Thursday, December 29, 2011

Strange combinations

A strange combination I see
Of glorious days of yore
And the rustic present
In magnificent ruins lost men lie
Staring at all those gawking around.
What thoughts they harbor I wonder.
With a life lived and gone by they lie
Just watching...

Are they satisfied? Were dreams fulfilled?
I know not.. Did the ruins inspire achievement?
I think not..
Those are more alive than the humans they shelter

I am stuck between two states in this lost city
Pride at a glorious past and a slight sorrow
At the many aimless lives it shelters
At the lazy ones trying to make an easy living
And at the million dreams which will just remain so

Shadow play

If shadows can see the future
I wonder what they'd predict
Afterall a shadow is but
A lightless reflection
Of the outline though not the essence

When most plans are mere outlines
Why can't the master outline give them a shpe?
I see shadows of us walking hand in hand
In a boulevard of broken dreams
Strangers we are now daring not to look
Even accidentally at each other
Whatever it was that was is again a shadow
Wish I sometimes do that some reality they'll mirror

Mere wishes that can't be
For separated paths don't merge
Except perhaps in shadows
The shadows which can't be my reality
But can always exist

The traveling circus

A traveling circus were part of
Going through life seeking one joy after another
Wearing multiple masks donning different roles
Performing to fellow actors when we please
Why the masks? Why this role now?
I pause to wonder and simply realize
That this reality I don't want to face
Far easier it is to continue in my role

My mind let's me rest not
And I begin this endless contemplation
Each act in my life I silently see
Not as a performer but as a mere spectator
I understand how it all leads to different traits
Of this particular role and different lines of this mask
I get the how but not the why
Ive watched just me ignoring the many million others
Who all have had roles to play and lines to recite
Stunned at the task I pause to ponder
And continue to think
Focusing on just that trait in an all new role

Monday, December 26, 2011

Enlightenment or something like it

Date : 24 Dec 2011
Time : 15.00 hours

For the past few weeks, I have been extremely philosophical about life. Wondering about the fairness of it all, thinking why I am the way I am and contemplating if I am the only person searching for answers that cannot be found. However, today, my belief that at the end of the day, all of us are just the same was confirmed. I looked at everyone in this place - the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the native and the foreigner. All of them are searching for something. I can see a question in all their faces. Here, where i dont have words spoiling thoughts, I can feel a deep human connect and a confimation that i am not alone. Here, I think we are in a seperate world. True, we have the pretense of silence around us. The supposedly righteous anger when someone cant adhere to the rules is explicit in the looks given to those daring to even part their lips. But, when i try to ignore this - all things superficial, I can see the invisible connect.

This need for peace and answers to the questions which at the end of the day are mere words disturbing and giving birth to varying forms to the underlying search - "What is the purpose of life/What do i need/how can i get what i need?" I think, we are all seeking the same answer to the differently worded single question. The jigsaw called life has it all hidden. The pieces are right here. We just have to figure out how to connect. And yes, something tells me that there is more than one right answer and that all different answers are the same.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

10 things i know to be true

I was listening to a TED lecture today (not my usual cup of tea, but a friend had forwarded a link). It was on spoken poetry. The speaker was talking about mentioning 10 things you know to be true. That set me thinking and here is the poem i wrote :

I know I am alive
I know that as of this instant, I am in love with the music in my life
I know that though not perfect, my life is beautiful in its own way
I know that most of the instances I cherish are the ones i have felt loved and cared for
I know that life with all its lessons, is not always a kind teacher

I know that as far as I can, I have tried to love, accept and grow
I know that life is going to throw some more curved balls my way
and I know for sure, that i will try to hit it for as long as I can
I know that no matter how many times I fall, I will try to get up
I know that when all my philosophy fails, a good cry will help

I know that i have to reflect a lot more to even begin to see


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Of ghosts and reflections

Thanks to my uncle, i got a chance to look at some of my really old photographs (or should i say photos of a really young me?). I have been thinking a lot after that (not that i think less otherwise).

How did I become the person I am from who i was? I see a lot of options open for that little girl in the picture. Why did she choose the path she did and become who she is now? I really dont know where i fit in the bigger picture but the more i think about it, the more wonderful life seems to be. Imagine the millions of people making the choices they make at the specific times and all that joining together to form the world we know the way we know it. I wonder what influences the decisions to drive the outcomes we see in life. I would like to peg it to a bigger power who likes to create an environment to simulate multiple scenarios and see how he can play around with each. :)

From where I stand, i can just look at a few excel sheets and simulate scenarios. When i make so many assumptions there, i wonder which of his pays of. Or because he has no present, past or future, it could be that he needn't make any assumptions - or so I would like to think. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rewards

They claim that you always get your due. The karmic theory states that, a lot of organizations say that and few individuals do too. However, i wonder - how do you know what is it that you are being rewarded for? In some cases, this is a straightforward answer. Say, a running race or a cricket match. Even there, you can of course blame your circumstances if you fail in a place you thought you would succeed due to situations beyond your control. In life, most things are not so straightforward. Why do i fall sick just because the person sitting next to me in office had a cold? What is it that i am being rewarded/punished for? Why did i get a chance to go to a brilliant college like BITS when there are a lot of people as smart as me who cannot even go to school? What is that i am being rewarded for? The more i think of these things, the more crazy and unpredictable life seems to be. I can hear a lot of you saying, "dont think so much".

But if i want to get the bigger picture, i ought to at least try. Then again, the risk here is this - how do i know which are the situations i ought to fight for my reward and which are those i ought to let rest? Where am i being a hapless victim who cannot help her situation and where am i being the dumb witness who is not even trying?  This again leads me to another question - does it make a difference? Will things change because i fight? For those of you who are telling me the age old independence struggle example, I think you have lost the point here. I am trying to figure out whether life is like a struggle where we fight to find the ultimate truth or if life is like meditation where you just let it be and peacefully observe things to figure out what it is all about. In a way, i can think of the latter option only because i dont have to struggle for food or shelter. So struggle i think is a part of it. But if we are constantly fighting, how much can we remember about what it is that we are fighting for? If i do a simple ROI calculation, how does life change because of the struggle as opposed to the case of what it could have been without it? Is it even worth a comparison? What is it that i am comparing it against?

A few minutes of quiet contemplation just throws up a lot of questions i am not sure i want to answer now. I think ill just set aside a day for contemplation and think.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sadly understood

There are some human traits I really wish i did not understand :

1. Sometimes, people are angry not because we do things but because we have the capacity to do them. Why all this jealousy, I wonder
2. A lot of people follow the supposedly simple strategy of divide and rule. Dont they understand that the more the number of loose bricks, the sooner it will fall on their head?
3. Everyday the sun rises (at least it has till now), every second someone dies somewhere, every damn thing is transient. Still we are convinced that our small issues are worth all the heart ache and spend hours thinking and moaning. Why?
4. All the what might have been, how it should have been and how it should be conversations - where do they lead if we do not act upon them? Why do we engage in so much useless conversation without acting upon things?
5. All of us are busy putting on one act or another at least once a day. If all the world is just a stage, who are we acting for? Other actors? Cant we stop this drama sometime?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A passing thought

I am going to crap big time so, you can skip this and go to the poem below and i will not mind in the slightest. For the rest, read on.

I think i flicked it from face book - but still it is apt enough now to get the center stage in my blog.

"More often than not, the what could have been is more painful to think about than what is."

Talk about wishful thinking. I was looking at some old photographs and rereading some thoughts in my diary and i realized that i have evolved a lot as a person and of course, like anyone who constantly grows up, said quite a lot of goodbyes. I wonder now if things would have been different if i had not evolved. I am quite sure and I am quite glad for the changes I see and acknowledge. I send a prayer of thanks to my awesome Maker, who has been there for me all through. Thank you dear god.

A lot of you might not understand this post. For a change, i am not too bothered about the audience, but just want to record this thought before it disappears.

Why

Why the constant running?
To which destination?
Why this pursuit -
of all things transient?
What aint transient?

When we dont last forever,
how can things we create?
Everything comes - with an expiry date
Some in minutes, some in months
and some, mere centuries

Now all i know
is the fact that all things end.

Find - I cannot
with my limited human brain
the things i ought to seek.
So i continue running
behind what i see
and simply forget the searching
I ought to really do.

The bright star

I watch a star in a cloudy sky
The shining twinkle, the playful winks
Enthralled i sit and observe
its easy movements in a deep dark world

Where is it headed?
What drives it - I wonder
The scientific me, silenced
by a magnificent power
much more real than experiments

I slumber - unaware of the passing time
I awaken in the dead of the night
when the clouds clear
and stars disappear.

Hidden by the moon's splendor,
forgotten it lies right in the center
sometimes, even the stars seem to vanish altogether

What am I, a mere mortal
fighting for?
To top the list in a google search?

Barren but not forgotten

I watch the breeze as a leaf flutters
I watch it float far away - unhindered
I remember the forest that stood right here
This place so barren and now lifeless
I remember the autumn aeons ago
when the shower of leaves greeted me each day
Knew I not then, that a harmless seasonality it was not
I wonder if a different me,
would have reacted then
Wonder all I can, I know the time is past
In my land of memories, all i have now
for a fertile past is a dying present and a dead future.

New bonds form, new landscapes emerge
but sometimes I think and reflect on what could have been
A small voice tells me that doing so
I discredit the present and lower its glory
but a stronger voice claims that giving the past
its own due is an unavoidable tribute
I bow down to it, and continue living.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What inspires

What is it that inspires us and brings out the best? Is it work well done, which in itself is a reward? Or is it reward for the work well done? Or is it a combination of the two?

By work, i dont want to limit my thoughts or the world in general to what we do to earn a living, but to what we do to live a life. Somethings done around the house, some lives inspired, some lives changed, i think all this in a way counts as work. Today, i am seriously thinking about what inspires me and trying to capture that one thing.

Maybe, i should just let it be. I am thinking if it makes sense to give up the pure joy of admiring the various colors in a rainbow and watching a golden god go down to the heavens and attribute it all to dispersion, rotations and revolutions and lose the sense of wonder i have for life at times. I guess i can call it laziness and escape. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Siddhartha - Herman Hesse

At times in life, a book makes you contemplate on life and what exactly is it that we are trying to do here. A book written by a troubled author for troubled people, did strike the right chord with me.

The book begins with Siddhartha, a brahmin boy in his father's house. He is a very good student and brings joy and hope to everyone around him. However, he feels that he is not getting all that he wants from the books and the sacrifices he does. Something does seem to be missing in his life and in an attempt to reach enlightenment, he chooses the way of the samanas. The samanas are wandering monks who possess only a loin cloth and spend their team fasting, praying and searching for enlightenment. His friend Govinda comes along with him and in the first part of the book, you watch their journey and also wonder why is it that two individuals are ready to voluntarily suffer. 

Towards the end of the first part, they come across Gotama Buddha. Though Siddhartha acknowledges that he is the best teacher that he has had, he still feels that enlightenment has to be experienced and it cannot be taught. He parts ways from Govinda and tries to carve his own path to reach his goals.

This is when Siddhartha realizes that by denying the senses, he will not be able to attain enlightenment as he has to know what it is that life is about. He starts experiencing the sensual world and slowly becomes its slave. How and if he attains what he seeks forms the rest of the plot. A very interesting book that opened up a lot of questions for me and got me thinking about life and everything about it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The curious incident of the dog at night time - Mark Haddon

The plot follows Christopher John Francis Boone who investigates the murder of his neighbour's pet dog. He is initially suspected of it as he is the person who finds the dead dog. He takes it upon himself to solve the mystery. Each page is well written and the suspense is maintained. The characters are well fleshed and you cant help falling in love with Christopher and his rat. You watch spell bound as the kid searches for the murderer, learns the many things in life that he never thought he would have to and actually to a certain extent do what we call growing up in the process. I really liked the character of the father and the easy sacrifices he made for his son. Also, he was no saint and had his faults which like his sacrifices were explained in a matter of fact manner by Christopher. 

You never want to discriminate Christopher because he is a special kid in the book. You are happy for him when he loves his school, you laugh at his system of using car colours to determine how a day would be, you fear for him when he decides to run away all alone to London and you are joyful when he gets what he wants. You cant help feeling a kind of camaraderie with him. That set me thinking about how different fact is from fiction. 

There are certain brilliant scenes in the book like where Christopher decides to go detecting and go speak to strangers in the road though he is scared of them. His interactions are funny and remind you about the human side of those we brand different and ignore. A very good read which should not be missed. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The final goodbye

If at the very end, all thats left is hardly a handful,
how is it that the desires are as big as the universe itself?
Why do we strive? Why all the struggle? Why all the dreams?
I wonder as i watch you taken away.
I walk back into the house with a heavy heart
and a lot of broken memories come flowing back

The moments spent in a game or two,
the hours spent just being near each other
Things too precious to be forgotten
Then I do realise that made you
and what was left of you, was not just the handful
but the hearts full of your memories
created simply by the dreams, desires and struggles.

I bow down to you and hope that wherever you are, you are at peace..
I just want to tell you, that even in the final good bye, you taught me a lesson so true -
that no matter how many years pass,
at least some of your deeds will live on
long after the wind has blown the remains away

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Solitaire Mystery - Jostein Gaarder

Yet another brilliant philosophical book from Jostein Gaarder. The plot follows the journey of Hans and his father as they try to bring back Hans' mother Anita who is caught in the world of fashion back home. She left them 8 years ago and has not been heard of since. They decide to drive down from Norway to Greece as they know that she is a model there from a magazine a relative chances upon in Greece.

When they set out on their journey, they are directed by a dwarf to follow a route which is more of a detour than the promised short cut. The dwarf also gives him a magnifying glass. They rest in the Swiss village called Dorf where Hans meets the local baker who gives him 4 sticky buns and makes him promise to eat the last one alone.The last big one contains a book that Hans is able to read with the help of the magnifying glass. From this point on,the story follows the two plots simultaneously.

The best part is, both are equally interesting and well written. Whether it is about the bakers in the sticky bun book or it is about the father and sun searching for Anita, you see how the strangest things in life seem to make the most sense. A very good read on which i would like to not elaborate any further simply because the book is too much of a treat to be missed.

Monday, December 05, 2011

1984 - George Orwell

An epic about a dystopian totalitarian society. Knowing that it was but an imaginary epic, why did i get so scared?Why was it so believable and relevant so many decades after it was written? Maybe it is simply because imagination is inspired by reality? This imagination was much more real than the reality shown to us by the media. To the uninitiated, the plot of the book happens in the futuristic (compared to when it was written) 1984 where Oceania, where England used to stand, is ruled by a totalitarian Government. There are two kinds of people, the party workers and the proles (or normal people). The party workers are again organized in two groups - the inner party (who make all the decisions) and the outer party( who do all the work). Each party worker has a device installed in his house which tracks every movement of his and what he speaks as well.This is closely monitored by the thought police. Winston, an employee in the Ministry of Truth starts keeping a diary, which in itself is an offense punishable by death. You watch him struggle initially to put his thoughts on paper and then you are mesmerized by the thoughts that he comes up with.

As though breaking one rule is not enough, (well, there are no rules because there is no law!), he has the guts to fall in love with a beautiful young girl from the Ministry of fiction. The government doesnt approve of any emotion and marriage is simply a means to procreate, which is again nothing but a duty one must perform for the party. Winston, who has already been married is surprised by the depth of his emotions for the bold Julia whom he initially hates and later falls madly in love with. When you look at the multiple arrangements of convenience a lot of people call marriage, it is not a strange thought to marry only for the purpose of reproducing.

Winston constantly questions why the party is trying to control the masses. Like he puts it in his diary, "I can understand the how, i cant understand the why". The various ministries, Ministry of Truth, Love, Plenty and Fiction spread numerous beautiful messages and constantly brain wash the masses. The Ministry of Truth for eg, goes back and corrects the news paper articles and books which are no  longer relevant. For eg, when a few inner party workers are denounced, any positive mention about them in the old papers is removed and they are belittled. If the Big Brother (oh i forgot about him, he is the overlord) has made a prediction about grain production etc, which was not close to what happened, then it is corrected. The Ministry of Fiction creates works of fiction which again detail about how great the party is and how they founded aeroplanes. They discredit anything that happened during the industrial revolution and praise the party. When i think about the many politicians and their propaganda, i dont find this so difficult to believe. There is a ration for everything. What you eat, what you watch, everything is controlled. Life follows a strict time table which you cannot escape from even if you want to. THere is a lot of negative thought spread about the past and the capitalists who made people starve and lead horrible lives. Winston once wonders, "If things are so good now, then why does my body rebel? Ideally it should not". He somehow seems to be the only person to think about this.

Another scary piece in the book was the way they try to control your thoughts by inventing an all new language. There would only be a few words in the same. Once you dont even know what to think, how can you think thoughts which they dont want you to? Once your language is restricted, you do not have anything to think in. The country is constantly in war with Eastasia or Eurasia and anytime it is changed all the papers are changed to ensure that the enemy has not changed and people buy that nonsense very easily. Nobody bothers with a memory or try to think for themselves. Through this and also by portraying the way sex is made into a taboo, (so that you can use your energy to support the party) the author reminds us how easy it is to steal an identity for at the end of the day your thoughts are your identity.

The book set me thinking and also secretly hoping that the human spirit is not so easy to break as Orwell imagined it would be. If it is, then god save the word.  We dont have groups of people united and with a leader smart enough to pull of this imaginary world. That way our lack of unity has made sure we have not lost everything we have yet. I think...

P.S This review has not done any justice to the book. I need to do a paper on it and even then i dont think it would :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The secret of the nagas


You know what they say about cats and curiosity. Well, I hate cats but I still seem to have their trait. I was swallowed alive by this book and came out after a lot of struggle. I wonder what made Amish write a book 2. Oh come on, isnt it obvious? It was the resounding success of book one. Considering i am one of the few idiots who bought a copy of the first book, i should not be ideally surprised. Considering that he had a golden chance to become the Chetan Bhagat for Mythology fiction, he just grabbed it.

The book begins where the previous one left, the attempt on Sati's life. Shiva graduates from smoking pot from Tibet to smoking pot from different parts of India. Wow! They coined the term India when he was around. Did you know that now? There are a host of crazy characters in this book and man, i do miss the author's simple English.He has tried big words and deeper characterization and left the reader wondering what he was actually reading about. You have a host of new characters in the book and some of the older characters get more screen space. Kali, Ganesha, Anandmayi, Ayurvati,Karthick, Parushuram and of course the 180 year old virgin. When he can use terms like that to denote a heroines anguish, why cant I?!!!

The plot revolves around Shiva's attempt at understanding evil - at which he again fails miserably and his trials to penetrate into the Naga land and vanquish them. The charm of book one is completely gone and you are left wondering about the meaning of the series of unrelated events which are supposed to be amazing coincidences put together by the author to make you sympathize and understand his characters better. Sati and Shiva are parted for sometime and you read two diverging story lines. The worst part of the book is of course the ending where the "secret" of the Nagas is revealed. I really regret the time i picked the book from Ranjini. I should have just let it lie there.

Day Dreams

In the light that shines at me
I see all that I wanted to be
Could it be a delusion i wonder?
For what is not should not be bright
Why does the beautiful white light
remind me of broken dreams?
I wish I knew.. But i want not to run.
For facing it does place me in the light
I so have come to love...

Being the thinker I am, I ponder again
Does what can never be - always seem romantic?
No matter what the fate was - that was prevented?
Sadly I am forced to admit
for mortals never can grow too far away
from desires they concoct

Slowly it begins to burn - the brightness unfamiliar
I know its time to let go
The thoughts around what was
For I know I have let go of the dreams
Never did i think that mere thoughts
of an old shadow can burn
I finally understand that a mere insect
I became - almost burnt by a deadly flame

My thoughts and logic I thank
for reminding me that what creates can also kill.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The time traveller

Another poem i had submitted for the same competition. :)

Theme : Memoirs are made of this

I travel across time and space without moving an inch
In a place preserved in the mists of time, I smell the fresh rain
I watch the girl walk by, the one i used to be
her tears at her first failure merging with the rain drops
I only wish to tell her, there is something better out there
I know I cant - time will tell.

Her carefully protected certificates pull me back again
I watch emotionless as a younger me steps up to receive
the adulation and appreciation of a spell bound audience
Time the most effective and beautiful teacher
stands by me and says, its just the memories that stay.
Someday, even they will pass away, so live my dear, while you can

Of Mickey mouse, rings and letters

I had written this poem for a competition in my office. I am delighted because i won!!

Theme : Three trinkets

He marched forward - still following old orders
Into the land of the almost dead - unwittingly into his own doom
Blind and deaf by choice, he marched
Bogged down by the burden he carried

He feels for the mickey mouse watch in his right pocket
his comrade's dying wish - a gift to his ill son
He remembers the shining ring in his bag
bought for another's beloved who knew not
that before oaths were sworn, death collected her dues
Nestled deep inside the bag,his last letter
hoping to be delivered someday by someone
reminding the world that exist he did

Clear skies and sudden storms

You set out when you think the sky is clear. There is no sign of a cloud. But still, knowing that the geography is prone to sudden rains, you take an umbrella with you as you think that should protect you from the rain drops that might choose to fall on a sudden whim.

Everything is fine and you happily breathe in the fresh air and marvel at the beauty that life is. You admire the flapping of a butterfly wings.Then it all begins. The storm clouds gather and it begins to pour. Your umbrella is useless and ends up being a burden for you not only get drenched but also fight a losing battle in the process. You just let it fly away and push forward resolutely through the storm. You know you'll be soaked to the skin. The process is not enjoyable or romantic as the movies show it to be for you are exhausted and cold is not the best of companions. You trudge forward all the resolution slowly dying away and just the will to survive left. The storm passes and before you can recover yet another one comes by. Rather than fight fate, you give up long enough to surrender to it and slowly walk against the wind for you have to reach your destination.

How do you learn a lesson from such a storm? The only way you can avoid it is if you never head out. But is life in a cage even if it is a golden one? Where there are beautiful fields there is bound to be some pests. The ups and the downs continue coming and there is no way you can have one without the other. At the end of the day all that's left is this philosophy and you can carry on with life with the belief that the lower you fall, the higher your chance for growth.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Luka and the fire of life


I had read Haroun and the sea of stories as a kid and loved the book. When i noticed another children's book by Rushdie, I just grabbed it. Unfortunately, either because i have grown up or because the book was not that great, I did not enjoy this one as much.

The plot is simple. Luka is the younger brother of Haroun who lives with his father Rashid Khalifa the Shah of Blah, his mother Soraya and of course his brother Haroun. Luka accidentally curses a local circus ring master who loses control of his animals and his circus. A few days after this incident, Rashid falls asleep and does not wake up from the sleep. He is caught in a world of dreams and it is upto Luka with his two friends, Dog - the bear and Bear - the dog to find the fire of life to revive his dad. He is accompanied in this dangerous quest by Nobodaddy who is a creature from the magical world supposed to symbolize Rashid's death, a fiery Soraya, who is a princess in the magic world, two memory elephants and of course Solomon's magic carpet. Whether he manages to retrieve the fire or not forms the rest of the plot.

Rushdie has built the whole story in the form of a video game. In the initial pages you watch Luka collect lives and hope that there is going to be something interesting in the book. The author immediately lets you down in the part where Luka has an riddle match with the man of the river. He then boards an boat called the "Argo" and loses multiple lives there. There are multiple levels which i frankly dont remember and he gets to save his progress with the help of golden buttons at the end of each. I don't know whether the author was trying to pay a tribute to video games or make fun of the same and he left me quite confused. If it was meant as a tribute, I wonder why he wants to praise something which is so addictive and destructive. If he was poking fun, well considering i had to force myself through the multiple pages, i did not find anything too funny. The jokes, i realized were not jokes at all! A good read if you have nothing better to do. But if like me you cannot leave a book midway, don't start it unless you are ready for something very different and perhaps tiring in a way. 

Meri Brother ki dulhan


I really needed something light after watching Rockstar and I thankfully found this DVD we had bought a long time ago. A very refreshing movie with a young and lively star cast. Imran Khan does his usual chocolate boy role with ease. Katrina looks gorgeous and she does not have to worry about acting as the role doesn't demand much from her. The plot is predictable and that makes it all the more enjoyable. A very good pop corn movie that you should watch after you leave your brains behind. The songs are hummable and though some of the star cast cannot act (like the brother's ex gf), it doesn't make too much of a difference and you can still watch the movie at least once.

Rockstar


The story about a boy who becomes a Rockstar. Notice that the boy never grows up to be a man. That is one thing that is missing in the movie. However, the real hero here is A.R.Rahman.The movie is poignant, funny in places and absolutely touching in some more. Ranbir has done a really good job and I really think that this has been the best performance of his till date. Nargis needs to learn to act. Though she had a brilliant role, she did not do enough justice to it. The screen play is fast and though there are some missing pieces, it is a good watch.  You dont see the marriage of the heroine, you don't know whether the hero knows to draw that line between love and lust. There are some places where you feel that the emotions could have been brought out better. But then, nothing in life is without its faults and this is a good package overall.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saraswathi Sabatham


I love watching old tamil movies. This one was an old favorite where the three goddesses (saraswathi, lakshmi and parvathy) each representing education, wealth and bravery have a competition among themselves to decide which of the three is better. In order to prove a point they bless three commoners - a dumb man becomes a poet, a beggar becomes a queen and a coward becomes a brave warrior. The three mortals peg their talents against each other in an attempt to subdue the other two. What follows next is the story of "Saraswathy Sabatham". The first one hour has good songs and the highlight is Padmini dancing. I have to admit none of the Munnis and Sheilas can ever compete with her for either grace or beauty. I watched the dance some two three times as i really loved it. The songs are much better than the ones you get to hear and though not all were good, were quite soothing to hear. 
I do not completely agree with the male chauvnistic way of looking at the world, but still, apart from that part the movie was a good and interesting watch. I now have to find kadalikka neramillai somehow. :)

Dugout Rooftop

Koramangala has a lot of good places to eat in and this is one of the best i have had in sometime. The place is located near the jyoti nivas college closer to the forum side of the road. The place was surprisingly empty on a Saturday noon. However, the food was quite good. Their starters were tasty and the best part was the dessert! The service was quick and the waiters were quick to anticipate any requirement. The main course was not spectacular. But it was hot and easy on the tongue. The dessert had jalebis, semiya payasam and coconut barfi.All of it was awesome and jalebis were the best part of the menu. The buffet cost around Rs.245 per person and that i think was quite reasonable considering the spread.  If you want to have a quite meal in a nice and peaceful surrounding, or even if you want a good place to eat with a group of friends, i would definitely recommend this place. 

Tintin and the secret of the unicorn


Hmm. Let me get this straight - this is only slightly inspired by the tintin i so love. However, the movie was an amazing watch. You have quick witted tintin, a crazy captain haddock and of course the cute and adorable Snowy. The direction is fantastic and not five minutes go by before you starting laughing your heads off. The screenplay is tight and you dont even feel the long running time.
Dreamworks has created yet another nice watch and the 3D effects are quite good. Thankfully this time around fame has changed its 3-D glasses and we could actually enjoy the movie much better. The plot is a combination of "The crab with golden claws" and "The secret of the unicorn". However, in this movie, haddock and snowy have a considerable part to play compared to the book. 
You also have a very interesting villain "Saccharine" and he is quite funny in his own way. The henchmen are quite believable and you watch with eyes glued to the screen as tintin and haddock escape from them. The eagle who hangs around with the villain and the scenes where you get to watch the Milanese Nightingale are hilarious. The Thompsons of course are an integral part of the plot and their interaction with the pick pocket leaves you wanting to strangle them as you laugh along. You pity the poor pick pocket! The movie is quite predictable in some aspects but despite all that i would definitely recommend spending some time in a theater watching this work of art. I would love to watch it again!!!

The pregnant King


He wrote Jaya - which has till now been one of the best books i had read about the Mahabharatha. He let me down a little with Seven Secrets of Shiva. However, i decided to give him a chance and bought "The Pregnant King" which will now easily top my list of bad purchases. I literally had to force myself to finish it.

The story is about a family in a mythical kingdom. The king's son faces death and in an attempt to make sure the kingdom has a heir, they get him married to a woman who is smart enough to rule the kingdom till her son grows up. She however is unable to give up the power and keeps postponing his coronation stating that until he has a kid, he cannot be a ruler. You see a lot of conflict and there was so much scope for a very philosophical and interesting story. 

The story talks about Dharma - which is all about creating a social truth and not personal ones. So you have a queen who has all the right talents but cannot be a ruler and only a guardian by virtue of her being female, you have a king who wants to be a poet but cannot as it is his duty to take care of his kingdom and finally the king who cannot be father and ends up being a mother, stuck somewhere in the middle because of his sad state. I wonder if this interpretation of Dharma is not without its faults.I agree that life is not about always getting what you want and that sometimes you have to surrender to your circumstances. But life is not as cruel as the author wants it to be. The author had taken the sensitive subject of sexuality and has really handled it quite badly. He has not elaborated as much as he could have on change and how in many ways things really don't change. A huge disappointment.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman



A Neil Gaiman masterpiece through and through. He keeps the reader spell bound from the beginning and his characters crazy and unpredictable in a predictable sort of way till the very end!

I enjoyed this book a lot and I stayed up well into the night to finish it. The book follows the two boys of Anansi the spider or the story teller character whom we met in the American Gods. He dies and his son Charles, does not mourn the father he hardly knew. However, he does go to the funeral and bury his old man. He comes to know that he has a brother called Spider and that his father was the god of mischief. Things go berserk from this time around as Spider comes in and slowly takes over Charles life and his fiancee. Charles now has to fight and get back his life from the elusive spider. How he manages to do the same and the lessons he learns in the process forms the rest of this brilliant read.

I would recommend Gaiman any day and he has re-established himself in my favorite authors list with this mind blowing piece of fiction. :)

Three quarter chinese - not a quarter nice

I had seriously expected more of this place. It is like in the last 3 years, whenever i was supposed to have gone here,something had happened and i had ended going some place else.Maybe, i should have realized then that it was divine intervention and not gone to this place now. :)

The three things that contribute to my decision to never ever go to this place :

1. Service : It took us around 10 minutes after we were seated to get a menu in a half empty restaurant. The food took another 30 minutes after we ordered and of course re-ordered. The waiters were hardly anywhere to be seen and i had the feeling the ones which materialised from time to time were simply sleep walking
2. Variety : The vegetarian selection was very poor. But then ,considering it is a chinese restaurant i let it pass only to be told that of the stuff listed in the menu half of it was not there. For those of you saying "veg in a chinese restaurant, you ought to be crazy!", well i have news. More than half the non veg items were missing as well! Talk about rotten luck
3.Cost : Everything was over priced and i could not fathom a single reason as to why it was so.

A word of caution - stay away! Eat at 20 feet high right above it or visit the other places in the same road if you are hungry

The orange girl - Jostein Gaarder



His Sophies World is my most favorite book till date. I would have named this blog so had i read it earlier but then, i thought it was too much of a tribute which i might grow out of someday and be unable to change. :) Hence the name with my one ability i know i will never grow out of if I am still writing this blog.

Anyway now that i have imparted some interesting titbit, let me get back to reviewing the book. It was a very good read. A love letter written for his 4 year old son by a dying father. A letter the boy comes to read 11 years after his father's death when he is 15. The father relates to an important incident in his life when he sees a beautiful girl carrying a bag of oranges in a train. He loses sight of her and goes crazy hunting for her. The author has us enthralled with the book. He makes us wonder who the orange girl was and what her motivation could be. He makes us think of the world as a fairy tale and everyday as a beautiful miracle for when you get down to it, not even two oranges are like and we continue looking at the world in a scientific way forgetting the magic all around us. Here I had to agree with the author for I have felt myself a lot of times that my explaining things, we take away the magic in them. Science is also a bane in as much as it is a boon to us.

Read this book if you believe in love and the fairy tale that this life is. Yet another good read.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid


This again belongs to a series of books I had wanted to read but never got around to reading.

An awesome funny and interesting read.Some parts of it kinda made me relive my school days and I cant help but admire the way the author has woven the images with the text and conveyed the everyday life of a sixth grader. I am sure that people closer to the culture would have enjoyed it all the more. The author had me shedding tears of laughter at places. A very good read. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ring for Jeeves


Apparently Jeeves appears without Bertie in just one book. This happens to be the same. To me, Wodehouse embodies the spirit of British humour or rather, my limited knowledge of British humor stems from this man and i just so love him. I wonder how he is able to write such a clean book and make sure the reader still enjoys the same. Some of our modern day's so called comic writers and actors have to learn from this mastermind.

The plot is simple which makes this a good read all the more. William, the ninth earl Rowcester has Jeeves temporarily in his employment as Bertie is attending a school for the rich to adjust to the impending social revolution. Like most Earls in Wodehouse's world, he is broke and in an attempt to make money he doubles as a bookie with Jeeves as his assistant. All is well in Paradise until a bet at huge odds is won and he is left without any money to pay Captain Briggs. The events go for a toss when he discovers their true identity and demands his money back. To add further comic situations, a rich widow wants to purchase Rowcester Abbey and she also happens to be the Captain and Bill's flame. As always everything is fine in the end but how they reach the climax makes for excellent reading. I would anyday recommend Wodehouse. He is just amazing even if predictable.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Dark Side of the Sun - Terry Pratchett



Am I glad that this is not the first Pratchett I read. He has been inspired by Isaac Asimov when he wrote this book which is a supposed Science Fiction. It was a huge let down and only served to remind me that even the best of us can make mistakes. Unless you want to read every book of his, I see no point in reading this one.
When looking at it objectively without attaching the Pratchett tag to it, it is not a bad read at all. Just that the book is a little disconnected at parts and could have been definitely better written. The plot revolves around Dom, the heir to an empire who faces multiple assassination attempts. Why it happens and how he escapes all of it to fulfill his destiny forms the crux of this book.

Eric - Terry Pratchett



This was one of the books of his i had not read in the discworld series. It was a very quick read and quite well written. Pratchett's quick wit and satire shone through the entire book. The plot follows Eric - a demonology hacker who in an attempt to get hold of a demon brings Rincewind (the most inept wizard of all times for the uninitiated) out of the depths of dungeon dimensions. His desires are simple - to live forever, to get the most beautiful girl in the world to marry him and to be the ruler of the entire world.

His desires are fulfilled but in a way he never thought possible. The book has a lot of hilarious instances especially in the scenes where he gets what he wants. I couldnt stop laughing when Helen is introduced and also when he gets to meet the creator. There is an interesting plot with the king of Hell coming in and acting crazy. A very good read that should definitely be read on a lazy sunday noon. :)

7 Secrets of Shiva - Debdutt Patnaik


This I think will be one of the books in the recent past i forced myself to complete. I think it is simply because of the fact that I can not agree with the philosophy that was discussed in so much detail in the book. The format is similar to that of Vishnu and the author talks about what each of the multiple worshipped forms of Shiva actually represent. He also touches on Ganesha and Murugan. An ok read if you do not get too involved in the book.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ra - One not a bad one




Pardon the pun in the title but if you go by how SRK portrays tams in the movie, i am like a humour queen. You would have realised how irritating his stereotypical tam was when i start critiquing my favorite actor of all times. Apart from the shallow stereotype and a lot of unexplained flashes of genius in the first 15 and the last 10 minutes, Ra one is actually an enjoyable, nice and watchable movie. It could have definitely been much more but the director is obsessed with giving SRK his screen time and refuses to venture in any other direction.


The plot is taut but the screenplay is to say the least pathetic. In the first half an hour, you see a mad Sharukh trying to get his son's love and attention. In his desperation, he decides to create a video game with an all powerful villain. He succeeds in doing so but is killed somewhere in the process by the villain who manages to get out of the video game by using the radio waves that are all around in the air. This is where the director could have given some funda as to how exactly he gets out. Maybe, he follows the philosophy of not explaining the fantastic as then things start seeming normal.


Ra-One(the character from the video game) as the villain is called is very intelligent and learns really quickly from things around him. Here there was ample room for witty dialogues and funny scenes which unfortunately never were uttered or never happened. However, all is not lost as G-One has a lot of funny dialogues and situations and you cant help but marvel at the make up that succeeds in making SRK look a great deal younger and smarter. :) He definitely does steal the show and the scenes in Mumbai with the son are quite nice. Kareena does not have much screen space but tries to do justice to the role in whatever time she does get. She has acted for a change and that is a refreshing thing. :)


You can definitely watch the movie once if not for Shahrukh then at least for the special effects and the kid who has acted quite well.

7 Secrets of Vishnu - Debdutt Patnaik


I have read two books by the author and enjoyed both. The 7 Secrets of Vishnu tries to decipher the various cultural implications of Vaishnavism and is well executed. The author explains the concepts effortlessly and his writing is quite fluid. His analogies are quite apt though he has the tendency to simplify things way too much at times. He takes us through all ten avatars of Vishnu and explains the significance of each. It makes us wonder about the multiple literal and symbolic interpretations in Indian Culture and you cant help but marvel at the amount of thought that has gone into explaining the purpose of life. He contrasts between the spiritual and material reality and tries to bring out the differences between the two and why men and women are associated with spiritual and material reality respectively.

One of my favorite secrets is that around human empathy. While human beings are capable of empathy and this helps us in evolution and in establishing a culture, we are also capable of exploitation and when we reach that phase, we lose what we have created. Though the law of the jungle of "Might is right" is not exactly correct, it does not make sense to constantly defend the defenseless for this world is stable because of the cycle of the prey and predator. By saving the small fish, you starve the big fish. How is it right to starve the big fish? As a human being, you have to be inclusive of everything and only then is real spiritual growth possible.

That was a very thought provoking interpretation which set me thinking about a lot of things in life and how by sometimes defending the weak, we make them dependent and prevent their growth. We have to draw a line somewhere. A good, different read. I am midway through Seven Secrets of Shiva and I am not enjoying it as much. 

After the Funeral - Agatha Christie


I guess i am getting lucky with Agatha Christie. I found this book at Bookworm and as usual jumped at it. 

The book is well executed and has my favorite detective Hercule Poirot. The plot revolves around a family where the eldest brother has just died. He had been sick for a long time and his death was no surprise to anyone except his youngest sister who claims that it is a murder in the funeral. She is known for her crazy dialogues so nobody pays any attention to it until she herself is murdered with a hatchet. The family solicitor calls upon Poirot to solve the crime and he does it with a great finesse. The characters are well constructed. Especially that of the younger generation. Of course, to a large extent they are stereotypes, but then arent they easier to build than the rest? I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Of long and crazy drives

Diwali is a crazy time of the year and one thing i have always had a difficulty with is getting tickets to travel home. This time around,we decided to drive down and also brave a new route as we had to pick up my mother from another city. The drive was awesome till then and once we entered the city, it was all crowded and there were swarms of people in the road trudging with big shopping bags and happy smiles in their faces.

However the cheer was not contagious simply because we were in a car, in a road obviously meant only for walking masses - in a city whose geography we had no idea about, surrounded by people who could not direct us. It was an amazing experience in a way. I was grumpy throughout but in retrospect, I know i will NEVER forget this drive. As always, my diwali trip to Madurai was unusual for more reasons than one. :)

I am now just happy to be home and throwing random tantrums to get what I want. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson



A travelogue, full of wry humor and quick wit about a country I have always wanted to visit. Of course i had to pick it up and finish it fast!

Bill Bryson had written this book as a tribute to the country that he had lived in for a very long time before he went back to America in his words to give his wife a chance to shop till 10 on all days of the week. He sets out to cover the entire country (or  most of it) over a period of 3 weeks and writes in detail about the state of public transport, the weather, English humour and their solemn ways. You need not travel all the way to England to know more about the country. All you have to do is read this book and get to know more about a country that has always been something of an enigma to me.  They did after all, rule over our country until a few decades ago. 

 I loved the book. It was very well written and brought out the  multiple faces of Britain, most of which i did not even know existed. I would definitely recommend it for those who have the patience to skim through the multiple pages and read Bryson's detailed account on everything possible. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Captain America


I had missed the movie in Bangalore thanks to the short shelf life it had in the theaters here. A very well made movie I really enjoyed. There are some unforgettable scenes in the movie and I loved watching everything. The best scene is where the professor shows the general why our man Rogers is the best person for the role. :) I was thinking as to how little most bosses know about people who work under them. In real life, the nice guys dont always get the chance but then they dont fail too miserably as well. :)

I loved Mr.America and the cute heroine. Everyone has done a good job and the director has done his homework while casting people. They fit the role. The situations are welll etched however, there are places where you feel like you are watching a cartoon. It could be because they lack depth. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Engeyum Eppothum

I have to admit this : Tamil cinema industry is for a change churning out good movies in the recent past. This is one of the really good ones. The whole movie is centered around a bus accident and the screenplay follows a few characters in both the buses involved in the crash. The director effortlessly brings out the role of fate and weaves a beautiful and tight net for all the viewers to enjoy. The movie, could have easily been made much more melodramatic and i admire the way the director does not let it slip into something like that. All the major actors have done a good job though i did not like the way the character of Manimegalai and Amudha had been portrayed. Frankly if i had met either of the two in real life, i would have steered clear of them.

A very good watch definitely worth the 2 hours 10 mins you will spend watching it. Even those who do not know Tamil can watch this one. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Idiyappam!


You tube is an awesome medium to well, guess what, learn cooking! The videos are self explanatory and watching someone make a dish is so much easier to follow than a recipe. Hail Youtube! I dedicate today's awesome Idiyappam to you. The dish came out damn well and we had a very nice, healthy lunch without getting out to eat. :)

Vedi - Only Athiredi


I am no fan of action movies and since I wanted to watch a Tamil movie, I watched Vedi. It is a pure action movie with an ok comedy track. Vishal dons his usual angry young man with a secret past and Sameera Reddy, fails to fit the role of the gorgeous girl. She looks really strange and I have no idea why she looks so bad. Vivek does a decent role and his jokes are not stale (for a change). The songs are forgettable and don't deserve a mention. :) Definitely not a brilliant movie. But it can be watched once by the action lovers. :)

Gulmohar - Koramangala

Gulmohar has recently come up in Koramangala right in the place where Ping used to be. I was a little sad when Ping was shut down but I have to admit, this was a much better replacement. They have a combination and Indian and Chinese. We tried their Indian dishes and all the stuff we ordered. (which was quite a lot)

The food was yummy and the service prompt. We had reserved a table but the restaurant was empty as we had gone there for a very early (by bangalore standards) dinner.The crowd trickled in steadily and by the time we left, there were quite a lot of people.


I liked their concept of half plate for starters. We were able to enjoy a variety of starters without wasting anything. We had a different types of Rotis and a pulao with two gravies. Their mushroom gravy was a little different than the usual mushrooms and I would definitely recommend the same.All the dishes were well made and the overall experience enjoyable. The rates were moderate and did not lighten our pockets too much. 

A definite recommendation for a nice dinner. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Diggers and Wings - Bromeliad Trilogy - Terry Pratchett

I finished these two in one sitting! For the uninitiated, please read this before you go ahead.

Books 2 and 3 happen in the same time frame to different set of characters from Truckers. 

Diggers follows Grimma when she stays back in the quarry, where the nomes have found refuge after their flight from the store. You watch the nomes fight for power and try to come to terms with the change that life is throwing their way. In book2, Grimma and Masklin argue and Grimma tells Masklin about the Bromeliad frogs. The Bromeliad is a flower found in South America which has huge yellow flowers. There are frogs which lay eggs in the flower and the tadpoles which grow in it, grow up thinking that the flower represents the whole world. They give rise to generations of frogs who believe the same and dont try to think beyond that. 

When i was reading this part, i wondered yet again, if we are alone in this universe. What if the whole milky way galaxy was just the size of a doll's house and what if we are unable to detect intelligent life because it refuses to let us find it? I can only fantasize. :)

In the book, Masklin goes to hunt for their space craft and Grimma is left alone in the quarry. How she defends the nomes from their doom forms the rest of the story. An interesting read full of witty comparisons and Pratchett's trademark style of writing.

Wings follows Masklin as he tries to figure a way out with the two crazy store nomes - the Abbot and Angelo on a way to capture a space craft with the Thing's help. This is a very apt ending to the trilogy and I think i enjoyed Diggers and Wings much better than I did Truckers. I would definitely recommend these as excellent light reading and perhaps there are smart children out there who can get what the book is all about and refuse to live like the Bromeliad frogs. :)



The first three letters

Today, I was trying to do some deep philosophical thinking about life and how everything about it is so transient. I have this habit of becoming extremely philosophical at times as most of you who read my blog should know by now. And, suddenly out of the blue, three words appeared in front of me :

ACCEPT

BELIEVE

CHANGE

I felt that the first three letters of the alphabet actually denote these three words which can help us (at least a little) in leading our lives. We have to accept things that are the way they are because they are meant to be so. Things which are so far beyond our control. We have to believe in ourselves and our dreams no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible they are. And finally, we ought to change with times and with the surprises life throws at us. For change, is the only constant in an otherwise transient world. I know not if we are the most important creatures in the world. You can blame all the fantasy i read for the doubts i have. But I hope we can try to be sensible in our own little ways like this dog i was imagining a few minutes ago. 

A hungry dog sees a dog shelter with food and other dogs across the road. It wants it but it also knows that the road always has vehicles zipping by. It can :

1. Accept that the food is out of reach and life is more valuable and move away searching in a risk free zone
2. Accept that it wants the food and believe in its dreams and run across the road in a moment of hunger and in all probability die under the wheels of a passing vehicle, or stand there waiting for someone to fetch it
3. Accept that the food is out of reach, believe in its dream of a happy life and change itself to its surroundings, observe patterns and cross the road when it knows the traffic will be lean. This dog will have to give up something or the other to achieve its dreams but someday, it definitely will.

I am sure the slightly more philosophical people would have understood that the dogs behaviour is a lot like that of the human beings we know and when you think of it, each option has its pros and cons and frankly, i dont think anyone has the right to judge which is the best option.

And then, Some of you might argue that dogs are not that intelligent. But then, some of the smarter species out there might state the same about humans as well. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Truckers - Bromeliad Trilogy - Terry Pratchett

I had read most (or all except Snuff) of the discworld series and thought i was done with Pratchett. I found the Bromeliad trilogy at the landmark sale and pounced on it. It is quite well written and funny but somehow it is stuck somewhere between a children's book and an adults novel. I am not sure where exactly it would fit in, but it definitely has the trademark Pratchett humour and sarcasm.

The plot is simple - There are a group of Nomes which have lived all their lives in a Store and firmly believe that it was created purely for the nomes by Arnold Brothers(est 1905) and the human beings were just given permission to share the space for specific times of the day. Seasons to them mean the Christmas Fayre and the price reduction sale. They are scared of Prices Slashed and worship Bargains Galore. All is well in the paradise until a group of nomes lead by Masklin land from the outside world and the thing with them reveals that the store is going to be demolished. The rest of the story follows the nomes as they come to terms with their fate and find a way to deal with it.

The book tries to marry a lot of ideas and kept reminding me about how fragile judgements based on scientific observation can also be. Pratchett has a knack of handling issues like gender equality, hunger for power, greed and of course resistance to change without sounding preachy and I just love that about him.

A good read but definitely not his best.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bama Vijayam



I love old movies.Thanks to Moserbaer, I found this one in Planet M and bought it ages ago. I finally watched it today and had a really nice time. I have watched it a lot of times before, but there is something timeless about the family in the movie (Though it is set in 1967). The plot is as simple as it can be. THere is a happy middle class family where three brothers live together with their wives and children. A movie star moves in next door and this slowly changes the personality of the women in the family and they forget everything else but impressing her. The rest of the plot follows them as they go on a roller coaster ride and live in a dream world with their false prestige. A very enjoyable watch. :)

American Gods


I have to give this to Neil Gaiman - No matter how long the book is, he somehow makes sure the reader remains interested. I got my hands on the author's preferred text and the book was longer than the usual version (or so he says in the foreword). It was one merry chase throughout the book. The plot follows Shadow an ex-con and his first job when he gets out of prison - that of helping Wednesday, a forgotten God. The ideas and the word play cause you to be hooked to the book and you begin to wonder how much of what we see is something mystical. A good read but it could have definitely been shorter. I cant write further without revealing the story so I think ill just stop here. :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Navrathri Blues

Navrathri is over and I am feeling a little sad because of that. I never thought i was going to enjoy having a golu and inviting people home. Our house has never been more cluttered. Both of us take such pains to never dispose stuff and when we finally cleaned and clubbed things in our hall and the guest bedroom, the room was way too full and we could not enter it without being very careful about where we put our foot. My maid of course had a gala time with not having to sweep most of the hall and the guest room. :)

I did not invite too many people as most of the good friends i have out here belong to the opposite sex and are single. But it was really nice to socialize over a few dolls. :) Next year, I am going to make it bigger and better for sure. I am just hoping that for now, I sail through the packing and cleaning up happily and not complain about that. :D

Dreams

Shades of grey,black and white
I know i saw them
I just know that that's how it ought to be

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind
A memory remains - in form and thought
somehow eluding expression
simply because of the power of the emotions associated

Was it joy or terror? I cannot tell now
Sometimes,there is but a thin line
that somehow differentiates the two
Was it what i wanted?
The mind is such a strange thing
Sometimes,it does not know the consequences
The rules and the compromises associated
with hopes and desires

I know not why i search
so religiously everyday
for the missing memory i know lasts somewhere
Is it the elusive sandman
who somehow has morphed my thoughts?
Does he want not for me to find what i seek?
I wish i knew

I become a wanderer in my own mind
searching, hoping and sometimes a little scared
of what I seek.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sandman(Graphic Novel) - Neil Gaiman

I started the first book in the series a while ago and despite the darkness, enjoyed reading it a lot. Halfway through the second book, i stopped reading as it was affecting me way too much. No, i was not running around crazy but i was seriously contemplating about life, dreams and of course what it would be like without either.

However, thanks to a crazy friend who helped me get the whole collection, i restarted reading the series and here I am seriously doubting the definition of Sanity. Neil gaiman is a magician. There is no other way to put it. The imagery, the seemingly irrelevant events, all of them are simply woven together very beautifully. I am reading book 6 now and though a part of me wants to stop and get out of this addiction, another part of me wants to see it through to the end. I think it is going to win and the struggle is in a way a pleasant one.

I am enjoying the dark and I am enjoying the dreams and I wonder if i would get a chance to steal a glimpse of the sandman. He is awesome. :)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Its Golu Time

I think I mentioned in a post last year about considering having a golu sometime for Navrathri. Believe it or not, the time happened to be this year and we created an amazing Golu thanks to my parents, my husband, sister and of course Sagnik. Recounting the story of getting the dolls for the Golu will be a post by itself so right now, let me just describe the Golu in detail.

I had 3 steps this time around with a village surrounding the Golu. On step one was the kalasam with lakshmi,saraswathi,krishna, kubera and venkatachalapathy. Step Two has the entire Dasavatharam. For the uninitiated, Dasavatharam is supposed to represent Lord Narayana's ten avatars in this world. They follow this order - Matsya, Koorma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Balarama, Krishna and Kalki(Kalki is yet to come)

In Step 3, we have tried to depict two items. To the right is the Ravanan Durbar when Hanuman sits in front of Ravana in a seat made of his own tail and to the left is Hayagrivar, to whom we pray for Wisdom. Hayagrivar is again another form of Vishnu which he took to destroy a horse headed demon who was wrecking havoc in the civilized world.

Now, comes my personal favorite, right under step one, on the floor is the Garuda Sevai. I love the detail on this set, with the multitude of musicians, devotees and pujaris.
Now comes the village me and my better half enjoyed the most while setting up:

The farm with the cows and the ladies trying to make curd
The lake with birds and animals coming towards it as a lady walks away and two foreigners in a jacuzzi :D
 
Policeman stopping traffic on account of the Garuda sevai. :D

Music concert :
Pilayar Temple :
We had such an awesome time setting up the Golu and spending time with the people who came home. A very lovely experience which has motivated me to retain the tradition each year. :)

Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

I have been wanting to experiment with new authors for sometime now and after a lot of recommendation (from my husband who reads up a lot of blogs for new books) I decided to go for this one.

The plot is simple. In a post apocalyptic world (which stands where the current US of A is) the 13 sectors rose in revolt against the government. The revolt was a failure and sector 13 was completely destroyed. After the same, every year, the government demands for one girl and one boy from each sector and the 24 contestants have to fight each other to death.

I expected the book to be gory. But it wasnt. It was actually well written and was an OK read. The characterization though not shallow is not deep enough and you dont actually root for any character in the book. Maybe,the second and third books were supposed to give us a feeling of completion, but unfortunately, i am not too interested after book one to complete books two and three. I would recommend it as something to read when you want something like pop corn fiction that is not a romance and has some good well written scenes.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Star Dust - Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed Neverwhere a lot and decided to read more of Neil Gaimman. Hence i got Star Dust from Book Worm and finished it in one sitting. It was a very small book afterall. :)

The plot is seemingly simple but very well written. A naive young man, Thristan, in an attempt to win his lady love's heart ventures beyond his village into the Faerie. There, he realizes that the star is actually a beautiful young lady with a very sharp tongue. He tries to get her back to the village and win the hand of his lady love.

What both of them are unaware of is that there are other dangerous people searching for the star, each for reasons of their own. Whether each gets what they want or not forms the rest of a well written story. An OK read. Not as nice as Neverwhere. I am thinking of beginning American Gods next.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alagarsamyin Kuthirai

After a long time, i watched a natural, real, nice and not jarring tamil movie. Usually I find supposed real movies like Subramaniyapuram, Chennai - 28 etc quite boring and actually bugging.This however, was an exception. The characters are so real and their ambitions, likes, dislikes, dreams, desires are simple and you can somehow relate it to someone you know.

The story revolves around a village- the villagers believe that it has not rained in a long time as they have not had a tiruvizha (which is a village festival where the God is taken out around the village on top of a mud horse and they pray to him). They decide to host a tiruvizha, but unfortunately for them the horse gets stolen. They call in a magician, search high and low but to no avail. The horse has just disappeared from their village.

The police get involved and in the mean while, they stumble upon a real horse which Alagarsamy has lost(another play on names - the god of the temple is Alagar - Alagarsamy and kuthirai is horse). Whether both the Alagars get their original horses back or not forms the rest of the plot. A very good watch if you like simple beautiful movies.