Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A home in the sky - Excerpts from the book.

ஆகாச வீடுகள் (A Home in the Sky is the Title of the English translation) by Vaasanthi was one of the books I was reading in the past week. It is a story that is set in a village amidst a community of people. It is almost like a microcosm. The author has explored the problems, human action and counter action that crop up in this microcosm, albeit from a feminist point of view.

At the two ends of the spectrum are Lalitha and Meenu who approach the same problems differently. Lalitha, Meenu's aunt, is a very patient, loving, forgiving person who smiles even at those who hurt her. Even when she weeps she weeps not for herself but for the other person.

Meenu is the reactive person among the two. She believes that something must be done when injustice happens. At 17 years of age she has a highly developed sense of justice and injustice. And she is not one to quietly watch when injustice occurs. She stands up and speaks against it.

Another fact that came to me through the story is, despite the failings and ill-feelings and gossip among the people in the community, when tragedy occurs they come together as one large family and support one another. Selfishness may seem very rampant. But in times of crisis, they think beyond self and look at the other. It is almost like these times of tragedy are moments when their heart soars in to a higher realm of existence.

This being said, I will explore or simply quote snippets from the book. And I will do my best to translate those for non-Tamil reading folks.

இந்த மனசு ஏன் உயரப் பறக்கமாட்டேன் என்கிறது?

ஓ, பெரிய சுவரல்லவா குறுக்கே நிற்கிறது?


இதுதான் கண்ணை மறைக்கிறது, வெட்கத்தையும் மானத்தையும் மறைக்கும் சுவர். அன்பை மறைக்கும் சுவர்.

Why isn't the heart able to fly high?

O, isn't there this big wall that is blocking it?


This is what is blinding the eyes. This is the wall that screens self-respect and dignity. The wall that blocks love.

"இத்தனை சின்ன வயசுக்கு நீ ரொம்ப யோசனை பண்றே, மீனு! ரொம்ப யோசனை பண்ற மனசு ரொம்ப துக்கமும் அனுபவிக்கும்."

"You think a lot for your age, Meenu! A mind that thinks a lot will experience a lot of pain."

I could relate to that!

"எங்கப்பா அடிக்கடி சொல்வார் மீனு, இந்த உலகத்திலே எதைக் கண்டும் நாம வருத்தப்பட வேண்டியதில்லே, மனுஷனுடைய அஞ்ஞானத்தைக் கண்டுதான் வருத்தப்படணும்பார்!"

"My dad used to say often, Meenu. We shouldn't be sad looking at anything in this world. Only man's lack of wisdom should sadden us."

There were many other things that appealed to me in the book. However, I don't want to get in to all the snippets in this post. Besides, it will take me a long time to search for those in the book.

Click here to read the blurb of the English Translation and possibly purchase it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bono on Bono #4

"Michka Assayas: Don't you believe in united Ireland?

"Bono: Only by consensus. The border was drawn by threat of war, but we have to accept that it won't be removed by force. Real division, as the great John Hume says, it is in the people's hearts and minds."

Need I say more?

Let me just repeat. The real division is in people's hearts and minds - yours and mine.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thoughts and sights from the weekend


The whole Sethu Samuthiram project sparked off a discussion on development and the impact it has on the environment. (Yes. There is also the environment side to the Sethu Samuthiram argument. Not just faith.) The argument went like this:

If we need development, it will impact the environment. For that matter any action will have an environmental implication. But my question was is this the only way or model for development? The development as we see it today is merely aping that which is happening in the 'developed' countries. Who wrote that down as the protocol for development? Is consumer driven economy the only way to prosperity? Isn't that something that is driven by greed and want and not really by need?

Well, I have no answers. Only questions. And these questions and statements are not made after having learnt development and economics. These are questions that came out the mind of a by-stander.

There may be many methods, strategies, modus operandi, yada yada yada. But all this mean nothing if the thing is not done. This thought specifically occurred to me about my bakthi. If all I am thinking about is how I study the Holy Scriptures, dream of how I relate to my Guru and keep talking about it, and even write about it in my blog but do not have the bakthi, my bakthi is nothing.

There is an inherent fear of the wild in man's heart. A few conquer it. Nonetheless, it is there. One either wants to subdue it or run away from it or shut it out. But it is in the wild man is really at home.

It is weird how we destroy all the wild around us to make 'civilization' and run to the wild during weekends to escape from civilization. In doing this we invade another person's habitat and slowly begin to take over that as well. one would not have needed to do that if they had retained at least part of the wild where they were. (Ah well, this is hypocrisy. It is coming from the mouth of a migrant.)

What am I leaving behind for the future generation?


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Musings on Bono on Bono - Part 3

"How did this person who set fire to my imagination end up with no new ideas, and actually, even incapable of their old ones? Here's my theory: When people are absorbed in the culture, and they're going out, they're listening to music, they're in the clubs, music is part of their every waking moment, and as a result part of their sleeping times, in their dreams. The life is empty of other lovers. Unless you are in love with the music, or you stop struggling with it in your unconscious when you're asleep, you've other dreams. You're dreaming about moving houses, about whatever other ventures you're involved in. but that's where you did all your great work: You did when you were… …unconscious." - Bono (Quoted from the book 'Bono on Bono - Conversations with Michka Assayas)

I think there is something here. Not just a musician's love for music. But a worker's passion for their work. When other passions start crowding in and clamouring for attention, the worker gets distracted from her primary passion.

While other interests crowding in demanding one's attention is one reason for passion being snuffed out, I believe there are other reasons too.

There are times when a new passion replaces the old passion. It could simply mean that it is time for a change. It could be time for growing up. For maturing. For exploring.

There are also times when one's passion has consumed and possessed and drove a person for too long, one just wants to be rid of it. At least for sometime… And who can say whether the passion will take possession of the person again… Only time…

p.s. - Sometimes one is plain bored out of their wits...