Sunday, August 7, 2011

The World According to Garp: A review

I've been reading a lot lately. Quick update: I quit work on 17th june, and have been chilling at home in Mysore for a couple of months. It's gratifying to some extent as I can afford to wake up around lunch time and wonder: How much do I not do today?
Recently, I read Irving's "The 158 pound Marriage" and was blown away, as a result of which my Irving obsession was born. I had heard a lot of things about "The World according to Garp", and was getting started on it with the right expectations.
When One decides to read Irving, It is important to note that there will be a lot of Sexuality. Simply put,It is his forte. There will also be a lot of Vienna and Wrestling to go with it just to stir the pot a bit. The World According to Garp is one of the best novels I have ever read. I don't care much for plots and adrenalin rushes. Such things are reserved for Forsyth novels (A genre I have archived years back). Sure, one may find the occasional novel with a few twists and turns, a high speed chase, a murder mystery where we're led on to believe that a certain someone is a wrong suspect, or a Real Life Drama about the strings of Love and Trust, and how these 'words' play out quite wonderfully on paper. But to me, a real killer novel is one with a deep character analysis, one that allows us to invoke "imagery" to such an extent that we can actually 'see' emotions.

The first bit of the book is about Jenny Fields, A nurse based out of Boston who is content being a nurse. She despises men, considers them a social stigma. She doesn't understand lust, the need for it, the effects, the result. Jenny decides to have a baby. But she doesn't want anything to do with the father. Thus is born T.S Garp, a Bastard who is never told who the Father is. Jenny Fields raises him on her own. Garp's trysts with Sex start in Vienna, the city where Jenny pens her autobiography, one that makes her famous and helps garner a prominent feminist movement. Jenny writes: " I wanted a job and I wanted to live alone. That made me a sexual suspect. Then I wanted a baby, but I didn't want to share my body or my life to have one. That made me a sexual suspect, too." The book gives Jenny all the feminist support in the World, described with much ardour by Irving. Her fame also spells her downfall, which is to be expected because if you have feminism, you have anti-feminism as well.
I feel that Jenny's way of Life slowly but surely reaches out to Garp and his way of thinking. At one point, When Garp is spotted at a feminist funeral (Though he tried his best at Crossdressing), He tries to quickly hail a taxi outside. the Driver, unaware of course of his sex, tries to chat him up. Garp felt violated and uncomfortable, perhaps a reminder to him about how women are targeted on a daily basis.
Garp is an author as well. His world is manifested in his work. His fears aplenty. Garp is constantly reminded about loss. You can sense as you read along that His fears are Irving's fears.
I don't think I can even write about the relevance of this book in this day and age. I think Garp is trying to tell us to all worry. To worry about the future, to worry about people close to us and people that matter. To worry about love, marriage and Death.
Garp's obsession with death never ceases to amaze me. I think it echoes through us all.
I also think one should buy the book asap and read along:
Flipkart link

I also believe all of you'll will agree that 'In the World according to Garp', we are indeed terminal cases!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Conan's goals are my goals as well!

Conan O Brian has given me reason to believe that it's perfectly okay to have no direction in Life! After watching the initial part of his Commencement speech at Dartmouth, I had reason enough to believe that it was not a special delivery. As one would expect, it had a fair share of humour, dark albeit brilliant at that. He was pretty much playing out the Tonight Show on the podium. But then it got interesting towards the end (See for yourself)
Conan's speech!.
When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was to learn to ride the Bicycle my Dad had bought me. At that point of time, All i wanted to do was to ride it out on my own; To feel "cool" like the other kids on the block. Perhaps, my realm of finding something to be content about was restricted and bounded by what I could perceive to be real.
My dad would pretend to hold the back of the seat and run along as i cruised into the distance; I would always be led on to believe that i was not doing this on my own. This stayed on for a couple of nights, until one fine evening I turned back to look that my dad was watching from a fair distance. It seemed quite unbelievable to me for I always thought that I'd need to conjure something magical to learn how to balance a Bicycle. To be frank, I was mighty frightened I'd fall, the mental demons were playing their games and playing them well. It really was one of the most amazing moments of my childhood. I had successfully managed to learn to balance a Cycle, and was doing it on my own!!
To this day, I believe that once you're led on to something and you're doing quite beautifully, it is quite natural that you may be thrown outside your comfort zone, but you need to feel confident enough to realize you have already done all the hard work and you're almost near the finish line.
As i grew older and wiser, I knew that I wanted to become a "somebody" who would do "something" that eventually got me rich. We all live in a materialistic world where it's hard to live without getting influenced by money or equivalents of money. All Kids (to this day) would want to end up with a lot of greens! But back then, we wouldn't know what or how. There may be some three year olds who'd want to be Fire-fighters and save the world, but they don't know shit :D.
I think I was 12 when I my mom told me about the IIT's and the IIM's. She sure as hell painted me a nice picture and made it seem that it was the way to go to achieve my "dreams"; Ones drawn for me by my mom. I had no identity of my own. I used to play fairly decent Cricket in an Indoor badminton court, scored a 400 well before Lara and voila. I had set my mind on being a cricketer. Then there was a phase where my friend's dad took me to the golf course. I was fascinated by the lush greens, the Bunkers and the roughs, the follow through of the Golf stick. So much so, I stole a couple of Golf balls, learnt the rules of the game by constantly watching T.V, planted a Par-3 golf course on the front garden and religiously played every evening till tennis got the better of me. I always had a sense that I was cut out to be a Sportsman. The competitive nature of Sport always drew me to it. But I guess I couldn't find one to stick to, and that was probably my problem.
Then there was a brief time wherein I was fascinated with aeroplanes, Everything about them. The wide bodies, the Cruising speeds, the double decker 747s, the magnificent livery, and what not. I decided that flying planes was too risky :D. So why not just become an aeronautical engineer?
Through School and most of college, I was a genius with Numbers. I could play them and they could play me. But I never quite figured out What future numbers have for me. (Finance perhaps, but something tells me that isn't going to happen). Then I aced my Undergrad entrance test, And I was told that Electronics was the best option for me. Four years of that Crap gave me enough reasons to believe I am not a technical person.
It was at a traffic signal a few years ago that had a profound impact on my future, or let me say, my perceived future. I decided that I was meant to be a good Managerial person. That's all I had to work with.
I then took up a job with IBM, where I still had wrong notions about what kind of roles I may apply for at the organisation. Having watched Wimbledon all through the years, all I pretty much cared about was somehow representing IBM at the event. That was the pinnacle for me. Some things just don't happen!
The important thing is I have learnt to live with defeats. These different phases in life; Coupled with not so realistic dreams add on beautifully to 'define' you. To give you an identity. Something to work with. Now that's a start.
I have been fortunate enough to learn the e-procurement cycle of Unilever at my job. And now, I probably want to be a Supply chain consultant. I am heading to Marseille to learn a few new things about International Business. Maybe my dreams will take a turn for the worse. Only time will tell. But who knows: Maybe I will end up working in the logistics division at Airbus; This way I am closer to planes. I get to travel the world. Sign deals, make some money; and use that money to Watch Federer and Nadal in action, at another Wimbledon final.
Or maybe I will do something else. I'm not sure, and I don't care. I am ready to adapt. The process is in place. Nothing can go wrong.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Slow Man

J.M Coetzee is as reclusive as they get. Honorary Doctorates from ten or so Universities. I must say that there is an aura about his writing that can't be explained. The first author to win two Booker's, His books aren't easy reads as such. You tend to ask yourself if such a mysterious man can write so beautifully. The Imagery is quite brilliant, as is his play of words. I tend to believe that his Life's lessons are reflected in his books.Coetzee's dedication to his personal regime and writing is unmatched.
Slow man was a delightful read, to say the least. The Protagonist is Paul Rayment, a French man in his sixties who has moved to Adelaide. It seems as though Paul has no regrets about Life. Single, Unmarried, with nothing to look forward to but a 'Daily Routine', Cycling through the streets of Adelaide,running daily errands, and delving into Photography. Then all changes in an instant when his Leg is amputated as a result of an Accident. His live takes various twists and turns; Having to live and accept the situation and reflect on a Lost Legacy, or the lack of it, Marijana, a paid nurse is asked to take care of him and his stump.
Rayment soon develops sexual feelings for her; This is coupled with his inability to move out of bed, He is now left to her disposal. Rayment doesn't quite accept his impending doom. Once, he was in the position to grapple with his indepence, but now He has to dig deep and do what is right. Marijana is happily married with a Kid named Drago; Rayment feels a need to be grateful, so he offers to take care of Drago's education and future. He proclaims his love for Marijana. Coetzee does a great job at explaining how events take a turn for the worse. Love, Hope and delusions dictate Paul'sheart. Marijana's husband begins to suspect the worst, and Paul has to contend with Losing everything. Until Elizabeth Costello comes into the picture and tweeks things a bit:)

It is best if I don't explain how lovely this book is. It is a master-piece in every sense. I promise you that you will close the book with a smile on your face, relating yourself to what is played out and understanding what goes into writing such an eminent book, so real and powerful that you actually wonder what it's like to be Paul.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Monday- Like every other day?

Time for my next post I guess. I always have an urge to write something but somehow, I don't. It's been like this for a while now.Maybe so, because All I feel like writing about is how the montony is just so thick.
Anyway, Last Monday, I got off work relatively early, Headed home around 6. Sat my ass on the couch,switched on the tv, and thought to myself-Wait, this isn't right! I wondered for a while what I'd do for the duration of the evening; This was new to me.My job requires me to stay way past 8 on most days, where in I'd quietly slide home, tired and sleepy, and quickly slide into bed.
I decided to go take a walk outside (This isn't unfamiliar territory, One would think). I started walking down Sampige road towards Mantri mall.A cool breeze was blowing across the Road. The clouds were darkening, and trees swaying: Left to Right, as if they were willing to accept whatever the sky threw at them.The hawkers by the side of the road were trying to gather their belongings and move to safety. Then word came around like a domino effect from behind me that Cops were passing by.One by one, hawkers packed off and disappeared. A few were still trying to make a quick buck but they sauntered off as well. I crossed the road with a strange sense of elation. Maybe it was the smell of rain and what comes with it, Or the sight of vibrant colours from the Green of the swaying trees, the yellow of Blossoming flowers and the Red of Car tail-lights. There was this old rustic second hand bookstore that caught my attention; I quickly slid in before the
downpour got the better of me. From Sci-Fi to Romance, there were quite a few novels spread out on tiny racks. Reading spree that I was on (Two novels in the last 5 months :P), I managed to "bargain" with the Store Rep and picked up a John Irving for 120 bucks. As I was playing with it, taking in the overwhelming Scent only a very old-ass book can give you, a tiny little cockroach dropped to the floor and scrambled away. I couldn't help but smile to myself. Quite plausibly, this book might have never been removed from it's resting place. MAYBE it was passed on from another bookstore, or a previous owner. It really is gratifying when you pay for something you're surely going to keep.
I wouldn't quite say this is breaking the monotony; This was more like a chain of small micro-events lined up together and blending in perfectly, each doing it's bit to help.
I realised that it is very important to cherish the small things Life throws at you. Often, We are so caught up in the motions of everyday life that we forget that It does give us something, as long as we are willing to take it.
As I waited for the elevator when I was back home, for the first time ever, I banged my head against the door!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Long Overdue

It's been so fucking long. New Year's eve went by in a heartbeat, and it's hard to believe we're already almost into March. A lot has happened since New Years. Those stupid ass resolutions are just what we say/portray to make us feel good about ourselves. Work is the shite, if you know what I mean. I managed to get my GMAT out of the way, and now have to get rolling on the applications to make it in time For September. My hopes are pinned on France, and hopefully I'll have some good news by Mid-April. 
I would like to talk about some interesting events which helped me gain a broader perspective about Life and it's hideous games. There is some stuff going on at Work, and I don't like where it's going. Unlike in other aspects of Day to Day life, it's hard to pitch an outcry against things that don't seem right. Basically, you're like a prostitute, getting paid every month to do what you're told to do. There is something about 'Work Pressure', and what it embodies, that makes you realise that you got to do IT, even though it doesn't make sense any sense whatsoever. Even if it asks you some really tough Questions, you just have to tell yourself that the things you're doing that do not make you feel 'good' are only on the WEEKDAYS! 

I did get to see Bryan Adams play out to a solid crowd at Palace Grounds. He's been one of my favourite singers for a long time now. I always wanted to see him Live. I remember back in 8th, I'd play "The Best of Me" cassette over and over . Back then, I was care-free, fascinated with POP, Soft Rock and no idea about any other Genres. But I knew that Adams was the man to see simply because of these lines- 
"when you can see your unborn children in her eyes 
You know you really love a woman"

As a 13 year old, actually believing that this is what Love is, and even to this day I'd like to think that This is what the real deal is. I got goosebumps when he started singing the first verses of "I'm ready" and  Please forgive me. It was like an endless dream, not to be compared with the craziness of Iron Maiden, but unique and sublime in its simplicity. Music is the simplest Emotion:)

In other news, A friend of mine went to Israel on work. He'd taken a little Stone from Mysore with him. this is from the all of us to a man of kindness and Humility, and the Greatness that is much more than a movie.
Schindler's list is more like an experience, one that will bring you to your knees at the end and make you shed a few tears. All of us feel so strongly about this Man (even though Schindler's ark portrays him in a 'lesser' sense). So this is for the Movie, For humility, and for a Right Way to lead life!

This post is for all those people who have been friends for a long time, whose friendship draws from things they share in common, be it Iron Maiden, the same taste in Food, books, views on life, or the 'I love that movie' for example Schindler's List. I hope that each one of you cherish what you have for as long as it lasts.
'cause Friendship is the roots of the Big banyan tree that we associate with Life. Cheers!

P:S- I am back:P

Saturday, January 1, 2011


There was a re-assuring calm around and about the Ocean.  The waves were striking at the rocks. In the distance, the gleaming lights of the approaching ships, coupled with the Bright setting Sun diving sharply into the Horizon, only augmented the Beauty. Here I was, on the Beach, A single malt on the rocks in hand. No complaints. The liquid was precious. The Golden Colours dancing and playing with my head. The Sun's reflection on the Ice cubes accentuated the feeling that was what It was. As I was finishing my drink, the Bartender pops a Champagne bottle and passes me a note. It reads- "To an eventful evening, Love- S". Before I can ask him where it's from, he's gone. I turn around to check but I see nothing. For a while, I sit and wonder who Could it be, but my mind is blank.
I'm feeling nervy and edgy. My body exudes a chill and the Hair on my neck Stands erect. All this in the mediterranean. I have no reason to be nervous. But yet I am. I am confronted by the Demons of my past. I shed a tear, and quickly wipe it off. I don't want to be reminded about my nemesis or my parched past. It was a long time ago. Things have changed. It was only after she left that I started feeling Uneasy about most things. I didn't want to ruin a perfectly Good evening. I gulped down the last portion of my drink, and got up from the wholesome Chair that was my home for the last couple of hours.
Who could it be, i wondered. I just hoped it wasn't her. But yet I wished It was.
As I made an effort to walk up to the Clubhouse, I was approached by a fine young gal, who sauntered across without an effort. Her face had the symmetry unheard of. Her eyebrows and those deep blue oceans gave me the shiver. Her skin was that Olive you dream of seeing. She stood about a foot away, and bent forward as though she wanted to whisper something in my ear. I took the cue and bent inwards. I was met by a soft tenderness followed by an exchange of fluids. 
We made out for a while; the passion building up. The Breathing was getting heavier. I didn't want this moment to pass. I wanted to be young again. I held her waist and pulled her towards me. She told me to follow her back for a Night Cap. I obeyed. I was in a trance. I was feeling nervous again. Jittery to say the least. I didn't have to be, I figured. It was way back, I have changed now. It is a different me. I tried telling myself this, as she led me away. Sensing my nervous energy, she smiled and said- The Night is still young..
Little did I know that there wasn't a past, one that gave me the chills, there was No Gal in her 20's, and the note that said 'To an eventful evening' wasn't even a note.Schizophrenic I was, but wasn't :)