Friday, April 29, 2005

Summer of '00

I discovered this great site today, it has excerpts from Friends, all episodes and all seasons. (You can send me a thank you note if this is where you heard of it first) I stumbled on it because I was searching for my favorite quote from Friends.

It is from Season 7, episode 8 where --
"The gang all play a game where they have to try to list all 50 states; Ross gets so involved in it that he misses Thanksgiving dinner. Chandler and Monica find out that Phoebe is keeping a dog in the apartment; Chandler reveals his fear of dogs. Rachel invites Tag over for Thanksgiving dinner. He's depressed because he and his girlfriend just broke up. Rachel tries to decide whether to comfort him as a friend, or to make a move. She decides to just be a friend, but Joey lets the secret slip out."

The quote goes like this...
Rachel: When a guy breaks up with his girlfriend, what is an appropriate amount of time to wait before you make a move?
Phoebe: Oh, I'd say about a month.
Monica: Really? I'd say 3 to 4.
Joey: Half hour. (Rachel turns to look at him and he nods yes.)
Rachel: Interesting.
Monica: When it's your assistant, I would say never.
Joey: All right, Rach, the big question is, does he like you? All right? Because if he doesn't like you, this is all a moo-point.
Rachel: Huh. A moo-point?
Joey: Yeah, it's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's moo.
Rachel: (to Monica and Phoebe) Have I been living with him for too long, or did that all just make sense?

Have been sneaking time out from work (It sacrilegious seeing how much of work debris am lying under) to read this site and it has been a superhuman task to laugh without being heard. So there are occasional snorts, grunts and coughs which suspiciously sound like a laugh... all orginating from yours truly with the boss sitting a coupla uncomfortable feet away! Well he is a cool duck ... my boss is! But yunnoh how it is... don't wanna spoil the hard earned image of a hard working, i-mean-business-and-only-that girl.
But ggod this site makes it so difficult... it is irresistible!

Here are some more quotes... (read on if you are a 'Friendsophile') --

Joey: Say hello to the new champ of Chandler's dumb States game.
Ross: Wow, how many have you got?
Joey: Fifty-six!

Phoebe: Well, no no, you have to stay back. I, I have the pox.
Ryan: Chicken or small?
Phoebe: Chicken. Which is so ironic considering I'm a vegetarian.

Chandler: Hey, stick a fork in me, I am done.
Phoebe: Stick a fork what?
Chandler: Like, when you're cooking a steak.
Phoebe: Oh, OK, I don't eat meat.
Chandler: Well then, how do you know when vegetables are done?
Phoebe: Well you know, you just, you eat them and you can tell.
Chandler: OK, then, eat me, I'm done.

Ross: Yeah, she finally stopped crying yesterday, but then she found one of Richard's cigar butts out on the terrace....
Phoebe: Oh, okay, that explains it. I got a call at two in the morning, but all I could hear was, like, this high squeaky sound, so I thought, okay it's, like, a mouse or a possum. But then I realized, like, okay, where would a mouse or a possum get the money to make the phone call?

Joey: Wheel!
Chandler: Of!
Joey: Fortune! This guy is so stupid. It's Count Rushmore!
Chandler: You know, you should really go on this show.
Joey: It's like this chemical thing, you know. Every time she starts laughing, I just wanna... pull my arm off, just so I can have something to throw at her.
Chandler: Thanks for trying. Oh, and by the way--there is no Count Rushmore!
Joey: Yeah? Then... then who's the guy that painted the faces on the mountain?

Chandler: All right, look, look. What did... what did you get for Angela Delveccio for her birthday?
Joey: She didn't have a birthday while we were going out.
Chandler: For three years?

Monica: Fine! Judge all you want to but, (points to Ross) married a lesbian, (points to Rachel) left a man at the altar, (points to Phoebe) fell in love with a gay ice dancer, (points to Joey) threw a girl's wooden leg in a fire, (points to Chandler) livin' in a box!!

And i could go on... and on... and on... (okay! I think you get the drift.)

When I was in Engineering school, Rons, Shanky, Nins and I used to watch all the Friends episodes and even reruns, then discuss them the next day. Endless times we have been chucked out of class for laughing out loud. And Rons I still blame you for most of them! But then we have been chucked out for worse things.

Watching Friends is always a trip down memory lane. Takes me back to those days when we were incorrigible, indomitable, arrogant and cool. Taking 'panga' with the professors and spending whole days in the canteen. Charming the seniors into doing our assignments and Bode plots and graphs which were finally done in a dozen handwritings and 4 different colored inks, GT's, fooling around, eating dozens of plates of 'misal pav' and drinking gallons of 'cutting chai'! College fests, conning sponsors and dancing till u r drunk on the music... so drunk that even the sugarcane wallah's bell gets you grooving in the middle of the main road!! Strange hairstyles, scary makeups, earrings as big as shields and wooden bead strings long enough to fall way below waist! PJ's, loud behavior and devil may care attitudes. Vivas, Exams and Practicals... where it was the Prof's chance to get even and get even they did, those ##$%$#%%^&%!!!

Whatever happened to those wonderful, beautiful days and where did they go?
We all got struck down by sobriety and practical life... practical joke... more like it! Welcome to the real world and all that crap.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

On Bharatiya Sanskriti

Last week a teenaged girl was raped by a policeman in Mumbai. And following this the Shiv Sena(SS) mouthpiece Samna printed a highly intellectual and research based article on the main provocation of rape and how to avoid it.

According to this true proponent and guardian of 'Baratiya Sanskriti'(B.S) Indian women are aping the West by wearing revealing clothes, and it's these titillating outfits worn by these shameless women that are transforming the good hearted and staunch practisionists of the very same B.S from Dr Jekyls to Mr.Hydes and leading them into attacking the women. It is of course no fault of theirs and by raping the shameless hussies they are only following the BS that they revere so much.

At fault also are parents, guardians, teachers and all such people who are in a position to advise the girls and women against their sinful behavior and teach them the to follow the true dictates of B.S but fail to do so. The women of India have been misled into believing that since India is a democratic country, they can live as they wish to. This is unforgivable. They should be taught to go back to those dark ages when according to the SS, BS was practised in its true form and women still went around in respectable purdahs and performed their true kartavya of taking care of the house, bearing children and if the husband dies prior to them, then doing the sati. That according to SS's research would be the true karma of a woman.

But we Indians seem to have forgotten that. We now allow our girls to be educated and this fills them with the false feeling that they are equal to men. We allow our girls the choice to decide for themselves. We allow our women to dress, behave, live, perform equal to the men. And this is where we are committing our biggest atrocity against Indian culture. The men raping our women are doing nothing wrong. They are not going against our great BS. They are not to blame. Like poor lambs led to slaughter, we shameless women are destroying the will of these innocent men and leading them to rape us by wearing our hipster jeans and low cut tops. It is we who have forgotten our culture and our true identity.

But all is not lost yet (phew!). It is reassuring to note that the whole nation is not yet in the grip of this moral corruption and there are among us a few enlightened Indian women and men who are true to the BS preached by the Sena, inspite of any education they might have received! These wise souls have grasped what the BS truly stands for and have recognised the truth in what the SS has published.

They alone know what part of their body the nuns, shut in their convent in Central India, were exhibiting which issued the come-hither signal to their rapists. And they alone can comprehend what flesh it is that the thousands of women, everywhere in India, dressed in saris and salwar kurtas are flashing to deserve the rape they are put through.

Would these wise souls and the SS please come forward and take charge of our moralities. And fellow indians who are going against BS please extend all your support and blind obedience to these enlightened souls who will lead us away from our path of westernized decadence and teach us what it means to be a true Bharatiya.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

All Indians are my brothers and sisters!!

If you are an Indian and have travelled anywhere in India, you must have been asked 'Where in India are you from?' translating to 'Where are your ancestors from, what is your mother tongue, what community do you belong to ... etc?' So this apparently simple question usually is a dozen questions rolled into one and it always leads to at least an hour long conversation with your fellow traveller. You finally part after imparting and also collecting each other's biography. And woe to you if you happen to be from the same place or community as the person who posed you the question... in that case rest assured by the end of your journey you would have compared each other's great grandmothers and their cousins thrice removed!

This question indeed gives a new meaning to that sentence in our national pledge which says... 'All Indians are my brothers and sisters'. Your questioner gets no rest and doesn't let you have any either until he has established how he is related to either you or if not that, then at least your friend or your neighbour or your milkman's brother's wife's lover!

Now I often get asked this question and I have a difficult time answering it. This is why...
Fellow Traveller (F.T): (With a smile and a look in the eye which tells me THE QUESTION is going to be thrown at me next) So, Where are you from?
Me: (looking trapped and trying to get away easy)From Bombay
F.T: (not satisfied with answer) But, where is your native place?
Me: (I know there is no escape now) Kerala
F.T: Oh, you are a mallu (short of malayalee... natives of Kerala)
Me: No, am a konkani
F.T:(baffled) Huh? (this usually demands futher explanation and unless I want to earn F.T's ire I better elaborate)
Me: My parents are born and brought up in Kerala. (Now this is an answer doomed to be followed up with the next question)
F.T: So your father is Konkani and mother is Mallu?
Me: (enjoying F.T's confusion but needing to put a stop to this '20 questions' session) No actually both are Konkanas. My mother tongue is konkani but native place is Kerala. You see, there are a lot of Konkanas in coastal Kerala and Karnataka, our ancestors fled there 500 yrs ago when the Portugese were persecuting and forcibly converting the Goan konkanas to Christianity.
F.T: (Relieved) Oh! I am from ___ and my parents have been in ___ for past ___ yrs and my grandparents are from ___ yakkity....yakkitty..yak...

This conversation is very different if F.T is also a GSB (Gowda Sarswat Brahman) Konkani. In that case F.T. will not need an explanation when I tell him my native place is Kerala but mother tongue is Konkani. He will, on hearing that am Konkani, will then methodically proceed to ask me questions as if his life depends on the answers:
Me: No, am Konkani
F.T: Oh! Amchigele ('Our people' konkani)
Me: (scared smile... I know what is coming next)
F.T: Me too... In fact my grandfather is M.V.Pai from Soonya Ghar (which literally translates to doghouse but actually means that the owner used to have a pet dog!). You might know him... Kelya Phadi Pai Mamu ('Banana piece' Pai uncle.. Nicknames being the primary way to identify people among the GSB community).
Me: Na (No). I have been born and brought up in Bombay
F.T:(crestfallen, I have robbed him of his delight... but the man is persistent) So what is your family called?
Me: Hod Kaaran Sanchi (From the Roof tiled house)
F.T: (Broad smile... Ecstatic and even relieved...) Oh! I know Bhangar Maamu (That is my grandpa, he is called 'Gold uncle' though his name is R.V Shenoy). In fact in that case we are related. Your grandmother's paternal uncle's eldest son is married to my maternal grandmother's cousin brother. (How on earth do these people remember such long winded relationships!?!!)
Well needless to say this is followed with the customary comparing of our respective grandmothers and all other assorted relatives, their life-stories, their dogs and their minutest idiosyncrasies!

After numerous such experiences I have reason to conclude that I can't run from the 'where-are-you-from' question even if am no longer in India. Any Indian I meet abroad and start a conversation with usually ends up at the same question. And now I am beginning to accept the question for what it is... a need to identify with every fellow Indian you meet.

India is a vast country and its diverse cultural and communal mosaic is something that only an Indian can comprehend. You don't identify with a fellow Indian by saying to yourself... 'Oh look! there is another Indian'... no sir!no ma'am! that simply does not sum it and you need more... so you ask THE QUESTION. And after establishing each other's 'where-froms' you now proceed to tell yourself 'Oh look! there is another bombayite like me' or 'there is another maharashtrian like me' or 'there is another gujju like my friend Ratanbhai'... These epithets help you connect to the individual in question in a more personal manner. You feel like you finally 'know' him or her and now you are prepared to consider the other person a part of your circle. Just knowing that the other person is an Indian is too impersonal for another Indian who is more comfortable with these little details and therefore needs these little details to be able to identify with his fellow countryman.

And if you are another Indian reading this then... 'Hmmm, Where in India are you FROM?"

Monday, April 25, 2005

And... another weekend rolls by...

The weekend is gone and monday returns with a vengeance... but the only bright spot on the horizon is the holiday on May 1st... long weekend and all ...

This weekend was the typical lazy easy kind. Friday evening we tried out a new South-Indian eating place someone recommended ... Anand Bhavan oppposite to Mustafa. She assured me they served a decent Pav Bhaji. Can't tell you how disappointed I was! Needless to say this friend is not a Bombayite and hence has no idea what Pav Bhaji really tastes like. And anyways I am the one to blame, not her. Why you ask? Well...
1) Coz I expected good Pav Bhaji in a South Indian restaurant!
2) I expected a non-Bombayite to be able to judge where one can order Pav Bhaji and be assured that it will be authentic stuff and not mashed potatoes drenched in 'ghee' and pav deep fried in wott else...'ghee'.

Got back home and fought with AG... It being a given that everytime we even walk past Mustafa, we HAVE to fight... the place does bring out the worst in one and cheerfully throws in a splitting headache as a bonus. And then after patching up watched Akira Kurosawa's 'Kagemusha' or 'Shadow Warrior' (with English subtitles of course).

Kagemusha is a multi-layered movie based in 16th century Japan where clans ruled and fought each other and western influences including Christianity and muskets and feather studded hats were recent introductions. It deals with the subject of impersonation where the impersonator can never completely transform into the real man, and yet there is between the impersonator and the real person an undeniable, unexplainable bond which brings them together inspite of the vast differences in their personalities. The Takeda clan's powerful and charismatic warlord Shingen's death is kept a secret for 3 years by his clan's retainers using his double, hence the name shadow warrior. The double is a petty thief and by no means capable of carrying out a convincing deception easily. So throughout the movie the audience can see the enormous difficulty the man undergoes in carrying off his role as a titan who had been called 'an immovable mountain' by even his sworn enemies. The movie revolves around the strange relationship the shadow warrior has with his dead master. It is very well articulated in a surreal dream sequence in which the lord breaks open his burial vessel and appears dressed for war in armour and warpaint, carrying his sword, looking menacing and scary. The thief struck with terror runs from him, his feet floundering in sand dunes and water streamlets while he scrambles in search of safety and then suddenly the lord vanishes. Now the shadow is filled with a longing to find him because without the lord he has no direction and no identity and he starts looking desperately for the lord. This scene symbolically demonstrates the relationship between the warlord and his shadow.
In real life too the same scene is replayed in a different way. After Shingen dies from his wounds the thief defies the clan's elders and refuses to take on the role. He is aware of his insufficiency and also finds the crown a tad too heavy for his head to bear. For a petty, penny robber to essay the role of Japan's most powerful warlord is a herculean task and when he does finally take it on out of loyalty to the warlord, at every step he finds it difficult to carry on. Even to the end this relationship remains unchanged and 3 years later when he is no longer playing the lord's double and has suddenly lost his purpose and even his identity, he ends his life in a final display of loyalty and perhaps in a pathetic desperation to finally be one with the deception he had strived so long to keep alive. The closing scene is particularly symbolic where the shadow warrior is shown dead, with a Takeda banner floating close by but yet out of reach, in the same lake which was Shingen's final resting place... in death too the Kagemusha is bound to his master but yet he could never be the man himself.

Anyways back to the weekend... Saturday was spent at home in idle splendour! Evening met up with Mitesh and Pallab and their families over dinner at Margarita's Am not a big fan of Mexican food but these people do make some to-die-for Fajitas and great Sangria, also delectable Tiramisu.

Sunday... went for another bout of house-viewing with Clifford. This time he showed us 4 houses, 2 of them were disappointing... the condos were old and the apartments were in reproachful condition. The other 2 were quite good. One of them was on the 29th floor and has a breathtaking view! And the other had been built on the grounds which used to earlier accommodate the American embassy. In fact the colonial looking embassy building is being used as the clubhouse for the condo... hmmm... interesting place! Had lunch at Olio... they serve great linguini in cream sauce (unforgivable for someone trying to lose weight) and wicked profiteroles... yummm! Spend a few hours thereafter in the welcoming sofas in Borders. Got back home in time to catch Ramgopal Varma's 'Jungle'.

That's it! That was my weekend:( and now a long 5 day wait till another one comes by. Am such a weekend junkie. I often wish for an endless loop of Friday evening-Saturday-Sunday and friday evening again! But then I better be careful what I wish for... I might get it and then absolutely hate it!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Go, Sister Go!!

I work at the Singapore location of a European multinational. Recently the CIO payed us a visit. Since it was his 1st visit here, the CIO went around meeting the team and there was the conventional introduction and handshake routine. The Chief takes one look at me and exclaims... " But you don't fit into my idea of a Technical Consultant." , 'Really', I laughed', 'So what is your idea of one?' And then I got an answer which surprisingly managed to surprise me! He said "Well, you know... you don't expect a woman as a Technical Consultant' !!!??!!

Whyever not...? I am not offended but am ... surprised, to say the least, and maybe I shouldn't be. The general perception of a Techie is this geeky guy and I am yet to come across someone who harbors a vision with a female version! And yes, in Techworld as in any other there is the proverbial gender restrictive glass ceiling the women have to contend with! I am indeed the sole woman on my team and in earlier jobs I have several times been the only woman in the entire project team.

But inspite of all this the statement was unexpected. It is certainly not unusual to see women in software or for that matter in any sphere of technology. The world is opening up for the female of our specie and it is an exciting time indeed for us. Look around you, there are thousands of women like me working in the technological industries and it is no longer a male bastion exactly. There is no dearth of examples I could give to support this statement...Lucent Technologies, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Gillette, Del Monte, Avon, Citrix all have women CIO's. Gender Equations are being re-written more rapidly than any other time in history! And why, it is not just IT, the landscape is changing radically in every profession and every field.

But then I guess I have to understand that it might yet take many more years till the fixed mindset and perceptions change, gender bastions are breached completely and the glass ceiling is shattered! Until then each of us women can enjoy the prideful joy that comes out of being a forebear for coming generations of women who will someday study the 'Glass Ceiling' as a relic of the dead culture of male dominance.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran

Am currently engrossed in 'Reading Lolita in Tehran' by Azar Nafisi. Picked it up because I liked the description on the cover of the book. A friend just informed me it is an Amazon bestseller and well, I am not surprised. It is a well-articulated book. The author has not groped for words and settled on lesser ones for that context. But this alone is not what makes it such a brilliant book. What does is the subject or rather subjects the book deals with and the way it accomplishes then in weaving together all these different concepts into one narrative, in a most effortless and natural manner.

Nafisi read literature at Oxford, won her fellowship there and then for many years taught English literature in various universities in Tehran. She left her beloved country and now lives in Washington D.C. where she teaches at John Hopkins.

'Reading Lolita in Tehran' is a "Memoir in books" as the cover page informs me. It is, yes, a memoir put across to the reader using Nabokov, F.Scott.Fitzgerald, Henry James and Jane Austen. And its greatness lies in the stark and often harrowing realities it deals with and its success in equating these realities with fiction in literature and that too fiction like Lolita, Pride and Predjudice, Gatsby and Daisy Miller!!! But then acording to the author, their lives during the days of The Iranian Revolution "were more fictional than fiction itself".

In her book she has beautifully and astonishingly used these authors, their various writings, the characters in their books to give the reader a deeper understanding into the lives of people in Iran, the plight of its intellectuals and scholars in a world where they were becoming increasingly 'irrelevant', the struggle of its women to maintain the semblance of freedom and dignity in times when they were being vigorously suppressed, the turbulence in the country and the breakdown of its vibrant social fabric which was then rebuilt to suit the dreams of its fundamentalist rulers.

Some of the incidents Nafisi describes effected a reaction which I would normally link with a physical blow. There is one where she encounters one of her students after many years and this girl tells Nafisi about her life during the time. She had been in prison for taking part in some student demonstrations and got out "lucky" since her father was capable of weilding some influence over her jailors. But one of her friends was executed, prior to which she was raped and abused; logic being, if a woman dies a virgin she would go to heaven and since the women are in prison because of some sin/crime they have committed they don't deserve heaven!! And these girls had been mere teenagers at the time of their imprisonment! This story echoes the lives of thousands of such youth in Iran those days. Oh God!! What unimaginable horrors and what unspeakable crimes must have been inflicted upon these innocent, gentle people.

There are dozens of such paragraphs in the book which will move you to tears, touch you profoundly and disturb you too. And alongwith, Nafisi has strangely managed to give the reader a profound insight into the writings of each of the authors. I know how unusual and almost impossible it seems, this task of marrying two such disparate actions as recounting real-life horrors and literary appreciation. But therein, as I said, lies the book's brilliance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Yunnoh... the usual!

Everday I wake up
and plunge headlong
into a well of everyday moments
and at times
surface excited
over a nugget I found .

Called up Thels' last evening on my way home from the gym, we screamed the traditional hysterics... and in answer to her 'Howz you, girl?' gave her my patent... simultaneous smile+shrug+shake of head once from right to left+flippant tone saying "Yunnoh... the usual". And then the lady threw me a poser..."So what EES this 'usual'?"

Hmmm...Yeah... What does it mean? Only life in its routine glory. You know... wake up, get ready for office, get breakfast, leave for work, Work, mails, meetings, lunch, more work-mails-meetings, gym/swim/pilates, home, cook dinner, eat it, clear table, do dishes, read/TV/surf/talk about the day with AG, then zzzz... thtz it! My routine day.

The only change in this routine comes through commonplace things... the current project at work, the books am currently reading, the movie I recently watched and yes the blessed weekends. And when I put down my "usual" day in black and white like that, I am wont to exclaim, "How boring!", but then it is not so.

There are some saving graces which rescue my days from falling into the clutches of rut and humdrum. Like a lovely cool evening breeze when I walk home in the evening, a cheerful sunny day, a thrilling line, a great book, a brilliant poem, a call from an old friend, a mail from my sis, some flattering compliment from AG, a lazy weekend spent reading under a shady place and then cycling in the evening, a day at the beach, a good movie, a shopping spree, an evening spent in the city at some over-crowded, over-dressed, noisy place, some breakthrough with a problem at work, an exclamation from a friend I'm meeting after a long time- "My, you have lost so much!!'... countless such seemingly inconsequential, unimportant things.

Yes there is routine in them too, but then is it such a bad thing? Doesn't it bring some comfort, order and assurance with its steadiness? So why then do people in general, fawn over the maverick and hanker after the unpredictable? It is romantic, I confess; but heap on romanticism in the novels and ladle it on a bit sparingly in real life.

Neways routine doesn't mean boring or bland and routine never meant mediocre, though some will have you believe that! The occasional spice is good to have but not so much as to burn my tongue and kill my palate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Atlas Shrugged

Sunday... went to Kinokuniya with a definite purpose in mind... quite unlike most other weekends when AG and I walk down to Borders and browse in their aisles, laze with some books on their commodious sofas and then sit in their cafe outside, enjoying the sun and sipping on some Italian sodas.

Have been reading a friend's blog where he has made numerous references to Howard Roark and has in many a posts been ruminating over the practicality and correctness of considering Roark as the perfect Man. This triggered the urge to get my hands on Fountainhead and give it a thorough reading again. I read Ayn Rand in the wrong order... I mean, I started with 'Atlas Shrugged', moved on to 'Fountainhead', then 'We the living' and finally 'Anthem' while I have since felt the correct order would have been to start with 'We the Living', then 'Anthem', and only then graduate to Fountainhead' and cap it with 'Atlas Shrugged'. But what I did do right was... I read Ayn Rand at the right phase in life. In college, at 16 when you are still quite idealistic, untouched by cynicism, Ayn Rand's Objectivism seems like the gospel. I was an instant and fervent convert.

I read A.S in one sitting, well almost. The colossal 1200 pgs novel, I devoured in a day and a half and a sleepless night. And after that for the next couple of months I went around reading excerpts from it to whoever I could corner into listening... family, friends, Dad's visitors, strangers in the train, bus lines, libraries. I would bring the book to the dinner table every night and proceed to read from whichever section I was analysing then. Finally my dad had to put his foot down and forbid me to drag the book to our family dinners. But since my 1st love affair with it, I have always greedily grasped at the smallest of opportunity to be able to discuss or discourse on it.

After 'Atlas Shrugged', 'Fountainhead' was too tame and I accorded it 2nd rung status and after reading it once went back to A.S. In fact I remember how bowled over I was when I read the significance behind the name of the book.

Coming back to the present, after reading all those posts on Roark, off I went and bought both Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged... my 2nd set of copies. My 1st I had to give away when I moved and I still mourn the loss. And now I am waiting to finish my current books to then devote my reading time wholly to Rand.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Lady Lazarus

Eureka! Made a happy mistake by strolling into some hitherto ignored section of the library and bumped into rows of classics, poems and travelogues. So now I can head straight to this rather sidetracked and relatively empty section of the library and revel in such august company as Pablo Neruda, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Phil Larkin...
But will remember to not neglect my earlier haunt of popular fiction. After all that is where I discovered Sebastian Faulks though he, in my opinion, has earned his place among the greats by penning his World War I triology comprising of 'Birdsong', 'Charlotte Gray' and 'The girl at Lion D'Or'. Also that is where I found the rest of the novels by Joanne Harris. Prior to coming to Singapore I had read the partly autobiographical 'Chocolat' and loved it.

Currently am drowning in Sylvia Plath... for there is no other word to describe the effect her poems have on one. She needs to be read with a complete surrender of one's senses to the reading of her poems. And this is the only way, I can begin to comprehend her. Having had a boringly normal life, her poems are to me, of another world. My first introduction to her was through 'Mirror' , which I read in school and which is a rather straightforward poem compared to the rest of her writings, then 'Lesbos', which made me curious to know more about this neurotic, hate-filled poet.

'Lady Lazarus' alludes to her near-death accident when she was 10 and her 2 unsuccessful suicide attempts in a wry, self-deprecating manner ('Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well.' ) . But this poem is not just that, it has multiple layers and covers a plethora of emotions. She self-congratulates ('I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it'), horrifies, fascinates with her numerous skilful imageries, dramatizes ('It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. It's the theatrical ') , rants at her spectators, and finally alludes that she will try again to kill herself, because as she says, it is her calling but then she seems to be confident that she will fail yet again for like a cat she has nine lives or as she so brillantly put it 'like the cat I have nine times to die'!! This is a difficult and disturbing poem to put oneself through and one emerges out of it gasping and horrified and yes, marvelling at Plath's genius.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Twenty-Six years

All these years
where have you been...
living in a hut on the hill?
growing in a pot on the windowsill?

Twenty-six years
and nothing to show for it!
no fame, no name, no memories,
no high, no sky, no glories

Twenty-six years
and where have you been
no footsteps to show
and no kingdom to go

Where did you send
those dreams you had borne...
How did u slay?
or did u cast them away?

Huge Dreams, Starry Eyes
Rainbow Gold and Big Dough
Did u let them die?
Feed them slow poison or a lie?

When you look back
you have no clue
where those years went.
Wasted, in vain, spent.

You see them lain behind
"Come back", You cry "you are mine"
"C'est la vie", they say
then they shrug and go away.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Born in 1979 BC

Woke up with a start today when the 2nd alarm went off. I usually don't even hear the 1st. AG, poor guy, has to shut it off. He then lies in bed twisting and turning until the 2nd alarm rings which usually means "if-you-don't-get-off-that-damn-bed-now-u're-gonna-be-late!!" Silenced it as well and promptly went back to sleep.

And now am late!! Worse... have forgotten my cellphone at home :( It was only after boarding the bus to work that I realised it! By then I was left with 2 choices:
1) Beg the driver to stop the bus and let me go
2) Sit put
And so there I sat with dismay writ on my face and looking like I am going to get my tooth out!

After work today I have my Pilates class, so by the time I see my phone again it will be 8:30 in the evening and God alone knows how many calls I will miss until then.
To think that I got a cellphone just 4 years back and to think that I spend almost half my life without even a landline at home (We got our phone connection when I was 12!) ... and now I am going to spend a day in agony just because I forgot my phone at home!

We have indeed come a long way from the days of trunk call and MTNL (Mera Telephone Nahin Lagta) to cellphones which are phones and hand held computers and mp3 players and gameboys and digital cameras and video cameras all rolled in one. You can chat/sms/mms/buy n' sell/surf/check scores/read books/shoot movie clips/listen to music/check events and a hundred such activities which you wouldn't have dreamt of doing with your humble phone a few years back. Now only if it could cook too!

About 12 years ago getting a landline meant booking a phone connection and then unless you know someone influential or can dole out an astronomical bribe, waiting a couple of years until your turn comes up. And hey! even then thank your stars if your phone worked 10 days out of 20. Come monsoon with the slightest of drizzles and your ugly black phone would end up merely as an ornamental addition to your living room. Those days STD meant booking a trunk call and then waiting with bated breath for the better part of the day for the call to come through. And if your need was urgent you could try the lightning call which would burn a hole in your pocket.

In contrast, on my last visit to India I saw kids toting their brand new Motorola clamshells and Sony P900's to school. We have come a long way indeed and compared to these techie-wiz teenagers I have started to feel like a dinosaur! Come to think of it, for me BC is Before Christ and for them it is Before Cellphones!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I can never make up my mind

Ah! Fickle Fickle life

Making me breathe
On the edge of a knife
Now you like peace and...
now you like strife

Now you like virtue
and then you want sin.
Now you don't mind losing
now you'd kill to win!

Now you want to work hard
and now you wanna idle.
Now you like the bitch look
and now it's virgin bridal.

Now you love Harry
and then you adore Al.
Now you hate tomorrow
and now you're best of pals.

Come come, my dear now
can't you just stay put,
for once stand your ground,
for once put down your foot.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Summer Hols and Nostalgia

When I was younger and still in school, every summer vacation my sister and I would be dragged by our mother for our yearly 2 month stay to our native place in Kerala. Now you have to understand, Kerala of those days is a long cry away from the Kerala of now and a further cry away from Bombay which is where we used to live. Kerala is full of picturesque villages by the sea or a lagoon and thatched or tile roofed cottages surrounded by acres of courtyard, endless seas of paddy fields, thousands of nodding coconut trees, men in mundus (dhotis) and girls in pavaddai (long skirts), huge temples, ponds, wells, tiny boats, small dusty roads, lemonade stalls selling extra sweet lemonade, beedis and banana fritters. And now picture Bombay...with its busy roads, busy people, concrete jungles, planned housing societies, matchbox sized flats, sound pollution, air pollution...

In those days getting to Kerala meant a 2 night travel in the sleeper class compartments of "Jayanti Janata" which was what used to run between Bombay and Kanyakumari in the days before Konkan Railway was born. Dad would usually join us later for a week or so and hence the train travel was under the watchful eyes of Mom who would cook and pack food and fried snacks to suffice us the duration of the travel. At the end of the train journey on the 3rd day, in the wee hours of the morning, sis and me used to emerge excited, sleepy eyed, dirty, hoarse(having played 'antakshari' for 2 whole days at the top of our voices) and best pals with the kids in the neighbouring cubicles of our compartment. The after effects of the long train travel persisted the rest of the morning and well into the afternoon during which time S and me both would feel as if our whole body is still swaying and the train's 'chug-chug-chug' would still echo in our ears.

The next 2 months would be heavenly... no homework, no studies, no exams, no tests, no ear-twisting. Mom could not scold/punish us since we had our grandparents and uncles and aunts to save us from her wrath. We would spend these months being spoilt by a clan of relatives.

My grandma owned a cow which she used to milk every morning around 5:30. I would wake up early and go help her, by holding the tail of the cow to prevent her from swishing it at Grandma and fanning the cow so that no flies would disturb her calm. After this chore and some strong hot coffee (no Bournvita!!) I would go help Grandpa pick cashews in the orchard... this was one of my favorite things to do... Grandpa and I would walk for hours and he would tell me stories from his youth and also of my Dad's childhood days.

After lunch when everybody would be inside enjoying their afternoon siestas and escaping the sun I would play by myself with my imaginary pets (I had a dog and a horse), read a book by the pond, climb trees, eat mangoes, talk to the calf, sketch, write long letters to my school friends and dad, rummage in the attic for my dad's comics or just sit and watch an army of ants or spiders going about their business.
Summer vacations were also the times to watch Amitabh movies and Tom and Jerry cartoons in an endless loop, eat hundreds of mangoes/guavas/jackfruits, play in the sand and drink gallons of Rasna.

Every evening Grandma would light the 'diya' at the altar and me and my cousins would all sit down and sing our repertoire of bhajans at ear-splitting volumes. I remember the evening power cuts which were spend playing cards or carroms or better still sitting out in the garden under the endless skies, surrounded by the perfumes wafting from the Jasmine, Parijatha, Mogra bushes and watching dozens of fireflies twinkling all around, lying in Grandma's lap while she fanned me with her antiquated fan and listen to stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

As I write this am slowly overpowered by the memories of those days, the food, the smells, the sounds, the stories, laughter, games, fights... how lucky I am to have had these experiences, to have had the chance to enjoy these simple things and to now have such powerful and lucid memories which I can recall whenever I wish.

And I pity the present generation of kids. Them with all their electronic toy marvels, their Mc Donald's happy meals, E-story books, Cable Television, Air conditioned malls, Video Games, X-boxes, Mp3 players and low fare domestic flights! They have no clue what they are missing!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

That bird called Hope

Wotta delighful day! And all because I got lucky!

Was trying to remember this particular paragraph in Emily's Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery of the famous Anne of Green Gables Series when I came across Project Gutenberg! It has a vast collection of ebooks and here's the best part ... all of them are freely downloadable!

There is also another site hosted by Project Gutenberg, supposedly for books with an 'Australian' flavor... but I found some non-Australian flavored books here which I couldn't spot at the site in United States. If you know of any more such sites please let me know.

Anyways back to the paragraph I couldn't remember, here it is ...
Once, when Emily had been very small, living with her father down in the little old house at Maywood, where he had died, she had started out to seek the rainbow's end. Over long wet fields and hills she ran, hopeful, expectant. But as she ran the wonderful arch was faded--was dim--was gone. Emily was alone in an alien valley, not too sure in which direction lay home. For a moment her lips quivered, her eyes filled. Then she lifted her face and smiled gallantly at the empty sky.

"There will be other rainbows," she said.

Emily was a chaser of rainbows.

This paragraph was the author's attempt to introduce the reader to Emily. And somehow years after I last read the book, I keep remembering this paragraph. Maybe because I identify with it. Even when I first read it, the paragraph had jumped out of the page and shaken hands with me... I understood Emily, after reading 2 pages full of how Emily 'looks', this paragraph was the actual introduction. Not only because like her I was a chaser of rainbows, but also because through this hopeless chase for the seemingly un-catchable and the unattainable I never lose hope.

I have always been an optimist... incurably so. Yes, I do get pulled under and I do get depressed over events, slights, fights ... but eventually and always, my undying hopefulness pulls me up. AG always says that every person has a keyword he/she lives by and mine is 'extremes' :) or as Thels' puts it ... "passion".

When I am sad I am in the depths of sorrow, over the smallest of things, I grieve like I have been struck by a tragedy. And when I am happy I am ecstatic... again the teeniest of happenings is capable of lifting me to the zeniths of joydom.

I consider it as providence... this gift of mine to grieve and let go and then look forward... always look ahead to possibilities. To take failures, disappointments in my stride and then say to myself ... "Hmmm, what can I do to get me outta this? what can i do to make things better? Surely there is a way."

Strange girl she is ... this Hope! Living on the edges within grab's reach...

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Lotus Eater

A weekend of inaction(on the exercise front and on work front as well) and now inertia is mistress. Having dragged myself to work, I did get through most of my monday morning to-do's but afternoon was a different beast altogether. I had to prop up my eyelids with matchsticks and drink a gallon of expresso.

But at the end of the day I have raised a coupla issues regarding the current project on my plate to the functional chap. Result: Now until they are resolved the halt signal is up on the said project. (grinning wickedly as i write this)

Looking forward to the gym though. Past 5 months have turned me into this weightloss-tips-and-trivia encyclopedia. Having lost 5 kgs (almost 12lbs), I have not stoppped patting myself on the back for it and am now dispensing expert advise to anybody who asks for it (and some who don't but look like they could use it!!) Another 3 kgs off and I hope to be a poster babe for those before and after thingys they put on these weightloss ads which keep popping up ever so often and everywhere. So much so that inspite of watching the idiot box sparingly I am still not able to escape them!

Actually am a 'Discovery Travel and Living' junkie. I can watch that channel endlessly and through numerous re-telecasts! Most buses in Singapore have a TV and if I am lucky, on my way back home I get to watch Jamie Oliver lisping through some exotic dish. But downside is, each morning I am subjected to morning news against my wishes. As a rule I avoid watching news in the morning. Most days I read it online to get my fix of current affairs and trivia. But watching the news on TV is something I could live without. Endless scenes of destruction, civil war, terrorism, murders, ... all of them guaranteed to depress you before the day has even begun.

Call me a Lotus Eater if you wish but I would rather avoid things I do not have the power to influence or control. Daily exposure to the rising tsunami death toll affected me so much, I had begun to have sleepless nights. I would lie awake tortured by visions of 100 foot waves rushing in through our window (We live by the sea). And then one day I felt this tremor as I was working. When I asked my colleague whether he felt it too, he gave me this amused look which made me feel like Chicken Little would have after realising the sky is after all firmly up where it was.

That's when the no-morning-news rule was born. I would rather live behind my rose-tinted glasses than end up as this psychoneurotic chicken-little.

Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
-Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Saturday Night Fun

Watched 'Sahara' on Friday... the premier show at 11:15! Disappointing movie... though I got my VFM feasting my eyes on the hunky Matthew McConaughey, But methought the whole story was more suited to be a cartoon-strip for children... all the unbelievable stuff that kept happening!

Neways prior to the movie AG and I had thrown our diet sensibilities to the wind and gorged on some great Indian food. So inspite of the movie our friday was not wasted!

Saturday morning was spent in house-hunting! We are planning to move soon... and the search has just begun. But our requirement specifications are a bit too elaborate so am keeping my fingers crossed! I do love to house-hunt though. Our agent has this lovely Alfa Romeo and we went around in it looking at all kinds of houses. But each one seemed to have some issue with it which made it unsuitable. One was too small, another was boxed in between other tall buildings, so the view was ruined, a third was nice, good layout, big enough but had atrocious bathrooms... terrible color scheme, the fourth was too close to a construction site and had the signs of another construction work starting on the other side of it. Hopefully Clifford (our agent) will come up with something better next Saturday.

In the evening we met Karthik for dinner at this brilliant Mexican place called Cafe Iguana at Clark Quay which has a great view of the river, fabulous ambience (y'day there were a dozen girls celebrating a hen's party... so all of them in shocking pink or blue retro wigs and the would-be bride in a huge lacy veil... all drunk and boisterous :) , good food and the best part ... these people brew their own beer!!!

After dinner we moved on to tcc to have some coffee, and then walked to Esplanade. On the way we stopped to watch the reverse bungy in action... which first catapults some very brave (or very stupid) people to a height of 60 metres and then simply drops them down... it subjects you to this not once (like the conventional bungee) but a number of times trying its very best to persuade you to give up ghost midway or at least rain some questionable liquid down on the sadists below who gather to watch you go through this ordeal and smirk at your plight!

But today has been rather quiet. My plans of going to Sentosa have not materialized. It being too humid and too warm to be suitable for picnicking.

Sunday is almost over... and monday blues have already started to set in! Am off to wallow in some self-pity. Ciao...

Friday, April 08, 2005


Oh! what a lovely day ... I love Friday's. I bask in them, I smile wider, laugh louder and work lesser ;)

And today the WeatherGod seems to realise it is Friday ... The sky is bluer but not too sunny. After the downpours we have been having, I was afraid the weekend is going to be washed away as well. It might be too early to say this, but I am hopeful of the weather holding up. And if it does AG and I could picnic at Sentosa on Sunday!

Long time since we went there. Sentosa is this island right across from our place. It is a major tourist attraction with lovely beaches, cool beachside bars, cycling/skating tracks. Of course there is more to attract tourists, the Underwater world, Dolphin Lagoon etc... But these touristy things are not what attract us to the island. We go there mainly to sit under the kingsize sheltered benches by the sea and read till it is cooler and then go cycling or sit on the beach.

We go there by moonlight as well, to enjoy the breeze and sea and drink some coffee under the stars on the wooden deck they have there. There is a floating restaurant nearby which plays lovely music that comes wafting to the deck benches. The perfect place to sit in companionable silence and at times reminisce of our courtship days.

Isn't is ironic how we look back on the past and sigh... 'How lovely those days were!'. And forget to say the same of the present. 2 years later I will look back on these very days and sigh longingly...

Well no more of rue... I am going to enjoy TODAY and revel in my good fortune!

And meanwhile I do hope the weather holds!

It is not like I don't like the rain. I love to get drenched. It is a beautiful experience!

These are the things I like to do when it rains:
1) Get drenched
2) Eat an ice-cream while getting drenched
3) Read a book by the window
4) Listen to old tracks
5) Go for a long drive along some countryside
6) Sit by a village pond and watch the fishes
7) Drink strong coffee
8) Eat a hot meal
9) Take a cold shower
10) Dance
11) Sing
12) Laugh
13) Sit by the window and look out and dream (I love it all the more when the mynahs take shelter on the ledge. They scold away as you dream.)
14) Play in the puddles with some kids
15) Go to the beach and watch the choppy sea
16) Eat lots of Pani Puris (Golgappas for the non-bombayites)... spicy enough to have tears rolling down my cheek but sweet enough to leave a nice aftertaste.

There!!... after listing all that out... I don't mind so much if it rains. I am just going to enjoy the weekend no matter what!!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

All play and no work

Yaaaaawwwwwwwwn..... This has been my reaction every single morning this whole week.

Last weekend was a long one (Thanks to Easter!!). AG and me had been to this island resort in Malaysia called Pangkor Laut Resort. Island Paradise .... more like it! We stayed in villas built on stilts in the sea. The whole of last week was spend in anticipation of the vacation and looks like the whole of this week will be spend getting over the hangover (hangover... not as in post-alcoholic but as in post-amazingly-relaxing-send-u-in-a-haze-vacation hangover). Hence the yawn. But coming back to the resort... it had the best spa this side of the world and AG and me indulged ourselves with an Ayurvedic spa treatment session.

The trip from Singapore to the resort was quite tiring ... home-cab to Changi Airport- flight to KL International Airport-cab to KL domestic airport-flight to Pangkor island-cab to Pangkor jetty-ferry to Pangkor Laut island.... phew! On arrival we were greeted by some indignant and annoyed resort residents... a flock of peacocks!!

When we were shown to our villa... it took my breath away... the villa and the endless sea laid out beneath it! You could hear the sea ceaselessly but gently lapping at the beach in the distance. The bedroom opened out to a patio and the bathroom had a garangutan bath with a picture hanging beside it...and lo! the picture moved... AG thought his eyes were playing tricks on him and then it hit him ... it was not a picture at all... the bath had a view of the sea!! We had the most amazing view from the villa and what was more was you could enjoy it in your bath with some excellent wine and juicy mangoes! Our villa was perched at edge of a walkway on stilts and right into the sea. The bathroom had a window extending along the breadth which opened out to the sea. Oooooh!!

Our side of the island had been converted into a spa village with numerous spa treatment huts, spa facilities, an infinity pool, some structures which looked like treehouses, some massage huts which were on the beach and where you could get your massage while watching the sea or curl up in the afternoon with a book in hand. Outside the spa village there were the other resort facilities including a few restaurants and other villas, tennis courts more pools, gym, sauna, jacuzzi etc. On the other side of the island was Emerald Bay with a beach which AG and me didn't like too much. We ended up spending the next 4 days in the pool and then stretched out under the beach parasols tanning ourselves to a unhealthy nut brown! (the upside is ...our teeth look much whiter now!!)

Every morning I would get up early to sit on the patio and watch the sea stretched out below me... I spotted quite a few flying fish (actually just normal fish which jump out and dive in to catch the smaller fish). Then there were the small sunbirds which sat companionably on the patio railing and chattered with me. And then for no apparent reason got bored and flew away. Their flight was quite amusing to watch... they would take off soar and then dip, soar and dip ....

Nighttime too had its own brand of magic to weave. Our 3rd night on the island was a full moon night and one can never successfully describe the glory of a full moon shining above with the sea stretched out below as far as the eyes can see.

During our stay we also saw a couple of monitor lizards. These creatures are emperors among lizards... the largest of the species... you could mistake them for baby crocs. But they are gentle creatures and can lie still for unbelievably long durations at a time. Also spotted a whole extended family of hornbills (didn't know they existed in the wild, thought you could only see them in birdparks!)
Here's a monitor lizard:

These are some pictures we took of the place:

These are the spa villas. Ours was the one farthest away, in the middle.

This is the bath and you can see the "picture" over it!

And this is the view from the bath early in the morning!

And above is a pic of the pool by the sea

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Of opening lines...

Taking off from my last post ...

Opening lines sure are elusive things... You spend hours mentally hunting one down and have nothing to show for it. And then there are times you write half a dozen pages without a single break just because one brilliant line came visiting.

Some lines just step out of mundanity and stick to you forever... popping up everytime the context suits them and at times even when it doesn't.
So yesterday after the 'first post-first line' struggle I sat me down and listed out lines which I have read, liked and then carried with me through the years.

There is this 2nd paragraph of 'Angela's ashes' ... "When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood". I still remember how on reading it the 1st time I was quite amused... I wondered what made the author write something like this. At that time I had no clue of how difficult life was in Ireland in that era. Reading the book was an education to that end.

The next one that came to mind (maybe becoz in some ways it is on the same lines) is the opening line of 'Anna Karenina' ..."Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I read this book when I was too young to appreciate it fully. I was around 11 or 12 years old! And then I reread it a few years later. Can't remember much of it now (time for another read!) but what still lingers with me is the feel of the story, the social fabric that was described so tangibly by Tolstoy and the sorrow one feels for Anna. I still remember the 1st scene of the book, where Anna gets off the train, as if I had seen it in some long forgotten 60's movie (though I haven't, all I have done is read the book). That scene is one of the finest introductions to a character... Anna emerges to the reader as this charming and fascinating woman who has a lot of poise, an innate sense of style and an admirable amount of self-confidence. She is the kind of woman who generates respect among total strangers.

And how can one forget the 1st line in 'Pride and Predjudice'. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" This one novel alongwith 'Little Women' are books which are in the most sorry state amongst all others in my bookshelf. There was a time when everyday after coming home from school I used to take either one of them with me to read at lunch.

I do so love the poem 'Law of the jungle' in 'The Jungle Book' by Rudyard Kipling, especially the 1st 2 lines:
"Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
I love the use of the words "may" and "must" in the 2nd line to show how imminent the death of a law-breaker is :) as if it is some royal decree! It emphasis that death is the undeniable, unescapable fate of someone who dares break the law. The last 2 lines are quite amazing too, they go like this...
"Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is -- Obey!
In fact the whole poem is quite brilliant and like all other Kipling poems has great rythm and like most of his poems it rhymes beautifully.

'Jungle Book' like so many good timeless children's books is a classic which can be enjoyed by children of all ages... And at every stage in your life when you read it, there is a new takeaway for you. Another one of this genre which is also among my all time favorites is Antoine de Saint Exupery's 'Le Petit Prince'. This little book (it is less than 150 pgs!!) is full of powerful one liners which will make you stop midway to admire the simple truth they convey with such clarity. As the book puts it ... "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye."
One of my favorite sentences in this book is "It is such a secret place, the land of tears" And how true. Even in the very same situation the sorrow 2 people face is different. The land of tears is indeed a place where each man ventures alone.
'The Animal Farm' is yet another book which I count among the 2 above, and this maybe misguided, because I don't know whether Animal farm is really meant to be a children's book. But I read it as a child and liked it, even though the underlying concept was lost on me until I read it again recently.

Among the various books am reading currently there is 'The Famished Road' by Ben Okri which has a remarkable and rather unusual set of lines... . "In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry." This book deals with the central myth in Nigerian folklore of the abiku, the spirit-child, which exists between life and death. This book is not a conventional narration but an attempt to explain an entire way of life and a culture... It brings to mind the style of Gabriel Garcia Marquez who through his books lays open to the reader an entire people and an entire country... a task so daunting and so herculean and one he accomplishes so admirably well.

Speaking of famous/unforgettable lines, one book that seems to be abounding in them is Mario Puzo's 'Godfather'. The 1st time I read it I finished it in 1 sitting... starting at around 12:30 one night and finishing at 6:30 the next morning, when mom came to wake me up for school. The book cast some spell on me! Since then I have reread it numerous times. I love the way the story slick and so fast... not a wasted word. And every character is so well etched. Mario Puzo must have been possessed by something unexplainable when he wrote that story extraordinaire. Coz he could never recreate the magic. After Godfather I read all his other books and forgave him every single one of them!

And now that I have poked around a hundred such lines have come tumbling out... i'd better stem the flow and stop here else i would be up the whole night and then some more!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Hello World

My very first blog and have spend an entire morning (at work ;) coming up with a title for this post and a gripping opening line. The best I could do was the quintessential "Hello World" . And this from someone who has always prided on being a writer yet to be discovered! And you don't even want to know the opening lines my mind kept throwing at me.

But then look at the brighter side (depends on whose side you are, I guess)...
finally ... have arrived!
after reading countless blogs written by the whole world and his dog and each of these times being inspired to start one of my own (though i wonder why anyone would want to read it!!) ... this time i have really done it !

but the blogworld is full of a gazillion bloggers and megazillion blogs which even their own creators write and then forget. have oftentimes wondered why the popularity and influx?!

i do hope though that unlike all other pet projects of mine, this one too doesn't lose its grip on me. We'll see...