Thursday, 9 February 2017

Book Review : Death under the Deodars by Ruskin Bond

Finally a new Ruskin Bond this new year!

"The night has a thousand eyes
And the day but one
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun."

The book was published in October 2016 and I read it today. And yes, Rusty is back! Back with a bang!

There has never been any doubt about the goodness of Ruskin Bond's fiction, but I have never read anything so deep in this genre by him. Crime, thriller, paranormal, murders of passion or out of pure evil - a long tired list of topics people try to popularize their novels, stories with, most of the times the trials being honest may be, but disappointing.  I was slightly skeptical of what this genre might feel like, but the outcome was lovely.

Ruskin Bond has always maintained an image of Mussoorie - a scandalous and promiscuous town sitting in the beautiful lap of the Garhwal Himalayas. This book, nevertheless, is a living epitome of fiction that will sew in your mind deeper threads of such an impression through the experiences of Miss Ripley Bean. Starting from the 1920s and continuing till around 1970s(perhaps), the stories are enchanting. They are the light-reads as Ruskin Bond is famous for but thrilling and captivating. And those readers who have sunk deep in this genre, do not be scared. The endings are not predictable. Rusty manages to surprise us.

Aunt May is no Miss Marple but can be her younger sister who gathers material for her and sometimes makes a good call regarding impending judgments. She intelligently guesses what might be happening and how the thread of reason is seeped into the human psychology and their daily natures and preferences. Her observations are light, easy, confident and at peace with herself sometimes even to the extent of being lazy mainly because that is a second nature to her. Her attitude, perspective give you a glimpse of the life in hills during her time and maintains Rusty's perspective that we have known all through these years in a most amusing and new way.

The nature lovers will not miss the beautiful descriptions of flowers and the hills, but one who is reading only for that you will be disappointed. But nonetheless, give it a try. This book is worth your time. And the Rusty fans, rejoice! :)

I give Ruskin Bond's "Death under the Deodars" full 5 stars! :D
(No surprise there! :D )

Happy reading! :)


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Book Review : Complete Nonsense by Edward Lear

Throughout my idea of Lear was - a Children's Limerick writer! From what I had read about his life, that made sense. He wrote those five-lined rhyming poems for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, the 13th Earl of Derby. After reading this compilation however, that view of mine has changed considerably! This book has the following parts and along with my reactions are listed under :

1. A Book of Nonsense - √ :) :D
(Ha-ha-ha!!!)
I had read this volume earlier separately and it is a joyride. Funny! A nice book for children and adults alike. You can also learn about certain pronunciations you did wrong earlier by rhyming along.

2. More Nonsense - √ :D :)
(More ha-ha-ha!!!)
Funny, weirder and funny! His neologisms (words not accepted in mainstream literature, but have some popular use of various kinds) are amazing to read aloud, and today many are dictionary words!

3. Nonsense songs - √ :) :D
(Ha-ha-ha. :\ What?!? Oh! Ha!)
I was a fan of Jumblies and their sieve for quite some time; and they, along with Quangle-Wangles, Pobbles, are Lear's reappearing heroes. Lear's nonsense songs were once so famous that some phrases became a part of mainstream literature expressions. An example is the "Owl and the Pussy Cat" 's 'runcible spoon'!
"They dined on mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon."
But not all songs are as nonsensical as the poems are. Some are based on "reductio ad absurdum" (reduction to absurdity) where an argument disproves a statement by showing its compulsive absurd conclusion. This shows the range of literary forms Lear used in his writings, and did best.

4. Nonsense stories and alphabets - √ :) :D
(The first story is okay : typical Lear. BUT the second : Really disturbing!
The parents teach children not to so some things, which they do and all the children of seven families die in weird and even grotesque ways. Perhaps the motivation was to teach the children a lesson of how important it it to listen to your parents. But this way seems strange! And then the parents starve themselves and make a pickle of themselves and are now kept in a museum!!! It is eerie!
What was Lear thinking writing these?
They are nonsensical sure, as promised but the sense of humor is very dark and not at all suited for children. It will be disturbing to them, as per myself. 
This broke my perception of Lear!

5. Nonsense alphabets - √ :) :D
(Perfect for teaching infants!)

6. Nonsense cookery - √ :) :D
(What does he mean? :P )

7. The Heraldic Blazon of Foss the Cat - √ :) :D
(Hail Foss! _/\_ )

In this collection, the type of humor ranges from typical silly, children's to really dark humor and literary devices used very aptly. The range I had imagined Lear was set in has been made vast considerably after reading this collection. The variety presented in this particular genre is phenomenal. It is a really good read for limerick lovers and Lear fans.

I give Complete Nonsense by Edward Lear 4 stars! :)

Happy reading! :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Book Review : The adventures of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets

I wonder what communist fans think of this book! :P

But a Hergé is always a delight to read, right?

Reading the first book after the more refined later ones gives you an idea of how the prolific cartoonist progressed in his genre where he is an epic. The typical storyline and Hergé-framework exists there from the very first book, as it seems, which has also framed the blue-prints of the comics that came later with the same structure, albeit certain nuances changed and some characteristics changed considerably.:D Later, Hergé was better with the correctness of his some scientific descriptions and was also known for his scientific accuracy, though Tintin almost always gets such impossible feats done, and perhaps that is why he is loved so much.
For one the characters are drawn differently. They are also very right-wing, though it was so in other books but here the shades of sentiments are more hued. It gives you a perspective of the time they were drawn which is perhaps the year 1929. But Tintin does some impossible jobs while employed as a reporter like mending a leaking petrol tank on an aeroplane while being its pilot!






Being the first book of the series, it was in black-and-white, and it is said that Hergé never gave permission to publish it in color. There are also a very limited number of copies of this book. So, it is an absolute must-read for all Tintin fans out there, and a collectible of a great value.



I give this book 3 out of 5 stars! :)

Happy reading! :)

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Open to interpretations

Her candor resembled an archaic smile
- open to interpretations.
Well being,
or, ignorance
or perhaps, plain technical ease?

The carvings were ancient
as the wrinkled visage
- like the silent ripples
of a long lost lochan
forgotten in the folds of time.

The stirrings were noiseless
- almost tranquil,
or perhaps, eerie?
All reticence lost, a steady gaze
held beneath the noiseless stars a secret.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Pain

Pain.
Alluring, isn't it?
Devouring poets
- the quintessential conundrum!
Accentuating the enigma
of lone fortresses,
and forgotten poetesses,
and characters of protagonists;
My love life.
Symmetrical, bewitching.
Familiar, but menacing.
Grandma in her wheelchair
awaiting a visit, longtime.
The girl who begs:
enthralls or appalls?
&
a forgotten call.
All connected in a thread.
A chord of pain.
Inspiring writers for centuries
and drowning the sun.
Gorecki's third had begun.
Just pain.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Is it a book? The Kolkata Official Adda Book 1!

I don't know if it is review-able or not! Or even if it is actually a book! But whatever may be the genre, I absolutely loved it! Its a definite collectible if you love Kolkata, know Kolkata and still love Kolkata, sometimes are disgusted by Kolkata and still prefer to live in Kolkata! :)

This is the 'Kolkata Official Adda book 1'. 'Adda' means 'leisurely conversations', but I am sorry! It ain't a proper definition Charlie! Let me explain...

Me, my best friend, his pre-school friend whom I had never met until today, my uncle, his son, his girlfriend, her best friend, my parents, my best-friend's parents, my grandfather all are by some chance are together in our 'baithak-khana' (drawing room) and the Bangali's bangaliyana starts!
Pic. Kolkata Official Adda Book 1

Can you somewhere identify with that? Even if your are a Lucknowi, or an aamchi Mumbaikar, a Greek or any human tribe practised in the art of leisurely 'adda'? Yes, this is 'adda'! And you, if you are in love with Kolkata, will identify with this. If not, its a treasure for a prospective tourist.

Do you go back to the nostalgic spirit when you again see a page of 'sandesh' (not the sweet, but Manik da's magazine!)?
And Manik da? You prefer him to Satyajit Ray, right?

Sukumar Sen- the mathematician turned civil-servant, who designed and supervised independent India's first ever general elections. Did you know about him? No? Are you agonised that people don't know his name even though moments before you had never heard of him? Yes?


Does the new year's eve customary 'Nahoum and sons', a necessity for the upcoming year to be pleasant for you? Does that lingering aroma waters your mouth now as you think of it? Do you wish Frispo's was back? Yes?

Do you say, "ektu side deben" even in metro instead of "excuse me"? Yes?

Do you still think that the Delhi, and now the Mumbai, Bangalore metro rails are not 'authentic' enough, and are in love with the single-occupancy window seats of the musical Girish Park trams? Yes?

Most yes-es? Yes? Okay. Then this book or diary or book that looks like a diary, is a collectible you must have. 

It's true that I- the so called reviewer is overtly romantic, but I am a 'Calcatian' in love with both Calcutta and Kolkata. So, can't help it.

And lastly, I once said this exact line to a friend of mine who scoffed and made faces. If you have read till here, I don't think you will do it too. 
"Kolkata is a feeling, not just a city. You don't just grow in this city. Slowly, this city grows on you."

Enough said. Now read. Hallelujah!

And yes, I give 'The Kolkata Official Adda Book 1' full five stars!

Happy reading! :)  

A lone diner

Sitting alone
in ABCOS Food Plaza
I wonder
how blissful
is solitude!

A woman
in aquamarine
a mother-
middle-aged,
a wife;
Her years
of domesticity
settled
and pleasantly ripe.

I am awkward
as she
is joined
by family
and friends-
all together
happier
and fairer,
while I
write these
self-consoling lines
in ABCOS Food Plaza
:a wannabe loner.

Solitude here
-a choice?

Then there are
four gentlemen.
While collar,
blackberry
and sherry;
politics, office(?)
school system,
rainy days
and
sewer maintenance!

While sitting
in a quiet corner
I wonder
again...
Solitude here
-a choice?
Will I ever
share
a world,
a home
they agnize?

I'll go back
from ABCOS Food Plaza.
But where?
Whom
will I ask
to dine
with me?
(at least once
every day...)