Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Odyssey

What started of as an attempt to read James Joyce's Ulysses ended in me reading "The Odyssey" in all its glory( a translation of course). Although evolutionary psychologists want to pen down everything we do or every behavioural pattern we show on our need to survive, to be the fittest, works like these tell you that things weren't always the same as they are now. Even if we give in to the idea that mythological epics like these and more(read: mahabharata, ramayana...) are mere fiction or perhaps allegorical ellipses, even a fictional work tells one a lot about the social attitudes in existence in those times.

Aside : Am I the only one who dreams (or is it has nightmares) dreams that belong not to me but to the characters and to the plot in the book that I've just read and enjoyed(or in some cases reading and enjoying)?

Tales of Brave Ulysses

You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever,
But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun.

And the colors of the sea blind your eyes with trembling mermaids,
And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses:
How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing,
For the sparkling waves are calling you to kiss their white laced lips.

And you see a girl's brown body dancing through the turquoise,
And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea.
And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body,
Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind.

The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers,
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter.

Her name is Aphrodite and she rides a crimson shell,
And you know you cannot leave her for you touched the distant sands
With tales of brave Ulysses; how his naked ears were tortured
By the sirens sweetly singing.

The tiny purple fishes run lauging through your fingers,
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Life imitates art

Been reading John Mortimer's political sattire "The sound of trumpets". It's a hilarious read with all the makings of morning's breaking news, or as the news channels like to call it "the top story". When works like these make their appearance in art, one has to wonder if the question to be asked half the time is if art imitated life or life imitates art?

Description of one of the characters in the book goes :
"She also grew up with a beauty which provoked dangerous and anarchic thoughts in men,but her quiet certainty on almost every subject cooled and often disconcerted them. What her friends and contemporaries called "having sex" or even 'a bit of a fling' she would call 'a commitment', a word which produced serious thoughts,and sometimes hesitation, in the men whom she took a fancy to and who found her at the first glance extremely desirable. "

And one wonders if this turn-off factor when a woman is smarter than self is an inherent response or a learnt response. Making peace with the smart lady that may perchance come across this post, there are some people who disagree with this mainstream line of thinking making them the deviants.

Imitation of Life

Charades, pop skill
Water hyacinth, named by a poet
Imitation of life
Like a koi in a frozen pond
Like a goldfish in a bowl
I don't want to hear you cry

That's sugarcane that tasted good
That's cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on, no-one can see you try

You want the greatest thing
The greatest thing since bread came sliced
You've got it all, you've got it sized

Like a Friday fashion show teenager
Freezing in the corner
Trying to look like you don't try

That's sugarcane that tasted good
That's cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on, no-one can see you try

No-one can see you cry

That's sugarcane that tasted good
That's freezing rain, that's what you could
Come on, come on, no-one can see you cry

This sugarcane
This lemonade
This hurricane, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on, no-one can see me cry

This lightning storm
This tidal wave
This avalanche, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on, no-one can see me cry

That's sugarcane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on, no-one can see you cry

That's sugarcane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on, no-one can see you cry

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Comes in different shapes and sizes. Having bunked on friday and used that time to wander around bangalore on my bicycle, I decided I would go ahead and bite the bullet on saturday, i.e do a cycling trip to Nandi hills and back. ( From my house it probably is ~70 km one way).

But slight fever on friday night was going to put an end to this plans it seemed like, Until I remembered my friend Adi whining about how much of a "loser-aaps" it would be that I would make the trip on a cycle whereas they struggled to get there even on their bikes (In their defense, they returned without reaching the hilltop once because of the cold at 4a.m and because they were a 'little' high). Thanks to that statement, which I desperately wanted to prove right :p I started on the trip a little low on endurance scale, but high on spirits.

"It is the first step that is the hardest" they say, so once I left home on my cycle, there wasn't too much danger of me turning back. Long nice drive with only my ipod for company, I made the initial 62 km in 3 hrs and the next 8 km up the hill in one hr. On my way back the first 22 km I could cover in an hour, but the next 40 km on NH-7 left me exhausted and frustated.(Ofcourse the last 10 km within Bangalore left me covered with soot and vehicle exhaust ) A strong wind blowing into you might be all well and nice if you are driving a motor powered vehicle, but on a cycle its a completely different ball game.

The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner

The tough of the track
With the wind
And the rain that's beating down on
Your back
Your heart's beating loud
And goes on getting louder
And goes on even more 'til the
Sound is ringing in your head
With every step you tread
And every breath you take
Makes you run never stop
Got to win got to run 'til you drop
Keep the pace hold the race
Your mind is getting clearer
You're over half way there
But the miles they never seem to end
As if you're in a dream
Not getting anywhere
It seems so futile

Run on and on
Run on and on
The loneliness of the long distance runner

I've got to keep running the course
I've got to keep running and win at
All costs
I've got to keep going be strong
Must be so determined and push myself on

Run over stiles across fields
Turn to look at who's on your heels
Way ahead of the field
The line is getting nearer but do
You want the glory that goes
You reach the final stretch
Ideals are just a trace
You feel like throwing the race
It's all so futile


-Iron Maiden

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"The Picnic and suchlike pandemonium"

Gerald Durrell is one of my favourite authors. Perhaps it is because he was in the company of such interesting characters that he could give us some of the best humour I've come across, but one can't take away the fact that the stories are told in such a simple and lucid manner that we fell we're shown the pictures of it happening rather than told stories of it.


" Oh mother!Don't be so old fashioned," said Margo, blowing lavish kisses back."After all, I've got an ex-husband and two children."
"It's by blowing kisses at strange sailors that you get ex-husbands and children," remarked Mother,grimly.


"Reggie was simply furious because Marjorie had not only eloped but had taken the baby and the nannie with her".

"It certainly seems like an overcrowded elopement"


There are some books that inevitably bring not a smile to your face, but make you erupt into laughter that you just can't hold back. I find this is one such book. Definitely one that I can curl up with on a pleasant saturday afternoon.

Book of saturday

If I only could deceive you
Forgetting the game
Every time I try to leave you
You laugh just the same

cause my wheels never touch the road
And the jumble of lies we told
Just returns to my back to weigh me down...

We lay cards upon the table
The backs of our hands
And I swear I like your people
The boys in the band

Reminiscences gone astray
Coming back to enjoy the fray
In a tangle of night and daylight sounds...

All completeness in the morning
Asleep on your side
Ill be waking up the crewmen
Banana-boat ride

She responds like a limousine
Brought alive on the silent screen
To the shuddering breath of yesterday...

Theres the succour of the needy
Incredible scenes
Ill believe you in the future
Your life and death dreams

As the cavalry of despair
Takes a stand in the ladys hair
For the favour of making sweet sixteen...

You make my life and times
A book of bluesy saturdays
And I have to chose.
-King crimson