August 30, 2006

Clouds - Invoking Wordsworth

'Wandering' among the blues and hues
gawking at the greys and greens
in garrulous 'company'
though lonely at times
'o'er vales and hills' they twirled
'the oceans playground of the world'

where the boistrous waves lash the rocky shore
then the tango trance seducing the pebbled shore
Careening while enrapt
by the lulling laps
and the foaming fury.
Tides crest and ebb
Waves lap 'n lash
The Bay wails and drones
The ocean foams and crashes
Beyond the dykes,
the lazy blue waters loll in calm complacence
knowing this show is not to last

caravaning cirruli

A cluster of curious crazies

A personal musing:

'While oft upon' lonely roads afly

The extremes 'to be' pass me by.

A mere standing-by in face of exultation

of history in creation

The noose drops

Life forks

Choices choke

a land and life long left

now a contender to what is;

one chosen and built.

Which way to the curtain call?

August 28, 2006

The Hues of Nova Scotia

The blue quenches
it soothes, mystifies, and humbles
forces introspection, a contemplation
on this microscopic existence.

The green enriches
it pleases, attracts, and livens
reverses inaction, a coercion
toward a meaningful existence

August 18, 2006

Nova Scotia

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads to fortune…”

And mine beckons me to Nova Scotia!
Not wanting to be left in “the shallows and in miseries”
I “must take the current when serves”…
Which is now!
Or else, lose out on witnessing one of the greatest natural spectacles …
The highest tides in the world!

August 14, 2006

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Memories of my Melancholy Whores"

This really has been the summer of my discontent as far as reading is concerned; first Updike’s ‘Terrorist’ and now Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘Memories of my Melancholy Whores’.

After being wordless for over a decade, Marquez, a Nobel Laureate in Literature, decides to write a 115 page memoir with an eye-catching title, Memories of my Melancholy Whores’ and an equally luring opening to match it:
“The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin”.
The writer, the title, and the opening held tremendous promise. Perhaps it was this heightened expectation that made the work a let-down.

The nameless protagonist in the story could as well have been a self portrait of Marquez, an aging writer ready to take the curtain call. In which case this novel could have been the swan song of a literary giant, but it lacked the pitch, the depth, and the crescendo.

The nameless protagonist finds a 14 year old virgin for his night of ‘wild love’ which turns into an endless voyeur session with the overworked 14 year old, Delgadina, perpetually in repose. The protagonist embarks on a silent one-way platonic affair with Degadina during which he finds himself in love for the very first time in his life. There are various instances in the story where Marquez could have brought depth and meaning into his wayward prose; by delving deeper into his characters (Damiana, Rosa Cabarcas), or by exploring one of the numerous themes (perfect love, aging as "a tool that carves away our excess") that now sit so superfluously on the novel. But he didn't and I've yet to figure out the reason.

Like all his other novels, this one is also a translation by none other than the renowned Edith Grossman. So to say that Marquez’s novel lost some of its meaning in translation isn’t going to work. His dexeterous use of language and his wit were perhaps the only reason I finished the novel because the placidity of the plot really drowned my interest. What was it that Marquez was trying to convey through this work: a septuagenarian grappling with his dying virility, an apology for pedophilia, or then a writer’s outpouring in melancholia. Needless to say Marquez is one of the greatest writers of our time. and will always be; thanks to all the other innumerable wonderful literary experiences that Gabo's left us readers with.

August 08, 2006

Comic Relief

We could all do with a few laughs...
and stand-up comedian Frank Caliendo gives us that and more...

August 05, 2006

Is Peace a Possibility in Lebanon?

The crisis is only escalating with Israel going into North of Beirut and Hezbollah not letting up on its daily 200-plus Katyusha attack on Israel, some of which are now landing 25 miles away from Telaviv.

I see this situation going out of hand. There seems to be no scope for any kind of a ceasefire anymore. The Lebanese, the abandoned victims of this faceless war, are the only ones at the negotiating table but have little to negotiate with. Israel, despite its 12000 troops in Lebanon, is unable to contain the invisible Hezbollah, whose cache of Katyushas seems endless. With its mission incomplete, the proud and driven Israelis will not agree to a ceasefire against its fight with the Hezbollah for fear of losing face. However, given that the Hezbollah is a guerrila outfit, defeating it or negotiating with it is close to impossible. Consequently, Israel is in this war for a long haul; fighting a faceless enemy with no one national identity.

Lebanon and the thinking world looks toward the UN to bring about an end to this crisis but alas, the UN is proving to be ineffective. For the last fortnight or so it hasn't been able to muster a multi-nation peacekeeping force whose safety it can guarantee. Something that would only be possible if a ceasefire can be brought about between the warring parties, both of who are adamantly refusing to do so.

The other hope was that the US, a powerful UN member, will intervene; but that too failed because the US, committed to its 'war on terror', is backing Israel against Hezbollah, and will not negotiate for a ceasefire unless it is guaranteed 'sustainable'. Besides, the US is already fighting two other wars on alien soils, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so is unlikely to enter into another.

That leaves the rest of us, a hapless majority. Having developed an immeasurable immunity to human suffering through endless watching of news on the media, we can now, with reasonable ease, watch this innocent massacre of Lebanon to its completion.

However, the human mind never ceases to hope; maybe a miracle awaits, maybe there is another possibility that I can't envisage. Is there?

August 04, 2006

Updike's "Terrorist" Missing Soul.

Just finished reading Updike’s much talked about novel ‘Terrorist’. Were it not for Updike’s mastery of language, the novel would have been a bigger disappointment. The content was quite a let down; an oversimplification of one of the most complex issues arising out of the regionalism and religious fundamentalism that has swamped our world. To start with, Updike ventured on unknown grounds, the workings of an Arab-American teenage mind. Apparently, Updike likes doing this once in a while, which accounts for novels such as ‘The Coup’ and ‘The Witches of Eastwick’; an ‘imaginative leap’ he calls it, that often brings about revelations on human behavior and its consequent impact on the immediate society. This ‘leap’, however, was one he couldn’t span in the “Terrorist”, despite the Koranic verses interspersed throughout the novel.

Updike’s works have always mirrored American society and its psyche, but in this novel his effort at doing so appears contrived and plastic. Ahmad, the main protagonist, does not come alive like Updike’s other protagonists do. The 18 year old Ahmad’s progression from a high-achieving, half- Egyptian, half-Irish American teenager into a tunnel-blowing terrorist in New Jersey is far-fetched. Which is not surprising because even his two mentors, one who he seeks out and the other who he avoids, a Yemeni Imam and a high school guidance counselor are just as pretentious and come across highly unpalatable; a stretch to ones imagination.

"Write what you know”, is what Updike said in one of his recent interviews, but in his most recent novel, that’s the very axiom he appears to have disregarded. His ‘leap of imagination’ this time, was into a subject extremely complex, remote, and alien to him, and this disconnect reflects all too clearly in his rendition of characters and their interactions. Updike’s “Terrorist” leaves the reader cheated of an Updikian experience; ‘a rant minus the wisdom’, as a Georgetown professor describes it.