Sunday, November 27, 2011

What if they spoke!


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.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

‘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.

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 ~ 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.

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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.

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