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Quotes From Here And There

Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.
Dylan Thomas
I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
Eddie Cantor
It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.
Edward Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
e e cummings
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
Eyler Coates
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Gustave Flaubert
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
Going to the Opera is like making love; we get bored but we come back.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
John Steinbeck
Only through imitation do we develop toward originality.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
Montaigne
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
Paul Sweeney
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
Peter Altenberg
I never dreamed of being Shakespeare or Goethe, and I never expected to hold the great mirror of truth up before the world; I dreamed only of being a little pocket mirror, the sort that a woman can carry in her purse; one that reflects small blemishes, and some great beauties, when held close enough to the heart.
Robert Frost
In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money.
Satchel Paige
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
Thomas Mann
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
V S Naipaul
The writer has only to listen very carefully and with a clear heart to what people say to him, and ask the next question, and the next.

My Personal Library


My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Title:- My Name Is Red
Genre:- Fiction
Subgenre:- Novel
Author:- Orhan Pamuk
Translator:- Erdağ M. Göknar
Publisher:- Random House
ISBN Number:- 0-375-70685-2
Price:- US $ 14.95/Canada $ 22.95/Rs. 220

The Blurb

At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul.

The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. And when one of the master miniaturists disappears, the only clue to the mystery lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name Is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey into the introspection of art, religion, love, sex, and power.

The Review

Easily the most talked about book of 2007, ‘My Name Is Red’ by the turkish author Orhan Pamuk has been in the limelight for all sorts of reasons. It has had the honour of being the most critically acclaimed work of Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, as well as suffered ignominy at the hands of Turkish fundamentalists, leading to the prosecution of Turkey’s most fearless and talented living novelist.

The novel recounts the story of four master miniaturists engaged at the royal atelier in the creation of a commemorative story in verse, the Book Of Festivities to mark the thousandth anniversary of the Hegira. Their work is to illustrate and embellish the book in the Venetian style making use of the techniques of perspective and idolatry, which were at the time deemed an affront to Islam. When one of the master miniaturists protests, he is found killed at the bottom of a well. The quest for the killer played against the backdrop of sixteenth-century Istanbul and the tragic courtship of Black, a miniaturist and Shekure, Enishte Effendi’s daughter make for a compelling read.

Like all great novels, the unraveling mystery becomes a metaphor for the unfolding of human spirit and conscience. However, what is most remarkable about Pamuk and what sets him apart from his coevals is the extent of scholarship and omniscience that he commands. It places him as a Turkish master in the cohorts of Dickens, Proust and Mann - arguably the greatest writers of English, French and German respectively. Incidentally, Mann himself won the Nobel in 1929 for The Motion Mountain.

Though the theme of the novel concentrates on the philosophical questions of the need and importance of style and signature in the arts of painting and illustration, Pamuk manages to lighten the mood by using the motifs of Nusret Hoja and the upcoming coffeehouse. The latter is depicted as the cynosure of all depravity where dervishes dance late into the night and blasphemous stories are retold in a bid to pollute people’s minds.

Each book has its moments, and this novel is no exception. Perhaps the most poignant moment is the one when Master Osman, the head miniaturist of the royal atelier, cloyed by the sight of the most perfect of all paintings in the royal treasury, blinds himself with the same plume needle that the master of masters Bihzad had once used to blind himself. Also Nizami’s tale of Husrev and Shirin has been evoked a countless number of times, and to good use.

Pamuk manages to concoct a wonderful fantasy hemmed by melancholy and tragedy in a way nobody has ever done before. It is ironic that Pamuk who secretly advocates the futility of style in the book has inadvertently ended up creating a very realistic, spartan and distinct style all his own.

Title:- Chokher Bali – A Grain Of Sand
Genre:- Fiction

Subgenre:- Novel

Author:- Rabindranath Tagore

Translator:- Sreejata Guha

Publisher:- Penguin Books

ISBN Number:- 0-14-303035-3

Price:- Rs. 250


The Blurb

Chokher Bali: A Grain Of Sand is Nobel Prize-winning author Rabindranath Tagore’s classic exposition of an extramarital affair that takes place within the confines of a joint family.

It is the story of the rich, flamboyant Mahendra and his simple, demure, beautiful w
ife Asha – a young couple who are befriended by the pragmatic Behari. Their cosy domestic scenario undergoes great upheaval with the introduction of the vivacious Binodini, a young, attractive widow who comes to live with them. Asha and Binodini become bosom pals. Binodini is initially drawn to Behari but then begins to respond to the advances of Mahendra, who has become obsessively attracted to her. After several twists and turns, Binodini elopes with Mahendra, leaving the entire family in turmoil.

On the one hand,
Chokher Bali: A Grain Of Sand is a sensational account of two illicit relationships: Mahendra’s infatuation with Binodini which blkinds him to everything else, and Binodini’s secret passion for Behari of which she is never able to speak of. On the other hand, it is a complex tapestry woven by the emotional interplay between five finely etched characters: the impulsive Mahendra, his adoring mother Rajlakshmi, the frail and sensitive Asha, the strong, silent Behari, and the self-willed and irresistibly attractive Binodini.

A compelling portrayal of the complexity of relationships and of human character, this landmark novel is just as powerful and thought-provoking today as it was a hundred years ago, when it was written.


The Review

Published in 1903, Chokher Bali is claimed by many to be the first modern novel written in India. And its publication seems to be as coincidental as that of Gitanjali, the book of poems which won for India her first Nobel and for Tagore, international acclaim. Shrisha Chandra had restarted the magazine Bangadarshan and Tagore’s name had been added to the list of contributors. The latter took it upon himself to write a serialized novel for the magazine, his efforts resulting in the genesis of his first novel Chokher Bali. In the view of these circumstances, it is understandable why Tagore’s novel bears a strong resemblance in its subject to Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya’s Bishbriksha (The Poison Tree), the serialized novel which had earlier appeared in Bangadarshan and which was published in 1873. And indeed Tagore does make explicit references to Bishbriksha in Chokher Bali.

Chokher Bali
is Binodini’s novel. Binodini – a young, beautiful and charming widow and the grain of sand in Asha’s eye. The novel revolves around Binodini, capturing her in all her avatars – as a hapless widow, as a gamine, as a seductress, and as a repentant woman. Tagore lends expression to her longings and fancies in immense detail, so much so that at some points the narrative becomes a tacit debate on love, longing, morality and relationships. And in doing so, he manages to make you fall in love with her.

Chokher Bali
represents the literary equivalent of the place of miniature art in painting and illustration. The story by its plot itself is nothing to rave about – it might be better suited for scurrilous paperbacks that line the shelves of dusty bookshops and railway bookstalls. However Tagore manages to weave a beautiful variegated fabric out of threads of very few colours. His narrative retains a tension which does not lose you till the very end, due credit for which must go to the translator for understanding the ethos of such a simple and splendid novel.

One observes
the conspicuous absence of judgement on the part of the author, which makes the turn of events and the whims and decisions of the characters as natural as the fluttering of leaves on a sweltering summer noon or the flow of a gushing river. The complexity of the narrative rests on the emotional turmoil suffusing it and not on the turns and twists of the plot (though there are many of those too). Also Chokher Bali is suffused with a spiritual aura which Tagore connoisseurs have learnt to recognize as the hallmark of Tagore’s writings.

Tagore’s novel is as simple and as complicated as only a true exposition of love can be. Go, rediscover love.


A Flaubert Gem!


on s’y ennuit mais on y retourne … - Going to the Opera is like making love, we get bored but we come back...

- Gustave Flaubert

Coloured!!!

The following poem written by an African kid was adjudged by UN as the best poem for the year 2006. Have a look.

When I born, I black.
When I grow up, I black.
When I go in Sun, I black.
When I scared, I black.
When I sick, I black.
And when I die, I still black.

And you white fellow,
When you born, you pink.
When you grow up, you white.
When you go in sun, you red.
When you cold, you blue.
When you scared, you yellow.
When you sick, you green.
And when you die, you gray.
And you calling me coloured?

Why I Need To Write?

‘The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy,’ wrote Gustave Flaubert in a letter in 1858. Though I am not as great a skeptic as Flaubert, I can vouch for the fact that he knew what he was saying.

Well-chosen words can have an almost chimerical quality. They can bring to your face that dimpled smile, or have you in splits with their daggers of wit. They can make you wax nostalgic with ineffable emotions, or send you searching for the tissue paper with which to wipe your tears.

Early in life did I learn the magic that words can work, and I have been fortunate to have not forgotten its power through adolescence into adulthood.


I wish to write because no other thing excites me as much as words strung together beautifully like pearls on the thread of meaning. I wish to write so well that my reader cannot put me down even if he has his seat on a burning stove or a juggernaut hurtling towards him or a million other chores to do. Nothing less than this will do.


Often while reading a remarkably excellent novel or short-story or poetry, I have thanked the author for penning it and wondered when I will put my wits together to write as well as that.
I hope that someday I break my shackles of indolence finally and get down to doing what I have always wanted to do and always known I’ll end up doing!

Exam Blues!!!

So many things to write... I must do more than put in a comma in the morning and take it out in the evening.

Exams are less than a week away. And I'm left fumbling with pages and words and numbers making noise inside my empty head. I hope I make it through without much damage to the few creative neurons that I still have.

I feel sorry for turning down a friend's request to attend a talk at IITB. Especially when I haven't used the time well myself. I should have gone anyway. Sorry, Adi.

Nirmaan came out sometime back. People say its good but I haven't seen a copy yet. Dhruv did a good job of the cover page but I liked the one without the collage in the cubes better. I wish we had had a bit more of coordination as editors in helping shaping up the annual college mag. I also wish we get around to starting an unofficial college blog.

I don't know why I haven't been able to forget this incident. Mani and I had gone along to this Technical Paper Presentation at RGIT. They had invited a Canadian to judge the event. The bastard was so nonchalant and creepy! He probably didn't know a thing about Computer Science and just kept staring at girl's bare bellies much to their chagrin. In the end, the prize went to a presentation on anti-ageing that looked much more of an advertisement and we walked out feeling totally unrepentant.

Bye to blogs until after examtime.

The Rain-Song


Like the hearts of seasoned wanderers
That know many sweet and sordid tales,

One seeks the arrival of rain-bearers -

Agog raconteurs asail upon fiery gales.


Like the silent mark of changing seasons,

Tiny beads of sweat course the land of skin.

Other heralds, alas, have learnt louder lessons;

A yellow-goggled cuckoo makes a noisy din.


Like a shadow across a day’s decline,

The rain-clouds creep across the land.

Old wizened winds hasten - a sure sign,

And rains and lightning - a sonorous band.


Like a dream heavy upon my eyes,

The sweet scent of the first rains rests.

On the ledge, the weary papiha cries,

And the cuckoo does sheer jests.


Like eyes that know tears more than sight,

The sky does not stop for a very long time.

Once and again, paper-boats pass in plight,

As a muddy rill flows and grows into its prime.


Like a heart that does not know its reasons,

That lives life as if living a passing treason,

Over the fetters of time, I watch the illusions

And the drops that bide their time this season.


Like languid monsoon nights of yore,

The strains of Des, Malkauns and Malhar

Open up the melodies of unwritten lore,

And seek the longing that lies afar.


Like too much pleasure that is pain,

The last notes dissolve into tears.

Over the breeze, lilts a dream again;

And the sweet song of sleep nears.
A withering leaf of pale autumn
Is a promise of mirthful spring,

As a prayer sweet and solemn

Does joyous occasion bring.


The wide, wile wings of dark

Bode the dawn of pristine light,

As a distressed lamp does mark

The end of a cruel, fearful night.


The seed that sees a flower wilt

Knows how to send a spur aloft.

The wick that watches wax melt

Seeks to spread a radiance soft.


A mighty river is a little brook

That must grow to reach the sea.

A star is time’s dream that took

Night’s dark deathly refuge to be.


Winds that speak to mountains

Murmur also to lesser leaves.

Rains that visit the brightest lanes

Also pour upon the humblest eaves.


Birds must come home to nest

After soaring the boundless sky.

All flesh must seek eternal rest

When the soul wishes to fly.

A Translated Ghazal


In life does everyone’s love be;

Beyond death my dear,

I shall love thee…


To conjure separation!

That would be blasphemy,

Having stolen thee

From the lines of destiny.


In life does everyone’s love be;

Beyond death my dear,

I shall love thee...


No sooner will thee ingress my eyes, than I shall rest their guards;

That neither me to other minstrels, nor thee to other bards.


In this whirlwind of love, borne two trifles to greater heights;

When one meets the other, he in time’s opportunity delights.


‘Lo! Here the gardener comes,’ quiver buds by an anxious care;

Then pluck every gay flower, to adorn thy blackest hair.


So it is with water, it shuns the peaks and seeks the plains;

That the higher must thirst, and the lesser make draughty gains.


All that is done is your doing, my will hath no hand;

If my hand wills at all a deed, ‘tis your doing while I stand.


Aye fellow, feast on orts, and of cold waters drink;

And to the sight of others’ ledgers, do not fell think.


Naught in me is mine, aught is Thine;

To return Thee what is Thine is no loss of mine.


Content are all in this world, they eat and sleep;

Why then is Kabir awake, what malaise contrists so deep?

 

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