Tag Archives: Luna Lovegood

I Wear: Desire For A Day

Comic Con Mumbai 2011, the first of its kind in the city, took place in third week of October. I have much to thank the beautiful @Phyrodite for, not the least of which was, telling me about it and then helping me construct a look for it (more later).

The event wasn’t promoted as well as I would have hoped, given the burgeoning popularity of the visual/text medium (I’ll refrain from calling them either ‘comics’ or ‘graphic novels’ since each seems to incite overstrong responses). Still, it was exciting to think of being able to attend an event that focused solely on this genre and its fans.

That it took place at the undeniably inaccessible World Trade Center, Nariman Point may have been a point lost in its favour. Still the numbers did turn out, horrible public transport and weather notwithstanding. What was slightly disappointing was the size of the actual event. My first pang of disappointment struck when I saw the ubiquitous white-and-blue temporary stalls everywhere. These have become synonymous with boring expos, meets on real estate, technology and other such stuff. I really had expected something more…I don’t know…crazy, quirky, wild, colourful? The stalls were all run by publishers, writers or occasionally an unrelated merchandiser (posters, fridge magnets, music-themed tee-shirts).

I was delighted to find India Book House had a stall there. The people who’ve delighted every Indian child with Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha, had a large stall selling their most popular comics. The covers are now glossy though the print quality suffers in some of these cases. Also, ACK digests are now hardbound editions. As a show of support (and because they were offering a 20% discount!), I picked up two Tinkle digests and two  ACK collections (“Tamil Stories” and “Jataka Tales”). I also spotted fellow NovelRacers, Vijayendra Mohanty, there to promote his comic series, Ravanayan (which the boy promptly bought).

There was a costume competition in the evening but then again, I didn’t really see enough of dressed-up people to really make this a success. Most of the visitors were men/overgrown teenboys sporting the now-so-common superhero teeshirts. Among the costumes I did spot were a Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter really is not a graphic novel or comic!), Fred Flintstone (Isn’t that a cartoon, not comic?), two Darth Vaders (I guess Star Warsmania is a given in any comic convention) and the only other graphic novel character – Rorschach (from Alan Moore’s Watchmen). Which brings me to the next part of this post. What did I go as?

I’ve had my eye on a certain Neil Gaiman character for a long time and just hoping for a Halloween party or costume ball of some sort to don the look. Unfortunately for me, @Phyrodite beat me to it! Looking back, I know she made a far better Death than I would have. What else could I pull up at the spur of the moment? I didn’t want to go as a superheroine, given my limited exposure to these only notes teenboy-fantasy-skimpy-costumes. I didn’t want to carry off a character I didn’t know well and I did want to honour one of my favorite stories of all time – the Sandman. So I picked another character, one not as obvious but very powerful in his/her own way. There’s a clue in that last sentence, Sandman-lovers. This is what I took my brief from (Book 4: Season Of Mists):

“Desire smells, almost subliminally of summer peaches, and casts two shadows: one black and sharp-edged, the other translucent and forever wavering, like heat haze.

Desire smiles in brief flashes, like sunlight glinting from a knife-edge. And there is much else that is knife-like about Desire.

Never a possession, always the possessor, with skin as pale as smoke, and eyes tawny and sharp as yellow wine: Desire is everything you have ever wanted. Whoever you are> Whatever you are.

Everything.

The most striking thing about Desire’s look is that it isn’t an exact half-and-half male/female depiction, but a seamless blend of the two that somehow is both striking and attractive. I’d been meaning to get a haircut anyway and with this, I decided to just go wild and carried the comic with me to the hairdresser. Following a drawn image proved to be too difficult so instead, I explained the character to her. I think she really hit the nail on the head with this haircut!

It was too hot for a suit so I decided to pick the look Desire sports in Chapter 5 of ‘Brief Lives’, when he/she rescues Tiffany, the exotic dancer from the apocalyptic last dance of Ishthar. A white cotton shirt that I’d bought just the previous week was begging to be worn, that’s how cool and starched it was. I discarded my formal trousers in favour of skinny jeans to make the look more ‘spicy’ than staid. These jeans were too tight for me a few months back but happily for me, slip on like second skin now. Second skin I say, because that’s how tight they are. I think they made for a good contrast with the prim cotton shirt. Over this, I slung a black cordruoy jacket, hanging off one shoulder in the classic Desire pose. I think all I was missing was a lit cigarette but I don’t smoke so I gave that a miss.

Footwear would have to be my strappy black sandals since the haircut and shirt made for such a boyish look. It’s the accessories that I was really proud of, at the end. First of all, a red satin pouch that I got as a free makeup kit from Maybelline, doubled up as a waist pouch. The colour, the fabric, combined with the steel chain around my waist added the kinky touch to Desire.

A heart-shaped rose quartz pendant from Magick slipped into one of my ear hoops and stood out really well against the black jacket. A silver charm bracelet with a heart was on my right wrist. And finally, at the end of another steel chain (matching the one around my waist), I attached an old pendant from my college days, that depicts a boy and girl kissing. I wound this around my wrist and swung it around to showcase my character’s belief that human beings are but objects of Desire.

And finally, the most important artefact of an Endless sibling – the sigil. My glass heart pendant was a gift from @Phyrodite. And here’s when Death and Desire walked together!

* The photographs are courtesy Rehab and Valerie, who couldn’t have been more patient as I demanded one more angle, one more frame, one more photograph!

I Wear:

  • White cotton shirt with embroidered yoke: Cotton World, Rs.750
  • Sparkly jeans, skin fit: Diva, Levis, ~Rs.1500
  • Black strappy sandals: Catwalk
  • Black cordruoy jacket: Shoppers Stop
  • Red satin pouch with steel chain: Make-up kit from Maybelline
  • Large glass heart pendant on black chain: Street stall, Hill Road, Bandra, Rs.150
  • Small rose quartz heart pendant worn on ear hoop: Magick, Bandra, Rs.150
  • Steel boy-and-girl-kiss pendant: Malhar, St.Xaviers’ college circa 1997 (!), ~Rs.200
  • Haircut: Enriche, a L’Oreal salon, ~Rs.800

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Reverb 10.8: Beauty Is The Difference You Make

I absolutely hate this Reverb 10 prompt because it reminds me too much of the feel-goodey self-help books/seminars/talk shows. I can’t see what it possibly has to do with writing. And that said, I will still do it because I’m stubborn, because I’m annoyed and according to my writing circle, any strong emotion is fodder for a writer. So here then is a prompt that sparks off the ‘irritable’ energy in me.

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

What makes me different? Nothing at all. I am not one of those people who strives to be different. I am the person who manages to say or do something that makes people around uncomfortable. For the Harry Potter fans, I am the Luna Lovegood of my world (in the ‘had a curious habit of saying things like that which made everyone uncomfortable’ way).

When I was a kid, I was called weird. Children don’t take too well to a kid who questions the method of selecting the ‘den’ in a game (it’s biased too badly in favour of the bigger, stronger kids). The kids I grew up with did not like change and hated my frequent suggestions to reverse game rules, mix-and-mash games (football on bicycles, hide-and-seek where everyone looks for one person and hides with them when they find them) and other variations. ‘Weird’ was a well-earned tag, I suppose.

Then I grew up a little more and stepped into adolescence. But I hadn’t developed the badass attitude to be called delinquent, misbehaved or troublesome. Instead I became ‘inexplicable’. I mean, who gives away their lunch in return for being left in peace to stare out of a window? Who makes a beeline for the skeleton in the biology lab to go shake hands with it? Who answers a Foundation Course question of ‘What is your identity?’ with ‘I am unique’? (Yes I did that. Everyone else had used up the ‘I’m Ms.so-and-so’, ‘I am the class topper’ answers). Who cuts physics class to sneak into psychology lectures? Who gets to college early to watch a sunrise? Inexplicable, indeed.

I dropped a year in college because I couldn’t bear physics. Then I made life miserable for the head of my math department by questioning every thing she said. I called my placement co-ordinator, a pimp, because she insisted on sending me to a dubious company (whereby she retaliated by banning me from college placements). I sat unemployed for six months because I didn’t think the jobs that were on offer were worthy. And then, I quit the prestigious job that I did get, a year later with nothing else on hand. Mysteriously three months later, I landed another (and even more prestigious) job. Three years later, I made a career move that surprised everyone in the company who heard of it and every mentor I’d ever had (one of them said I’d plain lost my brains). I quit that a year later to write. Without a publisher, without a job on hand and right in the middle of recession. Brainless? That’s me.

I’ve never been prouder than when following my own quirky, mad, unpredictable choices. They’ve always worked for me. I can’t always explain how and why but many of those times, I just know that something is right for me, even if the world seems to think otherwise.

And I’ve never been happier than when I’m able to live as weirdly, as inexplicably and as brainlessly as I want to. That happiness comes from freedom but also the peace of mind that no one has ever been burdened by my choices. I’ve always borne the consequences of my decisions and really, really, not a single one of them has been bad. The only difficult things I’ve had to face have been the results of following what people around me felt was right (uninspiring education, unsuitable workplace, unlovable love interest).

I can’t tell if it that any of this makes other people happy. But here’s something – Because my own life is so offbeat, my choices so inexplicable and my self so ‘weird’, I have a near irrational hope in other people’s dreams. I’ve been told by at least a few people that my belief in their abilities gave them the courage to pursue what they really wanted. That’s an aspect of beauty I would be proud to stand for.

Nobody really wants to be born ‘different’. It’s so much easier, better to be born smart or attractive or popular or steady. I spent long enough ruing the fact that I couldn’t be the girl my family wished I would be, the ‘right’ kind of girl for the men I loved, the ‘perfect’ employee that the perfect workplace demanded. Now, I think I’ve just reconciled myself to the fact that I never was any of those things and never will be so I may as well enjoy being myself. After all, nobody else is.

Loony Luna

If I were a character in the Harry Potter saga, I’d be Luna Lovegood. Or I’d want to be but I’d probably end up being Ginny Weasley. After all, I think (and quote me on this please, I’m especially proud of this revelation!) …

When you’re a kid, you’re plain weird
As a teenager, they say you have attitude
When you grow up, it’s called individuality

Some people don’t belong. Of course, the truth is that no one really belongs, per se. We just align with others who are as much like ourselves as possible and try and tuck away the bits that stick out. Not everyone tries that hard though and some don’t seem to even want to. I suppose that’s infuriating to those who struggle with the everyday business of belonging and find its an ongoing, uphill task, what with these annoying emotions and thoughts and ideas, that keep threatening to give them away to the world as someone who isn’t ‘one of us’.

I love J.K.Rowling simply for thinking up a character like Luna and I’m delighted to see that the movie-makers have understood the essence of Luna’s character so well and brought it out perfectly. I know some people have not been happy with the characterisation and find her ‘not as loony’ as expected. But then…there’s more to Luna than the radish earrings and necklace of Butterbeer corks.

Yes, Luna believes that mistletoe is full of Gnargles and reads the Quibbler upside-down. But she also sees Thestrals that few others can see. That’s a clue, isn’t it? She sees that which most others can’t. What matter if she misses a few of the more obvious things? There’s the rest of the world to catch all those things.

People like this have been aptly described as ‘marching to a different drummer’. I think the range of their vision is just different from that of the others. Does it matter if they don’t see the wrinkles in threads and choose to see the tapestry instead? I’m not sympathetic to Luna, she doesn’t need it. She doesn’t need too much from other people, in fact.

The actress brings out the sweet-smiling, wide-eyed innocence-wisdom of Luna wonderfully well when Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) comments that it is really mean how people are always hiding her things, and she replies,

That’s alright, it’s just in fun. Besides my mum always said that things that get lost, have a way of turning up right in the end…even if not in the way you expected them to. I’m really sorry about your godfather’s death, Harry.

How can you not love someone who is able to look deep inside you and see you for who you really are….even if…especially if…you can’t see it yourself?

On the other hand, there’s the thought that struck me this morning that Luna is wise and profound, even at the cost of being weird because the world at large doesn’t matter to her. Detachment is Ravenclaw’s secret weapon just as fire is Gryffindor’s.

Modern Lady of Traditional Build Meets Magic & Muggles

No.1 Ladies Detective AgencyMy latest fascination is for the Botswana of Mma.Precious Ramotswe. I’m talking about the main character of ‘The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency‘ and her world. There are those who write well, there are tales that make you think. Alexander McCall achieves both with his series about a  proud African lady detective. Mma.Ramotswe has an opinion on politics, morality, relationships and business. She is a modern lady of traditional build.

It has been a fair while since I could wax eloquent about a book. Alexander McCall Smith gives us six:

  • The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency
  • Tears of the Giraffe
  • Morality for Beautiful Girls
  • The Kalahari Typing School for men
  • The Full Cupboard of Life
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness

Mma. Ramotswe’s Botswana is gentle, unostentatious and simple. The problems she attempts to solve involve other people’s errors of judgement and plain human folly. Her methods combine logic, intuition and some traditional Botswana values. And they work! You know how the mark of a good book is that it gives you something to think about every time you read it? I’ll add to that, a good book, like a good person also helps you see a side of yourself.

I’ve been going through this series in the past couple of months (occasionally alternated with another book). I’ve also been feeling considerably content with life. Yes, a powerful character, even if she is fictitious can change your way of thinking. And Mma.Ramotswe has all sorts of tricks up her ample sleeve, including the basic yet complex trick of being happy. Read the books, they really are a joyful experience.

In the meantime I wonder what it must feel like to be J.K.Rowling at the

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

moment. She’s one of the richest people in the world, by virtue of her role as creator of Harry Potter, the one and only cult figure in my generation. At the moment, she is also one of the few people who knows exactly what happens to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Snape, Voldemort and the rest of the characters in the magical world that has regaled all of us for the better part of a decade. To those who compare her unfavorably with Tolkien, I think that’s a tad unfair. The influence is undeniable but then who’s denying it? Anyone who has read the works of the father of fantasy cannot help but show traces of his impact. Besides, think….she has brought an entire generation of children back into the world of books. Reading is fashionable again. I admit it isn’t her handiwork alone but she certainly has helped spawn an entire tribe of new readers, not to mention the sub-genre of ‘magical fiction’ that gives us such books as Eragon.

Her website has an amused/stern warning to the kids that frequent her house and rummage her cupboards that,

What they are looking for has long before been moved to a safe location!

🙂 Why blame the kids when hordes of adults are waiting with bated breath for the final instalment of the Hogwarts books?

A few thoughts from someone who’s been following the series closely:

1. Will Harry die in the seventh book? I think not. While Rowling has maintained a trend of killing off a key character in each book, I doubt she’ll attack the protagonist himself. It stops her from writing future (more money-spinning) Potter books, doesn’t it? On the other hand, as the debate goes, she might just do it, just to prevent other authors writing sequels. She has promised to not ‘go the Star Wars way’ and write pre-quels. I’d think her only option is keep Potter’s future open and available for the fans to lap up and keep her in money for a long, long time to come.

2. Did Sirius Black really die? Once again, I doubt it. After all, there wasn’t ever a body or even blood. Remember Gandalf the Grey in Lord of the Rings and his ‘death’ and re-appearance in the third book? Hmm, bear in mind the Tolkien influence.

3. Who on earth is R.A.B.? Her website says that ‘Regulus Black is a very good guess’. I’ve been running through my memory for other characters whose names fit those initials and I’ve come up with duds. No one else. Guess that’s pretty clear then, unless there’s a new character?

4. Somehow I thought Luna Lovegood would make a great partner for Harry Potter. Wasn’t expecting Ginny Weasley…that’s so Bollywood, isn’t it? But then again, I’m partial to the odd one…if I’d been a character in the book, I’d have been Loony Luna.

5. Harry isn’t really a powerful wizard per se. All his victories have been helped greatly by other people – Hermione, Dumbledore, Fawkes the phoenix, members of the Order. The sixth book keeps stressing on how Voldemort has marked him out to be his equal. What if Neville Longbottom, the other option, turns up with hitherto unsuspected genius? He fits the bill too, doesn’t he as the nerdy, unobstrusive, clumsy kid? I’ll bank on this one. I only wish they’d gotten a boy with better teeth to play the role. He’s turning out to be fairly ugly in the movie series.

6. Where’s Percy in all this? And whatever happened to that girlfriend of his who was Petrified in the second book..Penny something I think? If the seventh book really does tie off all loose ends, then there ought to be mention of this somewhere. And Charlie Weasley hasn’t made a satisfactory appearance in the series, except for a brief glimpse in The Goblet of Fire. Who’s betting he’ll be back?

7. I’d love to know more about Mr.Ollivander, the maker of wands. Where did he disappear and what was he all about?

8. Oh and by the way I have some strong notions on the movies. The actor who plays Sirius Black is a shattering disappointment. I was expecting an unshaven, tall rogue with all the dash and glamour of the Bad Boy. Instead they give us someone who looks like a neighborhood goonda gone to seed. While on this, I imagined Lupin to be this nice looking, fairly pleasant faced man. The werewolf-wizard instead looks like a shifty-eyed rascal even in his ‘human’ form. And what’s this about Snape? Instead of lean, lanky, greasy-haired menacing evil, we have someone who just looks like a grumpy Punjabi (incidently have you ever met a grumpy Punju? I haven’t.)

I’ll end this rambling here. The past few days have been spent immersed deeply in the lives of Mma.Ramotswe and Harry Potter and they’re starting to seem more real to me than the rains outside my window. Maybe X is right and I should stop reading so much. On the other hand Botswana and Hogwarts are infinitely more appealing than stressful workplaces, muddy roads, ex-boyfriends and matrimony-obsessed family members.

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