Monday, June 21

Quidditch in real life??

Yeah,you heard me right .. apparently it is the favorite sport of students of The McGill university in Canada.Do check out more about the Potter-Mania Here

Friday, June 18

The Pregnant king- Review

Book : The Pregnant King
Author : Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Fiction;Mythology

A magician once beheaded a newly wed couple.He then put the man's head on the woman's body and the woman's head on the man's body.Who is the husband now? and who is the wife?.

What is an aberration and what isn't?.Just because a human mind cant comprehend certain things,does it mean that it is unnatural ?

Who decides what is dharma and what isn't?.Why is it that a woman,even if she is the rightful queen not allowed to rule and merely considered a figurehead just because she is a woman.

Is the affection that the mother lavish on a child sweeter than that shown by the father?.
So many esoteric questions Devdutt Pattanaik's The Pregnant King raises. Devdutt has used Hinduism's complex mythology to to weave this tale about Yuvanashva,the king who gave birth to a son.Yuvanashva,Prince of Vallabhi who is blocked from becoming a king by his mother,Shilavati because he is unable to become a father.3 wives later,the king still doesnt' have heirs.Ancestors in the form of crows torture Shilavati and the king urging the procreation of their lineage.When nothing else works, the king turns to other means (like yagnas) for getting children.The King,then accidentally drinks a potion meant for his wives and ends up getting pregnant himself. Yuvanashva's confusion about his maternal feelings for his son and gender identities form the rest of this extraordinary story.

Devdutt,however doesn't just stop with Yuvanashva's tale.He tells us about Shikhandi,the woman who was brought up as a man ,so that her father King Draupada could have a son to avenge his humiliation at the hands of the Kurus.Shikhandi later became a man and fathered a child with borrowed male genitals. Then there is the story of Somvat,who gives up his manhood to become the wife of his best friend and of Arjuna(as enuch in the 13th year of his exile) and Krishna as the wife of a man.

Lines between men and women;father and mother ;husbands and wives are blurred and starts wondering about the strange manifestations of nature.Devdutt finally talks about how neither is the man or the woman more superior and there is both Shiva and Shakthi in everyone.And that is the universal truth most people find it difficult to grapple with.

The book is sensual,potent and absolutely un-putdownable.One issue i found with the book is that the love-making scenes were too drawn-out and the descriptions seemed excessive after a point. Maybe this subject warranted this treatment. It is a treat for people who love Indian mythology, eventhough Devdutt has taken a few liberties in tweaking the time periods and has made Yuvansahva the contemprorary of the Kuru clan.

4/5 for this awesome book.

Wednesday, June 9

Lil' miss Sunshine

Almost 100 years back, Eleanor Porter wrote this classic story of an orphan,Pollyanna who made people around her feel glad about their circumstances in life .. and 100 years later,the book is just as popular.Miss Polly is a stern disciplinarian who takes in Pollyanna,the child of her late Sister, in her care only as a duty. Miss Polly frowns upon open windows and banging doors, seldom smiles and is a classic case of a touch-me-not.Pollyanna breezes into Miss Polly's life and therein starts an adventure.Not just for Miss Polly,but also for the other folks in town.

Pollyanna's "Glad game" (a game that her father taught her to look at brighter side of everything) spreads like wild fire and starts making a difference in people's lives. Pollyanna's unbridled enthusiasm for life coupled with her innocent demeanor makes her the darling of the town.Pollyanna endears herself to the people in the town by teaching her glad game to them.She helps Mrs Snow become less grouchy,makes a grouchy man,Mr Pendleton smile,rescues a stray cat,dog and a homeless boy,reunites a couple,makes her aunt "gladder" and causes several other minor miracles .However,a terrible accident threatens to ruin Pollyanna's game forever,and everyone wonders how they can teach her to be glad.This forms the rest of the plot.

I loved reading this book and really want to see the movie adaptation as well.Several other sunny characters have preceeded Pollyanna like Anne from Anne of Green Gables or Heidi or Mary Lennox from Secret garden.However,the theme of all these books is the same. A bright,cheerful girl transforms cheerless adults through her own joie de vivre.. And everytime,the theme works. Pollyanna's character has caught the fancy of people so much that the word Pollyanna can be found in any dictionary.It means "An excessively or a blindly optimistic person".

Overall, an endearing read. 4/5 from me for this timeless classic.

Monday, June 7

If it ain't a riot,what it be,Man?

Book : The Mystic Masseur
Author: VS Naipaul
Publisher : Picador
Genere: Humour

I can't remember chuckling so much reading any book in the last few months.. Mystic Masseur by V.S Naipaul is one of the finest comic capers i have laid my eyes upon.It is the story of the rise of Ganesh Ramasumair,a failed Primary school teacher and struggling masseur to a writer ,mystic and finally a MBE(Member of executive council) in Trinidad.The book is written in the strangely hilarious English spoken by the Trinidadian people and is set in Colonial Trinidad. Sample some of the rioutous sentence constructions..

"The Pundit we looking for."
"I does read."
"It have man I want to see in oilfields."

Delightful, no?.

Add to that a motley crew of characters like Ramlogan,Ganesh's father-in-law ,who schemes to get him married off to his daughter and later tries to profit from Ganesh's meteoric rise; The great belcher,the elderly quintessential match-making relative who belches and burps like there was no tomorrow; Leela,Ganesh's wife who punctuates after every word;Suruj Mooma and Suruj Poopa,who motivate Ganesh to write his book and several others.

The first 100 odd pages were so funny that when i read that this was Naipaul's first book,i was in awe. He wrote this book when he was 25!!.However,I had to strain myself to finish the next 100 odd pages as the breezy,wry wit that was so abundant in the first 100 pages disappears without a trace.Despite the narrative being slightly disjointed after Ganesh becomes a Mystic,the book is hilarious.People who love self-deprecating wit,will love Mystic Masseur.The book is a glorious caricature of the people,the sounds and the sights of Trinidad.

Naipaul won the Nobel prize for Literature in 2001 and has scores of other prestigious awards in his kitty.For people who are starting out on Naipaul's books,Mystic masseur is highly recommended.As for me,i loved the book,despite the sagging,lack-lusture narrative after those 100 pages and am excited to start his third book,Miguel street.

My rating : 3.5/5.

Thursday, June 3

A hair for hair..

My 4 year old second cousin looks at me confused

" Girls have mustache,B?" She asks me after looking at me intently for another minute.

Of course,not." I tell her,alarmed.

"Why don't you shave like my dad?." She persists.

I color a tomato red,unable to think of anything to say.

I decide to not scare anymore 4 year olds with my yeti-act and grace the thresholds of a salon...It was a particularly easy day at the salon and two women decide to take it as a challenge to find the face beneath all that facial hair...

"Ouch .... " I scream as one lady tweezes out my yeti-hair.

"Girls have so many pains to bear." the other lady,a nosy one tells me sagely.

"I know.But this hurt." I shoot back.

" You be more patient.Girls be more patient." the nosy one says.

I have half a mind to walk away ..but i persist because hair has to be conquered.

The two women keep jabbering in some north-eastern language i dont know and leave me in peace to suffer.

"You have dandruff also? Take Hair spa ,no?"the other lady tells me.

" Umm... A little." I offer,embarassedly as i am keenly aware of a mummy-type next to my chair hanging on to my every word.

Of course,nobody wants to admit that one has dandruff.

"Hair quality no good. Very weak.You sign up for spa.30% discount." the nosy one contributes her bit.

Now,at this point I don't know what is irritating me more-these two women doing a balance sheet of my problems or the fact that my eyebrows were getting plucked at a very rapid rate or that the mummy-type is studiously studying me.

I want to walk out,but i cant because then i would look even more weird with one eyebrow still yeti-like.

"You can take some facial or massage,no?.Lot of tension in muscle." nosy lady tells me.

"No.I am fine."I insist.

" 30% discount for you." She insists back.

"SHUT UP"I finally scream.

Mummy-type stares at me with her mouth open.The two women working on me look at me like i am PAris Hilton on the rampage.I am sure i'll be the topic of discussion at lunch.

"What?.. I said shut up." I elucidate.

The two women start talking in some north eastern language again.I am sure they were bitching. But presently,I have been un-yetied and I walk out to pay my bill.

I decide that i am never going to come back here.Aren't Salon people supposed to make you feel better?.Anyway,thankfully,she didn't make the eyebrows uneven or anything to get back at me...But i pray to god.In my next birth, let me come work at this salon and let them be my customers.Then, i'll pluck their hair and make them scream and cringe and sell them services they don't need.. Till then,i must carry my burning revenge inside me.

PS: Pizza courtesy Pizza Hut.