-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Thursday, March 27, 2008

To see the world...

Ole painting i did when i was 20 i suppose, dug it after S asked for my early paintings. bottom right is the blake poem.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Too much information floating about on my mind. Even a seven hour sleep session, the longest of the year so far hasnt helped much to drown the weariness. So, basically nothing significant to write about. Hmm except may be couple of things I enjoy whilst being online.

Goodreads is a well structured online cataloguing which allows a variety of options for interface with friends and fellow readers. Apart from the user-friendly structure , the most it has helped me is to jot these quick snippets of reviews of the books recently read. Im finding myself jotting down things - more than before and in many a perspectives as I read the book and pulling all the thoughts together at the end. Thanks.

The second is indispensible. I think some of you might know my love for the Perry Bible Fellowship, which fits like a glove to the humour I appreciate and adore. It manages to achieve the delicate balance of dark gore and novelty of hilarity in it. From sex, history, underworld, plant-life, to space exploration, school, family it deals with a huge passell of subjects, wrapping the huge underbelly of the dark and seemingly socially unacceptable in a subtle air of dismissiveness.- Here is an example:

I suppose thats a fairly average instance, here's something that drifts in dangerously close to favourite territory. It says nothing more than the misery of the poor turtle. Yet you are compelled to see the wickedness in it.

PS- I know i ought write back to some of you. Soon people, soon.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Random Richochets

Been busy and going to be as well. So random ricochets:

Yes, So many winters have been passed idly in the promise of the summers. Well now, spring is here, almost - which means more travelling, more sports and less online time.Personally speaking it's marvellous because this winter has been an enlightenment of sorts: Buddha under the bandwidth tree.

We were told that information is a commodity of our times and hence an invaluable tool of transaction/interaction rendering the internet a priceless infinity. But the more time one spends on the internet the more one realises the grand futility of it all. While I shall put up my hand first and say internet has most definitely made information more accessible, I suppose it is but only in terms of the means and the ease of finding it than anything else. What needed a bit of digging and jouly smiles and take cares to the grumpy librarians before has been transformed into just typing into sacred search space of Google. Good. And that’s about it. Nothing more.

Coming to the much hyped user generated content - I must say it is almost terrifying. As we speak millions of snaps are uploaded on the flickr and garage video uploaded on youtube with a million comments that follow representing the culture of our times. Fine, but it makes you wonder if all these are really a substitute for the real? What it has achieved is only to make pockets of populations reinforcing extant attitudes and mentalities, the danger of which I think is that it would hardly let you come to realise your own position in the real holistic world.

The same applies to blogging. We were told it would herald a generation of new democracy. That the culture would grow exponentially subsequent to the blogging interaction. All such prophecies much as I had predicted have been unfounded. Real journalism continues to be as strong as ever. Blogging has settled into a hackney of a dynamic: you post something which means a penny more to you than other trivia and it would be admired or discussed by a group of select bloggers who are or become your group. And such groups exchange banalities endlessly.
Any differences of opinion from outside is scorned upon and fiercely crushed down. So where exactly is the democracy? It has brought forth easy access to other’s stupidities. As I mentioned before, the lack of meaningful exchange makes you firmer in your beliefs depriving you of your knowledge in the realistic world. Feminists just seek out feminists blogs and bloggers, while the technology enthusiasts continue to be engrossed in their technology discussions. Status Quo.

Plus there are some insecure noises made about saving your identity while blogging. That’s a whine from a person too much in love with his/her opinion. Anonymity is going to be history soon. And Handles would be frowned upon in less than ten years. Hmmm.

On the positive side here are some interesting status messages I found on gtalk:

..wants to grow up and become Bill Murray.
..happened, he cant be reduced to a set of influences.
..MTV presents Stephen Hawking unplugged.
..Haat baaais enge?
..Love is never having to say sorry. Bitch.
..making pills for poverty.
..busy fuck off.


Among other things, a quick peek at the Daily mail yesterday ( No I don’t read just picked up at the lounge) showed that, included in the £25 Million-McCartney-Mills divorce settlement was £30000 for flowers and chocolates. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot bitch? Not a single frigging tongue of a Feminist would want to speak about it.


And picture this: You worked hard all your life and saved a bit of money for your old age. Gave a good bit of your young life to fight a big war so your future generation might enjoy a free life. And when you are old you happened to have Alzheimer’s Dementia and your savings exceeded £ 22000 then the UK government would pay for your care in a desolate nursing or care home and confiscate all your belongings inc. the savings. That’s a negative about socialist medicine. But I’m not against it, works for most of the folks. Contrast that against a famous writer, diagnosed with a rare variant of Alzheimer's at an early stage because he couldnt type the word -else and being able to not only pay for his treatment but also donate a chunk to charity. But what itches me about people like Terry Pratchett who made a fortune by telling fantasy tales is not being able to just shut up and face the reality, keep their private affairs private. Why shouldn’t I talk? is the rhetoric he uses. Because Mr Pratchett,
1. If your next book sales hit a high we wouldn’t know if it is sympathy?
2. You got to have a look around to see how common people with real Alzheimer’s cope ( not the mild type in early stage)?
3. It is terribly terribly unforgivably unbritish.


And we knew about this financial roll down to come as far as in october, the Americans though seem to be in denial. I still wonder how raising money for a huge election, funding a war outside, and cutting interest rates in response to Market having a panic attack everytime going to solve this?
God bless 2008.


Does anyone know who was the genius of the babu who has handled the Taslima Nasreen send off, its a smooth stroke of genius.


Lastly, A380 finally made the Heathrow call amidst much fan-fare reminiscent of glorious kingdoms. Its as much as a marvel of a machine as the ipod, but, only at the other end. I saw it last year and it is humungous. But hang on even after 100 odd years of flying we still cant have sex on air? Shame really.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Graysweet Mother

Formby Beach, Liverpool

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Reel 12

Michael Clayton is a wrongly told joke that you had heard before. Seriously.

Die Fälscher: Best Foreign Language Oscar, was okay. Can we just ban Holocaust art for about 10 years? and after that forever?

The Counterfeiters.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

On Sir Vidia, some thoughts

Usually I manage to resist reading a review before I read any book. But when it is reviewed as the main article at the London Review of Books, it becomes incredibly hard to ignore. And impossible, either due to the reaction to it or because of my admiration for the writer, if it is a Naipaul book. So, through such travails of reading the book after having read about it, and, amidst reverberating echoes of such canon-shots booming between the pages, I finished Naipaul's latest book Writer’s people -Ways of looking and Feeling, last week.

It deals with one of the expansive and original subjects one can read about in the post-modern world. Naipaul typically, with no allegiance to anyone and no belongingness anywhere writes about writing and the writers - whom he had read or come across in his lifetime; and how, with their ways of looking and seeing, they helped to shape his own way of seeing.

Admittedly, the book is quite airily written and lacks the eye for detail that one usually associates with Naipaul. Given the vastness of the domain chosen for the book, it is at best a selective summary. It is fragmented, flaky and even in the best of its pieces surprisingly incomplete. Also, I must add, for anyone who has keenly followed Naipaul’s works, it would not be a subject entirely unfamiliar. At least I wasn't when I read the book.

Though there are liberal transplants of sentiments from his earlier books ( we all know about the influence of Huxley’s Jesting Pilate and Vidia's positive takes on Gandhi and RK Narayan), still The Writer's People doesn’t fail to give you a clearer understanding of his perspective. Yet, somewhere while translating the cynicism into criticism, in a passage here and there, one finds his shameless malice unmasking itself . Many pages on Anthony Powell have little relevance and are presumably prompted by his personal differences that existed between them. ( Naipaul briefly alludes to how Powell stopped seeing him before his death even while he continued to see others). The chapter was, as Naipaul claims himself at the very beginning - difficult to write - making the reader who has read it wonder, what exactly was the need to go through such hardship? More so, at a premise when it is least pertinent? Difficulty or malice, whatever it is, the sentiment has been given the treatment it deserves by many a critics. However, that shouldn’t make us overlook other segments of the book: there are wonderful observations and assertive judgements on others which, as hard as they are to digest, cannot be reasonably refuted: The takes on Vinoba Bhave and Flaubert for instance. I haven’t read any Salvon so I cant make a valid personal judgement. And the well-known Walcott-Naipaul bitching duel that's been running on for a while also finds it's share in the book. Pity really.

In all, personally the book was a welcome, coming during the hackneys and baloneys I have been letting myself read over the last few months. From a larger view, it wasn't an incredibly outstanding book but neither was it a dull put-aside. Which other writer would research to tell you that an Indian Bullock-cart did 24 miles a day in 1890s? And going back to the reviews, after having read the book was - sort of irony of relevance – because the book is all about ways of looking.

It’s always amazing to see how reviews on Naipaul often aid to propagate their own perception of him; the most commonest transference that goes into his reviews are that he is an arrogant, provocative prude who defines himself by criticism. But readers, who are able not to let themselves carried away by their own prejudices and loyalties often, if not eventually, bring themselves to admire his work - fiction and otherwise. But, for almost repeating his own old material and the apparent offence he has wrapped it in, I am not sure if that would happen with this book.

That regardless, a larger audience, as often as it is seen, continue to draw a great consolation by running a Naipaul work down the drain of their perspective ignorance. Here is one such insalubrious effort related to the book in question.

Half-way through the review, I had to go back to check who was able to write with so much self pity. Must admit though, if I was asked a year back about Dalrymple I could have convinced you that it’s a rare Belgian dish. It was only during my last visit to India I found he was a Scot writing about Delhi's history while living in Delhi! ( God save him). The only bit I have read of anything by Mr Dalrymple is a small essay while glancing through one of his book in a library; it was about the protests against the Miss-World competition that was to be held in Bangalore sometime last decade.

It was a typical western-modern eye looking down confusedly - about the Indian fundamentalists threatened by the erosion of their value, culture etc. To cut the long trauma short, nothing was placed in perspective-- Whys were blatantly ignored for the Hows and the Whats? The running sentiment was of sympathy and hopelessness for people who were opposing a beauty pageant; There was no effort made to really understand the underbelly of the emotions involved, no history was palpable; as if it was all read in readily available books: Kali, Kamasutra, Khajuraho? The impression was as much shallow as the oremise it was made from. After reading that piece, naturally, even the strongest recommendation of his work went into my fourth waiting list. The unread City of Djinns, sitting somewhere in my attic, must be as old and as sarsenic brown as a Delhi Minaret. May be someday when they cleanup Delhi, perhaps?

It is a similar sentiment he entertains here in the review: For the first five paragraphs in his review Mr Darlymple takes upon himself to introduce to the Sunday Times reader, Mr Naipaul, a Nobel laureate. The biased account of a perceived deterioration is so well articulated it conveniently ignores his Booker in 1971 and The Nobel in 2001. Perhaps the only thing the summary lacks is his obituary. Further, in the latter part Mr.Dalrymple contests equally in malice with Naipaul and completes the travesty of the review by making a grocery list of all the negative adjectives in the book. Not surprisingly there is no perspective, not even judgement of why Naipaul is or may be wrong. The defense is based on the irrefutable reputations of the people, Naipaul seemed to have challenged in the book. It might as well have been called a gospel and the writers apostles. The Naipaul dynamic, that so often has become to define his work and the response to it is thus complete. It is no wonder Mr Dalrymple writes about courtesans and Moghul jewellery - things that cant even beseech a judgement by a post-modern reader.

In areas where he reluctantly does offer some judgement ie Gandhi, he comes across as in grave need of reason. Kathryn Tidricks’s Biography of Gandhi is available on Google; anyone can make out it is far from the bounds of brilliance forget relevance, in fact is a curriculum vitae of Gandhi a la carte. What Mr Darymple terms as dull and superficial of Naipaul's judgement of Gandhi is perhaps one of Naipaul’s brilliant insights in retrospect ( not for the first time though) of Gandhi’s battle with reverse-culture-shock, a phenomenon now not unfamiliar to the Indian Diaspora and undoubtedly beyond the realms of Mr Dalrymple’s imagination.

Naipaul’s statement on the lack of autonomous intelligentsia in India is a fact; any average Indian blog has it written all over its template. Mr Dalrymple’s Indian universities - buzzing with the same vibrancy of commerce - is either at its best a rush to be recruited for a plum post in the farthest MNC or at its worst, the bass of some local wannabe ( invariably somehow they would never be) rock-band covering the ancient 80s Guns and Roses number. If that is autonomous, India might as well claim Rudyard Kipling as her literary masthead.

As I have said, its often hilarious to see why people who don’t know a penny about what Naipaul writes about, have an urge to put him down. This isn’t first time people have found it hard to figure him. A chunk of the criticisms railed against him is a confused literary babbling of a response obligated to say something mean, often about him rather than something valid against his work.

Part of the confusion I have always supposed, arises from people’s lack of understanding his place. Whenever I think of his position I am reminded of Archimedes saying that if given him an appropriate place to stand out and a suitable lever, he would move the earth. Naipaul, not belonging anywhere and no influences from his background, holds that enviable position which makes it possible for him to see the cultures and civilizations as crystal as sunrise : what he himself described as..' looking through multiplicity of impressions to central human narrative'.

His Area of Darkness is a mirror representation, a testimonial of the so called socialist state that was India. His judgement on half-formed African societies are as true today as much as they were when it was said. And it took twenty years for the world to understand what Naipaul had written - on his own, without any influence or motive - about Islam, what Edward Said had dismissed as 'Intellectual catastrophe' and what Mr Darlymple still calls in his review: persistent negative assessment of Islam is turning out to be a prophecy of sorts. But thankfully, it took less than a month after 9/11 for the Nobel committee to endorse Naipaul's views. This ability to see things - as they are, were and going to be - was more loftily put by the Nobel committee as : having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.

I remember in his Nobel acceptance speech Naipaul had said - He is the sum of his books. I dont think many of us can actually comprehend the meaning of the phrase. It is an accurate self-judgment, a rubric which in my opinion can only be accorded to two other writers of the twentieth century: Joyce and Kafka. This unique position is also reflected in Naipaul’s unwillingness to have any children as they would come between him and his work. For what is incomprehensible for many a writers or critics, that is just a symbol of how unique his position is and the possible layers it conceals.

I always believe, a reviewer who is reflecting on a writer; who cant stand in where the writer has stood should take special care to separate the works from the person. Unfortunately in Naipaul’s case, either by his own doing or as a package of consequence beyond him, people carry around his negative image wanting to fit him into it somehow. As said before, there is almost a palpable negative precept and a compulsion to offer an opinion on him, rather than his writing.

Here is one, dare I say Indian version that I found while scouring the Indian blogosphere. Admittedly the chap hasn’t read Naipaul recently, and in the event mentioned in the post, found him uninteresting and thought he looked liked a constipated Walrus. Further, much to his disappointment, he found Naipaul deaf (wow) and ERGO Naipaul is everything that he was told about. Well, there goes your autonomous intelligence. If you are not nice enough to me, you are bad or wrong. Or boring! You simply must be. The absurdity, is unbearable even for any humour. The only acknowledged interesting writer of the last fifty years, (apart from the oulipo) being dismissed as uninteresting. If people want to read beautiful, tender sentiments why dont they just go and read Neruda? It reminds me of what Naipaul had written about long back - The absurdity of India can be total, it appears to ridicule analysis. It takes the onlooker from anger beyond despair to neutrality.

Perhaps it was this neutrality that made him ask to repeat the question again. It’s not all that hard to imagine - someone getting up and asking in his or her best haryanvinglish in one go, “Sirrrviddiyyaa, whatdoyouthink of the Hindunaaationalist move-menntt?” (Just like on Ibnlive)

Of course, you are bound not to hear and not understand the question. It's just courteous to ask to repeat again. I couldn’t tell in the Delhi airport if the PAS was in English or Welsh or Urdu. Thankfully, Naipaul is deaf only in Delhi; when he was elsewhere he was just as fine as a fiddler - as Finny told me once when Naipaul was asked by another nincompoop - What do you think of Indian Roads? He had answered " Well, You deserve it." I bet it cant get any more interesting than that.

If you look at it in toto, it is a very interesting dynamic: Given his incorrigible inclination, Naipaul can see only cultures and societies as accurate as numbers. These in turn, just like the reviewers above, would just go on to validate what he had said. The thing speaks for itself, as it has been for the last fifty years. Well, what can one say? While Naipaul would want us to believe that he is the kind of writer that people think other people are reading, the world, with all its blemishes and glories, is what it is. Men who are nothing, men who allow themselves to become nothing have no place in it. Men who want to tell other people what other people are not reading and still want to find a place in the world for that.

Ficcione: Love is Gambling

Perhaps it is the inexplicable layers that lay between the ex-lovers which makes it an impossibility to describe the tumult of the their feelings. It somehow even appears beyond the bound of the metaphors. But they were far too near now to be dealing with metaphors. Amidst all, she held her gaze and managed to whisper 'There is still time for this not to happen'. But she was fully aware of the utter futility of her words, as much as he was. All, as ever before and ever will after would come to this one moment. The air was still and the warmth too delinquent to be ignored. Smile, Wink, Laughter, Power - all the currencies that the world interacts everyday vanished. Time dissipated folding itself into infinite layers of energy. The setting had made up its mind and no light from outside would disturb its purpose.
All love is gambling. But the splendid metaphor, perhaps, a trifle late.

Trivia if unknown: Currency, windows, clocks arent permitted in Gambling houses.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rain On Glass

The night was having a character of its own: bit sullen but being diplomatic about it. I was called to work to deal with a situation; I started half whining for having my reading interrupted and half curious about the challenge. I stepped out to find it was raining - a subtle drizzle - a sort of a pixar version running at <2x speed.
As usual I drove to gates and punched in the keys. They have this elaborate Mission-Impossible-type security systems; the keys have to verified and then further codes have to be activated simultaneously by two separate guards at different locations, all after they have had a good look at your car via CCTV and ascertained that you are not Tom Cruise. The process usually takes somewhere about 8-10 minutes. I thought I could utilize the time to complete the ending chapter I had left unfinished.

As I opened the book, I saw this memorable view: Rain drops slowly falling and slithering down the windscreen , leaving behind their halogen shadows on the book. I briefly mused how centuries of civilization had eventually come to this interface: vapours compressed at miles above in the sky meeting high-compressed silica. So graceful, so brief, yet so incomprehensibly important.
But before I could drift away too much with such thoughts, the barrier opened with a screech. So there went another poem, I said to myself and revved up the engine.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

So long, Down Under

Mr. Hayden?

Who's afraid of Amy Walker?

I am.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

First of sorts

See what first thing of this sort I did threw up?

You're Ulysses!
by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

PS Thanks M

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