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5 Reasons Why The Harry Potter Series Is The Best Gift For A 9-Year Old

The most thrilling part about reading fiction is that it provides the mind with an escape. A sort of a metaphorical freedom. But inculcating that into the mind-set of your child, niece or nephew is not an easy task. This is why I believe that the Harry Potter Series are the best medium to achieve that space.

    1. Books will be Associated with Family, Love and Warmth:

      Gifting the child this series can be a fair excuse for you not having the time to read out-loud to your kids. Also, I am stressing on gifting it only to your child, nephew or niece, or someone close,

      because then the child learns to understand that books and family are associated to love and warmth, and will always have a bankable resource to depend on, not ever turning hostile towards either books or family. Books will become their home.

    2. The Characters of the Series grow with your Child:

      I think this is one of the biggest reasons why kids who haven’t been introduced to reading as a habit should be reading books. I am not exclusively endorsing the Harry Potter series, although I believe richly in its competency. When children are around the age of nine, the need for ‘feeling belonged’ begins to grow. It is hence important that these needs are fulfilled, and literature, in my opinion, is the greatest richness that one can be bestowed with.

    3. One can Learn The Best Of Lessons:

      One of the biggest reasons I love the Harry Potter series is because it a complex (yet unconscious) amalgam of life lessons, good values, morals and have these literary landmarks to help one have an understanding of his or her own. I think that happens a lot in fantasy novels. They generally are vast and expect the readers to develop their own perspective. Because, unlike a mystery/suspense noble, you don’t have to necessarily race your mind to uncover the answers that are hidden. Instead, it gives space for the mind to think in parallels.

    4. It is the Best Stepping-Stone of a Series:

      The Harry Potter novel has a greater advantage of having a superb fan following because it consists of seven books. Once your child (or nephew or niece) reads the first book, curiosity will make sure that he or she goes through the rest. Eventually, the child will develop an avid reading habit and will be ready to read other novels (Like The Lord Of The Ring series? Yep!) and explore other genres of writing. And I can bet the child will do this all on his or her own. You have an independent kid, who would have learned to think by himself or herself.

    5. It Makes Going to School look Cool:

      Harry Potter made me realize that nerds can perhaps be the greatest people in the world. Also, the series upholds the necessity for adventures. I remember studying chemistry assuming it to be Potions. So if the child grows up to be street-smart, intelligent and brave, what more do you want to give to his or her growth?

    So long, WORLD!

    – Shaun D’souza
    (I study forensics, play beats with my fingers
    and sometimes take a nap.)

    Say hi to me @hunchbakdsouza

AN AMAZING WEEK – NaNoWrimo, New Blog And So Much More Magic!

The month of October is ending for me in a rather exciting fashion. Or maybe I am just overjoyed, and a little overwhelmed about what the following month is going to present me. wp_ss_20141023_0004

Last week on this date, a very good friend of mine, William Louison and I completed one year of knowing each other, virtually and really(I still have my doubts if he is a cyborg). And because the both of us have so much in common, apart from a shared obsession for blogging, we decided to co-author one of our own. Now, before you check it out, be advised. You may not really like it, as much as you would love it. Click here and go wild. We also do TV Show reviews, so you may actually find it productive.

Yea, 365+7 days of awesome (and never really boring) conversations with that guy. Wonder what went wrong with us during childbirth.

Also, ARRRREEE you excited about NaNoWriMo? If you are a writer and wanna find out more, head to the website! Or, if you haven’t checked it out yet, here is my theory about the Ten Things You Should Do Before NaNoWrimo.

I am pumped! I happen to have my university exams (hard to believe I am still studying right?) between all this action. Trying very hard to not let that dampen my spirits. What are the challenges you are facing? Do share and connect!

And! to get your heart further pumping, here is the first look of Johnny Depp in the forthcoming musical Into The Woods! YAYEYAYEYAYE! I can hardly wait, what about you?

Until my next arbitrary post.

So long, WORLD!

– Shaun D’souza
(I study forensics, play beats with my fingers
and sometimes take a nap.)

Say hi to me @hunchbakdsouza

Ten Things To Do Before NaNoWriMo

Ten more days to NaNoWriMo! How do you feel? Excited? Overwhelmed? I haven’t YET thought about NaNoWriMo. My University exams go on until the 14th of November and I am half sure of pulling off this year. For now. he he he!
So I brainstormed ten things to do before tackling November:

  1. Consider your story:

    Even before considering the novel itself, you may need to think a little about the story. You need something that can be written easily in 50,000 within thirty days. You do not want to complicate your choices by mixing too many story arcs or having very few of them. When I was considering my novel last year, I considered writing a rom-fantasy novel, agreeing that it was easier to flesh out a story arc, that is the beginning middle and end, for a romantic plot.

  2. Have a Story:

    This is where you initially plan your story. Consider the plot, what point of view do you want it in. Write down a basic summary of your story.

  3. Break Down your Story into Respective Chapters:

    Once you have a story and a list of characters in mind, break down the plot into chapters. Ideally, one would consider having about twenty-five chapters, allotting two thousand words to each of them.

  4. Setting up a schedule:

    Possibly the hardest part of all. You need to write a date against each chapter, and try to stick to the schedule as much as possible!

  5. Inform your friends and family:

    Yep, announce to the world that you will be unavailable for a month. There is a novel to conspire!

  6. Stock up on Coffee:

    Goes without saying why.

  7. Tweet Tweet Tweet:

    Twitter was my best support system last year! There are people all over the world who are writing and will relate to any of the pickles you may be stuck in. Don’t hesitate to say a hi to anyone who is writing, both need the company. Also, the best part about twitter can be that it isn’t like a chat box. You can respond and ignore someone’s tweet when you wish.

  8. Do your Research:

    Because the novel needs to be conspiring in a month, you may not find the time to do hard-core research upon the various elements of your story. It is best to do that before hand. Make points, create your own literary bible, that can come handy and be referred to anytime.

  9. Read Books and Watch as much as TV as you can:

    Writing a novel in a month can be similar to being pushed onto the stage in front of an expecting audience. There may be times when you go blank. When you will have no clue about what a character would say, or how you can describe clouds in the sky differently. Hence, it is important that you are exposed to as much content as possible, so that you may have some source to back up on. Be exposed.

  10. Learn to Relax:

    Writing is a skill. If you feel it doesn’t come naturally to you, then it will eventually. The most important and the significant part of NaNoWriMo is to have fun, gain experience and build on inspiration. You need to learn to accept whatever that may come your way during November as it may get tricky along the way. The pressure you feel is not worth the stress you maybe putting yourself under.


Those are my ten preparatory steps before a WriMo. Have you got some more? Do share. And let’s give the world the pleasure of your novel.

– Shaun D’souza
(I study forensics, play beats with my fingers
and sometimes take a nap.)

Say hi to me @hunchbakdsouza

Let’s NaNoWriMo

The month of November is hailed worldwide for two particular reasons. First and primarily it is known as Mustache growing month, to raise an awareness of Men’s health and against prostate cancer (also known as Movember)

The other big reason, and this is exciting, is that November is also known as the National Novel Writing Month (in short, NaNoWriMo). The deal is simple – write a novel within the month of September. Minimum length limit – 50,000 Words.

I was introduced to this amazing mayhem last year by my mentor as a challenge. And I obviously got worried. How does one write those many words in such a short period? Before last November, my only other writing assignment had taken me three months to complete, and that amounted to 30,000 words only. So this, in comparison seemed impossible.

Then I explored a bit, and looked up at what people over Twitter had to say. I met the amazingly talented and beautiful (not very handsome) minded William Louison who had participated and won NaNoWrimo for the past six years. And that is when I discovered the greatest part about this event – the awe of participating in a world wide race, but with other (so many others!) like minded individuals, who are there to write to you and support you win it. It truly is amazing!

The NaNoWriMo marathon is definitely worth the experience, I realized. And hence participated. I fortunately managed to have most of November to myself as my University semester holidays had just begun. I planned my novel, and, wait for it, managed to finish it in fourteen days. Not that I like showing off, but yea, I kinda love it. The feeling, dear reader, is fulfilling. It is as if you are meditating for a whole month, you feel truly rejuvenated.

The NaNoWriMo website allows you other features like getting your writing reviewed, publishing deals, etc. There are a ton of other surprises and privileges you can also enjoy just by being a part of this. And what happens once you win (which means completing a 50,000 worded novel within 30 days)? You receive an internationally renowned NaNoWriMo certificate. Yaye!

So, com’on, people! Be a part of this global frenzy! Invite your friends, plan a novel and write write write! Please say hi to me over twitter too! I would love to discuss our month together.

Got a story? Come join the moment. The world needs your words. The world needs your novel.

– Shaun D’souza
(I study forensics, play beats with my fingers
and sometimes take a nap.)
Say hi to me @hunchbakdsouza

11 Signs That You Are Addicted To Hannibal

The show about the team of helpless FBI and the cannibalistic Psychiatrist just ended season 2 with a MEGA, heart-wrenching finale. We now have some serious Hannibal-junkies among us. Take a look at the list below to see if you fall into the category of a DIE HARD FAN OF HANNIBAL. For that is your desire.

1. You now believe that classy and composed is the new sexy.

Because you gotta be looking great, no matter what time of the day, where or doing whatever that you are. Clearly Mads Mikkelson pulls it off well, bringing an entire shade of class to the show.

Dr. Lector

2. You are having nightmares. About dead people.

Time To Wake Up

And black stags. And naked jack Crawford. But, oh well. You are learning to feel okay about it.

3. You are beginning to suspect your shrink.

If Truth Be Told

But you won’t stop visiting him/her anyway. Because you are insecure. And obviously thanks to all the naked Jack Crawford imagery running in your head.

4. You miss Hettiene Park. And are dying to catch another glimpse of Gillian Anderson.

Everybody is devastated with Katz’ death. While others have relapsed into watching X-Files all over again. (Fun Fact: After Jodie Foster rejected the offer to play Clarice Starling in the movie Hannibel, Gillian Anderson was offered the role. But her contract with X-Files didn’t allow her to do the movie.) (Fun Fact 2: Gillian Anderson looks hotter with every role.)

Please Come Inside

Please Come Inside

5. You feel conflicted about the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. Because Jack Crawford.

The number times I almost lunged at my tv-screen, wanting to squeeze the life out of Jack Crawford for being so blind. What can I say?

6. You want more dogs than you can handle living in your apartment (while you are in jail).

I mean…doesn’t the show actually make living alone (along with being disturbed and pathetic) look comforting? It’s those canines. For sure.

7. Not only are you murdering, in your head, everybody you hate – you are also doing it creatively and with style.

Creative Kill Time

Putting up a show, as Jack Crawford would say. The show did an amazing job coming up with each of the crime scenes. (Criminal Psychology tid bit – very rarely, however do serial killer put up such a display for a crime scene. Especially in such a frequency that the show portrays! Most victims do certainly help in playing out a fantasy, but after that, they are just thrash).

8. Serial killers actually are beginning to seem like cool, talented folks.

If only they hung out more often. Maybe they have a meetup group. Now THAT is a tv show to have fantasies about.

9. Every word you say has a subtle and a twisted motive to achieve something else.


On the show, every line of the dialogue was said in sub-text.
Now, you have grown used to it. Your mind has fit into a pattern. And now, if you want to poop, you say you have a great burden, unrealistic to let go. But you obviously say it like a terrorist.

10. Humans look tasty to you!

Yes! You want to eat your girl-friend. No really. You need a piece of her mind, except that now – it seems more inviting. Lady Gaga and Ke$ha calling their fans Little Monsters and Animals suddenly makes so much sense.

11. Fishing and Hunting now don’t seem like bad career option.

But your parents won’t approve of it? Invite them to the kitchen.

Other signs

– Murder, blood and gore are beginning to turn you on. But this is a trait that we also share with fans of The Following and Dexter.

– You maybe a little insane. But so are bunny rabbits. Nobody questions them!

– Shaun D’souza

(I study forensics, play beats with my fingers and sometimes take a nap.)

Say hi to me @hunchbakdsouza

A Different Perspective In Understanding Time

Time began from The Big Bang, and since then every event is believed to have lead to another. Every part of our lives is connected. Ones past influences the future.

However, according to the British Physicist Julian Barbour, there is no time. This theory that he puts forward in his book The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics, theorizes how time never had an existence.

The physicist explains that every event in the universe is considered as a Now. That every Now is like a random page of a book that is thrown in the air, hanging until that page (in other words, that event) actually occur.

               No such thing as Time?

It is just that, every event in the past and the present is structured according to various other laws of physics, like mathematics, quantum mechanics, etc.

If it is believed that one event leads to another: the physicist says that – if A causes B, then both A and B are independent of each other. Both A and B are independent Nows and are linked to one another by actions of physics, and not time in particular.

According to an article by Popular Science, on Time and the Universe, Barbour is quoted to say, “…all possible Nows has a very special structure. You can think of it as a landscape or country. Each point in this country is a Now and I call the country Platonia, because it is timeless and created by perfect mathematical
rules.””

This theory boldly disapproves the works of Newton and Einstein in this context. Interestingly, this theory also agrees that Time Travelling cannot really occur. In a popular experiment by Stephen Hawking, he successfully claims to have proved that Tim Travelling is impossible. He arranged for a party, and sent invites to everybody a day after it occurred, an event for which nobody attended.

Does this rightly prove Barbour’s theory? Or is the theory already flawed in it’s own physical dimensions? Interestingly, this theory makes much sense in terms of humanistic psychology, where mankind views every event as an outcome of his own ‘present and conscious’ actions. None of the past influences the present.

What are your views?

– Shaun D’souza

follow me @hunchbackdsouza for more.

What an Epic Fail really is.

An Epic Fail is troublesome. It is embarrassing and often puts us in a very difficult position. What happens is that, we often go out and believe in something. And we work towards what we believe. In most occasions, we end up making a lot of mistakes, we get a lot of people angry. Relationships are hampered, wrong decisions are taken and a lot of things are compromised.

In the end, you fail. A lot of things screw up and you alone are blamed for it all.

That in my opinion is okay. Really. Because, what we have not realized for a long time is the fact that an Epic Fail can have a lot of things to its bright side.

Failure is a very good part of our lives. It is rather important to have some amount of failed attempts at achieving something. If you’re doing something and have been largely successful at it, in your first attempt, then there could be some magical loop-hole that you’ve managed to establish in your favor. That is luck, a factor that I have found to be lacking a LOT in my life.
darth-vader-epic-fail

Let me add that I have been responsible for some very good number of blunders. At the end of each blunders and failure, I have realized that I have even lesser friends and believers by my side. Which is good.

Yes. Often, when you fail, you begin to realize that even though your friend circle has lessened to almost nothing, the ones you’ve left with are the ones that truly believe in you and will always stand by you, no matter what. And only such friends are the ones that you really need. I face this issue every time my attempt have gone down the drain. But at the end of it, I’m nothing more than grateful to the ones who have forgiven me and stood up for what I have believed. Also, Epic ails are funny and make good substance to laugh about later. 

So it doesn’t matter if you fail. It doesn’t matter if you have ended up penniless and every thing that you’ve done has turned up to be useless. You rather fail at something than be responsible for being nothing. Let it go and try again. You should know: What does not kill you, makes you stronger. Epic Fails are required. Epic Fails are inevitable. Epic Fails reminds you of your reality. And most of all, an Epic Fail is epic.

– Shaun D’souza

This track makes sense, right?

What is Good about Good Friday?

Have you been wondering the same too? Why term this day of lent as good when we Christians do nothing but mourn and fast?

If you’re wondering, Good Friday is that day when Jesus Christ is supposedly crucified on the cross. It falls on a day before Easter (YES! The day right before the Easter egg day!) And no, we are not allowed to go around wishing people ‘My you have a very Good Friday’ today.

I have no issues in claiming that these days I have paid very less attention to the working of the church. But I did manage to pay a little attention to the proceedings of the Good Friday service I just returned from.

Throughout the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus Christ is known as the King of the Holy Kingdom. And the same king comes down to earth in the form of a man and endures humanly pain and suffering. He washes the feet of his disciples,  forgives Judas the traitor and acts in simplified humility under various occasions.

Taking from two other religions, Hinduism and Islam, there are instances where the Ram accepts banishment for 14 years and lives the life of a simple man in a forest and Prophet Mohammed endures suffering for his people. You may be an atheist, and believe that various religious rituals and pointless. Some of them are.

images

But all religions have one thing in common besides few others, to constantly remind its followers that we are after all humans, mere entities in the whole wide universe. And for eternal liberation and to reach self actualization (or the point of wisdom) we need to simply persevere,  remain humble and keep our feet planted on the ground.

And days like Good Friday is a mere reminder that all of us can still hold on and remain simple, in spite of the credits we own and the certificates that we’ve earned. That even if you’re an Emperor, scientist or a farmer, our acts and deeds can go on to become a global influence, provided we can always accept the suffering that is thrown to us.

Actually, at the end of it, Good Friday has turned to be sort of an inspiration to me.

And if Jesus Christ, who as a mere man, was strong enough to change millions of life even today, then I’m positive that you can too.

Happy Easter. 🙂

– Shaun D’souza

Writers and his Conflicts

Writers tend to suffer the most from conflicts arising from in and around them. As their works is expected to reflect interesting conflicts, focusing on deep dynamics of human emotion and pain, they have little or no option to understand their own situation better than others.

We as writers often come up with characters who are stuck in major situations, life threatening at the most. We toggle with their lives, often making them do things, they themselves if human, would’ve never attempted. And then there comes a time when we ourselves get stuck in such a situation where our live reflects that of a character in a book (or a movie) and then we realize exactly the predicament our characters are undergoing.

I am a sucker for murder and psychological thriller and should be thankful to the heavens for not putting me in spot of my character. But often I have seen my other writer buddies who complain about a break up in a relationship they’ve written. It is uncanny and amusing because most times it is down to the very last detail and the writer ends up much remorseful about writing the break-up more than the breach in the relationship itself.

I mean, it is funny, right?

However, it get’s much worse when a writer is obsessed with his characters and puts them under pain staking situations. In such cases, every conflict that the writer faces in real life becomes a thing to be analysed under various levels, which can go on harm ones mental stability.

Stephen King wrote a very interesting and scary (of course!) novel called The Dark Half, where the lead character Thad Beaumont suffers from the existence of an alter ego called George Stark, who one fine day comes to life as another physical entity to murder

220px-Stephen_King,_Comicon

 
The most striking part about this tale is example is that Stephen King now also wrote as his alter ego Richard Bachman, who the author described to have then died of ‘cancer of the pseudonym’.Thad’s family.

It is very fitting how a conflict can personally cause a revolting reaction inside the mind of a writer and go on to intrigue him or her beyond the norms of reality. And then go on to do what? Make the writer crazy? Perhaps.

– Shaun D’souza

Note For The Ladies Out There

The next time you open the door to a stranger, wait and think a little. What if you are letting in a rapist or a serial killer? Well, why would you let in someone you don’t trust? Let’s consider an everyday salesman. Tip-top in his looks.  Decent dressing style, average height. Smiles up to you politely,  throws in a couple of smart words and tells you what he’s there to sell. Don’t we often fall for such everyday people? Be it that extra-cute guy at school or the friendly watchman you’ve taken a fancy for. He may even be the guy who offers to give you a lift. Anyway, let’s assume you’re all alone and you let him in. Next thing you remember is being dominated and waking up to a horrible feeling. You know it. Raped.  Lucky, of course, the family of the victim says that at least the offender spared her life. What would the family know how it is to be torn at the age of ten or twelve? Many believe everything’s going to be all right just because no-body is ever going to be aware of the incident.  Most of the rape cases in our country aren’t reported. Why would an FIR be filed? The status of the family comes under question. Well it is rather terrible if the whole world knows your daughter is raped. You feel ashamed.

Oh, but let’s be a little indifferent and consider this issue from the victims point of view. She knows nothing of life. If anything she will die of guilt, anger and frustration. She will trust no body and may even suffer from mental ailment if not subjected to right treatment. Suicide becomes an option. So you think getting justice will help her recover? Perhaps not. But you help a child seek justice and may also help many other girls whose families don’t consider reporting a crime.

If you let to get him away, he may be back. Rape your daughter, sister or even mother again. Manages to kill her too in the struggle. You’re letting a serial rapist/killer loose. What is important at this point? The life you’re letting die or the pride your family hold over the estates.  At this point I think it’s not the rapist but you whose responsible for an innocent girl being subjected to unfathomable violence.

Advice for small girls: The next time you’re alone and see a stranger being polite over unnecessary matters, make sure you’re at a safe distance and let him show his or her- for criminals aren’t just men- identity proof. It’s ok to be suspicious towards strangers.  Your body is your own. It’s not for other, however close or related, to share, molest and abuse. Complain to your parents or someone trustworthy and help your-self out of this.  Do not let a careless move distraught your life.

As a citizen, if not humanity that holds you to your senses, please seek help when blown by a crime. File an FIR. It’s your duty to report a crime. If you’re a woman, stand up against sexual exploitation and raise a voice. You could be the next victim.  If not anything, restore hope to the victim in any way possible.  Don’t let a goon get off so easily. He preyed on someone that you know. Grow up.

for more insight on child abuse log on to http://www.hiyer.net

– Shaun D’souza

follow me on http://www.facebook.com/shadowdsouza