Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Paris J'taime !

I don't know how many times I've muttered those words to myself without actually having been there!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Fountainhead


It is rare to find a TV channel broadcasting a film scripted by Ayn Rand. It is even rarer if the film starrs Gary Cooper in the role of Howard Roark. 'The Fountainhead' sparks off that gleam of recognition whenever one speaks of Ayn Rand.

I read 'The Fountainhead' two weeks before my 16th birthday. I had never heard of objectivism before and was quite taken by Ms. Rand's ideas. The book had more than 600 pages, and I read each one more feverishly than the other. I still remember, the book had a separate section for each principal character. It takes more than two hours to do justice to a book ideologically ahead of its time (and of the present as well). This is where the movie fails. Gary Cooper's Howard Roark is indifferent but not nonchalant enough. Ellsworth Toohey isn't obnoxious enough and Peter Keating isn't the doormat-like lump of desperate slime I had envisioned him to be. Gail Wynand isn't depicted as a vulnerable model of ambition and the most disappointing of all is Dominique Francon. Patricia Neal is Dominique Francon, but only superficially. She almost comes across as some sort of lovelorn desperately seeking blonde.

The only uplifting moments in the film are the few lines that are picked up from the book. The soundtrack is the only thing in synch the tone of the film.There are instances of Ms. Rand's ideology but they are shadowed by the film's inability to conform to Ms. Rand's brilliance.I wouldn't recommend it to the average objectivist nor would I recommend it to the average movie buff.Mediocre attempts at objectivism are not worth the trouble.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Unbearable Irony of Being Ms Potter

I like to think of J.K. Rowling as Ms. Potter. I have never read a single Harry Potter book to the completion, I have only watched the films over and over several times. When I think of Ms. Potter's rise from an unemployed single mother surviving on scraps of mercy from the government to the writer coveted by every other publisher; I am both amazed and dismayed. Amazed because her rags to riches story is too surreal to be true and dismayed because I sense her agony.

There are few writers who grow as their characters do. There are even fewer who can make their characters mature convincingly as they move seamlessly from one book to the next. Unlike Richmal Crompton's William, who is always eleven years old irrespective of the decade the book is set in, or Enid Blyton's characters, who are as mature at sixteen as they were at twelve; Harry Potter and his friends go through all the pain that comes with growing up. Little wonder then, that no one wants Harry Potter to die or to become obsolete; with the exception of J.K. Rowling herself.

As some sort of writer myself, I often find myself being drawn to my characters. I develop an affinity towards something that came out of the subconscious. One can imagine the amount of love Ms. Potter must have for Harry, his friends and the others. So why on earth does she want to kill them? It is because Ms. Rowling is first a writer and then the maker of Harry Potter. As an established writer, she can now afford the luxury of experimenting with versatility. Unfortunately, she is stuck with 'The Curse of the Potter', the kind of anathema that will not allow her to write a more 'adult' book for quite some time. Not to mention, all the clever little stunts pulled off by the publishers,pirates and others alike.

I only wonder what Ms. Potter has to say to all this.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One for the Media

Since when did newspapers decide to replace tabloids? Why has reading the news become more complicated than getting a cup of coffee without any frills?

Imagine going into a coffee shop saying , 'Un cafe, s'il vous plait', and getting a warm cup of coffee as dark as sin! Unfortunately, I don't have the same luxury with my newspaper. Not anymore! Print journalism is dead, and I didn't kill it (which is the worst part).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Bibliophile Recollects

All entries made under this tag will contain recollections about books I have read earlier this century and some others that I read in the previous century. A very nagging memory is the one of 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte. I read it when I was 12 and preparing for my school exams. I envy the fact that I had plenty of free time aside for reading. We didn't have an internet connection back then. Therefore any reading I did was based entirely on the next whimsical gut feeling and all interpretations (whether accurate or tangential) were made on the basis of uneducated guesses.

My mother, a bibliophile in her own right, bought a collection of three novels. Each novel written by a different Bronte sister. She praised 'Jane Eyre', claimed that 'Wuthering Heights' was meant for older readers and seemed pretty lukewarm about 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' (I hope that's the correct title of Anne Bronte's only book). So I started to read 'Jane Eyre', with great voracity and an equal amount of stealth owing to certain 'academic' engagements.

I am surprised at how 'Jane Eyre' facilitated the bridging of the wide gap between Enid Blyton and classic literature. 'Jane Eyre' is the partial biopic of a woman who lived under some of the most unfortunate and extraordinary circumstances. It chronicles her life from the time she is a little girl with a cruel aunt to the time she marries a rather unlikely man. 'Jane Eyre' stands out more for its characters than for its literary quality. It fades in comparison to 'Wuthering Heights' despite its resounding success at the time of its publication. Charlotte Bronte gives vent to the secret need of almost every woman (even the most rational) in the form of a strong,silent, tortured yet vulnerable male protagonist. Such characters seem to be a hallmark of the 'Bronte' craft (if you've read 'Wuthering Heights' then the male lead of 'Jane Eyre' is a sophistacated kind of Heathcliff).

To me, 'Jane Eyre' marks the beginning of my foray into the exploration of classic literature. I have never looked back since then and have quite recently diversified to things more modern. The bibliophile is and will always be on the prowl. More to follow in the next entry.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Agnostic Prays

To empty spaces I do whisper
'Who is it that exists ?'
I get no answer.

I shine my lantern in the dark
I seek form and shape,
The silence is deafening and stark.

In humble posture, I genuflect
With hope of recognition,
I am left alone to reflect.

I wander,
Till the days,months and years
Are churned into senseless matter.

Now I am here,
Bereft of identity and faith,
And here I will remain, year after year.

The Urban Legend of the Blogger

There exists a wide generation gap between those who blog and those who don't. The former view the latter with some amount of skepticism. Bloggers are often regarded as 'exhibitionists' and 'loners clamouring for attention at the cost of ruining their fingertips' (I just cooked up the second phrase). To the non-blogging community, bloggers must seem like something of an urban legend. Here's the urban legend of the blogger.

The lonesome blogger is one who spends every living,breathing hour stranded in front of a computer. Identity is an affliciton; hence a blogger is more of an 'it' than either a 'he' or 'she'. The blogger loathes the fact that it gets more acclaim as an invisible non-entity than it does as a being with life. It spews all its wrath on harmless, lifeless electronic equipment in the form of rants of sensational bitterness. Some bloggers are even said to have cracked under pressure. The blogger may not own a chainsaw or any other instrument for the purpose of massacare. In fact, a majority of them are assumed to be cowards who take shelter under the unlikely aegis of anonymity. Despite all the laughable attributes consecrated upon the blogging community; bloggers are perhaps the most formidable group of people (coming in a close second to tabloid journalists).

Interestingly enough,I don't fit the 'urban legend' profile and neither do any of the other bloggers I know personally. No wonder my blog gets an average of 10 hits per day!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Un-Scribe

I had reverted to a differnt blogger template and had asked my readers to rate the template. Devadutta (a connoisseur of web design) said that the previous theme was in synch with my 'contemprorary style'. Without further ado I will revert to the old template and keep it for a while.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Off to Ireland with a Stopover at Spain

In other words, I decided to take a slight detour in my quest to finish reading 'Ulysees'. I have decided to read 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' by Ernest Hemmingway to mitigate the 'Ulysees' effect (Hence the reference to Spain). I apologise with utmost sincerity to all James Joyce afficionados for such utter disrespect.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Scribe Cometh!

I am referring to the name of the new template I am using for the blog. I can't believe it's called 'Scribe'. I decided to give my blog a touch of the medieval(or is it Elizabethian or Victorian ?) to mitigate the sheer redundancy of using the same template for a year. Feel free to pass any comments on the new look (keep in mind, I'm still a diva!)