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{Image Courtesy : The New York Observer}

‘To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter.


He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.’

                I truly felt like writing something exclusive, something original,  to those few individuals who religiously visit my blog , everyday, at the crack of dawn, strangers who I may not see or talk to them in this life, leading their existence across the seven seas, in some corner of the world, waking up at the moment when I am finishing off the remaining part of a meeting or a presentation or some other note at my work table…but these days, my faculties fail me! However, the sustained momentum of reading in my life allows me to enjoy such aforementioned masterpieces…therefore, my dear readers, this tiny Pause is meant for you! 

Pause…the tiniest slot of our lives when we forget our regular existence crammed with hideous levels of mundane-ness and lose ourselves willingly (with a servile admiration) to something that can never be captured in words. One of those Pauses captured by Calibre 

and read the Observation that left me devoid of words for a while. Uploaded the BENCH image, post-taking permission from the blogger-cum-Photographer.

{the capturer said : I have to think this is what an ant sees.}…isnt it ….do fill in the space  

 

 

 

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As I write this now, it occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are. There were tricks we did with eggs, as children, to show how they were, in reality, tiny load-bearing marble halls; while the beat of the wings of a butterfly in the right place, we are told, can create a hurricane across an ocean. Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkably difficult to kill.

 

Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on the air, composed of sounds and ideas–abstract, invisible, gone once they’ve been spoken–and what could be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simple ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created.

 

 

 

…….’There are stories within stories, whispered in the quiet of the night, shouted above the roar of the day, and played out between lovers, enemies, strangers and friends. But all, all are fragile things made of just 26 letters arranged and rearranged…’


— Neil Gaiman, introduction to Fragile Things

(link :I touched upon Whore of Mensa by Woody Allen here)

Bits of humor make life lighter and a bit easier. Woody Allen on his written work: “If it’s succesful, the laughs don’t come from jokes, they come from characters in emotionally desperate circumstances.” He finds humor in everything and his special brand of humor laced with satire taxes one with some indefinable hyperbolic energy, which eventually explodes into a maelstrom of blizzard like percussion…It’s fun to watch how his humor develops and acquires a solid character. He does entrance me with hypothetical tales around famous philosophers and historical figures. I literally ate this up.

 

“There’s nothing like the discovery of an unknown work by a great thinker to set the intellectual community atwitter and cause academics to dart about like those things one sees when looking at a drop of water under a microscope. On a recent trip to Heidelberg to procure some rare nineteenth-century duelling scars, I happened upon just such a treasure. Who would have thought that “Friedrich Nietzsche’s Diet Book” existed? While its authenticity might appear to be a soupçon dicey to the niggling, most who have studied the work agree that no other Western thinker has come so close to reconciling Plato with Pritikin. Selections follow.

 

Fat itself is a substance or essence of a substance or mode of that essence. The big problem sets in when it accumulates on your hips. Among the pre-Socratics, it was Zeno who held that weight was an illusion and that no matter how much a man ate he would always be only half as fat as the man who never does push-ups. The quest for an ideal body obsessed the Athenians, and in a lost play by Aeschylus Clytemnestra breaks her vow never to snack between meals and tears out her eyes when she realizes she no longer fits into her bathing suit. It took the mind of Aristotle to put the weight problem in scientific terms, and in an early fragment of the Ethics he states that the circumference of any man is equal to his girth multiplied by pi. This sufficed until the Middle Ages, when Aquinas translated a number of menus into Latin and the first really good oyster bars opened. Dining out was still frowned upon by the Church, and valet parking was a venal sin.

As we know, for centuries Rome regarded the Open Hot Turkey Sandwich as the height of licentiousness; many sandwiches were forced to stay closed and only reopened after the Reformation. Fourteenth-century religious paintings first depicted scenes of damnation in which the overweight wandered Hell, condemned to salads and yogurt. The Spaniards were particularly cruel, and during the Inquisition a man could be put to death for stuffing an avocado with crabmeat. No philosopher came close to solving the problem of guilt and weight until Descartes divided mind and body in two, so that the body could gorge itself while the mind thought, Who cares, it’s not me. The great question of philosophy remains: If life is meaningless, what can be done about alphabet soup? It was Leibniz who first said that fat consisted of monads. Leibniz dieted and exercised but never did get rid of his monads—at least, not the ones that adhered to his thighs. Spinoza, on the other hand, dined sparingly because he believed that God existed in everything and it’s intimidating to wolf down a knish if you think you’re ladling mustard onto the First Cause of All Things.

 

Is there a relationship between a healthy regimen and creative genius? We need only look at the composer Richard Wagner and see what he puts away. French fries, grilled cheese, nachos—Christ, there’s no limit to the man’s appetite, and yet his music is sublime. Cosima, his wife, goes pretty good, too, but at least she runs every day. In a scene cut from the “Ring” cycle, Siegfried decides to dine out with the Rhine maidens and in heroic fashion consumes an ox, two dozen fowl, several wheels of cheese, and fifteen kegs of beer. Then the check comes and he’s short. The point here is that in life one is entitled to a side dish of either coleslaw or potato salad, and the choice must be made in terror, with the knowledge that not only is our time on earth limited but most kitchens close at ten.

 

The existential catastrophe for Schopenhauer was not so much eating as munching. Schopenhauer railed against the aimless nibbling of peanuts and potato chips while one engaged in other activities. Once munching has begun, Schopenhauer held, the human will cannot resist further munching, and the result is a universe with crumbs over everything. No less misguided was Kant, who proposed that we order lunch in such a manner that if everybody ordered the same thing the world would function in a moral way. The problem Kant didn’t foresee is that if everyone orders the same dish there will be squabbling in the kitchen over who gets the last branzino. “Order like you are ordering for every human being on earth,” Kant advises, but what if the man next to you doesn’t eat guacamole? In the end, of course, there are no moral foods—unless we count soft-boiled eggs.

To sum up: apart from my own Beyond Good and Evil Flapjacks and Will to Power Salad Dressing, of the truly great recipes that have changed Western ideas Hegel’s Chicken Pot Pie was the first to employ leftovers with meaningful political implications. Spinoza’s Stir-Fried Shrimp and Vegetables can be enjoyed by atheists and agnostics alike, while a little-known recipe of Hobbes’s for Barbecued Baby-Back Ribs remains an intellectual conundrum. The great thing about the Nietzsche Diet is that once the pounds are shed they stay off—which is not the case with Kant’s “Tractatus on Starches.”


Breakfast
Orange juice
2 strips of bacon
Profiteroles
Baked clams
Toast, herbal tea

The juice of the orange is the very being of the orange made manifest, and by this I mean its true nature, and that which gives it its “orangeness” and keeps it from tasting like, say, a poached salmon or grits. To the devout, the notion of anything but cereal for breakfast produces anxiety and dread, but with the death of God anything is permitted, and profiteroles and clams may be eaten at will, and even buffalo wings.

Lunch
1 bowl of spaghetti, with tomato and basil
White bread
Mashed potatoes
Sacher Torte

The powerful will always lunch on rich foods, well seasoned with heavy sauces, while the weak peck away at wheat germ and tofu, convinced that their suffering will earn them a reward in an afterlife where grilled lamb chops are all the rage. But if the afterlife is, as I assert, an eternal recurrence of this life, then the meek must dine in perpetuity on low carbs and broiled chicken with the skin removed.


Dinner
Steak or sausages
Hash-brown potatoes
Lobster thermidor
Ice cream with whipped cream or layer cake

This is a meal for the Superman. Let those who are riddled with angst over high triglycerides and trans fats eat to please their pastor or nutritionist, but the Superman knows that marbleized meat and creamy cheeses with rich desserts and, oh, yes, lots of fried stuff is what Dionysus would eat—if it weren’t for his reflux problem.

Aphorisms
Epistemology renders dieting moot. If nothing exists except in my mind, not only can I order anything; the service will be impeccable. Man is the only creature who ever stiffs a waiter.”

🙂  try to read the most hilarious chronology of the life and struggle of the Earl of Sandwich, “inventor” of the now-ubiquitous snack,  Yes, But Can the Steam Engine Do This?

1741: Living in the country on a small inheritance, he works day and night, often skimping on meals to save money for food. His first completed work – a slice of bread, a slice of bread on top of that, and a slice of turkey on top of both-fails miserably. Bitterly disappointed, he returns to his studio and begins again.

1745: After four years of frenzied labour, he is convinced he is on the threshold of success. He exhibits before his peers two slices of turkey with a slice of bread in the middle. His work is rejected by all but David Hume, who senses the imminence of something great and encourages him.

 & “The Diet” from Side Effects….{source for Thus Ate Zarathustra : The New Yorker}  

 

 

 

….we never see each other any more, it’s completely stupid. Yesterday I went to see Claude [Chabrol] shoot, it was terrible we had nothing to say to each other. Like in the song : in the pale light of dawn there isn’t even any friendship. We’ve taken off for our own planet and we no longer see each other in close up but only in long shot. The girls that we sleep with separate us more each day instead of bringing us together. It’s not normal….

 

 

[Godard : A Portrait of The Artist – At seventy by Colin MacCabe]

Colin MacCabe writes “Anna Karina, the star of seven of the twelve films that Godard made between 1960 and 1966 and his first wife…one of the greatest creative achievements in the history of the cinema.” Their relationship was a classic example between a man and his woman – a man with high intense creative energies & strong personality constructing his universe by taking a meaninful and richer support from his woman. “Une Femme est une femme”, the most joyful and exuberant of Godard’s films captures the lively & youthful spirit of Karina. During this filmmaking, both Godard and Karina were obviously madly in love, it was a love, which was always, according to Karina, tempestuous – “on the moon or in hell”.

Godard made the fullest use of Karina’s occasional awkwardness and melancholically withdrawn beauty by emphasizing them as a distinctly stated expression of fragility and vulnerability in a woman, which is a far more desirable feminine trait in the universe, which is so deplorably driven by the need to attain Perfection all around. His adoration for such genuine feminine charm in a woman is palpable – in “Vivre sa vie“, Nana intently listens to her lover as he reads  Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval Portrait, and her face remains stable, frozen and lucid, as a translucent rendition of the ultimate dilemma, a lover would face when he has to allow his cherished love to perish.

Related links on my blog : Nana (Anna Karina in Godard’s “Vivre Sa Vie”)

 

Tag is a popular game amongst children. A simple game in which a player attempts to “tag” others by touching them with his/her hands. He or she runs after the whole bunch of maddeningly squealing children. They hide behind pillars, trees, and various other objects and in hush, watch our runner in action. In this modern age, this charming game of Tag acquired a distinct flavor, while retaining that sheer sense of excitement. Tags in virtual world provide an enjoyable social hum.

I have been Tagged by Ant . And the Tag is “Let’s Talk about Books”.

Ah, those companions, we sleep with, with who we can be plaid naked fools, with who we talk in some soft language. I sense Stir everywhere…As I walk with a book in the fold of my arm, the ground speckled with leaves, twigs and seeds, rustles, crunches, cracks under my feet. I linger around the bud and its anxiety in unfurling to reveal its contrasts! Books take me to a world that’s so different from the one I live, and it sounds, throbs as if it’s designed for me exclusively. I am sure, all book lovers feel the same.

1. Total number of books owned

It’s tough a task for me to organize my ever-growing collection of Books, which contains, at this moment, over 1000 books. I love to walk around in the bookshop (the older the bookshop, the richer the experience), listening to their soft murmurs, relishing smells of books, taking a series of jaunts at their crisp pages – they smell of backyards or playful streams or that fresh smell of countryside. The bookshelf at our home is painted in bright and cheerful Red colour by my younger sister who is not so enthusiastic about reading, but admires my love for books. We, girls at times, take a trip down memory lane to recall those afternoon walks, after a siesta, we used to take towards the tiny library in a sleepy town where we spent our childhood. Most books in this main shelf are spaced out by a few tiny Chinese dolls my sister brought from US. These days, I am not fortunate enough to spend as much time as I want with my books, but I try to grab a few minutes while waiting at the airport lounge or at the traffic junction when the life around comes to a stand-still or taking a break at work place or waiting for my cup of coffee at the cafeteria. My car has around 30 books, men & women perched on the bikes, sometimes, stare at the mobile bookshop. Books are everywhere in my room, around the night lamp, shelves, the corners, I cannot live without books. Three-fourths of my bed is dominated by their presence and I do not hesitate a bit to gush over the fact that I sleep with my Books. But this does not necessarily mean that I am a voracious reader. The problem I face, most times, when I sit with a book is that exasperating need to write a few prosaic thoughts of mine.

2. Last book bought  

a) The Complete Prose of Woody Allen, is a collection of 52 pieces of hilarious writing which firmly establish the author in the tradition of Groucho Marx and James Thurber. It is claimed to be an ideal bedside companion, to be dipped into for quick hits of enjoyment. This volume is quite side-splittingly funny, and is a collection of bizarre topics as the invention of the sandwich, organized crime, laundry lists, death, Notes from the Overfed, Guide to Civil Disobedience, The Whore of Mensa, Rabbis who love to smash others’ heads. “Without Feathers”, in his secret journal, Woody writes “last evening I had the uneasy feeling that some men were trying to break into my room to shampoo me”…..His brand of humor is goofy, Irreverent, Bizarre and absurd.

b) Kenichi Ohmae’s The Borderless World is a book about Power and Strategy in the Global Market place. The world, at the precipice of a new age, is witnessing the increasing dominance of consumers over companies and countries, and the resultant melting away of national economic borders to create a global market

c) Yoram Wind, Colin Crook with Robert Gunther – The Power of Impossible Thinking Wharton School’s Book on transforming the business of your life and the life of your business

3. Last book read  Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way, if you want to prove that it’s impossible for one to become absorbed  by an author’s world, I suggest, do read this piece of art. I lost myself many times in this turgid prose with its long, meandering and circuitous sentences. One feels like taking many pauses as this great legend captured self-talk in such a delightful manner that it influences one to monitor his/her thoughts and settle down for one more round of introspection. 

4. Five Books that mean a lot to you It’s tough to pull out just five books from the treasure chest. I have been influenced by (and when I sit down to write, I consciously pull out their style of writing) a few classic British, Russian and American writers. If I were ordained to live in this wonderfully expressive world …- Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda (my master), Virginia Woolf, Iris Murdoch, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, William Faulkner, as a child I spent my nights with Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters…then the Russian brigade came – Tolstoy, Nabokov, Pushkin, Turgenev, and Chekov,….Fitzerald, John Steinbeck, Ian crewman, John Updike, Marquez, RK Narayan, Kafka, Camus, Coetzee………….. In terms of influence over me, which made me sit in a corner and wonder about the world, the unseen, yet felt complexities that are created by others or those stuations which had humans caught helpless, works or thoughts that compelled me to take fuller possession of the reality in my life…

1.       To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

2.       An Anthology of European Contemporary Poetry   {life-affirming collection stays with me as a guide when I write}

3.       The Journals of Sylvia Plath & Faust by Turgenev

4.       The Loser, The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard (sorry, I have cheated)

5.       Then We Set His Hair On Fire by Phil Dusenberry (Advertising) 

Now the best part….

I rubbed my hands with glee, patted myself on the back, and gathered all the positive energies around the windowsill.  It’s time to tag a few friends of mine or those I interact with regularly. Let me spread this hum to Rohit, Alok (he would be furious now), Ant (well, dear girl, I did leave a note at your porch), Amy, Prashanth, Rippu, Subhash, RuchiraVidya , Abhishek and Amit. I wanted to Tag someone, but decided not to disturb him!

turgenevs-fathers-and-sons.jpg……….Weekend Reading!

One of Ivan Turgenev’s finest works, “Fathers and Sons”, the first of the great 19th century Russian novels to achieve international renown. A stirring tale of generational conflict during a period of social revolution, it vividly depicts the friction between liberal and conservative thought and the rise of the radical new philosophy Nihilism – “does not bow down before any authority, which does not take any principle on faith, whatever reverence that principle may be enshrined in. A philosophy that regards everything from the critical point of view” .

Turgenev created a prototype “a Cynical young man who ridicules the age-old establishments and conventions like state, church, home and subordination to aristocratic lifestyle” through Bazarov. Arkady Kirsanoff arrives home with his friend Bazarov, a biologist. Arkady’s father and uncle, already distressed by the upheaval of the peasants, grow increasingly irritated at Bazarov’s outspoken Nihilism. 

The startling realization of Generational conflict as felt by the older generation stirs up rich emotions in the reader -the genuine need of parents to spend more time with their young children, to kiss them, to pamper them as they used to do, when the young ones were manageable in their hands, to learn more about what they had learnt in those citadels of higher education….. I feel, it is more like a struggle with this never before seen or felt sense of alienation from their children and their newly acquired philosophies, peers’ blinding influences, the expression of which is strongly rooted in deriding the established ones. The outcome would be more interesting if younger generation succeeds to integrate the views, time-tested ways of living of older generation with their new approaches….which may be too demanding at times..….read through a few handpicked tiny bodies of words!   

“you and I are behind the times, our day’s over. Perhaps, Bazarov is right, but one thing I confess, makes me feel sore. I did so hope, precisely now, to get on to such close, intimate terms with Arkady, and it turns out I am left behind, and he has gone forward, and we can not understand one another…” {Nikolai Petrovitch to his brother Pavel Petrovitch)

“it seems, to order a coffin and cross one’s arms on one’s breast…   {Nikolai Petrovitch to his brother Pavel Petrovitch)

“In old days, young men had to study, they did not want to be called dunces, so they had to work hard whether they liked it or not. But now, they need only say, Everything in the world is foolery! And the trick is done. Young men are delighted. And to be sure they were simply geese before, and now they have suddenly turned nihilists” { Pavel Petrovitch to Arkady)  

“Life is a happy thing for my parents. My father at 60 is fussing around, talking about palliative measures, doctoring people, laying the bountiful master with the peasant- having a festive time, and my mother is happy too – her day’s soc chockfull of duties of all sorts, and sighs and groans that she’s no time even to think of herself…”  { Bazarov to Arkady)

“A son is a separate piece cut off. He’s like the falcon that flies home and flies away at his pleasure; while you and I are like funguses in the hollow of a tree, we sit side by side, and do not move from our place. Only I am left unchanged for you, as you for me” { Bazarov’s mom to his dad)

I have always been enchanted with Russian novelists’ indulgence in the local color through light and palatable language – sombre landscapes, the threadbare peasants’ existence in the villages, the dawns unfolding, the dusks spreading their charm over the golden wheat fields and rye fields…..the fragrance of mother earth throbs fervently at every pore of the story….‘In truth, I think that there is nowhere on earth that smells like this, as it does in these regions! yes and the sky here…’,  the swift change in the mood manages to retain certain degree of resplendency -euphoric a tone slips into despondency blended with a state of negligence to form a strong background for the rising radical mindsets….

“…..The country through which they were driving could not be called picturesque. Fields upon fields stretched all along to the very horizon, now sloping gently upwards, then dropping down … little streams too with hollow banks, tiny lakes with narrow dykes, and little villages with low hovels under dark and often tumble-down roofs, and slanting barns with walls woven of  brushwood, and gaping doorways beside neglected threshing floors; and churches, some brick-built, with stucco peeling off in patches, others wooden, with crosses fallen askew and overgrown graveyards….the peasants they met were all in tatters and on the sorriest little nags; the willows with their trunks stripped of bark, and broken branches, stood like ragged beggars along the roadside….this is not a rich country, it cant go on like this, reforms are absolutely necessary….” 

Now the piece de resistance in this classic …..”there is a small village graveyard in one of the remote corners of Russia. Like almost all our graveyards, it presents a wretched appearance; the ditches surrounding it have long been overgrown; the grey wooden crosses lie fallen and rotting under their once painted gables; the stone slabs are all displaced, as though some one were pushing them up from behind ; two or three bare trees give a scanty shade…..But among them is one untouched by man, untrampled by beast, only the birds perch upon it and sing at daybreak. …two young fir-trees have been planted, one at each end. Yevgeny Bazarov is buried in this tomb. Often from the little village not far off, two quite feeble old people come to visit it – a husband and wife. Supporting one another, they move to it with heavy steps, they go up to the railing, fall down, and remain on their knees, and long and bitterly they weep, and yearn and intently they gaze at the tomb stone, under which their son is lying; they exchange some brief word, wipe away the dust from the stone, set straight a branch of a fir-tree, …can not tear themselves from this place, where they seem to be nearer to their son, to their memories of him….Can it be that their prayers, their tears are fruitless? Can it be that love, sacred, devoted love, is not all-powerful? However, passionate, sinning, and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with their innocent eyes……they tell us not of eternal peace alone, of that great peace of “indifferent” nature…….     

wilde.jpg Reading a book is like creating a nonpareil experience for self, like taking a pleasant walk towards one’s private chambers…No one is invited to intrude upon the privacy one indulges in, as if something has changed recently, the decision has been made and one is already embarking upon a journey rich with new life-like situations. There is no experience as intimate as reading a book. And how does one feel choosing a book from one’s personal collection or from the book store and gifting it to someone? One can not resist caressing the book, running fingers through its gossamerish layers of beautiful world, lovingly, holding it close to savor the fragrance that is tucked deep in the crisp murmurs for the last time, before gift wrapping it up, admiring self for having taken a meaningful decision, as one knows the book will make a great gift. I felt and did this many a time, standing at the billing counter, beaming over my selection, feeling certain that the book would go to its new home, introduce itself to other books in the shelf, and stay there as a constant reminder of a few pleasant walks one took through the silent grassy fields with no dramatic twists. I still can recall that incident quite vividly…I have always been an admirable gifter, being aware of one’s preferences and choosing a book (as a gift) accordingly. I took this book “Cider with Rosie”, which has got a marvellous morning freshness, a wonderfully vivid memoir of Laurie Lee’s childhood and youth in a remote Cotswold village…

“from the moment he is set down in the long grass, thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers…I remember, too, the light on the slopes, long shadows in tufts and hollows, with cattle, brilliant as painted china, treading their echoing shapes…” I fell in love with the book with minimal effort and I scheduled its journey as a gift to my sister, Vani who is in US of A. But I could not resist this nonsensical temptation to have it with me, as part of my book collection….with not even a hint of hesitation, shamelessly, I wrote “A gift to Jyo-the child woman” on the book….Parting with my book certainly features amongst the toughest decisions I ever made…I cry silently, I struggle, I climb this “See-Saw wooden swing”, Should I gift or Should I drop this idea….    🙂  I do not know whether or not Abhi felt the same when he played around with this idea of gifting away his Collection of Oscar Wilde works – the most cherished book, to me.   

As we all know, Oscar Wildie, was a gifted poet, playwright, and an illustrious phenomenon in 19th century England. He was stylish to his times, and was considered a maverick who attacked Victorian narrow-mindedness. His sense of humor and wit, has been sensational and brilliant …..should I say, Oscar Wilde is   “An Event that smacks of refreshing defiance for those convoluted and staid souls”…

I, especially, adored this delienation of him ….”On his arrival to America, Wilde stirred the nation with his flamboyant personality : wearing long silk stockings, an unusual mode of dress, long, flowing hair which gave the impression of an “effeminate, and a general air of wittiness, sophistication and eccentricity. He was an insant celebrity…”

His controversial work “The Picture of Dorian Gray”…..

A distinctly subversive “homosexual subculture” within the Victorian society forms the backdrop for this masterpiece, which unfortunately was framed as the evidence against Oscar Wilde who was severely punished in 1895. The work clearly reflects, Wilde, the effeminate dandy, and his enthusiastic fascination for  “enigmatic hedonism of youth” and his disposition towards homosexuality…”If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that – I would give everything, yes there is nothing in the world I would not give! I would give my soul for that…” Ah, we mad people, in our madness, we have invented a realism that is vulgar and an ideality that is void…

So true, we always try to avoid realism like something untouchable, like plague and crave the ever-elusive ideal world, desperate to find a few hues of idealism in everyone we come across….The reader would experience a consistent  pressure as exerted by two constructs of an ideology and the resulting outcomeant : the platonic construct of “homosexual passion” (the painter Basil Hallward) and the brutal realistic construct of “homosexual practices” (the crafty and vicious Dorian Gray).  If we remove the homosexual appetites as the context and replace it with any other life dimension, there does, still undoubtedly, exist a huge disconnect between the ideologies, a human desires to have his life founded upon and the consistent realisation of his inability to follow them in real life, thus leading to the much-avoidable, yet the eventual“moral downfall” in his own eyes.

This quick-paced classic indulges the reader in conversations loaded with paradox, irony, intriguing antithesis simplified etc., with Lord Henry being the commentator on life and its weirdities or contrasts! The story keeps the reader attentive, never allows one to slip into the heady delusions of inadequacy, and it continues to unravel. Most characters, as the story progresses, tend to suggest a specific dimension of the author himself, who was well known for rebellious observations and intelligent repartee. The cunning witticism of Lord Henry, most times, left me feeling unsettled…..a moment of realisation that happened sometime ago, a few months ago, a few years ago!

Perhaps you will tire sooner than he will. It is a sad thing to think of it, but there is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty. The mind of the thouroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing, it is like a bric-a-brac, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value. I think you will tire first..someday you will look at your friend, and he will seem to you to be a little out of your drawing, or you wont like his tone of colour, or something. You will bitterly reproach him in your own heart , and seriously think that he has behaved very badly to you. The next time he calls you, you will be perfectly cold and indifferent …..

So does this mean that the face that enthralled one in one season hurtles towards a failure, its inability to sustain its influence over him/her? Or it’s not the inability of the face to be questioned, but the person who views the face distorts the face with his/her own grotesque interpretations or varied justifications that he/she borrows from his milieu so as to settle down with a boring and mundane existence without rupturing the rules of existence as dictated by that unseen society ? therefore, does this mean that he or she cease to use one’s will, mind, reason and all other critical faculties as a person when he/she nestles with so-perceived loved ones? or launch this charming spring-time revolution of resentment about the dwellings in a materialistic world, and broods over it indefatigably with so much fervor that the world around him/her crowd at the door, seeking his/her attention, writhing to be in his/her good books?

{Link: James Blunt Tears and Rain

How I wish I could surrender my soul;
Shed the clothes that become my skin;
See the liar that burns within my needing.
How I wish I’d chosen darkness from cold.
How I wish I had screamed out loud,
Instead I’ve found no meaning.

I guess it’s time I run far, far away; find comfort in pain,
All pleasure’s the same: it just keeps me from trouble.
Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray.
I’ve heard what they say, but I’m not here for trouble.
It’s more than just words: it’s just tears and rain.
..}

section purplised : represents the bodies of words I underlined in my book…I gloat over those dog-eared pages and underlined pages of my books…bad habit? yea so? the rest is my interpretation

{Kings of Convenience, do feature amongst the music I would like to drive with or sleep over. This band is known for spearheading the New Acoustic Movement, for being a gentle reminder of Simon & Garfunkel. Their lyrics surround one with a sweet and pleasant message drawn out from life….. just like Simon & Garfunkel. “I’d Rather Dance with you” topped MTV Europe’s list of Best Music Videos in 2004}

The sky over me is dark with moody clouds; the downbeat percussions of life provide the melancholy beauty to the day. There has been a nostalgic glimmer in my eyes fixed on the horizon that is struggling to find a sliver of metal….humans are beyond those articulated bodies made of segments and joints with a kinematic model infused with flesh, blood and intellectualized yet gradually emancipating bundle of nerves to simulate one dominating aspect of life. We tend to describe humans as ‘he is fun to be with’, ‘I feel so comfortable with her’, ‘it feels soo great when he is around’, ‘there is a brooding silence around him but he perks up when I talk about his favorite author’ etc etc. If I progress on this thought, most of us are ‘emotional spaces’ or ‘emotional architectures’, where we develop, test and contain varied forms of dwelling that are compatible with our physiological abilities, unseen yet to be explored desires as humans, across different cultures dressed up in rich fabrics with kaleidoscopic motifs.  The ease of movement within a space defines the degree of possession of personal space one’s hips appropriate. I recall one of my interpretations when I was reading Iris Murdoch, “all of us are surrounded by this unbearable silence, and we fill this with people, their conversations with us, the hopes that we built further on them, the grief that lurks somewhere around the corner….” How true, all of us are like those empty houses, shrouded in foggy stillness, the garden that is overgrown with weeds, long grass and ugly patches of shadowy grief, the loneliness of the situation made itself so unpleasantly felt and someone has to come to unlock….”…..By “the loneliness’, I meant when we feel the “lack of connect’ with the ambience and people around us, and we effort in to create a few ‘Emotional lounge bars’ in our lives to sink into!

Faith Popcorn, in her book “Clicking’ {a work-piece on trends in the society, the evolving needs as felt by humans), talked about “Clicking with Small indulgences”—-Busy, stressed-out  people, seeking quick-hit gratification, are rewarding themselves with ‘affordable luxuries’. It could be a glass of wine amidst packed schedule, a rich dessert, a languorous bath with aromatherapy range, an afternoon at an urban minispa (a sauna + aromatherapy + a facial…Bill Zanker’s Great American Backrub Shops feature “Backrub Plus, a 10-min luxury for $16.95, McRub}…it’s like a ‘Pleasure Revenge’, with an edge of anger, a decision to go ahead and be reckless, a who-cares-what-anyone-else-thinks attitude. A vengefulness.It’s more about ‘treating yourself well, Ironing those thin silvers of frustration and relishing a psychic soul-lift’….   

She quotes, ‘All over the country, enterprising bakers are opening shops that specialise in fresh, crusty breads. At NewYork’s incredibly earthy Eccne Panis, it’s hard to choose between warm, crusty focaccias, topped with sun-dried tomatoes; chewy bread braids, interlaced with onions, anchovies and olives;and rustic round peasant breads. The prices would make the Sunbeam girl faint, but bread lovers line up for the elegant loaves..’   NewYork’s Takashimaya department store, one of the most original in making tea a small indulgence, besides elegant rice paper tea bags, the store offers polished wooden tea scoops and sugarcane swizzle-stick stirrers. Look at the success of Anita Roddick’s Body Shop, and Estee Lauder’s Origins Shops. The stores offer a delighting array of aromatherapy items – infusers, inhalers, oil burners, scented pillows, fragrant eye masks – all Small indulgences that deliver that ‘longed-for-quick-fix life’. Does not it sound like ‘an affordable escape from the mundane existence’?

The one Small Indulgence I enjoyed the most, which I feel, within the reach of my arms is to lean back and take a quick trip down memory lane….one of such kind happened last week, when I strayed away from the presentation I was working on.   

A{ link:little Russian story that falls under a “Child-family separation theme’ by elegantly earthy short story writer (shall I say teller?) Anton Pavlovich Chekhov} One of those Russian stories I read and cried over when I was a child, I dreamt a very happy ending for, just like Vanka, whose letter is addressed to his grandfather (address : The Village, to my grandfather Konstantin Makarych”…no other address line! Letters were to be put into post-boxes, and from there they were conveyed over the whole earth in mail troikas by drunken post-boys & to the sound of bells….though it was so unclear and an abrupt feeling that the letter would ever reach his grandfather, I wished fervently for that to happen- when I was a child. Can one ever explain a child’s innocence ? Would I be able to explain my admiration for Red Post-boxes that shot up soon after I read the story, when I was walking down to the school, everyday ? Was I able to convince myself with the realistic end of the story of an unfortunate boy, the futility of his sincere efforts, when I grew as an adult, out of ‘Vanka’ story). Is not it so blissful to know that “everything is possible in a child’s world, which so miserably, fails to stand firm in the world of grown-ups, despite the fact that adults are more equipped to achieve things or fulfill their dreams or get things done in the way they expected them to happen, than little children. yet!          

Vanka, a 9-year old child who has been to apprentice to the shoemaker, wants to run away from his miserable existence at his master’s – who beats him, gives him little to eat, and runs back to the warmth of his grandfather and his village. A tiny child who is being exploited by the world of grown-ups. Chekhov makes this story more poignant through constructing the narrative in the form of a letter Vanka writes to his grandpa on a lonely night before Christmas. A nimble and honest tone of a child expressing his helplessness and his basic needs ‘last night I got a thrashing, my master dragged me by my hair into the yard, and belaboured me with a shoe-maker’s stirrup, because, while I was rocking his brat in its cradle, I unfortunately fell asleep….food there is none. In the morning it’s bread, at dinner gruel and in the evening bread again..’   A child’s first ever encounter with grief and his consistent battle to run away, a stronger desire to embrace the warmth he savored with his grand-pa and those delightful moments he spent in his little universe, which, now appears to be a ‘far away dream’ …he promises his Grand-pa in his letter , ‘I will pray to  God for you, and if there’s anything wrong, then flog me like the grey goat. And if you really think I shan’t find work, then I’ll ask the manager…let me clean the boots or I’ll  go instead of Fedya as underherdsman…I wanted to run away to our village, but I have no boots and I am afraid of frost….” How the little child delights over his grand-pa ..’he was a small, lean, unusually lively and active old man of 65, always smiling and blear-eyed. All day, he slept in the servants’ kitchen or trifled with the cooks. At night, enveloped in an ample sheep-skin coat, he strayed round the domain tapping with his cudgel..’ how the little child daydreams about and smiles over one of his grand-pa’s dogs…’Viun was an unusually civil and friendly dog, looking as kindly at a stranger as at his masters, but he was not to be trusted. Beneath his deference and humbleness was hid the most inquisitorial maliciousness…’ It’s not just a story but an experience that evolves with one and shows different hued vignettes of life!

{dedicating this post to Akram, one of my best friends…..boy, I truly enjoyed 4 hr long pleasant conversation with you on our terrace…I learnt a lot more about my friend, you, who has been in my life since 1999. Glad that you came back from Sweden happy and cheerful!}  

{One amongst my favourite songs that I can sing. Would be able to match the deeply felt angst : The Man who Sold the World – Kurt Cobain}

the link :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=209ArurxVG4

Il a frissonné légèrement, la pensée il doit y avoir un orage en route il a rappelé L’un matin de dimanche froid venteux, elle s’asseyait sur le banc.il s’est tenu devant elle, écoutant elle.il pourrait voir qu’une couche mince de chagrin dans sa yeux.elle regarde si farway et maintenant encore elle s’est tenue devant lui.il a cherché de l’autre côté de la rue pour la librairie où il Elle.il sait qu’elle rassemble des feuilles sèches et bourre le livre avec eux…. 

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking. 
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves : justice,
pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

{My all time favourite Poem—by Robert Hass}

{link : But Girl You’ll Be Woman Soon – Pulp Fiction, which I feel reflects a few hues of me.Almost! As E.B.White said about his dog, “life is full of incidents without accomplishment”.Tch,tch!}   

200px-mrsdallowaycover.jpg{Link :….an emptiness }about the heart of life. Your excitement of finding Clarissa at her home again is fated to be short-lived. Oh! Where is that Clarissa who plunged into life? She who you are with in this attic is secluded and lonely, pondering over the absence of communication and sexual intimacy in her married life.

Do man and woman grow apart emotionally after having had the closest *physical intimacy  underneath the sheets in Marriage? After that initial euphoric wave, do both the bodies remain seemingly content with almost predictable an existence? even if either one of them does an attempt, still it would be looked at with a stare of resentment, does that mean that the entry point had seen a much higher level of expectations, which were not met by the actual delivery, or it’s just that plain bare longevity factor ? Do most cease to be lovers and settle down as a man and woman sharing the space? Alternatively, after having reached a point of no return, do most couples come to terms with the void or the emptiness and share the resultant solitude? *Am I projecting more a pessimistic side of a married life? or as a single woman trying to portray the other side of   a wall that I still have not seen, but justifying it with a veil of sarcasm?     

Through a conscious jog through her memory lanes, you meet Sally Seton…she sat on the floor with her arms round her knees, smoking a cigarette…and  Clarissa’s stifled homosexual love for her, which evolves from a girl’s admiration…someone who is unconventional, who tries to revolt against the norms? Something infinitely exquisite like a sudden kiss by Sally, the crispness of the moment stays firmly etched in her heart as the ultimate sexual experience she would have ever felt.

We maintain complete indifference to others when we are in love. Despite being aware of it and disliking our behavior through, we remain so. Can a woman or man have a relationship with her/his husband without enjoying much sexual intimacy?

Clarissa had leant forward, taken his hand, drawn him to her, kissed him..she sat back at ease with him, light-hearted, all in a clap it came over her, If I had married him, this gaiety would have been mine all day!…take me with you, she thought impulsively, as if he were starting directly upon some great voyage…. Reflects her longing for Peter, who criticizes her for being so driven to be the perfect hostess, to be the cynosure of bridge parties and other social gatherings. Peter who feels that she makes him suffer, tortures him so infernally and wonders how she still had the power to make his heart wince and move him back swiftly to their youthful days. Tell me, seizing her by the shoulders, are you happy Clarissa?…clearly shows that unexpressed yet understood emptiness in her married life. Though the moment between them faces a silent death, its passion radiates with the same intensity throughout. His tendency to play with his pocketknife symbolizes repressed sexual urges towards Clarissa. it all seemed so useless – going on being in love; going on quarrelling; going on making it up, and he wandered off alone…the devilish part of her – this coldness, this woodenness, an impenetrability, some queer power of fiddling on one’s nerves….turning one’s nerves to fiddle-strings  ….

We endorse transparency in a relationship, but also are obsessed with that element of mystery, the unknowableness of the other person. Why so? Is transparency a myth and mystery is the key?

My little head drowned in those deep tresses poses : So Promiscuity in thoughts is the legitimate affair as executed by the heart, while the body continues its struggle to remain loyal to that well-defined format called Marriage? 

section purplised : my interpretation. I want this review to be a full-fledged case study*oh,how do I  shoo away the Advertising creature in me? Work In Progress. The italicized content represents the sentences I underlined in my book…

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