Sunday, November 27, 2011

What if they spoke!

Prologue

Taking slow sips of coffee as I read ‘The Hindu’ is the first activity that I carry out every day. It’s a pleasure to me to get refreshed by tasting a cup of strong coffee when I get engrossed in reading the morning newspaper. Usually the contentment of doing something productive lingers for some time. But that pleasure vanished on that day after I read a couple of reports on the dog-killing spree. 5 dogs were killed by a construction company which is involved in constructing posh apartments in the sub-urban area of Chennai. A very famous educational institution deployed few employees to eliminate 7 dogs which lived in their campus. The former one shot the dogs. The latter clubbed them to death. My heart bled after I learned that a couple of dogs struggled for their lives even after they were clubbed ruthlessly.

I couldn’t hold the thoughts on this gruesome activity to myself. Reading out the report to my mother and my husband was the only solace. My mom cursed those killers and wondered how the Almighty would stay still even after witnessing such acts, my significant other censured the killers, I sighed and it was business as usual at home.

tobhairav@doglovers.com

Dear Bhairav

My name is Calvin Carter. Please don’t wonder about my surname. My brother-in-law, gave that last name to me when I created a FaceBook account for myself. My family has given me an English name, but raised me as a Hindu-Brahmin. Oh, yes! They don’t allow me to chew and relish bones, which every dog would love doing. At the same time, I appreciate the fact that these guys treat me as their own family member. So that woe of mine doesn’t impact me much. Sorry, that’s not germane to the current situation.

Bhairav, I’m 8.5 years old and leading a healthy life. A battle with a disease called Leptospirosis and a confrontation with a street dog tried to shake me a bit last month. But the Himalayan support by my family seemed to have made me swim against the hard currents. You, as the Almighty should take that into consideration when you decide to bestow your blessings. Ah! I’ve been talking about my family for so long, but I still haven't given you any details about them. I’m going to follow an age-wise order. My Dad – Pet-raising is an acquired taste for him. I remember how much he hated me when I was a puppy. All those days have gone and I think that I changed his mind by my loyalty. Oh! Don’t think that I’m bragging. Actually the credit goes to my mom. I should thank her for being persistent during those hard times of my life. Mom – She is an angel to me. Sometimes I doubt if she cosseted her daughters like how she pampers me. She thanks me quite often for giving her company when she was haunted by depression. The truth isn’t that. I need her the most. I love her company. Brother-in-Law – I hate him for being strict to me. He wouldn’t let me taste my favourite foods. Do you know what I love eating? I love Idlis, Dosas, Chappathis, Cakes, Murukku, Thattai, Seedai etc., He wouldn’t let me smell all those. He urges the entire family to maintain my Pedigree diet. I know that he does that for my welfare. So he is in good-books of mine these days. Sister – She pushed my parents to adopt me and persuaded the entire family to raise me. She used to spend a lot of time with me when she wasn’t working. Now-a-days, I get to see her only in weekends. That’s okay! I know that she loves me and she knows that I love her. The only thing that I don’t like about her is that she bathes me quite often.

I love going for walk with Dad. I love licking my mom’s face. I love when my brother-in-law hits and pinches me playfully. So Bhairav, now you have got a fair idea of the kind of life that I lead.

Okay, let me explain why I decided to write to you. When I was lounging in the hall this morning, my family was discussing a couple of incidents. I heard that few of my fellows were murdered by the Homo sapiens. I must say that that shook me. You might think why I should be worried when I am typing this email when I am happily ensconced on my favourite carpet. Please don’t expect me to fast till those murderers get hanged. That’s ruled out! All that I can do is to write to you about few key points on this issue.

Did you think of the reason on why I chose to write to you? Thanks to Internet. I read that you are the one who has empowered a dog as your official Vahana. So you can put yourself in our shoes, though we don’t have one. I just tried to crack a joke. If you don’t appreciate jokes cracked by amateurs, that’s fine! Let me be plain and say that I believe that you can empathise.

Before I started to compose this email, I was reminded of few articles which I read on animal-killings and rampages by animals. I’m sure that you would be aware of the fact that the Homo sapiens have occupied the habitats of quite a few beautiful animals. The list is long, I must say. Giant Pandas, Tigers, Asian Elephants, Blue Whales etc., are considered as endangered species. The problem of those animals looks big. I am not going to dwell on it now. I leave those major issues with you to arrive at a sane decision. Even when I read those articles, I felt that my fellows are safe and just prayed for my animal-friends to get saved by you. But after I listened to my family’s discussion, I am worried too. All these days, I was under an impression that Humans are Angels. But if you have noticed I haven’t used the word ‘Humans’ in this email, when I referred to Homo sapiens. I feel that I’m going through a volte face now. Not all the Humans are angels. What else I could say when these humans behave in a merciless manner!

When I go for a walk with my dad, sometimes I take a leak in front of my neighbours’ houses. Dad would scowl for my undisciplined behaviour. Bhairav, I would like to ask one question to all those who dislike such behaviour of mine. How would they protect their compound walls from the drunkard / sober Homo Sapiens who urinate on their walls with pleasure?

My sister was saying that a construction company which was building luxurious apartments wanted to remove the dogs from their land. So they had shot our fellows and buried them. A gold-hearted blue cross member scooped out the carcass to prove to the police. An education institution which has the responsibility of instilling values in students have recruited and deployed workers to club my fellows to death. Bhairav, now I realise that my vocabulary is limited. I just can’t find words to explain their draconian behaviour.

On top of all those, I lost hope when I heard that the killers would just be imprisoned for two years for committing such a brutal offence. I got to know that a lot of nations are trying to abolish Capital Punishment. Even the convicts who have committed quite a few murders are considered as humans and are given a chance to live. I don’t expect my fellows’ killers to get Capital Punishment, but at the same time the Law should pass on a stern message to curb such killings. Bhairav, do you think that I am asking for too much? I am just asking for the basic rights to share this beautiful planet with all my other friends.

I’m writing to you to reiterate that as a God who has a dog as the Vahana, you should make the Humans stay Humane. Please make them understand that this world is for us too.

With Love
CC


Epilogue

George Holbrook Jackson was absolutely correct in saying that “Man is a dog's idea of what God should be.” Those animals are innocent and helpless and completely depend on us to live in this beautiful planet.


- Written by Sarada Deepika

In Retrospect

Reading is one of my favourite activities. In spite of being passionate about reading, I was completely bogged down throughout this year and I hardly beaked into good tomes. Thankfully, the shelf-life of the books is not a constraint. If not, I would have wasted quite a lot of money that I shelled out to purchase each book which decorates my mini-library.

Every time when I gazed at my closet, I was intimidated by the heap of books which I couldn’t read. The large ones like ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘The Fountainhead’ were posing like monsters. A book-buff will be able to follow me and understand the kind of predicament I would have been in then. Yes, I’m talking about the readers’ block. The urge to buy a book as and when I visit a book-store made the pile of unread books grow. Along with the mountain of books, my woes also grew.

January
Without making any great resolution, I picked up ‘Pride and Prejudice’ reluctantly. I read, read and read and managed to complete reading it in a month’s time. The only habit that I love about myself is that I am determined to read the books completely. Irrespective of my preference, I ensure not to quit reading until I visit the last page. So that resolute behaviour of mine aided to bid farewell to ‘Pride and Prejudice’ after a month.

April
After 3 months of hibernation, 'The Invisible Man' made the stagnant water evaporate. Quite a few pages on the scientific procedures handled by the protagonist to become invisible didn’t enter into my head. The struggle of living through those pages was worth the time spent. The Invisible Man was fun to read, but you might enjoy more, if you would understand those experiments, unlike me.

To me, Aravind Adiga is a Good Samaritan. Before I quote the reason, let’s carry out a quick analysis. Apparently, I took 4 months to read 2 books. I began to read ‘The White Tiger’ in the mid of April, right after the ‘The Invisible Man’. It was so gripping and made me almost forget the fact that I read it in 2 weeks, which was a great achievement for me at that point in time. ‘The White Tiger’ is a dark and brilliant novel on real India. You may try reading it even if you don’t have a great love for reading.

July
I think I rested too much on my laurels. I was up again only by the month of July with the voice of Ayn Rand and the book was ‘Anthem’. It was a simple novella which demanded only 4 hours of my Sunday. That was a great read. Having said that it was good read, I should also state that it made me to meditate about it for quite some time, thus I left a gap of another month.

August
That’s when, for a change, Sujatha walked amidst all the English guys to give an insight on ‘God’. I knew that I wasn’t ready to take a dive into such a heavy subject. But I succumbed to impulse. I should admit that it was refreshingly informative and didn’t lull me into sleep like how the other non-fictions do to me. It will not be an exaggeration if I own up that that the book turned me into an agnostic for some time. So now we know how I wound up the month of August.

September
I gathered courage and determination and lifted a heavy tome called ‘The Fountainhead’. I swore to myself to complete reading it in a couple of weeks. I must say that I was surprised by my own deed. I am a fan of Ayn Rand and I think that I didn’t need a great drive to enjoy the book. Two weeks flew swiftly.

October
‘A Room with a View’ was slightly mundane. Mostly, it accompanied me to my restroom trips. Fortunately, it’s somewhat bigger than a novella, so that didn’t handicap me much. 8 days of time was too much to spend on such a small book.

Just like ‘Anthem’, ‘Srirangathu Devadhaigal’ entertained me for a Sunday afternoon. I expected lot more from Sujatha on this one, nevertheless I loved reading it.

November
This month, an infant-like gadget reached my lap or my palm rather which transcended me to the world of E-Reading. Amazon Kindle is all I would have dreamt of owning and it’s jolly well a blessing for the readers. I’ve always been scared of reading P.G.Wodehouse’s books, just because of his extensive vocabulary. Sometimes, I reckon that it’s a curse to keep referring to the dictionary while reading an interesting book. PGW makes me use my dictionary to the fullest. But Kindle has solved that problem with its inbuilt-dictionary and so I got to immerse in the ‘The Inimitable Jeeves’ without much hassle. Who wouldn’t love that rummy valet, Jeeves!

In spite of not being a fan of Chetan Bhagat, I have read all the 5 books written by him. So that means that I read the ‘Revolution 2020’ too. My notes on the experience of reading R2020 end just there. There is nothing much to write about it.

Slither, an erotica written by Urmilla Deshpande was a different pick. There are no talks about it on the Social Networking Websites. No politicians have protested against that Indian Lady for writing an erotica. Slither is indeed a silent performer. If you are looking for variety and completely okay in reading a carnal prose, then ‘Slither’ wouldn’t hurt much. You may find my review on ‘Slither’ in this website itself.

The unsatisfied wish of not reading comics and fairy tales of an adult-like child was almost sated by ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Dorothy, Toto, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman and The Cowardly Lion were just perfect. Except the quite a few errata in the book, I really loved reading it. It is a great read for all the child-like adults too.

If you believe that books can leave you pensive and ponderous, then you must know that ‘The Old Man and The Sea’ is one such work. ‘The Old Man and The Sea’, more like novella, earned the Nobel Prize for Ernest Hemingway. Just like ‘Animal Farm’, this book is another example to prove that the books should not be judged by its cover. Very few would know that such little books carry thoughtful messages.

Eventually, I have overcome readers’ block. Did Kindle bring the charm or did I pep up myself? I’m not sure. All that leaves me contented is that it feels really good to spend time constructively. I thoroughly love the exhausting and invigorating travel to the perfect, humorous and different worlds created by brilliant writers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Slither


Slither ~ carnal proseSlither ~ carnal prose by Urmilla Deshpande


Should I be ashamed to say that I'm currently reading a carnal prose? Nope! Not at all. It feels good to try something out of the regular ones. Maybe, one who is passionate about reading should try all sorts of genres to enjoy the real flavour of variety-writing.

The compulsion of buying a book whenever I visit a bookstore made me buy Slither. As I surfed the racks, the Slither's book cover lured me. A naked lady on the bed was just enough to attract even an absent-minded loiterer. I picked up the book and read the intro by the author. Urmilla Deshpande's words on how she wrote the carnal prose when she was surrounded by her nieces and nephews and feeling liberated pushed me to purchase it. I still can't establish if those could be considered as reasons for me to buy a book, but definitely a couple of excuses to escape into a new book. But the book has now helped me not to regret about making a haste decision.

I've read 1/3 of the book. You may think that it's too early to compose a review, but I think that the author should be appreciated for writing this kind of a book in the first place. I often wonder how a woman has written about the bodily pleasures of men so explicitly. It's an art by itself to appraise things which are enjoyed by the opposite sex.

I've been carrying this book to work everyday and catching a glimpse of few words as and when I find time. However I felt a little awkward to read it in crowded places. I read the story called 'Isis' when I was in the cab and on my way to work. Isis, a short story about the life of a filmstar-cum-pornstar was great indeed. I sighed after I completed reading 'Isis' as I slowly lifted my head up and realised that I was in my office cab. That sudden realization and weird feeling of reading a carnal prose when sitting amidst a group of acquaintances was not really okay, but I was reminded of Urmilla Deshpande's words. Yes, I felt liberated. I questioned myself,"What's wrong in reading a carnal prose? Do I also believe the myth that masturbating, watching porn and reading erotic stories are sins?" I hope that I haven't misguided by making such a comparison nor did I underrate Slither.

'O Johnny, let's play' and 'Beyond the pale' made me forget that I was reading an erotica. It looked like Urmilla Deshpande had handled the common stigmas of the society.

Since this book is a compilation of short stories, I am doing parallel-reading at the moment and taking slow sips of 'Slither'. I'm sure that I would enjoy the rest of the stories as well.

View all my reviews

Revolution 2020Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Revolution 2020 - A book that I read when I was looking for an aid to overcome my readers' block. It did what it was expected to do. Perhaps if I had had the thirst for a good read, I'm sure that I wouldn't have picked up Chetan Bhagat's books. As a reader who has read all the 5 books of Chetan Bhagat, I reckon that the author hasn't transcended at all. There is no difference in the style of writing and narration between the first book and the recent one.

It looks like that the author has signed a pact with IIT and IIM to mention about them in most of his books. Perhaps, it's time for him to get rid of the IIT obsession and try something novel.

The free-flow prose and the characterization make us think that the author writes his books in a facile manner. It's imperative for the writer to carry out enough research to deceive ardent readers.

I agree with most of the reviewers here. Yes, Revolution 2010 is for the mass. Those who have loved reading classics and literary fiction wouldn't relish these kind of books. If the author's intention is to draw the attention of the mass, he has succeeded already. But if he tried to gain a stand in the art of writing, these kind of books wouldn't help much. Perhaps Chetan should take enough time before he writes his next book.

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The immortal possession of the mortals

Human brain is one of the few wonders that leaves me amazed. I still wonder how it retains memories about days which have to be exhumed, but struggles to generate the answer if somebody asks for current day’s date. My brain also does that religiously and I vividly remember quite a few moments of my life. It’s indeed a pleasure to share and document such memories. Those memories have been swimming in my mind for eons and eventually, I have caught them to put those to the paper and penned down a handful of sweet memories and few horrible nightmares.
Pampered by Parents
A terrible ride
I was on a bicycle ride with Appa and started crying out of blue. I couldn’t remember quite well about what made me cry. However, I remember the face of my mother when she saw me coming home with a deep wound in my left ankle. She burst into tears as soon as she saw my ankle and yelled at Appa and paati (maternal grandmother) for not taking care of me when she was at work. I had to listen to their conversation to learn that I had left my leg between the spokes of the bicycle wheel. Appa took me to the ‘Maavu Mill’ to grind some grains for Deepavali Snacks and that’s when the dreadful accident had occurred. Amma still recalls the incident and tells that I started to walk again only on Deepavali.
Somebody is following us!
TVS Champ was the first 2 wheeler that my father had and I was made to sit in the front when amma couldn’t hold me on her lap. I think, we started from our paati’s house (paternal grandmother) in Mylapore and headed back to our house which was in Mandaveli. I strained my neck by looking at the moon throughout my travel and told appa that the moon was following us. Appa smiled and explained that it didn’t follow us and stayed where it was.
‘Sunny’ days
As a child who fell sick too frequently, I was forbidden to eat ice-cream, chocolates and quite a few fruits. A homeopathy doctor treated me to get rid of sickness; the entire family took special care to safe-guard me and monitored to make sure that I didn’t consume anything that didn’t agree with me. The doctor instructed that the normal shampoo shouldn’t be used and suggested a shampoo called ‘Sunny’. The shampoo was sold by the doctor and by a very few chemists in the city. Appa toiled to hunt for ‘Sunny’ every month. When he wasn’t able to find ‘Sunny’, he instructed amma not to wash my hair at all.
Are your daughters twins?
Appa always makes sure to be impartial and free from prejudice and made an awful lot of attempts to prove it. One such way was to make Krithi and I look alike. We were bought similar clothes, but just in different colours. From the frocks to accessories, everything looked alike. I somehow had a feeling that Krithi wasn’t quite comfortable with that scheme. There were a lot of acquaintances who mistook us as twins. I still have one question for those who mistook us. There is an age difference of almost 6 years between us, but did we really look like twins? Perhaps, it’s true. The same question was asked by few of my colleagues as well.
The incomplete final rites
Amma dressed me up and told that we were going to V.G.P. Golden Beach. I was scared of heights (I’m still) and refrained from going in most of the rides. My family was excited and enjoyed the day thoroughly. The Maharajah Dosa was very famous then and the entire family indulged in having one. Although, I didn’t enjoy the rides, I felt contented after relishing the dosa. I wasn’t aware that a shocking incident was waiting to happen. When I washed my hands and put my hand in my mouth to clean, I realised that I had lost a tooth. The tooth was in its place before having the dosa. Appa searched and confirmed that I had swallowed my tooth when I was relishing the dosa. I grew sad and felt heavy for not being able to do the final rites for my tooth.
Vaikunta Ekadesi
On a Vaikunta Ekadesi day, we all visited the Srinivasa Perumal Temple and Kesava Perumal Temple in Mylapore and appa bought a ‘Thaayakattu’ and ‘Paramapatham’ (Snake and Ladder board) for me. All my playmates were busy and I couldn’t find a partner to play the new game. I stood in front my house and played with the shells leisurely. I scratched my nose with one of the shells and breathed in one accidentally. I exhaled hard to push the shell out, but the shell seemed to be placed comfortably. I gave up and confessed the truth to appa, who immediately rushed to take me to a doctor. All of a sudden, he stopped me and gave a slight blow on my head. The shell slipped out of my nose and I breathed out relief.
Bhajans for Golu
Appa is an ardent music lover and he lends his ears to variety of music. We grew up listening to devotional songs everyday and sometimes did impromptu kutcheris at home. Friends and relatives fondly called us ‘Mylapore Sisters’. We were trained in classical singing and I learned to play Violin for a brief period of time. Appa took Krithi and me to one of his friends’ place for Golu. Appa introduced his daughters to the host and asked us to sing for Golu. ‘Maami-kaga oru paatu paadungo, please’, requested the aunty. Krithi and I synchronised shruthi and started to sing the famous kuthu-song loudly, ‘Vellarikka pinju vellarikka; enna paakama porala chandirikka’. I am sure nobody would have expected the guest for golu to sing a cine song, which was again an item number. However, Maami appreciated us and appa stood smiling. Krithi and I still cherish the moment, laugh about it and feel sorrow for our unruly behaviour. Perhaps, the maami didn’t show the disappointment; but she wouldn’t have had a great impression.
When I decided to write about my past, I thought that it’s going to be simple and easy; but it seems that I would have to write few more parts. All of the aforementioned incidents occurred before I turned 10. I have got loads to write and would come up with more blogs to record more of my memories.

Monday, March 21, 2011

‘Comfort’ is the mot juste


After a long time, I had a wonderful evening with Arav and Sam in the Besant Nagar Beach. We were engrossed in some deep conversations about family and friends and took a trip down the memory lane.

Thinking about those pleasant memories makes the heart grow heavy and chewing the bitter experiences makes me realise that they have made me stronger. In the journey called Life, we meet umpteen numbers of passengers and a few are destined to travel with us till the very end. Having thought about that, I was intrigued to understand how many left their foot prints in my heart and It’s really shocking to establish that I have got hardly any who chose to love me or I chose to be as a companion.

I get an awkward feeling when I go through my Facebook friends’ list. I am connected to 140 friends via Facebook and it’s hard to believe that a few of those don’t even say ‘Hi’ when I run into them. I find that weird and don’t really understand why the Facebook contacts are named as ‘Friends’. Have I gone off onto a tangent?

Out of 14 years of my school life, I have saved only 2 pals for my rest of my life. I have no regrets for not being able to stay connected to any of those friends who were really close during my schooling. I am glad that I have a couple of friends who have accepted me and persuade me to stay connected to them. The most interesting and disturbing fact is that I have chosen only one colleague of mine as my best friend in my 5 years of work.

Having determined the numbers, I was fascinated to understand my behaviour too. I believe that I am just being friendly to my people and not as a friend. As a kid and a teenager, I was aloof and couldn’t remember having a friend till I was 11 years old. Too many people stepped in and stepped out of life after that and I preferred to stay with a couple of friends who are still my bosoms. I was raised as a home-bird and my family’s influence on my behaviour was enormous. I never went to a college and perhaps, because of which I was not exposed to more number of people. I started to work when I was 19 and it’s in a way a shame on me to confess that I haven’t made a great deal of friends. I don’t hang out, drink, smoke and don’t follow any sports and politics; hence, most of the boys wouldn’t really appreciate my company. Discussions about Handbags, Cosmetics, and Hairdo don’t really captivate me. So, the girls don’t find me interesting. Sometimes, I believe that I live between two different sides of the world and couldn’t really figure out about how to take a side. However, I should admit that I see myself as a peaceful soul who is genuinely happy with the people who are in her life at the moment.

Just like everybody, I am also a victim of treachery. Once upon a time, I was overwhelmed by the obnoxious affection of few chameleons, who helped me to coin my definition of friendship.

I am a firm believer of the quote, “If I had to sum up Friendship in one word, it would be Comfort”. ‘Comfort’ is the mot juste. I was haunted by the fact that I have petty number of friends; however, after contemplating for ages, I don’t regret for not having made a lot of friends and now draw a conclusion that I am thankful to my friends for having accepted me with my flaws. At the end of the day, this clarity in me makes me complete and those bad memories and treacheries have cultivated sagacity in me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Silent and Sombre

Phew! Finally, I am back with an explanation on why I haven’t written anything in the last 2 months. I am glad that I have chosen to write about why I didn’t choose to write for quite some time. That thought of mine, now finally makes me to write! Let me not sound perturbed and leave you baffled anymore.

The month of December was full of unexpected happenings and quite a few sleepless nights. I couldn’t find enough time for reading or writing and time fled by attempting to comprehend a lot of things which were, or rather which are beyond my understanding. I am still aware that I promised not to confuse you; but I would prefer not to choose specificity for the nonce.

Intrusive thoughts haunted me in the month of January. The fear of death and the involuntary thoughts about the death of my loved ones control my mind often these days. Somehow, I manage to break the blocks by spending a lot of time with the family. I firmly believe that positive vibe is the panacea and I would definitely overcome this uncanny fear that I have developed.

The last few days seemed to have passed swiftly and I seem to be on-track. I have resumed the activities which I love to do. The stationary bike at home has been dusted for me to take a ride every day. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ travels with me to work and kisses me good night. The heap of books in the bookshelf looks peaceful. Consumption of a few serves of fruits every day keeps me stress-free. Perhaps, that’s a placebo effect!

I foresee February to be a busy month; but I am hoping that I would find time to read and write.