Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Why do people write secret blogs?

Is it to create an alternate personality - one that might allow more space and freedom than the real?

What do you think?
The good bits of poverty and the nostalgia for mud. Fashionably austere perhaps?
Do you know what the Chinese buy to handle the post-New Year crowding in trains?
Kiran Desai's interview on The Inheritance of Loss.

She says:
Each book is its own challenge and I find myself at exactly the same level of trepidation and doubt as when I began the last time around.

Writing, for me, means humility. It's a process that involves fear and doubt, especially if you're writing honestly. I imagine businessmen feel smug at least twice a day. Writers? The moments are rare.
There are many reasons why I enjoy reading Jason Kottke. But posts like this one really make me whoop in delight. Super neat!

Monday, January 30, 2006

This is my world view?

After a long long time, it was fun to do the world view test (link via lioness)

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

Saturday, January 28, 2006

LBC talks about Novels and Indexes. I have found indexes on novels useful because I often go back to a novel to locate my favourite passages and except for that rare index, passage locating has to be done in the painful page-flipping manner.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Nice! This is one vending machine I'd love.
Divide and rule - a neat example of the mind's favourite hobby.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I seem to have vanished from this scene for a while now eh? I am just trying to live upto January's demanding pace. So, for a few weeks, I will pop up every now and then with some links [Don't complain! I've promised not to post or speak about a certain author all this month, so where do you think I will get posting material from? ;-)]

Do read the top 10 things one should not do while buying a laptop - golden words that are so funny!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Keith Robinson, in this week's Getting to Done column, talks about getting rid of piles.

If all else fails, you could try filling your home and/or office with slanted tables and countertops. That'll keep the mail from piling up on the counter.


India will be the guest of honour at the Frankfurt book fair 2006 (Oct 4- 8) (via)

Monday, January 16, 2006

What do you hide, good word?

In this strong article, Rushdie slams the use of innocent sounding euphemisms for gross acts of violence.

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the ugliest phrase to enter the English language in 2005 was 'extraordinary rendition.'' To those of us who love words, this phrase's brutalization of meaning is an infallible signal of its intent to deceive. ''Extraordinary'' is an ordinary enough adjective, but its sense is being stretched here to include more sinister meanings that your dictionary will not provide: ''secret,'' 'ruthless'' and ''extralegal.''

As for ''rendition,'' the English language permits four meanings: a performance, a translation, a surrender - this meaning is now considered archaic - or an ''act of rendering,'' which leads us to the verb ''to render,'' among whose 17 possible meanings you will not find ''to kidnap and overtly deliver an individual or individuals for interrogation to an undisclosed address in an unspecified country where torture is permitted.''

Language, too, has laws, and those laws tell us that this new American usage is improper - a crime against the word.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Books will never be displaced by e-alternatives. I am pretty convinced of it. Printed books may transition from a mainstream category to a collector's item. But it won't fade away.

Robert McCrum mentions India in the linked article
In India, Macmillan recently launched a scheme with operator Airtel that enables subscribers to download definitions of English words to their mobiles for a fraction of a rupee each. How long will it be before the OED promotes a similar scheme to mobile users in Britain?
Kottke analyzes the Digg vs. Slashdot influence.
He concludes: [Digg]Brighter initial burn but less influence over time.
Why you can't trust love at first sight. Even if it were a 'thunderbolt' or 'struck by lightning' first meeting.

No one could have been more certain she'd met ''the one'' than author Terry Hekker. Martha Stewart aside, Hekker became America's most famous (and controversial) homemaker when, in 1980, she wrote a book called Ever Since Adam and Eve, celebrating her own union, defending her decision to shun a career to be a full-time wife and mother and urging other women to do the same - words not easily digested by the feminist movement. But now her circumstances are drastically changed.

Humiliatingly (''like being jilted at the altar only worse''), on their 40th wedding anniversary, the man she had no doubt she'd grow old and grey with presented her with divorce papers and left for a younger woman. She now faces an uncertain financial future - indeed, the judge in her divorce case suggested that she should go for job training, even though she is now in her seventies.

''Divorce was what happened to other people,'' Hekker says. ''I gave my marriage everything - more than many - and was so sure of it, it never crossed my mind it could happen to me.''

I am in the process of writing a book review and I used this phrase ' feisty, forthright Chloe' to describe a character. And, by sheer chance (if you can call a Google Alert that), I read a review of that same book on BookBrowse a few minutes ago which uses 'Chloe, fiery and forthright' - Sigh!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The performance

The bag looked unassuming - ubiquitous tennis bag shape in staid black livened up by a thin red piping along the rim. The man carrying it looked equally staid in grey slacks and a black tee. He patiently lugged the bag up the steps and onto the centre of the stage. He set it down on the floor and in a single fluid motion, unzipped the bag and unloaded its contents. He spread out the many items in a neat square arrangement in front of him.

There were many colours and shapes that one could make out in that square collection. First he unrolled a neat bamboo mat that was lined on one side with a silky brown fabric stitched over baby soft sponge. Then he picked up a purple cushiony pouch with slender blue edges and opened the zipper that stretched along three sides of the pouch. He fished out a similar shaped electronic gadget from inside it and placed it in front of the unrolled mat.

His next selections were two rod shaped beige cloth covers. The first one, when opened, turned out to be a dull-silver flask that he placed reverentially on the right side of the mat. One imagined the nectar of the Gods flasked in soothing drinkable warmth. The second cloth rod opened to reveal a microphone; not one of the simple, lowly Ritchie street ones but a sleek steel and black contraption that managed to look classy, sophisticated and super expensive. Next he picked up a rectangular flat cloth case and again unzipped it and spread it open. The pages inside this lovingly protected file flapped wildly at the sudden exposure. Two colourful cushions were placed at the sides of the spongy mat and one had a strong urge to run up the stage and sink into this tempting comfort. The final few items, each encased in silk cloth bags, were a remote control, an electric adapter box, and wires for connecting the fancy microphone and the complex looking square gadget to power supplies.

In five minutes of practised movements, the stage was customized for the artist of the hour. The big man, this artist, soon arrived and settled down in the snug setting. He then proceeded to sing like God. Such a rich voice, such beautiful emotion. It was moving. But what impressed one more was the meticulous display of organization before the actual vocal performance. It was the magic of the tennis bag and its varied cloth pouches. Such planning, such flawless execution. Emotion is a weird animal. Sigh!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Genius! The wonderful AR Rahman turns 40 today. More here.

Legal downloads of some of Rahman's songs here (Chennai Online, so the numbers are Tamil).

Haven't heard Rang De Basanti yet? What on earth?! Get started!

PS: don't tell me you didn't notice! Rahman's birthday is Jan 5 and this post is a day behind. In case you have not figured yet, I am time lagging ever since New Year :)

PPS: I am also prone to lying since the New Year!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Twenty-Ninth Chennai Book Fair


The twenty-ninth Chennai Book Fair will begin in a couple of days. As always, at the Quaid-e-Millet College for Women. Mark January 6 - 26 on your calendars and get out those book lists. Splurge!


a) The Book Fair is on from January 6 - 16. The marking of calendars till the 26th is just my wishful thinking!

b) The Chennai Book Fair has a blog too. Go via.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A sleepy little wish

/*This should have been posted on December 31, 2005*/
The year is almost done. Why do I think something new will come to replace it, other than a number on a calendar?
--The Sea, John Banville

PS: I called a friend of mine to wish him a happy new year. He laughingly told me that he thought I had a major crush on Banville and that I was being annoying by posting so much about Banville! Well, dear reader, I suppose it is irritating to see so much of Banville trivia. As a New Year gesture, I shall refrain from any talk on Banville in this blog the whole of January. Peace! And a Happy New Year!