Sunday, May 24, 2015

An artist of the floating world - Kazuo Ishiguro


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'An artist of the floating world' is written by Kazuo Ishiguro who was born in Nagasaki moved to England when he was five..This work has won Whitbread Prize..The story was set in Japan,a couple of years after world war II..It is the story of a retired famous artist  Masuji Ono..The novel is narrated by Ono himself where he describes about the conditions of Japan before and after war..With his wife and son killed in the war,he lives with his younger daughter Noriko..The elder daugher Setsuko was already married and she has a son named Ichiro and Noriko was yet to get married..Ono feels Noriko's engagement was cancelled as the boy's party were concerned about his past..He constantly sees himself responsible for the war in some way and feels guilty that war made things difficult for Noriko..Also after war,the youth was not happy with the elders's choice of adopting imperialism..However people like Ono were very proud of their choices when they were young..Thus,Ono not only struggles to cope with the changing cultural patterns of society but also suffers from guilt.

Image Courtesy Google
 The story moves further when Ono narrates his youth as a student at Mori-san..When he was young, Ono chooses imperialism is the best option for his nation,and he uses his art as a medium to provoke people against politicians..Eventually he becomes an outcast when his teacher Mori-san sends him out of his art school for being disloyal to the society..At one point Ono says,'I cannot be an artist of the floating world'..But after Japan lost in the war,the war damage questions his very life choices..The tremendous social and cultural changes of his city makes him feel like his choices were wrong in the past..But in the end,he accepts all his mistakes from his past achievements with out regrets.

I want to start reading Ishiguro with his most acclaimed Booker Prize winning work,'The Remains of the Day'..But somehow the appealing title of this book made me read it first..It's very fitting title for the story..So far I did not know about his other works but this one book,I particularly loved it very much..With his wonderful pace of narration you'll certainly have the experience of 'floating world' in Ono's story..The repercussions of adopting imperialism in Japan were very well depicted in the novel..The story appears to be very slow but at the end you feel like you heard a lot while very little had been told..The best part about the book is Ono's reminiscences.

Here are few lines from the book,

One evening not so long ago, I was standing on that little wooden bridge and saw away in the distance two columns of smoke rising from the rubble. Perhaps it was government workers continuing some interminably slow programme; or perhaps children indulging in some delinquent game. But the sight of those columns against the sky put me in a melancholy mood. They were like pyres at some abandoned funeral. A graveyard, Mrs Kawakami says, and when one remembers all those people who once frequented the area, one cannot help seeing it that way.

Having said this, I must say I find it hard to understand how any man who values his self-respect would wish for long to avoid responsibility for his past deeds; it may not always be in easy thing, but there is certainly a satisfaction and dignity to be gained in coming to terms with the mistakes one has made in the course of one’s life. In any case, there is surely no great shame in mistakes made in the best of faith. It is surely a thing far more shameful to be unable or unwilling to acknowledge them.


Kazuo Ishiguro-Courtesy Google
I liked these things very much...Mori-san's words to Ono..
Gisaburo is an unhappy man. He’s had a sad life. His talent has gone to ruin. Those he once loved have long since died or deserted him. Even in our younger days, he was already a lonely, sad character.’ Mori-san paused a moment. Then he went on: ‘But then sometimes we used to drink and enjoy ourselves with the women of the pleasure quarters, and Gisaburo would become happy. Those women would tell him all the things he wanted to hear, and for the night anyway, he’d be able to believe them. Once the morning came, of course, he was too intelligent a man to go on believing such things. But Gisaburo didn’t value those nights any the less for that. The best things, he always used to say, are put together of a night and vanish with the morning. What people call the floating world, Ono, was a world Gisaburo knew how to value.

It’s hard to appreciate the beauty of a world when one doubts its very validity.

It is not, I fancy, a feeling many people will come to experience. The likes of the Tortoise — the likes of Shintaro — they may plod on, competent and inoffensive, but their kind will never know the sort of happiness I felt that day. For their kind do not know what it is to risk everything in the endeavour to rise above the mediocre.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Fall - Albert Camus

Seems it's philosophy season for me..It's Camus work again..Albeit I made several attempts to stay away,I would easily drawn to this without much effort...Lately I was introduced to the concept of absurd philosophy by Hesse's Steppenwolf..Just a strange coincidence,I found a lot of similarities between these two concepts of Existentialism..Must say a timely read for me..In fact these kind of  reads take a huge toll on me..After finishing one such book,I could't make myself read any sort of lighter tone work for some time,perhaps it's due to lack of emphasis..Is it a sort of obsession ?..Or 'Crisis',might be the precise word !!! After staying in Hesse's world for a little while,I dared to read Camus thinking that perhaps I might understand this man now..But do I ? Let me be honest..Not yet fully..It's not a beautiful tale or surface work to be crystal clear..It is all about a person's most honest and profound thoughts which you anyway compare with your's through out reading..So in the end,the feel of inadequacy strikes you for sure..Cause it's very difficult to come to easy conclusions when it's all about mind game.
Image courtesy Google
Sorry I was off the path..However,attempting to analyze a Camus work is nothing but sheer audacity..All you could do is 'just read'...'The Fall' is Camus's second novel for me after 'The Stranger'..I picked this book some time back but at that time it was beyond my grasp..So,I gave a second read now..Though,I must admit that I struggled at some parts to understand him..I read some sentences twice and thrice..But it's worth reading..Here you'll meet Jean Baptiste Clamence,a lawyer by profession,in a bar called 'Mexico City',in Amsterdam..He calls himself as a 'Judge-Penitent'..Eventually he'll let you know what it is meant for..The narration was in the first person..While reading it appears like it's Clamence's confession  but slowly he includes you in his deep analysis and asks you to put your feet in his shoes..Some wonderful arguments were made on morality,judgments,religion,power,connections and relations...Certainly it is one of the few books that will stretch your nerves..Finally it's a highly recommended and a must read work on 'Existentialism'..

Albert Camus - Image courtesy Google
Here I'm quoting few favourite lines from the book,

Haven’t you noticed that our society is organized for this kind of liquidation? You have heard, of course, of those tiny fish in the rivers of Brazil that attack the unwary swimmer by thousands and with swift little nibbles clean him up in a few minutes, leaving only an immaculate skeleton? Well, that’s what their organization is. “Do you want a good clean life? Like everybody else?” You say yes, of course. How can one say no? “O.K. You’ll be cleaned up. Here’s a job, a family, and organized leisure activities.” And the little teeth attack the flesh, right down to the bone.
But I am unjust. I shouldn’t say their organization. It is ours, after all: it’s a question of which will clean up the other.

I was at ease in everything, to be sure, but at the same time satisfied with nothing.

It seemed to me that I was half unlearning what I had never learned and yet knew so well — how to live. Yes, I think it was probably then that everything began.

I wasn’t good enough to forgive offenses, but eventually I always forgot them. And the man who thought I hated him couldn’t get over seeing me tip my hat to him with a smile. According to his nature, he would then admire my nobility of character or scorn my ill breeding without realizing that my reason was simpler: I had forgotten his very name.

I lived consequently without any other continuity than that, from day to day, of I, I, I. From day to day women, from day to day virtue or vice, from day to day, like dogs — but every day myself secure at my post. Thus I progressed on the surface of life, in the realm of words as it were, never in reality. All those books barely read, those friends barely loved, those cities barely visited, those women barely possessed! I went through the gestures out of boredom or absentmindedness. Then came human beings; they wanted to cling, but there was nothing to cling to, and that was unfortunate — for them. As for me, I forgot. I never remembered anything but myself.

Some cry: “Love me!” Others: “Don’t love me!” But a certain genus, the worst and most unhappy, cries: “Don’t love me and be faithful to me!

Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death.. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to their skepticism. So if there were the least certainty that one could enjoy the show, it would be worth proving to them what they are unwilling to believe and thus amazing them.

One dies if necessary, one breaks rather than bending. But I bend, because I continue to love myself.

I encountered hostility especially among those who knew me only at a distance without my knowing them myself. Doubtless they suspected me of living fully, given up completely to happiness; and that cannot be forgiven. The look of success, when it is worn in a certain way, would infuriate a jackass.

Your successes and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them. But to be happy it is essential not to be too concerned with others.

Happy and judged, or absolved and wretched. As for me, the injustice was even greater: I was condemned for past successes. For a long time I had lived in the illusion of a general agreement, whereas, from all sides, judgments, arrows, mockeries rained upon me, inattentive and smiling. The day I was alerted I became lucid; I received all the wounds at the same time and lost my strength all at once. The whole universe then began to laugh at me.

But especially because wealth shields from immediate judgment, takes you out of the subway crowd to enclose you in a chromium-plated automobile, isolates you in huge protected lawns, Pullmans, first-class cabins. Wealth, cher ami, is not quite acquittal, but reprieve, and that’s always worth taking.

Above all, don’t believe your friends when they ask you to be sincere with them. They merely hope you will encourage them in the good opinion they have of themselves by providing them with the additional assurance they will find in your promise of sincerity. How could sincerity be a condition of friendship? A liking for truth at any cost is a passion that spares nothing and that nothing resists. It’s a vice, at times a comfort, or a selfishness. Therefore, if you are in that situation, don’t hesitate: promise to tell the truth and then lie as best you can. You will satisfy their hidden desire and doubly prove your affection.

Then I realized, as a result of delving in my memory, that modesty helped me to shine, humility to conquer, and virtue to oppress. I used to wage war by peaceful means and eventually used to achieve, through disinterested means, everything I desired. For instance, I never complained that my birthday was overlooked; people were even surprised, with a touch of admiration, by my discretion on this subject. But the reason for my disinterestedness was even more discreet: I longed to be forgotten in order to be able to complain to myself.

With its flat shores, lost in the fog, there’s no saying where it begins or ends. So we are steaming along without any landmark; we can’t gauge our speed.We are making progress and yet nothing is changing. It’s not navigation but dreaming.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The absolutely true dairy of a part-time Indian - Sherman Alexie

If I start reading a book I've got a habit of reading it fully whether it is good or bad..But some time back 'The Catcher in the rye' forced me to break that practice..Somehow,I was too impatient towards the narration..Now when I was reading 'The Absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian' I felt the narration was so similar to that book..But the difference here is,I loved this one..I remembered Oscar Wilde's quote somehow,"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.”...The Author simply followed that rule in his semi-autobiographical work..Despite of many heartbreaking revelations,Author Sherman Alexie maintained the witty narration throughout the book.

Image courtesy Google
This is the story of a fourteen year old young boy Arnold Spirit Jr. known as Junior from Spokane Indian reservation (Native Americans) in Wellpinit..This weird boy with few physical disabilities(a huge head and very little body),lives with his father,mother,sister and grandmother..Rowdy was his best buddy and Eugone his uncle..Drawing comics was Junior's hobby..Junior refers to his home reservation as 'the rez'..In many ways, Junior is engulfed by the emotional realities of his life and his community..Like many other families in the rez,his family was also very poor and Junior's parents,Rowdy's father,and others in their community are alcohol addicts..They get in to that habit to escape from their cursed lives..Eventually Junior's family suffers the lose of his grandmother and sister because of that habit..At one point he says, "I'm fourteen years old and I've been to forty-two funerals," Junior says. "That's really the biggest difference between Indians and white people." In the community if Wellpinit, everyone is related, everyone is valued, everyone lives a hardscrabble life, everyone is at risk for early death, and the loss of one person is a loss to the community. Compare Wellpinit to Reardan, whose residents have greater access to social services, health care, and wealth, and people are socially distanced from each other."

Junior's ordinary life takes a tremendous turn when he decides to join the White's school in Reardan..By then he is the only Indian boy in Reardan school other than the school Mascot...Nevertheless,in that school,he become friends with beautiful Penelope,the Giant boy-Roger and and the genius-Gordy who respect him and stand by his side..Besides,his community turns against him for his decision..Rowdy starts hating him,also he stands against him in Basket ball match..Now the question is,whether Junior succeeds in erasing his odd man out image from Whites community ? Whether he would be accepted back from his Wellpinit community for his betrayal as an Indian ? When we got to the end of the book,where Arnold and Rowdy play basketball,the result of the game leads to further consequences in the story..The book is about Junior's internal struggle as a member of Spokane Indian reservation who was helplessly living a life without dreams,opportunities or any possibilities..This is his battle against racism and white power structure..Apart from the hilarious narration,beautiful comics given by Ellen Forney at suitable situations is one of the best part of the book..The language used is so simple and purely native American..Motivating and amusing yet intense and piercing this 'National book award' winning work is one of the best in young adult fiction..

By drawing cartoons, Junior feels safe. He says,
I draw because words are too unpredictable. I draw because words are too limited. If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning.But when you draw a picture, everybody can understand it.

He describes his home reservation with great sarcasm as "located approximately one million miles north of Important and two billion miles west of Happy."

"It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor. You start believing that you're poor because you're stupid and ugly. And then you start believing that you're stupid and ugly because you're Indian. And because you're Indian you start believing that you're destined to be poor. It's an ugly circle and there's nothing you can do about it. Poverty doesn't give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor."

Sherman Alexie-Image Courtesy Google
 Here are few lines from the book,

And trust me, there are times when the last thing you want to hear is the truth.

Rowdy and I are inseparable. 'Because Geometry Is Not a Country Somewhere Near France'

He smiled mysteriously. Adults are so good at smiling mysteriously. Do they go to  college for that?

Gordy said. "If you're good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can't be wrong."

"Okay, so it's like each of these books is a mystery. Every single book is a mystery. And if you read all the books ever written, it's like you've read one giant mystery. And no matter how much you learn, you just keep on learning there is so much more you need to learn.

Travelling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the reservation, I always felt like a stranger.I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other.It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job. And it didn't pay well at all.

Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.

I used to think the world was broken down by tribes," I said. "By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know that isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not.

Here are Junior's favourite books,I made a list of my favorite books: 1. The Grapes of Wrath 2. Catcher in the Rye 3. Fat Kid Rules the World 4. Tangerine 5. Feed 6. Catalyst 7. Invisible Man    8.Fools Crow 9. Jar of Fools.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse

Absolutely brilliant..!!!

Harry Haller notebooks found with a headline..""Not for every one ---  For mad people only"..

For me,'Steppenwolf' is Hesse's second novel after 'Siddhartha'..The later was a haunting read,but after reading this,that work seems like a tiny tale..I picked up this book taking Siddhartha's lighter tone in to account,but it turned out to be absolutely complex and abstruse philosophy..Yes you heard me right,philosophy again..'Steppenwolf' was written by the German-Swiss Noble laureate,Hermann Hesse,who was immensely influenced by the mysticism of Eastern philosophy..

Courtesy Google
This work is an autobiographical work of Hesse himself as the protagonist Harry Haller,a fifty year old man's inwards journey,which explains the phenomenon of mid-life crisis..Abandoned by his wife he vanishes from society in to deep isolation with suicidal instincts..He would ready to test the limits of human suffering while staying in an attic with his books,away from bourgeoisie life...Inability to 'play the game of life' is something that characterizes Haller from the outset of the novel..Harry finds his dual personality as a human being and a wolf(wolf of steppes)..'The human' is a world of ideas, feelings, culture, domesticated and sublimated nature where as 'a wolf' is a dark world of instincts,savagery, cruelty, nature unsublimated and raw..A pamphlet that comes into his hands after a night out drinking,entirely changes his perspective of life..With the help of people like,Hermione-His ideal woman of love,Pablo-The musician and Maria-The prostitute,Harry comes out as a changed man,full of life after the Magic theater (a metaphor) sequence..

A prominent genre in German literature is the 'Bildungsroman' or novel of education...In contrast to the broadly realist novel traditions of England and France it focuses on the development of a central character from inexperienced youth to eventual maturity.Wider social concerns, while by no means ignored, tend to play a subordinate role to this process of personal education, in which philosophical ideas also often have a major role to play..We can say,Hesse’s Steppenwolf is a ‘Bildungsroman’,but with a variation in that Harry is at the outset already a highly educated man,a great author and sophisticated connoisseur of literature and classical music.

""Two souls, alas, dwell in my breast!’ Such crude dualism is still central to Western thought, it is argued, despite the fact that Indian philosophy long ago exposed it as a delusion, since in reality human beings consist of multiple souls.""

The author says,'Of all my works Steppenwolf seems to me to be the one that has been more frequently and more drastically misunderstood than any other'...The writing appears to be partly pathological, partly beautiful fantasies rich in ideas,but slowly evokes the positive,serene world of peace..Harry's discussions regarding 'Lord Krishna' reveals that the author was greatly influenced by Indian philosophy and 'Karma Siddhantha'...In one or the other way we all could  relate and identify ourselves with the 'Steppenwolf' image..Unlike my earlier reads it took long time to fully digest the content..Even after finishing this book,I feel like staying in Hesse's world for some more time...This book is strictly for people who are very familiar with the paths of isolation..Definitely not an easy read,you need to be cent percent there,while reading..Although Steppenwolf’s story is one of sickness and crisis, these do not end in death or destruction. On the contrary: they result in a cure...Being a Gemini I could easily relate myself to Harry's dual nature which is always in conflict..There are also few parts I failed to understand..But I loved the book to the core that I would definitely give it a second read some time.

Here are few more interesting lines from the book,

As a body every human being is a single entity, as a soul never. Traditionally literature too, even at its most sophisticated, operates with ostensibly whole, ostensibly unified characters. In literature as we know it so far, the genre most highly regarded by experts and connoisseurs is drama. Rightly so, for drama offers the greatest opportunity to represent the self as multiple, or might do so, if only outward appearances didn’t contradict this impression, each individual character being deceptively portrayed as a unity because he or she is inevitably encased in a unique, unified and self-contained body.

“Most people have no desire to swim until they are able to.” Isn’t that a laugh? Of course they don’t want to swim! After all, they were born to live on dry land, not in water. Nor, of course, do they want to think. They weren’t made to think, but to live! It’s true, and anyone who makes thinking his priority may well go far as a thinker, but when all’s said and done he has just mistaken water for dry land, and one of these days he’ll drown.’

What we think of as acts of cruelty are in reality nothing of the kind. Someone from the Middle Ages would still find the whole style of our present-day life abhorrent, but cruel, horrifying and barbaric in a quite different way. Every age, every culture, every ethos and tradition has a style of its own, has the varieties of gentleness and harshness, of beauty and cruelty that are appropriate to it. Each age will take certain kinds of suffering for granted, will patiently accept certain wrongs. Human life becomes a real hell of suffering only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. Required to live in the Middle Ages, someone from the Graeco-Roman period would have died a wretched death by suffocation, just as a savage inevitably would in the midst our civilization.

Now, there are times when a whole generation gets caught to such an extent between two eras, two styles of life, that nothing comes naturally to it since it has lost all sense of morality, security and innocence. A man of Nietzsche’s mettle had to endure our present misery more than a generation in advance. Today, thousands are enduring what he had to suffer alone and without being understood.

Harry’s case, on the other hand, was different. In him the human being and the wolf went their own separate ways. Far from helping one another, they were like mortal enemies in constant conflict, each causing the other nothing but grief. When two mortal enemies are locked in one mind and body, life is a miserable business. Well, to each his lot. None of us has it easy.

Just as there are exceptions to every rule, and one lone sinner may under certain circumstances be more pleasing to God than ninety-nine righteous people.

Every human type has its hallmarks, its personal signatures. Each has its virtues and vices, its own deadly sin.

Those who live for power are destroyed by power, those who live for money by money; service is the ruin of the servile, pleasure the ruin of the pleasure-seeker. Thus it was Steppenwolf’s independence that proved his downfall.


Members of the bourgeoisie are therefore essentially creatures weak in vital energy,timid  individuals, afraid ever to abandon themselves, easy to govern. That is why they have replaced power by majority rule, replaced force by the rule of law, and replaced responsibility by the ballot box.

My life may have been arduous, wayward and unhappy, my experience of humankind’s bitter fate causing me to renounce and reject a great deal, but it had been rich, proud and rich, a life – even its misery – fit for a king. No matter how pitifully I might waste what little time was left to me before finally going under, my life was essentially a noble one. It had a profile and pedigree. Not content with cheap rewards, I had aimed for the stars.

What we here term the art of reconstruction is a way of filling in the gaps in science’s inadequate view of human psychology. To those people who have experienced the disintegration of their selves, we demonstrate that they can reassemble the pieces in a new order of their own choosing whenever they like. They are thus in a position to master the infinite variety of moves in life’s game. Just as writers create a drama from a handful of characters, we are forever able to regroup the separate pieces of our dismantled selves and thus offer them new roles to play, new excitements, situations that are constantly fresh. Look what I mean!

Published  Penguin Modern Classics

Paperback, 222 pages

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Family life - Akhil Sharma

The 2015 Folio award winning novel 'Family life' is the second novel after 'The obedient father' ,written by the Indo-American author Akhil Sharma..The autobiographical memoir,based upon his childhood experiences took nearly nine long years to complete.The story is narrated in the first person,by eight year old boy Ajay..It all starts in Delhi,when the two boys,Ajay(8) and his elder brother,Birju receive their visa for America.

Image from Google
The Mishra family moves to America in the late seventies as America opened doors to immigration policy..The parents with high expectations,Mr.and Mrs. Mishra were very happy when their elder son,Birju got admission in the prestigious Bronx high school of science..Though Birju adopted the new culture in no time,Ajay struggles to fit in the new society..The family's dreams were shattered altogether when Birju(15) met with a major accident in the swimming pool and he remains brain damaged..The story is all about Ajay's childhood fears and the complexities of family life..The book also discussed immigration issues.

For me,the best part about Ajay's character is his passion for reading and his interest in Hemingway..As a child,he was a huge fan of him..He says,though he did not read much of his works he read 'about him' just because he wants to adopt his writing style..

Here is Ajay about Hemingway,

'Having read Hemingway, I knew that I should just push all the exotic things to the side as if they didn’t matter, that this was how one used exoticism—by not bothering to explain.'

'As I read about Hemingway having been to Spain and France, I was amazed. I couldn’t believe that an actual person had gotten to go to Spain and France. What was even more amazing was that this man had done it without being a doctor or an engineer. Till then I had thought that the only way to have a good life was to have one of these two professions. As I sat there reading, I got happier and happier. To have a life where one traveled, where one did what one wanted, seemed like being rich.'

Read the following lines..Here I can relate myself to Ajay for he also feels that sometimes reading is a great escape from hard reality..
Reading these books I had the feeling that I was being transformed. I felt like I was being connected to a world where stories were written and where they were studied. Feeling myself being connected, I had the sense that I was being taken away from my own life and brought into a world that was glamorous, where people did pleasurable things, where people did not worry all the time.

In the following sentences,I agree with Ajay about Hemingway's 'The Old man and the sea',
An essayist wrote that The Old Man and the Sea is full of factual inaccuracies, that it is impossible to carry miles of fishing line on one’s shoulder. I read about Hemingway’s mistakes and felt that what probably matters in a book is its emotional truth and not whether small facts are accurate.

The novel widely discussed about the problems of NRI life,their fears and complexities in the alien country..However the family was in terrible suffering after Birju's accident,they had to hide their tears in the alien society..Unlike in homeland,Ajay constantly feels terrible need to prove his identity in the new world for which he keep telling many lies to his school friends for sympathy..He and his mother Subha hide Mr.Mishra's drinking habbit for the sake of propriety and respect from the society..However,Subha's role appear to be a nagging wife and doting mother,I very much liked the way she handled her circumstances with dignity..She is the one who gave her hundred percent to her family when compared to her husband Mr.Mishra who tried to escapes from the reality with his drinking habbit..Though the narration is very honest and bold from an eight year old boy's point of view, Ajay's thoughts were too mean to be sympathetic towards him..As he remain unwanted after Birju's accident,he alone fights his own fears in the alien country while his parents are no longer ready to help in his sadness as they are too busy handling their own issues while taking care of  Birju,the brain damaged son.Though it was a serious read,also there was an undercurrent of dark humour,which made the narration quite interesting..This work is a pretty good example,that all dollar dreams won't lead to colourful lives.

Akhil Sharma - Image from Google
Few more lines from the book,

I had decided to tell Rita I loved her. This was because from having watched Hindi movies, it seemed that if one was to have a relationship with a girl, one had to be in love.

This surprises me because you always expect people who matter a great deal to you to end up leading glamorous lives.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Beauty and Sadness - Yasunari Kawabata

Erotic sadness...The first ever Japanese Noble laureate Yasunari Kawabata's 'Beauty and Sadness' is a placid,passionate and elegant love story..Though the story mainly describes the love of Miss Ueno Otoko and Oki,there is another similar tale of love between Otoko and Keiko..The story takes off when Toshio Oki,a 54 year old novelist travels to Kyoto to meet his ex love Otoko,after 24 years...

Image from Google

Otoko,a painter by profession was only half his age when Oki seduced her at the age of 15..Later,she delivers a dead baby and tries to commit suicide out of depression but luckily she survives...Oki would not marry her as he was already a married man with a son..Otoko's mother leaves Tokyo hoping a new life for her daughter..But Otoko's love is so pure that she couldn't welcome another person in her life,thus she remains unmarried..Also her reputation was at stake when Oki fictionalizes his affair with this 15 year old girl,which turns in to a well acclaimed work  and brings him huge success..But Otoko still loves him as before..Besides Keiko,a pupil of Otoko loves her most ardently..It seems they also had a relationship in this story..Keiko couldn't stand Otoko suffering her whole life because of a selfish man,so she wants to take revenge..What happened to the two lives on their different paths of love is the next story..

Yasunari Kawabata-Image from Google
Here are few lines from the book,

"You're more than I deserve. It's a love I never dreamed I'd find. Happiness like this is worth dying for..." Even now Oki's words had not faded from her memory. The dialogue in his novel echoed them and seemed to have taken on a life apart from either Oki or herself. Perhaps the lovers of old were no more, but she had the nostalgic consolation, in the midst of her sadness, that their love was forever enshrined in a work of art.

To link whatever she saw and heard with her love was nothing less than to be alive. Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace.

“I suppose even a woman's hatred is a kind of love.” 

Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace.

One day while writing a letter Otoko happened to open the dictionary to the character for "think." As she scanned its other meanings ("yearn for," "be unable to forget," "be sad") she felt her chest tighten. She was afraid to touch the dictionary — Oki was even there. Innumerable words reminded her of him.

The story tells how far a woman would go when she truely loves somebody..This novel is a well crafted painting which brings out various abstract shades of woman's personality..The author chose Otoko and Keiko to represent two different kinds of womanly love..On one end,Otoko's love is a fine blend of sacrifice and patience,on the other end,Keiko's love is fierce and comes out of hatred and revenge...But the author succeeded in convincing that the purity of love on both sides is same...Otoko mirrors a passionate lover who never expects anything from a mean person like Oki,but only loves him..Keiko,a fierce personality who could go  to any level and would break every rule for the happiness of her lover..The title was very apt for this novel which says that there always exist both beauty and sadness in love.This was my first book from Yasunari Kawabata,I loved his style of narration and looking forward to read few more works from him.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Murudeshwara (Murudeshwar) Karnataka


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Murudeshwar was situated in the coast of Arabian sea in Bhatkal taluk in Uttara Kannada district,Karnata..It is famous for the largest Lord Shiva Idol and Mudeshwar temple..The town is also connected with Konkan railway route..We got out accommodation at RNS guest house which is situated in temple premises...

Let us take the picture tour of the temple..

The main entrance of the temple...

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Terrific view from the 18th floor of the temple gopuram (temple tower)
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A beautiful sight from our stay...
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The temple tower...
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View from our hotel room..
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Friday, February 6, 2015

Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach


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An extremely short novel with a good message,'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' was written by an American author,Richard Bach..It depicts the life of ambitious bird,Jonathan Livingston Seagull,who resembles all those special individuals who strive to attain perfection in whatever they do..The story was told using metaphors like birds,flight,sky and flock etc and it has some beautiful pictures fitting the narration.
Image from google
Completely dissatisfied with his routine life,Jonathan Seagull tries to reach perfection in flying..(Here 'flying' was used as a metaphor for the thing which is most important in a person's life)..In that process,the bird practices various methods in flying which seems almost impossible for any ordinary seagull..Thus considering his actions as inappropriate and rebellious,all the seagulls in the flock outcasts him..Outcast by the flock Jonathan still keeps his practice on..After learning every pleasure in flying,kindness and love in another world,he returns with his newly found abilities along with his few companions to teach his methods to his own flock on earth..Though,initially,the seagulls restrain Jonathan and company,they slowly spellbound by his flying techniques and join him to learn his perfect ways of flight..After some time,when Jonathan moves to another place leaving his companions (he treats them as equals) back to train his flock,the story takes a new turn..The flock slowly avoid concentrating on the flight techniques and starts praising Jonathan as God..They show utmost interest in learning about smaller to smaller details about him and his appearance and all..Creating a virtual image of Jonathan,they spend their time worshiping him and singing songs of his glory..Thus the flock remains ordinary without knowing any special ways of living..Thus they miss real joy of living (flying)..They left struck at the outer layer of Jonathan's life.

This story reveals the actual reality that we seldom follow/learn the great ways of ideal lives,instead we worship their Godly image..Thus we form rules and limitations and start living in those closed circles not knowing the significance of Freedom..Jonathan's story reveals this very fact that freedom is the foremost thing in anyone's life..Setting limitations and living within  boundaries take us nowhere and we truly miss the joy of living.

Here are few lines from the book..

Is there no such place as heaven?” “No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.

It always works, when you know what you’re doing.

He spoke of very simple things—that it is right for a gull to fly, that freedom is the very nature of his being, that whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form..

“The only answer I can see, Jonathan, is that you are pretty well a one-in-a-million bird. Most of us came along ever so slowly. We went from one world into another that was almost exactly like it, forgetting right away where we had come from, not caring where we were headed, living for the moment. Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock? A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand! And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sringeri : Sarada peetam - Sringeri Mutt

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Our starting point to reach Sringeri was Horanadu..We started at 8.30 am and reached Sringeri at around 11.30 am..On the way we stopped at two points,one is Kalasa where there is a Swayambhoolinga temple and another one is Rambapuri where there is a Rukmini Acharya ashram ..It is the first Veerasaiva kshetra among five kshetras...(Srisailam,Ujjain,Kedarnatha and Kasi) I felt this ashram was not having great significance when compared to the remaining places..
Our schedule did not allow us to meet the present Jagadguru Shankaracharya,Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji..Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada established the first of the four Amnaya Peethams at Sringeri around twelve centuries ago to foster the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma.
Here are the few pics from Sringeri Mutt..

The entrance of the temple..

Sringeri Sarada peetam

Sculptural beauty.. 






Sri Saradamba temple in the temple complex.. 


This is the place my kid loved the most..The pond was filled with plenty of fish