Saturday, 21 June 2014

The Fountainhead

I’ve read many good books. Some of them have blown me away with the words they carry. The Little Prince holds the trophy for me. Rather, held. It had to make way for The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. This book is considered to the bible for creative people. I didn’t know about the fame that followed the book until after I had read it. So, my opinion is completely unbiased when I say The Fountainhead is one of the most amazing book ever written.
As I was reading it, I had a sense as if I was reading something very sacred and each word must be read twice so that it could be committed to memory. It is an intensely written book with intense characters who are bound to stay in your head (not your heart) for a long time.
You could ask me why I haven’t written a review.
I feel that by writing a review I will be causing disrespect to those words. You will know what I mean when you read The Fountainhead.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Book Review- The Inhertitance of Loss by Kiran Desai

All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths. Briefly, visible above the vapor, Kanchenjunga was a far peak whittled out of ice, gathering the last of the light, a plume of snow blown high by the storms at its summit.

The book, The inheritance of Loss, starts with these lines. The beauty of the description had me hooked immediately. I knew this story was not going to be a light one, but rather an educational journey where the writer throws across complex ideas and thoughts that is bound to provoke the reader’s mind. I was not disappointed.
Taken from Wikipedia-

The major theme running throughout is one closely related to colonialism and the effects of post-colonialism: the loss of identity and the way it travels through generations as a sense of loss. Individuals within the text show snobbery at those who embody the Indian way of life and vice versa, with characters displaying an anger at the English Indians who have lost their traditions.'

The main characters in the story are – Sai, Biju, Jemubhai Patel, and his cook.

He story revolves around Sai, a teenager who is living with her paternal grandfather Jemubhai Patel, former Justice. They live in the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas in an old manor named Cho Oyu. The house inspite of its great history is now in a crumbling state, the termites eating the place down. Sai was brought up in India in a convent. After the death of her parents she was sent to her grandfather. Here, it is the cook who really looks after the girl. Her grandfather isn’t very concerned. Because of lack of finance he is unable to send her to a good school. Hence, tutors are hired to teach her the basics. This is how she meets Gyan, her physics teacher. He isn’t much older to her and Sai and Gyan fall in love with each other.

Jemubhai Patel, her grandfather, doesn’t really step up to this role. He hates anything that connects him to his family. The judge was educated in England. Since the initiation of his studies, he had always wanted to cut his Indian roots and embrace the west. In spite of him trying, the British don’t accept him as one of their own nor do the Indians. Desai shows us the brutal side to the judge. We see him recalling incidents where he looks down upon his uneducated family, rapes his wife, beats her up, sends her back to her parents house, ignores his child. It seems that the only person the judge loves is his dog Mutt.
The Judge’s words after his dog goes missing-
“A man wasn't equal to an animal, not one particle of him. Human life was stinking corrupt, and meanwhile there were beautiful creatures who lived with delicacy on the earth without doing anyone harm. "We should be dying." the judge almost wept.”
Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss

Desai switches narration between Sai and Biju. Biju is the son of the judge’s cook who stays in America. The story takes place post-colonialism hence there are still much influence of the British on the Indians and their mind set towards anything foreign. Biju travels to US by illegal means and is staying in the place without legal documents. He works in different restaurants and meets varied people. Contrary to what his father thinks, Biju is not living a life of luxury. Desai uses satire to show many aspects of human behavior. Biju sees Indians coming to the restaurants he works and ordering beef. Cow is considered sacred to Hindus hence Biju is unable to hide his disgust for these Indians.

Gyan, Sai’s lover/tutor, is a Nepali. The Gorkhaland movement is used as a historic backdrop of the novel. The Gorkhaland movement involves the revolt of the Nepalies against the Indian government and against those who have embraced a western life. Gyan in search of an identity joins the Gorkhas and this leads to a break in relation between Sai and Gyan.
The inhertitance of loss is not a book that involves around one central theme. It deals with life and the different faces in one’s life. Dealing heavily on human perception and their decisions, Kiran Desia’s words have a way of finding their way to a certain part of the reader’s mind where one can chew over it. There is a conflict between the beautiful scenic setting the story is set in and the human wars. Many might find the story a bit of a drag and boring. However, the amazing thing about the book is that it captures true life in all its ugly and pretty shades.

“A journey once begun, has no end”
The book ends true to these words. There is no definite “happily ever after” end to this story. It ends on a note of hope.
The book has won many acclaims and awards. It won the Man Booker Prize for the year 2006, the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award in 2007 and many more.
Favourite parts-
The satire- this is done so well- not a bit more or a bit less.
The writing – Kiran Desai has beautiful writing that paints vivid pictures.
The humor – Though most of the humor is centered on sarcasm there is the right sprinkle of humor.

Another book that I read this week is Girls In Trucks by Katie Crouch. I picked the book from the shelf because I was drawn by the amazing book cover and I am all about supporting debut novels. The story was disappointing. Sarah, the protagonist is not very lovable. The writing is poor. To make it interesting the writer switches around with first person narrative, second person narrative and third person. It gets tiring.The book gets 6/10 from me. 


What book have you read lately?

Thursday, 5 June 2014


Writing a first draft is hard; the reason being that one is hindered by many factors. Every time I set out to work on my first draft, I’m constantly hitting a wall that takes a few days or some extra thinking to overcome. These walls are not necessarily caused by plot structure or line. I know what I’m supposed to write but I lack when I try to put the idea into words. There are other times where the reason is bad writing. Bad writing leaves me crippled that I do not go forward with the draft. A few days back I came across this term – freewriting. Freewriting is the principle I have adopted every time I feel lost or stuck and it is working great for me!
What is this freewriting?
Freewriting is just forging ahead with the writing without dwelling on the details. We tend to be perfectionists when it comes to our writing. Hence, when it comes to first draft we try to nail it the first time. Freewriting helps you break those bonds. Freewriting involves not thinking about the sentence structure, the grammar, the spelling mistakes, the rules one must follow in writing.
That sounds insane! Why would one write like that?
Because this is first draft. There is always going to be more revisions in the future. We try to be perfect on the first try and sometimes we get stuck because we keep going back to make everything  flawless. The purpose of a first draft is sitting down and completing the skeleton of the story. It doesn’t matter of if it is badly written because now we have something to work on. Something better than nothing right?
That sounds like it could be fun. How do I go about it?
Freewriting has no constrains. As unconventional as it sounds it’s about being OK with bad writing as you go about your first draft. Do not worry about it not being good enough. The draft is for you. So write it freely and later work to refine it. Freewriting is done best by setting goals. Set yourself number of pages or no. of words and write until you get there. Write without concern. Don’t worry about quality. Because, again, its first draft.

What do you think about freewriting?

note:Image does not belong to me

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Childhood cartoons all the way!

In class few days back we were talking about all the cartoons that we loved to watch when we were kids. It brought back beautiful memories. The times we spent as little ones sitting in front of the TV watching our favorite cartoon characters doing what they do best.. That conversation affected me so much that I came back home and watched some of my favorite cartoons. They were the best, weren't they?  So, why were they the best and what life lessons did they teach us-

1.We were innocent, they were too.

2.They took us to lands we still wish we could visit.I do, for one!

3.They taught us songs. Oswald was the bard and Noddy comes after him.

4.Even the bad guys were funny and lovable. Cartoons gave respect to everyone, the bad ones, the damaged ones, the goblins.

5.Moral values were always weaved into the story line. Some of the best quotes come from them.

6.Animation all the way.

7.We still talk about them (as I'm doing now)

8.And feel good when we do. (as I'm feeling now)

9.There was no deaths or sadness in it. I wish there was more of happiness!

10.They gave us toys. Any collectors here?

11.They gave us lines and phrases we still like to use in real life.

      12. Its OK to be crazy and stupid sometimes.

      13. People forgive when you make a mistake.

      14. Spinach is good for health.

      15. They taught us to never give up.
This guy took this lesson very seriously
      16.They gave us friends

      17.They taught us to be friends.


        18. We still love them.

What was your favorite cartoon?
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