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The magical world of Harry Potter is indeed quite very magical. And walking around the Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Singapore was a magical journey!

The initial couple of minutes, I was thrilled, ready to squee at every little thing. And after I got over the whole ‘OMG’ phase, I started to take in things, and goodness me, the creativity and detail that goes into everything was astounding. It’s simply breathtaking to see these props and then the realization of how much thought has gone into making these hit me. Simply put : gorgeous!

And the exhibition was organized into different-theme rooms : Gryffindor Common Room, Forbidden Forest, Dark Forces, Great Hall etc.

So, I guess I’ll just talk about some of the lovely things that I saw.

One of the very first things I noticed was the Time Turner Hermione uses in the 3rd in the series. It’s a shiny gold and a miniscule hourglass with sand inside! And it looked quite pretty!  Actually, the first thing that greets you is the Fat Lady trying to break her glass with the operatic voce

There was the Dumbledore’s Army sheet which Hermione makes everyone sign. One of the best about this was that handwriting was different for each sign! Quite interesting! I also got to see Harmione’s Bag from the last book which has the hidden enlargement charm and the book she stored inside.

There was the Quibbler with the Spectrespecs and crazy whoozy colours on that page. There was the Mimbulus Mimbletonia which looked quite ick. And, the cursed necklace which Katie Bell touches looked nice. And! I got to see the coins! The Galleons, Sickles and Knuts! They have these embossed on them in a Gaelic-style-font. The coins are just what I imagined them to be.

There was Harry and Ron’s four-poster beds, a Chudley Cannons (non-moving) poster, Ron’s glasses, the Marauderer’s Map (which is definitely squee-worthy and made up of a number of folds), Harry’s Acceptance Letter to Hogwarts signed by McGonagall, Ron’s sweater with the ‘R’ on it. Oh and there was also the Howler which Ron receives after they flew the Ford Anglia. Complete with a satin tongue!

One of the interesting exhibits was the professor’s room/objects. I got to see Umbridge’s Kitten Plates, the pink everything and the teacup and her quill that craves into the skin. There was Lockhart’s complete bookset, his robes and his duelling robes and Snape’s potions and chemical glassware with stuff boiling. There were also little bottles like those formaldehyde-bio-specimens of various things like Doxycide. Slughorn’s had  a Bezoar. I saw the Half-Blood Prince’s Potions, complete with all the scribblings on the PolyJuice Potion Page. At Herbology, I got to pull out squealing Mandrakes. Ugly little creatures they are. And at Lupin’s there was the Boggart wardrobe, the giant clown that the Boggart turns to. And I saw Beaky/Witherwings! It looks creepymagnificent.

The Quidditch exhibit was fun, and I got to throw the Quaffle into the three hoops. Of course, I scored them all! And the snitc and restrained bludgers in the box that Wood first shows Harry in the 1st movie. There were also the different Quidditch robes present, along with oddments from the world cup like the Omnioculars. I saw a set of “House Captain” boards for each of the four houses which I don’t remember from the movies. I also got to see the Nimbus2000 and Nimbus2001. Alas, no Firebolt.

In Hagrid’s Hut, which is as close to the original that you can get, I got to see Hagrid giant clothes set, his dragon egg which shakes, the pink umberella/wand and the Monster Book of Monsters! Who wouldn’t miss that?!

And in the Forbidden Forest, the Acromantula Aragog was not as creepy as the movie. There was Bane and Magorian who looked a lot like the Avatar folk. Avatar sucked, anyway.  I wish there had been a unicorn.

And there was an artistically beautiful ‘Angel of Death’ statue which was seen in Little Hangleton and Dementor. Which was loose cloth and a bone-network which ended only in a spine. Very, very creepy.  Add to this, the effect of dark windows and lightning. Enough to give you the chills. There were also Voldy’s robes. Again, very creepy. From the first movie, I saw the Philopher’s Stone, the Key used in the obstacle, and the Chess pieces! I wish I could’ve played Wizard’s Chess! And there were creepy looking Death Eater robes and masks. And some old Death Eater ‘wanted’ poster of the Carrows etc. There were also the Horcruxes : The Diadem, Hufflepuff’s Cup, The Ring(which looked unimpressive), The Slytherin Locket, The Diary with Basilisk Fang.

Among the posters, there was one for the ‘Undesirable No.1’, and the Ministry of Magic issue for safety which includes a secret question and the Educational Decrees! I’m positive the artists must have had fun making the decree posters with different fonts, a giant “M” stamp, signed by Dolores. And on close inspection the last line reads something like this : “Bla Hblahbl Ahblah Blahbl Ahbla Hblahb Lah!”

The mugs says “Dobby is a Free Elf”

And there was a marvellous Great Hall door leading to a display of the Great Hall food which looked so delectable! There were displayes of Skiving Snackboxes, Chocolate Frogs made of “100% Croakoa” Fizzing Whizzbees, Bertie Bott’s etc.

And from the 4th movie, I got to see the magnificent TriWizard Cup and the giant thingamajig/casket which held it, the scraps of paper that the cup spews, the uniforms of Durnstrang and Beauxbatons, the Yule Ball Dress Robes of the students and the profs, the green Rita Skeeter Quill, and some of the ice scultpures which were on display during the Yule Ball. Speaking of dresses, there were robes and gowns (from Bill and Fleur’s wedding), the casual clothes, Quidditch robes, Professor’s robes etc on display. And what amazed me even further was that there were so many patterns/layers to each dress which made it look gorgeous in the end. There were so many wands, each customized with their own nadle portion. I particularly like James Potter’s wand.

And oh yes, I saw the Daily Prophet, one talking about Weasley’s trip to Egypt (with Scabbers and his missing paw) and the one about Muggles seeing a flying Anglia!

Standing regally, in its own display case was the Gryffindor Sword. Given how celebrated it is in the novel, it was a marvellous sight to behold, with the ruby encrusted hilt and shining silver. It was truly one of the more beautiful pieces on display.

And there was also Fawkes on display with beady eyes that stare at you and the feathers on it were dyed in hues of yellow-gold and red. With so many feathers, its plumage really looked quite magnificent.

And I probably have gushed enough about this. But honestly,  it’s well worth the visit especially if you’re a huge fan and you grew up with this.

And so, the final words : Nitwit! Oddment!Blubber!Tweak!

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Wandering Alone

No excuses at all. Nope. None. Let’s dive right in to the post.

I’m currently interning in Singapore, which is a gorgeous city, and truly multi-cultural. I mean, where else would you see people from so many different races, places and culture all stuffed in one little garden city?

As the first trip ‘alone’ anywhere for a considerable period of time, it has been truly an amazing experience. And when it comes to traveling to any place, one week is just not enough. There’s so much to absorb in and that can leave you quite baffled really. The first week, you’re trying to get to know the places around you, trying to look at the beautiful things while still trying not to get lost. You’re walking around looking at fascinating things, painting a mental picture for you to revisit some other time. And then, you start to notice the quirkiness in the culture. The little things that you are not used to back home. The little things that make you feel like you don’t belong. And this is when you start wondering: ‘Can I understand more about this place and their culture?’

And as the Singaporeans say, ‘Can, la!’

Wandering alone on the streets, I was silently trying to put in a mental picture of the people, the places and the culture. Of how almost everyone is hooked onto a gadget. How you notice some people use a Kindle, and some an iPad. But almost anyone has a large screen mobile device. And contemplating on such interesting differences, I got lost. Completely, absolutely lost 4 times. It’s a strange feeling. Like a sugar-rush of excitement as you take in the place around you, and then creeps in a bit of confusion which dissipates to let the thrill of discovering something new take hold of you. It’s also quite tiring here. People walk around so much. It’s quite a task when you’re here trying to get used to all the walking. And the roads/paths are not really on a flat terrain which does nothing to help you already tired legs.

Amidst all this, there’s also the adventurous palate gravitating toward the food stalls. Being a vegetarian is tough, I found it tough to locate interesting dishes that revolve around the local cuisine which have no meat, because, let’s face it. Meat is a big deal here. But I did manage to find some interesting delectable goodies like a chocolate rice-flour dumpling, a chinese veggie-version dumpling and interesting Japanese Jelly and Sushi. Buying these Japanese goods was interesting because I got to flaunt my (extremely limited) Japanese knowledge! And in return they were quite happy to hear me speak broken Japanese.

And all this touring and experimentation is in the sidelines of actual lab work here. The labs are just gorgeous. The kind that are huge, where things work and where you feel nice doing whatever lab work is required.

And, here’s to more experimentation.

As for pictures, I’ll show you the sights of Singapore some other time.

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 I just heard in the news today that the new TN CM plans to covert this amazing library into a hospital.

For once, Chennai has a library that it can be proud of. Having visited it a few times, I must say I absolutely love it. If only they opened the borrowing of books, I would love it even more. It was just a gorgeous library, something I’m sure everyone will agree if they see the building at Kottupuram. And it’s ambiance is quite good for reading and the stock of books they have right now is considerably so much better than the run-of-the-mill second-hand libraries that exist around the city.

This move of hers is insane! I mean, first she decides to ‘move’ the exclusively constructed Secretariat back to old Fort St. George, and now this! Absurd!

Personal vendetta or even political for that matter, should not affect the people. And besides, think of how many students will be affected by this. It’s not just novels; it has a host of good subject books as well. This is equivalent to interfering with education. How on earth will our state develop if each new governmental reign sets out to undo what the previous one did? Why not leave the existing and seek to improve? We are quite happy with this current arrangement of libraries, fine thank you.  She said and I quote from here :  “It is noteworthy that such a kind of a super speciality paediatric hospital has not been established anywhere in India so far.”

I should like to point out that the library is quite noteworthy in itself and Chennai’s first ever decent library that is quite accessible as well. Yes, a hospital is important, I agree. But why not find a new site for that? This library is placed in a quite strategic location and why take pains in clearing and recreating only to create confusion later on? Who’s to guarantee that books will not be mishandled/misplaced in this whole process?

 

Dear woman, please let us use this library and fix the price for book borrowing and subscription and all that.

(And I believe I have the right to vote.)

(For more info : Clicktey and clickety)

Now that that rant is over, you may gasp at the fact that I watched the news.

And in other news, exams. Blerrgh.

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I am, now.

Everyone’s talking about Kindle now. I have to agree, Kindle Fire does look pretty awesome. Plus, it know exactly what it wants to be. Not some oversized phone that can do ‘oh-so-many-things’. Kindle Fire is the real tablet.

Plus, the name! I mean, obviously, Kindle Fire is such a well-thought name! 😄

But, no I won’t buy the Kindle Fire even if I were given a gift card for it. (This because, I prefer the EInk screen. I don’t want to kill tire my eyes.)

Ever since I read about e-book reader and Kindle, I was sticking, quite vehemently, that normal books are far,far better than these imitations. And I still agree to it. I mean, nothing can replace the texture of paper between your fingers as you laze in your favourite chair (mine, being orange). And there’s the smell of new books and old, something Kindle can never become. Forget the economic/ecological impacts for a moment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just live with books for ever?

But then, recently, I saw the Kindle and it’s E-Ink. And it’s freaking good. It doesn’t strain my eyes like a normal computer screen. My eyes tend to water if I read from a screen too long. I’ve found myself reading a lot of books on the internets and as PDFs, and that’s when I began to realize the usefulness of the little Kindle. It’s light, easy on the eyes, plus load of books for free. The positives are there, solid and unyielding. And since I travel for an hour and half at least to college, this will be a lot less heavier than the usual books I carry. And maybe, my bag won’t be so heavy then.

So, why not live with both, right? A compromise. While paper-books continue to keep me captivated, e-books will start to feature a lot more in my little library.

I probably will buy the Kindle Touch. Seems like a mighty good option. As for Nook, well it has it’s own little nook. I don’t know much about it, but hey if it’s good, well, good then.

So, if you haven’t converted yet, DO.IT.NOW.

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So!

I know Lucid posted about words a (long) while back, and here’s another post on words.

Words are just gorgeous, n’est-ce pas? Some words just sound beautiful, the way they roll out of the tongue. Take supercilious for example. It sounds so perfect, right? And immaculate. It just sounds like what it’s supposed to mean!And creative word play is always entertaining. Word play always reminds me of The Sims’ ‘Loading’ texts. They’re always hilarious.interesting.

And if you haven’t adopted a word from www.savethewords.org, do it now. I have the word stiricide – falling of icicles from a house. Doesn’t it sound just right? What if someone decided to stand under falling icicles with the aim of killing themselves? Would that be a stiricidal suicide?

I bet you’re wondering “Why on earth is FuzzyL talking about words?” So am I. It sort of began with reading The Selfish Gene and then, I was looking at some of e.e. cummings’ poetry and all this spiraled into words. I find etymology very interesting. It sort of helps you understand how languages evolved and developed. And understanding the languages is one way of understanding another culture. See, it’s a wonderful train of thought!

And here’s another wordle!

Dasvidanya, folks!

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When I first saw this book at the store, I was hesitant to buy it. Because I had this (god knows from where) idea that Amitav Ghosh is one of those prolific, eltistic writers. And also, because I thought his writings wouldn’t have a ‘story’. After The Calcutta Chromosome, I probably will pick another of his books sometime.

The tagline – A novel of Fevers, Delirium and Discovery sets the genre for this. A chaotic (yet interestingly good) mix of science fiction with supernatural and medieval components and medical history. So this book, is set in the future, the present and the past, and is done so in a wonderfully connected way. But, in the beginning, I did find the jumping of timelines very confusing. And I had to go back a couple of pages to link things in my head. What’s brilliant is that he manages to put out ‘clues’ to what the book is about, right from the very beginning, but you never catch it because – hey! It’s the beginning! I guess, when you read the second time, it’ll all dawn upon you.

I like that he didn’t go into this detail-ridden future, which makes it a lot more believable. The cult of people with advanced scientific ability and the whole ‘switching’ phenomenon is, although very strange, pretty well written. My main quip about this is that Ghosh tries to creatively hide details and sometimes, frustrates me. But his writing and the vocabulary are brilliant. They not only sound good, but describe the temperament and scene very well.

As for one of the MCs, Murugan, he seemed to be flaky, in the sense, his character seemed to wobble here and there.

True, it’s written beautifully, but I would say that it didn’t captivate me altogether. It was like it reached a high-point on  a bell curve and then fell sort of flat. It’s interesting yes, good, maybe. One of those books you love/hate, over time. The concept of transmigration is very interesting. Makes one wonder.

I would recommend it, only if you’d like something different, fast, yet it falls short. Don’t read with high expectations and you might like it. (Which is probably why I enjoyed it).
Rating : 3/5

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This is it. The last ever time I’ll find myself looking forward to a Harry Potter event. This is something that’s been a constant in my life, since I was nine.

In fact, I never did want to read the first book until a friend of mine decided to show me a couple of pages from her copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the page where he receives the letter indicating the list of books. And needless to say, that initial glimpse into the world pulled me in and produced another Pottermaniac.

Lucid always says the first she heard us talk (when she crash-landed in our school) was when we were talking about the release (?) of the fifth book and of Snape’s abysmally large nose.

The movies have altered how I perceived the characters, the most of all – Ginny. Somehow the head Ginny differed so much from the movie Ginny or me. But then this isn’t as bad as BWC imaging Voldemort to look like Squidward from Spongebob.

Ten years ahead, here I am, with the realization that I’ve been very lucky to be a part of this cult/phenomenon/Muggle-world.

It feels like finally closing the lid on this box, but I plan to read all the seven again, after the movie. And then, maybe still have this ‘box’ next to me always. Plus, reading it again, isn’t for the story and its interweaving layers, it’s also a trip back to the tiny (okay.. tiny-er) me. It’s always wonderful to the see the complexity she built and how the cogs turned. In fact, Snape is one of my favourite characters, because he’s so well penned down.

It would be wonderful if there was a midnight premiere and we could go dressed as characters. But no, this is Chennai. Joy.

Sure I had complaints, criticisms and all that throughout the reading/watching experience, but just like any old Rajnikant fan, I will always stand by the books. (The movies… maybe to a littler extent, ja?)

All that’s left is to try and convert my brother into an HP-reader.

This would probably best sum it:

Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

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