A Pale view of the Hills – Author -Kazuo Ishiguro

A Pale view of the Hills – Author -Kazuo Ishiguro

pale view ofhills

As I mentioned in my past blogs that  author Kazuo Ishiguro has been my discovery of 2017 and it has been an extremely joyful experience reading his books .

He is the Nobel prize winner of English Literature of 2017 and is based in England .Author is of Japanese descent and  “A pale View of the Hills” had been one of his earlier books where a part of the story is based in post war Nagasaki .

The protagonist is  a Japanese woman , Etsuko ,who resides in an apartment complex with her husband .It is a very traditional house hold where she is a perfect wife and a daughter-in -law and is pregnant with her first child  . The times are post war ,when  the country is coming to terms with  the devastation of  Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People have lost lots of near and dear ones and are making difficult decisions in life.

We witness , as  the times are changing ,so are societal mores and people are not satisfied with the past ways and they are looking for ways to better their lives .

On the surface Etsuko  approves of her own  life and disapproves of the ways of her friend Sachiko who is a single mom and  is trying to raise her daughter in these difficult times .But Sachiko is not very hopeful about her and her daughter’s future Nagasaki  and wants to leave for greener pastures with her American boy friend who does not seem to be very responsible .

We meet the same Etsuko in her later part of life in England when her daughter from her first husband has committed suicide and she is a single woman who is adjusting to the ways of her, second daughter ,from her second husband in a foreign land .

As like other Ishiguro novels , a lot is being conveyed than what it appears to be and hence  it leaves us with many interpretations.

In the book ,our protagonist in her early part of life, represents a woman of  a traditional society, who is expected to fulfill her roles without getting her own expectations fulfilled .We see her first husband who is a hard working man and a good son but emotionally leaves a big void in her life as her husband .

Her father in law who loves them as a family but   expects a certain kind of subservience from the younger generation and  cannot come to terms with the ways of the present generation .It is totally new to him that there could be a different point of view than his, as he is older, however wrong or right that could be .

Etsuko befriends  Sachiko who is a  single mom. She  would do anything to be freed of her present life.  where she would have to spend it at her Uncle’s place and  she  is ready to embark on a journey even  with a slippery foot hold .

Sachiko’s daughter , Mariko , who is about eight years old and is  very emotionally disturbed  She does not have a stable home and does not go to school because of financial hardships .She hates her mother’s American friend and does not want to leave her pets and the country.

When we come to the second part of the novel which is told in the first part of the book ,we do not know how Etsuko met her second husband , how she came to England and how happy she was in her later life but possibly by telling the story of Sachiko, she tells it all .

Though the story is based in post  world war -II times but as we read it we know it is still so contemporary .Even after so many years , it is still our story .

Etsuko still represents us as a modern day woman where you  are expected to relinquish your wishes on the altar of  life, if they do not concur. We take the blame and are ready to be blamed for every thing  if  some outcomes are not as expected .

Etsuko’s daughter from her first husband commits suicide as she is not able to adjust to her  new surroundings and I am sure it would always be  the mother who would be cited as the cause , who decided to take a drastic step and  did not prove to be a good mother .

Etsuko’s second daughter who was possibly born in the UK and does not want to be at her mother’s side even in her trying times as she has a life of her own and has her own ways .As a mother , she has to accept it to keep the mother daughter  relationship going .

Its ironical that women after embarking on a long journey from the past times and even after achieving so many mile stones, is agreeable to her vulnerable status .The society is always ready to send her on a guilt trip if she decides to carve out a path for herself .The cistern starts leaking from all  the places if she does not prove to be a good glue .

As always , Ishiguro is  a master story teller and had perfected his art even in his earlier books .”Pale View Of the Hills “is an extremely interactive novel and lets us have many school of thoughts  and he  maintains his usual style of camouflaged simplicity .His  description of the war in subtlety without going into the gruesomeness of it makes it more readable .We get a glimpse of Japan as a very traditional society with its own pros and cons .

‘On a lighter note, we have to be extremely alert while reading his books and cannot skip pages or dose off or you  would have to go back to it again .

It was wonderful sharing with you an amazingly beautiful novel .

Have a great weekend and would talk to you soon .

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness – Book review – Author [Arundhati Roy ]

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness – Book review – Author [Arundhati Roy ]

happiness

After a  long wait and long means really long ,after  almost two decades, we did get to read Arundhati Roy’s second fiction .She is an Indian author who writes in English and is based in India .Her first book  ,God Of Small Things , catapulted her as one of the most brilliant writers of her time .It won her the Man Booker Prize and the book was translated into almost forty languages .The book was a masterpiece in itself and I do not know how many times I have read it .She has many non fictions to her credit in between the works of her fiction .

The book “Ministry Of Utmost Happiness” is in two parts . In the first part her protagonist is from that part of society who are considered anomalies of the society . They are acknowledged and tolerated.and with time they are supposed to fade away .

Anjum , who is a transgender is a resident of the Older part Of Delhi .Older part of Delhi is famous for its delicious meals, poetry , historical monuments and narrow bylanes . Her mother inspite  of knowing about her ambiguous sex , tried to raise her as a male child as it is the preferred sex .But all her mother’s efforts fail . Anjum’s inner conflicts prevails over her social obligations and she decides to break free . She moves to a place called “khwabgah “[Dream Palace } where after initiation rites she is inducted into the group of transgenders.The residents of Khwabgah call the real  world” Duniya”.

Anjum is happy in  her new life and accepts the usual challenges of a transgender . She gets her share of fame as she becomes some kind of spokesperson for the transgenders . Mother hood happens to her accidentally as she finds an abandoned girl on the steps of  a Mosque .The child is raised by all the residents of the commune  and Anjum takes her responsibilities very seriously

But life takes a dramatic turn when she goes on a pilgrimage to pray for her child’s good health .She returns as a different person and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and decides to leave her home for the most unexpected destination which she calls her as her new home .

In the second part , we move to the newer part of Delhi where again author has chosen a very unconventional protagonist .She is an architect  who has no family and she supports herself by doing various part time jobs .She does not have a sought after complexion and has  equally unaccepted ways of life , but  she is being wooed by three men .She is a soul mate for one and marries the other two . As protagonist Tilo ,follows her love , we get to see the disturbed State of Jammu and Kashmir in close quarters where India is fighting a proxy war .

In a very fascinating way ,author connects both the parts of the book as both her protagonists very interestingly meet each other .

Author has once again aced in her art and had been brilliant in this venture .As her protagonists navigate their lives , she introduces numerous characters who had been described to perfection which makes this book a must read . Author describes interesting anecdotes throughout and those who are familiar with those geographical areas would really relish them Political commentary continues throughout the book and she touches upon various political mile stones of the 80s .She presents various political character of those times and gives them wrapping of her own personnel interpretation which gives the book a humorous touch .  She is honest , brave and stark about her opinions  when she describes the religious riots of Gujrat or Post assassination riots of Mrs Gandhi or Union Carbide gas leakage .

Both the protagonists are considered other than normal in Indian society .Her treatment of both the characters are so close to real that one marvels at our own country and its paradoxes to the extreme .

Though India is vying for one of the top economic powers of the World , it is a very traditional country in spirit .The surface calm holds it all together but any slight ripple breaks it all loose .Any aberration from the perceived normal brings out the worst in the society and one keeps wondering what caused this bipolar behavior. The gentle Indian changes into some thing else.

The threshold of tolerance is getting lower day by day and  counter expression by violence is getting to be the new normal .The recent outrage and protests that a Movie “Padmavat” has caused amongst the Northern part of India has taken us by surprise .It is a film based on the story of an ancient  Rajput queen , Padmavati ,who commits self immolation also known as” Sati” when her husband looses the kingdom to an enemy King . Sati had been a past tradition which had been prohibited by law in the colonial India . A mere film which could cause so much outrage in the country makes us wonder that how could  the same India, which is vying to be the biggest world IT human resource could react to a cinematic expression in such a way !

Wishing you all a happy February .

 

 

 

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

babies

Never let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

 

 

Kazuo Ishiguro was my discovery of 2017 .No wonder, his  inimitable style of writing has catapulted him to his present stature .As I mentioned in my past blogs that Kazuo Ishiguro is an author of Japanese descent and is currently based in the UK .He has won many literary awards including the Nobel Prize of literature in 2017 .

This was his second book that I read after “The Remains of the Day “.This book had also been made into a motion picture .

The story is based in England , in a residential school , Hailsham .Initially though it appears to be an usual residential school but after the initial pages one knows that a lot is amiss .The characters of the story do not have a last name . Their parents or their families  are never mentioned and they are being taken care by their guardians.

As you start to wonder whether it is an upper class orphanage , you gradually realize that the author is introducing the concept of donations . Then it suddenly dawns that this is a futuristic story about human cloning .

Author has based his story in the 70’s and here he has taken literary liberty , as in 1966 , the idea of human cloning was merely being entertained and the first cloned sheep Dolly happened in 1996

Since then there has been a lot of debates in the scientific world about the concept of human cloning .Science has always been   a double edged sword and some  times it can cause more harm than good . But science is also a necessary evil for the mankind .Its only the scientific inventions that has brought wealth and conveniences to our society .

In the medical world , physicians and patients are always struggling with the scarcity of organ donors. With the medical advancements though transplant medicine has improved a lot, but healthy donors are always scarce .

In the book  “Never  let me go ” ,as the “students” of the school are being raised as potential donors , they are being given the best possible education and training in art .They have all the emotions of a regular human being . They know how to love, hate ,betray and appreciate music and art .

As they all grow up and are ready to leave their school to serve the purpose , then the tale of poignancy begins .They realize that their  destiny has been decided .They are allowed to behave as close as possible to human beings but with a limited shelf life .They would be leading their adult lives in two groups as”Carers or Donors”. They are initially trained as” Carers” but later they have to submit themselves as” Donors” .After their fourth donation , they are considered “complete” and allowed to fade away  As readers we do not have to go through the details of medical part of donations but  we do share the emotional journey of the characters .

In this back drop , author weaves a beautiful love story where Kathy and Tommy , two “students” of  “Hailsham ” go through their journey of life . It is  a fascinating description of their trials and tribulations and opens in front of us the Pandora’s Box of difficult emotional implications .

The book has been written in his usual style of being  “deceptively simple “. One can call it  a science fiction sans the usual technicalities . In the medical world , physicians and patients are always struggling with the scarcity of organ donors. With the medical advancements though transplant medicine has improved a lot, but healthy donors are always scarce

Retail production of human beings for organ harvesting is a tyrannical option for scientists .Countries around the world are struggling with the moral and ethical implications of it .Should such human clones have the usual rights as  of the citizens of a country? Till what level of development should the clones be allowed to develop ?Would we be treating them well ?

As of now , we do not like to integrate our societies as much as we like to segregate . We love to segregate by Walls , color , race , religion, gender economic class, sexual identity .What would happen when we would create one more group to segregate them ?

As part of human nature we love power  and I wonder under the garb of science ,would we be raising our ugly head of greed and unscrupulousness  one more time .

Thoughts to ponder on !

Wishing you all a very happy New Year 2018

 

 

 

The Kabul Beauty School -Author -Deborah Rodriguez

The Kabul Beauty School -Author -Deborah Rodriguez

 

Cosmetology-Poster-version-1-695x530

I  have been happily digressing since my second stint at blogging . I was earlier restricting myself to Indian authors who were writing in English Language .Kazuo Ishiguro is a talent house and I would definitely be reading more of his works but the book I would be sharing with you all today is definitely worth a read .

Not too long ago , when I was on a short trip to India , I visited my usual  Bookshop in the Southern part  of New Delhi .I always carry my own list of books as time is always short and it is definitely not easy to discern the kind of books you want to buy .But the owner of the shop always has a bigger pile than mine .He  recommended me this book , rather, a couple of her books and I had no regrets .

” The Kabul Beauty  School ”  is authored by Deborah Rodriguez .This is her memoir when she was in Afghanistan for few years . She is an American author ,who had decided to volunteer as a member of a small NGO, during the times , when Taliban had just been driven away from mainstream Afghanistan politics .Though physically the Talibs were not present , but their  unwritten rules pretty much dominated the country During those times , lots of well meaning people and organizations had gone to the country to help  it  being rebuilt .

Deborah [Debbie] ,in those days  was trying to come to terms with her second divorce She decided to  train herself in disaster management and took the plane to Afghanistan  She found out that she was the odd one out of the group as most of the other members were  related to health care  . She was a beautician by profession .But surprisingly , she was welcomed with open arms as most of the Beauty salons had been destroyed by the religious fanatics .Whatever threadbare services were available ,It was being  practiced with antique tools .

Her one time visit to the country  changed her life forever .Besides the rampant destruction and  poverty , what moved her the most was the plight of women .Subjugation and disempowerment of women was to its extreme .Women were not allowed any education . They had to follow a strict dress code and were not allowed to travel anywhere without a male member . They were not allowed to sit in the front of the car, leave aside driving .Moral degradation was abysmal as young girls were bartered by the family due  for money , security or other favors .

In this hostile terrain , Debbie , dared to think about  empowering women with whatever talent or resources she had ,so that,  at least a few women of the country could live  a life of dignity .She knew what she was getting into but that did not deter her .She coordinated with all the big names in the Beauty World of the US  and garnered for their support .

Philanthropy is  a  part of US culture and  she could get more than what she expected from various quarters and she could start her “Beauty without Borders ”  the training school and Salon .During her five years stay , it was always  two steps backward and one step forward .Love and marriage happened to her in Afghanistan  but initially , that too , more so keeping in mind , the  extra local help, she would need to keep her school and Salon running .

It was living on a daily basis but what kept her going was, the  indomitable spirit of Afghan women, who were surmounting all the obstacles of their life to carve out a better life for their family and themselves .Not to mention the lack of basic amenities ,intimate partner violence ,ludicrous laws of the state …the list was very long

The book is an easy read and it keeps you glued to it .Her sense of humor resurfaces again and again as we go through the book .Its appeal is that where we ordinary mortals do not dare to venture ,we get a first  hand account of the happenings .

As we read the book , we appreciate her courage and strength of character .She has a very spontaneous attitude and listens to her heart more than her head and that’s what makes her so  special. She took the call and  risked her everything ,even life, at lots of instances, so that the poor women could have a better life .Her only reward was that by the time she left,  she had trained  enough teachers, so that the skill could be disseminated even in her absence .The women who were trained by her were earning more than 400 percent of what their family earning was before .

I would not call it an eye opener but definitely it jolts you from your slumber that  still there are lots of places in the world where women are living a sub human life . By  being mute spectators or by just doing donations  ,we are not definitely doing  enough .We need more voices , more platforms and more courage .

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas .

 

 

The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day – A literary treasure

 

It’s been  almost seven months that  I am posting something new  on my blog site .I  was not being lazy .My professional duties kept me away. In the process , reading took a back seat .But in my hearts of heart , I knew something was amiss.

I  have never had a chance to read Kazuo Ishiguro before and it was my loss .He is this year’s Nobel Prize Winner for literature .He is of Japanese descent based in the UK .I  had mostly confined myself to the books written by Indian authors who were writing in English Language . But once I read his  book , I realized  I  what  I  was  missing out .I have ordered some of his books online and along the line I hope to share them with you .

Lately my blogs have been about books written by authors of critical acclaim .I neither have the capacity nor intention to review those books .But when I read something worthwhile ,I feel more people  with similar interests should experience the same inner bliss.

History always attracts me and in the book “The Remains of the Day ” the backdrop is of the period of  during the World Wars .We get to read a lot of literature of those times as European Continent was undergoing upheavals and newer equations were being visualized between the countries of the Continent .UK was one of the key players in the Wars which changed the path of the history .

The Story teller of this book is an English Butler , Stevens, who is an older gentleman who is currently being employed by an American Master .Stevens   embodies all the qualities of a true gentleman and  a perfect butler .In the past , he  was employed by a British Lord , Lord Darlington . Lord Darlington had a significant political influence in his country and had  association with great political figures of the time . Their abode was called Darlington Hall and they held meetings of great importance there . He had a staff under him to manage the household and the great events that took place there .He took great pride in his profession and would continually try to excel himself . He would also follow the Hand book of the great butlers to be the best of the best

Stevens never allowed himself any other privileges in life . His only aim in his life was to be of complete assistance to his Lord  and in the process there could be his small contribution in shaping the history of his country and the World .His dedication was so complete that anything that proved a hindrance was never allowed by him to happen .

As his ailing father lays in the death bed in the same house ,he did not deem it appropriate to be at his bedside as it would have caused inconvenience to his Lord and his great mission .A  house keeper who worked under him and both of them were interested in each other but he never encouraged her or himself to go forward on that path .

But there is no force in this world that  can stop the changing times .Darlington  Hall changed hands and he gets his employment with the new Master . His American master is very generous and offers him his car and gas money to take a break and visit the country side which he had never done before .There is another interest as he would be meeting the same house keeper at the end of the journey .

Author takes us on  this journey as Steven introspects about his life revisits his convictions .What seemed right and true in his younger days did not seem now. His perfect life had some big voids that was impossible to fill now .

Author  is brilliant in his art form and has used very simple English .We get a glimpse of the  Britain’s country side and the rural life of those days . The higher standard that people held themselves accountable to  in those days  are getting rarer and rarer day by day .Author reiterates that as we approach our twilight years we realize that loved ones are the  most treasured possessions of our life and they should be chased with the same intensity as other goals of life .

It’s  a book which will be in your memory forever and I am looking forward to reading and sharing other books by the same author .

Happy Holidays .

 

 

 

 

The Joy Plant

The  Joy Plant

sea of poppies

Addiction menace is an ongoing issue world over  .Opiates  had always been the center piece of it .Millions have been poured  to eradicate this malady but it is still thriving world over . Now gradually , rules are being bent to accommodate this problem by making it legal but the devastation caused by it is real .

Opiates had  been used in ancient cultures .It was in prominence not only because of its medicinal values but it was an equally potent recreational tool .Neolithic man was growing poppy 30,000 years ago and there is a historical documentation of Sumerian culture growing it about 6,000 years ago .

” ibis” trilogy  written by Author, Amitava Ghosh, is a historical fiction set in the nineteenth century ,where the back drop is opium trade .Trilogy comprises of  three books ,Sea of Poppies [2008] [ Man Booker Prize Finalist of the year ], River of Smoke and Flood Of Fire .Author who  was an anthropologist in his earlier life , had taken up this ambitious project, where he painstakingly built up his characters from meager facts of those times .Plantation workers from rural India were transported to work in sugar cane fields to the countries like Mauritius , Fiji and Trinidad . The surge was seen  when the opium trade was at its peak .They were indentured workers who were escaping their home country from Societal pressures or their present living conditions.These workers paid by their labor the cost of their passage and eventually settled in those countries .We do not know much about those times or places as most of these workers were unlettered ,hence there is very little documentations available .

In the book , Sea Of Poppies , his characters begin their journey from  the Eastern part of India, Ghazipur ,in a ship called “Ibis”.In the story ,this ship was a former slave ship which was reconstructed to function as a trade ship .Interestingly ,Ghazipur, is the oldest opium factory, which was established by British East India Company in 1820 in eastern India  and is still the biggest legal opium factory in the world producing the drug for Global pharmaceutical industry .

The picture of rural India painted in the book , of so many years back ,is surprisingly the same as of Modern India .The trials and tribulations faced by a widowed rural illiterate woman would not be very different even in today’s India .In the story ,to escape it all she takes the help of a lower caste man and decides to go an unknown land for a better future .

They are joined by  other very interesting characters during their journey .A Landowner, a moneyed person , who was cheated of his dues,  because of his being a native in British India .An unscrupulous British merchant , a young french woman whose dad was a Botanist and a hypnotized Bengali agent to name a few .

Author has recreated a splendid language, spoken by his characters ,which is  a mixture of Indian languages , pidgin and creole .If we visit these island countries today , they are pretty much the same languages used by the population there .

India was the largest exporter of opium for centuries in British India .Opium was one of the commodities which was financing the Empire . After the Opium trade crashed ,it is said that the subcontinent was more of a liability .

Opium has  always wreaked havoc on human kind but sheen of money seems to have overpowered human values from times immemorial till today

 

Mirror of our World

Mirror of our World

god of small

One of my favorite authors ,Arundhuti Roy , has once more ventured into the fiction world .Her upcoming novel  “Ministry of Utmost Happiness ” is eagerly awaited .Her last fiction ” The God of small things “was published more than two decades ago .It had won   “The Man Booker Prize” in 1997 and I feel , it is still one of the masterpieces in the world of English literature .It still enthralls me when I re read it after so many years .

In “God Of small things “, the story weaves around a set of twins ,aged seven , Astha and Rahel , who had to be displaced from their own home to their maternal grandparent’s home as their mother had to break away from her abusive and alcoholic  husband .The back drop is a small town of one of the southern states of Kerala .

They are happy and adjusted in their own world and have accepted the quirks of adults around them but every thing changes with the visit of their beautiful young cousin , Sophie .They grudgingly admit her to their own circle but life changes forever for them .

We get a sad glimpse into the world of  children .Their dependent and fragile world is always hanging by a delicate thread from the adult world on which they have no control whatsoever .Life makes them do somersaults  when their surrounding adult world succumbs to circumstances , greed , ambition ,lust or any other wrong choices of life .They just hold on to their own being as best as they can and wait for the storm to pass.

We also witness the struggle of a single woman who made unconventional choices and faced its failures .She belonged to the higher echelon of the society but that made no difference to her not being accepted and facing its aftermath .The family support system which is Indian society’s stronghold can abandon you when you need them the most .Superiority and priority of family value system takes precedence and you are ready to sacrifice your most near and dear ones on its altar .

Her book gave us a vivid picture of the cast system and its role .Cast system is another societal blight   which still holds relevance in today’s  world .Destiny plays its unwanted hand and one has to bear the cross all their life .Politicians in India rely heavily on cast system as their vote bank is dependent on them .Rather than enlightening and educating the masses about redundancy of  cast system they thrive on fueling the divisiveness .

Author Roy’s brilliant and multilayered interpretation of each character , each situation and each turn of events is par excellence .She has worn many hats and has many non fictions to her credit .This book , though written many years ago , still ,sadly mirrors even our today’s society .

 

The Raj Times – A Revisit

The Raj  Times – A Revisit

RAJ

Author ,Shashi Tharoor’s  latest addition to his list of publications ,An Era of Darkness :The British Empire in India, is a collection of an eye opening analysis of how in the garb of up lifting  an  inferior and incapable race [Indians], a multinational company [East India Company ] systematically leached a vulnerable country .

Author Shashi Tharoor needs no introduction .He is an acclaimed writer and a charismatic speaker .

Colonial history of India  is well known but the book tries to bring forth the facts that contradicts the prevalent notions associated with the history of Raj.

Author mentions that India had known unification under various rulers in the past .At the beginning of the times of Empire , India had one of the highest GDP s in the world.It had its own industry ,trade and rule of law . India was an ancient land with its own brilliant history of science ,art and culture .

But at some point ,what it lacked ,was a total loss of perspective .No wonder a handful of foreigners with a promise of improved weaponry could subjugate the continent to such a pathetic state.

Author argues  that infighting and apathy of the local rulers was cited as a cause for the downfall but its also important to remember that indigenous rulers always had a more humane approach to the ruled class.The inhuman brutality of the superior race towards the Indians for so long a time is still unmatched in history .

The modernization and industrialization that was offered to India by the foreign rulers only hastened  dis empowerment and  deindustrialization  of the economy .By the end of the British era ,the subcontinent was predominantly agrarian and eventually high taxation ,natural calamities and British apathy robbed them of their lands too.

Author mentions that its not that the British media or the conscientious of the Empire saw no wrong in the whole process but the gains were so immense that each wrong was justified for its end .

Equally surprising was that it took two hundred years for  a vision of political unity ,patriotism and nationalism to take shape as somewhere down the road with the economic depression India must have experienced a moral decompensation

Its almost 70 years since India gained Independence but we are still struggling with the degradation of our moral fabric.

Its a must read for our millennials as freedom is not something that can be frittered away

History always has relevance if we decide to pay heed to it .When we loose sight of common goals and common good ,the decay sets in .Complacency and silence paves way for a conditioning and  we take our first step towards the shackles.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high …………….Let my country awake”  Rabindra Nath Tagore .

 

Love , in its Diversity

Love , in its Diversity

equal-music
Last week was Valentine’s day week .Commercialization has brought this day more  into our awareness.There are various versions in the history of this day but the most popular version being that Saint Valentine was a martyr, who was beheaded by the then Roman Emperor in around 4th century BC,for getting Christian couples married .

Love, as an emotion , has multitude of definitions .As per science , there are definitely some chemical interactions going on in the brain that brings about this constant state of elation, when one is in love.

Parental love is unconditional as parents accept their offspring holistically .This is the highest and purest form of love which can be compared to divine love .

But true and equal love between two adult people sometimes become all consuming .

In the same context , I would like to recommend a book , ” An Equal Music ” by author Vikram Seth .Though the first edition was published almost twenty years ago , it is an evergreen read .I read it for the second time and I would not mind reading it again .Author Vikram Seth has many best sellers to his credit and this is surely one .

In the novel , author weaves his story around two music students in Vienna , where they t are training themselves in Western Classical music .They find true love in each other but on account of some rash and unwise decision , he decides to leave Vienna and her .

For the next ten years , he tries to find her but always reaches a wall .Eventually , he traces her in London ,but some life changing events had  happened  to her by then .They reignite their love but she cannot handle the guilt that accompanies with the changed circumstances.

Author Vikram Seth is beautiful in his art , as always .In the novel , we not only appreciate beautiful vistas of Europe but also the intricate realms of Western classical music world.Like all artists , musicians have a sensitive and fragile world of their own .Our real world is incongruous and unfathomable to them .However , hard they try to ens con  themselves from it , it subsequently over powers them .

Similarly , in love , people have their own beautiful world away from every thing else .Love is one of the strongest emotion and it can make or break a person .Not every body in this world is lucky enough to experience it and one is doubly lucky if it is reciprocated .

Love also faces the most restrictions , some self inflicted and some societal .For love to be ongoing , it needs to happen at the right time  and a right place and preferably with a right person .

In Love , joy of togetherness is immense and mundanity of  life can be overcome .If right chords are struck then wisdom says try to continue  the music for as long as it lasts .

 

Election season

Election season

election

India is currently witnessing another election season with its own distinct flavor .India would be going to polls for  State Legislative assembly seats in seven states in these coming months.The attraction of power and its accessory is so great that one gets to see all kind of gimmicks year after year .We see the predictable party hopping , incredulous coalitions ,false election promises etc ,etc. Politicians normally do not like to carry any ethical baggage so they keep themselves free from any contract of credibility with their electorate .Electorate is also well conditioned ,so the drill can be played year after year .

One of the recent books that I have read, is very relevant to the present scenario.Author Manju Kapur, in her latest release ” BROTHERS” takes us on a journey of a political novice from the hinterlands of a northern state of India , Rajasthan .He dreams of a future above and beyond that is destined for him .He defies the traditional laws of the land ,denies the relationships that binds him to his land and seeks opportunity in the adjacent city .As he makes the right moves and goes up in the ladder of success ,so does the feeling of entitlement in the younger brother .Unfortunately ,these expectations are not met with.

Her novel also depicted a very realistic treatment of the women from the pre independent era to the present times .The story  has a rural backdrop and over the time we see that as the milieu of the country changes so the female characters .Women become more emancipated and empowered.Men of the household who are used to complete subjugation from their women folk ,find it very difficult to deal with these new age women who are ready to shoulder responsibility as equal.

As evident in today’s world ,the novel gives us a picture of the inner mechanics of the political world.The devious route to the top is full of road bumps specially if its not your family business.Opportunism , cunning ,sycophancy ,deceit are some of the qualities that are needed to survive in these terrains .It is a very interesting read , as are her other novels.

There is no yard stick to assess these people who vie for the highest offices in the country .Their falsehood and lack of credibility is never detrimental .Each is busy blowing their own trumpet and berating the other .

Gone are the days when people sacrificed everything for their motherland .We live in the times when everything and everybody is sacrificed who prove to be an obstacle in the paths of our great leaders.