Thursday, December 17, 2015


Read "Catcher in the Rye" when I was seventeen. I agreed a lot with the 'phony' accusations of Holden. Then as a teacher I read that the main character was a sociopath. Phew! I must have been one too, I thought. Then I read comments by a number of unknown readers online, who said that they identified with Holden a lot. That made me feel safe about having owned up to feeling just as he did.

It is soothing to read Holden's monologue about superficial people, who act superficially at times. Holden is a teen and when we are young as he is, we do not have the skill to look beneath the superficiality.

This is where the manipulative mentality scores over the over analytical. A manipulative person sees another human as someone who is either useful or useless. He or She admires only what useful people do.This way they over look the superficiality of people. Then they realize a truth that overly judgmental people fail to see.

The truth is, a lot of superficial acting people are hard working, caring and often just don't know how to act natural. They are not to be judged as bad just because their conversation is superficial. Of course such people are boring companions.

But just because a person's speech or writing has depth or is truthful, it doesn't mean he or she is honest, trustworthy and a harbinger of joy. People are far more complex than that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fantasy and Magic

Sachin Dev’s “Faith of the Nine” leads its readers into ‘Janani’ - a world created by nine Gods with a song -, and makes them live through the trials and tribulations of a civilization built by warriors, magicians and philosophers. Evil battling forces threaten to prey on them, as the nine Gods seem to have forgotten them. The nine Gods from the title may be mysterious and ephemeral, but we feel their powerful presence throughout the novel.

The novel is not the retelling of an ancient Indian epic, which places “Faith of the Nine” among the first Indian novels to create alternative reality that is convincing and vividly described

Creative metaphors and images that abound in the novel describe not just the landscape of fantasy , but thought processes as well, and amply show case the writer’s command over the language. These samples of his descriptive power are from the same page:
Fear tugged at him, an animal cornered under the glare of a thousand lit torches….
… like a muslin drape catching fire, realization dawned on him…
The rift in the realm manifested itself as a dark oozing wound…

The action in the novel is equally graphic and gripping.
“She saw Rukshar dart forwards from the side, pouncing like a hungry jaguar. Her hands were moving and the broken, jagged window frame exploded on the soldier’s head. The lightning faded and the man crumpled slowly.”

Memorable landmarks dot the terrain of Janani such as an enchanted garden with flesh eating plants, the stormy desert with rakshasas buried in its depths, the unvisited ivory tower of the wise men, along with normal looking cities bustling with activity and sleepy villages, bountifully blessed with grain.

Fateh, the warrior, one from a long line of wise commanders, Abhaya the conscientious and caring super human monk, Ishan, the divine child, adventurous and fearless, Bajah, his faithful foster mother: all of them are sketched realistically enough for readers to traverse the real world and venture into the fantastic empire of Nam and get involved into the fate of the noble and the able. Evil characters such as the soul devouring Yakshis, demonic and diversely formed Rakshasas, born in the void and monsters are etched with memorable characteristics and add considerably to the fantastic elements of the novel.

The clash between good and evil is presented in all its complexity in an alternate universe, where humans exist along with the supernatural and the demonic. “Faith of the nine” thus provides tasty fare in classy language, making it a good choice for not just fantasy aficionados, but to others who are curious to know what this genre is all about.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Madras magic and make do logic

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Madras magic mangled

With a heavy heart, I make this post on the city that has an undeniable magic of its own.
A centre for culture, a thriving, throbbing city - a happening place, a home to several disenfrachised, disoriented people who found hope here, and a means to live.
"Vandharai vazhavaikkum Chennai managaram" as its citizens proudly boast, it is a city which provides a life line to any one who chooses to ignore its sweaty heat.
On the first and second of December, this huge metropolis was drowned, after being battered by four consecutive cyclones.
A word on its citizens. People from other states label them unfriendly and conservative. People from small towns consider them rude. As someone who was brought up there, as someone who studied in excellent schools and universities of that metro, my view of the people of Chennai is as follows.
They are hardworking, practical, forward looking, fond of their traditional music and dance, energetic and always up to something or the other. The sheer pleasure I enjoyed as a child, standing at Luz Corner and watching vehicles buzz by, and noisy activity everywhere, the several dance and music classes I attended, where I stared at world class performances as something that all the people in that space did everyday, the scores of brilliant, committed teachers, who never ever screamed or cursed or acted superior to command the respect they did, the non stop discussions on every topic on earth that could be heard in public spaces, the debates children had on technology and science as they stood waiting for their school bus, the sophisticated, firm and decisive tone of the Chennai woman, the plainspoken, shrewd and skilled mechanics, plumbers and workmen of the city, are some of the unforgettable impressions that have made me what I am today.
Chennai is all about its talented and forward looking people, even if a lot of others don't get what's so great about the crowded, hot metro.
Buildings, offices with all their equipment and documents, apartments and huts, all were under water yesterday. People watched in helpless horror as their house hold equipment and vehicles bobbed along in water to eternity. Hundreds of thousands of people sat huddled together without electricity or drinking water waiting for the flood water to recede from their beds and sofas. The airport looked like a river, as did the rest of the city

I mourn the devastation caused by the floods in this city, once colonized as Madras,  and presently renamed
Chennai, the capital city of Tamil nadu.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Discovery - Magicorlogic?

I took an online language quiz today, ticking off right answers, writing an email and answering an innocent looking, 'tell me what you read' question at the end. I took this test on my phone, my first phone tapped test.
I also took an online test on my laptop yesterday, in which I prepared a presentation and wrote an email.
Having taken two tests on different devices opened my eyes to a weakness of mine.
I write rashly, typing away what comes to my fingers.
Not being adept at phone tap typing, and unable to fit the print into the phone frame, I scrolled slowly, carefully, not wanting to make a mistake and send a half done test by tapping some place unwittingly.
It was the newest experience of my literally old life.
The right answer for the medium-tough grammar questions had never been so clearly apparent. I had no doubts that my answers were right even after a single reading. I am now telling myself _ READ SLOWLY. God! It is so much easier to understand when we read carefully. Logical, right? The feel was magical.

Next I wrote these two paragraphs. Tap tap slow tap, slow slow alphabet by alphabet, by word, space, word......I did not have to rework on any of the sentences. It was a business mail, something I have not had much experience in writing- and I wrote it spontaneously and perfectly to my knowledge and satisfaction. I have rarely felt satisfied with what I have written all these days, till I tapped very slowly and finished writing faster than ever.
So I'm telling myself - TYPE SLOWLY- Speed typing is for mindless robots, not for creative, purposeful crafts-persons whose thoughts flow logically through magic, like yours truly.