Thursday, May 27, 2010

saying by Matisse

I never stopped being bothered by people saying I don't paint like others.
Henry Matisse
Paint, not the thing but the effect which it produces.
-Stephane Mallarme

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Reviews (Wuthering Heights, Sandman and The Shack)

I recently read the book The Shack. By the way I am enjoying the time without Internet at home because it is giving me a lot of time to read books. I have finished the whole Sandman series of comics, read Wuthering Heights and then lastly The Shack. And now I am reading Philip Yancey's Prayer and also Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. This much in a matter of a month. Wow!

Anyway I will review the books here one by one:

Wuthering Heights
By Emily Bronte

If you look at the list of most important books of all time, you will see Wuthering Heights up there. I started reading it about a month ago, and the english is, well, very traditional. The story telling is pretty traditional too. But I can see how it must have been revolutionary when it first came out. 80% of the content is narrated by another character in the story and only about 20% (or could be lesser) is about first hand encounter by the protagonist of the story. In this case, well, the question of the who the protagonist is, is not based on the amount of coverage given in the story, but rather, defined on the basis of who the book begins with and where it ends with.

I love the book. The character of the villain (or the man because of whom the story exists) is a very sinister man to a few, and a passionate lover to a few. Human character is shown in great clarity. Sometimes you sympathize with the villain. And then another chapter, you are wishing for him to die.

The book is stark, and yet at the same time very subtle. Romantic yet fearful. Dark yet emotionally charged. It stays on the list of few important books of all times for a good reason.

***

Sandman
by Neil Gaiman

What can I say about a story like this. Here is an epic series of comic books that contains stories beyond humanity about gods and demons about otherworlds about fantasy, about reality, and it is not ridiculous, as any book trying to be as large would end up being.

It follows the Spirit/demon/god/master of Dreams on his many quests and how they affect humans (or reality as we know it). Sandman is this dream god, Morpheus, the god who comes to little children and waves sand on their eyes so that they fall asleep and enter dream world. He is timeless and immortal.

Sandman is part of this family of gods/masters/spirits, who among them are included Death, Desire, Delirium, Despair and Destruction. It also touches upon many myth, folklores from China, England, American (of course), Arab, the Biblical stories, Heaven and Hell, Satan and angels, and many of his made up or obscure tales and legends.

***

The Shack
by W.M. Young

This book was a bestselling title, read my over millions. It is a Christian fiction, and I was very skeptical when I picked it up (after being lent to me by Evlyn to be read) because in my experience, Christian fiction isn't a genre to die for. In my opinion Christian fiction is some sort of a complimentary name given to the many books written by Christians whose sole purpose are to enlarge the tents of the Church, and not necessarily for the literary genuis that they carry.

I was afraid this book was one of them.

But anyway it didn't stop me from picking it up after seeing that Michael W. Smith wrote a good feedback on its back cover saying he has read it over and over again. So, I thought, lets see.

The Shack is not my favourite. The story telling is very well done. The language is somehow very simple, and most times that is nice. But as I read I felt like I was reading some young adult book. Everything was a bit too spelt out. Spelt out in a way that you feel like the writer is keeping you in a strict vigil and not allowing you to stray from the specific path that he wants you to go through, so as to get the full experience of the story. Understandable, yeah. But quite objective. But then again confusingly enough, the writer decides to go silent about certain things.

For example, when the character Mack meets God (yes, he does, in this book) he looks at how the Trinity works and 'somehow' felt that they loved each other so much (meaning the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). Somehow. That sounds like a very lazy way out from explaining why he thinks that the Trinity loves each other so much. There are many instances like this that happen through out the book.

The simple story telling reminded me a lot of stories from Reader's Digest. That I understand is a genre by themselves. So I can imagine it will appeal to a certain group of people (or the general public, if I may say so).

There are many benefits that I felt when I read this. It was going back to the idea that God is simple and the way he manifested himself to this character and the people he adorned were very simple. You cannot miss it. It is almost a bit over emphasized, I think. You see God's character singing songs and talking light matters, making food in the kitchen, and Jesus even drops a bowl of food in the kitchen to the amusement of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Yes, very beautiful pictures of God being the simple Being that He is.

I think it definitely is a book to be read and pondered by every human on earth. You can't over analyse a book like this too. Because that is exactly what God as a character (and God as the real God too, I think) keeps emphasizing, don't over analyse that you forget to live every moment of everyday.

I think the favourite scene of mine is the part where Jesus offers to Mack to walk on water across the lake to a small island. They were surrounded by mountains. And the lake was placid.

And Mack reluctantly stepped on to the lake, and knew that it was the most stupid thing he ever did in his life (even the stupidest thing to think of in all his life, I would add).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Injustice and a Wedding

I have been following what has been happening back at home in Manipur and Nagaland, India in recent times, and have been really disturbed by all the injustice.

On the same planet where people talk about some some teenagers spending millions to seal lights for their music concerts (not to point fingers here, just citing an example), police forces and commandos are dashing civilian teenagers with sticks and against concrete walls and dragging them to town hall (of all places town hall) to shoot them there.

Same planet where people spend hundreds of dollars just to fill their stomachs just for an afternoon (because they have to eat again at night anyway no matter how much they spend on one meal), families live with mouthful of rice for a day just because their cities and highways have been cut off from the rest of the world and the marketplaces and economy has come to a standstill.

On the same planet where all that one worries about is whether the Internet will be up and running by the end of the day, because one might just die feeling the lack of it, there is a family who is anticipating a wedding this weekend, and so far the highways are still closed and the price of things are almost four times high, and so who could afford all the meat (not to think of the basics like rice) for that day?

Sympathy doesn't help. The only thing that sympathy might do is, because of my sympathy some other people might learn about it and then from there some help can be rendered through other people.

No, sympathy isn't what this family needs. Not even if the Naga situation gets resolved before this weekend, the family isn't any better off. Help is a bit too late for many people already. So what can anyone do? It's just news for most people. Just recent events. Just being upto-date with what's happening on the planet that we live on. What can you do so that this family can feel better about the wedding? What can anyone do to appease the crying for the young people lost in the incidents? What can governments do to give ears to millions calling out for their rights? What can they do to replace the life that was lost and not just present certificates to adorn the wall of their emptier by one houses?

If you are the Government, you can't just say yes, because yes to one means no to another. If you are a resistance fighter, you can't just press your point as you feel it, because apparently, as you 'feel it' isn't absolute. If you are an observer, you can't just watch; and yet you can't just dive headlong into the issues because, as they will tell you, it's got nothing to do with you.

So now, you see what I feel like, when I say that one cannot help but see injustice, but all that one can do is see, and nothing else.

Oh, and the wedding this weekend is my aunt's. Congratulations Aunty Susan. Have a wonderful married life.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

4 may post

Today I walked the quiet road to Majestic Studio. Until Internet is up and running at our place we are still using Danny's studio for Jordi Duff.

On my way here I was listening to Jo Wada Kiya, Paan Banaras Wala and some other random oldies as I walked along River Avon underneath golden autumn trees and many weeping willows. I love Christchurch for the trees.

Anyway, I reckon that the influence by old Bollywood classics can become a major hit with Sirion Diaries because not many people know about B'wood oldies (out of India, I mean) and not many people consider them of having any artistic influence. They are just nostalgic material. And well, that is probably why I consider them of having deep inspiration material. Because Sirion Diaries is based largely on nostalgia.

I don't know how well my grammar are framed on that previous paragraph there. I am not feeling myself completely. Little cold new house getting into my head, especially the scent of fresh paint playing with my head.