Longest Time Span to Write a Composition

Yesterday I was researching about some south Indian Literatures. Ever since I read Yayati, I51vujhtlpl-_sx323_bo1204203200_ got curious to discover more such novels from the South Indian Library. I came across a book called Khasakkinte Itihasam(The Legend of Khasak) a Malayalam(language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala) Novel by OV Vijayan. What caught my attention was to discover the fact that it took the author 12 years to complete the novel. It seemed extraordinary as the book had just around 200 pages. Why would it take 12 years to write 200 pages? Couldn’t it have been written in one year? I could feel  that the author must have put in lots of thoughts and so would have developed the novel slowly slowly over time.

I wondered about the longest time span I have taken to write a composition. I only write small articles, blog posts, poems and the longest span I could remember of holding back before publishing my composition was 2 days. Oftentimes, I am too eager to publish my post and try to finish it as soon as possible. I don’t even proofread it properly. Something keeps nagging me at the back of mind- ‘Oh it’s alright, Just publish it’ And I do publish it. And serenity dawns in my mind. Only then I read my composition most attentively on the live page and then panic to correct the errors.

It always enchants me to hear of people who take a long period of time to publish something. I am yet ignorant of the experience of devotedly working on a composition, holding back the temptation to share, and publishing it only after taking it to perfection. But I do aspire to do it sometime. Have you ever worked devotedly for any composition, that took you a very long time to finish it?

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(Image Source: Link)

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Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Amsterdam

Aha! So here I am to tell you about a recycled book I got to read. It’s called ‘Amsterdam’ and is written by Ian McEwan. This was the first book I read of McEwan. At the old book store, the book cover had caught my attention. It appeared like a thrilling tale with mystery and suspense. Furthermore, the declaration made on the book cover that the book won the 1998 Booker Prize added to my conviction that the story must be great to have deserved such honors.

As I read the book, soon I found my pace slacken becuase of lack of a gripping plot. The characters didn’t appear very interesting to me and their personalities didn’t make me eager to know about their endeavours. One of them was a music composer and the other a newspaper editor. They entered into a pact that if one of them will acquire any terminal illness, the other will help by aiding in quick demise of the other to avoid a painful existence. This, they had deduced, after seeing the horrible conditions suffered by an amorous lady who had died of cancer. This lady had dated both these men and so both of them held sympathies for her.

In the course of the story, a battle ensues between both these guys concerning the issue of morality. What one sees as the other one’s moral duty , the other dismisses it with contempt. What I could gather from it was the hypocrisy ingrained in people, to only see bad in others while justifying their own wrongs.

All in all, the book was quick to finish. The narrative wasn’t quite gripping , nor was the plot. The twists weren’t thrilling nor did I feel like taking much out of the novel. Mostly, after finishing a novel I will have plenty of quotes picked up, or some incidents to talk about or some interesting sequence in the story to think about. Unfortunately I didn’t find any such thing in this book. While I was searching online to read some published reviews, I found one published in The Guardian. I could’t agree more to the words of Sam Jordison

The fact that it won the Booker will make many people (and more and more of them in the future) assume that Amsterdam must be McEwan’s best work, when it is far from it. And if Amsterdam were the only book of his I’d read, I’d never want to read another – and so miss out on one of our best contemporary novelists.

(I am glad to post my review for the Recycled Book Reading Challenge, an initiative by Mliae! Do visit her blog to become a part and also meet bloggers who are a part of this reading challenge! )

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What makes us Human? Gossips!

“Don’t gossip” would say a stern teacher in school, “solve the sum I have given to do ” And the two buddies who were too eager to talk about the latest story about Jim’s fight with Ronny had to be curtailed.

In the evenings we meet up friends and chat all along about every other friend of us. Who is doing what, who is dating whom and who is going to get married next.

In the office, while working, the phone keeps buzzing because of the chatter that keeps going on in the Whatsapp group.

While commuting back home after office, a quick visit to Twitter exposes us to the global gossip arena. Some people are complaining about someone while another group is defending someone. One says trust this person, others say don’t trust this person. Praises, abuses, allegations, aspersions..the virtual space becomes a replica of  conventional gossip dens.

We like gossiping. We have, over time, tried to create more and more ways to gossip. No doubt the most visited sites on the internet are where gossips are facilitated to take place smoothly! Recall the success of Whatsapp? The most watched TV shows are ones which help us gossip. We love to gossip. It is in our DNA.

I am reading a book “A Brief History of Humankind” by  Yuval Noah Harari. In the book, Harari says “The new linguistic skills that modern humans acquired about seventy millennia ago enabled them to gossip for hours on end. Reliable information about who could be trusted meant that small bands could expand into larger bands,”

“Even today the vast majority of human communication, whether in the form of emails, phone calls or newspaper columns is gossip..

“It comes so naturally to use that it seems as if our language evolved for this very purpose.

“Rumour-mongers are the original fourth estate, journalists who inform society about and thus protect it from cheats and freeloaders.”

I read an aritcle in the Telegraph after this, in which Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, stated it nicely- “Gossip is what makes people human, because it allows us to pass on vital information about who to trust, and helps us bond with family and friends.”(1)

My reaction when I read it was to smile broadly. I never saw it this way. I like to understand the source of things we consider normal in our day to day life. I am the kind of person who dont talk much with people around and so consider gossip a waste of time.In my office I am seen as a ‘quiet person engrossed in his own world’ But now I see that I have my own way of gossiping. It is by writing in whatsapp or twitter or blog. I like reading and watching few talk shows which I like to talk about or write about later. These days, when we get exposed to so many debates on TV channels, it gives plenty of scope to gossip about who is good and who is not.Even I can’t avoid gossiping about it. It is afterall a primordial instinct to understand who to trust and who not so that we help each other be aware and keep ourselves protected in ‘our tribe’.

Concluding my thoughts, I would say that now I feel gossip as an unavoidable aspect of us. Gossip will happen. In office it often becomes a nuisance to become a subject of other’s gossip.But it will happen.We want to be part of gossip to know about people around us. It’s deeply ingrained. It is the quest to facilitate gossip which has helped us  develop language and technology and a social order.

'You can trust me on this, because I heard it from a friend of a friend of a Facebook friend.'

Word High July: Kaulayaw

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Trees resurrected

Geometrically perfected

Symbols abstract

Orderly , Intact

Silently speak

Voices antique

Wisdom thrives

Eternally immortalised

Universe condensed

Papers incensed

Solitude fills

Anticipation, thrills

Mirth O’ grief

Imaginations deep

Intimate storyteller

Obscure,Bestseller

Companion Profound

Gets one drowned

Into different worlds

While in sofa, curled!

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-r prab

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Footnotes: Books, I find, are great companions. Although I do believe it is people who are actually the most intimate companions.There was a conflict going on in my mind whether to use this word prompt to praise books or to write about a memorable relationship from past; but after reading Sneha’s poem, titled ‘A Friend’, in which she has beautifully expressed her adoration for books, I got excited and decided to write about books too!

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(Source of the above image: Harrietdevine )

In response to Word-High July: 30 Beautiful Filipino Words: Kaulayaw

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Reading Off to Sleep

I remember reading sometimes back, on Jacquline’s blog, a post in which she stated about ‘reading off to sleep’. The idea, in the very first instant had impressed upon me a distant reminiscence. In young days, I used to have Champak, a children’s magazine, under my pillow, which was meant to be the bedtime book.I would get to the bed a bit early, so as to have sufficient time to finish a story.

The story would generally have animals as the character. There would be a deer who lost his way in a storm and went to the wise owl to get suggestion as to how to get back to his home. There would be a rabbit, having his hut in the forest, living a simple life and a jackal would try to cheat him and acquire his land, but an elderly cow would assist the rabbit and teach the jackal a lesson.

Sometimes later my sister would gift me a story book, having short stories with morals attached to them. One story would teach me not to trust anyone quickly, the other would suggest me that happiness lies in small things and we should appreciate them.Every night would be a new lesson to learn.

Sometimes, I would sleep off before finishing the story, then try to recall how much I had read while walking to the school,the next morning. The story will be resumed at night again amidst the hum of mosquitoes, flying on the other side of the mosquito net.

There was a small shop in my town, the only shop which sold books for general reading.The old uncle who ran that shop had recognized me and would always show me books he brought from the city especially for me. He used to go to the nearby city to buy his stock of new books and magazines every Wednesday and Saturday. There would be new books on display in his small decrepit store, on Thursdays and Sundays. I began my reading journey from the books and magazines bought from his shop.

These days I am trying to get back to that old habit again. A lot of time has passed and I haven’t had a proper reading schedule as such. I keep reading at random hours and there is no fixed routine of reading while in bed at night.I have decided upon some books which will be exclusively reserved for bedtime reading. I think it will be a nice change and help me find an old connection with the bygone days.

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(Image not owned by me. Image Source: thomaskinkade )

 

Weekend Exploration: Libraries

I had a day full of travelling today. As I have come to a new city and have gradually found myself settling down with the new job and new shelter, today I felt I am ready to start for the next milestone- find a library here, for my weekend hangouts.

Thanks to my brand new smartphone, the first smartphone for me, I bought for myself last week (My elder brother helped me get the best one within my budget), which helped me use Google maps and go around wandering in the city.

I found three of them .The largest one was called ‘The City Central Library’. I decided to visit that one first.But upon reaching there I found it’s closed for restoration and will open in the first week of July. It was a disappointing start!

The second one was difficult to locate, as the Google navigation was showing me I had reached ‘The British Library’, although there was no such building anywhere around. I had to walk in random directions to figure out where it was located. This one was a good library! I walked across all the bookshelves and then gathered at the helpdesk about the membership rules.Finding it affordable I signed up immediately and got an Icard too.

I thought whether to explore the third library or not.But since I had time and I had already got the taste of exploration with my new device, I decided to go for it. The third one required me to walk considerably after getting down at the nearest bus stop. This library was called the ‘Mythical Society’. With such a fascinating name, it was alluring me a lot. When I reached there I found a colossal church-like structure. All the entrances were closed and some construction work was going on at the gate. There was no security guard or any associated personnel to whom I could inquire. Lastly, I checked for their number on their website (through my new smartphone, yes! )  and made a call. The person was kind enough to send me a guy who helped me get to the library.It was located on the backside of the building.

There I found lots of book on History, Science, Arts and Social Science.The librarian told me there was no fee to use the library services, though one could not borrow books. ‘You can come and read here’ he said. That was fine. Their collection of books was impressive. I was mostly attracted towards the Science section where I found some classical editions of famous Astronomy books. It was delightful and I spent quite a long time there.

I am glad I have found these places. All I want to do on a weekend is to travel, read and  write. With such fine libraries now discovered, I am sure to have a good time during weekends, doing the three things I love to do!

Thank you for reading .I hope you all are also having a good time and doing the thing you wish to do during the awaited weekends! 🙂

PS: Although I have got a smartphone now, I am still not very active in taking photographs.(Since last 5 years I had the basic Nokia phone.I admired it for the simple life it gave me and I used to rely on my laptop for all the other works) I hope I will form that habit soon. It’s only now when I am writing it here, I realize I should have taken pics. 🙂

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(Image not owned by me.Source: moroepl)

Things Fall Apart

Is transformation good?

Have you experienced a transformation?

Have you been forced to endorse a transformation?

Did it make you feel better or made you regret?

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What is a transformation? A Change; and every change has a cost attached to it. When an individual is faced with a situation which demands him/her to change, the first question is “Is it worth it?” “What is the cost attached to it?”

The fact is we are reluctant to change. The thought of a change makes us get afraid. We get attached to our conventional ways, beliefs, and practices. They become a part of our identity and foregoing those means sacrificing a part of ourselves, which is painful.

Recently I finished reading a book called “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. It is a powerful story of a tribesman called Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a self-made man, living his tribe’s principles with deep conviction. His every activity abides by the customs and traditions of the clan. He follows each of the rituals with sincerity- from the simple act of breaking nuts and offering it to the guests who visits his hut, to the harsh obligation of performing a killing as ordained by an ancient custom. He has grown up to be an exemplary character in his community- a powerful fighter, and an able family man with three wives and five children, feeding them all with his farm produce and creating proper shelters for them to live at ease, together. It is a commendable achievement for a man whose childhood was lived in obscurity, where, an irresponsible father had wasted all money and put the family in great debts.

Okonkwo respects his culture, stands strongly for it and makes sure his children learn it and carry forward the teachings of his forefathers. But, “Things start falling apart”

A situation arises which is unthinkable! Okonkwo is faced with a scenario which is challenging his faith. A man of steel, with a concrete belief in his ancestors, has come to a time when he is witnessing an unforeseen change. The circumstance demands that either he changes himself or loses everything.

When I finished reading this tale, I was tongue-tied. I was talking about the story with everyone while I was reading it, but when I finished it, I was speechless. The thought this book wants to drive its readers to is quite profound. I felt tiny, unable to comment on the conclusion. The effect was such that I did not read a book for the next 2-3 days because I just wanted the feeling to stay undiluted for some time.

Chinua Achebe is a fine writer. He writes straightforward. He doesn’t write any redundant sentence. Perhaps he even avoids describing events of happiness and dread with much explanation, leaving it to the imagination of readers to comprehend the degree of the joy or horror of it.

I am thankful to Ebby, who had recommended me this book.

I wrote this in response to Wordepress’  Daily Prompt Transformation.

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