>The Name’s Bond…… Ruskin Bond

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Young Bond
After completing Ayn Rand(about which i wanted to write so much, maybe in future…..), there was a void which i didn’t know how to fill. My reading habits are really lousy. I just can’t settle on a novel easily. I struggle with it for a while, if i win, i continue. Otherwise i have to look for a more docile, easily dominated novel. After unsuccessfully muscling it out with two novels, i finally decided to take up Ruskin Bond. I had bought two of his books recently, “Strangers in the Night-Two novellas” and “ Notes from a Small Room” -a collections of memoirs when he turned 65.

I had read some memoirs from “Notes from a Small Room” earlier and i was completely floored! It was in Ruskin Bond, that i found the writer whom i could relate to the most. It’s a different thing to appreciate the writings of other writers but it’s completely another to identify with someone’s writing. More than any other person, i can identify with Ruskin Bond’s writing. I remember it was a Sunday early afternoon on the roof. I was ecstatic, laughing like a raving madman, such joy reading those memoirs gave me. I was the joy of identification. An identification of yourself in this world. The fact that yes, some like you exists out there, and he is still practising what you’re hoping to practice. Those calm, serene but extremely beautiful passages about nature, detailed but never exploding into Wordsworthian grandeur. His quaintly humorous, half-mischievous, half-philosphical perspectives on the foibles of daily life of mountain people, life among common men, prejudices, love, envy, faith….he wafts gently on each aspects of both humanity and nature, without being hard, harsh and didactic. Just floating, like smoke in the air…it’s so beautiful :).

First,  “A Handful of Nuts”. Nice story. It’s difficult to put it into any category at all, it’s too non-serious and unbelievable to be autobiographical, and too realistic to be a full-fledged novella. It’s about Bond at the age of 21, living in Dehradoon, months before the publication of his first, prize-winning novel “The Room on the Roof” , in an indigent but satisfied state. His life, and lives of those around him, are neatly woven in a pattern, which sadly never fully grows into a proper plot. This is the only(but serious) sore point of the novella, it never gets serious enough about itself. It’s like smoke; shapeless, just a vague reminder of what it can be. But it was thoroughly enjoying anyways. The novella ends when the writer finally gets approval from publishers to serialize his first novel. The last paragraph is iconic, i totally swooned(just kidding 😀 )… “I couldn’t write the next day because i had a terrible hangover. But i started again the following day, and i have been writing ever since.”
The Sensualist was also nice read. Though i don’t know exactly what to say about it. It was an exotic tale about a man driven by intense sexual desire and prowess who goes too far in his conquests and is ultimately conquered and crushed by a village woman(sexually). The theme of the novel was quite esoteric and a little difficult to ponder about. I loved the parts describing the protagonists night-time wanderings in a railwayside town where he impulsively stopped in his journey to delhi. This novella too ended with a classic line: “I leave my dead self in the cave and continue my search for the perfect stranger in the night.”
“Notes in the Room” is a bedside book. I am in no hurry to complete it. This is what will remain, even after many years. What’s to hurry about then….go with the pace of nature….

Nowadays, he’s in news again, due to his new novel “Suzanna’s seven husbands” and the movie “7 Khoon Maaf” based on the novel, with the screenplay written by Bond himself. It’s good to see him alive and kicking at this age. Got to know one of my seniors met him recently at Jaipur Literary Festival. Wish you good health Mr. Bond, and many more years of serene awesome life for you and many more books of pure joy for us 🙂


Heck! I’ll say it anyway: Ruskin Bond Rules \m/
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Mitostargazer
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>शम्दाम

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दो हफ्ता पहले ऊष्मप्रवैगिकी के लेक्चर के दौरान मन में तरह-२ के ख्याल पैदा हो रहे थे. मन नहीं माना, क्लास में ही लिखना शुरू कर दिया. एक घंटा ब्रेक था, तो सर्दी की प्यारी धुप में बैठा लिखता रहा. एक कविता लिखने की कोशिश करी थी, जो अधूरी रह गयी. मेरी हिंदी की सबसे पसंदीदा किताबों में से एक, ‘किताब-ए-मीर्दाद’ से प्रेरित कविता थी, लेकिन उसके भाव इतने कठिन थे, की मेरी कच्ची हिंदी उसे शब्दों में न उतार पायी. बड़ी मेहनत से दो छंद लिखे, न जाने कैसे हैं. पर उन्हें पूरा करने की आशा नहीं रही, इसलिए यहाँ लिख रहा हूँ . शायद कभी, किसी अजब घडी में पूरा करने की याद आ जाए. 
शम्दाम
सफ़र में चलते हुए राही के
पूछा मैंने भारी मन, अनिच्छा से,
ओ राही, इस राह की मंजिल क्या है,
भयाक्रांत नेत्रों से जवाब आया 
“मेरे लिए सब कुछ, और तुम्हारे लिए कुछ भी नहीं”
रक्त-रंजित घावों पर सूर्य की तप्त-अग्नि
और मन में वेदना की कर्कश ध्वनि
उसकी आवाज़ दूर से आती हुई भयानक गूँज थी 
मेरे प्रशंसा के आसक्त कानो के लिए ,
वह एक चेतावनी भी थी, और एक चुनौती भी  
  
Mitostargazer
१०:०३  

The End/The Beginning

I looked up from the book, into the blinding light of CFL in the opposite diagonal of the room.

It was 4:30 A.M. I had finished my fourth book in 3 days. I had lost all the pain which has made my eyes run during first 30 hours. Now they were numb as in cast in stone. Even the blood vessels had jammed.

I tore off the thin blanket and went out. Silence and discrete fluorescent lights pervaded the hall. I went up, straight to the highest point of my hostel. The skies were thundering. It had been drizzling since last 6 hours and had just subsided. The needles of water riding over wild winds splattered on my face. Those wild winds, always and endlessly coming from vast steppes of west, like a call of the wild. I looked at the sky, looming large and ominous. Lightening struck, and for a moment, everything was alive, with a rabid rage, like a last breath, fighting against divine fury. That moment…when everything was so frightfully alive…

I had been terminated from Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur. I failed in three courses last semester.

I knew i had lost it. A mercy appeal was filed, i did it more as a formality than with hope. My fate was decided. I had 7 days, to leave the hostel. To undo my last three and a half years. But i was not thinking of that. I was thinking of the nook in MT, that was exclusively mine. It was my adda in the evenings, when me, Proxy and Jeet used to discuss Aerodynamics’s teacher’s waistline, broken bonds at school, and lessons in philosophy given to Kaalu, squirming chaiwalah boy. I was thinking of the same wild winds, felt at nights when i wandered on the roof, unable to sleep. Last May days, when two of us, me and Jeet, were almost terminated for possession of weed. All the nights, spent wandering the campus with Priya, or alone, I loved it either way.

I knew it was coming. I didn’t feel anything, except a mild revulsion at the manner in which the decision was delivered, and a faint reluctance in facing my parents. To go through the process of explaining it to everybody. They didn’t know it yet. But it came only for seconds. Rest there was numbness. I was searching for the spark, but it wasn’t there. And i was irritated.

This night was the last night. I had no sleep till last 50 hours or so, a cloud of smoke hung under my room’s roof, and i was all alone in the hostel. I had to leave in the morning. I still had not found the spark. I wanted to hit somebody, or burn something.

But the moment, when everything was suddenly alive, the lightening pierced through every single particle hung in the air, it pierced through me, it electrocuted me back to life. I was frozen for a few seconds. And suddenly i was laughing like a maniac, like a beast, howling, in wild defiance and awed reverence at once, to the untamed, divine force of nature, screaming in the pain of healing, as if all the wounds had been scalded at once. The storm raging inside me became one with the storm outside. And i cried, and i screamed.

At last, i fell silent. The storm was over. Raining had stopped. Rays of sun were peeping through the long line of trees behind Hall-3. I got up, all drenched, looking at the silent prairies in the west, and then at the orange skyline in the east. And my lips were crooked into a strange smile. A new life had started.

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Mitostargazer
5:30 A.M.

>One year old embarrassment

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Today, to my utter shame and embarrassment, i am posting a poem i wrote exactly one year back, night of 15th February, 2010. This is my weirdest poem to date :D, and i had written an afterword 2 days later(according to which, i wrote the poem at gunpoint, apparently) expressing my discontent over the poem, hehe… I used to write horrible poems then, with some very far-fetched and ludicrous ideas. My poems are usually about fucked-up guys, so don’t bother about the darkness of content 😉

Songs of Nicotine & Morphine

Dark, and tar-like sounds,
Pouring into my ears
drowning me into a sea
filled with imaginary bloodhounds
I know and feel, and discern it all, but still…

Blood and morphine now flow
hand in hand.
Hand in hand blow air and smoke
I know this feel-good is suicide outright
But neither will nor any desire to fight…

Father’s call coming for the fourth time,
Indecision stopping me, should I answer…why try?
Living in parallel universes,
Better not disturb this dividing line
Thinking hard to say some shit, but no words…

She tries to see me often, almost everyday
Wonder why i don’t feel same need, same love
Fleeting desires giving way to putrid boredom
Tedium kills bestial hate, lust; forget weak love
Standing alone in the field of dead desires, helpless…

As time passes by, blood turns to water,
Smoke and air both leave dead lungs,
Nothing’s left on this side of the line,
Yet, waft slowly in the air…
My songs of nicotine and morphine…

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Hey dude, what the fuck are you doing in my mind?
Can’t anyone sleep peacefully in his injected solace?

^_______^
The brazen effrontery of adding the last two lines blasts off any semblance of poetry this creature had maintained till the end. But i like them. At that time, i was a little blue devil, floating in the mind of a stoner 🙂

Enjoy the beautiful morning, which is coming soon, in a few hours 🙂 while i enjoy the night….
Mitostargazer

>Remembering J.D. Salinger

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Phew…what stormy days….no study started, living off time and space after the exams…

Just got hold of something interesting, while looking for good english literature blogs…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/jan/31/j-d-salinger-work

I admit i haven’t read anything other than “The Catcher in the Rye” of J.D.S’s works, but that was enough to show me the light. I will read more.

“…who is defined by the same acute longing for lost innocence of childhood and intolerance to phoniness that would soon become synonymous with Holden…”

Readers my age, and in my era, need more of Salinger-like works. I remember the night(or morning) I ended “CITR”. It was 5:00 AM in the morning, and after ending it, i went straight up on the highest point of my hostel roof, and sat there, looking at the darkness before the dawn. The world suddenly seemed more alien, more clear  and a little far away than usual. The feeling was a little disconcerting, which is when you are faced with an unusual and discomforting truth, but clarity of sensation was acute.

Sign O’ the Times….

>Morning Tea-My way

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Reading EYE: The Sunday Express Magazine in MT over a dirty cup of tea on a Sunday late morning is such a “Yeah! it is ME” experience 🙂

Last Sunday it started, it carried on this Sunday, thanks to Aditya who took the trouble to take me to MT. As i noticed too well today, the language used in EYE, is so vivid, so trenchant, that i was reading the article with frequent gasps of amazements, pointing out to Aditya, lines of pure awesomeness :). Read an awesome article on changing blogging culture in India, along with others. And yeah, mastered the art of riding the bicycle with only one paddle with quite dexterity 🙂

Exams ended yesterday, last one at 6 PM.

This Sunday is all mine 🙂

Lisa Ray puts it in her blog so beautifully and succinctly:  I write to understand.

>Beginning

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Nothing much to say, just some of my favourite quotes(Ayn Rand’s are left though):


Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance — these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible.
-Isaiah Berlin

Conformities are called for much more eagerly today than yesterday… skeptics, liberals, individuals with a taste for private life and their own inner standards of behavior, are objects of fear and derision and targets of persecution for either side… in the great ideological wars of our time.
-Isaiah Berlin

A people are free in proportion as they form their own opinions.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Live for yourself — there’s no one else
More worth living for
Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more
-Neil Peart

I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.
-Robert Frost

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather mortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore it if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the intergrity of your own mind.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)

Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery