Sep 26, 2011

So many books, so little time!

 

Books were one thing that bound us together – me and the husband. From the first ever time we met and discovered that we both loved GodFather equally, to discovering Paulo Coelho’s genius in Zahir and Eleven Minutes to re-discovering that he is highly over-rated to reading each others’ favourites, books have been one thing we could talk about, any time.

We love our books, both he and I. So much so that , before we could even discuss marriage, we discussed what we would do with our books. We both laid conditions that we would not disturb each others’ collections and that we would not read the same book at the same time, and so on.

An ideal holiday for us is to laze around on a lazy boy/bean bag/hammock/beach-side-chair and read a book. :-) No wonder why our parents ask us why should we even go to a different place when all we want to do is to sit and read. :-)

So when we both moved to our first home, he from his parents’ house and I from my apartment which I shared with my friends and Mom’s house (which is where most of my things were), we had clothes which fit in two suitcases each and books in 8 cartons. After 2 yrs when we moved to our second home, a slightly bigger apartment, much to our shock, we noticed that our books alone fit in 16 cartons! Both of us didn’t realize we had so many books!

And when we were to move to our third home , our own this time hence a little bigger than the second one, in which we had planned every corner and decided what goes where, we realized we’ll have to get rid of some of the books. Coz there wasn’t enough place for all of ‘em, in spite of one closet being dedicated for books alone. That was when I took the hard decision to part with few of my books. The Kindle 2 that I had then made me feel slightly better about this terrible loss, and so I gave away/sold most of the books, and moved into this new house with just a handful of them. The classics, books which we loved, he and I separately, together and had memories with. Books like GodFather, Atlas Shrugged, Carlos Castenada’s, some Paulo Coelho titles… just a few of which actually mattered.

So you would imagine my shock when I realized that after little more than an year of moving into this house, we have not one or two but a total of 7 bookshelves. In short, we’ve been converting one corner of the house into a bookshelf every 3 months. This, in spite of having a Kindle, my new Kindle 3!

I tried sorting the books and putting them all in one place so they would not take so much space, but then figured out they belong where they were placed.

The recipe books in the kitchen, the ever-green ones each of which I pick out and read every few days near the bed-side bookstand, the ones that I am currently reading in the passage-shelf , the ones that I want to read, and will read in sometime in the inner-living area, the ones that I will NEVER give away to anyone in the place they were intended to be in – the third bedroom closet. I could not move them anywhere, they had to stay there. Each of these bookshelves serve a purpose, you see… :)

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This is the one in the kitchen. Just some basic recipe books, and some knick-knacks, and of course a plant or two. If you are a bewdi/bewda, you might even recognise the terracota bottle there. Yeah, its a model of Jack Daniels bottle, made by the husband. :)

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This is in the corner of the living room, the inner room. We have a very comfortable seating near this side table, and spend almost all our time in the house in this place. See, these are the books that I will read someday. I will get there… Someday, you see! :-)

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Now, these books – they have to be here. I need to see them everyday to remember that I have them. Some of these are borrowed from friends which I have to return, some are good old huge recipe books, and some are classics like Kahlil Gibran here. So they sit in the place which we frequent the most – the shelf near the small corridor to the bedroom. Noticed the little piece of Worli art on the wall? Husband’s handiwork again.

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This is by the bedside, err… rather on the wall near the bed. I need to see these daily too and hence they wont go into their final resting place, the big closet. These are books that I can read when I am about to sleep. I can live without reading these books but need them around, you see.

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This is the good old closet, the one originally intended to store all the books of the house. Its deep enough to have someone like me sit inside it, and so has two layers of books. These are the ones we will not part with. Atleast for now. :)

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And the Kindle. My love. It is a long way from replacing all the above books, but without it, we’d be having books on the beds, couches, dining table and all. Literally all over the house. :)

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So when I was shooting these bookshelves around the house, I loved that I had so many books. Makes me feel very wise you see. That is, till the time I open my GoodReads page.

As on today, I still have a total of 406 books, 220 of which I am yet to read. :) And new books get added to this every day. What? I’ve read only 174 books till date? Seriously? Sigh.

So many books, so little time! No?

Sep 25, 2011

Forty Rules of Love? Seriously?

The description of the book says its a love shared between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and of a housewife in US called Ella with a writer called Aziz.
And that this is on Sufi-ism, which is what made me pick up the book in the first place.

Well, the writing certainly could've been better, I found the style too amateurish. Every time Shams attempts to the rule of love, he quotes the number and says the rule. I wonder why the editors didn't let Elif Shafak know about the different methods of introducing the rules. :)
And then, what seems unclear throughout the book is , how can two men be so much in love with each other - Rumi and Shams?
Yes, they both are Sufis, and Sufi means love, but why that depth in love. This whole topic could've been dealt differently by the author.
And for all the description of Shams that they give, him being the noble, the wise, the kind and the embodiment of love, how did he marry Rumi's daughter and not consummate their marriage, and also insult her causing her to die? That doesn't sound logical at all.

As for the housewife's love story with the writer, Aziz - even that storyline needs a lot of refinement. There are a ton of questions about Ella's estrangement with her husband, and Aziz's story could've been more detailed , if the book was all about Sufi.

Even the writing style is not easy. Its not breezy, and there is no motivation to finish reading the book, because what happens to Shams and Rumi, Ella and Aziz are told in the first few chapters itself.
Also the whole style of each chapter narrated from the character's perspective , which could've made the book interesting, instead made it extremely tough to read. With each of the chapters being just a page or two long, there is a break in the reading and thought process every couple of minutes.

In short, if you have picked up this book thinking it talks about Sufi-ism , then you can give it a miss. If you are considering this as a casual read, then by all means, go ahead and read. And do not expect that this book will make you think or grow wiser.

Look Ma, 500!

 

Yes, that’s how many posts I’ve written till date! :-D

The first time I read the husband’s blog (Link doesn’t exist anymore, but he used to be The Eternal Six Year Old) and thus discovered blogs and spent hours reading Vaish’s blog(restricted users, no point in clicking the link :-)), I was in love. With the concept of writing. What I used to scribble in my little notebook at home wasn’t enough. I wanted to write on my comp, and wanted to see my writings in print (Yeah yeah, tall order but still :-)). And thus started my blog journey.

From a blog with a silly word like ‘Smiling’ to another silly word like ‘Chocolate’ in its title to a more matured name inspired by one of Ayn Rand’s books, I’ve had a total of 7 blogs! Phew! That’s a lot.

Well, there are many reasons why I skipped from one blog to another(all of these documented as I did the hop and skip, some of which I hope to publish here someday) and I never counted the number of posts I wrote in all.

Until today. :-)

And boy, look at the number!

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Wow! I’ve written fiction and non-fiction. Created some silly series of stories from my life , some from friends’ , ranted a lot, became all philosophical and mystical also, introspected and also went in a total retrospect mood too. In short, it was one hell of an awesome journey!

Yes, I have all these blogs. Still. I just restricted users to them, because they are no more relevant to what I am today.

Writing has always been a love, and it will continue to be so. I don’t have to publish novels or write super-hit plays. Whenever I am down, or when I am happy or when I want to share something with someone, I have my writing. It doesn’t matter if no one reads, I will read them. And write, I will. For my sake. To express myself. To feel good. To feel confident. And to emote.

503! In 5 years! That’s an average of 100 posts per year. Which means, one in atleast 3 days! This makes even a self-critic like me also proud! :-D

Sep 22, 2011

Harry Potter… That world!

 

With Harry Potter , JK Rowling didn't just create a magical world.

Not just an exemplary friendship story.

Not just a story of a brave boy and a selfish man.

Not just a story of an open genius(Dumbledore) or that of a hidden genius(Snape).

Not just an example of how loyalty can border onto madness. (Pettigrew and Bellatrix)

Or not just a story of how strong Mother’s love can be. (Narcissa Malfoy and Lily Potter)

As I saw Snape hold Lily Potter and weep with all he’s got after she is killed by the Curse, as I saw him tell Dumbledore after showing his Patronus that he has always loved her, the pain in his eyes, and the slight quiver in his voice, I realized – she wrote the greatest love story of our times.

A love so strong by a man that it refused to die even for years, after the death of the woman.

A love so strong that the man was ready to give up his life to take care of the son of his arch enemy, just because he was also the son of the woman he loved.

A love so strong that the man gulped down his hatred for the boy and yet continued to protect him.

A love so strong that the last thing the man saw as he lay bleeding, dying away after a deadly snake bite were the eyes of the woman he loved, now in the boy’s face.

I wept for hours when Snape killed Dumbledore in Half Blood Prince, and told myself over and over again that Snape had a reason. Dumbledore is not a fool. Snape is up to something good. Yes, he was not the hero of the book, but he sure is not the villain. I had that trust in Snape from the beginning. And when I discovered that Snape was indeed Dumbledore’s agent in Book 7, I wept tears of joy. For Snape. For Dumbledore and for his trust not having gone in vain.

As I read ‘The Prince’s Tale’ in the last instalment of the series, I knew I was right. Snape is the true hero of the book. A true Prince. With a love so strong that he did not mind his soul getting ripped as he killed Dumbledore, all so he can keep Harry safe and keep Draco’s hands clean of murder!

And as I saw the entire sequence in the final instalment of the movie, and see Alan Rickman enact the entire sequence exactly like how I imagined it, I felt it – Yes, this is the best love story ever! Atleast for me!

I thought for the millionth time that Lily Evans should’ve been with Snape, not with the bratty, arrogant James Potter. Talk about getting involved in the story! :-)

Not even Segal’s Love Story or Oliver’s Story, or Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera can beat this one, may be because this is not just a tragedy but also because of the love being forbidden and never having been acknowledged by anyone.

And yes, this is not just a story of good over evil.

Its a story of how you can control  your destiny(Neville’s miraculous transformation), of how even genius can make mistakes (Dumbledore’s early life), of how bad intentions will get you nowhere (the entire Dark Army), of how good is always rewarded (all the gazillion incidents when Harry is good to everyone around him and it is rewarded), of how you don’t have to belong to a particular race to be brilliant or good at what you do(Hermoine’s brilliance in spite of she being a Muggle, Hagrid in spite of him being a half-giant) and at how looks can be deceivable(Snape being the Half-Blood Prince, and how the entire story is actually about him).

These books have all the elements I would expect children of this generation should read and imbibe. All of them packaged in a very exciting magical world.

I was a jobless 23 yr old living off her best friend in her apartment when I laid eyes on the Chamber of Secrets lying on another friend’s bed. Being the bookworm that I was, I picked it up instantly and got hooked. I read it all in one go before lunch, and waited for this friend to get back and give me the rest of the books, that she had. After retrieving Books 1 and 3 from her closet, I got down to reading them, and finished them all in the same day and waited for her come back so I could discuss Potter with her.

This was the year 2003 and thus started the love, and the wait till that day in 2007 when the last book was released - the day the husband got me the copy of Book 7 which was also read in one shot.

And yet the wait is not over. Like all the Potter fans in the world, I haven’t had my full of the series, and would read it all again any number of times. (Except of course the last chapter!) Yes! :-)

And as I watched the Movie 7 , Part 2 last night end, like all those fans , I also felt it. Its all over! Yes. :-(

Even Rowling cannot create this magic again. Neither can any other author. This part of our lives when we all went mad for the next book in the series is over. When we all thought that there was indeed a Platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross, or when we all felt and emoted with Molly Weasley for the naughty boys she had, or when we felt that all the students at Hogwarts were our classmates/friend. All of this - we will not feel this way ever again. :-(

But yes, I will continue to dream of that one letter I will get someday from Hogwarts. Even if I am way too old to get into it! :)