Monday, August 28, 2017

The Burger Junction - Kochi

“It's black.” I noted.

“Yup.” Kunjunni showed a photo of The Samurai.

“That's red.”

No one in my family had ever seen or eaten a black/red burger, but we caught an Uber and made our way there anyway.

Inside The Burger Junction (TBJ), the menu had several options and for a while, we all just sat there stupefied.

Hellboy caught Dad's eye. It claimed to be extremely hot, owing to the fact that it’s contents included the spiciest chilli in India. Dad can handle almost any kind of chilli, and he loves spicy food, so none of us made much of an issue about it. The burger's description also mentioned that it wasn't recommended for children. Even though Dad wasn't a child, the waitress still made a special point of mentioning that it was very hot.

“I'll take that challenge.” Dad waited for the rest of us to order.

Kunjunni went for The Dark Knight. I decided to have the TBJ special. And then when the food came, Dad's burger was an angry red, like the Samurai. And Kunjunni snapped a few selfies with his burger, all while oohing and aahing.

When Dad reached for The Hellboy, we all held our breath. He took a bite, and his face remained impassive. For a minute we thought someone had finally defeated Hellboy. But then he started taking huge sips of his cold cappuccino and we knew he had failed. He then ordered a different burger after giving up.

We all took some share from the Hellboy. Mom, Kunji Chechi and I didn't have much since we didn't have any confidence in ourselves.

It was incredible to see the facial expressions of everyone change from everything's-fine-and-dainty to omg-I-need-some-milk. At first, I didn't have any issues. Then slowly, it felt like something was burning in my throat, and soon, I was grabbing at my drink.

Kunjunni felt the largest blow. He had taken a bigger share, and he needed sips from everyone's drink before he could calm down.

The Dark Knight was a success. The black buns were slightly different in texture from regular bread, but it was pretty good overall.                 

The Burger Junction has more options than the normal fast food restaurant, and it's pretty cheerful, so my family and I would definitely recommend it, and come back again.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wattpad Story | Subway

Updated my second short story on Wattpad!Whee!

This new story is called “Subway” and describes an encounter between two peers on, well, the subway. I’m so proud of it, and I hope you guys give it a read. My character, Cleo, is shy and introverted, and hopefully, she’s someone we can all relate to.

Friday, June 16, 2017

100,000 Pageviews!

We’ve reached 100,000 pageviews folks! Woohoo!

I started this blog when I was nine, and since then it's been an incredible journey for me. “My Diary” has been featured on an American school website as an example of blog writing, is a member of Best Indian Blogs and has been converted into a book by Uncle Gopichan, twice. A renowned artist, Uncle Venki, did fabulous illustrations just for me. My friends and family are an integral part of this blog, and I’ve received a lot of support and encouragement from the people around me.

I feel it is time to revamp the blog. I’ve been thinking about changing the name to something a little more mature.

For the past two years, school has been eating up my time, and my pace of blogging has really slowed down. I hope I can catch up soon with the updates.

For now, this is Janaki, signing off.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

First Wattpad Story - Bruises

Hey readers! I joined Wattpad last week, and just recently uploaded my first story 'Bruises'.

A short, one page story about a mentally challenged girl defending her brother. When a bully assaults Christopher, things spiral out of control as Madison takes things into her own hands while her past comes back to her.

I would love if you gave it a read.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Untold Stories

Eleventh grade has taken off like a bullet from a gun. The days have been flying so fast, especially the weekends, and I’ve hardly been able to keep track of what’s going on.
I think I have mentioned my love for music in some of my earlier posts, and if you’re someone like me, who loves singing (despite the fact that I’m not very gifted and can make a dog’s ears bleed), then Smule is definitely the app for you.

Smule offers a million songs to sing to, AND, you can join other aspiring singers with collaborations. Plus, if you take an All Access Pass (like I did), then you can access every song, which is totally awesome.
I think the best feature of Smule is Sing With The Artist, where you can jam out to pre-recorded video versions of some of your favourite singers, like Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth. I haven’t tried it out yet, but it looks pretty cool.

You can find me, as JanakiSajan, on Smule ;)

Lately, I’ve been into reading fanfiction, on I’ve never actually read any before, but once I started, I became totally hooked. I think the reason I got attracted easily is because these stories are different, creative versions of canon by a variety of writers who seem to be my age.

Some fics are fantastic, a few are captivating, and others don’t really hit the mark and remind me of embarrassing times when I was younger and tried my level best to write a story that wouldn’t make people cry in hysteria.

I discovered an old diary that I used to keep when I was probably eight or nine years old. I had actually thought I lost it. Despite the fact that it’s only a rough book, I remembered it well for years, since I had written a variety of sloppy poems and stories in it. I was a voracious writer even when I was just a kid, and any unused book was a golden opportunity for me to let my imagination loose. Reading “Famous Five”, “Secret Seven” and “Harry Potter” did nothing to calm me down. Once a plot settles in my head, I have this fueling urge to write it down and work on it, until I give up hope and accept the fact that I can never write a successful story.

For some people, this might seem bland, but for me, the thought of sitting in front of my laptop, while typing down an original story that everyone might like reading, is like a dream. This is probably one of the many reasons I love ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell. Rainbow’s character, Cath, is so genuine that I can relate to her in so many ways. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read ‘Fangirl’ and ‘Eleanor and Park’, and how I’ve seen even the most minute things that we do everyday, but don’t really give attention to, penned down in these pages.

Of course, it wasn’t just writing; I drew plenty as well. My most famous drawing in that book was “A just married couple with their two children”. I recall doing it; I actually wanted to do either a family portrait, or a wedding photo, but was too lazy to do both separately, so just thought “Screw it, I’ll do a two-in-one.”

One of my poems was titled ‘Drat!’ (as embarrassing as it is), and seems to be the only one where I don’t fully cringe at.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Matriarchy, the Virtual Reality

“Look at them.” Vaishnavi scowled at some little kids running nearby, with their laughs ringing through the atmosphere. “All so happy and cheerful; they’ll be suffering like us when they grow older and have a heap of work piled on them.”

That’s the same reaction I had when I heard one of Mom’s friend’s daughter had just started going to school. I had said “Oh, poor thing.”

Now in eleventh grade, I can hardly believe that only twelfth is left. Somehow, it feels like the years just flew by.

These last few weeks have been busy. Chandana, Nanditha and I met up at Pizza Hut for dinner together during the first week of school, and recently, I got a Daydream VR headset.

Dad received a Google Pixel as a gift, and when we found out it had this feature called Daydream VR on it, we were obsessed. Mom and I were in India at that time, and I thought Dad had received the headset along with the phone, but apparently, it was something to be bought separately.

Kunjunni was pretty thrilled too. Neither of us had ever got to experience virtual reality before, so it was something to talk about.

When I reached Riyadh, Dad and I ordered the headset online, and it reached us on his birthday.

It’s absolutely amazing. While wearing the headset, you can transport yourself to wherever you want. I even played the VR game of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” But it was slightly disappointing, because despite the fact that I got to swish a wand around, the game was pretty short. After meeting the three creatures, I was pretty bored and realized that was it.

Last night, we went to Euromarche for some purchases, and Mom asked us if we wanted biriyani the next afternoon for lunch. Dad and I said NO almost  immediately, which annoyed Mom, so she said she would make it anyway,  leaving us stunned, because then, there was no point in asking us.

This obviously displays the veto power Mom has at home.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Global Public School | Diwali Stalls

Diwali was coming up, and everyone at GPS was excited because the school had allowed its students to open food stalls to honour the occasion.

Each team setting up a food stall needed at least five members. My friends and I weren’t really interested because then we wouldn’t be able to focus on the real issue- eating.

On the grand day, we watched as the group of boys from our class brought in their stuff. They took up a lot of space because the container in which they brought cold drinks were huge. Plus, they brought a large tub of ice-cream, bottles of some sort of blue syrup, cupcakes and a whole lot of other things. It was amusing to see them stagger down the stairs. But the joke was on us later, because they got to miss the first few periods to set up their stalls. They grinned at everyone stuck in class before scampering away.

The groups were allowed to advertise what they would be selling, which meant the prefects took it as a perfect opportunity while herding us like sheep to the auditorium for the morning assembly. “Hey, get in line already! And don’t forget to visit stall 15! We’re selling cookies!”

But the boys from our class- Joseph, Thomas, Rohith, Milan and Zainul- had put in more effort. They actually had a few flyers printed out which they held as people stared at them on their way.  They were Stall 9.

Each section had a half an hour to go down and visit the stalls. The school had earlier announced that the maximum amount each person was allowed to bring was only 100 rupees. But when Neha and Angela told me they would bring more, I did so too. And I was so glad I did. Most of the prices of food were just cruel. We had to bargain with each stall to get what we wanted.

Bisna, Neha, Angela and I had pooled our resources. The idea was that, whenever one of us bought something, we would buy just enough to share amongst us. This way, we would be able to have more stuff, and not eat too much of anything.We were dividing a slice of creamy chocolate cake that I had bought for us when a piece of it fell on my skirt.

I stared at the stain in dismay “It is removable, right?”

My friends assured me that yes, it was.

“That was partly my fault.” Neha said. “I’m sorry.”

I told her it was fine, before we took off to the other stalls.

The visit to Stall 9 was the most anticipated. The guys were bombarding whoever got close enough. It was pretty good marketing strategy. I already had a feeling that they were after ALL my money, because of the outrageous offers I got placed in front of me.

Milan held something up in front of my face. “This is a one-of-a-kind, Blue Lagoon muffin, Janaki! Our special! You might never have tasted anything like this before! AND it’s only, like, 70 rupees!”

I almost choked and died on my own spit when I realized it was just a plain muffin with some of the mystery syrup they had brought, on it.

“No way” I gave it a shove. “Besides, we already had a cupcake.”

“What about ice-cream, huh?” Joseph said. “This isn’t just your regular ice-cream, it’s vanilla AND chocolate. Eighty rupees a scoop!”

I just stared at the measly offering, which was already melting in the plate he had dumped it in.

I raised my hands “Can I just buy something I can actually afford?”

Rohith came over and said, “Okay, tell me how much money you have.”

“No way. You name me your price.”

It took some bickering, but we got our stuff at slightly less prices. We walked away with juice, and some other things I don’t really remember. Neha looked absolutely dazed. It turns out people from some of the other stalls had rushed over to her as well, and she had accidently bought food she hadn’t even wanted, including the ice-cream Joseph had offered.  

I realized, as we walked away, how smart they had been. Because of the way they had offered us and the way they quickly took our money, they were making a fortune. Plus, most of their friends were taking turns and helping as well. And their stall was right next to the school building, making it the most noticeable.

The doubt that they might have made the most money was cleared the minute I stepped into class with my friends from the cafeteria after lunch.

Rohith waved his money in front of us “We made the biggest profit!”

We also learned that they had deceived most of the customers as well, because once their cold drinks ran out, they had simply poured some water on ice, along with blue syrup, and called it Sky juice. And it wasn’t cheap either. Most of the people had demanded their money back, but were met with “No refunds!”

According to someone, they had even charged one rupee for each sip from the younger grades as well.