Water!

“Between your fingers you hold a stone and throw it into flowing water. The effect might not be easy to see. There will be a small ripple where the stone breaks the surface and then a splash, muffled by the rush of the surrounding river…Throw a stone into a lake. The effect will be not only visible but also far more lasting. The stone will disrupt the still waters …If a stone hits a river, the river will treat it as yet another commotion in its already tumultuous course. Nothing unusual. Nothing unmanageable. If a stone hits a lake, however, the lake will never be the same again…”

I get all romantic and mushy when it comes to water, may be water is my that elusive boyfriend who loves me to bits..who makes me ripple, who makes me send out steam.. see how my prose is going to bits 😛 😛 😛

One of the best descriptions I have read about water and that has stayed with me after years is from Anita Nair’s novel the Ladies Coupe. Even if I don’t remember anything else about it, I remember that bit about the chemistry teacher, her crossword loving husband and her rambles on water, water that loves, water that kills, water that breathes, water .. go find the book and read it, much better than me paraphrasing it for you. The above quote is yet another description I have read and re-read many times over, that has stayed with me. It is from the Preface of The Forty Rules of Love.. I must tell you I never went beyond this bit, not even till the end of the preface, but that stone and the ripple remain in my head somewhere, to be recalled anytime anybody brings up anything about water.. I guess water is my one and only love!

Thinking, shd i, shd i not!

 

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when a certain somebody sends you these! 😀 

What is everybody reading, these days..

Wish for something & it may come true by EOD

in picture tales..

Degree Coffee by the Yard came to me as part of a book exchange programme in one of the FB groups I am part of. I was reading In those days there was no coffee and wanted to continue with my reading of books on Madras Chennai. That’s when Jeeena and James decided to send me Tamarind Tree and Degree Coffee.

Degree Coffee as you can see has a brilliant cover, me & my group of friends fell in love with it as soon as I opened the parcel that came that afternoon.., we decided then and there to draw it out over the weekend. As we were walking back to our hostels after dinner that night, we happened to see the campus immersed in painting a portion of a road for an art festival.. Throwing away any thought of tiredness of the day to the wind, we joined them and painted the cover pic tweaking it a little as our contribution:) and made memories.. somewhere or the other all of had held a brush to paint on paper in our lives.. but this experience of painting on tar was exhilarating.. do you see our little bit in the whole pic? the theme was childhood, we related it to hamara bajaj and childhood vacation as we had to paint out the cover pic.. 🙂

Wishes do come true, may be not in the same kind we imagined. We didn’t have to wait till the weekend to fulfill our wish, it was done before the end of the day… 😀

the overall birds eye view pic courtesy: the campus photographer, the rest, our phones 🙂

oo oo oo oo oo oo

There is some strange connection between food and books, more than the two Os right in the middle of their names. Books have stories of food, and food times can also be book times.. (Not juat reading, it can be a time to discuss books too) (Although it is not a very good practice to follow) I am kind of intrigued by this connection, a connection that has made itself evident because books and foods are part of my favourite things.. I love to cook, and take pictures of food.. Some recipes come through books, such as my initial cooking experiments were all done from recipes in these cookbooks from MJ’s collection (I used to cook so that I could surprise them for snacks at coffee time in the evenings) habits die hard.. I continue to do the same even now when I’m at home 🙂

Regarding reading, I am not a compulsive reader at that. I read at my own pace, I enjoy my books, I live the lives of the characters, re-read my favourite parts, make customized bookmarks for each book, jot down memoirs of the book purchases and the book journeys .. Discuss books extensively with book crazy friends, rip their narratives apart as part of work and find interpretations, make connections partly because of my training and partly because it has become second nature.

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As far back as I can remember, I remember a stack of books next to my mother wherever she sat in the house. A stack of all kinds of dictionaries, books, magazines, newspapers, bits of papers that came as covers for things.. And the practice continues with the next generation through me. Wherever I stay there are always books around so many so that sometimes, I use them as table stands and such 😀 to manage space. Regarding lists of books read, since my way of life I choice is reading I happen to have read a lot of genres… At a least all those books listed in the must read group of 100 and 1000 books of the millennium and the century and the decade courtesy course work and curiosity.

Do I read while I eat.. Not really. I listen while eat .. (Audio books as they are called and it does open a whole new world).

oo oo oo oo
PS. Habits die hard .. The habit of blogging for the last 31 days stays on the 32nd day..

Have you realized that Akbar and Shakespeare are contemporaries?

Let me start with a question, list 10 Mughal Emperors in Indian History? Write them down somewhere..  I’ll come back to that later, but before that I need to share with you my excitement about the title of the post.

If you put British History and Indian History side by side, you’ll come to know that Akbar and Shakespeare are contemporary to each other. Strange? I thought they lived in different worlds, Oh! they did, but those different world were their different continents. However, they lived their lives almost during the same years.

Time for another fact. Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Akbar died in 1605, Shakespeare lived a decade longer and died in 1616.

All this, when set out in this fashion makes me feel rather excited about information in general and about these people in particular. I have never put Shakespeare and Akbar together before. I knew their dates, works and their years individually within their context, and the context of say, East India Company and the Plymouth, but never in this way, across countries. By that same logic, the second battle of Panipat was fought in 1556. It was in 1558 that Elizabeth became the Queen of England. Here in what has become India today, a 14 year old Akbar makes a statement in the battle field against Hemu, and there, Elizabeth succeeds her sister Mary and start making statements and tries to bring peace!

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I’ve been reading Alex Rutherford for quite a while now. I read his first two books on Babar and Humayun, I picked up Akbar then and then Jahangir. He has written about Shah Jahan too in his latest book released this year. It so happened that while visiting a friend (and as is practice) I was attracted to her book shelf. She had just finished reading the first book in the series on Babar. She lent it to me and there I began my journey with Rutherford through one of my fav periods in Indian history. Favourite because with Mughal history in class 7 our class got an amazing history teacher. She made us or rather me love history (I can speak for myself and not my classmates as such) and since it all began with the Mughals, it is a special love.

So if you ask me the question name 10 Mughal Emperors I would scratch my head, because I have only studied 7. Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurengazeb and Bahadur Shah Zafar. William Dalrymple has made the last Mughal Ruler famous with his book, The Last Mughal, just think of that cover pic! Now who are the other 3 if I have to complete a 10 point list. This question is also borrowed. I happened to watch it on a TV Quiz show, where according to its format, each team is asked list 10 names of a topic of their choice from a list in a stipulated time. When this question came, I was genuinely puzzled. Because my school history textbook gave me only 7 prominent names, I raked my memory, avoided the enticing google to get answers.. but nothing appeared in my head from school memory. When the quiz master revealed the answers I was taken aback to see the names!

To test if I was the only one who was taken aback and puzzled by this question and ignorant about the remaining rulers, I put forth this question to an assorted group of my friends, this is a varied group who studied in different schools in different parts of India, under different school boards. I was wishing at least one of them would give me at least an 8th name. One of the first counter questions most of them asked was “how come 10” is it a list of Mughal Emperors of India or in Mughal History as a whole starting with Timur! “Isn’t it 7”  was other counter question, and they all listed the names they knew in chronological order.

The problem seems to lie in the way history is taught in our schools. Between Aurangazeb and Bahadur Shah Zafar there are many Mughal Emperors, but the textbooks we studied consolidated all their names into either one or two paragraphs or to a page, when these seven were given dedicated chapters.

Coming back to excitement about the contemporaneity, that bit of information still excites me, sharing it with you, if you too like me is beginning to see the connection.

Micro Blogging Monday: Reading Tales from Bishwanth Ghosh’s Tamarind City (2012)

Microblog_Mondays“…We were in Commander-in-chief road, gliding towards Mount Road, when something fell from a tree straight onto my lap. … as the tiny intruder lay near my feet, I examined it from a distance and I picked it up with glee… a piece of tamarind..”

And I sat wondering from when did tamarind grow on trees, and it was light.. I think if I had stopped reading and started to ponder over tamarind.. I would have got it then but I did not stop there, I continued reading.. until this line to realize the swap.. “for the first few months after coming here, whenever I went out in search of lunch, I would ask only for tamarind rice.”

And then it struck me that I had been thinking all this while not of the tamarind but of the turmeric…, the source of mini confusions.. about when did turmeric start growing on trees and when did it become light.. in my mind it looked like a yellowish ginger! The swap was on I think from the moment arrived by mail.

Again, I refer to Uma.. she has been the hidden protagonist for my posts for the last one week.. one more post in her name, here she plays the role of the shadow and the active participant who sent me this book as part of the book exchange we are a participants of.

Tricky customer this one.. I sit and laugh, and laugh all over again thinking of the swap the letter t in the title did when it was engaged in a conversation with my brain…the images populated when tamarind is replaced with turmeric as an adjective to this city of Madras is very different… turmeric memories so to speak of everything turmeric from vicco turmeric,  the colour yellow and the facials.. and may be this malayalam song..

For more on Ghosh’s a link to his blog – On the Ganga Mail. Thanks Vishwa for sharing the link. From conversations over a cover picture on FB 🙂