Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Thursday, October 23, 2008
|A, b, f of swear words|
|Nina C George|
|Swear words are considered hip notwithstanding their crassness. Metrolife attempts to understand the psyche of people who use them|
Author speak I think it is sheer laziness and a limited vocabulary that lends to an increasing usage of swear words. One would rather say ‘shit’ than merely wear an expression of disgust. It is also considered ’trendy’. But I must say that it conveys more of a lethargic mind.
I think it is sheer laziness and a limited vocabulary that lends to an increasing usage of swear words. One would rather say ‘shit’ than merely wear an expression of disgust. It is also considered ’trendy’. But I must say that it conveys more of a lethargic mind.
Monday, June 23, 2008
This book takes into account culture and language and explores the tension between the local and the global.
This is an eminently readable book, dealing with issues that are topical, sensitive and relevant: the extinction of local languages, (in this case, Kannada), cultures and ways of being associated with both.
What I liked about the work was the author’s treatment of the issues he considers important; while he is sympathetic, he does not fall into either extremes. He does not for example, espouse an exclusivist chauvinism and nor does he suggest that the Kannada language must inevitably be victimised by the process of globalisation.
Instead, he suggests a renewed conscious and deliberate effort to embed cosmopolitanism. Although he does not state it explicitly, he does suggest that this offensive should be sponsored by neither state nor capital, but be driven by social innovation (meaning civil society), a suggestion that I believe merits serious public discussion: “Only this expanded vision”, he writes, “will ensure that our cultures and languages live vibrant, interactive lives in a globalised world and not a clipped and compromised existence of an artifact. There is the looming danger of our homes becoming museums for our mother tongues.”
And yet it is important, as Jeremy Seabrook points out in his excellent introduction to the volume, to appreciate the fact that culture evolves organically and cannot be preserved: “It may be that the champions of declining or marginal languages in the world— even if they hold to as humane and hopeful a formulation as Sugata’s version of cosmopolitanism— may be overtaken by events.
“Cultures cannot be ‘preserved’ in the formaldehyde of piety: this is reminiscent of those set-piece displays by the Soviet Union of carefully choreographed folk and regional culture, utterly devoid of spontaneity and life. Cultures are organic. They pursue their own growth, development and decay, and may go down before those, which are more powerful or are promoted with greater vigour. But there is no reason to give them up.
“Quite the contrary. It is the spur and the stimulus, not only to conserve and cherish what is beautiful in the human heritage, but also infuse it with whatever new life a combination of love and energy can provide.”
The subject of culture is a deeply contested space, irrespective of whether this is local or global. Divided into five sections, the book is a collection of essays written by the author over a period of twelve years that have been updated or expanded by the author for publication.
They include such themes as language and literature, land and water, people, extensions and what the author prefers to describe as ‘endnotes’ that take the form of observations and recommendations to incubate a ‘cosmopolitan stream’ in the wake of globalisation. They span a wide variety of themes that have been dealt in a nuanced manner.
Not everybody will endorse the negative image of the Bangalore IT industry portrayed in the book even if these views come from eminent litterateurs or scientists who lament the disappearance of ‘la belle epoque’ and squarely blame the IT industry for all the woes of a modernising city.
Instead, I agree with Subroto Bagchi, who views this disconnect as a result of a highly avoidable misunderstanding: “The geeks have failed to communicate. They have remained isolated from the larger social system.
Unlike doctors and journalists and actors and policemen who could tell you what they did, the geeks did not communicate the fact that the code they wrote made the ventilator in the ICU work, brought down the cost of the ultra-sound machine or was actually behind the fall in cellphone prices that made communication affordable to dabbahwallah and the vegetable vendor.”
Sugatha Srinivasaraju, Keeping Faith with the Mother Tongue, The Anxieties of a Local Culture, Navakarnataka, Bangalore, 2008. Pp. 228. Price: Rs. 200
Monday, June 09, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
by Meena Kandasamy
Flaming green of a morning that awaits rain
And my lover speaks of rape through silences,
Swallowed words and the shadowed tones
Of voice. Quivering, I fill in his blanks.
Green turns to unsightly teal of hospital beds
And he is softer than feathers, but I fly away
To shield myself from the retch of the burns
Ward, the shrill sounds of dying declarations,
The floral pink-white sad skins of dowry deaths.
Open eyes, open hands, his open all-clear soul . . .
Colorless noon filters in through bluish glass
And coffee keeps him company. She chatters
Away telling her own, every woman’s story;
He listens, like for the first time. Tragedy in
Bridal red remains a fresh, flushing bruise across
Brown-yellow skinscapes, vibrant but made
Muted through years of silent, waiting skin.
I am absent. They talk of everyday assault that
Turns blue, violet and black in high-color symphony.
hands, his open all-clear soul . . .
Blues blend to an unforgiving metropolitan black
And loneliness seems safer than a gentle night
In his arms. I return from the self-defence lessons:
Mistrust is the black-belted, loose white mechanism
Of survival against this groping world and I am
A convert too. Yet, in the way of all life, he could try
And take root, as I resist, and yield later, like the earth.
Open eyes, open hands, his open all-clear soul . . .
Has he learnt to live my life? Has he learnt never to harm?
Monday, May 26, 2008
IN A LIGHTER VEIN: Swalpa connect maadi...
To BIA or not to BIA
By Sadiqa Peerbhoy
When you realize the nothingness of it all, you will have arrived possibly at the new airport. Since being is not being, even if the airport is, it is not...
CAQ: Will my body survive the potholes on the way?
GB: The body is finite and will soon turn to dust. It’s the eternal soul you have to worry about. Ask the voice inside if your soul will survive the ride. A couple of spinal injuries may lay you up for six months, but what is six months compared to the infinity of the soul? All life is a journey and potholes are ordained by your karma and the Corporation.
CAQ: What do I do if I want to go to the toilet rather desperately on the way?
GB:. Going to BIA is a journey of spiritual growth. You will have to exercise great restraint over every wayward instinct. Rise above the urges of the gross body. Otherwise, just refrain from eating or drinking anything twelve hours before you set out. Carry adult diapers with you.
CAQS: How will the pilots know it’s time to change track and land at BIA instead of HAL?
GB: How do the trees know when it’s time to flower? How do birds know when it’s time to lay an egg? How does your head know when it’s time to go bald? Knowing is not a function of the conscious mind. The pilots will know it in their unconscious, when they must land at the new runway. Remember, just as you are not the doer, the pilot is not the flyer. His higher self flies on autopilot while he takes a nap after the booze up the night before.
CAQ: Is it considered bigamy for a city like Bengaluru to have two airports?
These are man-made laws for the smooth functioning of society. In the eyes of the Divine you can have as many airports as you want without creating permanent confusion among the passengers. But then the chaos will lead to creativity and the Creator as surely as bean eating in Bengaluru leads to a lot of gas.
CAQ: Is there a new airport at all or is it all media hype?
GB: My son, all of the world is Maya. It’s an illusion created by our fevered minds.
There is no you, no me, no world, no cars, no road, no airlines and no airport. Your mind has created it all from nothing. When you realize the nothingness of it all, you will have arrived…possibly at the new airport. Since being is not being, even if the airport is, it is not.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Bangloreans do it better
|Bang-Galore! The charm of Bangalore lies in the simple minds, warm hearts and humane processes that surprisingly still exist in the heaving city|
I’m glad I’m Bangalorean. Last week, I was stuck in the famed (or infamed) Mumbai traffic. When suddenly a siren wailed out the advancement of an ambulance on its way to hospital.
Nobody, not a single sausage of a person, budged an inch. In fact, nobody even tried sidling out of the way. The traffic cops kept waving the cars out of the ambulance’s way. But, it stayed well and truly stuck in line, siren notwithstanding.
On the other hand, I was in the tiny lane that used to be MG Road last evening. There were no traffic cops in sight (and how surprising is that!) When suddenly an ambulance wailed by. Everybody, but everybody, in the chaos of the higgledy-piggledly no-lane traffic that we’re famed for — sidled out, drew back, sped ahead — and generally let the van go through. Except for one guy (a blue Tavera, and yes I know the number, but I shall reserve that for future reference) who continued to hog the road. And was roundly, and loudly, abused by everyone present.
Just one of the small reasons I love Bangalore. That’s what makes this city, that has so many drawbacks the best place to live in. We might not have the best public transport system. We might not have the best government (oops, sorry, what government!). Our municipal bodies seem to be crumbling faster than the tree cover. And our cops are notoriously inefficient.
But then, we do have a heart still. Whether it’s those software engineers who work with street kids, those millionaires who give up everything to come back and work on improving our civic amenities, or that friend of mine who now lives in a village, educating the locals, with dance and theater — or whether it’s just being decent enough to move out of the way when there’s an ambulance behind you.
On the other hand, though, I have these neighbours who’ve been re-doing their apartment.
For six months, there’s been banging and clanging and cement falling and tiles piled up in my building. Sure, it’s well within their rights to do up their entire apartment, but for the rest of us in the building, it’s been hell.
I’ve decided, when and if I ever cobble together enough money to do up my house, I’m going to hire one guy, to bang at their door morning, noon and night — just as a housewarming gift — and to share some of my good fortune, in that warm, generous Bangalorean spirit, I have in abundance.
I’m glad I’m Bangalorean. And the chaotic traffic, the crumbling buildings, the vanishing trees, and the land-grabbing politicians aside, I can still stand up proudly and say, I love this city.
For the people — Or despite them!
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
|Working Out: Working out at a gym with an instructor can be quite a nightmare|
He’s all of five feet two inches tall in his air pumped sneakers. But he’s all bulging, testosteroned, steely muscle. And right now, he’s got this sadistic expression on his face, even as his triceps or pectorals or clavicles or whatever it is they call them, ripple menacingly as he snakes towards me.
My instincts kick in. And I look frantically for the nearest exit only to discover that I’m up against a blank wall.
I peer around feverishly for help. For a Samaritan, who will step in between this ogre and me. For anyone who will aid me in warding off this lethal maniac.
But everyone is busy with his or her own routine. Oblivious to my hapless, choked-off screams for an SOS.
And then Santosh unleashes himself on me. “Come on! No resting!” he snarls. “What man, add some more weights, what you’re lifting is for a weakling!” he sneers.
In some mad, wild and unguarded moment, I signed up for a personal trainer at the gym down the road. I had visions of walking into a club in 28-inch waist denims and a tee that had 28 size biceps bursting at the seams.
Right now, two weeks into working out with Santosh, all I dearly yearn for, is to go back into my blissful slobby state. When the alarm doesn’t shrill me into a world of pounding, grunting men. And when I didn’t have to drag my sorry carcass onto a treadmill that, well, treads faster than my racing, unused-to-exercise pulse.
One day, I did try shutting off my alarm, and turning over for some uninterrupted quality time communing with my eiderdown pillow. But 10 minutes into the comfortable silence I was sharing, there was a pounding on my door.
And who do I see standing outside, but the face of my nightmares! Ready to drag me all the way to that hellhole chamber of torture.
Every time I move a muscle now, it screams in agony. Together, muscles I had never even been introduced to, make a cacophony of shrill protest.
Every time I sneak a guilty bite into a rich, luscious chocolate bar, I look around furtively to see whether Santosh has slimed in to snatch those hard-earned calories away from me. Every time, someone asks me out for a beer, I imagine myself pushing an extra 10 pounds the next morning — and I shake my head regretfully.
From my drowning world, I have only one message for all you lucky people out there: Go sip that extra lager. Buy that choco-drenched, sinful dessert. And stay true to the solidarity of overweight, paunchy happy people.
You’ll never know what you’re missing. Until you have a Santosh in your life.
I’ve got to run now (well, not run, more hobble). Got to catch my eight hours before I go back to the Iron Curtain.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
|IN A LIGHTER VEIN: Swalpa connect maadi...|
|Yennjoy like Yennything|
|By Sadiqa Peerbhoy|
|Decide what that yennithing is that you enjoy the most. Then yennjoy everything like yennithing. And learn to live with the hangover...|
|Dual face of Moscow|
|By Megan K Stack|
|In the end, I was just another face in the crowd, watching, and then moving along...|
The old woman’s back was so hunched she couldn’t get her chin off her chest. Wrapped in layers of ratty sweaters, she stood against a tile wall, one hand extended. Elderly Russians are everywhere in the subway tunnels beneath Moscow, begging for pocket change. Still, looking at her, I felt a stab of melancholy.
Then four mean-looking teenagers in scarred leather jackets rushed past her. They muttered to one another, turned back and surrounded her.
My stomach clenched in panic. But then I realised what I was seeing. These kids, who slouched and stank of cigarettes and beer, were digging furiously through their pockets, handing the old woman every coin they could scrape together.
Up above, wild Moscow rages along, lawless and mad, cold and rich. Down below, the trains are roaring through the dark, miss this one and the next will be right behind it.
The Metro is where you’ll find the people who are just scraping by in the shadow of oil wealth and the ones who already have fallen through the cracks. It’s the haunt of stray dogs and lovesick teenagers, homeless alcoholics and wounded veterans, tourists and bone-weary commuters.
When I first got to Moscow, it was the heat of summer and the press of bodies on the Metro almost turned me into a teetotalist. I couldn’t bear the stink of the drunks on the trains, sweating out vodka, their clammy skin clinging to mine like plastic. Empty bottles of beer rolled and clattered underfoot.
Then I would see young men spring gallantly to their feet to offer their seats to old women, or the way Russians buried their noses in books as the trains screamed through the tunnels, and decide it wasn’t such a bad place after all.
But I couldn’t get over the cold faces of all those strangers, sketches of anxiety and woe lit in the greenish glow of the massive fluorescent lights, so gothic they’re almost beautiful. “When you take that escalator down and look at those faces, get hit with all of that anxiety, all of the worry, it’s incredible,” one of my Russian colleagues said.
One day I was riding out to the university for a Russian class. It was around noon on a Saturday, and the city was shaking itself out of sleep as a few early snowflakes skittered down from the steely sky. The Metro car was almost empty.
I sat staring at a young woman across the way. She must have been up all night. Her hair had been styled, she looked delicate and well dressed. Her head sagged on her neck as if she were nodding on heroin. Her eyes, heavy with last night’s makeup, drooped shut. Her chin dropped to her chest.
She crashed onto the floor, and the jolt woke her long enough for her to haul herself back onto the bench, where she promptly fell back into her dreams. The stout young mother at her side scooped up her little boy and moved across the aisle, lips set in disapproval.
The young woman fell onto the floor again, this time landing on the feet of the old man at her side. He shook his foot free, irritably. She resumed her place on the bench.
By now everybody in the carriage was staring at the girl but impassively. A pair of tough-looking men were watching her like wolves. Anybody could have scooped her off the subway car, taken her away, done anything.
Who had abandoned her here? How long had she been rattling through the tunnels, waiting to sober up? I glanced at the men again. They were whispering to one another, laughing a little, running their eyes over her slumped body.
Then my stop came up, so I stood and got off. In the end, I was just another face in the crowd, watching, and then moving along.
Los Angeles Times
|Enter, the elephant|
|Mini Krishnan feels that Indian languages have constantly been shortchanged and the power of translation as a unifying force is grossly underrated.|
Salman Rushdie once said that Commonwealth Literature was a chimera, a shapeless and unnatural animal that looked out of place on the meadows of World Literature. A few years later in 1997, he was invited to edit a volume of writing representing half a century of writing from India. In the introduction to this book, Rushdie stated that there was nothing in any of our regional languages, available in translation to match what Indians had achieved in English since Independence.
How did he know? He had read some translations. How many? No one knows. Who were his advisors? Again, no clear answer.
For a very long time, it has been the fate of Indian writing in the regional languages to be ignored because influential cultural camps are either ignorant or unwilling to recognise a significant body of work.
To add to this, there is a fragmentation amongst the writers themselves as they are unable to band together by reading one anothers’ works. So, because the regional self is such a deep footprint, the identity of an Indian has essentially been that of an Oriya, a Maharashtrian, a Bengali or a Kannadiga. Since it is the rare person who has the time to study five or six languages and then approach the texts in them, how does one build a stronger national identity?
One way would be to structure a linguistic power-grid, a national library through translation into English which will also conveniently and secondarily become part of the universal library; because, even in a non-literary context, no one needs to be reminded that we live in a world of continuous communication in different languages and that linkages are possible only through the act of translation.
Why should we do this?
At the heart of the translation endeavour is an evangelical zeal to enlarge the readership of a work or writer who is invisible outside his/her language island. Translation is making better known, what deserves to be widely recognised. This fact assumes a special importance in our country with a population of about a billion because India is home to one-third of Asia’s illiterates.
We have one of the world’s oldest languages, some of the world’s oldest mystical traditions and texts, a vast and elaborate past but— millions of Indians will never hold a pen, buy a book or have a discussion about book-knowledge. This places a huge social and ethical burden on the rest of us. It becomes our collective and primary national duty to examine very carefully what is being passed on as stored knowledge to the next generation because it is going to shape their consciousness and influence their decisions. The reality of India which lies outside our classrooms and seminars has to be brought into our study halls; and in order for it to be meaningful and relevant to developing the mind and building the self, what we teach has to be culturally rooted.
Multilingualism is a great wealth. Look at India’s linguistic landscape! No other country has five language families… the Indo-Aryan, the Dravidian, the Austro-Asiatic, the Tibeto-Burman and the Andamanese. But the linguistic map of India boils with inequalities.
Though some 400 languages are spoken, the Census documents only 114. Of these,only 18 enjoy official recognition. Of these 18, some correspond to geographical boundaries, enjoy distinct advantages in ‘linguistic states’ and are referred to as regional languages. There are hundreds of other languages but they lack the infrastructure needed to be noticed: there are no schools where these languages are the media of instruction, they have no printing presses, no publishing tradition.
A foreign influence, especially if promoted by a ruling class, always disturbs the native hierarchies and traditions which then have to find new ways— often not consciously— to regroup and survive. This is what happened when English, the uninvited visitor-language, gained prominence in India. The goal of colonial translators was clearly imperial. Two hundred years ago the British in India stopped funding Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit studies and put the scholars of those languages to work on translating Indian religious, philosophical and legal texts into English.
The Orientalists of the late 18th Century under William Jones set up what was almost a factory of translation, which by the time it was noticed and admired, went into a decline because the Crown took over the East India Company and suppressed all things Indian. It took the German transcendantalists and the institutionalising of English studies in India to bring on the next wave of translations into the English language… and this time it was by Indians.
Translation is empowering because it enables a cultural understanding of different language worlds. It is the cement of multilingualism which nimbly crosses many bridges and promotes insights into the national psyche. The literary face of India, a composite of more languages than there are on the huge continent of Africa, can be integrated by the English language nativised and playing the role of a super visa-tongue.
The rise of nativisim both politically and post-colonially could be harmoniously blended into a national effort by English playing a literary supporting role. While creative, original writing in English has already done well for itself and has an admiring non-Indian readership, we could use the strengths this visitor-turned-permanent-resident-language to the benefit of our writers in the regional languages. It is also extremely interesting to watch two social language-shapes emerging— English by Indian writers, and the English employed to translate the experience of Indian literary writing.
Just as we are beginning to learn the value of conserving our heritage buildings, crafts and forests, it is time we conserved our languages and the genius of India that lies in them. An important aspect of this change can and must begin in our classrooms. Every generation wonders what literature and culture it should be teaching its young, how to teach it and why these things should be taught at all. It is up to the present generation of teachers in Indian colleges and universities to design ways of reclaiming our national identity and restoring national pride in our literary heritage.
(The author is Editor-Translations, OUP (India) & Member, Consulting Panel, National Translation Mission)
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Hindi-Chini sigh sigh!
By Sadiqa Peerbhoy
My Uncle who loved Chinese food only slightly less than he loved his daughter always said, "Go to a Chinese restaurant where there are Chinese people eating and they have Chinese waiters." Tough call.
Inside China, poor deprived souls, they've never tasted the sheer joy of sinking their teeth into the crisps outside of the succulent golden fried prawn or had a soul inspiring whiff of the aroma arising from sweet corn crabmeat soup.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
School of life
By Sadiqa Peerbhoy
"Take our ministers - not one of them has been through college. Take Sonia Gandhi..no one knows what she has passed. I tell you its not important. Why even Azim Premji is a drop- out from Stanford."
On my early morning walk past a local school, I saw a queue of men women and small children. Snaking its way down the long road, round the block and back again. And they all looked like they hadn't slept the whole night. The toddlers with them were all yawning widely.
"The school opens at nine am why are you here this early?" I asked a parent I knew who was doing his best to stay awake.
"My wife and I have been here since 4 'o clock last Saturday. And these people next to us, have been camping here for the last eight days with a tiffin carrier coming from their home.. they take turns to go to the toilet in the mall"
"I know admissions to schools are difficult but surely not that difficult - they are so many more schools these days".
"They also want so much more money! This one wants only a few lakhs that is why we are all here waiting for the final interview".
One father was coaching his sleepy two year old to recite King Lear from Shakespeare,
Another set of parents were prodding their 3 year old to repeat the Theory of Relativity.
One mother was shouting at a 2 year old for having forgotten the chemical formula for rdx.
"You never know what they will be asked in the interview. It is best to be prepared" said a father studying Calculus to teach his 18-month-old son..
"Surely all they need to know is the alphabet"
"Ha! Education has changed since you were a child. The competition is cutthroat. To even get my son into the school we have to prepare him to get atleast 99% in the entrance exam which follows the CET syllabus"
"I don't understand …you want your child to get into school to learn but before that you have to teach it all to merely get him in?"
"Madam ", he said patiently" the school has limited seats and they need a reason to reject the applications. Can I afford to have my child's application rejected ?".
One father said "Ive been on a sabbatical for the last six months to coach my son in molecular biology …you see its not my subject so I had to take evening classes for two years to be able to coach him and now he is an expert….aren't you Bobby"? Bobby nodded seriously.
"I am very impressed . But aren't you stressing out the poor mite? He should be making mud pies and catching grasshoppers in a bottle"
"There is time enough for all that when he retires. Now he has to work hard!"
" But what happens to c hildhood and playing with puppies and chasing butterflies?"
" But it is necessary in today's world to first get into a good school and then a good college for a career - for that you have to start young"
"Look you may not know this, but the most successful people in the world are drop outs from a formal education system……. after all life is the best school there is.".
" Can you give some names of successful people who have dropped out and learned from life? "he smiled humouring me..
"Take our ministers - not one of them has been through college. Take Sonia Gandhi…..no one knows what she has passed. I tell you its not important. Why even Azim Premji is a drop- out from Stanford."
" You are missing the point," he said, patiently
"Me? Missing what point?"
" You see Bobby has to first get into a school to be a school drop-out ".
"Of course, I didn't see it that way. So Bobby you too want to be a school drop- out?"
"Naah", said Bobby,". I want to join circus"
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
KALA KRISHNAN RAMESH
Margo Lanagan is a words-person who has laboured long and persistently at the craft of languaging stories.
ONLY rarely does the writing inside books actually warrant the fulsome praise lavished on it by blurb and shout lines; as far as Margo Lanagan's Black Juice is concerned, "breathtaking", "dazzling", "wonderful" "exceptional" don't exaggerate.
Lanagan's way with words is breathtaking; she spells them into magic, she cajoles them into chores, she commands them into soldiery, she sings them, she speaks them, she dances them, and they in turn cast an unfaltering spell over the reader. It is impossible not to recognise Margo Lanagan as a words-person who has laboured long, intent and persistently at the craft of languaging stories.
Complex and nuanced
The 10 stories in Black Juice range over an expanse of human imagining so vast but so complex, nuanced and well stirred that they cannot be frozen into genre or type. It's like living, you walk several landscapes at the same time: this worldly and otherworldly.
So in Black Juice we see places and situations in which people are real-like and fantastical at the same time, these are people like you and I: Ikky, being punished for murder, and her family of mother and siblings; Dot, the musician and his mother and sister; Pa and Nan and their grandson. Except that Ikky's punishment for axing her husband in a fit of anger is to be made to sink slowly into a tar pit, bit by bit, while her siblings `sing her down', watched by crowds, watched over by her family; Dot the musician plays an accordion, except that for him and the little community he lives in, the accordion is a World of Many inhabited by Anneh, Robbreh and Viljastramaratan, magic beings, who the musician has to know how to coax and cajole into appearing and singing and dancing as the accordion's music, and the grandfather sends his grandson off to bring back an angel to cure his wife!!
The opening story in the collection, "Singing my Sister Down", is possibly the most well crafted, it has some pleasing word picturing. Look for instance, at this: "It stirred Ikky awake from her hung-headed shame; she lifted up and even laughed, and I saw her hips move in the last chorus, side to side." Or this, "I got up and started across the tar, and it was as if I cast magic ahead of me, silence-making magic, for as I walked — and it was good to be walking, not sitting — musics petered out, and laughter stopped, and dancers stood still, and there were eyes at me, all along the dark banks, strange eyes and familiar both."
It is evident that Margo Lanagan has sponged in a great deal not just about the magicks, stories, spells and geographies of Australia, but also about the witchery of words and the landscapes of word-making for she treks through language with a sure compass, a strong pair of well-clad feet and an ungiving rope.
Lanagan is a creative-writing teacher's delight; she concocts words into unusual, new, different uses that do their work to great effect. Worlds come together in Lanagan's stories that we have got used to putting into separate containers in our now-stories - fantasy stories in magic boxes, real-like stories into real-like boxes — going from one to the other ticketed with frameworks, measures and the like.
Lanagan's stories are like earlier-time stories, when all stories were one story, and if you travelled in them, you never knew where you were going, or how: you could, suddenly, fall through a hole in the earth to a world down below or turn a corner and enter an enchanted field, you could be taken to see real men and women at work or you could be called upon to work magic yourself. And it is this sort of world that Margo Lanagan's stories inhabit.
Apart from the sheer pleasure of reading good writing, hard-worked, smoothed and roughed till taut to strum at the least touch, Black Juice makes you re-member parts of knowing that we keep under ice, frozen for easy passage through this well-organised world which demands we be one thing at a time. Black Juice is a celebration of the manyness of all things — this world, its people, human wording, storeying and living.
Margo Lanagan lives in Sydney and this is one of three short story collections, which have won awards including the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, Aurealis Best Young Adult Fiction and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Young
Monday, November 13, 2006
By Deepa Mohan
Opposites in English language aren’t consistent in their inconsistencies.
One of the problems that faced me as I learnt the English language was the contrariness of words and their opposites. I was fine with “interesting” being the opposite of “uninteresting” (I hope this piece of mine is the former and not the latter) and “amoral” being the opposite of “moral”.
But then I started getting into hot water. I found that I was quite inept at getting the correct words to signify the opposite of some terms, and needed to get more ept. I realised that being nonchalant wouldn’t work; I had to become chalant.
The more I read, the more disconcerted I was. How to concert myself? I wondered. If I made a mistake, and corrected myself, was I making a take? Facing these questions, I was disgruntled and decided to get gruntled quickly before I lost my peace of mind. I derived one term from another, but realised that if I went back to the original term, I was not riving it. The inconsistency of the language disgusted me, and I wanted to be consistent and gusted. I was going to return from somewhere, did I have to turn to go there in the first place?
If I stopped using demeaning phrases about people, and used complimentary ones, would I be meaning them? If the language rang an alarm bell in my head, how to quieten it and make it larm?
When something went missing, and I found it, it didn’t become sing, though. When I had one of something, I had a unit, but when I got more, I didn’t get an it, only several. When I left the house, I was no longer indoors, but I wasn’t doors either. When I entered a building, I was making an ingress; when I came out, I wasn’t making a gress. Worse, “another” meant practically the same as “other”, though “aerobic” and “anaerobic” were opposites. These differences were so inane, why couldn't English be more ane?
And so it goes, still. Words and their opposites have me in a right royal tizzy, and I am hoping that the opposite of “interesting” is not “teresting”.....and that my friends don’t stop their conversations and become versationalists!
As I read over this, words such as “dismayed”, “ungulate”, “conservation” and “angry” popped up behind my eyes. I though of a gulate which was mayed when servationists were foiled in their attempt to spoil Nature, it took a lot to get it gry again.
If this gets rejected, it would be infair, misjust and akind. I must not be disappointed, but appointed.
By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Three things are essential in any relationship: right perception, right observation and right expression.
What is the secret of a relationship? How does a relationship develop? First is the attraction. You are attracted to a person. But if you get what you are attracted to very easily, the charm disappears quickly – it dies out very fast. But if it is just a little bit difficult to have what you are attracted to, then you develop a love for it. Have you experienced this...?
You fall in love, after that what happens? After a while, the soap opera begins. Because you love someone; you give yourself completely to that relationship; you start putting demands on that relationship. The moment this starts, the love diminishes. All the thrill, joy, everything just seems to fade away. Then you say, “Oh! I have made a mistake.” Now there’s a struggle and pain to get out of the relationship. And after you have got out of it, you get into another, and another...The same story is repeated.
Everybody wants to know how to make a relationship long lasting. Do you want to know the secret about relationships? Three things are essential in any relationship: right perception, right observation and right expression. Often, people say that nobody understands them. Instead of saying, “No one understands me,” you can say that you have not expressed yourself properly. If you speak Russian to a Spaniard, he will definitely not understand you. To express yourself properly, you need the right perception. Right perception can happen when you see yourself by getting into the shoes of the other person.
But right perception alone is not enough; you also need right observation. The way you react when you perceive something is important. How do you feel inside? Observing your own mind is essential. This observation within you: observation of sensation, observation of tendencies and observation of patterns form the second aspect of relationship. After you observe yourself and perceive the other, it is the right expression. Expressing ourselves in the right manner is important. The whole of life is a lesson in just these three things: perception, observation, and expression. Every mistake you make is really not a mistake; it’s a learning process of the three vital aspects of life. Love is essential in relationships – it’s not about attraction alone. In attraction, there’s aggressiveness; in love, there is submission. Though attraction forms the first step you cannot stand on the first step for too long. You have to move on to the next pedestal. That is love.
When you’re centered, and when you let go of your feverishness, then your charm is long lasting. The nearer a person comes to you, the more charm there will be in the relationship.
Monday, October 30, 2006
The following is a beautiful passage from one of the chapters in the book
LIKE A FLOWING RIVER
by PAULO COELHO
A warrior of light often finds that certain moments repeat themselves. He is often faced by the same problems and situations, and seeing these difficult situations return, he grows depressed, thinking that he is incapable of making any progress in life.
"I've been through all this before," he says to his heart.
"Yes, you have been through all this before," replies his heart. "But you have never been beyond it."
Then the warrior realises that these repeated experiences have but one aim: to teach him what he has not yet learned.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Laloo ispik at Harvard
By sadiqa peerbhoy
Here is the supposed text of Laloo’s speech at Harvard and the interpretation of the same by the Management Dons, who I am told hung on to every word emerging from the pan-chewing mouth of the Master.
Laloo: Every cow is there to be milked. If for some reason a cow cannot be milked, it must be made to produce calves once a year to justify its mooing.
Harvard Interpretation: Employees must be given a clear cut job definition and vectors of lateral growth to perform to productivity norms with KRA audits and a 360 degrees evaluation of productivity paradigms on par with industry verticals.
Laloo: Some cows prefer grass and some thrive on fodder. But unless every drop of milk is milked, the cow will become sick. In my experiences a sick cow is very expensive in vet fees. So we are simply to treating it with Isabgol.
Harvard Interpretation: The variances and the econometrics of strategic planning must take cognitive cognizance of parameters of exponential analysis into the cycle of productivity. In ancient India, the practice was called Isabgol and used extensively for incremental productivity.
Laloo: In our country cows are worshipped as Ma and they become a part of the family. One member of my family is married to a very good looking cow.
Harvard Interpretation: The paradigm models of dynamix output and input variances are largely associated with contractual environmental sustainability of profit and loss management. Transactional balances must help to steady attrition rates.
Laloo: Fursssht a good farmer understands that a cow is giving milk according to its capacity. Some time more is coming, some time less. But if the fodder is of the correct mix more will come.
Harvard Interpretation: Productivity is a factor of the ratio of inverse and obtuse coefficients of the product cycle and the psychometrics and demographics of the bovine universe.
Laloo: If a farmer is providing good thick milk to customers at the market price per litre eggaxtly what the neighboring farmers are charging - otherwise why customer will not go to Amul?
Harvard Interpretation: Sustainability of quality norms is a dynamic vinification of abstruse parameters of variances in building a strong customer loyalty module and implementing a it at all levels. With TQM and VHF and SWOT analysis of contingencies.
Laloo: Eef you are giving good milk to customers whyfore they are going to other cowsheds?
Harvard Interpretation: A sustained customer relationship programme involves a large quotient of coefficient maintaining of the essential converses of quality which must be measured with the differentiating factors collateral with contractual brand loyalty and market dynamics of a growing world economy.
Laloo: Milk is milk and water is water. But blood is always thicker. Ask my daughter Misa.
Harvard Interpretation: A clear incrementalistic modular format in strategic product development must be based on infinite variables and defined by rigorous testing in controlled condition with ratios of tolerances below those of liquiforms allowed by the FDA. Further details in a dissertation on the subject is available with by Misa.
Laloo: If you can’t drink milk drink lassi. Both are good for your health.
Harvard Interpretation: Line extentions of a brand are imperative when there is a dip in the circular and linear viabilibity of the definitive liabilities of the brand recall, in a quantitative and qualitative perceptual analysis
Laloo Achha. To aap kabhi hamare Indian railway mein bhi aayein.
Harvard Interpretation: The exigencies that confront the Indian railways have been underlined and focused upon by Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav in a historic case study that will enlighten and inspire every Harvard graduate in the ones to come. But just one question sir, what do cows have to do with it?
Thursday, September 28, 2006
An inner bath
By Amrit Sadhana
Laughter has been uplifted as a therapy the world over. Not so long ago, laughter was considered shallow and unintelligent; seriousness was highly valued as a social trait. With the changing attitude towards life, laughter is now accepted as a health-giving activity. So much so that there are laughter clubs everywhere and doctors even suggest them as stressbusters.
However, tears do not enjoy this status although their therapeutic value is much greater. Crying, the shedding of emotional tears is a human privilege. Despite the uniqueness of tears, there has been a sort of taboo on shedding them. Maybe because tears are associated with pain and grief and nobody wants to acknowledge their pain. Also, tears are thought to be the sign of weakness because it is only women and kids who let them roll freely when they are unhappy.
Three types of tears have been identified physiologically. Basal or continuous tears which lubricate the eye, reflex tears when chopping onions and emotional tears, which have psychological meaning. There is some evidence that the different types of tears have different chemical and hormonal compositions (Frey & Langseth 1985).
Osho is the first contemporary mystic who has introduced emotional tears as a therapy. He calls wholehearted crying “an inner bath.” Osho asks the modern man, "Why be afraid of tears? We have been taught not to cry, particularly men. With small children the mother will say, 'Don't be a sissy. Don't start crying. That is only for girls.' And the boy becomes hard. Look, men cannot cry. They have missed one of the most beautiful things in life. Nature has not made any difference between man and woman; man has as many tear glands as woman. Tears are needed. They are cleansing. But men think how to cry? What will people say? They will say, 'You, and crying? Your wife has died and you are crying? Be a man. Be brave. Bear it. Don't cry.'
"But you understand? If you don't cry, by and by your smile will be corrupted, because everything is joined together. If you cannot cry, you cannot laugh; if you don't allow your tears to flow naturally, you will not be able to allow your smiles to flow naturally. Everything will become unnatural, everything will become strained, everything will become a forced thing, you will move almost in a diseased way and you will never be at ease with yourself. Life consists of flowing."
If full-blooded crying would save a heart attack or growth of a cancer, why not go for it? Have a good cry!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
If you work your way down the Forbes 400 making an x next to the name of each person with an MBA, you'll learn something important about business school. You don't even hit an MBA till number 22, Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike. There are only four MBAs in the top 50. What you notice in the Forbes 400 are a lot of people with technical backgrounds. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos, Gordon Moore. The rulers of the technology business tend to come from technology, not business. So if you want to invest two years in something that will help you succeed in business, the evidence suggests you'd do better to learn how to hack than get an MBA.
By Sadiqa Peerbhoy
Now if only life worked like a film script, Sanjay Dutt would, to start with, get five years RI. The starkness of his cell will provide a strong backdrop for the sad song that is de rigeur.
But our hero cannot, of course, be allowed to languish for long in jail, so he digs a tunnel with his bare hands straight to
Time for a love song and passionate love scenes intercut with the PYTs, from CBI closing in. Our Hero breaks into D Gang’s stronghold... only to be arrested. Because Lady Love is actually a D gang member set up to divert him with a sensuous item number clad in see through harem pants. Which of course our hero does not see through, figuratively speaking.
Leopard Memon languishes broken-hearted in a dungeon and weeps betrayal into his meagre food consisting of Medu Vada. And naturally, sings a song about his Vada to Tada (The pun on vada is completely intentional!)
Song attracts another lady incarcerated on the top floor, who sets about singing in tandem, to get yet another love situation going. Though why she sings about Vada to Tada is something best left to the viewers’ imagination. It turns out – she is Osama’s own flesh of flesh and blood of blood, neice who has rubbed him (Osama not Leop) the wrong way by asking him to have a bath. She swears to help Leop and rubs Leopard the right way, saying ‘I will I will’ repeatedly in case he thinks she won’t.
After felling forty minions, Leopard and Neice, escape and make a dramatic dash to the villain’s real hideout - Big Bhai who is tortured into revealing Osama’s cave with vault doors that only open to an item number by Neice in, (what else?) harem pants.
The triumphant two bring both the prisoners back to Mumbai to face the music (by Anu Malik). Sanjay goes on to make Son of Munnabhai only it’s now Kunnabhai with a K because the letter, is lucky for Bollywood. O’s neice who has had a crush on Bush all along, moves onto US as an illegal immigrant. Well, you cannot have everything and love too. Even in a Bollywood movie. Sanjay languishes heart broken. This portion of the movie is sponsored by the makers of Fevicol.
Oops! I forgot the great patriotic song that echoes all over
But since life does not run like a film script where everything turns out jhakkas, I hope Sanjay Dutt does not have to go to prison at all.