Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Unaccustomed Earth - A review

While Jhumpa Lahiri is definitely one of the best writers of her generation, she has 1 drawback. And that is, she knows very little about India other than Bengal. And this is what the 3rd novel also highlights like its 2 predecessors. All her female characters sport large bindis are round faced, and wear cotton sarees and put vermilion on their hair partitions. The Bengali men are even more boring stereotypes. Her attention to detail is commendable but I wish she had more knowledge about India other than the ‘dirty Kolkata’.

That there’s more to life here other than the main protagonist’s relative’s death and funerals is not known to the author. If she wants to attract more readers from the Indian sub continent she had better extend her reach beyond Bengal. Well we can’t expect much more from NRI’s like Jhumpa who come to India once in a Blue moon. But atl least she has got the talent to write meaningful stuff about India. Then why not use that and not write these repetitive type of stories.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Loneliness.. continued.

The day started with reading "The 3 mistakes of my life" to watching an "Inconvenient truth" and "What women want". Like I said you sometimes value the loneliness and for me this is one of those times. But I am enjoying it now. After a long time I finished a novel of fiction in 3 days flat, despite hectic work days. But even though I didn’t like the One night at a call center, I still picked up the 3rd book of Chetan Bhagat. This one begs to differ from the earlier 2 books and I think it is by far the best of his works. So that 100 bucks spent on this book was well worth it. The other thing I did was to watch a movie or rather 2 movies, The inconvenient truth.It forces us to think a lot, but what can we do to change this world anyway.

I liked the saying in the film:

What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just aint so.

Well , that just about winds up half of the weekend. Let's see what we can do tommorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What I like about Chennai - a Woman's Perspective

Chennai could be defined as a city where the old world charm meets the new world. This being the city that I was born and brought up in, will always remain close to my heart.

Chennai is a metropolitan city located on the South East coast of India, and it was an important port city while India was being ruled by the British Raaj. Hence there is a bit of British influence in the architecture in some parts. That coupled with the glass framed modern buildings of the IT companies is what I mentioned as the place where the old meets new. While these modern structures are the signs of growth of the city, the old buildings are the remnants of history and a bygone era.

Chennai boasts of a large number of good educational institutes which were started long ago by different Christian missionary groups. Most notable among these institutes include Loyola College, MCC and the Presidency College among others. Apart from these it boasts of a number of Engineering Colleges situated in and around the city catering to the ever demanding IT industry.

Chennai is amongst the safest cities in India especially for women. But for a few untoward eve-teasing cases, it is by and large a place where crimes committed against the women are less as compared to other places in India. But of course with changing culture this aspect of safety is also changing. But nevertheless I do feel safe even if I am traveling alone in this city in the evenings.

Political pressures are there, but this doesn’t affect the masses as much as it would in other metropolitans. Crime rates are maintained a moderate levels. And (touch wood) terrorist attacks are yet to strike this city and that itself is a big boon.

Another charming feature of this place is the temples. The most notable among them is perhaps the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore. Apart from this famous temple there is the Marundeeswarar Temple at Thiruvanmiyur, Hanuman temple at Nanganallur, Sai Baba temple among a host of others (there is at least a small temple on practically every street in Chennai). On a festival day the crowds thronging to these temples are indeed a sight to behold.

Chennai is also home to the second largest beach in the world, the Marina Beach. Apart from this there is the Elliot’s Beach at Besant Nagar (School goers and college goers hang-outs), Thiruvanmiyur Beach and so on which basically dots the eastern coastal areas.

An essay on Chennai is not complete without mentioning the rich cultural heritage that exists here. You want to witness the culture in its entire element? Come to Chennai in December during the Music and Dance Festival. It is a must - see experience and the climate is also at its best during this period. Oh yes most people joke that Chennai has only three climes namely hot, hotter and hottest. While I don’t disagree with that drawback, I still canvas that one should come to this place in the month of December.

On an ending note, I wish this city would continue its growth and development in the same manner it has been doing all these years. And hope that it would be one of the best and most livable cities in India over time.

Loneliness is always looking for a friend

Loneliness, a topic that I almost always come back to at some point of time or the other. It has been a part of me from since I can remember. I have been left out in the family, in a circle of friends, in a job! There are times I hated it, there are also times I valued it. These days even more so. But what is also heartening for me is that there are staggering statistics nowadays about the number of lonely people in this world. So I am not alone. Well, this comes as a surprise as we are now living in a world which has so many ways for us to connect. So why the loneliness?

What is loneliness? It is a frame of mind that occurs in every person at some point in time in life. But in some people even more so than others.

Spend your life as if there’s going to be no other. And watch the good moments multiply like never before. This is a sound advice to all those lonely people like me out there.

Why or how does one person become lonely? Sometimes we impose loneliness upon ourselves, sometimes it just comes and sticks with us. Like the Westlife song title. ……Loneliness knows me by name. Is there any cure for loneliness? I am still searching for one. For I would be the biggest benefactor of a such a cure if any.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Almost Single

Indian authors ………

I don’t quite know why I picked up this book(Almost Single by Advaita Kala) from the Odyssey Bookshop when I went to Chennai in Nov 2007. But I just felt like picking it up on reading the story on the cover. The story inside lived up to the expectations I had on reading the cover. I am sure if my Mom or Dad had read it, they would never have liked it. But this is what refers to the mindset that a modern day working woman who is single or even otherwise might have.

I truly agree with some of the observations made by the author. And some incidents are rather thought provoking. Like the matrimony site for example, these things are absolutely true all throughout India whether it is South, North, East or West.

With young Indian authors like Chetan Bhagat, Advaita Kala and Tushar Raheja arriving on the circuit, Indian writing in English has become really much better and relates more to our contemporary living more than anything else. Hope more and more authors come up in the Indian writing line.