Friday, 30 December 2016

Tempora

Gayatri tried to tame her long hair, greying at the ends, she stood at the edge of a small hallway leading to the deck of the ship. The deck had been the setting of several farewell parties in the past 7 years but she had never imagined that she or Vidya would ever be the recipients. And yet, the next resident of Tempora to leave was Vidya.

Voices containing cheerful conversations carried through the air towards her. Exhaling silently, she stepped with a smile. Vidya was near the punch table, cornered by a three girls who were talking animatedly.

“I’ll catch up with her sometime later,” she thought to herself. In the meantime, she turned to a nearby huddle of her friends, maintaining a glance in Vidya’s direction out of the corner of her eye. 

“Hey Gayatri,” Isha said, as the circle adjusted to include her. “We were talking about the time Vidya jumped out the side of the ship because of it was “like satan’s sauna in here”.”

Gayatri laughed as she recalled the memory. “That was quite unlike her,” she said, picking a cheese roll as a tray floated past her.

“I remember she gave you quite a scare,” chimed in Jay.

“She didn’t know how to swim. I don’t think she still does.”

“I wish I had been there,” said Rita, one of the recent passengers of the Tempora. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

“Go see old virgins! Now ask a strange boy out, you shy, Retarded thing!” - Maureen Johnson, 13 Little Blue Envelopes. 

A year back, Maureen Johnson was a guest on the podcast ‘Dear Hank and John’. She was funny, intuitive, clear headed and offered excellent advice on teenage love and relationships in response to the questions asked during the podcast. And that is why I approached 13 Little Blue Envelopes with higher expectations that I usually hold for this genre. 

13 Little Blue Envelopes is a coming of age story of Ginny, who receives 12 envelopes from her dead Aunt. Each letter comes with a set of instructions, to be followed to the dot; and only after completing each task is Ginny allowed to open the next envelope. What follows is a scatterbrained road trip across Europe from London to Paris to Rome. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Easy Friendship

Nikhil was slumped on the college bathroom floor, next to the urinal, with a cut lip and his heart in his throat when he decided that fear smelled like copper, urine and Viraj Singh. His legs were trembling such that he didn’t dare stand up, like he was still choking in Viraj’s hands, dangling two feet off the ground. He looked at the obscenity-filled walls in front of him but in his mind’s eye, they were interrupted by the vision of Viraj and his friends, catching him off guard. 

His brain was playing reruns of their parting words. “Stay away from Patil.” 

Stay away from Patil. 

It’s best to keep away from Shivam. 

Stay away from me. I’m not good for you.

He’s bad news. 

Different words bled into each other in Nikhil’s mind as he stayed frozen on the ground, their meaning sinking in. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

"They talk a great deal about family honour, but they have no sense of honour except to gratify the promises of pleasure they have made to themselves." - Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy.

When my English literature professor mentioned Vikram Seth earlier in the semester, it was like remembering a childhood TV show. I recalled him in bits and pieces, from 9th standard when I was first introduced to him via ‘The Frog and the Nightingale’. But while he had established himself as a poet in my heart long back, my love for the novelist in him came later, with the final pages of A Suitable Boy.

A Suitable Boy is like a wedding cake – layered, rich and overfilling. Set in the 1950s, it gives us a glimpse of the infant India, learning to walk under Nehru’s watch and it shows the life of Lata, our protagonist, who goes from baby steps to tall strides.

Lata, a teenager from a middle-class family with a mother who can give Austen’s Mrs Bennet a run for her money, takes her first steps on the path to love and marriage through these pages. Tensions and emotions run high when Lata, a Hindu girl falls in love with Kabir, a Muslim boy. In order to put an end to this affair, her mother sets her up to be married. At its heart, A Suitable Boy is her coming of age story. With an extended family spanning the spectrum of the Indian society, from the elitist Chatterjis to the grounded Kapoors, it swallows nearly four families in its narration. It has plenty of characters, but even more facets to it. It has stitches of history, socio - culture, politics, ideology and fiction weaved into its fabric.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Monologue from the Middle of the Night

“Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” – A Cinderella Story. (Ori. by Babe Ruth)

I am afraid of failure. (Of course, who isn’t?)

But my situation is worse because I am guilty of not even trying. And if there is one truth I know, it’s that failing at something that matters so much; that you work hard on feels awful.  There are a lot of doubts and self-hate involved, and a humiliation that sticks like gum in your hair. You feel inadequate, like a fraud. Aren’t we all better off for not trying at all?

The answer to that is of course – No.  Objectively I recognise that but this knowledge makes no difference to my actions. I have always taken the safer path, except when I opted out of science to study English literature and creative writing. And now I am starting to bail. I haven’t written anything despite my brain being a swirl of ideas. I have two short stories that I could be working on but it feels unoriginal and uninspired. I can already imagine the discomfort my friends will feel as they try to assure me that they did like it (even though they didn’t).

And so I would rather watch T.V or clean my cupboard or sleep than actually do something productive. And that riddles me with shame and badly written monologues at 1 am in the night. I am not sure what the point of this is but I do know this – when a Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray movie is making a better point than you are, you need to re-evaluate yourself. And the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, right? This is my admission.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

On Traditions and Blogtober

I don’t like traditions. Traditions baffle me. They stem from such ancient history and yet so often we aren’t made to understand the significance of them. Traditions tell a story about a specific event in the past, but they also tell one side of the story. To do something without truly understanding its origins, in all its complexity seems unfair.

And then there is the matter of their relevance in the present day. Like everything from our past, they remind us of it. But do we actually learn from the past that traditions symbolise. And at what point in our evolution as a society do let go of it?

I’ll be honest, though, I don’t want society to lose its customs and cultures. They add a rich layer and yet I, as an individual, want as little to do with the traditional as possible. Why? Because it is a lot of work. There are strict rules that come attached and a right way of action. I don’t like that they aren’t personal or intimate and I really don’t like being told what to do. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

17 in 1: A Collection of Book Reviews | Spoiler Free

I have maintained a series of weekly book reviews and recommendations on this blog that I call ‘Reviews Day Tuesday’. At some point earlier in the year however, I stopped. My reading continued but the reviewing took a hit. And as the list of books I needed to review grew larger and more intimidating, my willpower weakened likewise. So, to start off with a clean slate, here are – 17 books reviewed in a go. 

(As usual, all book reviews are spoiler free)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series (5 Books) by Rick Riordan

This is a series of 5 books narrated by the protagonist Percy Jackson, who starts out as a 12 year old boy. In a Harry Potter meets Greek mythology scenario, Percy discovers his demigod status, the presence of Greek gods in the 21st century and a prophecy that contains the fate of the world. No pressure. The series itself is scatter brained and chaotic, following Percy and his friends across America. But where the book lacks in the story, it makes up in the writing. In a first person narrative, Rick Riordan has given Percy a sarcastic, genuine and funny voice that ensures that there is never a dull moment. As is the case with most fantasy fiction novels, one tends to easily get invested to the point where the characters feel like friends. 

It is intended for the pre teen age group and rightfully so. But if you are like me and have a prior attachment (I first read it when I was 13), it is always a good series for some comfort rereading. 

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Teeth is a love story between Rudy, a teenage boy who has moved to deserted island with his family with the hopes of improving his brother’s health and the merman who lives in the local waters called Teeth. True to its YA roots, the story is simply in its concept and execution. It is a short read, laced with a dry sense of humour and unapologetically bisexual undertones. It is funny, sincere and in moments, heart wrenching. The characters are instantly likeable and the ongoing conflict of the story is resolved neatly. For me, Rudy’s character is definitely worth reading the story. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Life After Hogwarts: Moving On

It’s September first and at 18, it would be my last year at Hogwarts and that too by a stretch. It is heart breaking knowing there won’t be boarding the Hogwarts express again but not as horrible as I expected it to be. I was so far young when I first read the Harry Potter series that I don’t remember it. And my relationship with the boy who lived hasn’t always been a breeze. 

The first time I picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, I got bored 4 chapters in. To be fair to the past (and stupid) me, those were the Dursley chapters. A couple of years later when I decided to give it a second shot, I found true love. Harry has taught, among other things, the importance of second chances. 

Around book three I learnt to second guess everything. Apparently Sirius Black isn’t a crazy mass murderer; just plain ol’ crazy. But is he? I was convinced that the plot twist was a red herring. Sirius still had to earn my trust before I would let him near Harry. And then all too soon I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I think for most readers, this is the toughest book. Harry’s anger is palpable and quite frustrating. But just as it is those things, it is justified. And so you stick it out with him. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Everything was Exciting When I was 15

This entry is a bit more on the personal side but I figured it was about time to make good to the title of this blog. I don’t remember the last time I felt excited. I get nervous; last week was exam week if you want proof. I definitely get angry – just ask my brother – and I do feel happy meeting my friends but excitement has been missing. 

When I was in 3rd standard and the final results had come out, I had topped the class. And I found out through a friend who blurted it out before I even collected my report card. Ever since then I had managed to be within the top 5 in the class and in my entire school career, the rush never went away. 

I remember when I had my first sleepover. I had been trying to get permission for years before I received one and I couldn’t stop grinning for days. Now thinking about a sleepover makes me wonder if I will be able to stay up late enough as is the sleepover code.

In my last year in school, I took a week long trip with people who were previously acquaintances and are now some of my best friends. I remember obsessively packing and repacking, making sure I forgot nothing. When I visited the 'Valley of Flowers' last month, I packed hours before my flight was due to depart. 

It isn’t that I don’t enjoy travelling, or a sleepover, or getting a good score but my stomach doesn’t erupt into butterflies. The only constriction in my chest is from hyperventilating before my literature paper. 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Why We Need Conversations About Sexual Harassment

I was groped. The setting is simple - I had gone out to buy a reference book I needed. It was a little past Eight and one of the streets I took was fairly dark. However, being a residential area, I presumed it to be safe. Of course, as it turns out, it wasn't. And really, that is what it boils down to. 

I was walking in one direction and he came in through the opposite on a bicycle. After my brain registered what happened, I immediately hit him with my book; I only wish I had a heavier one. I should’ve knocked down his cycle or yelled or kicked him or something, but I didn’t. Instead I chased him down half the road and immediately lost him for he was on a cycle and soon far out reach. If you asked me to recognise him I wouldn’t be able to. But I couldn’t stop shaking for the next half hour and I can still feel his touch, or should I say the gross violation of privacy. 

As dehumanised as I feel, I know that I am safe (for now). I know that the statistics were never in my favour, that there are worse things that can happen to a girl on a dark, empty road. But that knowledge is meaningless.  Statistics are numbers on a paper and this is sadly, the reality. 

With the recent blacklisting of social justice and feminism, rape culture has been dismissed as something women make up. In this age where anger is the norm; where venting on the internet is easy, we forget that these discussions we have are about humans.Conversations about social issues didn’t begin because someone wanted to be a social justice warrior; they stemmed from real life. When you say ‘take a joke’ or ‘political correctness gone mad’ you are dismissing the scary reality of thousands upon thousands of people. And by no means, should this discourse be limited to women. Men are just as likely to get raped and have their story fall on deaf ears. I am not trying to be progressive. This is the simple case of of creating safer worlds for the people who reside in them.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Casual Vacancy - J. K. Rowling | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

"But who could bear to know which stars were already dead... Could anybody stand to know that they all were?" - J. K.Rowling, The Casual Vacancy.

Reading ‘The Casual Vacancy’ was a reminder of why I have drafts of letters addressing J. K. Rowling as my favourite author. Set in the small but proud town of Pagford, this political drama follows the lives of multiple characters during an election, which is triggered by the death of Parish Counsellor Barry Fairbrother. The town and election candidates are divided by the proposed merger of Pagford and the fields, a rough neighbourhood adjacent to Pagford as the more conservative members of Pagford rally against this. 

It is the characters, more so than the events, that pulls the book together. The characters are startlingly different and stand in a morally grey area, making it impossible to like them or hate them. They belong to a wide range of age group, social class and each come from different backgrounds. With intricate detail and delicacy, Rowling has weaved together a complex narrative as the lives of different characters intertwine, each providing a different perspective to the situation. 

The background and environment of each character allows the book to delve into a range of social issues from class and societal status to child abuse to drugs to rape to depression. The book was released as a book for mature audiences and quite likely so because it doesn’t shy away from the harshness of the themes it tackles. So fair warning, if you prefer your fiction rated U, this may not be your book. However, cleverly so, Rowling doesn’t stray from the plot to make a point making it a compact book with an enjoyable pace.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Why Gilmore Girls is a Feminist Show

When Gilmore Girls first aired in 2000, a story about a single mother with an unnaturally close relationship with her daughter, it hopped along, perhaps unintentionally so, on the third wave of feminism. When Lorelai Gilmore was 16 years old, she gave birth to her daughter, also named Lorelai but better known as Rory. Set in a small fictional town of Stars Hollow, the story kicks off 16 years later and follows the duo through ups and downs, peppered with pop cultural references. 

Apart from Lorelai and Rory setting the bar for mother – daughter relationships, Gilmore Girls also offered a plethora of female characters with an accuracy that is often unparalleled by the mainstream media, even today. As the name of the show suggests, it deals with the Gilmores and boy, does it deal with the Girls. 

“Who cares if I’m pretty if I fail my finals?” 

While Rory became the lead Gilmore Girl over the course of the seasons, she had been a good influence; thoughtful and inspiring from the get go. The list of her virtues is far too long and yet, neither she nor the show explicitly talked about women’s issues (bearing in mind the exception of ‘That Damn Donna Reed’). In fact the show revolved particularly around the romantic lives of the Gilmore Girls, thereby ensuring a place in the genre of ‘silly, drama shows’.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Goodbye Summer

“Is there any way for you stay?” Sakhi broke the silence that had engulfed her and her best friend Aakriti as they walked up the stairs to their college library. Aakriti carried a pile of books that she had to return before she left. She was moving to a different city because of her mom’s job and it was her last day at college.

“Honey, there are plenty of ways for me to stay; I just am not,” Aakriti answered, adding a stray piece of jet black hair to the pile on the top of her head. She was touched by the implications of Sakhi’s statement; it was unlike her friend to express emotions that might cause inconvenience. That’s how she was – logical, calculating; some might even call her cold. But Aakriti knew her; time had taught her to search within the undertones of what she said and to read her with fluency.

“Right, okay,” Sakhi muttered, “because...” she let her sentence trail off as she returned a book back to it place. She was taller than Aakriti and so it was easier for her to reach the higher shelves; one of the few things where she trumped Aakriti. For the most part, Aakriti shone at everything.  She had excellent conversational skills matched with the brains that contributed to said conversations. She had the answer to everything. Sakhi didn’t mind, or believe in self pity.

“I am not leaving my mom Sakhi, we’ve been over this before,” Aakriti replied, placing the last book back at its designated place.

“But leaving mid semester is - ” Sakhi started to argue.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Hold On, We're Going Home

Here we are once again,
Walls held together by broken floss strings,
Waves falling apart against rocks.
Counting stars with the sun to guide us,
Let's drink to all ways in which we are wrong.

Forget the barriers between you and I,
And press your tears between my fingers.
Coming together over small truths,
Like blood stains on closed wounds,
Here we are once again. 

#RIPChristinaGrimmie 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

1984 - George Orwell | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

"Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows." - George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The year is 1984 and Earth is split among three governing parties – Eastasia, Eurasia and the one we are concerned with, Oceania. The ignorance of the people, and brainwashing their curiosity out of them, is the how the party remains in power. The setting is essentially similar to that of a dystopian era novel.

Our protagonist Winston has a simple life, a steady job and a secret – He hates the government. In a world where your government dictates your basest thoughts, even thinking about hating the government is an act of rebellion. 

And that is what makes 1984 a breath of fresh air. The story doesn’t have a rebellion the way The Hunger Games series or the Divergent series does but that doesn’t mean a rebellion doesn’t exist. In a world where attraction is banned, the softest of kisses is a rebellion; where information is constantly misprinted, holding on to the truth is an act of rebellion. 

1984 talks about politics, the desires and needs of an individual and the power play across different sections of our society. It is by far the most realistic depiction of a dystopian world. The story is simple and easy to follow. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

An Allowance: Hiatus is Over

Sometimes writing means sitting at the desk and setting the words free; most of the times it means taking Gilmore Girl quizzes while pretending to write. I’ve been on hiatus lately, especially with my blog, and every single tumblr advice blog, TED talk and even Neil Gaiman has informed me that I need to commit better.

It is a justified point. A lot of writing is feeling disappointed with words and then gritting your teeth and writing anyway. To quote Jodi Picoult, “You can edit a bad page but you can’t edit a blank page.” It’s fair to say the same for most creative things.

Creativity is often misunderstood. It isn’t about a brainwave idea, although those are very much appreciated. Brain, if you could keep them coming, I have no complaints. Creativity is putting those ideas onto paper and transforming them into something beautiful.

Life changing ideas are not life changing, the hard work is. Remember, J. K. Rowling’s idea was of a boy who didn’t know he was a wizard; her effort was the Harry Potter series.

And putting in the sweat, time and commitment is far more difficult that dreaming up of ideas. Sometimes you put off writing for a day and then a day becomes 3 months. I haven’t updated my blog since February.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Ramblings of a pair of Spectacles

I am not entirely sure what I was imagining while writing this but hopefully it is entertaining. 

As I lay on the ground in pieces, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was all for the best. I wasn’t entirely surprised on finding myself in that position and while a part of me had hoped it wouldn’t happen (and yes, the same part is feeling a little betrayed) I think my time is simply up. The signs were there, the dissatisfaction, the headaches and oh the squinting. Squinting is always the last thing that happens before one gets replaced.

I remember when I first met her. I know that things have changed between us but if these are my last moments, let me reminisce my time with her. She was on the lookout for someone but me; I had given up all hopes of anyone ever calling me their own. I suppose it is her need to stand out that made her pick me; some people wouldn’t approve of it but it worked out really well for me. I probably wasn’t her first choice but she never made me feel anything but. And I suppose in that sense I am lucky to have closure; even if I feel broken right now it is better than being shoved into a closet and left waiting. And this way, I am not second best or a back up choice. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

"Is not general incivility the very essence of love?" - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

I have now read two Jane Austen novels and something that I’ve observed is that while the general impression of her works is that of romance (and undoubtedly so for Pride and Prejudice is most decidedly a love story), to reduce a book as such would be unfair for Pride and Prejudice has much more to offer than the romance of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. 

Mr. Darcy is the friend of Mr. Bingley who has recently moved into a country home called Netherfield Park not very far from where the Bennets live. The Bennets comprise of 5 sisters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine and Lydia in the order of age) and their parents. Their mother’s primary concern (and quite frankly sole concern) is with regards to the marriage of her daughters.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Importance of Being Earnest unlike other books I’ve read so far is a play with 3 acts. The first act is set in London and other two in the countryside. The Importance of Being Earnest begins when Jack Worthing visits Algernon. Jack Worthing lives in the country but when he is in the city, he goes by the name of Ernest. Jack wishes to be engaged to Gwendolen who knows him as Ernest. Jack is also the guardian of Cecily who is under the impression that Ernest is Jack’s brother. When Jack’s two worlds collide and Algernon is thrown into the mix, as you can imagine what follows is a hilarious comedy of errors. 

The play is rather short and can be finished in two or three sittings, depending from person to person. The language is fairly easy to understand. Oscar Wilde has showcased his implicit and very unique sense of humor in this play with phrases like ‘Divorces are made in heaven’, clearly a take on the renowned ‘Marriages are made in heaven’. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

"Daisy looked up at him with the kind of expression that Jesus might have given someone who had just explained that he was probably allergic to bread and fishes, so could he possibly do him a quick chicken salad..." - Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman is the story of Fat Charlie and Spider, children of the trickster god Anansi who originates from West African folklore. In present day Florida, Anansi goes by the name of Mr. Nancy and by general consensus, is a very charming man. However right at the beginning of the story Mr. Nancy dies due to a heart attack and hence turns the life of Fat Charlie upside down. 

Fat Charlie is not actually fat and is the most anti-hero protagonist I’ve read. Before his brother Spider walks into his life (and for quite some time even after) he is, to summarise in a word, boring. Not necessarily because nothing interesting happens in his life but also because he doesn’t seem to want more from his life.

One day, upon discovering that he has a god brother, he decides to reach out and like most stories, this is where everything goes to hell. His brother slowly takes over his life like a case of evil twins. Spider, his brother, is the epitome of cool. He is the literal opposite of everything Fat Charlie has wanted to be. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

I am Malala - Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free*

“My father used to say, ‘I will protect your freedom, Malala. Carry on with your dreams.’” – Ziauddin Yousafzai, I am Malala. 


Prior to reading this book, I knew Malala Yousafzai as the 15 year old girl who was shot for wanting an education, as the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, as the girl who addressed the U.N but upon reading this book I have come to realise that it was simply a small chapter in her story. And that is perhaps precisely why everyone should read ‘I am Malala’. Although it is only fair that I warn you that this book contains explicit violence and perhaps children under 15 shouldn’t read it just yet. 

‘I am Malala’ is the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai co-written with Christina Lamb, a British foreign correspondent. The book focuses primarily on the goals of Malala Yousafzai and her faher Ziauddin Yousafzai that is education for all children, especially girls and an emphasis on awareness and the perils of ignorance. 

I don’t usually talk about book covers in my reviews but I am going to spare a moment this time because Malala’s face on the book cover, a pink scarf draped around her head is an act of defiance. But even more eye catching is a lingering smile that reaches her eyes; it’s a kind smile. Her smile used to be even livelier before the shooting affected her facial nerves. She was smiling and laughing, running a mental list of things she needed to revise before her exam when a strange man climbed on her school bus and asked who Malala is. She was shot before she could respond but now she has laid her story bare for the world to see.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Angels and Demons - Dan Brown | Spoiler Free

*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*

“Show me proof there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes to look to the heavens, and tell me how there could not be a God!” – Dan Brown, Angels and Demons.

‘Angels and Demons’ is my first venture into Dan Brown’s works. Over the years I have heard a lot of praise for him and so accordingly I set my expectations higher. ‘Angels and Demons’ is a good story but Dan Brown did not meet the bar in all aspects. 

‘Angels and Demons’ is the first book in the series involving the adventures of Robert Langdon, a professor of religious symbols at Harvard. The book spans over the course of 24 hours during which Langdon goes from disbelieving in the ‘illuminati’ to decoding symbols across Rome in order to save the Vatican City. It begins with Robert Langdon receiving a phone call in the middle of the night. As it turns out the Vatican City is sitting on a ticking bomb placed by an ancient brotherhood called the ‘illuminati’ who have been against the idea of religion and it is up to Langdon and his expertise in the matter to save the city, which is not a good idea given that he is at the end of the day a professor at Harvard.