Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart

Scarlet Heart has been one of the best romantic tales of the year in Asian Dramas, not just in Korean Drama. With an ensemble cast, it was sure to win hearts from the very beginning.

It was the first series that I didn’t binge watch, rather I chose to wait every week and watched only two episodes that were available the respective Mondays and Tuesdays. I had never ever waited for any episode so impatiently. I watched the episodes again and again during the wait, read forums on it, listened to the songs from the series, watched the cast’s interviews, and still missed it like hell. I missed the characters for the five days that I waited every week for the next episode to be broadcast and be available with subtitles.

The strategy used by the directors and writers of this phenomenal series is one of sheer torture for the fans. They introduce so many characters worth meeting- some so adorable, some hard on the exterior hiding a painful past, some charming and kind and some wicked and plotting. (The cast is more diverse and real than any person I can perhaps ever meet in real life. ) Then they delve a little deeper, showing us the vulnerable core of these characters. You cannot help but fall a bit for each of them- even the villains. Then the story goes through so many twists and turns- you tend to fall deeper and deeper. The helplessness of the characters draws you in, their dreams and wishes tug at your soft corner, and you cannot escape the predestined fate of falling in love with them. Then, you are in for more torture, when happy ending eludes them, and life plays its wretched games. Still, all of these is worth it.

It was really emotionally draining and yet painfully addicting. I knew the fate of the characters and the way the story would go, but I just couldn’t stop watching. I felt the emptiness and the void when one character left the town and another died. I researched about the Chinese version, read three translated chapters of the Chinese novel on which the story is based while waiting.

Best lead actors, best ensemble cast. Unforgettable story. Can be re-watched multiple times!! Heart wrenchingly addictive. Difficult to move on from.

Hae Soo falls into a portal unintentionally during a complete solar eclipse and wakes up in a thousand years in the past Goryeon era.  

It starts with the princes wondering about their 4th brother whom they have never met but heard many a weird tales about. He is rumored to be a very brutal killer who massacred his entire family in his residential place. He is infamously called wolf and is feared by the general public given his instant recognition owing to his half masked face.

Hae Soo is befriended by most of the princes for her cheerful and jolly personality. Some of them adore and pursue her. She grows emotionally attached towards the brothers and falls for the 8th prince. The easy camaraderie amongst the brothers is put to test as time passes, and the race for the throne takes momentum. Some group together, some take sides, loyalty is questioned, betrayal is evident, and the great rift amidst the royals is obvious. Many a person goes missing, dies or escapes. There are conspiracies and coups to dethrone the existing king, to murder the potential threats to the throne, and to save the loved ones from the life threatening political turmoil. It is a place where swords are used without a second thought, and people are sentenced to death for anything under the ruse of an act of treason.

Amidst this tough turn of events, Hae Soo is quietly drawn to the 4th prince who professed to love her beyond himself and stood with her when the one she trusted the most chose otherwise. Her feelings change from sheer dread for the person to being drawn towards him. She knows the future- this person would be the infamous great king whose reign would be soaked in blood, who would kill his own brothers to take the throne for himself. But she is determined to change the history as she has known it. Through love and care, she is determined to bring about the core benevolence of the 4th prince to the fore. Perhaps this is the purpose of her life henceforth. Love blossoms between the two but hurdles are not far behind.  

Read the complete review here: A Potpourri of Vestiges



Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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