Thursday, 17 September 2015

thursday journals: the museum of procrastination (part 2/2)

Thursday is here, and so is my museum of procrastination (a la this post). I was actually really worried that I wouldn't have time to finish this (funny, I know), because I've been spending most of my days out and about in Tarragona. But, I buckled down and here we are.

Before I begin, though, I located the advertisement that inspired this whole thing. If you're interested in watching it, here it is:

The following is a guide to Tara's museum of procrastination, as it stands on the 17th of September, 2015. The nature of procrastination being as it is, certain rooms may close in the future, when the tasks they represent are completed (although, there is no guarantee of this). Additionally, new rooms and exhibits may open without warning, depending on what Tara decides to put off (okay, yeah I'm going to stop talking in third person now).

  1. The Room of the Unfinished Novel: Ever since I was a child, I've wanted to write a book and send it out in an effort to get it published. Despite the many ideas I've had through the years, I've never been devoted enough to a single one (discounting my Personal Project, which you can find here) to actually finish it. While some of the ideas were, quite frankly, trite and miserable, other plot lines and characters haven't left my head, so this is evidently something I should get a move on and do.
  2. The Exhibit of Abandoned Notebooks: I've had an on-and-off relationship journalling since my parents gave me my first diary at age 5. Every now and then, I get an irresistible urge (often prompted by a book I'm reading- The Princess Diaries never fails to get me set on journalling)  to pick up a pen and a notebook and start documenting my thoughts and my life. But it seems as if I just can't finish a notebook-- in fact, I don't think I ever have.
    Wait, no. I have. Once. When I was like, ten. But moving on.
    Every time I get the urge to start a diary, I always want to start over. Even if I've only filled three pages of the notebook that I used the last time I tried journalling, I feel like I can't use it; I need a completely fresh page (this is a quirk of mine that seems to be mirrored in my blogging habits, actually). So, I have thousands of notebooks, stuffed into drawers and bookshelves, that I've never finished, and I never will. But I'll keep them around; for me, the best part of journalling is reading what I've written. 
  3. The Piano Room: I took piano lessons from age four to eight. When I moved to Dubai, I abandoned the instrument, for reasons that I can't quite remember. I was never very good at playing the piano; I never really grasped the concept of playing with both hands at the same time. I came back to it a couple of times in Dubai, walking over to the keyboard in my room and trying out a few songs, but it never took. I did, however, learn to play the virtual keyboard, which is much, much easier.
  4. The Library of Abandoned Books: I was wondering whether I should put this in here, because when I abandon books (ie. leave them halfway without finishing reading them), it's often for a good reason. Take 1Q84 for example- that book was awful, and I couldn't bring myself to read past the first part. It doesn't really seem like procrastination when you're not really putting something off. But then again, I do have books on my shelf, like The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, that I keep telling myself I'm going to read, but haven't got around to yet.
  5. The Room of the Online Magazine: I'll admit, I've always wanted to start an online magazine. The first time I tried, I was something like eleven years old, and I tried to plan a magazine called Edition. I'd abandoned it within a few days, but the desire to start something similar never left me. Who knows if I'll get around to this one? An online magazine requires time and dedication, so it's something I won't do unless I'm sure that I'll be able to devote attention to it.
So, that's my museum of procrastination for you. Do you have similar rooms in yours? If you haven't already linked me/told me about your museum in the comments, please do! I'd love to hear all about it, and maybe, together, we can get moving and strike some of the rooms off.

Monday, 14 September 2015

the museum of procrastination (part 1/2)

 I am writing this post from 40,000 feet in the air. I am somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea, and in approximately 37 minutes, I will be landing at El Prat International Airport, in Barcelona, Spain. At my business class seat on the upper deck of an Emirates A380 aircraft, I have spent the last six hours marathoning season one of Agent Carter and eating excellent food (if you ever travel on Emirates and happen to see the sautéed prawns on the menu, order them). In between episodes, there is an ad break, and although I usually ignore the ads, there is one in particular that has caught my attention.

The view from my window. (1) Over the Mediterranean. (2) At El Prat International Airport

It's an ad for HSBC, and in thirty seconds, tells the story of a girl named Ellie who visits a beautiful, architecturally majestic, museum of procrastination. She is guided on a tour through the museum by an enthusiastic curator, who takes her to various rooms. They include the Room of Wasted Gym Memberships, the Room of Unfinished Novels, the Room of Musical Instruments Only Played Once, and finally, the Room of Abandoned Ideas.

It's not often that an ad manages to make me think. Most are simply mindless plugs for products that we don't really need, but the advertiser is trying to convince us we do (that is, after all, the point of ads). But this one actually makes me sit back in my chair, stare out of my window at the fluffy clouds, and think.

How many novels and ideas have been forgotten? How many things that could have revolutionised the histories of literature, of science, of human existence as we know it have been started, and then forgotten and abandoned because someone kept putting them off, or thought they weren't worth enough to devote time to them? What would our world be like today if they had devoted time to them?

The number of unfinished inventions, books etc. probably outnumbers those that have been finished. Sure, maybe some of those things really aren't fit to see the light of day, but what about those that really could've made a difference? It makes me wonder- what things are on my computer, in my friends notebooks, in my parents minds that could impact the world, if only they were completed?

Now, after thinking, I realize that we shouldn't be dwelling on what might happen if we finish those unfinished ideas, because if we do that, we might never finish them. Instead, we need to motivate ourselves to stop procrastinating.

So to do that, I challenge each and every one of you reading this post to compose your own museum of procrastination. It can manifest in any form: a written list, a visual collage. It doesn't matter if you write it in a diary somewhere, or post it on your blog (if you do, send me a link, because I'd love to see it!) The idea is that when you know what you're capable of, what's inside of you that you're putting off, maybe, just maybe you'll be motivated enough to get a move on, to finish.

If I'm challenging everyone, I might as well complete the challenge myself. So, for this weeks Thursday Journals, I will present, my museum of procrastination.

We are about to land now, so I have to put my tablet away. Maybe I'll finish this post later.


That was a joke. It's actually finished. I'll see you on Thursday.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

thursday journals: on change

((Before I begin the actual post, let me introduce this latest feature of the blog. The Thursday Journals are a weekly series of posts, where I journal about things that have been on my mind/things I've recently discovered/things I've recently experienced//so on. They're like little peeks into my mind, and each one will be based around a specific theme/event. Okay, now onto the actual post.))

Unless you've been living under a rock, or are kind of unobservant, or are a traitor and use Bing, you might have noticed that the Google logo has changed. It's amazing, how something so small, like the font of six letters on a computer screen, can stir up such distress. The Google logo, as insignificant as we may have thought it to be, has become a constant in our lives. The redesign reminds us that nothing at all is resistant to change.

As you can see, I was pretty unhappy about the new Google logo.

(And while we're on the topic of unfortunate changes in technology: Tumblr's changed the design of it's captions. I don't like it).

My high school resumed classes last week, and seeing posts from younger students on Facebook (who are now seniors) gave me an odd sense of nostalgia, an ache for school (which is weird, I know). Things in my life are moving quickly now. Each day is passing in a haze of packing (ugh), tidying up, sorting things out and making heart-wrenching decisions about which books/clothes/various other personal possessions I should take with me to university and which ones I should leave behind. Although there's still around a month or so left before university starts, I've got to get organized because in just a few days, I'll be leaving Dubai, and I won't be coming back until December.

When I was younger, I hated change. At first, it was something that I couldn't even comprehend. I still remember when I was seven: I was in the backseat of my mum's car when my parents told me that we were moving to Dubai. Never having lived outside of New Zealand, outside of Tauranga, I couldn't even imagine what that might be like, because it was akin to completely starting over (interestingly, though, when I read my old journal from the year before I left, I didn't seem overly worried about the shift; I've barely written anything about it). At sixteen, I'm now more familiar with life's changes, but that doesn't mean that I'm always completely ready for them.

During my years in school, there were several transitions-- primary to secondary, MYP to DP--  and with each one came new challenges and adventures. The transition from high school to university is pretty big; it's probably one of the biggest changes I'll experience. Thinking about starting over from scratch in a new place, a new country is incredibly scary, and kind of makes me want to hide in a corner with a book. It's not just the fact that I'm going to university, and that the academic level will be higher; it's also that everything else will be different. For one, it's going to be cold. Having spent the last seven years in a nice, warm desert country, it's going to be difficult to acclimatise- and to dress accordingly. I've had to do some major shopping over the last couple of months, and I still don't think I have enough sweaters, because they don't really sell warm stuff here (so if anyone can recommend some good places to get warm sweaters, I will be forever grateful).  I'm also going to have to get used to cycling on roads, which I've never done, because you can't exactly walk/cycle here in Dubai. My only comfort is that a lot of people will be experiencing the same kind of feelings that I am. After all, all the freshers will be new to Cambridge, and pretty much new to the whole university thing as well.

A lot of my friends have already started university, in the USA, Canada or other countries. It's weird to think that the faces I saw every day for over two years are so far away; to think that I'm only going to see these people face-to-face during the holiday's, alumni reunions, or maybe even just once in a blue moon. Friendships and relationships that have been the kind to die over the summer and then be revived on the first day of classes are now going to be put to the test. At least, now, we have social media so that we can all stay in touch with each others' lives without having to actually be in contact (does that weird anyone else out in the slightest?). And if we do feel a need to talk to each other, there's no need to pick up a pen and paper, and then wait weeks for a reply: we can simply shoot off a short Facebook message. Ah, the blessings of the Internet.

Still, only time will tell what will weather the storm, and what will fade away, and that scares me. But I guess it's inevitable.

Change is both terrifying and exhilarating for everyone. Although we might never learn to love the unsettledness it brings, that doesn't mean that we can't get used to it. After all, everything tends to happen for a reason. If something's changing, it can only mean that something better is around the corner.


In case you were wondering where I'm going, I'm off to Spain! I'll be visiting Barcelona and Tarragona, so expect several posts on my trip + misadventures that'll surely occur while I put my IB Spanish to the test (espero que no he olvidado todo). I've never been to the country before, so I'm very excited.

Now hopefully I actually have internet connection, so that I can post.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

there is beauty in simplicity

Ever since I got my iPad Air 2 and downloaded the Issuu application, I've been obsessively pouring over pretty much every and any magazine that I can get my hands on. One of my latest discoveries is Tribu, an art, fashion and culture magazine based in Geneva, Switzerland. While reading the first issue, I found an interesting article entitled 'Back to Basics', by Murray Clark that reflects on the state of men's fashion during the AW13 season. Although perhaps outdated (the article was written around two years ago) and limited in direct scope on the surface, I found that it had an interesting perspective on fashion that I could relate to, and apply to contemporary women's fashion. The article looks at the contrast between the classic appeal of contemporary menswear and current (or rather, AW13) trends.  In essence, it looks at how modern fashion trends tend to be 'busy': full of prints, and often complicated.

I'm not an expert on fashion, and I don't pretend to be. I don't have the credentials that numerous style bloggers out there have; I haven't attended any classes in fashion design, interned at a fashion magazine etc. But I do enjoy putting together outfits, and I love exploring different looks, through both personal style and vicariously, through magazines. I've often noticed that there tends to be a focus on outfits and clothing that are considered 'outrageous'; designs that defy the norm. While these are often exciting and provide us with new trends (and often, new trendsetters), they send a message that Clark sums up in his article: we attempt to overcomplicate style in a bid to be interesting.


Left and right: a couple of images from my August magazine reading that I felt show simple outfits with slight, but not obnoxious twists.

Left: Teen Vogue; Right: Atlas Magazine

What I found most striking within the was the ending, where Clark states the following:
A simple outfit is most often the greatest, and just because there isn't anything remotely avant-garde to your look doesn't mean it's not as relevant. Sometimes, a pair of blue jeans and a white t-shirt really does cut it.

Clark also states that good style requires some personal originality, which I whole-heartedly agree with. It's often the case that I see people trying to be 'stylish' by copying outfits entirely out of magazines, or attempting to copy a runway look. Good personal style requires mixing and matching; it requires uniqueness, but that doesn't mean that it has to be overcomplicated. I believe that it's important that while we experiment with our styles, there's no need to believe that just to be interesting and unique, we need to completely shun classic silhouettes and clothing combinations that are timeless. Simplicity can still be original. Instead of going all-out, mixing textures, patterns and prints, slight alterations can be incorporated into classic outfits and styles. Instead of using outrageous looks as sources of mimicry, use them instead as sources of inspiration. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

i'll see you around

Introductions are weird. How do you decide what's important enough to tell another person, upon meeting them for the first time? There are some things that automatically go into an introduction: name, age, and depending on where you are, usually nationality as well. But then there are other things that you add or subtract, depending on the situation: what you like, dislike, hate with an unbridled passion etc.

Here are the basics about me. My name is Tara. I'm 16 years old. I'm ethnically Indian, but was born and brought up in Tauranga, New Zealand, and moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates when I was 8. I just graduated high school (I did the IB Diploma Programme), and am about to move to the United Kingdom to attend the University of Cambridge.

Here are the things that I'm going to add to that basic introduction. Firstly, I was going to add a photo, but then I couldn't find one/manage to take one that was good enough, so the ones on the sidebar will have to do for now. I've blogged before- most notably at Unlocking Pandora's Box, which I started when I was 14 to blog about socially relevant issues (and snap up some CAS hours while I was at it). After numerous attempts to remodel it recently, I realised that I needed a fresh start, and moved myself to this here corner of the interwebs, ready to renew my passion for blogging.

I like many things, such as but not limited to: reading (I will read pretty much anything I can get my hands on), writing (essays/blog posts/creative fiction), watching TV shows and proceeding to obsessively fangirl over them (Castle, Once Upon A Time and, most recently, Gilmore Girls), acting & all things theatre/film, travelling, eating and fashion. I strongly dislike wasps- the only race that I ever won was won only because I was running away from a wasp.

What is this blog supposed to be about? It's an exploration of the world, through my eyes. It doesn't have any fixed categories or themes; it's just a mishmash of all the things listed above under 'likes'. But most of all, this blog is an adventure- not the kind that you'd find in a Famous Five novel, but an exciting one all the same. In many ways, I am an apprentice: I am still learning about this crazy world from all the wonderful, experienced people around me. And, at only 5'2", I am certainly rather petite.

So join me. It promises to be a wild ride.