Books = Portkey = (Secret) Door

I wrote a series of posts on how certain books helped open a door to a whole new world for me and I categorized them with the term ‘Portable Magic‘ because ever since I heard the term ‘Portkey‘ in Harry Potter I associated that with the books. And for all the Muggles out there, a Portkey in Wizarding lingo refers to an object used to travel to another location, which is rather specific in Harry Potter’s world, without drawing any attention to anyone else around them, especially Muggles. So imagine my surprise when I come across this TEDTalk where Mac Barnett talks about why a good book is a secret door and how much it aligns with my idea of a book. His was a secret door and mine was a key to the another world/place. Mine can be considered a superset of his, that is all 🙂

Here is the 17+ mins talk which I found interesting and funny.


It always amazes and amuses me whenever I end up greeting someone very very different from my culture. Yes, I already had told you about my nothing less than a nightmare experience the first time I encountered a greeting with the kiss on the cheeks. So I found this video funny and can understand where he comes from although I haven’t been to Middle East / South East Asia yet 🙂 .


After my first experience , I have been to a few places in Europe and last year to Spain where I have had been greeted with kisses on each cheek, thankfully, nothing like three or more as is said in the video. But still, returning that favor is not yet in my cards.  So I can say that I am sort of now immune to it, even though I still get a little stiff if some one hugs me (these young women in the fitness center do that at a regular basis. I wonder when that became a standard way of saying hi around here).

Made me smile amongst  a very busy day.


Legacy, Need & Love


“Inside of all of us there is the need and the desire to be heard, to have our innermost thoughts, feelings and desires expressed for others to hear, to see and to understand. We all want to matter to someone, to leave a mark. Writers just take those thoughts, feelings and desires and express them in such a way that the reader not only reads them but feels them as well.” 
― Vicktor Alexander

In case you have time, check out the interesting video where Helen Fisher talks about ‘The Brain in Love’  (as part of the TED Talks). Here is the synopsis

“Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRI’s of people in love — and people who had just been dumped.”  The transcript can be view in the same link or here.

Choices R Us

I come from a culture where , at least for women, the choices in life were very less. I mention it in past tense, because it is so for me and lot of people I know. But it does still exist for quite a prominent population down south. I had less choice when it came to a lot of that pertain to myself. Not that I regret it now, but yes that was a fact. For e.g. I did not have any choice in the college that I would have liked to go to. I was sort of forced (due to my good rank actually) to check out one college which my parents wanted to (and in fact I wanted another one, even though both were women’s college) and sadly that one , which my parents chose, offered me computer science and was happy to take me up (and I wanted mathematics) and since I got accepted I was left with no choice than to continue. Now because I did not get a choice doesn’t mean I could perform badly. It is not in my nature. So I did good and well I am happy to be where I am, even though things would have been different if I did choose the other one. But I am not sure if I would be writing this post then ! So yes, in the Western world when people have so many choices especially in the matters of education I always felt that we were lacking behind. We still have a set of subjects that you have to study till you complete your board exams. There are no choices there and then there is a choice of which stream you want to do and all that. So when I came across this  Ted Talk by Sheena Iyengar about ‘The Art of Choosing‘, it got me interested. In case you are not willing to watch the video, here is the transcript of the same.

It gives us the various ways we perceive the choices and the assumptions we make related to choices and how it matters in various cultures. Its interesting to hear her speech. Especially when she is blind and her set of choices are rather limited but in a way , as she says at the end, she is able to analyse it much better than the people who are able to choose with all those visual distractions.

I prefer less choices, because, as she says in that video, most of the times its just variations of the same thing, like the soda. Irrespective of Coke or Pepsi, it is still soda and I refrain from them unless I am dying of thirst. But I wouldn’t say no to the opportunity to choose. We should be given choices at least in the matter where it directly impacts us. We do have the freedom now, at least I do. But that cannot be said for a lot of people out here. Those choices define us as a person and we learn a lot about ourselves from our choices , if they are bad then we learn about what doesn’t work for us, if they were good we know what works for us.