Snapshot of a Reporter’s Life in Karachi

Book Title:  Karachi, You’re Killing Me!

Author: Saba Imtiaz

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  3 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Saba Imtiaz as a storyteller is very refreshing and new. I enjoyed working my way through her novel. Her fiction has been done with a frisky style on really serious issues, while maintaining a balance; if one could have a balance in the very many chaotic conditions. I liked the way her narration flowed like a stream of consciousness and Karachi from the protagonist’s point of view.

Story in a Nutshell:

A 20-years-old Beat Reporter’s life is captured with vivid description and casual carelessness to stark realities of life in Karachi. Ayesha Khan finds her partner after all her internal confusion and self-analysis. Meanwhile, the backdrop of Karachi becomes a character by itself and acts as a catalyst to bring the two main characters together. As usual, it is “they lived happily ever after story” with, maybe, Ayesha getting more footage in the story.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the conversational tone of the novel and the way you get to spend time in the mental space of Ayesha. The main character has been beautifully done and the facts of Reporter’s life have been stated without making them glorious or gory. It was a fine balance that Saba Imtiaz has achieved.

I disliked takeaway images of Karachi which were filled with dark sides and the lighter side was somehow buried down. But the storyline was aiming for a more positive look even in a very downhill political situation.

My Opinion

I really liked reading this book for its more insightful social life after sun down. Life in Karachi had unique look and feel to it. The fact is that I had no other comparisons to make with any pre-existing images of Karachi. So the city was fascinating to read and to see in my mind’s eye.

 

Image Source: https://books.google.co.in/books/about/Karachi_You_re_Killing_Me.html?id=os_JAgAAQBAJ&source=kp_cover&redir_esc=y

Prequel to Jane Eyre | A Compelling Read

Book Title:  Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Jean Rhys as a storyteller was rather complicated for me. But the scenes that she created in the story were really compelling to read for me. Her writing style kind of awakened in a sense of despair that comes from the fact that darker side of life has prominent place.

The narration took on a self-obsessed shade of dark things which appealed to my sensitivity. But then the energy expands to the spaces given importance. I felt even her happy moments in the story were colored by deep-rooted sadness. There was no hope anywhere in the narration and that felt a little sad.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story is a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Story is about the mysterious character in the novel Jane Eyre. The imprisoned person kept in hiding mentally unstable and Wide Sargasso Sea explores her journey to that state. The journey of the character from her life as a child to her marriage gets explored in this novel.

The fact that the novel is beautifully dark and intense, I was able to finish the book in two sittings in the cold of Fall. I have never felt so connected with the story as I did with this novel.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the pace of the story very much. The point is some writers’ narrative is easy to capture than a few others. With this particular novel I had no trouble with the style and narration. The fact that it explored the dark side of human life and disappointments of many forms, it felt like spinning in a vortex of confusion. The viewpoint of the narrative took turns with different characters gave it an unique quality of storyline that I liked a lot.

One thing that I disliked was the fact that Rhys should have kept to a singular narrator which would have given it the power. But then, that could be my quirk for specific preferences in books that I read with care.

My Opinion

I would recommend this book for serious reading with open-mindedness towards the starkness that you will find the story. This book opened up my understanding so many dark sides of my character too. Great read for once.

Image Source: https://thebookexperience.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/mad-women-wide-sargasso-sea-by-jean-rhys/

Zen of Fishing With Santiago and the Marlin

Book Title:  The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | Snapdeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Ernest Hemingway as a storyteller is really intense and precise. All forms and types of storytellers have their own way of building the story. Hemingway has a way of getting into my mind space.

I have read his other works but his best work is “The Old Man and the Sea.” The novelette holds the readers’ interest and retains them with just a few human characters whose conversations are crisply done.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story revolves around a fisherman’s life. The story is a snapshot of lives of fishermen who happen to be on coastal space and where the main source of income comes from the fishing industry.

The build up of Santiago’s experience provides insight into his thought process. Santiago, an elderly fisherman’s work-life balance, is well drawn out in this novelette.

The story progresses from a defeated work day and the next day of success. But when he returns all that remain with him is the skeleton of the Marlin that he had caught. It almost parallels with life in general. The leftover of a life would be the prized catch of the day.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I like the fact that most of the major conversations happen in the mind of Santiago during his fishing alone in the sea. There is great power in those scenes, which are well portrayed in the novelette.

I enjoyed the fact that the internal thoughts and life’s lesson is beautifully intertwined.  There was a sense of balance and nobility in the struggle between Santiago and the Marlin. Both the main characters are created to perfection and beautifully rendered.

My Opinion

Life is all about struggles that one undergoes. Santiago’s fishing experience can be matched up with any of the life situation and the outcome of which becomes the catharsis of a human soul.

The strife between the man and nature is given an upper hand, when the man wins; but eventually he is left with the carcass. Both of them, had to do what they had to do, in the given situation.

It is a question of survival for both of them and that is beautifully portrayed in the novelette. It is an excellent re-readable book and has many levels of interpretation to span across.

Magical World in Opium Induced State | Kubla Khan

The background loop song for this piece is Aayat song from Bajirao Mastani movie by Sanjay Leela Bansali. I am trying to explore the world of Kubla Khan of Sameul Taylor Coleridge within the space of this musical piece.

In a way, I have memorized Kubla Khan much like a prayer and the magic of having first encountered this particular poetry remains with me to this day. I was in my 9th grade when I read this poem. At that age, I had just begun to write my own couplets and I was fascinated by the wildness of the poem.

My personal experience with the poem “Kubla Khan” is unique for the fact that my over imaginative mind was captured and encouraged to dream on. Much after the poem finished my mind would reel out images of on-going verses that Coleridge has missed out.

Alph river from its origin to its meandering down to the sea is such an exclusive experience for a dreamer like me. I usually see poems as visual effects. Even now when I think of my project for the Animation course, which was Kubla Khan poem’s visual representation; but sadly it didn’t come anywhere near what I was seeing in my mind.

That way I must say that nature part of the poem was extremely mesmerizing for my mind. I would be lost in the rhythm of the river in its course and the vibrancy of the river is such a wonderful moment to capture within my mind. The flash of images have been played into each counter points giving it the special touch.

I did try to intoxicate myself to write a poem so ethereal but failed miserably. My intoxication was a leftover wine bottle just put me to sleep and I failed capture any ethereal verses in the process. I am pretty clean person and don’t do substance abuse and I gave up after that total failure of intoxicating myself to write a poem.

But I am quite aware of the semi-aware state of consciousness. Given there is much past medicinal dose which had left me sleepy and half-aware, I was no stranger to being drugged.

Yet, when I learned that Coleridge got himself opium sedated for writing this poem, I was surprised that one needed to do drugs to be able to explore poetry. This poem in many ways explored my understanding at various levels.

I enjoyed the mystic nature playing subtle influences in the interpretation of the poem. The woman who is in love with a demon lover becomes an attraction factor which clearly defined the pitched mood for the poem.

The Woman with the Dulcimer is a magical touch that it mingles with the loop song that I am listening to in the present. The poem is combination of past memories and impressions.

Each time, I read this poem there is magic happening within me. I am looking at the cruel ruler who also has a woman who longs for him. The eeriness of the situation seems to give the poem an added flavor of uniqueness that beyond marvelous.

There was much in the poem that seems to have not been disclosed. I still think of the animation flick that I create was half-baked attempt to capture a poem which is completely a visual magic.

Magic of Fairy Tales a Lifetime’s Pleasure!

Book Title: Fairy Tales From Around the World

Author: Andrew Lang

Translator: N/A

Rating:  4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | Snap-Deal |

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Andrew Lang was a poet and a journalist who through his works gifted book readers with so many well-known and unknown fairy tales. The author of these fairy tales worked more as a recorder of the stories taken from the available sources. His childhood influence for outdoors and topics connected with his interest areas have greatly influenced his works.

Story in a Nutshell:

Fairy Tales from Around the World have stories picked from his Color coded Fairy Tales books. It covers stories from Arabian Nights, Scotland, and other countries, thus giving it a rounded feel for stories about fairies and magic.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

It is really hard to like or dislike a book. I love fairy tales and given that I love to read stories that involve magic, this book was a treasure trove. Oral storytelling is really interesting to explore because all my childhood had been filled with some family member telling a story. All forms of moral at home was disguised in a story. So, it is not surprising that oral storytelling has become my greatest influence in my life. There was nothing to dislike in this collection thought now that I know there are lot more fairy tales written by Andrew Lang, there is a desire to read it all.

My Opinion

This book makes an excellent bedtime read. The stories are in its rough and ready state which gives it the spice of pleasure in reading them. There is something more interest about this fairy tales and that the element of magic and unbelievable pushing of truth. I would rather believe the blatant lies than have the fire of truth extinguish the magic of the moment in these tales.

Image Source: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fairy-tales-from-around-the-world-andrew-lang/1112044044#/

The Diverting History of John Gilpin | My Take

Whenever I am not well, I go in search of a poem that would move my mind. If that particular poem turns out to be a humorous one, then I believe I’m set for recovery. I happened to like the early 19th Century poets for their raw sense of humor.

I always thought working with humor is rather difficult, especially in poems. Poetry for me is like breathing. I don’t know when my desire to read moved toward creating my own poems. I think it was an almost natural transition for me. But I was the most surprised person!

Among the various humor-filled poems, The Diverting History of John Gilpin by William Cowper was at Ek level up with the others. I think I fell a little in love with John Gilpin, even though he is one-woman-man, who never made it to his wedding anniversary dinner.

What really makes for a good humor filled poem? I have asked this question many times and every time, my answer would be the element that builds up the humor.

In my imagination, John Gilpin was slightly on the heavier side of England’s rural milieu. Add to his unfailing attempt to please his wife without questioning his own ability in accomplishing feats for her.

So the poet slowly builds up on the moment of making the entire poem a pleasurable experience. The initial main characters fine-tunes to just the horse and John living the experience of a run.

There is much that was pleasing and comical about that hilarious ride. There is something about how world sees things and how they take it. Everyone believed that John is participating in a cross country race while John alone knew about the fear chemistry between him and his friend’s horse.

John is even keeled sense of humor give it a perfect camouflage for his good humor. The poem could have been done with just one side run; but the poet got extra gaffs from sending John back to his house resulting his missing his wedding anniversary dinner with Mrs. Gilpin.

Humor is really unique where sadness brings the prettiness of things in a poem. I found that very few poets actually achieved it. I have been working on my humor for quite some time, only to settle down to fact that it would be dark humored.

Image Source: https://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/a/caldecott-randolph/gilpinsrideillustrationfr.html

Dwelling in the Simple Minds of Religious Fractions

Book Title:  Silas Marner

Author: George Eliot

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  N/A

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

George Eliot is the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, who was a popular novelist of the 19th century. As a writer, she was more inclined towards topics related to religion and she has explored the various interpretations; while holding a more radical view on the subject. Her novels play on plot events and its human reaction to religious rules that get violated or modified for individual use. Evans’ life was filled with not being accepted by her people and she gained some acceptance from her written works which was a small relief from the disowning she had faced for her belief system. As a radical writer, she comes out with some really appealing books that I enjoyed reading.

Story in a Nutshell:

Silas Marner was a weaver by profession with a dark past that has taken away his belief in a just God in his known world. His only activity was to weave and to sell his product with minimal human interaction. His aspiration after he had collected couple of gold coins was to increase it. He gets obsessed with the gold coins, that it to an exclusion of all other things. This Gold gets robbed, which shakes his sense of security and being subjected by God to an unjust second verdict on his life.

On New Year’s eve Silas finds an abandoned child in his home. He first mistakes it for his gold; but then, warmth of the golden curls of the child wakes his sense of being among the living. The girl child becomes his sole support and getting recognized as an agreeable person for the society around him. From the time of the Child’s presence in his life everything changes for Silas.

The story revolves around the various Characters struggling with their issues and belief systems. The religious thoughts that are found in two different places becomes a comparison grounds for religion based discourse through the characters’ thought process. How the issue of faith and questioning of it is handled by the author is the most enjoyable part of the novel. There is much that gets analyzed using the Characters as a main members contributing to the issue of faith.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

The one thing that I liked about this novel, was the fact that, the author was willing to question practices that were not scientific. There are much radical thoughts, that get introduced in the process of the plot progress. I loved the fact that the author questions some of the thoughts held in the religious ground without stampeding the general accepted sensitivity of the age in which the author lived in and interacted. But given that, it was written in the early days of radical questioning days, I feel the novel is made of great stuffs for intellectual wondering even in the present day intellectualizing.

One thing that I disliked about this novel, was the fact that, the author didn’t have to raze the Lantern Yard to non-existence. It was an easy way out by removing the entire place and leaving just the prison alone. There was much that could be explored if the place had remained.

My Opinion

The plot seems deceivingly simple but it isn’t. Silas Marner is the central figure around whom the entire story revolves. Silas has epileptic attacks which leaves him in an unconscious state for some duration was a great place to explore. The author plays around the medical condition which was interpreted as an unnatural interference from the divine or the devil in varying degree of interpretation. This sets the stage for the entire novel in many ways. The odd practice of deciding using a lot was an actual practice was surprising; but quiet fresh understanding. As a radical read, I found this book very interesting to intellectualize in my mind.

Image Source: http://www.loyalbooks.com/book/silas-marner-by-george-eliot

A 100 Year After of Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken”

The poem has been written over a 100 plus years ago; and even today, it has the power to move my inner thoughts. There have been many routes that converged, turned, split across, and continued on to another without returning. In this process of my life’s marathon, I found solace and comfort from walking through them.

There isn’t anything about taking the well worn path or the path less traveled, because both were equally enjoyable with varying degree of past advises to be passed on to me. The point was the joy of the travel and the experience of walking through it.

Smithsonian Magazine carried an article titled “What Gives Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken” Its Power?” by David C Ward. The writer of the said article has done such a wonderful analysis of the poem that brought back my college memories.

I remember being the only person who wondered about his choice of poetic form that was simultaneously modern and old-fashioned. It puzzled me why the Poet wished to be a rural poet and not picking more cosmopolitan topics. But then, his very choice defines him as my favorite poet.

The interesting part is that, I am also at a threshold to take a serious decision in my life. Two roads opened up in front of me and I will have to make a choice much to my distress. Writing is more than my passion, because it defines me as an individual. Unlike Mr. Frost I don’t have a plan for my publishing route with clarity.

But then somehow I watch the publishing road dramatically keep changing right in front of me like a time warp window. I fear if I don’t step into that gaping hole, then I will be left behind in the ancient times when fire was just being discovered. Not that it would make an interesting novelette worth exploring.

But as a writer, I’m still trying to find my audience. Since, my writings are in my adopted mother-tongue: English, my expression contains the influences of my natural mother-tongue: Tamil. I am essentially a Chennaite with clear view of my almost rural thoughts. I merely had to decide, how I wish to share and feel satisfied in such a sharing.

Much like Robert Frost, I keep trying to find Native speakers of English for their feedback in the hope, that if there is any changes, then that would make me improve my Poet-Writer voice. Hidden within these lines of aspiration is the desire to see my work be seen and talked about.

That way, I think I like the simplicity of Robert Frost’s work which sings to my soul. Life is never simple; it is filled with choices, regrets, nostalgia and sickening tendency to pull the rug out from under me. But it is so much about enjoying the freefall too.

I always thought of the two roads in the wood actually were somewhere in the milky-way. In the vast endless route, I choose one time tunnel and find myself within a unique situation with no point of return.

It is over a hundred years now since the publication of “Road Not Taken” created by my favorite poet who made me feel that sense of surprise every time I read it. Every poem brings with it a sense of surprise that converts a dramatic event into something life-changing.

This poem invokes a lot more feeling within me. I can sense completeness in the words strung together. The most captivating lines where in the third stanza which remains folded within my thoughts even today.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back”

 

~ Robert Frost

There is a spiritual pleasure in walking out on the complicated streets of Chennai, while dreaming in waves of determination. I have very few rural experiences, since I have been essentially a city girl.

I find my pleasures in experiencing rural settings by reading up on rural stories, poems and the works. This poem is one such rural poem that is well crafted.

Unforgettable Flavors of Famous Five

Book Title: Five Go To Demon’s Rocks

Author: Enid Mary Blyton

Translator: N/A

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: N/A

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Enid Blyton is the most popular author in my collection of childhood reading list. There is something happening when you read as a child. I was a voracious reader since I completed my fourth grade. Back on those days I didn’t think of the author so much but of the titles more. Famous Five was my first chapter book. I was in my fourth grade summer break when I picked my first Enid Blyton’s “Five Go To Demon’s Rocks.” I was absolutely fascinated with the storyline and there such pleasure in reading it.

Story in a Nutshell:

George and her cousins form the Famous Five along with George’s Dog Timothy. Professor Quentin’s colleague Professor Hayling and his son Tinker (and monkey Mischief) arrive early and the adult get involved with their research work.

Tinker and Monkey take some time to get to be friends with George and Timothy. The rest of the team members of the Famous Five arrive. The peace quotient in the Professor’s place downscales and he eventually asks the noisy children to vacation in the Lighthouse belong to Tinker.

The five arrived with their new friend Tinker and the adventure begins in full earnestness. The rest of the story is about various hurdles and treasures that the children discovered and uncover.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked a lot of things about this book and they are the car sounds and animal sounds that Tinker’s Mischief brought out. The words used in the book was easy to understand and was smooth to read.

I disliked the fact that the story ended very soon. There was great fun happening in the Lighthouse which I wanted to continue. Maybe that was the reason why I loved moving on to the next book in the series. I remember writing down 12 books completed within the holidays.

My Opinion

Enid Blyton stories are really wonderful place to start for early independent reader and I would suggest them to the GeneZ groups of newcomers.

Insightful Bliss Seeker’s and Their Zen of Achievements

I usually write my blogs with some music on. I am listening to Gulzar in Conversation with Tagore album. I am fascinated with the opening piece

Gulzar in Conversation with Tagore

A refugee salesman carrying a bundle of jaggery on his head was passing by a long and broad path. A buzzing umbrella of bees was hovering over his head on top of his bundle. When the sun rose, the heat from the burning fire ball started to melt the bundle of jaggery.

The innocent refugee was not aware of this fact. His thirst builds up that he begins to lick the sweat flowing down his face. He was quite surprised to taste sweetness in his sweat, as he is walking on the deserted open space all alone.

I am such an innocent refugee who is wondering at the trickling sweetness from the bundle of Tagore’s poetry placed on my head, I lick the sweetness in trickles of joy.

– Gulzar

I believe this introduction aptly links up my experience of The Bliss Catchers series which was 30th Session as per Avis Viswanathan. I accidentally came to know of this event in the facebook space. Then, I spent some time trying to find out about this talk show and saw some of Avis videos. I was curious and I love bookstores but the timing is seriously offensive for me.

Since my self-imposed curfew is 6 pm kind of a hindrance by itself; but I needed this experience so curfew got sidetracked for once. That never stopped me from worrying my brains about the ticking clock. But, despite that fact, the ladies got my entire attention.

I decided to go only at 6 pm after much debate. A lightening decision to visit the store to attend this event resulted in two important things; I got an Anchor Quick Stitch Kit and attended an exceptional event with interesting controversial insights.

AVIS Viswanathan of Avis Initiative wears multiple caps of professional ventures. He curates a talk show titled “The Bliss Catchers” to present prominent celebrity to understand their processes and their game plans to handle situations of opportunities and hurdles in their pursuit of happiness.

Today Avis was in conversation with two modern day women achievers | Ms. Janaki Sabesh and Ms. Akhila Krishnamurthy. Both these exceptional ladies were proofs to the fact that when beauty and intelligence are available in the right mix, nothing can be unachievable for the bliss seeker. Both of them come from a Tam-Braham community which supported their pursuit to intrinsic happiness in fields of Media.

I was fascinated to listen to both the ladies. Janaki and Akhila talked about their career from the subjective perspective. At times, I wanted to hear them talk about the choices that they had to make between personal commitments and professional commitments. Both of them spoke about their family backing them in their route to pursuit of happiness.

Both talked about handling different profession based requirements and how the journey started and how it moved forward. How the life process brought to their forefront those events that led to their various projects in their respective careers.

Janaki broke into a storytelling session with the group and I was totally fascinated though a little reluctant to repeat her cues for the story that she performed. Singeri Rangarajan’s Haircut Day. I would have played around the initial part of the story with putting in right date for cutting his hair and various finer points of haircuts and his superstitions that he had about haircut. But then, that’s the storyteller in me.

Those 90 minutes of conversation with them showed their various aspect of their life and choices, which resulted in their flow of lives’ achievement in their timeline. I was nervously eyeing my mobile for the ticking time. Akhila sang a song for the audience on viewer’s request during the Q&A session. But there was one question in my mind and that I wanted to ask them if they ever experienced the “state of flow” in their work. But eventually in my nervousness I asked a question about, if happy ending was really necessary for stories? Is less than happy ending acceptable? Both in stories and in concepts charted out for cultural events?

Janaki played it safe and kept to the beaten track, said she preferred to work with happy endings stories more than sad ones given the existence of sadness all around. But she did incorporate stories which is much more complex emotional materials. She believed in striking a balance. But felt happiness was more important than sadness. I slightly disagree with her; but then, that is me.

Akhila had space to work around the question and spoke of the existence of all forms of expression of human experiences pitched in the various events organized in the Arts Event Management. I was partially processing their response while waiting for Avis to windup, so I could leave ASAP but not without buying that cross stitch kit. Gulzar’s album brings me back to the present.

Gulzar voice concludes saying that the saint seeking alms is the same, so is the spiritually lost Jogi is the same, and so is that girl waiting eternally is the same ~ by Tagore.

Somehow, I don’t know how long the album has been playing for now; but within my space of writing these thoughts of my experience, I have found my positive flow and desire to have a process based conversation with both the ladies, if possible.

Thank you Avis, Janaki and Akhila! I had a wonderful time.

Pictures from the Event

 

[Photo Courtesy: Self | Need to work on my photo taking skills! :-P)]