Posts Tagged ‘Salman Rushdie

06
Mar
09

The Coming of Age

I have quite often been critical of the church and religious institutions. People who know me know of my opposition to any form of organized movement that seeks to impose upon people a set of ideologies;I may seem like an anarchist but I believe anarchy is inevitable when it comes to dreaming of a rational society, a society governed by peace and that involves true participation, something on the lines of Jewish communes called Kibbutz.

But then again the thought of a commune system gives me creeps because what instantly comes to my mind is Ayn Rand’s Anthem –  the loss of individuality – and Manoj Nnight Shyamalan’s Village – a society of Puritanians.

I am finally convinced that my friend Lal’s work was a masterpiece. Lal happens to be a friend of mine who wrote a book, a philosophical critique on governance, wherein he claims that no form of governance is truly participatory.

Anyway, enough of rambling. What I seek, in simple terms, is peace and the freedom to choose, a capitalist society with a humane touch.

The world is reeling under the aftereffects of recession, unemployment rate in the US has hit a new high. Loans are difficult to get by. Lay-offs in every possible direction. The sale of anti-depressants has shot off the roof.

Who needs divorce?

While on one side we have news that is depressing on the other side is news that is amusing – Divorce cases have hit a new low! Religious institutions are getting record attendance(and money)! Self help and investment books are selling like hot cakes!

Atheists often look down upon theists as irrational people, people who are dumb enough to believe in karmic cycle, resurrection, apocalypse and sins.

In a recent post by one of my friend, on his blog, he discussed about the same and claimed that babies are atheists and if allowed to grow so will lead us to a world that works on rational principles – a claim that I had fiercely argued against. Well it looks like, for once, my claims were right.

A recent research claims that Gods are a natural extension of the evolutionary process and also the manner in which we’re wired, up in our attics. And that this new-found phenomenon of seeking solace in our gods(Thanks to recession) is something that is natural to us humans, we will at times of adversity turn to some mystical power, which is nothing but a creation of our imagination.

The research draws its inspiration from the phenomenon of kids and adults having imaginary friends.

Nevertheless, Gods/no Gods the debate is an unending one and so is our quest for a perfect and rational society.

REVOLUTION!

REVOLUTION!

To me the present world is in someways a world similar to the swinging sixties. Music is the latest thing and that too indie music, anti-government feeling is on the rise, socialists are on the rise, more and more people are speaking out and all that we see around, most things seem to tell me that we’re on the verge of a cultural revolution.

Then again, it might be the effect of all the conspiracy theories I’ve seen and read in the past couple of years.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have entered the age of Aquarius, or so some people claim.

In astrology, the Age of Aquarius is one of the twelve astrological ages.Each astrological age is approximately 2,150 years long, Unlike sun-sign astrology where the first sign is Aries, followed by Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces whereupon the cycle returns to Aries and through the zodiacal signs again, the astrological ages proceed in the opposite direction or order.

Astrological ages exist as a result of precession of the equinoxes. The stars and constellations appear to slowly rotate around the Earth independent of the diurnal and annual movements of the Earth on its own axis and around the Sun. This slow movement takes slightly less than 26,000 years to complete one cycle.

In 1929, the International Astronomical Union defined the edges of the 88 official constellations In 1929, the International Astronomic Ages are believed by some astrologers to affect mankind while other astrologers believe the ages correlate to the rise and fall of mighty civilizations and cultural tendencies.

Aquarius traditionally rules electricity, computers, flight, democracy, freedom, humanitarianism, idealists, modernization, rebels and rebellion, mental diseases, nervous disorders, and astrology. Other keywords and ideas believed associated with Aquarius are nonconformity, philanthropy, veracity, perseverance, mankind and irresolution. The appearance or elevation in status of many of these Aquarian developments over the last few centuries is considered by many astrologers to indicate the proximity of the Aquarian age. There is no uniform agreement about the relationship of these recent Aquarian developments and the Age of Aquarius.

Some astrologers believe that the influence of a new age is experienced before it arrives because of a cuspal effect or Orb of Influence. Other astrologers believe the appearance of Aquarian developments indicate the actual arrival of the Age of Aquarius.

But then again the astronomers are not in agreement with the date of commencement of the age. While some say it started way back in the 19th century some others claim it started this year in the month of Feb. Anyway my in box is often full of promotional emails from astrologers and oracles who claim that the transition is here and I ought to make the best use of it by paying these frauds100$ for telling me how to make the best of this transition.

The reason I gave you so much gyan about the Age of Aquarius is because of a certain announcement by the Vatican this week, an announcement that, to me, confirms the fact that we’re indeed in the age of Aquarius and thus on the verge of a revolution.

The famous Darwin cartoon that hit newspapers soon after Darwin published The Orign of Species

The famous Darwin cartoon that hit newspapers soon after Darwin published The Orign of Species

The Vatican earlier this week announced that it accepts Darwinism. While to many this is a welcome move because christian theologians had years ago rejected the claims of the book of genesis a fact that often baffled the laity, to many this is the first nail on Christianity’s coffin. The church goes on to claim that accepting Darwinism does not in any manner interfere with the church’s claim of acceptance of God and trashes the claims of Richard Dawkins- the church calls it absurd;for it was God who  made the soul.

I believe its time for researchers in the field of cognitive and conscience sciences to pull their socks.

Meanwhile a research conducted by BBC claims that people often lie about the books they’ve read. The most lied about book is George Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty Four, followed by James Joyce’s Ulysses, Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s children. I happen to have pirated prints of all the four books and with the exception of War and Peace have read all the three, or at least am in the process – stuck with Ulysses!

According to BBC of the hundred books listed below an average individual would not have read more than six.

Place a mark next to the ones you’ve read.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen #
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien #
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee #
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell#
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens #
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller#
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien #
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulkner
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger#
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald #
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy *
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams #
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky #
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll #
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy #
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens #
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen #
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini #
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres #
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell #
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown #
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez #
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy #
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding #
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens#
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley#
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez #
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie #
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville #
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker #
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce(Reading)#
76 The Inferno – Dante#
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens#
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert #
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry#
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle #
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad#
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl #
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo#

37 Books! I am better read than an average Briton!

What’s your score?

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27
Feb
09

Fuck Generation!

“When Friedrick Nietzsche declared God is dead, FUCK became the most important world in the English language”
~Acharya Osho Rajneesh

Didn’t you love that video? Osho is sheer genius, and perhaps it’s only a genius who can veil subtle and often uncomfortable questions in humor. Veiled in that humor was a rather subtle message about how one word has dominated the vocabulary of our generation.

I did not have anything particular in mind to write about when I finished yesterday’s post. And in search of something interesting to write I started visiting other blogs and what struck me was the use of obscene language when it comes to describing things and as a matter of fact I too am a victim like most people out there.

I have been a swallower of lives; and to know me, just one of me, you’ll have to swallow the lot as well”, wrote Salman Rushdie, in Midnight’s Children. I look at that statement not coming out from Saleem Sinai’s mouth, they aren’t some words that describe the protagonist, instead those words have a universal appeal, those words, in precise terms, describe human nature to the very core.

We are the sum total of all our influences. And thinking about that, I am not just surprised but scared. What are we feeding on? And where will all this rot take us? More importantly what rot will the next generation feed on?

It surprises me how people go ga-ga about heavy metal and subversive literature and underground cartoons and all that jazz; what we fail to realize is that those were things which stemmed out from a certain sort of oppression and the frustration that resulted, it was a way and means of opposing the state, an ideological weapon, a weapon of intellect and not something which was embraced just for the sake of being cool, and swearing by them, living by them, turning them into our bibles we’re making a grave mistake without knowing what they represent.

To get a sense of how much filth surrounds us, I suggest that you visit random blogs or even better observe yourself and keep a tab of how many times you use the word – fuck, shit, crap, cunt and others.

I tried, and I lost a count!

Where’s this word coming from? What is it’s source? How has it managed to poison us without us being able to detect it?

How would we ever be able to explain the loss of words when it come to our vocabulary? How many words have we killed, thanks to our obsession with filth. No matter how proficient writers or orators we may be, these words still linger on the tip of our tongues, waiting for that slip when they might sneak out and poison others.

Damn! I cant write for nuts!

23
Feb
09

Jai Ho!

And the Oscars went to AR Rehman and Resul Pookutty. Indians across the globe are celebrating and Irfan Khan feels Indian Cinema is on it’s way to make a mark for itself in the world cinema. India’s first Oscar. What perhaps many do not realize is that this isn’t an Indian Oscar, just like Har Gobind Khorana’s Nobel wasn’t an Indian Nobel. This is a cinema made by a Briton out of an average Indian story by an average Indian writer that had been gathering dust in bookshops across the country. It took a Briton to realize the genius of the plot and again the average Indian author wasn’t found good enough for Indian taste so he was given a South African award and considered for awards by the Brits. And now that the average Indian Story has won the reconisition of the average world Indians are finally waking up and shedding tears of joy as two Indians won the coveted Oscars. I mean how hypocritical are we Indians? Real art has never found many takers in India, except for the high chinned snobbish Indian elite and the shabbily dressed Indian intelligent.

As far as Irfan Khan’s comments are concerned I believe it’s too far fetched, mainstream Indian cinema has to die and be born again before it becomes a truely effective art form.

Nevertheless, while the world celebrated the genius of an unknown Indian author, Vikas Swaroop, this worm of an author was working on one of his another dark short stories about death and guilt set in the scenic environs of a loo. And by mere coincidence I found myself in place of my protagonist, reading and crapping and by the time I finished I realized there wasn’t any water in the pipe and had to use toilet paper instead. And it was then that I realized how much paper we waste making something as genius and wondeful as toilet paper. I mean how many books can be published from all the paper that goes down the loo. I was reading Rushdie while I was in the loo.Rushdie happens to be an author I will always go ga-ga about, for his sheer ability to paint beautiful pictures out of words, be it Midnight’s Children or Haroun and the Sea of Strories or Satanic Verses. I dread reaching the end of his books beacause they end way too soon, I fancy being in that magical land of finely crafted words and brilliantly painted images a bit longer, perhaps that might explain why I reread Rushdie.




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