SEA OF POPPIES BY AMITAV GHOSH(book review)

September 7, 2009 § 20 Comments

Yes it is a nice book, yes I loved it. But on second thought, what happened anyway?

A disposed Landlord being sent to exile, a woman rescued from the pyre of her husband by a fellow from a lower caste , Opium(hence the sea of poppies) addicts , Opium harvesting , Opium wars(being mentioned) , ship and boats and well friendships across races and colours.

If this book(as it is) was written by anyone else other than Ghosh, I will dare say, it wouldn’t have been a hit. It’s not my favorite among his works(The Hungry Tide swallows that) but there is something about it which actually makes you like the book. Of course since there are a couple of sequels to follow, we are left to wonder.

Yet the ending is not that Strong, especially for someone like me, for whom “series” represents either the Happy Potter variety or the Blyton or the Christi variety. I felt slightly cheated, as if I was left in the middle of the ocean, no clue as to what I was doing there. Maybe the ship could have sailed a bit more, but it is the authors choice I wonder whats in store.

For those who are used to reading Ghosh’s book, there are no surprises in this one. The backdrop is Indian(and as usual has a lot to do with Bengal) and the characters are as usual well presented. There is always a variety in his characters and in the books which I have read(three I think) none of them are repetitive either in personality or in presentation.

Its pretty light(maybe because the other books which I am reading at the moment are way more serious stuff). I am pretty comfortable with his writing and the way he takes his stories. The 500 odd pages fly by, no drags anywhere. The book jumps ships pretty fast and its always nice to read things which make the world look like a small place.

Rating:- 9/10( as I said it is the ending!)

Image from here.

The madman

August 21, 2009 § 21 Comments

Once upon a time, I found a key. It  opened all the doors I tried. And in one room, which I walked into , I found a madman.

He seemed to be talking to himself. Papers were strewn around the room. There was a musical Instrument , I noted(but I forgot which string it was) and also a football. When he saw me , he gave a rather rueful smile. Sorrow not his , but mine. He seemed to know, that I held the key. But he did not try to escape, rather he started talking to me. This was what I think was said between us. I have(for obvious reasons) excluded the initial part of the conversation. I regret keeping you in the dark about the secret, but then the war within me has not yet ceased and the land is still the ante, how can I spread ruse among the people , the bounty?

The madman:-Shhhh…its a secret..

me:- But why should it be?

The madman:-Because people don’t deserve to know it.

me:-Who are we to decide?

The madman:- Who can predict the masses? Nitwits lead by nitwits.

me:-But isn’t it our responsibility?

The madman:-You are responsible as long as you use are allowed to use your discretion.

me:-But don’t we have the choice? And when we choose to act , aren’t we accepting that we can withstand anything.

The madman:-True enough. That is why we choose not to be a part of it.

me:-But this a nation. We people are a part of it. If we don’t rise up the challenge, then no one will.

The madman:-Of course they will. You and me , will never be allowed to do what we imagine. We have a few good leaders among the thousands and they some how survive, some become sycophants , some are born into a creed and some are just destined to be.

me:-What if , we choose our destiny , by making a choice now.

The madman:-Tell me, have you ever felt at any point of time, that you should share this secret?

me:-Yes I have.

The madman:-Have you shared it?

me:-N…yes

The madman:-And, How did people take it?

me:-They couldn’t understand what I told them.

The madman:-Everyone?

me:-Everyone.

The madman:-Why do you think so?

me:-Maybe I didn’t put it properly.

The madman:-Maybe.

me:-Or maybe I chose the wrong people.

The madman:-Then you agree , that the majority till date , in the sample space you chose can’t understand a simple matter.

me:-Maybe.

The madman:-If so , can you think of the type of leaders they would elect.

me:-Yes, but isn’t it our responsibility to help them choose better?

The madman:-And how do you intend to do it?

me:-By simplifying it.

The madman:-You want to dilute it even more? What is it you are trying to do , add more water to the ocean?

me:-No…its not like that..

The madman:-Alright , tell  , do you think people will listen to you?

me:-Why do you think they won’t?

The madman:-Because you try to make sense of things,  you  try to see the source of problems..and that is what no one wants to do , at least they are not allowed to do that..

me:-But aren’t they free to realize that?

The madman:-Freedom? How can slaves be free? From the second they are born, they are bombarded with everything  that  which  we are against. It is not that people are bad or something , that is relative,  it is just that life makes them such..You call it inertia, they call it determination; In the end who is right ? Its either or neither and not one.

me:-But aren’t you the one who told me , that there is a right and a left , a while back?

The madman:-Of course and I still stand by it. Yes what is happening is wrong. We see things differently and we realize. We have , even when we were small , realized that you are not supposed to do certain things. We have  exploited our capabilities and our cognition is better developed. But tell me if I were to lock you in a room , how would you feel?

me:-Aren’t we all locked in rooms of sort or the other?

The madman:-We are. But how big the room is the question and also if it dark or if its got some light. Imagine you are in a small dark room , just big enough so that you can’t really touch the walls , when you are tied to one place. How would you feel?

me:-I get what you mean , but isn’t that our mistake?

The madman:-IS it our mistake that this world has people who are willing to exploit the masses? Is it our mistake that we cannot chaff with good stupor stuffing? Is it our mistake that all we seek is a peace? Is it our mistake that we become a kind of aliens if we were to stretch our heads to full sensibilities? What shall we do, slay the animals when we are against cruelty to animals? Can you tame a wild, fully grown beast?

me:-No we can’t , but we can help them when they are young.

The madman:-Exactly.

me:-So? Let me go tell the secret to the young ones.

The madman:-To what vain? You would have to take it upon your self to make sure they perceive things the ‘right’ way. And yes , we are like this because of our circumstances.

me:-But it is possible, if we can separate them from the society?

The madman:-And then how will you show them enough of religion, so that they respect culture and understand the functions of it but at the same time they aren’t be draw to the mania. How can you show them enough about difference in classes , so that they understand not everyone can be a master for not everyone knows ‘why’ they are doing something and at the same time ensure that they feel that no one is superior than another?

me:-But isn’t that the truth?

The madman:-That is not the truth but the reality you see. The difference is bound exist . But all animals are equal. And it is not that some are more equal than others , it is rather some understand equality better than others.

me:-But then if they do understand equality why do they exploit?

The madman:-When people know smoking is bad why do they smoke? When they know hurting someone is bad , why do they hurt? Some understand equality but only a few can judge and answer the why. We believe in equality not because it sounds cool but because we  need to be equal to everything so that we can talk the same language and make everyone feel inclusive and thus belong to everyone and everything. The reason for that is , we seek peace. We cannot tell a tiger to stop killing the deers but nor can we kill all the tiger. We cannot imprison the tiger nor can we reason to it, when it is hungry.

me:-Then? Anyway humans aren’t tigers.

The madman:-Yes we are not. But tell me can you talk about  your riches to a beggar? You do nothing but  tempt him. Is it possible for you to praise a dead leader in a land where he was loathed? You will only end up stirring unwanted emotions. Can you explain to a moderate that there are extremes? For him his grey , is bright enough and dark enough , if anything , he is happy to watch a silver lining on another cloud and say blessed are a few.

me:-But we are talking about Equality.

The madman:-Exactly. To the beggar, you can talk about the world. In the country you can talk about the precedent and the consequence. And you can agree that the silver lining looks good and blessed are a few, but then you can blow him a little so that he starts flying towards the sun.

me:-All that sounds wonderful , Yes yes. But how do you do it?

The madman:-That will be something you should search for. You have the key , you know it opens doors, but you should know what lies behind the door before you open it. A key without a lock is useless and the secret without cognition is worthless. And if you open the wrong door, you might let out the true madman.

me:-Aren’t you the madman?

The madman:-I am.

me:-Then did I open a wrong door?

The madman:-yes , you have. Your life will never be the same again.

me:-Will you be leaving this place , now that I have set you free?

The madman:-Ha but a home needs to be lived in and besides who will tell people, the others who open this door, the secret ? I cannot leave.

me:-But I insist. And I already knew it.

The madman:-Everyone knows , few realize it. You are a madman like me. I have locked myself , in my room and spread the keys so that people who I hope to meet , will come to me. You have locked yourself in your mission and you place the keys with a few, who know you. If either of us was free, we would never meet our kind. What is freedom, but the chance to realize our choices? Our freedom lies within and not in the world. How can we belong to a world which is not ours?

me:-I hate to leave you.

The madman:-We shall meet again, when we need to meet again. Our choices will lead us. So choose wisely.

And I left the room. I walked for a while, before I realized what had happened. As he said my life has never been the same again.

P.S:-

1)The title is borrowed from Gibran.

2) “All animals are equal but some are more equal than other” is a line from the book animal farm.

My little sister’s project on Mughals :)

August 6, 2009 § 23 Comments

Yup thats my sister and her friends 😛 They did this for a computer science project 🙂 (after making me download a software called Photostory { ya microsoft does have a few free software!} ) .

” Laziness is the mother of invention” , so mom feels because :-

Got them to speak through the speaker mode on the phone from their houses.

Click here to read her entry and comment on it 🙂

HA if only I was that innovative 😛 The maximum I have done till date is to assemble a project in under 15 mins( took print outs of the material and pics , told people to bring charts , sketches etc and assembled in school 😛 – I do miss those things 😦 )

And ya do comment on her blog ( ya ya she finally has decided it is high time she starts writing over there diligently 🙂 )

P.S:-Krithu I know you don’t like me to call you little , but come on kiddo , you are only in seventh!!

knock knock..who’s there?

July 24, 2009 § 18 Comments

Knock knock…

Who’s there?

P.S:- lets see who can tell the best knock knock joke 😉

ICE AGE 3:DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS(MOVIE REVIEW)

July 20, 2009 § 15 Comments

Image from here.

Well the weirdest herd ever is back. Frankly the first few minutes , got me all worried. I love the Ice Age movies, nope , no this not how it is supposed to be, the jokes seemed so dry.

But the second Sid falls through the ice , the movie comes alive! Manny is shown as a caring husband and to be father,Deigo is planning to leave the herd , Ellie is about to have a kid and Sid well is Sid. The characters seem to have a human side to it, more like a metaphor to our sterotypes. And in this respect it is almost complete what with the Jack Sparrow wannabe weasel Buck(only the philosopher and the poet are missing , but then guess they don’t fit into humanity 😉 ).

Few of the jokes were out of place in a kids animation movie(lol-the best one was the ad before the movie started-use rubber and stop AIDS,guess it is better to begin when they are young :P). Infact it is Buck who saves the movie’s face.

In all an enjoyable movie,entertaining , especially if you watch it in 3D.

rating- 7/10

Random

April 28, 2009 § 14 Comments

Yup I have concluded the world needs a damn good spanking . Not because I have become older than a million year old fossil or as old as the sea by listening to all the very knowledgeable and very young senior citizens or my lecturers or teachers or whatever in my class but more so  becuase nothing seems to a make sense. Actually I might have become old , maybe that is why I haven’t written anything for so long . It would have been so nice to call this a ‘ come back post ‘ but i didn’t go anywhere. 

Here we are after so many years of Independence and funnily enough no one cares about the thing which the country needs -education . Instead we have a whole bunch of nonsense like people claiming that they can bring back some money stashed away in a Swiss bank . Oh! ya what happened to reservations ? Why hasn’t anyone used that yet? Is it because it is out of fashion ? 

Or maybe we are so screwed , that we are now going to talk about our neighbouring countries . NO I am not saying we should close our eyes , but how cheap is it trying to profit as the cost of someone else ? And while talking about reservations , I think the only people now discriminated are the creamy layer and the  ‘upper castes’ . So how about that thing called equality ? I thought you want to be a super power ?  

Well forget it . . The NEWS channels call it the IPL( they say the Indian political league , I call it Indian Pooruki League ) and well cricket sucks anyway .

People are egoistic . Now this Ego is the screwed up thing which everyone calls ego . No my fine readers I am not becoming a human , though this dust allergy makes me sound like a Egyptian Mummy speaking Malayalam . 

See when did I start ranting ? I want to watch Noddy . Not that I saw it when I was a kid . We used to get only DD then (see I can tell that too , I am old ) . But well if you leave me , I might watch teletubbies right now . And my rant isn’t constrained to this alone , it goes on and on …Infact I didn’t want to write anything , wanted to write something pretty , which will get me  comments such as “you didn’t put a full stop” or “you used too many smileys” , but then I don’t really care . If I haven’t read your blog in a while don’t tell me . It probably has too much of politics . I have read a few damn good posts , not writing about them because don’t feel like giving the links . 

I hope this reveals how lazy I can get . I got that domain for the fun of it . Now  I have 59 subscribers here , hope this increases , because I am damn materialistic and the fact that I can’t have my therapy now (retail therapy) irritates me more . 

So before I start into a mile long rant…TC… nothing funny , if you have read till this better comment . And I am not going to add lots of tags , I am bored . Going to go and watch the clouds.

half past eight

April 13, 2009 § 12 Comments

From new camera1

Sometimes you just smile,

And there nothing can hide .

Sometimes you just see 

And the sight sets you free .

 

He lay on his bed wondering what is going on around him . Sometimes things just seem too good to be real . Having his phone buzzing , people wanting to talk to him made him feel happy . But some how , he couldn’t stop looking at where he was all those years back . Time is a funny thing . As you grow older , you keep changing . Things which mattered to you a while back don’t . You see your self in the mirror and try to think back ,what you felt when you saw into it a few months back . You smile at how you felt .

He smiled . But some how he couldn’t accept certain things . He wished this was not a dream . Funny how for a person who kept living in his dreams , he wished this was not a dream . What people never understand is that , what is just a remark by a stranger for someone might mean the world to others and that it can hurt . Yet if you ever spoke about how certain things affected you , people become sarcastic and pass more comments . But by now you have learnt so wouldn’t really care about any of it .

Pain seems a burden when it is physical but it is torture when it is mental . He smiled into the mirror again . Ha made a few funny faces at himself and laughed . He turned and jumped about as if he was a kid . That is what is fun , trying to connect to things by trying to feel the world within . The passion with which you try to understand things around you . The innocent tenacity . He started to sing . It didn’t matter to him , that he was a horrible singer , he just enjoyed doing it .

All though time might catch up soon , he knew he could always play with himself , the child within him .It doesn’t matter what walls are erected , it doesn’t matter what they are made up of . What does matter is the fact that you know you can bring them down when you want to ,not because you have to but because you want to…It was half past eight , he left for the party with a big smile. 

 

A comment

April 10, 2009 § 6 Comments

I have been off politics and anything to do with it for a while .Simple because I can afford a shoe right now and maybe afford to even throw it (things look like a luxury only till you can’t afford them) .But still there are a few posts which draw you to read on(very very few bloggers have that ability) and so this post.  The reason for me not eating anything political is because I have had  too much of masala –  by nature my teeth are sweet(no they are not made of candy or gold :P){and get it I am making fun of things [people now days!]} so just don’t want to trouble my senses.

As I mentioned there are a few who just draw you into reading and this particular post is a very good read especially for a fellow who loves history ( how much do I love it? Enough to ask doubts in a history class) .

Here is the post – Pseudo Secularism and Congress. And this was my comment to it:-

I do not know. Simple right? But what you and me say doesn’t matter…you see kids are thought to say all Indians are my brothers and sisters…then where does it go wrong? It doesn’t matter who are the people we keep pointing fingers at ,for they will keep coming . By doing that we are not identifying Mr.Satan himself but only lending a face to him and once we burn/he burns us at a stake,we just go back to where ever for a while, nodding our heads as if its all done . I have repeated it over and over , the biggest mistake in this country is that the people with quality have now been discriminated and the country handed over to people ___________ .

And the old bus thing too . You and me write just to appease ourselves . No more and no less. Why don’t people like you or me take to being the Hero? is that we can’t ? No, we know the way people behave. I was sent out of class today ,when I hadn’t done anything wrong .The fellow in question was just yappin yappin without give us time to think , I stopped tried to think and then when I missed what he was saying looked into my neighbour’s book and he sent us out. But thats the gist of what is happening , if you try to think , they send you out.We have to learn and go on…for it is about us and not them…

Of course to a few , my comment may seem from another world and not  looking at the reality . All I can say is , I haven’t seen that reality and so I cannot talk about that . The place where I live is relatively peaceful for the people here have better things to do ( Or at least I hope so) . To actually think of people killing each other in the name of religion , I can’t . But I have seen instances where it is the audacity of a few people which leads to some tension building up . One thing I hope I always would remember would be that

arrogant are those who are ignorant
Tenacious are those who are diligent .

Anyway I don’t think I will be posting about politics as such , even though it seems to be everywhere. I personally think that there isn’t much use talking too much, we need to get into doing . Someone ,pointed out to me that changes are always happening . True. While we cannot change things but are mere catalysts , we need to remember to play our part properly . By looking at each other , no one is going to take the onus .

The “bus thing” which I mentioned above is this :-

The country is a bus and a person whom we all feel is not a good driver is driving . We have two options one to get out of the bus or take over the wheels . So in a way I have decided to get out of the bus for a while , so I am going to shut up and not talk about it . Without full information we cannot judge what is happening . We are but seeing those things which a few people want us to see and hear what a few people want us to hear . We need to dig deep and try to evaluate after we know enough .

To sum it up , religion was started for something and now is being used for something else . Personally I take God to be a metaphor(read this poem – a metaphor called God and this one too – God ) so I cannot understand why people should fight so much . We are on Earth to live and not survive .Using that thing up there , we have created a world for ourselves ,why instead of enjoying do we bicker and try to make it all worse for each other?

701

April 9, 2009 § 17 Comments

 

Yup this post is my 701st in the blogosphere 🙂

From photoshopped

Thank you all! Keep visiting and commenting!!

What do you see?

April 5, 2009 § 28 Comments

faces

Take a good look at the pic , what do you see ?Can you recognize anything ? What do you think about the image?

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with entertainment at the light shines the brightest.

%d bloggers like this: