understand the problems of this someone. So, yes, you escape from your own life and problems when you pull a book and delve yourself in it. On the other hand, you get engrossed into someone else’s life and their problems and start to think of that world as your own. So, really, is there ever an escape?
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Arpi: I’m really not the best person to answer the question, because I am myself in the learning process. I have no degree in creative writing and all I write is simply based on my life experience.
But of course, the simplest advice would be to write as and when you can. To have the idea of a book published under your name is something, and to work towards that goal is something different altogether. From my self-publishing experience, I can tell us it is hard work if you really want to put your best efforts out there. But at the same time, it is a very fulfilling process. I still miss those days discussing my plot and the characters with my beta readers. Those were golden days!
So, dear aspiring writer, write whenever you can. Even 100 consistent words every day can take you a long way. Have realistic goals. Find where and in which mood you write best and try to recreate that. As long as you don’t give up, you’re good to go!
Bound by Life on GoodReads:
Thanks for the awesome QnA session, Arpi!

And They All Lived Happily To The End of Their Days

What I’m going through right now, every avid reader knows by heart. We dread every minute of it, but we go on anyway, because the journey is worth more than the emptiness afterwards.10593167_10152666908115520_7413013586274921432_n

I just finished reading Winter by Marissa Meyer, the last book in her Sci Fi series The Lunar Chronicles. Continue reading “And They All Lived Happily To The End of Their Days”