Wednesday, August 22, 2007

a story with a capital ‘S’

The Story behind the interesting site What is Stephen Harper Reading? is

Life, it seems, favours moments of stillness to appear on the edges of our perception and whisper to us, “Here I am. What do you think?” Then we become busy and the stillness vanishes, yet we hardly notice because we fall so easily for the delusion of busyness, whereby what keeps us busy must be important, and the busier we are with it, the more important it must be. And so we work, work, work, rush, rush, rush. On occasion we say to ourselves, panting, “Gosh, life is racing by.” But that’s not it at all, it’s the contrary: life is still. It is we who are racing by.

Yann Martel wonders as to what makes the Prime Minister of Canada tick? when he refused the funds for the Canada Council for the Arts, so he decides

'For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness. That book will be inscribed and will be accompanied by a letter I will have written. I will faithfully report on every new book, every inscription, every letter, and any response I might get from the Prime Minister, on this website.'

A wonderful compilation of books recommended by Martel along with his letter to Stephen Harper which slowly prods the subject, albeit in a gentle manner.

One of them is this poem from the Short and Sweet: 101 very short poems, edited by Simon Armitage:


'ad 'em

and he says

'Busy? Tired? Feeling nothing? You’re missing on the depth of life that you know is out there.... '

Do read and if you have similar books you would like to recommend to Dr. Manmohan Singh do let me know.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A pick among great sagas

As I pause at the 330th page of Book1 of Ashok Banker’s adaptation of The Ramayana, I am amazed to find that a single day of Rama’s life is vividly brought to life in 330 pages of this 550-paged tome. Banker’s story-telling is full of colorful imagery, mental picture of different sounds and presenting the seers and kings without making them appear as caricatures.

This old mythological tale is packaged to suit the literary tastes of the current generation of fantasy-fiction lovers without dwelling on it’s religious elements.
Banker banks on the strength of this epic saga leading us along the main arteries of the story without getting lost in the by-lanes of the minor tales this epic abounds in.

He presents an ensemble of philosophy, action, rivalry and jealousy interweaving it with petty quarrels and mundane conversations.
But I thought the language could have been better than what appears to be school-bookish.
Can’t help but pick nits, what was ‘Harishchandra Avenue’, PFs, the Dark Lord??? Wasn’t it supposed to be set in the 4th century BC !!

Inspite of this, I do not deny that this is an interesting read, wonder if it can be sustained to complete the entire series of the 7 books.
I suddenly morph into a 5 year old sitting on my mother’s lap and listening to this amazing story of good vs evil.