Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Three Men In a Boat

There are three young men and their dog-Montmorency.They are all idling, smoking tobacco, except the dog, of course, and discussing how bad they are- “bad” from a medical point of view.So they decide to go on a long boating trip to heal themselves.That’s the plot of this classic novel, broadly.

Jerome K Jerome, the author of this tale, referred to as “J” in the story, is quite an amusing narrator.In the opening chapter of the book,he tells about discovering in a medical journal, a liver ailment, whose one of the symptoms is, ‘a general disinclination to work of any kind’. He gets convinced he has this disease- since childhood.And he gets aggrieved to recall his old times when everyone thrashed him for being lazy while not realizing it was because of the liver!

From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to it. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know, then, that it was my liver. Medical science was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down to laziness

Similarly, each of them discovers having some or the other obscure ailments and then come up with the notion of going on a weekend boating trip up the river Thames, to ‘restore their mental equilibrium’.

What we want is rest, said Harris.
Rest and a complete change, said George. The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium.

Their trip starts from Kingston and continues till Oxford- from where they take a return course.The story was intended to be a travel narrative and J tells elaborately about the places they pass through, as they row their boats.

However, the more interesting aspect is the comic narrative of events. J describes the humor in their planning and preparation of the trip and subsequently how they face the hard and good times later in the journey.Additionally, Jerome shares some charming philosophical thoughts describing the life and the beauty of nature.

We are creatures of the sun, we men and women. We love light and life. That is why we crowd into the towns and cities, and the country grows more and more deserted every year. In the sunlight in the daytime, when Nature is alive and busy all around us, we like the open hill-sides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night, when our Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and left us waking, oh! the world seems so lonesome, and we get frightened, like children in a silent house. Then we sit and sob, and long for the gas-lit streets, and the sound of human voices, and the answering throb of human life. We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness, when the dark trees rustle in the night-wind. There are so many ghosts about, and their silent sighs make us feel so sad. Let us gather together in the great cities, and light huge bonfires of a million gas-jets, and shout and sing together, and feel brave.

But his mind keeps rambling as he narrates.You must have a friend who is talkative and tells stories starting with-“You know once what happened..” And then gets everyone around him involved in his funny narrative. J is a similar kind of person.By the time you would have finished the book you would have read many amusing incidents which  J recollects from the past.

This book is delightful! A book to be savored!An absolute Classic! The book will keep you smiling all the time.I wanted to read the book since a long time because I had already read parts of the book in following ways-

1.An excerpt from this book was titled as  “Packing for a Picnic” and was included as a chapter in our English Course Book during Middle School.It was an amusing narrative of how packing made J scared because he always forgot to pack his toothbrush.

2.I found another excerpt included in  “The Greatest Literary works of All Time”, a book I had purchased some time ago.This particular excerpt was about J’s uncle Podger, who always boasted that he could do a task without anyone’s help but instead would make the whole house go mad because he will keep messing up the things.

So, I had a fairly nice impression of the book and wanted to read the full of it! Thankfully I read it the last month and was glad to have added it to my “Finished Reading” list.I am grateful to Mliae for hosting this lovely challenge which has ensured that I will be finishing at least one book every month.
If you want to be a part of it, do visit her blog and get acquainted with the challenge.

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Beneath The Apple Tree

I looked up above, as I laid

Beneath the apple tree,

And wondered how nice it’ll be,

To get those apples for free.

But the apples were too high to reach,

So all my hopes got lost

When suddenly in my mind it came

Great Newton’s age old thought.

That when he sat below the tree

As useless as I was,

Without any effort, or initiative,

An apple did really fall.

Newton said that he was the one

Who first actually had found

That earth pulls the apple towards itself

And makes it fall on ground.

Having faith in Mr Newton

I laid there as I was

The noon changed to night,

(The sky flooded with moonlight)

But the apple did not fall!

And then I began to doubt

If really Newton said it true

Or was it for only name and fame

To gain his own fortune!

Just then from above did fall

An apple that made me sicken!

For it emitted a chokin’ smell

And throughout it was worm stricken!

Within a flash I speculated

That no book has ever mentioned

That what Newton actually did

With the apple that had fallen.

Now I know he must have crushed it

And took out his all frustration

Because just like mine, his apple too was

Dead decayed and rotten!

So commit to memory my new theory

And never have it forgotten

That all the apples that hang on tree

Are not pulled by gravitation.

Through the years I have known

That among the apples that hang on tree

The gravity brings down,

On the ground

Only the decayed apples for free!

-r_prab

( Since a young age , scientists and their curious tales have fascinated me. And Newton, is perhaps, one of my favourite figures in that respect. This poem was written when I was in high school.It was an evening when I had got bored solving Physics problems.Next day I had read it aloud to the amusement of my classmates, after which it got out from the closed pages (seven years later), only a few days back! The Literary Club of my University invited poetry contribution and I sent this old poem of mine. Today I was exhilarated seeing my poem posted on their elite blog, LITERATI! This encouraged me to share it on my blog as well! I am glad to share it!)

 

p02mpn0h

 

 

(Img source:-  http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/496xn/p02mpn0h.jpg)

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

I woke up this morning to a wonderful TED talk by Tim Urban,the epic internet writer at Wait But Why, who spoke about procrastination. The title of the video was “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator”

Interesting, as it sounded, and also because we tend to get attracted to such subject matters, like procrastination- an incurable, often mocked and joked, bitter reality of our lives.I was eager to listen what the speaker had to say about it.

Tim got my attention immediately as he commenced his talk describing his university project where he had to write a ninety-page thesis, but procrastination kept him postponing it until the last two days, after which he had to spend sleepless nights in panic and stress to complete the report.True story! Universally! So what was Tim going to say next?

Now he began to tell about the mind of a procrastinator.He said he had got two MRI scans done-  of the brain of a procrastinator and that of a verified non-procrastinator.And he presented before the audience, with a note of expectation that it won’t be difficult for them to interpret the MRI scans, the snapshot on the screen.And the two pictures were these-

This just made me jolt with laughter!

I had all my interest in his presentation now! He went on to explain that a non- procrastinator had a ‘Rational Decision Maker’ in the brain, but a procrastinator had an additional ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ with it!(I so much appreciated the nomenclature!) “The instant gratification monkey” he  described “tends to believe that human is also a monkey, and all it needs is food, rest, and all things of fun and ease.”

As he went on with the discourse, I found him saying the obvious things, but with a very interesting perspective! It was a delight to listen to him. He said the monkey tends to snatch the wheels from the rational decision maker most of the time, but luckily, there is a guardian angel, that looks over this monkey.It lies dormant, but makes its appearances at the most critical times- when the limits have been reached, the deadline has arrived, and there is a fear of public embarrassment, or something important is on the verge of getting lost.Then the angel strikes!! Wonder what this Guardian Angel is called?

panicmonster

Tim showed the next slide remarking, “Once the panic monster shows up, the monkey runs away to the tree. It is the only thing it is scared of!And the rational decision maker gets on to the wheels with dread.”

panicmonster3

Quite true!

In the final part of the presentation, Tim goes on to highlight an important insight- The panic monster strikes only when there is a hard deadline, upon reaching which it gets triggered, as had happened during his University thesis submission.”But what about the things that we aspire to do, but have no hard hitting deadlines attached with them, like our resolve to call a friend, write that long anticipated letter, to learn a particular skill, to nurture a particular hobby? ”

For these endeavours, the panic monster never strikes, and these pursuits continue to stay uncheked and unattented! This only brings regret and lamentation in the long run.Tim showed his last slide containing a grid of square boxes, in rows and coloumns.

boxes

He called it ‘The Calendar of Life’ and explained that each of those boxes represented one week for a life of 90 years.He said, “there aren’t many of them, because we have already consumed a fair bit of it already.” I liked this.Tim had shared a medium through which we could start seeing deadlines in our lives.A strong visual aid like this will work better than mere harboring the thought of life having a deadline.(Which often seems to get forgotten over time)

Overall the talk left me with a very good feeling.Not only his presentation was interesting, but his message, assorted with smart elements of humor and his excellent delivery of speech, created a memorable and impactful experience!

(The full talk can be watched here)

Murphy’s Law

I recently bumped upon a book called “The Complete Murphy’s Law” by Arthur Bloch.It just took me thirty seconds of skimming to make me rush to the counter to buy it,lest someone else saw it.

What made the book so interesting? Well..it was after a longtime I laughed so much reading a book.A collection of ‘laws’ like the Murphy’s,it takes the reader into a world of insights,through utterly bone tickling laws! Here’s a peek I couldn’t resist to share-

 

Ade’s Law- Anybody can win-unless there happens to be a second entry.

Airplane Law- When the plane you are on is late,the plane you want to transfer to is on time.

Babcock’s Law- If it can be borrowed and it can be broken,you will borrow it and you will break it.

Cannon’s Cogent Comment- The leak in the roof is never in the same location as the drip.

Carpenters Law- If you have only one nail,it will bend.

First Law of Debate- Don’t argue with a fool,people might not know the difference.

The First Discovery of Christmas Morning- Batteries not included

Extended Murphy’s Law- If a series of events can go wrong,it will do in the worst possible sequence.

Rule of Failure- If at first you don’t succeed,destroy all evidence that you have tried.

Glyme’s Formula for Success- The secret of success is sincerity.Once you can fake that,you’ve got it made.

Herblock’s Law- If it’s good,they will stop making it.

Issawi’s Law of Consumption Patterns- Other people’s patterns of expenditure and consumption are highly irrational and slightly immoral.

Jacob’s Law- To err is human-to blame it on someone else is even more human.

Kaplan’s Law of the Instrument- Give a small boy a hammer and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.

Laws of Gardening- Other people’s tools work only in other people’s yards.

Miksch’s Law- If a string has one end,then it has another end.

The N-1 Law- If you need four screws for the job,the first three are easy to find.

Skydivers’ Law of Hesitation- He who hesitates shall inherit the earth.

 

Haha.Hope you had a good time reading these few pick ups I compiled from the book.It’s weekend again,but I have lots of works lined up.We are organizing TEDx event in our University tomorrow.I am a part of creative/communications team and we have been working on lots of digital designs.Our team, that was handling the crafts works for stage design,worked whole night and they made lots of lovely decorative items.

I really wanted to make a post this morning,as I got some free time and flipped through this book,I had purchased some days back.I just wanted to share a smile with everyone! (:

Lately I have become more of a ‘reader’ at WordPress than a ‘writer’.I have been frequenting the WordPress Reader amidst my cluttered work hours,just to take a break and delve into the world of lovely bloggers!I find peace and solace in that. I surf across the posts from all the admirable bloggers I am following.It feels so amazing to read the different thoughts and expressions, all conveyed through a fine amalgamation of eloquent words.It just drives away all the worries and anxiety that comes with work.

Life feels so better with all the bloggers around! Thank you so much to you!

Have a very happy weekend!

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