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Showing posts from February, 2007
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Shalimar The Clown

By Salman Rushdie

It is always a pleasure to read Rushdie. The more recent works do not possibly have the power to surprise as much as Midnight’s Children and their plots may seem a bit more laboured…but man, can this guy write! As is his wont, Shalimar the Clown has a sub text of bigger plots. The characters are motifs of Kashmir and the turmoil they go through is reflective of Kashmir’s troubled history. Ultimately, the novel is a paean to a notion of Kashmiriyat – a Kashmir that is the land of a softer, more benevolent Islam, a land whose legends are as much Hindu and Sikh as Muslim, where the beauty of its land and its people are quite unparalleled anywhere else. It is of course a Kashmir that no longer exists. And Rushdie tracks the breakdown of this beautiful land through the horror unleashed on it as much by foreign Islamic militants as by the insensitive Indian army.

That unfulfilled dream of Kashmir is embodied in Boonyi Kaul and Shalimar Noman, a dancer and …
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Eklavya By Vidhu Vinod ChopraThe story of Eklavya in the Mahabharat is well known. A lower-caste by birth, Eklavya goes to Dronacharya asking to be taught archery by the great master. Drona refuses to take him on as a pupil because of his caste. So he practices archery in the forest by himself, worshipping a clay image of Drona he creates, as Drona continues to teach the kshatriya-born Arjuna and his cousins. He becomes a master archer and when Drona accidentally sees his archery skills, he is worried – Eklavya has become a better archer than his best pupil Arjuna. In a cruel move, in order that his favourite pupil Arjun remains the best archer in town, he asks Eklavya for a guru dakshina that would in effect destroy his effectiveness as an archer. Eklavya unhesitatingly cuts off his right thumb and gives it to his revered guru.Eklavya remains in our popular imagination as the embodiment of guru bhakti. Yet there is no denying the fact that it is a cruel story portraying the excesses …
The Roger Waters Concert

The concert happened. Went. Enjoyed. He played all the songs I knew of Floyd (countable on my fingers). He looked old (he is almost as old as my dad), a bit like Gere and had a band member with a sexy voice. The pig went up into the air and we all went wow!
The Demon-Seed (Asura Vithu)
ByM.T. Vasudevan NairReading a Malayalam book in an English translation is personally slightly humiliating. After all, I do know the language, can even read it with some degree of capability. But somehow I know I don’t currently have the patience or the time to read an entire book in the original Malayalam. So, when I saw the English translation of Asura Vithu, I had to pick it up. I am somewhat familiar with MT. I have seen some movies that he screen wrote. And I have heard enough about him to know from my mother to know he is one of the more respected Malayalam writers of today.
Asura Vithu is a book that, even in an average translation, reads authentic. I could picture the village of Kizhakkemuri with its lush paddy fields, the river running through it, the coconut and jack fruit trees at each house, its unforgiving monsoons. It is beautiful Kerala at its most pristine, a beauty most Keralites take for granted. But the landscape is not the only thing that…