Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wild woods

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The path was unfamiliar to me...yet I progressed in the distant way
Sharp stones hurting my tender feet..darkness prevailed everywhere
But I was unaware of the pain...I was lost in the beauty of nature around
The birds singing and flowers dancing..
I realized I lost my way out there
this path would take me nowhere 
I found myself in the middle of wild woods
Dear me,I forgot all the wounds on my feet 
All I remembered was the birds singing and flowers dancing

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

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After finishing this book,I immediately tried to recollect the situations and conversations right from the beginning of the story..It never happened with any other book till now..Now the ending was quite clear to me yet so many tired interpretations and perplexities seized my mind..The interesting part here is,the book itself deals with exploring memories of human brain..It concludes that,In the formation of history,all a human brain would do is capturing the reflections formed by the opinions and experiences of the past but not the truth from actual phenomenon..Now here raises the question about the authenticity of History..'The Sense of an Ending' was written by Julian Barnes,the English writer who has been shortlisted thrice from the Booker prize..And finally for the fourth time,he has won the prestigious 'Man Booker Prize' for the year 2011.

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Few lines from the book,
‘History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.’

History isn’t the lies of the victors, as I once glibly assured Old Joe Hunt; I know that now. It’s more the memories of the survivors, most of whom are neither victorious nor defeated

It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.


If you’re that clever you can argue yourself into anything. You just leave common sense behind


I don’t want you to be a woman of mystery. I think I’d hate it. Either it’s just a fa├žade, a game, a technique for ensnaring men, or else the woman of mystery is a mystery even to herself, and that’s the worst of all.


Some Englishman once said that marriage is a long dull meal with the pudding served first. I think that’s far too cynical

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The sense of ending is a story that revolves around the memories and its repercussions.The protagonist,Tony Webster is the narrator of the story who unveils his past,starting from his school days and his three friends Alex,Colin and Adrian Finn..Among the four,Adrian was a special boy in the school..He is highly intellectual,intelligent and philosophical by nature..After schooling,all the four part their ways but they pledged to keep in touch in future...Further Adrian join Cambridge while Tony in Bristol university..In Bristol Tony fell in love with Veronica,but later, with the ill treatment of Veronica's father and brother Jack,Tony gets upset and soon they breakup..Later Tony marry Margaret and the couple have a daughter,Susie..But this marriage didn't last longer and the couple ends up with a divorce..Even after his retirement Tony kept in touch with his grandchildren and Margaret..The life of Tony was so simple..In his own words 'peaceable'..But he actually allows life to happen to him rather than taking control over life..After sixty years,his life (in other words his history) unveils an entirely new panorama of his past..

Some great analizations from the book..
How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.

Had my life increased, or merely added to itself? This was the question Adrian’s fragment set off in me. There had been addition—and subtraction—in my life, but how much multiplication? And this gave me a sense of unease, of unrest.“

Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does: otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. But in life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that’s something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that, we’re just stuck with what we’ve got. We’re on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn’t it? And also—if this isn’t too grand a word—our tragedy

"Camus said that suicide was the only true philosophical question.”

But my mind kept returning to all those fervently innocent discussions we’d gone in for when Robson hanged himself in the attic, back before our lives began. It had seemed to us philosophically self-evident that suicide was every free person’s right: a logical act when faced with terminal illness or senility; a heroic one when faced with torture or the avoidable deaths of others; a glamorous one in the fury of disappointed love (see: Great Literature).

When you’re young—when I was young—you want your emotions to be like the ones you read about in books. You want them to overturn your life, create and define a new reality. Later, I think, you want them to do something milder, something more practical: you want them to support your life as it is and has become. You want them to tell you that things are OK. And is there anything wrong with that?

The things Literature was all about: love, sex, morality, friendship, happiness, suffering, betrayal, adultery, good and evil, heroes and villains, guilt and innocence, ambition, power, justice, revolution, war, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, the individual against society, success and failure, murder, suicide, death, God. And barn owls. Of course, there were other sorts of literature—theoretical, self-referential, lachrymosely autobiographical—but they were just dry wanks. Real literature was about psychological, emotional and social truth as demonstrated by the actions and reflections of its protagonists; the novel was about character developed over time

This story mainly focussed on the realities of memory,by means of which we often assess the future and later it'll be a history..This book hardly carry 150 pages but the content is very strong..You want to re-read some paragraphs and pages just to understand,what the author actually trying to tell us..The writing style was very much similar to Camus's(though I read only one,'The Stranger' from him)..When you reached the last page,the book leaves you with a feeling of inadequacy..It wouldn't allow you to have an exact feeling of absoluteness..Also the ending appeared very unconvincing for me.But for the readers who enjoy philosophy and psychology related books,it's a must read for them..There is no big story or anything in this book yet the spellbounded narration is the best part..You'll come across some wonderful analizations on memories..On a whole it's a great philosophical and psychological delight for the readers..Happy reading friends.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Animal Farm - George Orwell

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Absolutely brilliant book !!! I usually prefer reading big books,cause they allow me to stay long in their world..Henceforth this tiny book with pages less than 150 was among few leftovers in such category..But after finishing this book,I must admit that it is not quantity but quality that matters..Animal farm was such a gem of political fiction written by George Orwell..It falls under the category of allegorical and dystopian novels.
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This book is a panoply of the concrete structure of society and the way it works..Few animals in Manor farm revolt against their master Mr.Jones and successfully establish a society of their own i.e,a society only meant for animals..They name it as 'Animal farm'..They constitute some seven commandments and start living accordingly..Though initially all the animals are free from the tyrannical humans,slowly and unconsciously they become submissive to Snowball and Napoleon (pigs) who are very good at brains..After some time Napoleon uses his secret army of dogs to castaway Snowball and raise as an independent ruler..Under his cruel reign all the animals suffer even more..So as the earth is round,the story again comes to the point,where it actually started..

Few lines from the book,
Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer-except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs.

And yet the animals never gave up hope. More, they never lost, even for an instant, their sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm. They were still the only farm in the whole county — in all England! — owned and operated by animals.

You can apply this plot to any civilization or culture or community..I feel this story fits well in almost every society,though the author wrote this story representing Napoleon as Joseph Stalin,who ruled Soviet Russia for nearly 35 years..Coming to Snowball who represents Leon Trotsky,he is an intelligent pig who is very devoted to his community but lacks diplomacy and administrative/cunning tactics like Napoleon..Coming to other characters,Boxer,the horse represents the truly hard working people in the society while the Sheep represents the ordinary people who live like sheep..Benjamin(the donkey) and Clover(horse) represent few wise people in the society who know everything but never dare to raise their voice while the dogs represent the army of power..Squealer,another pig appears to be the powerful media which influences the society in every possible way..Among all characters,I loved Boxer very much..The sincere and hardworking creature,finally sent to slaughter house when it turned old..
George Orwell-Image from Google
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs.The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which

Animal farm is a wonderful satire on the political and social terms..It deals with the friction between high society with brains and the labour class with hard work..It depicts the formation of society in different stages like slavery to democracy and democracy to communism..We can easily relate ourselves with many characters from the book..I loved the final part especially and couldn't stop laughing where the seven commandments of the animals were reduced to only one which says..

"ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS""
And another slogan from sheep like,"Four legs good, two legs BETTER!" at the end..
Truely wonderful write-up..Looking forward to read few more from George Orwell..I strongly recommend this book to every one.Classics are truely gold..Don't miss it guys..Happy reading :)
Later this was made in to an animation movie. Here is the link..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YYEoWAAmDE 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Taj experience

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Visiting Taj atleast once in a life time is almost everyone's dream....mine too..

We happened to visit this great monument a couple of years back..After visiting Agra fort on the first day of sightseeing,we were left with a very little time to pay our visit to Taj..So thought of having a brief visit that day,thinking that the next day anyway we could spend our whole time  there..The taxiwala advised us to take the Mehtab Bagh route then,because it will be less crowdy hence would fit to our time schedule..

With great excitement we were stepping towards Taj..There was a Mughal park,after taking few steps  in the park,as we couldn't see anything,we moved further just waching the plants..And suddenly you know what ? It appeared in front of my eyes leaving me speechless..

My first view of Taj...
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This view from the Mehtab Bagh,on the opposite side of the river Yamuna,the Taj offers a chance to get a shot with a more rural setting..I must say it was the unusual view of Taj..The sun was about to set then..We spent nearly 1 hour there..I'm lucky to have that wonderful sight..Later we   thanked the taxiwala..

The river Yamuna was completely dry here..
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Second day...On the way to Taj grounds....
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The camel cart
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The entrance 
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Here you can see some water in the river..
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The next morning we visited the monument in the Taj grounds,I liked it but I must admit that the yesterday's experience was much better than this..

Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom

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My first encounter with death was at the age of 18..Of course dying is probably not necessary for experiencing the fear of death..One morning,it suddenly stumbled upon my cousin's doorsteps and snatched away her husband who was roughly 27 years old..His pale face and motionless strong body has remained in my memory lane ever since..I felt like someone has slapped me so harshly to wake me up from my dreamy world..From that moment,'Death' was always a dark mystery for me..

Image from google
Later I read few books related to death but somehow I couldn't find proper answers..But in that process,I learned about life..Those books helped me to understand how precious life is..'Tuesdays with Morrie' by Mitch Albom was one of such books..It was a real life story and a memoir of Morrie Schwartz,a Sociology professor at Brandeis University,who was dying from a chronic disease,ALS..The book is all about Morrie's life lessons to his old student Mitch A,the author of this book..I'm not going to write,'Morrie said this and that'..But would like to share few notions related to this book..

Few lines from the book,
Dying,” Morrie suddenly said, “is only one thing to be sad over, Mitch. Living unhappily is something else. So many of the people who come to visit me are unhappy.” Why? “Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it. They’re more unhappy than me—even in my current condition.

My old professor, meanwhile, was stunned by the normalcy of the day around him. Shouldn’t the world stop? Don’t they know what has happened to me? But the world did not stop, it took no notice at all,

He was intent on proving that the word “dying” was not synonymous with “useless.” 

Morrie with Mitch Albom
Death always relies on the way we lived our life..i.e Not with money and all but with peace,happiness and above all with contentment..We often try to cope with tough times and try to accept them,but accepting death is an entirely different thing..But Morrie hugged death as lovingly as he hugged life..For all that was happening to him,his mind was vibrating with a million thoughts..He is the Hero of this book..But somehow I couldn't accept giving the whole credit to Morrie alone..Morrie's family also had remarkable share in this endeavour,since they tried their level best to keep him alive till his last breathe..I felt,like life,death is also a team work..A life couldn't have such a magnificent ending without few loving people around..

Few more lines from the book,
Maybe death is the great equalizer, the one big thing that can finally make strangers shed a tear for one another.

And I suppose tapes, like photographs and videos, are a desperate attempt to steal something from death’s suitcase

But there still seemed to be no clear answers. Do you take care of others or take care of your “inner child”? Return to traditional values or reject tradition as useless? Seek success or seek simplicity? Just Say No or just Do It?

Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” 

Mitch, if you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.” 

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”  

Later the book was made in to a movie with the same title..

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Choki Dhani - Chennai Bites 2


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When I watched 'Lamhe' in my school days,I instantly fell in love with Rajasthan ..My dream was to see a live performance of any song like "Morni bagama bole aadhi raath ma"..I know..I know..its too much to expect Sridevi dancing there :P..Visiting Jaisalmer was yet my unfulfilled dream..But when we get to know about Choki Dhani,we planned to go there in a weekend..And found that place even more interesting than we expected...There you can see everything related to Rajasthani culture except for the sandy deserts..It was like visiting a typical Rajasthani village..The people there were in their traditional attire..At dinner they served traditional dishes with nearly 15-18 varieties of Rajasthani cuisine...It was a truely nice experience..If you are living in Chennai,then Its a must visit for you..

Welcoming with Tika..
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The dancers gave a wonderful performance..The most enjoyed part for me..
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Katputhli show..
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jiddu Krishnamurti Foundation : Chennai

We had a great experience visiting 'Jiddu Krishnamurti Foundation' this weekend.The foundation popularly known as KFI has its head quarters at Vasanth Vihar,Greenways road,R.A.Puram in Chennai..After going through few works of J.K,I wished to visit this place since long time,but couldn't make it out till now.
It was a peaceful place with greenery all around..There was pin drop silence right from the entrance..In the immediate left,there is a Book store at the main entrance showcasing his works and Dvds of his speeches..The building has a big hall in the ground floor and a library upstairs..Apart from the huge database of Krishnamurti works,we can find various other works on philosophy in the library..
Here is the site link for more info :   http://www.kfionline.org/
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A reading place in the library.
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The library...
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Though so many book are piling up in my book shelf,I couldn't stop buying few more books..
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Shimla - The beauty of Neo-Gothic architecture


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I heard a lot about Shimla since childhood..For me Shimla and apples are synonyms..:) We reached Shimla from Kasauli via cab..Our stay was at Grand Hotel..A comfortable accomodation with tidy rooms.. After getting fresh we went for sightseeing..What I felt is,there is nothing much to enjoy the nature here..It appears to be a commercialized center with beautiful traces of British ruling..It was once the summer capital of Britishers..The best thing I observed in Shimla is its colonial architecture..A walk by The Mall road gives you few beautiful glimpses of the Neo-Gothic architecture..

Shimla in pictures..Here we go..
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If you are in Shimla,Indian Coffee House is a must visit for coffee lovers..They also served some good breakfast there.
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Boiled eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper were tasted delicious in that chilly climate
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A view from our hotel room..
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