Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shiva, The Mahadev

I cannot express ever how much I truly adore the Hindu God Shiva. For his almighty power, his emotions, his great dance, his attitude towards his woman, his simplicity and simple ways of living and everything else that he represents. He seemed different to me, from the rest of the gods. He is raw and close to the nature.

I also strongly believe that many of our Hindu gods were actually men who were glorified to Godliness after great deeds for the common good. I also believe that the "asuras" and other lowly non-Aryans weren't evil and just that they were not Aryans and were very different from them. And somehow more or less all these interpretations are not my own and I believe there are many like that. Amish Tripathi is too. And so is his wonderful book a reflection of that.

No wonder I loved the book The Immortals of Meluha. To beautiful writing and to a great idea, I bow to the author. It does not seem like a debut. He struggled very hard to raise publicity, innovating using a youtube video.

And the way he describes Shiva! The warrior who would come, who would not be from the Saptha-Sindhu, whose throat will turn blue when the Somras touches it, he who is Neelakantha would be the destroyer of evil!

The book so well receives the mythical stories and ties them with human nature. Suryavanshi was a socialist communist state and the Chrandravanshi kingdom was a democratic capitalistic state and Nagas, just people who have been subjugated because they had deformities. Oh there are many more interpretations and I can go on forever. 

So talented is the author, I hope he goes on well to not be gobbled up with the attention and continue to write for the sake of Shiva, the story and the art of writing, to produce his second and third books in the Shiva Trilogy.


Fusun, I like the name!
I love it. And I hate it. May be that's why Orhan wins a prize!! For the love-hate relationship he inspires.

I can't believe I actually read it. Really! It's long, boring and is pages filled with bad writing. Writing so bad that it amazes me that this man could win an Nobel. But then, the concepts are beautifully presented. His passion, love and obsession (in that very order) comes out so well. Probably the translation was pathetic.

And apparently they are actually going to build a museum. Waste of resources, I would say.

It really is difficult to read the book. Unless you are a hard core enthusiast for the knowledge of the days of Turkey in the backdrop of a pathetic tale of obsession you wouldn't want to read it. Actually their society is so much like India. In fact, it being written for the western audience was sort of painful for me that the author tries to explain each hypocritical piece of custom. To me it felt it was so obvious that it needs no explanation. 

The story is from Kemal's perspective. Kemal is a wealthy businessman in Turkey, about to be engaged to this wonderful woman Sibel who truly loves him beyond doubt and for years together. Such love that only a woman can bestow upon a man, Sibel did on Kemal. And Kemal finds a young pretty thing and has an affair with her. The young pretty thing is Fusun. The thing is that she is not a thing. She is a strongly independent woman who knows and appreciates her beauty and wants to be somebody in this world rather than just a poor parents' daughter.

Fusun falls in love with Kemal. Kemal is living a dream with two wonderful women in his life. Then Fusun walks out when she realizes Kemal wouldn't leave Sibel. Kemal suffers. Sibel bears. Kemal suffers. Sibel bears. Kemal suffers. Sibel pains. Kemal suffers. Sibel leaves. Kemal suffers. Kemal suffers. Fusun is a happily married woman. Kemal suffers. Kemal tries to get Fusun. Kemal suffers. Kemal tries to get Fusun. Kemal suffers. Fusun divorcers her husband and agrees to marrying Kemal. Kemal is almost out of misery. Kemal is happy. Kemal hurts Fusun (let me emphasize "again"). Fusun dies. Kemal suffers. Kemal wants to build a museum. Kemal suffers. Kemal wants Orhan to write his story. Kemal suffers. Sibel is happily married with children. Kemal dies. A museum is built. A book is written. The book says Kemal lived a happy life.

It was little like Devdas. Actually more like DevD. Rich and arrogant Kemal, you can't like him. What kept me going through the book is the simple need to know that Kemal suffered deeply! And to make sure that he suffered till the end. It beats me how he betrays Fusun's trust once again at the end of the book. The last line of the book indicating his happiness is what brought the book a beautiful ending. But I would say Kemal suffered. Rightfully so for hurting a wonderful woman like Sibel and for ensuring that Fusun never had a moment of happiness by stalking her and destroying even a speck of happiness in her life. But then, she always knew what she was getting into.

Kemal suffered, rightfully so. Sibel had a happy life, rightfully so. Fusun, poor Fusun, I guess rightfully so.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Short Stories: Iran and Women

I just completed reading a book called Afsaneh: Short Stories by Iranian Women. I picked it up from the library (my mom got a membership at the Hyderabad City Grandhalay Samstha ie Government Public Library) in the hope of getting to know the life of Iranian women through a collection of short stories. But I must say, I‘m disappointed.
The compiler Kaveh Basmenji did not do a good job at compiling. I almost found a repetitive fashion. There were a couple of stories that had young women being married off to older men, or old widowed women having no place to go since none of their children could have them in their house, or of little girls not liking the way their loved ones not being able to be there for them, or of having to sell a house, or of having to live a lonely life, or of having to deal with the cold with their poverty. Yes, the compiler did not do a good job because each of the stories has its own essence and its own life.
There were some good and some bad because some women wrote well and some not so much. There were some which were written to express a feeling and there were some that were written for the western audience. There were some that told you a story and some that were too abstract. There were some that gave you a picture of the life there and some that were too abstract. There were some that were poetic and beautiful and some too abstract. But most of them always had a sad sad sad tinge to it, even if it needn’t be, like The Stain.
The ones that I did not like were the ones that were too abstract. I did not feel that the abstractness was poetic or deeply meaningful. Instead I felt they were abstract because the readers must feel they are poetic since they did not understand anything. Those were bad, almost annoying, like Crystal Pendants.
The ones the I liked were those with simplicity explaining a feeling or even a story with abstractness but with simplicity like Mana, Kind Mana. That along with The Shermin Bus and The Little Secret were probably my favourite. I also liked Khorramshahr-Tehran, Midnight Drum and Like a Well were nice as well.

Gibson's War Movies

Having seen Braveheart, somehow every time I saw an advertisement for The Patriot, I assumed I had watched it until one day my mom said something about it and I had no idea. So the next time it was on TV, I watched it. And now, I do not remember Braveheart either so I cannot compare. As is, The Patriot was a nicely made movie.

It was supposed to be a really touching movie. But I cried (yes I cried) only once through the movie. The scene when his youngest daughter (who refused to talk to him) calls out to him when he is leaving and says she will talk as much as he wants and whatever he wants if that means he would stay and not leave for battle. That scene was beautifully captured all the emotions of a family sending away their men to war across the world.

Apart from that I have nothing else to write about it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sometimes, Some Stories

For some reason I landed up with a book of short stories by Amrita Pritam.

Their Signature, Exiled and one more that I do not remember.

I swear to God I shall never read another story by her.

Don't get me wrong. She wrote things that are relevant, just not for this decade and just not for me.

Foreign Lands and Langs

This post is long overdue. Written on my iPod during my short vacation this May, I haven’t had a chance to post it yet.

Once when a friend tried to (jokingly) impose on everyone the language Hindi saying that we must all respect our culture and refrain from speaking in English, I replied to him that I was a native English speaker and to me Hindi is a foreign language.

My mother tongue being Telugu have having lived by first 18 years in the same state (and the same city), I speak Telugu fluently and naturally speak only Telugu when I speak to strangers in my state. When I speak to people who do not belong to my state (either because I am out of it or because they are in it) I tend to speak in English in order to communicate. When I went to Jamshedpur in 2008, for that first time I had to speak Hindi. It was weird. Not because I didn’t speak very well (in my defense, the gender concept of inanimate objects is very confusing) but because I have never been to a place where I had to and it almost felt foreign. I thought it was only the lack of my experience.

On my short trip to the South East Asia our first stop was Singapore where people could communicate in two Indian languages: English and Tamil. Yet, most of us tended to speak in Hindi because we felt we were in a foreign country and hence must speak in a foreign language (here we does not include me). See how we (again not me) feel that English is very much our language (notice how I referred to it as an Indian language) and Hindi is a ‘foreign’ language?

This post is not to look down upon Hindi or to disrespect my Hindi speaking friends (who form a large percentage of my friends circle). This post is only to indicate to some of my friends who are ignorant enough to believe that the whole of India runs on Hindi and to some of my other friends who have recently left the country and suddenly found a new love for Hindi that no matter what language you used all your life, Hindi is indeed very foreign to many people in the country since it is not their mother tongue and neither is it a language of convenience.

And most importantly, the language you speak in does not matter as long as you are able to communicate. For example, (my mother might get upset to read this but she knows it well enough that) even though my mother tongue is Telugu, I m more fluent, write poetry, speak really fast especially when I am angry in English. Oh and did I forget, I actually think in English too. So as far as I am concerned, English is my native language, Telugu is my mother tongue and Hindi is the foreign language I am most comfortable in. To each her own!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Son of Odin!

It was the usual story. Out of the world God(dess) falls to the earth and meets the adorable(brave) lady(warrior) thus, falling in love. Oh did I forget the “save the day” part? Yeah, they save the world together. In most stories the immortal one leaves that gift to stay on earth and live together. There can be versions where the mortal one attains immortality and if a producer is looking for a sequel, they stay separated, but just for now (wait for part two). All you gults will remember the legendary movie we grew up watching, Jagadeeka Veerudu - Atiloka Sundari.

Thor (if you remember the guy that Thursday was named after, the one who plays with thunder) falls out of the sky in front of our lady (literally in front of her SUV). Betrayed by his brother Loki (some god who is sometimes good and sometimes bad) he goes out to save his father and his kingdom and even the people of the enemy kingdom having gained the power of soul thanks to the undying love from his lady on earth. (And people praised J K Rowling for wonderfully spinning stories.)

The best part of the movie was that this new Australian chap looked like (quoting a friend) the younger hunkier (end of quote) long lost twin of Brad Pitt (remember Achilles in Troy). And Natalie Portman looked nothing like the psychotic woman who at times drove me nuts in Black Swan. On the contrary, she looked like a beautiful damsel in distress (the distress being that years of research was snatched away by men in black suits claiming to be nobody).

The 3D and the fights were absolutely awesome. These are the kind that needs to be made in 3D, not haunted.

You must must watch. It is complete entertainment like a fairytale on 3D.