Monday, December 8, 2014

Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram )

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Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram is a historical place near Chennai..It's just 45 minutes drive from the city,located in the East Coast Road..Mahabalipuram is very famous for its rock-cut shore temples..This was built in 7th century by the Pallava king Narasihma Varma..A lone lighthouse on a hill watches over a group of temples below...You will see some breathtaking rock carvings on the roadside..The craftsmanship is simply amazing...Here we go with few pictures of this wonderful place...

The shore temple-The famous Shore Temple being actually a complex of three temples : 
West facing: Rajasimhesvara
East facing : Kshatriyasimesvara
 and the smaller one facing East : Nrupatisimhesvara..

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The sea view from the shore temple...
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The Arjuna's penance
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The below is the Group of monuments - It is one among the fifteen world heritage sites of India declared by UNESCO...
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The balancing rock...
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Pearls and coloured stones for sale
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You'll see some beautiful stone carvings of Hindu gods on the roadside...
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Below : The Pancha Pandava rathas or the Five Chariots..It is one of the best monolithic temples i.e. each temple built in a single rock..


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I for Inspiration

Just like rainbow,life has various shades..Some dark some grey some green and some purple..Now which shade do you prefer to see ?? I know I know green obviously...Here is that 'Green' shade..

These pics were taken during our visit to Mahabalipuram..

Somehow I'm very much pleased to see this foreigner cheering kids and taking photos at the temple..
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These children were trying to build a sand castle again and again,while the waves taking it away..Seems they were not ready to give up yet..
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An old woman selling her crafts and shells...Probably she would give you the best answer for what is there in being independent at that age..
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Missing Person - Patrick Modiano

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If you wan't to read this book I suggest you to skip this post..Of course,I'm not going to tell you the whole story..But some sort of scantiness is making me write this..

Usually what does you readers expect from a detective story or a thriller mystery ? You would be unable to sleep till you read the last line of the book..right ? You feel like you deserve to know every little truth of the story..But you know what,this author,very graciously snatches away your right..You couldn't even blame him,for he assures you with beauty in the untold story itself...At the end,we poor readers will remain thinking that "What would have happened to her !!!"..The book Missing Person was written by the Noble Prize winner of the year 2014, Parick Modiano..Earlier version of this book was written in French and later it was translated in to English by Daniel Weissbort..

Image from Google
The plot set in the post World war-II period when the Nazi Germany occupied France..In that period,so many people were missing and dead..The story starts when Guy Roland,a detective by profession sets out in search of his identity..He suffers with Amnesia thus forgets every thing related to his past,he doesn't even remember his race or his nationality..In that process he meets different personalities in various places with the help of photographs,news papers and address directories..With every little detail of a stranger,he use to assume himself as that person..His Retd.Boss and former detective Hutte helps him from Nice in this regard..Finally he identifies himself as Pedro..The story doesn't come to an end with this truth alone..He needs to find another missing person who tried to cross the Swiss-Franco border with him..So again the search takes a new turn..The story is filled with numerous characters and difficult names to pronounce..Though there are several French,American and Russian characters,the story mainly revolves around five people,Pedro (Guy Roland-The protagonist),his friend Freddie,Gay Orlov (Freddie's girl friend) ,Wildmer (an American jockey) and Denise (Pedro's life partner)


Patrick Modiano - Courtesy Google
The book finely elaborates the actual circumstances and tragedies faced by the people of France under the military command of Nazi Germany..Pedro's search for identity arouses so many questions..Without a name and a nationality do we really carry any identity ?? Are those the exact parameters to define an individual ?? The book seems to be a detective story in the beginning,but the author successfully transmutes the plot in to a philosophical and sagacious concept of journey with his magical narration..Sometimes,too many descriptions of surroundings and places in this book made me deviated,but I felt it is quite necessary to emphasize the darkness of the plot..The places,particularly the streets/apartments/hotels/bars etc were depicted in such a wonderful manner that you would exactly feel that you were almost there..I would say this is certainly one of the best things about the book..After some time you might forget the story,the characters and the whole plot,but believe me,you would never be able to forget Paris after reading this..Some times the poetic expressions made me recollect the writing style of Julian Barnes..Patrick Modiano also leaves the readers with the same feeling of inadequacy like Barnes..

Here are few lines from the book,

Strange people. The kind that leave the merest blur behind them, soon vanished. Hutte and I often used to talk about these traceless beings. They spring up out of nothing one fine day and return there, having sparkled a little. Beauty queens. Gigolos. Butterflies. Most of them, even when alive, had no more substance than steam which will never condense. Hutte, for instance, used to quote the case of a fellow he called "the beach man." This man had spent forty years of his life on beaches or by the sides of swimming pools, chatting pleasantly with summer visitors and rich idlers. He is to be seen,in his bathing costume, in the corners and backgrounds of thousands of holiday snaps, among groups of happy people, but no one knew his name and why he was there. And no one noticed when one day he vanished from the photographs. I did not dare tell Hutte, but I felt that "the beach man" was myself.
Though it would not have surprised him if I had confessed it. Hutte was always saying that, in the end, we were all "beach men" and that "the sand" - I am quoting his own words - "keeps the traces of our footsteps only a few moments."

There, under the embankment trees, I had the unpleasant sensation that I was dreaming. I had already lived my life and was just a ghost hovering in the tepid air of a Saturday evening. Why try to renew ties which had been broken and look for paths that had been blocked off long ago? And this plump, moustachioed little man, walking beside me, hardly seemed real.

Howard de Luz. Yes, the sound of it stirred something in me, something as fleeting as moonlight passing over some object. If I was this Howard de Luz, I had shown a certain originality in my life style, since, among so many more reputable and absorbing professions, I had chosen that of being John Gilbert's confidant.

Inwardly I repeated this name I'd been given at birth.This name by which I had been called through out a section of my like and which,for number of people,had conjured up my face.'Pedro'.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Story - Kamala Das

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My obsession with the memoirs of writers and artists made me pick this book..Though I was not well acquainted with the author's works,the controversy tag of the book was enough to tempt me..'My Story' is an autobiography of Kamala Das (Kamala Surayya or Madhavi Kutty), a renowned Malayali  poetess,novelist and short story writer..This autobiography depicts her intensely personal and most private relations and experiences in her passage to womanhood..
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Like all my earlier readings,I started reading her with a blank impression..I set aside all the preconceived notions on her controversial life..The memoir starts when she was a child and her suffering under the racial discrimination in British colonial and missionary schools in Kolkata..When I finished half of the book,I started hating her..Though I'm a woman,I completely failed to understand her loneliness and pain in her marital canopy which made her choose the path she lived..She tried to define the term 'Love' several times in the book but all I felt,it was not love but carnal desires and infatuations..She also blames her husband for not giving the emotional kind of love or he doesn't know what is love..In the process she completely ignores the freedom he gave her to be herself..Instead of all her misdeeds she was bestowed by enormous freedom from him which none can allow in any relationship..She says that he is the reason for her to decide "to be unfaithful to him atleast physically.." I'm not going to discuss this autobiography on moral grounds any further,as it's much repulsive to the traditional and moral aspects of society..In this work,she unfolds the most intimate,private life of a woman with brutal honesty which can not be digested or appreciated by the common class..

Anyways, I can't be totally rude to her..She was neglected by her parents..Also her childhood marriage is one of the primary reasons for her demeanor,but her matured years with three beautiful kids couldn't satisfied her longing for love hitherto..So what kind of love she is looking for,I wonder!! Her husband allowed her to be herself atleast..It would be ideal if she would come out of the painful relationship with dignity and lived her life the way she wants..But she shared  the same roof  with the person she disliked and had extramarital affairs and she tried to convince the readers that she was constantly in search of love(?)..One more thing is,being married to a RBI employee she enjoyed the luxuries and company of  high class society,but still,she says that they never had enough money to lead their life in a better way..

I truely appreciate her honesty with which she revealed the dark corners of her life in the society of double standards..Such kind of work usually couldn't be expected by an Indian woman..I bow to her courage in this regard..I haven't found a single point where she tried to project her as the poor victim of a typical society..Some praised her writing as bold and rebellious..But I believe,the beauty in feminism lies in patience,commitment and above all dignity..Anyways,I'll stop my rude conclusions about this book for I strongly disliked her..Perhaps nobody has any right to judge her,particularly on moral grounds.Because it's her life..I felt that this book is a best example for showing the necessity of emotional control in the civilized society..This memoir was far ahead of its time and is now acknowledged as a bonafide masterpiece..I would like to say that this is the most straight forward and extremely honest memoir I've ever read.Would like to read some of her works,probably reading her works might help me understand her a little more.

Here are few lines from the book,
Society can well ask me how I could become what I became,although born to parents as high-principled as mine were.Ask the books that I read why I changed.Ask the authors dead and alive who communicated with me and gave me the courage to be myself.The books like a mother-cow licked the calf of my thought in to shape and left me to lie at the altar of the world as a sacrificial gift'..

If my desires were lotuses in a pond,closing their petals at dusk and opening out at dawn once upon a time,they were now totally dead,rotted and dissolved,and for them there was no more to be  a re-sprouting.The pond had cleared itself of all growth.It was placid. 

There was Carlo,the dark haired young man who loved me enough to want to marry me;there was in another city the one I was infatuated with ,and of course at home there was my husband,passionate and eager as a lover.I was a poor girl who found rich all of sudden.I was drunk with power.

With words I had destroyed my life.I had used them like swords in what was meant to be a purification dance,but blood was unwittingly shed.

She always knew she was a poet and thus different from others:
They cannot close shops like shop-men and return home.Their shop is their mind and as long as they carry it with them,they feel the pressures and torments.A poet's raw material is not stone or clay;It is her personality.I could not escape from my predicament even for a moment.

The essence of the writer eludes the non-writer. All that the writer reveals to such people are her oddities of dress and her emotional excesses.Finally when the muscles of the mind have picked up enough to read people's secret thoughts,the writer shies away from the invisible hostility and clings to her own type,those dreaming ones,born with a fragment of wing still attached to a shoulder.As I wrote more and more,in the circles I was compelled to move in,I became lonelier and lonelier.I felt that my loneliness was like a red brand on my face.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Winter reading

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It's already winter..And winter is for reading..So many books are piling up in my bookshelf but I'm too busy with my kiddoo and daily household works that I could hardly afford the luxury of winter reading..Chilling nights are only time left for books..After the end of a very tiring day,wrapped up in the blankets with a book in my hand,I was too lazy to drop few lines in the blog...So thought of posting a couple of pics instead of the regular blah blah blah... So guys Have a good coffee....Read a book....Enjoy the winter..:)

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Happy winter reading friends..:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kadiyapulanka (Kadiyam) - The land of flowers

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In these Dassara holidays we had a brief visit to the destination of flowers,Kadiyam Nurseries as my kid is immensely passionate about flowers and plants..He is having a peculiar hobby of collecting different flowers from roadside while playing with his friends..Coming to the place,Kadiyam is a small village having 630 flower nurseries,exporting Rs 150 crore worth of production every year to different parts of the country and giving direct and indirect employment to around 25,000 people.An important industry for Kadiyapulanka is horticulture, with the area's nurseries exporting flowers throughout India.Also this tiny village is famous for the flower show, which is held in January every year and is a prominent place for trading of floriculture and horticulture. Besides, the beautiful garden of Jasmine, Roses and many other flowers, are frequented by nature lovers.The nearest railway station and airport are in Rajahamundry.

Here are few clicks..
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The Rose garden
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The Nursery men working..
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Disgrace - J.M.Coetzee

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Reading two books consecutively from the same author is perhaps first time for me..I get easily bored with one author's story and would always search for different tales from different authors and genres..But J.M.Coetzee's writing style captivated my mind..As the Noble prize winning author needs no introduction,I'm skipping that part here..My earlier read was 'Youth' which is a story of an youngster..Surprisingly,back-to-back I picked 'Disgrace' which is a story of a 52 years old man..Somehow,through out reading I was comparing the disparities of both age groups..

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Coming to the novel 'Disgrace',Twice divorced,David Lurie (52) a professor in Technical university of Capetown,South Africa loses his job,career,honour when he forcibly seduces his student Melanie Isaacs..We can not term it as rape but it was undesirable to her..This affair sours,he is denounced and summoned before an inquiry committee..David admits his guilt but refuses to repent publicly..Thus with disgrace he leaves his job and retreats to his daughter Lucy who lives a country life in Eastern Cape..Lucy was a peasant woman by choice..For some time the father-daughter's country life was peaceful but soon the repercussions of Post apartheid South Africa shadowed their lives..

This novel is simply a reflection of the struggled lives under racial segregation in South Africa.Also there were other characters portraited very uniquely:The Dog Man-Petrus,The animal welfare woman-Bev Shaw,Sarah,Rosalind,Melanie's parents and younger sister Desiree..But most of the story revolves around David and Lucy..You cannot come to proper conclusions after reading this novel..It finally leaves you with many unanswered questions..For instance,why Lucy wants to stay back in the country even after facing that much of turmoil ? How can a strong woman like Lucy simply obey the cruel laws of  discrimination ? There was no proper account of the actual race of Melanie though her surname indicates Jews..Anyways we can assume her as Black considering the plot..The best part of this work is,It would not justify one side of the coin..It widely discussed the violence and suffering of people on both the ends.;Blacks and Whites..Lurie himself is not sane in this story,he has his share of flaws and he committed his part of violence..He would be a free man and could act according to his will in Cape Town,a city but country side has it's own rules..One more interesting part from the book was Lord Byron's..David works on an Opera in which he works on the popular poet Lord Byron's affair with a married woman Teresa..Here David's free life style much resembles with Byron's..One more favourite part was,David's revelations in front of the inquiry committee..It's hard to put our feelings in to words after reading some kind of books..Books like this were wrapped with some ugly truths and beautiful lies..After finishing this book,I'm sure this story and characters would haunt you for many days..I haven't seen yet but this book was made into a movie under same title in 2008..

Few lines from the book:
Yet we cannot live our daily lives in a realm of pure ideas, cocooned from sense-experience. The question is not, How can we keep imagination pure, protected from the onslaughts of reality? The question has to be, Can we find a way for the two to coexist?

“When all else fails, philosophize.” 

She gives him what he can only call a sweet smile. 'So you are determined to go on being bad. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. I promise, no one will ask you to change.

Despair..is like a gas, odourless, tasteless, without nourishment. You breathe it in, your limbs relax, you cease to care, even at the moment when the steel touches your throat.

David's words while inquiry,
"Very well,' he says, let me confess. The story begins one evening, I forget the date, but not long past. I was walking through the old college gardens and so, it happened, was the young woman in question, Ms Isaacs. Our paths crossed. Words passed between us, and at that moment something happened which, not being a poet, I will not try to describe. Suffice it to say that Eros entered. After that I was not the same.'
‘I was not myself. I was no longer a fifty-year-old divorce at a loose end. I became a servant of Eros."

Being a father ... I can't help feeling that, by comparison with being a mother, being a father is a rather abstract business.

If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.

He would not mind hearing Petrus’s story one day. But preferably not reduced to English. More and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth of South Africa.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Youth - J.M.Coetzee

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This is my first read from J.M.Coetzee..Even before I was half-way through the book,I fell in love with his writing style and ordered a couple of books on the same day..The author J.M.Coetzee is a South African novelist,winner of Noble prize in literature..He has also won The Man Booker prize(twice)..'Youth' is a autobiographical novel,set in the period of 1960's..It falls under the category of a semi fictional autobiography..

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Coming to the story:sorry,a habitual mistake..Actually there is no story in this book..It's all about a young man's thoughts and experiences..John from South Africa travels to London leaving behind his trapped mother and feckless father to build a career as an artist..His dream was to become a poet and so he believes that there will be a woman,destined to be part of his life,to bring up the 'flame' and passion within him..Initially he works as a computer programmer for IBM,but he struggles to fit in the practical atmosphere of the American company in UK..Furthermore,London life leaves him completely isolated..Nobody befriends him for his unsophisticated nature and lack of warmth..But he keep searching for his soul-mate who'll find his real charm (?) concealed by his unattractive personality..

Later he leaves IBM and joins International computers..While working there he realizes,that things like art,love,passion and poetry couldn't be produced using brains and perfect planning..These are the sensitive emotions that have to be developed quite naturally when someone completely lost in the process..In that process,one should reach such a blissful state where he couldn't even aware of himself or his existence..However John indulges himself in many relationships with women like Sarah,Jaqueline,Caroline and Marianne etc.There is a big list I don't even remember..:) But he fails to handle those relationships because of his selfishness and uncertainty in taking responsibility..Moreover he is too much conscious and always aware of his thoughts in every move with them..Thus his relationships with women lack the basic ingredient called 'passion'..Now where there is no passion there is no existence for any creativity or any form of art..As time passes by,he realizes this simple fact..
J.M.Coetzee-Image from Google
This book mainly depicts the protagonist's thoughts and uncertainties between 21 -24 yrs age..The central character is a victim of racism and political unrest of South Africa..The novel deals with the struggle in the crucial time of youth where the protagonist actually thinks that he knows everything after merely acquiring knowledge by reading books..But we all well aware of the fact that real world works in a different way..There is another similar character Ganapathy from India who works with the protagonist for the same International computers..These two guys reflect the two sides of  the same coin..

The novel basically deals with the typical tendencies of youth,i.e.limited to a particular age group..But I'm sure whosoever reads this,would definitely go back to his memories of youth..The readers would take a plunge in John's flowing thoughts..We can easily relate with the skepticism and confusion in John's character in his initial years in London..The author completely penetrated through the depths of human consciousness..Somehow,I would have enjoyed this book a bit more if I would have read some world famous poets,though the author has not limited the artist synonym to a poet..You can find some wonderful analyzations about world famous artists,writers,poets like Pablo Picasso,Ezra Pound (seems his favy),T.S.Elliot,Flaubert,Monica Vitti,Henry Miller,William Wordsworth,Satyajit Ray etc..This book is nothing but a journey with a youngster who'll keep your journey interesting and engaging with his memories,confusions and predictions..All you have to do is just keep watching him..very closely :)

Here are few favourite lines from the book:
For he will be an artist, that has long been settled. If for the time being he must be obscure and ridiculous, that is because it is the lot of the artist to suffer obscurity and ridicule until the day when he is revealed in his true powers and the scoffers and mockers fall silent

Having mistresses is part of an artist's life: even if he steers clear of the trap of marriage, as he will certainly do, he is going to have to find a way of living with women. Art cannot be fed on deprivation alone, on longing, loneliness. There must be intimacy, passion, love as well.

Picasso, who is a great artist, perhaps the greatest of all, is a living example. Picasso falls in love with women, one after another. One after another they move in with him, share his life, model for him. Out of the passion that flares up anew with each new mistress, the Doras and Pilars whom chance brings to his doorstep are reborn into everlasting art. That is how it is done

If ever he tries to transfigure a woman, he will not transfigure her as cruelly as Picasso does, bending and twisting her body like metal in a fiery furnace. Writers are not like painters anyway: they are more dogged, more subtle.
                  
Is that the fate of all women who become mixed up with artists: to have their worst or their best extracted and worked into fiction?

In fact he would not dream of going into therapy. The goal of therapy is to make one happy. What is the point of that? Happy people are not interesting. Better to accept the burden of unhappiness and try to turn it into some thing worthwhile, poetry or music or painting: that is what he believes

Russia may have produced some interesting monsters but as artists the Russians have nothing to teach. Civilization since the eighteenth century has been an Anglo-French affair.

Women love artists because they burn with an inner flame, a flame that consumes yet paradoxically renews all that it touches.

But fortunately, artists do not have to be morally admirable people. All that matters is that they create great art. If his own art is to come out of the more contemptible side of himself, so be it. Flowers grow best on dungheaps, as Shakespeare never tires of saying. 

Normal people find it hard to be bad. Normal people, when they feel badness flare up within them, drink, swear, commit violence. Badness is to them like a fever: they want it out of their system, they want to go back to being normal. But artists have to live with their fever, whatever its nature, good or bad. The fever is what makes them artists; the fever must be kept alive. That is why artists can never be wholly present to the world: one eye has always to be turned inward.

America is not England. America is hard and merciless: if by some miracle he bluffed his way into a job there, he would soon be found out. Besides, he has read Allen Ginsberg, read William Burroughs. He knows what America does to artists: sends them mad, locks them up, drives them out

Most of what he reads he does not understand, but he is used to not understanding. All he is searching for at present is the moment in history when either-or is chosen and and/or discarded
s the self he sees at such moments merely what he appears to be, or is it what he really is? What if Oscar Wilde is right, and there is no deeper truth than appearance? Is it possible to be dull and ordinary not only on the surface but to one's deepest depths, and yet be an artist? Might T S. Eliot, for instance, be secretly dull to his depths, and might Eliot's claim that the artist's personality is irrelevant to his work be nothing but a stratagem to conceal his own dullness?To know one's own mind too well spells, in his view, the death of the creative spark