Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hourglass of life

I pause and I pay attention,
The slow ticking of the clock, omnious, greets me.
Perhaps it's even the trickle of sand, from my life timer..
I know not how long I have,
To try and fathom that, plain ridiculous!
Not just futile.

The sound continues to haunt me,
I continue to long,
Despite common sense reminding me not to..

I'm no romantic, but there are days, you make me one.
I long for all that could be,
But just not right now..

Maybe, time doesn't matter
Maybe, time is just a dimension..
I've eternity, I've milliseconds,
I've you, the dream - a beautuful cocoon,
Spun and strengthened everyday..

Friday, May 12, 2017

Light fantastic

Image result for light fantastic

The second Discworld book, begins right where the first one left. Rincewind has fallen over the edge of the world. But he has been saved, as the spell lodged in his brain needs him alive. This is one of the eight spells in the Octavo, the book that the creator forgot to take back after he created the world. To say it is powerful, is probably an understatement.

The heads of all the wizardly orders decide to find Rincewind as the eight spells from the Octavo need to be said together on Hogswatch Day as they watch a star come closer to the discworld and become bigger. 

They predict that something could seriously go wrong if that doesnt happen. The plot centers around their attempts and how in his characteristic bumbling fashion, Rincewind thwarts it, building up to an interesting climax. 

Rincewind and TwoFlower are more comfortable with each other in this book. Their warm camaraderie and the constant presence of the luggage leads to quite a few hilarious instances. 

Pratchett takes a dig at a lot of things we have taken for granted - take the gingerbread house where the two stay for example. They are unaware of the orders hunting for them and so they are at peace and busy tasting the different sweets on offer as furniture. They sympathize with the witch who built it, that was killed by the kids - a dig on Hansel & Gretel. This forms just a few pages in the book, but remembering it makes me laugh even now. "The animals stayed away as they lost teeth. :)"

Then, there is Cohen, my awesome old barbarian. After an adventure with the druids, the two rescue a reluctant virgin (she wants to be sacrificed) along with Cohen, who is a tottering grandfather. This is another scenario where Twoflower's rose tinted view of the world made me like him even more. The lack of Cohen's teeth and his insistence that the most important thing in life is soft paper, and his awesome sword skills would make anyone sit up and take notice. The romance that blossoms between him and the girl young enough to be his grand daughter is cute and effortless. 

While trying to save the virgin, Twoflower unwittingly enters Death's domain. His interaction with the four horsemen (of Apocalypse) and him teaching them a game with cards that refers to "something you build over water" (bridge!). Rincewind, for all his cowardice, tries his best to save his friend and later the world. 

The trolls, the wizards (especially Trymon and his penchant to organize constantly - he will destroy without caring about anything's value) & the star people, add a lot more color to the plot. Each comes with a different set of lessons and if you read deeper into the lines, makes you philosophize. So much so that you can become like the trolls who are afflicted by philosophy and spend years thinking and forget to transform back from stones. 

A very hilarious read and i guess the beauty of the book is its ability to make you laugh and think at the same time. Ultimately, the message in the book that I took away was that, it is not how skilled you are, but how ready you are to face your demons that makes you who you are. 

Beauty

I saw this tree in the middle of the road yesterday. Such beauty, Majesty! It was a pleasure to stand in her shade. Thank God nobody has destroyed her yet, in an attempt to progress.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Terry Again - The Color of Magic

I have a bad case of writer's block. I am not able to get started on my "Story of a lifetime". So I decided to start reading Terry Pratchett again. I did a marathon in 2012. It has been almost 5 years now and I want to see how I view the books through the lens of who I have become in those years.

DiscWorld is a strange and fascinating place. It is a world that is flat. It rests on the back of the great A'Tuin (a giant turtle!) who is swimming through space with four elephants that hold the world, on his back. Ankh Morpork is just one of the numerous places in the flat world, but a very active place, ruled by a Patrician. It is full of guilds and has its own Unseen university, full of wizards. The most inept of them being Rincewind.

Color of Magic is probably my least favorite in the DiscWorld series, but I started with it anyway, because well, you start from the first book.

The plot begins with a great fire in Ankh Morpork. Two figures run away from the fire, having involuntarily caused it. Two Flower - the Disc's first tourist and Rincewind - the almost wizard who is acting as his guide. These two very contrary characters are adorable in their own way. The plot follows their shenanigans as one who seeks adventure actively, is with one that tries to run away from them. The luggage is another added dimension to the plot. Two Flower's luggage is made of sapient pear wood (Did i get it right?) and follows him wherever he goes.

What happens when a man does not know the worth of what he carries and shows it away unwittingly in a city crazy for gold? What happens when the same innocent soul, pays for a day, with what can feed people for months? Mayhem!

That is what Ankh Morpork is subject when TwoFlower comes to town with his gold rhinus.

The crazy twosome run away from a burning city and enter a dragon land where dragons manifest from your mind and a talking dead king stays back as a ghost. They also enter the temple of the Soul Eater and meet him (almost),  go over the rim fall (The world is a disc remember?), attempt to become astronauts,  participate as God's play dice with the Universe, drive a slaver ship crazy and most importantly, stay alive through it all.

My personal favorites are Hrun and the game of dice and that is probably what i will remember about this book when I am old and tottering.

Whether it is his comments about "insewerance" or "reflected sound of underground spirits" or the crazy sword, or the beings in trees, Terry's humor shines throughout the book like a beacon. Ultimately, that is the reason I read this book and the reason DiscWorld will remain a fond favorite I would always curl up with no matter what.

You cannot map a sense of humor and I really wish I can write like him someday.

I am going to start Light Fantastic now and I am hoping, I enjoy it more than i did this one. 

Black and White Magic

I have spent my evening listening and watching a few beautiful old Tamil songs. I have a soft corner for the language (as I have blurted out a zillion times) and I love old songs. PBS is my favorite. 

Today, I watched "Kannum Kannum Kalanthu" quite a few times and marveled at the grace and beauty of the two women dancing. Not a step out of beat and not a wasted move. So many years later ( I think it is almost 60 years now), one can still watch the song and be spellbound - that is a testament to the timelessness of some forms of art. 

Guardians of the galaxy 2 - A worthy sequel

This summer, it is raining sequels.At least, there were two, which I watched two weekends in a row. I have been waiting for this one ever since I bought a baby groot figurine, for my desk in Sausalito Bay in Jan. 

To cut a long story short, the movie does not disappoint. It has all the elements that worked in the first part - the catchy background score, Groot, the constant bickering, elaborate visuals and Gamora (come on, you know I like women who are gutsy).

The plot begins with the Guardians - Our Over Confident Peter Quill, Deadly Gamora, Funny Drax, Angry Rocket and Cute Groot guarding a battery from alien invaders. The first scene is easily the best in the movie with groot dancing to music, as the heros try to vanquish a scary monster. They get Nebula (remember Gamora's sister?) as a reward for their trouble from the Sovereign. After a cold (freezing rather) sibling reunion, the group set out to claim the bounty on Nebula. (told you, no love lost there) 

Rocket gets them into trouble as he steals the very thing they were supposed to guard and the team is on the run, followed by an efficient army from the sovereign as the high priestess is raving mad about their contempt. 

When all hope seems lost, they are saved, by none other than Peter's absent and mysterious dad. In the fight the aircraft is seriously damaged, crash lands in an unknown planet and needs serious repair. 

Rocket, Groot and Nebula are left with the damaged aircraft while the other three go to Ego's planet. Unfortunately, the ravagers arrive and pick up the stranded duo, while Peter, Gamora and Drax are cared for by Mantis in Ego's extraordinary planet. How the group gets back together and who Peter's father really is, forms the rest of the plot. 

The movie is funny. The scenes with Groot are amazing and hilarious. The emotional drama made me feel like I was watching an Indian movie. It is definitely melodramatic in places and given my liking for mushy scenes, I did enjoy it. 

Where the movie failed me was in the unnecessarily gory massacre in the Ravager's ship. Otherwise, it is definitely worth a watch, even if not the rewatch. 

The post credits scene with Groot was quite cute and I wonder how he is going to behave in the sequel if there is any. 

P.S. That is my prized possession. A chance purchase of all the guardians, sitting at home. :) 

Sunsets

A beautiful sunset I was lucky enough to see today. There's so much of beauty if you just pause to view the world. In unexpected places and in expected ones.