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Reading Eat Pray….

One damn good thing about letting go on the work front is you shift yourself off to different things.

Also once you work for long on organization specific stuff you lose touch answering generic stuff and so when you gotta go for interviews where they send poor people like us only to do interviewing and they ask the bookish stuff ,
youve got to start brushing up the question answer thing.
And to get in the mood for reading boring stuff I need some light reading practice.

So I decided to read something slightly fluffy to first get back to reading pages and well considering its gonna be soon a Julia Roberts movie I thought ok lets wrap this book first as I am not yet up for more complicated reading.

The book ” EAT PRAY LOVE ” to be frank is I feel slightly overrated on the overall bit, but I feel this is one book where the movie might be a bit more fun.
Julia Roberts kind of would add up to this movie. She has this knack of pulling up stuff like this pretty well.

The books written in quite good humor and all , but I especially found it written more like the journal / blog and sort of does not give that overwhelming feeling at all.
But then I’ve always believed that movies and books are different not only to different people but, different to the same people based on the mood and circumstance that the acquaintance with them starts.

So may be I just was in that kind of wrong mood.

Although the most boring part for me was her India part. The part dedicated to Pray.
I mean it seemed the most hopeless part. All she describes is her stint at a Ashram and where they teach her the usual stuff devotion, yoga and self belief.
Now most of it can be achieved at your own home if only you can self control or care to listen to general good.
But you cant , we humans love to led around by a Guru.
If someone we are familiar with tells us – wake up at 4am and sit still for 4 hrs would we revere him/her and do it – No not that easily.
Go to a ashram and have some hypnotic voice say it and you realize God.

I have nothing against the guru concept itself but its more often than not misused . But why complain – it simply shows that most of
humanity loves to follow – they just need a intoxicating and rousing enough cause /man/ woman who can convince them.

Any one can be the Guru -the ultimate pied pipers of this world – you just need to discover the right tune and the children of god flock to you.

Getting back to the book – the India part has nothing India in it except an Ashram and it in no way is India.
It is when I read such authors that I value authors like Shashi Deshpande etc even more whose writing may almost
seem boring to most Indians as its so very realistic and middle class compared to the exotic Western writing on India
Or the more famous Indian elite writers like say Rushdie .
I have written in previous review on Shantaram etc too how I hate this romanticzing the Indian rural village for westerners.
Its a very brutal and politicized landscape and the poorest too are hardly any innocent – the only argument would be they cant afford to be that.
So I felt absolute nonsense in that part OR may be familiarity breeds contempt.
I really wish someone from Italy or Bali can tell how they felt about the section on their countries compared to the others.

Now lets get to what I was not familiar with .
The Italy part – I sort of like it better. Now she might have called this the pleasure part ,
but this is where she delves mostly into her thoughts , so sort of liked it better.Though again I guess people who love food
would empathize with this part hugely.

The only part where I really could empathize was the point where she describes the situation of a friend who has a baby and
just then a successful exhibition of her paintings and throws a party about it and the situation what happens next
– she describes is something I’ve seen a bit often – where women do act as if its totally worth it and may be it is for them.It was the most realistic part. But well its all perspectives!!!.

I liked the fact that she didn’t in the end totally romanticize Bali. She showed how the very kind hearted — are also very human.
How many cultures in the east have a great reverence for a guest (e.g esp a guest from town in a village is taken such dear care of /
people from the west see our best and worst and not the real shades that we live in.)
and so on but can be brutal and heartless to their very own.
The part where she describes how the woman almost tries to blackmail her for more money — based on the very permise that most
tourists are treated in here ” Arre for them a few dollars is nothing” .
The very fact that normal people from the west somehow are slightly more gullible and easily open their purses in the name of charitable causes.
Its not like we are all misers here but we are relatively smarter about cheats (they being a part and parcel of life here).
Also fact is mostly we need a good enough cause for most things including charity
– like washing away sins
– feeling better for the day (ah my 5 rupee coin let a beggar live a day more on the street)
– or be with the in crowd
Ok I think I’m in my worst sarcastic mood but there are enough good and bad people all across the world just that we love to generalize.

As I said its a good read , but somehow the book did not have that touching effect.
I really feel the movie would be much better.

P.S: The nicest inspirational quote in the book
“it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection”
One thought here – why is it that westerners discover/ are told about such awesome quotes in our Bhagvad Gita.
When they teach it to Indians we have it interpreted differently or rather more stringently.
Imperfect lives huh – in Gita haan – that’s against society , again parents and what not .
But that’s what the best part of Hinduism – I guess with all its flaws . Its all about finding your perspective in the same words .

I kind of keyed this in a a hurry so well missed the truest line in the
book.Kind of hard to counteract in any sphere of life.
“There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge?” Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all,
trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering.

P.P.S
I guess Im in a kind of feminist tirade mood too – its not planned but circumstances seem to be all for it.
Saw a update on profile of friend who is a mom.
Some guy on her list confesses since my daughter was born ,I now respect women,
great you are you all moms Godly
earlier I disrespected women that they came to office for wasting time – did no work but you are all god
the lady applauds !! Better late than never

I dont know what to say – if I had to say (so glad I dont knowthe chap )-
appreciate that better late …Or
yeah so now all moms are gods and rest – since they arent gods ??

I hate the whole updates and stuff …should turn them off .
but they have their uses I guess

An Update – Its a waste to write a post on this so I am adding the update here.
The movie is worse the books better I say now. Even julia Roberts cant save it really

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I’ve been as good as missing from here and well good I guess rather than some repeat cribbing.
But the last two weeks have been a blast from the past time having suddenly spoken/met so many of the people from the past.

And I suddenly wanted to write , just for the heck of it
But well lets start from some other point. The moment I heard the song I knew it would touch a set of people,
so it did and found so many loving that song.
The children who became adults of the 21st century majorly the +/- 1975-80 born people.
A sense of missing out , of how much could have been persists I feel in that generation which spent its best years
when there was such huge competition and no escapes even like 3 idiots.

Yes these are the people who want in their hearts desperately
– to grow up once again – with some sunshine.

Its a lovely song and I know some very hardworking , simple bright well settled people who at the exterior seem like the
calm / unemotional great acheivers or hard hearted but deep within in a very unsaid fashion longing for that sunshine , that happiness as there is that feeling of having missed out on what can never be again.

The movie 3 idiots well thats OK – good fun but I hate it being called great and I dislike quite much
in there (the know it all of Aamir’s character – the definitions of success and a lot of the oversmartness –
the book was actually tad more realistic in some sense as there was no HERO who had to be perfect)
but well fun it is – no two ways on that.

I always feel if you have a happy childhood , other half of your life may be good or bad but you kind of thrive on those memories.
But if that part of your life has pain some of the best acheivements and happiness in life will never take away that pain.

Even books from a children’s point of view are way too haunting at times.
I had started reading Kite Runner. I was depressed deeply half way through reading it. I had to stop it for a few weeks. It was a beautifully written book but I just found it depressing me.

The other book “A Thousand Splendid suns” did not affect much . It was just another story of what we sort of know and are used to – I mean of opression of women , human spirit and all that – somehow it does not match up to the first book Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini.

Well back to my memories well I met a friend from school – after 18 yrs and I just talk and talk .
I come home and think why is it that you who take a minimum of a year to get used to talking to a person in your cubicle in today’s times and yet have it so easy talking to someone close to two decades ago.

It was so hard to remind myself this wasnt yesterday when we talked. Some of our teachers were dead and life hasnt been kind .
We havent lived up to what we had thought of becoming in school and yet it never felt that far.
Time plays havoc on the mind and letting go of past is such a hard process.
I of all seem to live in a time warp on the surface. Beyond the fact that then I was in school and now I am employed nothing seemed to have changed.

But its beneath the surface that the change lies
– I was then a sad scared and a tense child but had hopes in life , believed in surmounting the obstacles somehow, righting the wrongs
– I am now a confident adult who us is hugely cynical in life now

And yet when you see someone from that past and despite what you see only confirms your cynicism of life and the world
you want to turn the clock back
and grow up – once again

So I re-post this beautiful poem
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To deepest dusk,
from morning sun
to twilight dreams
fantastic schemes
and lives that go awry
such shining hopes
such sudden twists from
bright to dark
from grim to grand
from joy to sorrow
always waiting for tommorow
and a twist of fate
a ray of hope
with the faintest sleight of hand
the alteration of all of life’s schemes
and all its scope..
all with one tiny turn
of life’s KALEIDOSCOPE
.

Danielle Steel
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Been long gone …. have been way way busy with work and stuff the past quarter so much – and that too when there isnt much light at the end of this tunnel I seem to have fallen into.
There’s something wrong with me – I always end up working for two bosses somehow wherever I start.
Also this year my evergreen time pass – my dear sister has finally moved to a far lil town so Im just all by myself and my work.
But nevertheless I took a break, a nice week off – no vacations nothing – just too many leaves going down the drain while Im horribly stressed with work did not feel good.
So here I am just sleeping way into noon and reading all over the place in my little room .
I picked up quite a few books, read up all my unread stuff in RSS on the net.
Watched some CD’s.Essentially nothing to write much of but some thoughts jotted here.

I cant even write about the books I picked up (it was fun as I splurged on them) as I’m like multi tasking among some amazing variety

– The God Delusion by Dawkins
– Think About these things by Krishnamurthy
– A Thing Beyond Forever by Novoneel Chakroborthy
– Mr Sampath by RK Narayan
– Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

And then I have stuff I have yet to start

YajnaSeni –
Never let me go- kazuo ishiguro

But sometimes I hate the way my own reading degenerates into.I was reminded it a book fair , there were a bunch of girls picking books
Girl A was trying to pick Olivers Story – the sequel to the famous book Love Story by Erich Segal
Girl B said oh leave it yaar. Its boring -I will tell you the story. The guy meets another girl and then he still does not like her at the end leaves her too . Thats it and it was described in native language by her.

I guess thats a way of looking at it and age does have stuff to do with it I guess. When I read Olivers Story sometime ago I found it a bit brooding may be , but it was more emotional.It did not have the popular appealing eternal love of Love Story. It was about coming to terms with things, that some people just cannot get over things like others can.

As much as I am a fiction person with age I guess you like looking at other stuff .
I still love fiction but a pure dosage of that does not work well for me now , but I guess it never did fiction / non fiction.
That is why I pick up such bestsellers like A Thing Beyond Forever by Novoneel Chakroborthy. It reminds you of all sugary stuff you liked at times and now it isnt bad but has a tendency of getting to you .
But thankfully I am not yet that old to dislike them and start loving the self improvement books.
Gimme a story any day – soppy sugary or spicy.
If anything this year I started reading some science fiction. Started with Asimov’s magic and though havent read much of other I absolutely loved his essays in it. Absolutely – the way he distinguishes Magic and Science fiction and all that.

As for now Richard Dawkins is working hard through his ” The God Delusion ” trying to convert me from agnostic to atheist.
Whether he succeeds or not I absolutely love the arguments – and may be I should read the Origin of the species. Usually I dont really care.
I mean well wherever we came from we are here and thats the thing isnt’t it.
Why is it always such a big deal always about – ” where we came from ” and ” where we are going to ” I find it hard to get, but I try hmm.
I guess its because ” where we are now” seems perenially boring so we let our imagination come into play and without any drugs the best place to imagine is always the past or the future.

I then had to clean up all my finance stuff. I mean when I got my first job I wanted to save and yet there was no google no information like we have today , but I wanted to invest and the simplest was Mutual Funds, and just like a stupid newbie I bought all over the place – itsy bitsy penny money in some 10 funds. It was exasperating to consolidate them now and strained me on my holiday.
One article I loved when reading up old stuff online was this
http://www.crossingwallstreet.com/archives/2009/03/why_do_people_m.html

I may have lost good amount of savings in the market and may never be a pro in that field and make money but tell you what
I like the markets .If only I had enough money to lose in there .Sigh !! I know it sounds more like hoping for money to gamble – but it is fun.
A part of it is explained in that article. It should be read even if you know nothing about the markets.
It will explain why CNBC flourishes with its perenially wrong forecasters – It not not just cute Udayan and Shirin.

The dirty secret is that stock market forecasts are fun.
It’s odd that people ignore this basic insight. Markets are a lot of fun. Sure, every serious person is seriously concerned over market forecasts because they’re not serious. Still, people do it anyway. Why? It’s damn fun.
………………
Finance is and has always been a game. I’ve noticed that over the past few years the look of ESPN and CNBC has become steadily similar. That’s not an accident. ………. Heck, the indexes are nothing but a scoreboard……………………………..

Of course it’s addictive because it’s fun. Trading or forecasts aren’t harming people. Investing and risk-taking is good for a society. Obviously people should know what they’re getting into

The worst part of taking a home holiday is you still get tempted to open you office email and see all the pending work and list coming your way come Monday and it spoils the whole damn peaceful aimless lounging around.

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This is going to be a long post of mish mash , of my readings , of thoughts , some unwritten snatches remembered and some pieces fitted in.
I was looking up some of my older posts and realized Ive lost even that focus. Even though what I write is hugely diarylike I asked myself why do I write then on a blog, may be because making it a post allowed me to focus on a structure or a thought.

But I seem to have even lost that grip and so I write even less. But whats worse is its become quite hard to read books as I used to read.But I try for my own world is collapsing just as I assumed it would , but hoped it wont.

As quoted by R.A.Heinlein one must never be a pessimist
“a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun–and neither can stop the march of events.”
But unfortunately events have proved me too correct for my own good esp at my home.

Tolstoy knew what we was talking about when he started that morose novel with the lines
“All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
So is ours .paranoia , hurt ,power and economics rule our lives more than we care to admit.
If I were younger I would have still been complaining but for now I just know each of us are unhappier due to each of us
and its a vortex of hurt we are being sucked into and I fall in line.
Giving up doesn’t solve it.you have to keep fighting it and that is life.
To escape this and a listlessness of a different kind at work I tried my only escape left.Books
=================================================================

I thought a simple fantasy story would keep me hooked to another world and started reading the Lord of the Rings, a movie which I resolved not to see till I read the book.It was a hard start esp the initial pages I just was losing my patience but it was the Gollum story and Gandalf thing that finally pulled me in and I was lost for a few hours every day.

But wherever you get lost one line here a thought there pulls you back too your own world

Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters – but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy; for they are found in many places, not in Mordor only………………..And yet less thanks have we than you. Travellers scowl at us, and countrymen give us scornful names
“”Strider” I am to one fat man who lives within a day’s march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly. Yet we would not have it otherwise. If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be secret to keep them so.”

As I read this my thoughts of having peace came back to me and then I thought one cant have peace without war , whatever some people preach.You need some brave strong and fearless who fight so you have peace. I don’t like this thought but somehow what I see around me convinces me more and more of this.

The news then got filled up with death of CM of Andhra Pradesh in unforeseen circumstances and you can see everyone for a moment was in shock, not out of of grief for the departed or such but more because of it brought back to people the fragility of life, the helplessness of man against nature .
It convinced the fatalistic even more of fate,
to the religious the certainty of the power of God ,
to the happy go lucky it convinced them that there may never be a tommorow so live for the day
and to some it reiterated their own beliefs.
We all interpret events ,books, movies by our past experiences and deepest emotions ,fears .
How ever can there be an absolute truth?

=========================================================================

Have started reading Stay Hungry Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal.Its quite a good collection till now though I must say nothing beats Steve Jobs speech.

Though when you read something like this (its by Shantanu Prakash of educomp)at a time when your pay sucks and career seems hopeless you really feel…Hmmmm lets somehow get out of this

Two years you may struggle. If the average salary is Rs.15-18 lakhs p.a. (gross) how much do you make in five
years? 18 x 5, right? After tax, you make some 50 lakhs.In 5 years, I can guarantee you, any business you do, will
earn you that. Assuming that you are at least a little bit intelligent, within a year, the valuation of your business
itself will exceed fifty lakhs. No matter what you do.

Now its not the logic of it which can be argues , its the sheer confidence and obstinate persistence I think that makes some people successful.But then failures don’t have books written on them.
===============================================================

A friend brought up Atlas Shrugged a book I read a decade back and cant recollect every scene, but she was a author I liked
though not quite completely in the usual sense.
Ive written about it here.

I tried re reading parts of it and though I still like the conception of her theory its a ideal we can struggle towards may be , but it ignores so much. The Francisco money speech is one of the best in defence of the goodness of money , something you want to throw back at all those smug people who say money is evil.
“When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns–or dollars. Take your choice–there is no other–and your time is running out”

But what this assumes is men always deal honestly with money, truth remains that men make/buy men as tools using money too and just as “blood whips and guns” money too is a tool used by mankind to gain power(over what depends on the individual ).

Ayn Rand is quite popular among some of great acheivers Ive noticed and you have to say that in her times it seemed right considering what she must have seen living at the height of communism and complete subjugation of the individual, the high ideal that she created even she never lived up to it , because life even for a individual sans society is much complex.

Every individual somewhere deep with is a sum of the parts of his experiences and personas he battles within.

================LIFE SIMPLE ?===================

Someone remarked at office – Life is simple people are complex in a different context?
Is it ? – I wondered at heart. what is life if not people and how is life simple.
People defintely are not but so isnt life. Its just that since we cant simplify ourselves we wish life was simple,
like a set of rules and so we have religion or society or whatever that makes people frame the rules to live by.
And people who refuse to look beyond it and live by it may be do have it simple.
But its a choice in the end and it has to be made.

===================THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS ==========

The last book I read completely immersed into was like 2 months ago and though I was moved enough to write on it I never managed to.
I have had a certain dislike to Arundhati Roys views since well like very long and my tendency to stay away from hyped books at times prevented me from reading “The God of Small Things” . But I guess everything has a time and so I finally read it.

I have a complete distaste for many of her arguments esp political but I say she writes marvelously.
I felt that first when I read her piece against the nuclear tests in outlook over a decade back and was very impressed and her novel is moving enough.The book may have the usual nuisance like the incest parts and the India for the west potrayal (inserted for sales) at times, but I rather ignore them and enjoy the better parts.

She really brings a visual and auditory feel by her words esp her repetitions and the childrens parts there were truly refreshingly childlike.
“Ammu held out the crisp matching knickers for her. Rahel, with her hands on Ammu’s shoulders, climbed into her new knickers (left leg, right leg) and gave Ammu a kiss on each dimple (left cheek, right cheek). “
You could almost see a small little kid girl being readied by her mother.

It was probably a long time since a book had captivated me by its style and writing .
I liked the kids part of the description in the novel hugely for its sheer innocent beauty.

The way life was as I stared at another of the birthdays then I just could think of the lines
Not old, not young, but a viable, die able age.

The line keeps coming back in the novel and in thoughts so very often.
And then the below

Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.
Still, to say that it all began when Sophie Mol came to Ayemenem is only one way of looking at it.
Equally, it could be argued that it actually began thousands of years ago. Long before the Marxists came. Before the British took Malabar, before the Dutch Ascendency before Vasco da Gama arrived, before the Zamorin’s conquest of Calicut. Before three purple robed Syrian bishops murdered by the Portuguese were found floating in the sea, with coiled sea serpents riding on their chests and oysters knotted in their tangled beards. It could be argued that it began long before Christianity arrived in a boat and seeped into Kerala like tea from a teabag.

That it really began in the days when the Love Laws were made.
The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how.
And how much.
However, for practical purposes, in a hopelessly practical world…

So she proceeds to the story and while its flaws are immense the little goodness outshines them when you read it from the heart.

=========================================================================

Watched Kaminey. Did I like it YES I did , considering that I am not much of a gangster movie fan I still liked it.
Shahid Kapur was quite good and though I did not think it great of anything as so many reviews say I liked it . Seemed like a 70 mm movie after a host of multiplex movies.
I am not very sure but may be it was just my mood which made me like it. My mood of letting this world go to hell I guess.

The music too added to the mood.I love the line in the title track

Jiska bhi chehra cheela, andar se aur nikla(whenver i peeled the mask off a face the face was completely different inside)
masoom sa kabootar , nacha tho mor nikla(the innocent pigeon when it danced , it got revealed that it was a peacock)

===========================================================================

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Sarcasm – I will agree is ” intellect on the offensive”
and yeah you dont just get it just like that
– you need to suffer and then get over it with the spirit .

You could see it yesterday with rahul dravid saying what he did
“Conditions like these give boys like me a chance to play”
Oh how the modest man has changed with all that he has been through and the way times
have changed with the young aggresive men.

But then I will go back to my beautiful school days to reiterate how time takes off the rose colored glasses.

Here’s the lovely poetry by Surdas – something that I loved then and now too
the difference being just the way I think

kavita

Translated loosely it says
Where would I find peace and happiness O lord
but am just like a bird on a ship would fly all around and be back to the ship.

Leaving the lotus eyed god who would pray to the other gods
Just as Leaving the great and pure Ganges only a fool would go and dig a well.

Just as any bee who once having tasted the sweet nectar of lotus would never have the bittergourd
Leaving Surdas’s great god who is like kamdhenu(provider of all wishes) who would milk a goat.

I loved the beauty of poem – it was taught with great passion by the old teacher and
I love reciting it just like just that life’s ways make me think of it with sarcasm

Why will some one who has tasted sweet nectar eat Bitter gourd – Ok dear they will if they have diabetes
Why will some one with sense dig a well leaving the Ganges – Hmm if u see the Ganges and the sins and the filth in it any one with an iota of sense will dig a well
And goats milk does have its uses in the health conscious and other areas where the great cow cannot survive.

It means nothing much – beyond that I ‘ve gotten over so many illusions that I now feel it was nice to have them .
As mark Twain famously says
Dont part with illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist,
but you have ceased to live
.”

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Reading India Unbound

Last fortnight had so much work that I never managed to write about this book which I really liked reading, and as always with time its never quite the same for me. My thoughts as I say on my blog , with moments- flit by.
When i finished off reading the Introduction chapter of India Unbound which ends with “Although slower India is more likely to preserve its way of life and its civilization of diversity, tolerance, and spirituality against the onslaught of the global culture. If it does , then it is perhaps a wise elephant.” I simply felt like  ha ha Wise Elephant eh – how hindsight can leave you so cynical.

These lines must have been penned less than a five years ago and yet here we are in a India where things seem to be going quite the opposite with hatred and seperatism and religion seeming to be leading the onslaught against peace.

But the book does reflect how the pace of change itself has changed. Change might have always been a way of life , but its become so very fast paced that it becomes tough to keep up with the next happening or risk predictions of any kind.

Coming back to the book as a whole, its splendid simply because its one those few books that manages to talk about economics of India for over a century as a whole with perceptions of individuals especially of different generations as example.It never feels like a heavy
statistic oriented or overtly economic theory oriented and the best part for me is it explores both ends of a equation. The leftists and the Rightists, individualism capitalism socialism and there is no taking sides or solutions of any kind.
Proven solution offering books that irritate the living daylights out of you and one the foremost reasons why i hugely prefer fiction over non – fiction.

Like he says at one point
It is important not to direct people too much and to let them find their way. It might bring out their creative urges. This is not to say one abdicates responsibility to train employees…..but he or she must refrain from controlling them

Something I found quite interesting for example was his description of the impression made on him by a  ‘A Theory of Justice’ by Rawls wherein he felt ” moral justification based on consent seemed to me superior than the greatest good for the greatest number“. As he says further “Most of  us
became Socialists because we were repelled by the inequality of capitalism.Having said that it is important to remember that Rawls model works only in a genuinely open society. In the end no society even America is completely open.The key is to ensure that everyone has a equal
start in life and hope to raise to the Top.

The books starts off with how rich India was but the good part is it does not keep harping on it. It shows why it was that and how it was us who lost it rather than someone really looting it all from us and why we better concentrate on creating it all over again rather than mulling over who took it , and blaming them for what we are now.

It potrays quite vividly about the leftist and socialist feelings of the 60-70’s especially in young people and why exactly once those rose colored glasses were gone the world had actually moved on far ahead.

Somehow as I read this book the movie ‘Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi” somehow played on subconsciously in the mind.
Like when the author says “As I look back on my four years at college , I am shocked that we were so concerned with the distribution of wealth in those days that we ignored the whole subject of wealth creation……..All of us wanted to be scholars and dedicate our lives to the dispassionate pursuit of ‘truth beauty and justice’ like Socrates

Then he comes back to today’s scenario
Today’s undergraduates both in US and India don’t seem to suffer from our hang ups and our Idealism.They have the opposite problem…today’s youth I think need to be reminded, I think that there is a great world out there beyond money.

His anecdotes from corporate life too make a nice read.
A Swiss manager of a MNC told me that a sure way to inaction is to put two talented Indians on a Global task force. They will never agree and brilliantly  argue the proposal to death.
His account of how he was treated by his first managers in India once he came to India after graduating in US makes quite a read.
Another beautiful and for me commonplace incident was his description was of meeting with few young people in Bandra whom he asks “Would you take arts in college” and gets a the true reply.

Arts subjects aren’t high scoring” …….”in Science you just have to memorize a bunch of facts and luckily I have a good memory

The author then ponders over that our education wherein no one had told him that science was about learning to  think more exactly …..”experimental habit of mind“.

Nevertheless he concludes that the young are no less virtuous today – chief difference is there is less hypocrisy and more self confidence.
I somehow am not very sure – I must say I see a very different hypocrisy and a tendency to the very old religious extremism right now which makes one feel like we almost want to go back.

As always there might be a simple point wherein you feel strong empathy in any book and for me it was in that one line “For one Dhirubhai who succeeded there were hundreds who failed“.
I’ve been surrounded quite a lot by ever green dreamers of being someone or something like him if not exactly in that sense but getting to the simple point – making  millions soon enough . What none of these wonderful people know ,and if the theory of positive thinking is to be
followed must know is – of those hundreds who failed.

Thing is I feel deeply uncomfortable about is the discounting of the possibility of those hundred and relying on the success of one.
Like a friend recently asked after over a year of niceties , so when did you pass out – oh 1998 – it was a good year only nah(he must have joined college then )and you did not go to US. All your friends in  US must be millionaries by now. What do i say as much as I try. That i know of people who’ve scraped through there, of people who are living well enough there but millionaires, nah I know none.

The book states stuff in a matter of fact style and that is what made it appealing to me

In the competitive market some will gain and others will lose.Even if the winners greatly outnumber losers, In a country like India, The losers will be considerable.But it has to be that way in a society with a young population that needs to absorb an increasing labor force.One should be aware of the downside of capitalism, but one cannot morally stop the yearning o fthe underprivileged and the poor to rise to a better standard of living…..Nobody knows the ideal social mix.the West certainly does not offer a model ….for its excessive individualism has a corrosive effect on family and society.Individualism is certainly vital in the economy of information and innovation but the west has also learnt that Individuals need a supportive society as well…………………..

…..It is no good hoping that Indian values and Indian way of life will survive intact…Asian values are indistinguishable from Victorian values….Modernization has its positive and negative consequences and we have to live with them

The irony of liberalism is that it gives the individual free space, in order to fashion his life, but he is unable to cope with the free space and fills it up with trivial objects….without an ideology – life is reduced to an endless pursuit of cars cellphones channel surfing“.
The core point he puts across “Self interest has always been the greatest motivator of individuals and classes. In denying this basic truth about humanity, we embraced treacherous ideologies and failed economic policies.

Its something many people try to deny but in the end thats a truth Ive always seen win.

Though there is no startling knowledge one will gain through the book , its a real interesting overview of the interesting times that we’ve started living in, and how that the most trivial things at times may affects us with a far greater impact than what we call the most important incidents ,and what misconceptions we always start our future with.

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P.S: After finishing this I was engrossed by the very personal murder mystery by Agatha Christie “Sad Cypress”. Its so enjoyable to see how beautiful a study fiction offers on human nature, rather than the most philosophical books.

A very cruel thought – Was hearing about the food riots in Bihar – Thoughts went back to the ‘The Dark Knight’ . The Joker won in his experiment?

But sometimes when one sees such stuff one does wish one has real tangible solutions .Nothing seems to convince me that donations by a even lakh people for over twenty lakhs will suffice.And most people like to calm their conscience  by donating a few bucks, but no one thinks who will administer the relief bought by these donations,  a thousand or so volunteers for such a huge lakhs.

Not me I know, Not my colleague or friend or whoever I know. We all have a  life which we may hate but we still have not been able to reach onto such high ideological humanity serving paths.So I really admire the people who get personally involved rather than donating etc in such efforts and feel a bit challenged at never being that kind somehow.

Then you think of Nature and you know that Man has never won in so many ways.
Its become a mutual destruction path the way things keep occuring on and on.
Man destroys nature for his ever expanding needs and Nature destroys mankind in its gay reckless abandon ways.

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Had been reading Rushdie’s Shalimar The Clown.

More than the book its the epigraphs that seem to have settled in my mind.

Shakespeare (specifically Romeo and Juliet)anyway seems to be in thing in my life. In 2 days flat i come across his lines straight offwhen i did not expect them.
After the roses lines ( in my prev post)You come home open your next fiction read and the epigraph says “A plague on both your houses”

Now i i feel like using it oh so many times when i am so very irritated with life or caught between two people who want to see no sense which is quite often these days.

Even the simple act of getting a learning license becomes a nuisance for me. I managed to get a leave after 3 weeks of cancellation and got the learning license and then that envelope got lost in 15 minutes flat never mind how.

Fate as much as i like to wish it away seems to just catch up in amazing ways. Now this is not some huge issue, it simply adds to the irritation factor in my life.Every little thing seems a huge road block and i am worn out with this.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”

Neverthless getting back to the other epigraph taken from from

“The Country without a post office” by Agha Shahid Ali
Its quite lovely in itself cause you could almost feel it

================================

I am being rowed through Paradise on a river of Hell
Exquisite ghost, it is night.
The paddle is a heart; it breaks the porcelain waves…

I’m everything you lost. You won’t forgive me.
My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.

There is nothing to forgive. You won’t forgive me.

I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to
myself.
There is everything to forgive. You can’t forgive me.

If only somehow you could have been mine,
what would not have been possible in the world?

===================================

As for the book in itself its not ingenious or anything . It just shows some good research and linking up of facts and fiction with brilliance and brilliance is Rushdie’s trademark.Though i never love his books one simply has to say that whole idea he scripts in his books is sheer brilliance. How he develops his script  sometimes irritates you.

 Every word esp in the introductory parts of the book alludes to something more. India is named to represent something …Kashmira represents something.

Though cannot say liked the book much it seemed quite better than “The Ground beneath her feet” which left you quite a bit unstable may be.The book when it looks beyond the revenge storypoint presents different facets of the same thing well……like the point wherein the Gen Kachhwaha thinks how the Kashmiris are not thankful about being defended and how he himself degenerates into savageness. The Kashmiris villagers though have their owm version as all the other characters define it.

The nuggets Rushdie inserts have their own significance like the story  about the “Room of Power” which he ends with the lines “Freedom is not a Tea party, India. Freedom is war

Rushdie somehow lets one down badly when presenting a female standpoint and his sketch of Boonyi Kaul seems so messed up and confusing sort.
In fact the character he completely fleshes out i felt was only Max Ophelus. All the characters were set to represent something in the macro plot(Kashmir India and Pakistan) and never clear into the micro plot(the revenge drama).

Through out there is the description of a paradise called  Kashmir which probably was and which will never be even if peace returns.It is here that to some extent Rushdie succeeds.

Neverthless its an addition to Rushdie’s brilliant plots set in tumultous times and full of human greed for power of various kinds manifesting itself in various ways.

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