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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Sweeney Todd- The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

So, it turns out that 221 B Baker Street is not the only fabled address that has acquired a cult status, today I discovered another- Todd’s barber shop at 186 Fleet Street, London.

Today, while at a Library, I was looking forward to some light casual reading and so was drawn towards the shelf containing graphic novels. I flipped through some Batman, some Shakespeare, and some World War themed graphic novels but at last got hypnotized with the cover of this book.

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I think the memories of my college days came back which prompted me to  pause at it. In those days, I had some friends who were great fans of manga and through them I had got to watch some interesting animated series like Hellsing, which I had found strangely amusing. This book cover with such a vicious guy,  having tainted fonts below him and the label of ‘classic’  at the top made me believe this would be an interesting read.

And it was! I was engrossed throughout! I was so eager to know the ending of this tantalizing suspense story that I didn’t take a break the whole time.

After finishing I started doing my research. It turned out the story was written as a serial and published in a London periodical between 1846-47 with the title ‘Strings of Pearls’ Now that I had read the tale, I could relate why it had such a title. The mysterious barber in the story is a wicked and greedy man and it so happens that some people who visit him disappear in strange ways, never to appear again. It is only when a particular person goes missing , who is carrying a  ‘String of Pearls’ to be delivered to a young lady as a token of remembrance from her  past lover, that a series of events get triggered leading to the uncovering of mystery.

Wikipedia told me that this story belongs to the category of ‘penny dreadful’

Penny dreadfuls were often written carelessly and contained themes of gore and violence. The ‘String of Pearls’ is no different. Its style of writing makes it a perfect example of a penny dreadful, having a sensational, violent subject matter that plays off of the public’s real fears.

I remembered James Hadley Chase whose stories too, somewhat felt like this. Anyways, I think it was a graphic novel so such a theme appealed to me. I couldn’t have read it if it was a normal novel. Since it was in a comics form, my expectations were well aligned to what is expected from a comic book- a sensational story with thrill and suspense. I was amused to know that this story was hugely popular even before its last chapters were published. Subsequently, over the years it got adapted into novels, plays, Broadway musical, and movie.

The tale became a staple of Victorian melodrama and London urban legend, and has been retold many times since

I was glad I got to know about this urban legend, and as I stated earlier, this vicious barber’s place of dwelling, 186 Fleet Street (which was the center of suspense in the graphic novel) made me consider it with as much curiosity as I consider 221B Baker Street.

 

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)

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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Virtual Vacations

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin (American novelist, Author of ‘Game of Thrones’)

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Yesterday I read a nice post by Kim Richardson, about her visit (in 1996) to Abu Simbel, an architectural Marvel in Egypt. (Kim has written about many of her trips in Africa and Europe, with stunningly attractive pictures, she took there.Do visit her blog for more.)

Reading her describe how being at that ancient site filled her with excitement, I began to get reminiscences of my virtual memory attached with Egypt. I have not been there in real, but I had spent a considerable amount of my virtual life there , by reading a novel based on Egypt. It was a book called “Nefertiti” by Michelle Moran.

It was a summer vacation and I was looking forward to experience some new place through reading. Having a very active imagination, I often plan for such virtual vacations for myself.(When I can’t travel for real) I pick up a novel set in a particular country or locale, which I want to gain an impression of.Then I spend weeks living in that locale, as I continue to read the story.It not only exposes me to that place- their weather, their climate,their geography,their hills and the rivers, but also transports me to a different period of time, if the tale is a historical one.

I get to feel the behaviour of the people in those places-  the way they talk, the kind of humor they cherish, the things they admire, the things they despise and their attitude towards life. Additionally, I observe their manners, etiquette, their customs and their rituals. A further learning is about the social order and community life in those places and those times.

Just as I read Nefertiti to experience ancient Egypt, I have read several other books for the same reason of experiencing a particular place and time. One was “Genghis Khan” by Sam Djang, which helped me go back to 12th Century and experience life in Central Asia. I love the rain forests and the adventures that exist in their wilderness.  I experienced them when I started reading “Congo” by Michael Crichton.I confronted the dark alleys, the hidden cafes, the desolate meeting places, the strange men with powers attributed to their dark businesses in the city of Bombay,  through Gregory David Robert’s “Shantaram”.That was one quirky vacation if I can call so!

In this present phase, I am having a great time exploring space! This month, I had an exciting trip exploring the enigma of Cosmos, with Arthur C Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” Then I had a hair-raising experience of inter galactic travel through wormholes, via Carl Sagan’s “Contact”. My third venture of space exploration is going on now, and the book through which I am touring, is aptly titled “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.

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(Image Source: Link )

 

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: The Travelling Library

As I was rummaging through my old trunk filled with books, I was thrilled to see some classics lying there, unattended since quite a long time.I have to relocate so I have been going through all those closed boxes,trunks and bookshelf, where dust and insects have seemingly constructed a housing colony of their own.

Few of the books I noticed had got weak and fragile.I feared their pages might start falling off if mishandled even a bit.I decided to get them hard bound at the book binding shop.

In the evening,as I carried the satchel of old books with me, happy that they will look robust after the binding was done,I was interrupted by a friend who asked me where was I headed to.
“To the book binding shop, ” I said with delight.
“But there is no binding shop, aren’t you aware?”
“What ! There was one besides that electronics repairing store, a young man used to run the shop, I remember”
“It’s been years he closed down, must not be getting any business probably”
“Really” I was surprised “No book binding shop nearby?”
“None I know, nobody needs it anymore I guess”
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This episode unfolded yesterday evening and I had been thinking about it since morning. True, I myself now read most of the books on Kindle and search more fervently on Google rather than my thick encyclopedias. Perhaps we are living in the phase of transition.Our very next generation may view paper books with curiosity; and wonder how could we be comfortable with that, much like us, who would gape at the big floppy disks, 1.44 MB memory size, our fathers used to work with!
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Mandi wrote this beautiful story as a part of the challenge “Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner, ” which she is avidly pursuing! The story struck a chord with me as she narrated this curious tale of future generation teens who accidentally find a library and start speculating as to what sort of thing it is! I couldn’t help but smile thinking this is exactly what had been going on in my mind.I invite you to read this nice story by her, titled “The Travelling Library”.I really liked it and I am sure you too will appreciate the essence of the changing times, this story captures.

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Thanks to Roger Shippfor hosting FFftPP. Today’s sentence to be included is: “Thoseare the directions…”

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http://www.pixebay.com

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“These rocks are cool,” Tanya sad climbing on top a stack of rocks. “I wonder how and why they are formed like this?”

Tanya’s friend Crystal chimed in, ” Yeah, I wonder too. But we’re in the middle of nowhere and have no phone reception so we can’t even Google the answer. I’m questioning why my friend Tyler told me we should takeparticulardirections to see these rocks.”

Suddenly, before Tanya and Crystal’s eyes a building appeared. It was all glass but the inside was filled with millions of books and scrolls.

Crystal tried to pronounce the word on the front of the building. “It’s a library,” Tanya said. “It’s where people used to research before Google and the Internet. I’ve never seen a library. I remember…

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The Library

When I was a child, I used to visit an old library.It was located quite a distance away from the city.I would ride my bicycle and take my first halt at the market near the temple.There, I would have some snacks and beverages.

Then I will start my long cycling trip to the library.The route entailed me to pass through a desolate long road, lined on both sides by massive trees.While I passed through that stretch of the path, my excitement would start soaring.

The canopy of the trees made it feel like passing through a green tunnel while the shrill chatter of thousands of birds echoed like in an old abandoned castle.I would slow down my pace to experience the moment in all its detail.The sound, the view, the color, the smell, the chaos, the dampness, the isolation.

After passing that, I would quicken my pace because the path would slope down.It would take me some 30 more minutes to reach the library.I would disembark near the gates.The gates will always be open in a careless manner.There were trees, shrubs and wild plants all around the library. The library itself had discolored walls and random patterns made on  it from decaying moss.

Ideally, the place did not have a very inviting outlook.However it was this sense of abandonment, desolation, and antiquity that actually attracted me to this place.And I would often be the only person to visit that library.With its collection of books, all old, the archaic aroma and the (sometimes scary) silence, I considered the place to be one of the favorite destinations for spending my evenings.

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