Monday, September 12, 2016

The Water

Water Water burning bright,
In the States of this fight;
What mortal hand or eye,
Could decide your flow?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine cries?
On what fields dare they grow?
What the hand, dare can plough?

And what court, & dam wide,
Could twist the sinews of thy tide?
And when thy valleys go dry
What good strike? O’ Nature my!

What the people? What the pain,
You do ooze through their vein?
What the dispute? what lost cause,
Dare these futile fickle laws!

When the spring ebbs underground
And water’d this earth love bound
Did you think of this day to see?
Did you descend the hills to get free?

Water Water burning bright,
In the States of this fight;
What mortal hand or eye,
Could decide your flow?


 -Inspired by William Blake's 'The Tyger', for my city Bengaluru is burning bright today :-(

Monday, September 5, 2016

Of Grass And God

When there is a festive occasion at home and my folks are busy putting things in order I have this habit of asking questions about the procedures that are being followed so fervently. They always answer them with a lot of patience, accepting or refuting their explanations thankfully is up to me. Today is Ganesha Chowthi, the fourth day of Shuklapaksha of Bhadrapada celebrated with much grandeur across the country to honour Ganesha's birthday, and like any other Indian God he has his special requirements. Twenty one seems to be his favourite number. Twenty one names, twenty one flowers, twenty one leaves and twenty one sit ups. I had returned home from the hospital this morning and the first thing Amma reminds me to do is this customary exercise, so holding my ears with crossed hands and reciting this sloka I began.

"Benaka benaka...
Inthopuva Sri Siddhi Vinayaka
Devara padakke namo namasthe!"

Up and down, twenty one times!

“Why ‘Garike’ hullu Amma?”

I asked looking at the fresh green grass that was offered to him and as always was thinking of something else.

“Governments rise and fall, machines rust away, great buildings crumble, but mountains still stand, rivers flow to the sea and the earth is clothed in grass and verdure. Nature gives. And takes away. And gives again...”

So writes Ruskin Bond in his book‘The Book of Nature’. And here we were offering the same grass to God. A friend of mine had opined over a conversation just yesterday ’Nature is God’ and that echoed strongly now.

There are two versions to the story behind Ganesha’s special liking towards this grass. Apparently an Apsara in heaven wanted to marry him and she disturbed his meditation, he declined her proposal and in return she cursed him. He started having some burning sensation on his forehead and this grass came to his rescue. The second story is more interesting, Ganesha devoured a demon named Analasura who was troubling Yamaloka. This demon had the power to emit fire, so when he ended up in Ganesha’s stomach he gave him hell of a time. Thousands of sages offered this grass to Ganesha which reduced his discomfort. And therefore it is concluded that if you were ever to give Ganesha one thing, it has to be this ‘Garike hullu’.

Mythical I know but this was not what Amma told me today. She looked at me with some sort of amusement, it was more than the gratification she got because I was listening to her like every year.

“Hmmm…because he has an elephant head right and elephants are herbivores…they love eating grass…what Zoology have you learnt in school Oppi! Now go eat the Kadubu I have made!” she said and continued her effort to please Ganesha.

She heard the conflict in my head, maybe.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Six Degrees-Game Of Blogs-Book Review

Six Degrees-Game of Blogs brought back a flood of memories for me. Having been a part of this activity in one of the teams and having made an awesome bunch of blogger friends, reading this book reminded me of the eagerness with which we had participated in this activity. It was a great learning experience and I completely understand how challenging it must have been for the rest of the teams to coordinate across different time zones with fellow bloggers of different tenets.

This book consists of three stories by three teams of bloggers who were randomly grouped for the activity; mind you each story is a collaborative work with the story being written in a couple of days with twists and turns being provided by Blogadda in between. There is a reason why I cite this here, since the characters and a large part of the skeleton of the story was already provided, the teams had to build a story based on it. We did have our limitations.

The stories published in this book are:

1. The Awakening- Team By Lines
2. Entangled Lives- Team Potliwale Baba
3. Missing- A Journey Within- Team Tete-A-Ten

I have an admittance to make here, if this book was not written through this interesting activity I wouldn’t have picked it up to read. All through the activity I had a strong opinion on the various stories that we as teams were weaving up, all of them never felt anything beyond the 'contemporary-below average-Indian-fiction'. Since there was no forum to express this opinion, and we bloggers were busy with our own stories working on the plot and dealing with the tight deadlines I brought this up here. One of the stories in this book in fact rightly cites the pun” Write your college love story and become a bestselling author” well that’s how Indian authors are nowadays. I write this with great trepidation on how this review will be taken.

While ‘The Awakening’ primarily feels like a science fiction, the highlight for me was the amount of research and imagination that has gone into it. Kudos to the team on that, all the inventiveness with the alien world and interesting trivia was the only reason I thought this story was the best among the three.

The second story ‘Entangled Lives’ left me as a reader entangled too, supposedly this was a murder mystery. And of course there had to be a medical disorder to spice it up. What bogged me down was the entire tone of the story, the usage of some words and the bloopers in the plot. All I wanted to know was who killed and why, nothing out of the ordinary!

The third one ‘Missing- A Journey Within’ has everything missing by the way. I still am thinking about the duodenal atresia that two of the characters have, what did this medical condition do to them to make them go missing. I wish there was more research and relevance here. One noticeable fact is the strength that has been added to some characters, especially by bringing up some important social issues like homosexuality and rape. I wish this was dealt with more refinement.

The stories are not by seasoned authors, the stories are not an individual effort and the stories had their boundaries. I think that explains why the book deserves three stars, probably two point five will do.

Rating: 2.5/5
Book Details:
Title: - Six Degrees by Blogadda
Publisher: -Leadstart Publishing and BlogAdda.Com
Publication Year: - 2015
ISBN:- 9352013891 (ISBN13: 9789352013890)
Binding: - Paperback
Number of pages: -  422
Price: - Rs349

PS: 6 Degrees is India's first book published through collaborative blogging, written completely by bloggers for the Game of Blogs activity at BlogAdda. Know more about Game of Blogs here. You can buy 6 Degrees: Game of Blogs if you liked the review. :)