Friday, July 22, 2016

As I turn 26 tonight

I am not nervous right now. In a few minutes, when the long and short needles of the clock meet each other at 12am, I will turn 26 years old. I have declared that I am not nervous but not sure why I did it, not sure if I am supposed to be nervous. I could have been anything - happy, sad, scared or maybe restless - but the only emotion I can anticipate right now is of nervousness. But as I said, that's not happening. I am not nervous. I feel nothing to be honest.

Right now, I am in a company of 2 good friends in Gokarna, a place that I love by the way. So, I guess things are pretty much fine.

As I turn 26 tomorrow, I'll still be the same. I mean things don't change overnight. But that's the bad part. At this stage of my life, I am doing exactly what majority of all other people my age are doing. I am running in this life's race, working in decent organization and drawing a decent salary. The bad part I was referring to is the fact that inspire of being in a pretty stable zone, there is sense of

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Book Review: The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Enhanced my knowledge about some of the great modern Indian poets, exactly as per the book title. I knew about some of them but the mini-biographies collected by Arvind were very precise and exactly as per requirement, neither more nor less.

Coming back to the book, it is exactly what i was expecting it to be. I was intrigued by the selected poems of Nissim Ezekiel, Arun Kolatkar and Agha Shahid Ali and was left hungry for more, pretty sure i am gonna spend the next few weeks reading more of their work and about their life. Not mentioning Dom Moraes here becuase i have already read (and loved) his selected poems collection which also has a very detailed and excellent introduction by Ranjit Hostoke. I am sure the other poets are also great in their league but were not exactly the type i love to read.

I am also interested to read the poems of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra now. I really liked this anthology curated by him and his perspective about these poets/poems.

Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Honestly speaking, don't think i deserve to review a book as good as this, written by a writer as good as Tolstoy.

I'd just like to say that it is beyond me how Tolstoy could analyze and describe humans, human emotions and emotional complication of human souls. Not sure if i am going to feel like this about a book ever again in my life. I mean while reading this book, you will come across instances which will make you think, "oh boy, is Tolstoy describing me there?". And all of this with what simplicity and ease!

Read this book for the heroine Anna, the writer's voice that is Levin, the picture of society in those times and most importantly for the literary genius that is Leo Tolstoy. One of the few books that will leave you with both knowledge and entertainment at the same time.

Book Review: Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda by Dharamvir Bharti

Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda by Dharamvir Bharti

Not much to write here mostly because I had very high hopes from this book. Having read and loved 'Gunahon Ka Devta', I was really looking forward to this book.

The book's narrative is very unique wherein a series of short related stories spread over the life of a dozen or so main characters is narrated by the storyteller, Manik, in his own unique style to a bunch of his friends over 7 afternoons. Women play a very pivotal role in these stories and although all the stories flirt around the love life of these women, I would refrain from calling this a book of short love stories.

The unique storytelling is what makes this book very interesting especially if you see the era in which it was written and that says a lot about Mr. Dharamvir Bharati, the writer, the visionary. Unfortunately, that's where the magic stops for me as the stories or novel if you may choose to call it, fail to make an impression. These turn out to be very simple and straightforward leaving you with nothing to ponder over once you finish them. The characters are interesting to begin with but then that story gets over by the time you have just started to understand/appreciate/judge them, leaving you unsatisfied and cheated. I'd have ignored this glitch if the stories were powerful enough to keep you hooked.

The more i think about it, the more i am convinced that the book was more of a shot at storytelling rather than the stories themselves. Hence, it is not surprising that majority of the acclaim that this book gets is centered around the narrative style - so much most of the times that infact people usually forget/fail to even begin talking about the stories.

Book Review: To The Lighthouse By Virginia Woolf

To The Lighthouse By Virginia Woolf

Phew! One of the toughest book i have ever read. One of the best written book i have ever read. Each page seemed like a hard-work of years. In addition to the writing, this book also demands hard-work from your side because one moment of negligence from your side could result in you missing a priceless moment of brilliance from Woolf.
The character, their sketch, their feelings and emotions, their internal complications and their fight with themselves is displayed in such simplicity that it's just too hard to believe that it is true, you will constantly sweep through the pages in awe and admiration.
Definitely one of the best books i have read and if you are an admirer of good, quality writing, then don't miss this book. It's impossible to believe that a human could write such a complex novel in such a fabulous way. All my respect Virginia, i am sure it would have drained everything from your mind, body and soul.

Book Review: Gunahon Ka Devta by Dharamvir Bharati

Gunahon Ka Devta by Dharamvir Bharti

Let me start by saying that it might not be easy for readers of this generation to relate to the stories written in and around this era. This book was published around 1949 - a time when the society, culture and the socioeconomics was totally different. So different that it is unfathomable for us.

Primarily this is a love story, rather a story of love or actually no, a story of unrequited love. The characters of this book are everyday common people who are leading a regular life. In this regular life, 2 young adults Sudha and Chander fall in love but understand it very clearly that their union is not going to be accepted by their family. Cognizant of this fact, they don't give a shot at their relationship as life keeps moving forward. This book is about the early days of their friendship, their moments of weakness, the sacrifice of their love and their attempt at dealing with the truth. Think about it for sometime and you'll feel that this story is similar to a Bollywood movie of 60s or 70s that you may have seen. But unlike reel life, this story is more real and the circumstances much more complex (yet simple). This story will break your heart and leave you feeling blue.

The above summary of the book should be enough to give idea about the plot. But no matter what I write, it'd be very difficult to describe the beauty of Mr. Dharamvir Bharti. He has written this book with such beauty and care that every single word, line and page evokes a storm of emotions that leaves you with nothing but haunting afterthoughts. The book stays with you for days after you have finished it while the characters stay with you forever. You will fall in love with the writing and may become his fan. It happened to me!           

Book Review: The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

I will start with saying that I agree with Holden's (the 16 year something narrator) view of people and the world he lives in. It was true then and is still very true today. People and the society as a whole, don't change over 50-60 years, actually not even in centuries.

What makes this book just a passing read is the fact that it fails to instigate any emotion or afterthoughts other than maybe a feeling of mutual agreement on people, society and how they are phony as i mentioned in the paragraph above.

Nothing else in this book is worthy of a second glance. I liked a few bits towards the ending with the sister and the parts where Ernie, the dead brother is mentioned but that is it. Based on this novel (haven't read any other novel written by Salinger), feel like his short stories are way better. Probably I'll stick with his short stories only after this book. I quite like them.