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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.
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

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

This year's Kala Ghoda Arts Festival takes place from 2 February to 10 February, both days inclusive. The complete roster of events may be found here or here.
On behalf of the Literature section of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, the blog of the fest is hosted and literary contests held by Caferati, a global writers’ community with roots in all major cities of India and even outside the country. There is a huge effort to make the Literature events inclusive, to give aspiring writers a chance not just to listen to the established ones talk, but to actively learn from them, and to try their skills in contests and the like, to participate.
The festival hosts five literary contests this year, including one which could get you published. The deadline for all of them is 3 February, 2008, so hurry:
SMS Poetry
SMS Poetry has one simple guideline: The entire poem must be short enough to fit into a single 160-character SMS (blanks and punctuation marks count as characters and a line break counts as two). Always a big draw, this contest is now in its fourth year at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
Flash Fiction
Flash Fiction (also called micro-fiction or short-shorts) presents a simple challenge: Tell a story with all the classical elements: a beginning, a middle and an end, a conflict and a resolution, a credible protagonist... but do so in a very limited number of words (not more than 300 words to be specific). Flash Fiction is now in its third year at the Kala Ghoda writing contests.
Poetry Slam
The Slam is about performance poetry. Poets get on stage and perform their work. The audience has a say in whether they stay or leave. Reality show style, except Slams predate reality television. The slam made its debut last year (the first in India, actually) to much enjoyment from the audience and the participants. It involves writing four poems on four assigned topics (this year's topics being Name, Place, Animal, and Thing) and performing them in front of judges and an audience.
Flash Essay
Making its debut this year, this contest widens the genres that Kala Ghoda contests cover, into the interesting area of non-fiction. The twist here is that the essays must, like everything else these days, adjust to the age of information overload: They must make their point in up to 500 words. We call them flash essays in a nod to the term flash fiction.
Open Book Pitch
This is a new idea, and Caferati's most ambitious. And this despite the fact that there are no guaranteed winners. The Open Book Pitch lets writers submit pitches to publishers and literary agents. (Some of the biggest names in Indian publishing including Penguin India, HarperCollins, and Random House India are signed up, as are some of the exciting newer ones like Siyahi.) The process is anonymous both ways: The writers do not have direct access to the talent scouts from the publishers and agents, and the scouts do not see any personally identifying information until they see something they like. The prize? A chance to be published.
There are three non-competitive events lined up.
The Open Mike
15 minutes for seven out of the nine days of the festival. The event mixes writing with performance. Each Open Mike session will have 6 slots of up to 2 minutes each. These slots are booked on a first-come-first-serve basis every day.
The Open Screen
15 minutes for seven our of the nine days of the festival. The event mixes the word with the visual arts. Participants submit 2-minute films via email. The organizers will choose the best films should we get more entries than time permits them to show.
The Open Wall
A pseudo wall will be erected at the venue. Audience members will be invited to leave their own writing to be displayed there. The organizers will also encourage email submissions.
And finally there are twelve writing workshops, conducted by prominent writers from all over the country.
Picture This (Graphic Story-telling)
Conducted by: Sarnath Banerjee and Samit Basu
The workshop, by two well-known pioneers in the field, will cover graphic stories and graphic reportage.
The Pastoral (Poetic Form)Conducted by: Ranjit HoskoteA master-class for city poets in the art of the poetic form known as the Pastoral, by well-known poet Ranjit Hoskote.
Little Pencils - for children (age 10 +)
Conducted by: Neeru NandaChildren's author Neeru Nanda works with the children, inculcating in them a love for story-telling.
Poetry in Performance
Conducted by: Jeet Thayil
Thayil, a prominent poet and a musician, will lead this master class on the art of performance poetry.
Once Upon a Time - Writing for Children
Conducted by: Jane Bhandari and Marilyn Noronha
How do you write for kids? How do you hold their attention? Two writers and poets who also teach children, lead this workshop.
What Every Writer should know about Publishing
Conducted by: Anita Roy
An editor from a prominent publishing house will tell budding writers all the secrets of making a good impression with publishers.
Writing for Stage
Conducted by: Anuvab Pal
This workshop by a playwright and film writer who has had his plays performed in the USA and India, will introduce participants to the nuts and bolts of playwriting.
PenTathlon - Five exercises for Fiction Writers
Conducted by: Kavita Bhanot
Fiction writing is always a big draw at Kala Ghoda. Here, a literary agent and trainer put budding authors through boot camp.
An Introduction to Freelance Writing
Conducted by: Kavitha Rao
A practicing journalist who writes for publications around the world teaches the basics of making a living as a pen-for-hire.
Writing for Screen
Conducted by: Manisha Lakhe
Writing for the screen is a different game, and you need to learn the rules. This workshop gets you thinking the right way.
The Art of Translation
Conducted by: Rimi B. Chatterjee
India is famous for the number of languages its citizens speak and write. And this workshop will cover the practical problems involved in the process of translation and the publication of translated work.
Poetry Appreciation for Children (10+)
Conducted by: Sampurna ChattarjiThis workshop will look at poetry as play. The attempt will be not to teach poetry, or even write poetry, but to experience poetry - with one's body, with one's senses, with sometimes an abandonment of logic and sometimes a rigorous application of it.
Looks like one jam-packed schedule to me!!! I'm going to be there at the festival. Are you?

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Title:- The Satanic Verses
Genre:- Fiction
Subgenre:- Novel
Author:- Salman Rushdie
Publisher:- Viking Press
ISBN Number:- 0-312-27082-8
Price:- £5.99

The Blurb

No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which earned its author a fatwa from Iran's Ayatollahs decreeing his death. Furore aside, it is a marvellously erudite study of good and evil, a feast of language served up by a writer at the height of his powers and a rollicking comic fable. The book begins with two Indians, Gibreel Farishta, who has been for fifteen years the biggest star in the history of the Indian movies, and Saladin Chamcha, a Bombay expatriate returning from his first visit to his homeland in fifteen years, plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their jetliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. When the jumbo jet blows apart above the English Channel, Gibreel and Saladin are the two who survive and are washed to an English beach. However, it soon becomes clear that curious changes have come over them and that they have been chosen as protagonists in the eternal struggle between God and the Devil.

Rushdie's astonishing powers of invention are at their best in this Booker Prize shortlist and Whitbread Prize winner. Salman Rushdie is the author of Midnight's Children, winner of the 1981 Booker Prize, and Shame.

The Review

The Satanic Verses is a novel which falls in the genre of Magical Realism (a beautiful paradox of our modern times), of which we see much in Gabriel García Márquez's works.

It tells the story of the enchanting Gibreel Farishta who rises from being a pauper in Bombay to a popular filmstar playing Hindu deities in Bollywood mythologicals. The humor in the novel commences when Gibreel refuses to make love to his female admirers with the elephant snout on, which he has used as a prop for playing Lord Ganesha in a movie and which his fans have come to fancy. He complains that an acting career in Bombay is quite less of acting and much more of frantic travel between studios trying to keep schedules.

It also tells the story of the misplaced Saladin Chamcha, who develops an English accent so refined and immaculate that he lends his voice to British radio shows. He shuns his father who loathes books and had sent him away from Bombay to study in Britain. He returns after a long period of absence only to find that the city of his childhood has changed in a quintessential measure.

On his return trip to UK, Saladin Chamcha meets Gibreel Farishta who has absconded in order to meet his flame Annie Cone, the Mount Everest conquerer whom he courted in Bombay. The plane gets hijacked and all but the two protagonists of the novel - Chamcha and Farishta - are dead. The two are washed ashore on the waves of the English Channel, only to find that there has been a major change of roles. Gibreel thereafter suffers hallucinations of being an archangel, while Saladin is transformed into a chimera representing the devil.

Saladin miraculously recovers from the transmogrification and plots his revenge against Gibreel for refusing recognition and help when Saladin was led into custody by policemen. Like Iago, he plots the murder of Annie Cone at the hands of the suspicious and jealous Gibreel Farishta himself. In the climax, Gibreel shoots himself when he realizes what a mistake he has committed.

The novel also runs the course of three mini-plots: The first comprises the tale of Mahound's revelations from Archangel Gibreel, Hind - Mahound's fiercest opponent and Baal - the irreverent poet. The second speaks of the Imam and his gang of terrorists. And the third and most beautiful story is that of Ayesha, the girl who leads poor villagers on a Haj pilgrimage after convincing them that if God willed it, the waters of the Arabian Sea would part to make way for them.

The novel has ample instances of Rushdie-style humor and sarcasm. The narrative though broken into four parallel threads of narration is held together in a very cohesive manner. Rushdie's implicit commentary on the racism prevalent in UK is commendable and should have been the focus of attention, rather than the much publicized and denounced fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against him. However, the novel is not as erudite as it could have been. It is in no way grand or profound, and does not seek to reveal something that the reader is unaware of. Definitely not one of Rushdie's better novels.

The book was banned in many countries including Iran and India, for propagating the theory of The Satanic Verses - those verses of the Holy Quran which were revealed to the Prophet by the Satan and which he later retracted as being part of the Holy Book of the Moslems. It was fortunate that Salman Rushdie survived the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, since the Japanese translator Igarashi was murdered, and the Italian translator Capriolo suffered serious physical injuries due to being stabbed.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I'm almost through with Rohinton Mistry's novel A Fine Balance set in the Emergency (1975-1984). It is pure Bombayana. Written with a mix of caustic insight and deep compassion, Mistry's prose is the most natural ever. He writes like an insider - hell, even makes Rushdie's work feel like an outsider's voice. Rushdie writes in awe; his love for the city is almost filial. Mistry on the other hand knows Bombay for the bitch that she is; his depiction of the city is steeped in amorous love with the whiff of loss looming large over the milieu he creates. It is for this reason that Mistry can write with greater acceptance and credibility of the city's tragedies than Rushdie. I'm on a happy track with the last hundred pages or so of the tome to finish. The whiff of impending tragedy is looming large. Let's hope I get through.

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