Once in a while, I get an epiphany.
The last of such occurred in 2013, when I decided on a course of action that allowed me to follow my heart’s call. That call came in the form of someone who is now a consistent presence, and a close companion in my daily life: Leah Winters. It was very much a culmination of overwhelming feelings of joy, love, desire, passion, and all that is wonderful in life.
But reaching farther into the past, I recall the summer, prior to my final year of undergraduate studies, at a particularly low point in my life, when for no discernible reason, I received an enlightening realization of the future that lay ahead of me. The same realization led me to the subsequent decisions I made in the wake of the feelings I reciprocated with Leah, along with my family, and myself in the years that followed.
And so, now, when I look in the mirror, I see not my reflection, but more of a window in time, portraying the varying facets of my identity that I have embraced, shunned, and some that I have yet to confront.
A year from now, I will complete my Masters degree. Where then? How do I find a place for myself in this world?
I have always dreamed of being at the forefront of something that may be greater than myself. I have dreamed of being a pioneer, and an innovator. I have always had a deep wish to help others around me, and this world. Yet, I struggled to understand how I could achieve any such thing, when at first I truly couldn’t comprehend how to help myself.
It was at this point when I ultimately realized something new. Couldn’t it be possible that I may achieve all the same by in fact pursuing those same dreams, despite my own inner conflicts? That the answers I seek are not hidden, but rather await my own inner resolve to move forward?
And because of this, I can’t help but laugh at what a wonderful day it has been, and what a wonderful life I have had.
It is filled with its fair share of misgivings, but beckons in a grand adventure that I am to experience. It is quite similar to a perpetual game of hide, and seek, but one that could only be initiated if I had the courage to step forward, even as I am blind, to what awaits me in this life.
The passing of time seems quite dramatic amidst the company of such thoughts. It is frightening, and yet somehow comforting. I find it beautiful that life is filled with such sweet dichotomies…
And so, I now say to my reflection, “Take a step forward, not in doubt of what you expect to achieve in your life, but in anticipation of what you may not, and strive to make what may not necessarily be possible now, a reality, so that one day, you can look back, in satisfaction, not at window in time, but rather perpetual ripples in space, left in your wake, among the lives of those who you have influenced, the hearts of those you have touched, and the dreams of those you have inspired, and realize a life that is complete not by your singular individuality, but by those whose lives are complete, because of yours…”
This will be the first of the many posts I will present on my blog on a weekly basis. In general, my posts will range from addressing various topics of interest: daily musings, current events, philosophy, scientific topics etc.
I welcome my readers to respond, and comment, but please do so in a respectable manner.
A new adventure beckons in the life of someone I hold dear to my heart. My younger sister, Beatrice, will soon embark on a wonderful journey as she pursues higher studies at university.
A few days ago, she had sent me a message detailing her excitement, and her anxieties, as she confronted the gradual changes in her life. Much of her concerns were directed towards the past few years, filled with short stints at different schools in Sierra Leone, India, and finally at UK where she had completed her schooling.
Despite being absent for the most part, I was still able to relate to her, and reached out with comforting words, hoping to share the measly bit of wisdom I had gained in my own life, during that same period of time, when I worked hard to obtain my BSc. degree at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
I was left with many things to contemplate about after our interaction. I found it difficult to accept that the little girl I had once known as my baby sister was now a young woman moving forward with great passion, and determination on her own personal journey.
The thought was a gentle touch of perspective of the time that had passed, and the differences that had crept into my life, and that of my family.
Reaching back to where I once stood as a young teen of 16 years, to where I am now, a young man of 23, I can say with some confidence that, so far, I have lived my life satisfactorily without any regrets.
I had the wonderful opportunity to complete my primary, secondary, and higher-secondary education at international schools, as my family traveled around the world. This may have spear-headed the natural incentive I chose in challenging the world view I was exposed to.
Such a course of action demanded the need to openly confront, and understand the differences I faced in the people I met, the cultures I experienced, and the life I chose to lead. In many ways, it has been a crucial factor towards structuring my identity, and beliefs as an individual.
Change comes hand-in-hand with those differences, and I have met my greatest challenge in sharing, and helping my loved ones understand those same changes. I have learned to live my life, with openness, yet dictating my choices solely out of my own free will, the one part of me that I have never ascribed vulnerable to outer influence.
But, isn’t accepting influence a necessary factor towards understanding, and contemplating differences in the choices we make? It is a puzzle that I am yet to solve. Much rests on the solution I find, and a difficult one at that it will be.
But for now, I am happy, and glad to continue my daily ruminations on this subject…
Though at times, I feel that the differences that I identify may be the cause of distance between me, and my family, it hasn’t at one bit relegated my love for them.
After all that has been said, I’m very proud of you Beatrice. You have followed a path very similar to mine, and have now begun to confront those same changes, and differences. I look forward to seeing where these questions will take you, and the answer you will find. I love you sweet-heart!
I would also like to use this occasion to give my heartiest congrats to one other special person who is dear to me, Leah Winters ,my girlfriend, who recently graduated, and successfully completed her BSc. degree, and is set to contemplate on the impending changes,and differences of her life with me!
It has been a busy few months since my last post, but I’ve now successfully completed the first year of my Masters. I am currently spending my summer working as a research assistant, and focusing predominantly on my thesis!
This summer has also provided its share of delights, in particular, the publication of my two research papers, which for anyone who is in the field of Biophysics, feel free to check the following links!
(1) ” Reconstructing folding energy landscapes from splitting probability analysis of single-molecule trajectories” PNAS 2015 ; published ahead of print May 26, 2015, doi:10.1073/pnas.1419490112
(2) “Transition-Path Probability as a Test of Reaction-Coordinate Quality Reveals DNA Hairpin Folding Is a One-Dimensional Diffusive Process”
Krishna Neupane, Ajay P. Manuel, John Lambert, and Michael T. Woodside
Phys. Chem. Lett., 2015, 6(6), pp 1005–1010, DOI:10.1021/acs.jpclett.5b00176
Though my thesis work has precedence, I hope to dedicate an hour or so every day to focus on my writing. As such, I am happy to say that after a year of brainstorming, I have finally begun working on my latest short novel. I can can hint that it revolves around the daily struggles of two different people of varying backgrounds, cultures etc. and how those differences come to play in their lives, and subsequent meeting.
Unlike “Our Last Summer” where I intentionally catered my writing for a younger audience, my new short novel will be geared towards an older audience. Consequently, my progress has been a lot slower in comparison, but I am aiming to complete the novel by this September.
Two more writing projects are to follow afterwards, but more about that later ;)
As I mentioned in the previous post, over the course of the coming days, I will be slowly transforming this blog from its original purpose as a marketing tool for “Our Last Summer” to a general author/ “something” page.
I intend to post at least one or two big messages on a weekly basis. This may range from just general posts on my daily life, my thoughts on the current events of the world, updates on my writing, the promotion of my old, and new works, my scientific work etc.
I encourage discussion as long as it is not offensive to any other members of the blog. I also look forward to interacting with everyone who has been following my blog so far :)
As mentioned earlier, this blog will serve as the base of my communication, but my posts will be automatically rerouted to my other pages as well:
I promise to do my best in keeping everyone notified of the changes, and look forward to interacting with you all!
It’s been more than a year since the publication of “Our Last Summer,” and I have finally received a review of my book from a fellow author, and one who is very close to my heart.
Here’s a review of the book from my sister, and budding author, Beatrice Manuel!
“Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir” by Ajay Peter Manuel
One of the reading challenges on the list is to read a memoir and I figured – hey! It just so happens that my brother has a published book which is a memoir – why not read that? And so I did.
Our Last Summer is the journey of a teenager’s transition into adulthood through his various experiences through friendship, family, and love. We delve into the writer’s past as he reminisces of his time in high school that helped him to become the person he is today. As the blurb above suggests, this ranges from many things that we can all relate to on some level – relationships with people that have opened our eyes to what true friendship is about, our first experience with ‘crushing’ on someone and finding the will to have your heart move on from the hurt of a betrayal. Our Last Summer has something to offer everyone, especially to those who too are fond of their years in high school.
Life always presents us with hurdles and reality doesn’t come without its share of regrets, but you can always make one hell of a nice story about it.
The memoir, of course, employs the narrative voice of a first person point of view. We slip into the shoes and mindset of the writer as he shares his story with us. The ‘characters’, in this case are not fictional, but actual people. If at all, it only makes it easier to relate to them.
We all have that extremely close friend who we think of as a brother or sister. We’ve also had our share of first crushes and infatuations that later had us going: ‘what had gotten into my mind?’ Reading this book, I was able to connect to the various personalities I came across, bearing in mind my own experiences and friends that I’ve had as well.
I also loved the style in which the memoir was written. First and foremost, each chapter started off with a small quote that kind of foreshadows what the chapter will be covering. I found that each quote tied in nicely with the chapter while reading, in a way enhancing the message that Ajay Peter Manuel is trying to get through and at the same time, posing questions to the reader.
Be it success, joy, failure, or disappointment, a man who lives freely should be able to accept the reality of such experiences; even when all is lost, continue to live with hope and dream to strive for the best.
Our Last Summer isn’t only explored through chapters narrating the events of his high school life but the writer also includes poetry, lyrics, and journal entries to bring forth the raw emotions he was feeling at the time. The poems and songs were beautifully written to fit into the mood the chapter brings forth, and delving into his journal entries was a good change from the narration, giving us a more personal insight. I also loved the bits and pieces of light humor and jokes that pop up in the novel from time to time.
She said, “I hate you!” Three words—and she might as well have killed me then.
The only possible drawback I could say there was to this novel is the pacing. Some may find that the pacing of the story is slow, and at certain parts it did seem to drag on. But also, I have to keep in mind that this piece is a memoir. I can see that Ajay Peter Manuel is simply trying to paint a full picture in the minds of the readers and to explore the spectrum of emotions he feels to help take us back on this journey with him.
Our Last Summer is a wondrous blend of poetry and prose, that not only shares the story of the writer himself but a story we have all lived, or will live, at some point in this miracle called life. Through his journey, we recount our own and it’s a melancholic and bittersweet read. Having putting the book down, I felt lighter, happier and had my own walk down memory lane (as cliche as that sounds).
In life, when you bring people together, share your lives together, indulging in their emotions as they do in yours, you risk changing things and losing control. It’s all chaos – until you look back and realize that the only thing you can do is record time as it passes so that even when everything around us is in motion, we still have the permanence of memories.
Ajay Peter Manuel not only invites us to revisit the memories he formed as a budding young man in high school, but reminds us of the beauty of forming our own.”
Firstly, I would like to sincerely apologize to all my friends, and fellow word press followers, for my absence.
My last post was on November 28, 2013. My absence was largely built around the busy schedule of my personal life, and the journey that I ventured upon for the past year and a half.
This journey of mine was filled with many adventures.It was a time where I confronted, and came to terms with many things at a personal level in my life. I am glad that through the onset of it all I have been supported by my friends, and family. I know that I am yet to see the end of this new adventure, not that I want it to end anytime soon.
Meanwhile, I also successfully obtained a BSc. in Honors Astrophysics, and am now in pursuit of a MSc. in Physics. Immersed in the cascade of events that accompanied my journey led me to depart from writing actively, and in retrospect, it seems like I took a short sabbatical.
But life would knock on my door again, this time to renew my writing, and so I did. Our Last Summer will always be a cherished memory of my heart. It was my first published work, and I brought the fervor, and motivation of a young teenager to the words I shared in my personal memoir. Slowly but surely, time has come to pass…
And with that a new journey has begun. A journey that I wish to share with everyone. I will consistently promote Our Last Summer at every opportunity I get through this blog. At the same time, I am hoping to reach out via a different means to my audience. Just as much as I have transformed, so will this blog for the sake of this new adventure, that will not only highlight a new me, but also more writing!
I’d like to once again thank my friends, and family, and all those who had followed this blog in its earliest days. I would be glad to have you join me in this adventure again.
Just a quick note on where one could purchase my book.
For most part, I suggest that interested readers order the book online via common booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through the websites for popular bookstores.
It is quite difficult as an upcoming self published author to get the book to be hosted by a bookstore, needless to say the unlimited amount of paper work that has to be done for that.
I have been busy with my own life as well as I look forward to my future, though I do have the hopes of starting on my newer works including a romantic comedy, a political crime thriller and a few others etc.
I am contemplating the possibility of sharing my work at the online writing website of Protagonize. Time will tell.
Aside from that, look forward to a press release early next year concerning the book. Progress is slow, but I also have plans to submit my manuscript for the Alberta Readers Choice Award contest, so for all my Edmontonian fans, make sure you vote when the time comes :)
Thank you all for the support!
So I got the first review from a fan/close friend of mine on the book, and I’m very glad
to know that people are enjoying it :)
In her words, she basically said that the book covers what she feels is the “bliss of youth.”
Now am wishing I had that statement as a promotional subtitle.
Either way, I’m glad to hear that people are liking the book :)
THE PROMO OFFER IS STILL OPEN! GIVE ME WORD FOR ALL THOSE WILLING TO GET A FREE ONLINE COPY :) TWO MORE AVAILABLE!!!
It has been a while. I have not been updating this blog or my other connections for almost a month. Why? Cause I have been busy and excited in receiving promotional materials.
I am happy to let you all know that the prodigal author is back. I was finally able to secure the promotional materials from the publishing company including posters, book-stubs (that offer promo codes to buy the book for free online! :) ), a sum of 21 free cover copies and 2 hard cover (as part of my publishing package), and some book pamphlets.
I have also been busy making way for my future aspirations in my own life but now that everything is here I have begun my work.
If anyone is interested in getting a free promo code (to get the ebook online), let me know. It is first come first serve, and for now I am offering three (I have a limited amount of them.) What I ask from you is to please spread word to your nearest library or book store to stock up on my book, or even spread word and share the book with friends :) This will help a lot in getting the book out there. Thanks, everyone for following me this long!
Let me know!!! :) I will be keeping up more updates now that we have the ball rolling.