My Own Monster

Do you remember?

When we were kids,

We had such ideas in our head,

That in the night there used to be,

Monsters in our closet,

While evil lurked under our bed.

And we would cry,

And scream,

And shiver,

Scared half to death,

Till our parents ran in,

To switch on the lights,

And lo, there was nothing there.

For even as kids, we could see,

That there are no monsters in the light.

But we grew up,

And had to keep up,

A myriad appearances.

Our fears became a thing of the past,

As we got caught up in pretences.

We learnt to shove aside all doubt,

And let no one see past out cover.

No matter how afraid we were,

We’d never indulge in a cower.

But I say,

Fear, my dear,

And be afraid.

Remind yourself of what it was like,

To feel a child-like fear,

And when you feel the time is ripe,

Do not hesitate,

To switch on the light,

And in the brightness that ensues,

Take a breath with your head held high,

And ready yourself for every fight,

‘Cause even children know, my dear,

There are no monsters in the light.

Happiness can be found, in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. – Albus Dumbledore

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#FlashbackFriday Edition #3

Hello, and welcome to today’s edition of Flashback Friday. This is where I showcase a poem, every week, that should never get lost in the sands of time. They’re hand picked, especially curated pieces by some very illustrious poets. (Regular readers – see, I’m keeping up my promise of finally posting one a week. yay, me! Aren’t you proud? *wink wink*) To read previous poem posted in this edition, please click here.

Today’s poem is one that was introduced to me by my father when I was a kid. It is poignant and profound. It can very well be made a motto to live life by. I know I try my best to emulate it. I even wrote it down and pinned it above my bed for daily inspiration. So, for you today, here’s Rudyard Kipling’s If – 

If

– Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

I hope you enjoyed today’s pick as much as I have over the years. I would love to hear your views on it in the comments section down below. You know I’m always open to healthy discussion, so don’t be shy.

Thank you for reading.
Love,
Varnika.

The Journey

I followed my heart once,

and it broke me.

I followed my mind next,

and it woke me.

Now I sit,

Caught in the middle,

Contemplating my steps ahead.

And on either end, with arms bare,

Stands waiting for me, the mighty despair.

Would someone, please, be so kind? Continue reading “The Journey”

A Portrait in Contrasts

Imagine a blood red sky,

Adorned with the golden specks of a setting sun’s ray.

Imagine clumps of wet sand

Dripping the blackest of inks.

An overripe peach,

Dipped in a faded, white cream.

An expanse of deep blue waters,

Overshadowed by rusty, clay cliffs.

The earthy, green tones of old, rotting woods,

Continue reading “A Portrait in Contrasts”

Poem Featured on Blood Into Ink: Why a Poet- Varnika Jain

Okay, okay, I know I’m spamming but I’m beyond excited! Here’s another poem that got featured! Blood into Ink is a very special literary collective that holds a place close to my heart. It undertakes the challenging and inspiring job of presenting voices of survivors. Not victims, but warriors who’ve survived trauma, abuse, all kinds of violence and acts unspeakable. Everytime I visit this platform and read a poem, I grow as a person. My mind evolves. My heart, however, softens and learns more empathy. I am sure you won’t be able to escape it’s transforming effects either. But I’m equally sure you wouldn’t be complaining. So go and visit Blood Into Ink and see the world differently, in a truer manner and, maybe, vow to change it in your own way. Thank you!

Blood Into Ink

Poet in me yet

There is hurt

In measures I’m yet to fathom.

There are pieces,

Broken,

Which I haven’t yet begun to gather.

There are tears,

Gaping,

Waiting to be stitched and mended.

There are wounds,

Oozing,

Bloodying numerous gauzes.

Despair, you say?

Run and hide?

I’m broken, you say?

What’s there to survive?

But, wait,

I think,

There’s a poet in me yet.


Varnika Jain is prone to having verbal epiphanies in the midst of all the cacophony surrounding her life.  She is a voracious reader, vociferous eater and a vehemently passionate writer. You can read more of her writing at Moonlighting Scrivener where you can find her changing the world, one word at a time.

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Poem Featured on Go Dog Go Cafe : Guest Barista Varnika Jain/Reminiscence

Hello, my lovelies! It gives me great pleasure to inform you that another one of my poems got featured. The platform, which bestowed this honour on me today, is called Go Dog Go Cafe. It’s a place where writers gather without boundaries and I was yesterday’s Guest Barista. It’s a perfect mix of funny, quirky, thoughtful, poetry beans, roasted and blended and topped with a healthy dollop of the cream of literature. A lot of you must have already read the featured poem earlier on my blog but it would mean the world to me if you could please take out some time to visit the collective by reading on below and clicking on the link. You will surely end up finding poets with a wavelength matching yours or poems that open up new avenues in your mind. Go visit for a coffee date with words and writers!
Thank you.

Go Dog Go Café

It’s a distant memory,

That comes and goes.

Never lingering long enough,

For me to remember it in full.

It’s a kaleidoscopic reel

Of vibrant images,

Flashing in and out,

Changing in split seconds.

It brings with it

A vivid feeling

Of happiness and well-being.

Leaving me oft

With a smiling face

And a definite spring in steps.

I may never be able

To piece together

It’s different forms and hues,

But I can always rely

On its happy tenor

To be a harbinger of good news.


Varnika Jain is prone to having verbal epiphanies in the midst of all the cacophony surrounding her life.  She is a voracious reader, vociferous eater and a vehemently passionate writer. You can read more of her writing at Moonlighting Scrivener where you can find her changing the world, one word at a time.

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#BookReview: Unknown Trilogy by Wendy Higgins – Book Blog Tour December 6th-15th

Hello and welcome to today’s book blog tour stop for the Unknown Trilogy by Wendy Higgins. This book series is a New Adult, post-apocalyptic trilogy with a twist. Very neatly divided into three parts, each having its own, distinct theme, the concluding part of which released on 5th December2017, this trilogy is a beautiful bundle of romance, conflict, intrigue, an unusual war and unlikely heroes (which includes heroines, FYI) tied together in an interesting plot.

Unknown begins quite unassumingly as a narration of teenage angst and unrequited love in a quaintly idyllic town of rural Nevada far from any untoward happenings. Until pandemonium strikes. The entire country is brought to a standstill when multiple bombings disrupt the flow of basic amenities and the government is brought to its knees. However, instead of cowering in fear and disappearing into oblivion, Amber Tate, a nurse, and the bleeding heart of the unrequited love mentioned above, rises to the occasion. Having lived a protected life hitherto, she finds herself right in the middle of the ensuing strife along with her friends and the object of her heart’s desire.

Wendy Higgins’ command over the flow of language and plot buildup ensure a seamless transition from romance to highlighting a strong, feminist protagonist as the heroine of a war-torn, dismantled country.  Higgins’ fast-paced narrative is delivered in the first person by the characters itself, making her readers well aware of all the inner turmoil, emotions and conflict challenging the character, relationships and the resultant future of the protagonists. Personally, I found it to be unique from other post-apocalyptic novels due to the care given to setting the scene before chaos ensued. Having gone on this journey from peace to disaster to an unending zeal to survive (spanning a course of three novels), readers can see the growth taking place in every character and how that merges with the increasing complexity of the plot. In that regard, I found it to be a brilliantly penned series. The interplay of platonic romance and what could be, while in the midst of life-changing and world-changing events has been portrayed with a delicate, skilled hand without overdoing either nor favouring one over the other – Wendy Higgins has managed to strike a perfect balance.

Unrest, the second book in the trilogy, makes us delve further into the cause of bombings and a very suspenseful whodunnit as we are taken on a ride as to the true nature of the perpetrators. I would have said more on this issue, but it is very integral to the storyline and I would want this review to remain spoiler free.

The demeanour of the protagonist, Amber, the nurse hell bent on saving the world is reminiscent of Prim Everdeen of The Hunger Games. If she had survived the explosion that killed her, I believe the compassion, loyalty to the cause and sheer grit of Prim would be quite akin to Amber. You cannot help but feel for her and fall in love with her. Like I mentioned before, the first person narrative makes us privy to every character’s inner voice. Those of you who have read my works earlier must be quite aware of my advocacy for feminism. It was very refreshing to read about a female protagonist and discover her strong, undaunted voice through her own thoughts and not just her actions. Same can be said for all other female characters.

In this vein, Unrest can be termed as the most revealing book of the three. Not only does the quest for survival strip every character bare, revealing all their best and worst qualities, the reason behind the world-wide turmoil is also uncovered, so are the perpetrators. You can take it to the bank when I say that it is one of the best plot-twists in this genre. Some might find it unrealistic, but the completely plausible and detailed manner in which it is presented really goes to the quality of the writing therein.

I am extremely glad that I read the entire series in one go where I could overcome by anguish at every cliffhanger by simply picking up the next book. Because, trust me, there will be anguish. I commend those who had had to wait for the release of Undone, with bated breath obviously.

Undone begins like a sort of interlude, seemingly abrupt, like we have bursted into a room in the middle of a process already underway. The setting of this scene is the conflict of emotions inside what was chosen to be instrument of an infiltration into the human race we, and our protagonists, knew it to be. But this task and position of leadership weighs heavy on bahtan who finds the actions of his own kind to be somewhat inhumane, if I may take the liberty of using this word. What was worse was that he might also be guilty of falling in love with, or at the very least, sleeping with the enemy.

Wendy Higgins has continued to deliver with her wonderful mastery of human nature right till the very last instalment of this series. Never slacking, never confusing, yet covering a plethora of issues, plots and sub-plots, Undone makes for a delightful read. It also tests your loyalty to the characters as you can never decide who to root for, which couple to cheer for or who you would absolutely not want to die. Continue reading “#BookReview: Unknown Trilogy by Wendy Higgins – Book Blog Tour December 6th-15th”

The Face of a Woman

But what will you do, my dear,

When the day of reckoning is here?

For in this world, on lies and deceit you’ve thrived,

And let truth venture nowhere near.

Will you sweet-talk your way

Out of eternal damnation?

Or will you submit yourself to be judged

Through a chaffing trial by fire?

Or will you kneel, accepting defeat

Because of your innumerable wrongdoings?

Continue reading “The Face of a Woman”