Sunday, March 31, 2013

Silver linings play book

I like Bradley cooper. I like off beat movies. I feel movies about the smallest incidents make a large impact at times. So I obviously had really high expectations for this movie in a lot of ways and it did not live up to it.

The plot was interesting, I wasn't even against the pace which my fellow audience were complaining about but somehow I felt the movie lacked the soul. I did not care what happened to the characters. It's not because they are dealing with mental illnesses. It's not because they have lost love and are trying hard to get back to their feet. It's because the struggle that is life does not come through. Towards the last fifteen mins, I felt like I was watching a Bollywood movie. I did not find too many silver linings. They were just cheap silver plastic paper lines cut out very shoddily and put around make shift non existent clouds painted dark by a colourblind painter.

Jennifer Lawrence can never be compared to dear Portman in black swan. I felt none of her emotions and I really wonder why the movie was acclaimed so. A decent watch but not Oscar material.

Death on the cape and other stories -Mary Higgins Clark

I like Mary Higgins Clark and though id never rate her as high as Christie, I really enjoy every chance I get to read her books. She's the one that breaks my not reading phase usually. This was a decent short story collection. Not the best I've read and not a Poirot collection but a very engaging one.
I did not expect the Alvirah Meehan ones in it as I had already read it in the lottery winner. I hate it when the sneak the news ones in with the old. This book has boosted my confidence that I can write and how even simple plots can be made interesting. A decent read for a sat noon but that's about it.

Angel of the dark - Sheldon/bagshawe

I was never a huge Sheldon fan even in high school but considering he's dead I thought I'd pick this book up and see if my opinion has changed. After billing I looked at the book closely and realised it was completed by a bagshawe. I was actually not biased and I really wish I'd been.

The plots about a series of murders across the globe over a decade. The first one in the us begins with the death of an elderly man whose young wife is raped and rescued in time by a young earnest cop. She disappears soon after her treatment and donates all the money her rich old husband left behind to charities. The cops career is in ruins as he tries to find the missing wife and the murderer. He gives up and becomes a big shot in the Interpol.

A young writer investigating the death of his father stumbles upon a few clues indicating that his dad ( the rich old man in the us ) was not the only one who was brutally slaughtered. The murderer is global. How a journalist who doesn't earn much have the time and energy to figure all is out is beyond me. The begins a cat and mouse chase to catch the angel of death.

I hated the way they pictured Mumbai and Bangkok and I really couldn't read the book after that. Since I had to finish it I did and it was a god damn ordeal which I wouldn't want anyone to go through. A very bad fare.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Delete

After one of those crazy days, I was looking at my over crowded gmail inbox. The satisfaction I got of deleting each email individually was amazing. Thank god for small mercies.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Edible Woman - Margaret Atwood

I guess I'm in a sort of Atwood phase right now. Her third book I've finished in a week. This one was a scary read on a way for though it was written so long ago, lots of it is still relevant to modern India. The woman struggling for her identity, settling down to a comfortable choice, confused about the changes around her and losing part of her personality in an attempt to come to grips with it. The first and third part being in the first person and the second part in third person narration was so relevant that the changes I noticed conveyed something far more powerful than anything the author could have written.
Marian, is just your normal woman working in a survey company. Her relationship with Peter is relatively new but one thing leads to another and they end up getting engaged. She has a room mate intent on having a baby but sure about not wanting a husband. Throw an eternally pregnant friend, a Victorian land lady and a bunch of virgin colleagues with an eccentric english student and you have the stage set for a crazy roller coaster ride.
I was bugged with Marian after a few pages. What an idiot. Where the hell was her sense of self? How could she let herself be swept away by the tides of life so easily? What was this silly pretend feminity of hers? Then again a lot of people are happy with the set roles they ought to play in life and I did not want to get into the whole, "this is what is wrong with the world" song of mine. I am finally able to accept it as part of life. Duncan, the nutty man is probably the only real character. He is whiny, self centered and possibly self destructive. But at least he seemed real to me.

I could not buy into a lot of parts in the story, the submissiveness of the women, their lack of independence or financial stability and the so called men who have no guts. Marian's not eating was scary to say the least. I end up eating when I am stressed and so I found it silly. But the sad part was not being able to swallow a spoon of rice for a bit after reading her description of it. My love for food won over as did my zeal for living and I am not hung over the book. A definite read.

Bluebeards egg and other stories - Margaret Atwood

I never thought short stories could convey so much. Convey a world, paint it, make you a part of it and make you feel so much. Atwood's collection has done just that. I loved some stories more than the rest but in one way or the other they touched a chord. Be it the complacent wife thrown off balance by her husbands suspected adultery or the cat that means more to a man than anything else could or the slightly eccentric artists. The way Atwood plays with prose is a beautiful experience and I enjoyed that more than anything else.

She is mean, happy, carefree and of course brooding in the different stories in the book. The titular one was my most favourite and there were a couple I don't remember too much about now. But the book is definitely worth a read and it has inspired me to write sorry create. :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To build or not to build

I was reading a book and this particular line caught my attention - "you shouldn't have a kayak or binoculars or anything unless you are prepared to let it sink". As usual, my mind started on its own track. I have a few things I've really worked for and I throw myself into anything I pledge my commitment to. I've reached a certain stage where I see a few of those efforts being threatened and I wonder - should I go all the way, have the kayak and be ready to watch it sink? Or, should I stop this process of building, slow down and watch the stars rather than other things and not build? The second idea is horrific to me as I really can't think of being that way. How can I not build? How can I be idle? How can I give up? But maybe in all the how can i's I am missing the what if.
The fighter in me doesn't want to give up while the rebel is wondering at the consequences. As conflicted as I am, the moral and ethical tone has a clear upper hand and I have left it to my imagination to convince my morals or go with them. Some day I will reach a stage where at least in my imagination I don't give a damn. Somehow I know that day won't come to pass for the things I have committed to. I take them too damn seriously. Maybe I should adopt the masala movie dialogue - I forget how it goes," ek bhar commitment diva tho Khud ka nahi sunta" - you get the drift and make peace with how I am and how I am going to be no matter how many curved balls are thrown at me. Maybe that's the best way out. Making the peace - I really need a swim right now!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Loss

All of us have lost. In one form or another, a person, thing, a relationship. Some losses we get over pretty fast and some haunt us for a really long time no matter how hard we try to tide over it.

Over the past week, I have been trying to convey my condolence for a loss very uselessly. Every time I try to say or write something I just can't do it. It is way too empty. Useless. Mere words that cant begin to capture something so horrifying. How do you express support when no level of it can help one get over the loss? How can you express condolence when whatever you say cannot begin to capture the role played by someone who can no longer be seen only remembered? I don't know.

I lost my grandfather in December 2011. Even today I remember the moment I got the news and how I was hoping my mom was wrong. I remember his face as he was resting peacefully in the box before we sent him to be cremated. The man who hated the cold spent his last few hours on earth ( his body rather) in an ice box. I couldn't help but wonder at the irony that's life. I was working when he lay there cold as I needed something to distract me. It's not like it was sudden. He was 90. We knew his time had come. We knew nothing much could be done but I hoped. Today I remember that hope, the way it fizzled down in the eight hour journey home from bangalore and I remember that emptiness I felt before the many things came in trying to fill it up. I am never vocal about it but I still miss him at times when I am really in need of appreciation. Nobody has ever given me the kind of encouragement he had for he blindly believed in me and did not see my faults.

As I see more and more people around me coping with loss, I wonder how human beings cope with somethings nothing can prepare us for. As we age, we see more, we love more and we lose more. Somehow in that process we manage to evolve. I feel very sad as I can feel the pain of someone and I marvel how at times we don't need words to know something and how incidents in the lives of those around us help us to rethink our priorities and wake us up. Life, my best teacher tries to teach me every damn day no matter how much I ignore the lesson and today, I am watching a truth told to me that I know I cannot make peace with. A path I know I ought to tread and introspect and realign my priorities which have to go beyond my FY13 goals I enter in a system of record. Whether I am ready to even see the path and accept it let alone tread it is another question altogether.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hercule Poirot's Christmas - Agatha Christie

I stumble across a holiday for murder in a used book store and the book blurb caught me by surprise. I started reading Christie when I was in my early teens and had finished most of her books by the time I went to college. One of the first tasks I set for myself after I started earning was to collect all her books. Here it was - a book I was sure I did not have let alone read and I bought it without bothering to leaf through the pages. No surprise it was a book I'd read and it was just so disappointing.

I love Christie for the atmosphere she manages to create and for her characterisation. If you read her books closely you notice the tiny details which make up the entire canvas and you appreciate her for that. The plot in this one is about the murder of eccentric millionaire whose interest in seeing his children together for Christmas is anything but over board. You get to dislike and see his point of view early on and in a few pages he is dead as a door nail with his throat cut. There is nobody who doesn't have a reason to not kill him as he is cruel, conniving, inconsiderate and has a bag of uncut diamonds worth a fortune in his unguarded shelf. Hercule Poirot, inimitable as ever chances to be in the district when the crime was committed and he is called to solve it. The detection is admirable and I got bored with the characters who were left and longed for the dead man to make a come back.

The family's feuds both internal and external were interesting initially but got a bit too predictable for me towards the middle. The lukewarm romance was no consolation either and though I knew the ending, my loyalty to Poirot kept me going. Definitely not the first Christie I would recommend but it's worth a read on a lazy afternoon.

Bodily harm - Margaret Atwood

I love reading and I really try not to restrict myself to any one genre. Atwood is one of the authors I like because her work cannot be slotted into any one genre and try as you might, you cannot pin down one style on her. Maybe that's why I have fallen in love with her writing. This book meant a lot to me as I am struggling with picking up a technique for writing, I read the book and I was so happy. There are no rules and I really owe a big thank you to her for this.

The plot follows Rennie a journalist who ends up in a crazy island on the brink of revolution to explore and write a fluff travel piece for her magazine. She has been through a series of betrayals and is literally alone. Her body betrayed her to cancer, her boy friend betrayed her to his other lady, her society betrayed her by failing to prevent a lunatic from entering her house, her doctor betrayed her by not giving her his heart. She is told time and again, when the cancer disappears temporarily, when the wanna be murderer does not find her, that she is lucky and she cannot believe her luck. The small town Rennie - full of dreams and disillusionment at the same time, is a character I ended up liking by the end of the book. Not the character, I should say the characterisation appealed to me.

Her struggles to stay non committal and just observe the world around her is applaudable and I was rooting for her to overcome her various demons and move on. Unfortunately, she was more than ready to let the world dictate her life. She was ready to live with a self obsessed man, ready to fall in love with a devoted married man, ready to accept sub standard articles which did not interest her, ready to live in a hotel even a student might not be so thankful for, ready to float right into the heart of a revolution she could have escaped from to say the least. Her blind acceptance and not even inability but lack of interest to try and change what can be changed irritated me to no end. I know the world is crazy and things don't go the way we want them to, but come on, this lady took too much without arguing. Oh wait isn't that how a lot of people I know now are? I know people like Rennie who are not even that successful but are ready to accept and not do anything about life.

This book might have been written in the 80s but the fact that I was able to relate to it shows how relevant it is even today. It is dark, brooding and extremely disturbing so much so that I snapped at my husband when he was asking me where I would want to dine out. I made the mistake of reading the majority of the book in one sitting and it took 3 amazing meals to get me out of the aura the book created. I am still not sure i am over it. The words have such a strange power over you and the hopelessness and helplessness of the world gets to you through the rats, lizards and prisons we have imprisoned ourselves in.

Humanity has the beautiful ability to imprison itself by setting itself free. Freedom is nothing but glorified imprisonment sometimes and I am too scared to write a more detailed review as I do not want to relive the book and forget the week that stretches in front of me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The thin line


Sometimes, the things we want the most are the ones that end up hurting us the most. Why do i say sometimes? It should be always. That is closer to the truth. After a really tiring day today, I wonder if the desire and the passion we associate with these things are even worth it.

Our dear Buddha (whose picture adorns my screen in the laptop) told us that desire is the root of all pain and I wonder what we would be without desire.

As i look back at my colorful life, I see the various desires that motivated me all through. Some have been constant and some have just morphed and taken slightly different forms and some have popped up all of a sudden and disappeared equally fast and I think i see a few more that i never anticipated taking root. Through all this, I have been a constant and I wonder if i can even state that. I am an object that has evolved considerably too. Things which would have shaken me up a few years ago are things i take in my stride now. Dreams which i did not even know existed a few years back, dominate my life now so i think i can say, even I am a constant that has not been constant in a relative sense.

As I ponder, i wonder if I can dispassionately be an observer of life and stay away from all that is cluttering my life and all that is helping me evolve. I can stay away from some of the needless clutter but i dont think i can do without the passion. The ability to make the distinction between what i need and what is needless is what has been lacking to some extent as I dont know what to let go off. I find it difficult to draw the line sometimes for in a true philosophical sense, i can exist without most of the modern needs and wants - the buddha in me tells me i dont need anything i desire for all that is transient anyway. The Buddha is an extreme I do not want to move to right away but dont want to move away from either for that helps me remain balanced, it helps me see the beauty in all that there is not. So how do i draw the line?

For without the love, the passion that is driving me to want or desire something, there is going to be no sense of loss and hence no pain or emotion when things don't work out and no joy when things do. Heck, I wont even know what did not work out for i would not have desired it in the first place. So the bottom line is the desire and passion. Desire is what that drives us. Desire is what that makes us strive to become better every single day. Desire and passion have dictated evolution and desire is what is going to shape all our lives no matter how much we try to stay away from it.I just have to make peace with that and make sure i work hard enough to supplement the desire and draw that thin line between all that i need and all thats needless and stay in touch with the Buddha. Difficult bordering on impossible is how i would like to call this strange juggling but I am going to try anyway for otherwise I would never know.

The world is not enough

To accomodate all the  frail emotions
The world is not enough

To feed all the bloated egos
The world is not enough

To save all the failed  dreams
The world is not enough

To grow all the huge ambitions
The world is not enough

To forgive all thats unforgivable
The world is not enough

To forget all that is accepted mutely
The world is not enough

For all those unspoken emotions
The world is not enough

For all the evolved horrors we live with
The world is not enough

THE WORLD IS JUST NOT ENOUGH

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The power of dreams

I am a dreamer. I guess the title of my blog is more than enough proof for that. I just cannot stop dreaming. I think of all possible things i want changed in life and i stitch a story together around them almost all the time.The more i watch life unfold the more i am astounded by the power of dreams. They have an amazing ability to come true! I am not talking about my dreams of wanting to fly or become invisible and wreck havoc ( it would be soo much fun) but i am talking about my dreams of reading, writing, flying without wings and just being plain happy. Whenever i visualize something, It usually unfolds in phases and since i think and dream so much, i am able to visualize the next phase and things just happen. I just fall all over in love with life and remain happy at the thought that life will go on and become better every single day.

The scary part is the same holds good for nightmares as well. There i realize i have no control as no matter how much i try to be positive, things just go for a toss and i am floating away in a world of pink and blue and red and its just so scary. I am not in a vehicle let alone one that has a break but i am just there surrendered to the currents that can change my life completely. The only consoling part is that i know it will end. One way or the other.

Right now, i am watching a dream unfold and i wonder if it is a nightmare i have misunderstood. I really do not know. A part of me, does not want to while another is really curious.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The stars that change

I am just back from a two week business travel. I got to interact with some really nice people both at work and otherwise. That has set me thinking in more ways than one.

This trip made me wonder and rethink my long term personal and professional goals. Despite being pretty liberal, ( there are really very few things that scandalise or shock me) I have not been really thinking beyond the obvious. The more I see of the world the more I see opportunities and the more I realise one can never stop dreaming and reaching for the stars. The stars we want keep evolving and the paths we keep will keep changing in the process. I feel that more than structured education travel, meeting new people and reading helps change ones perception and helps a person evaluate her life better.

I am really hoping to travel a lot more this year and make an effort to speak more to people and keep my mind open for all that the world has to offer to me. :)