Monday, April 9, 2018

Nothing happened

It was lit but maybe it wasn't
fluorescence merged with the night
The mood was ecstatic without the high
and it started but nobody knew why
We two were Thomas Hardy's natives
as we chased them up the hill
Heard them run down and giggle
It was a new dawn in the shades
We were free in the chasing spree
But the light showed the other's face
We saw something we didn't feel
Ashamed we were Tolstoy's characters
for the thought crimes though not real
"Let's stop and sit here"
So we said unto each other
and we stopped and sat forever

Sunday, April 1, 2018

ನಲಿವು

ನನ್ನ ನಲಿವು ಗಾತೀಯವಾಗಿ ಏರಿದೆ
ಮಿತಿಕೆಳಗಿನ ಡ್ರೇಯ್ನ್ ಕರೆಂಟ್ನಂತೆ

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The invisible mark on the ground

The kids waiting for the school bus make an orderly line every day. The position corresponds to the order of their arrival to the Bus Point. This time there were two queues. One girl standing on her own. The other three standing in a queue. The lonely girl is in the third standard. In the second queue, the girl in the front is in the fourth standard. The other two, a boy and a girl, are in the third standard, with the girl being the classmate of the lonely girl. The lonely girl takes the bus occasionally and the other three are the regulars.
There was an altercation.
Lonely Girl: This is cheating. I came here first so you should stand behind me.
Front Girl: No, We always stand here.
Lonely Girl: But what is the difference? We are standing next to each other.
Front Girl: No, this is where we need to stand.
Lonely Girl: Is there a mark on the ground?
Front Girl: We know where to stand.
Boy standing next: Yes, she’s correct. She is always first to come here. And she knows where to stand.
Lonely Girl: But where is the mark? I came first and I’m standing right here. What difference will that make?
Front Girl: We should always stand in this line.
Girl standing last: Yes, she(Lonely Girl) knows nothing about the lines.
Lonely Girl(exasperated): But where is the mark? This makes no sense. We can stand here or here or there. What is the problem?
Boy standing next: No, we should always stand in the correct line. She (Front Girl) knows where to stand.
Girl standing last: Yes, she doesn’t come regularly so doesn’t know the correct line.
One of the elders had enough of it.
Elder: There is no mark. You can stand anywhere. But whoever comes first has the right to start the line.
The boy was bit intimidated and made a movement to stand behind the Lonely Girl but observed that the other two girls didn’t budge from their positions. He too stood in his place.
The Lonely Girl emboldened by the force of support positioned herself at the front of the ‘correct line’. None spoke.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Non-English European movies

I visit the USA once in a year. I try to watch non-English European movies on board the flight. These are overwhelmingly French and few German. I increasingly observe that the soundtrack part of the movies is mostly in English. I wonder why. Is it because English pop music covers the wide range of our emotions and moments in life that can't be matched by music in any other language?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Review - One Hundred Years of Solitude

This book is supposedly one with great literary merit. But all the literary flourish, however, is lost on me. Once upon a time, the inability to grasp the descriptive and flowery language used to frustrate me but now I've made my peace with that. I hope dormant reading of descriptive language doesn't make me miss the overall understanding of the situation.

After 1984, this is another book that I may not be able to complete. I found some of the passages troubling. One passage reads like author's fantasy about sexual harassment and racism and the other pedophilia.

The past world was brutal, patriarchal and racist. I do not have problem with characters showing those behaviours. However, what I find difficult to accept is the victims endorsing it as if that's the way of life. There I can't help but think, it's not the victims but the author who is speaking on their behalf. And he's endorsing such behaviours.

I'm not sure why Aureliano needed to marry a barely major Remedios. Frankly, I don't find anything in the plot that shows any significance to that relationship. I guess generating shock value just for the sake of it.

Bigger problem is Arcadio's relationship with the "Gypsy" girl. It reads like exploitative passage from  some pulp fiction. There are two problems with this section. First, the girl accepts his harassment as some kind of courtship. Second, since it's a Roma girl, I believe, that's some kind of stereotypism about their lifestyle. When these two things are together I believe that becomes highly racist sexism.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

ಯಾಚನೆಯ ದೂರನುಭಾವ

ಸೀನು ತೆಗೆದು ಹೇಳಿದಳು ಅವಳೆ
ನೆನೆಯುತಿರುವರು ಆರೋ ನನ್ನನಿಂದು
ಏನು ಅದು ಗೊಡ್ಡು ಬಿಡು ತರಳೆ
ಎನುತಿರುವೆ ಇಲ್ಲಾ ಆಕ್ಶಿ ಎಂದೆಂದು

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Movie Review - Sharapanjaram

This is an old Malayalam movie directed by Hariharan. This was supposedly loosely inspired by D H Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover. I felt 'loosely' was an understatement as I felt the ideologies espoused were the polar opposite.

As English isn't my first language, I find D H Lawrence's novels are an assault on my limited vocabulary and regular understanding of sentence structure. His writing style reminds me one of Kannada's foremost writers, Kuvempu. Kuvempu came from a caste which, though dominant, wasn't allowed to learn Sanskrit. Now, in olden days Sanskrit was the language of learning and it made all the difference. As a protest against such discrimination, he inundated many of his Kannada works with Sanskrit words. I wonder whether the working class background of D H Lawrence forced him to showcase his command over the language. Or whether it was a challenge to the critics to measure up to his intellectualism, considering the fact that his books would have been considered pornography and thus low.

In Lady Chatterley's Lover, the main female character part of the upper class, lusts after and loves a man from the working class. The plot is loosely similar upto this point. Then the characters start diverging. While in Lady Chatterley's Lover, the working class hero is a good man, in Sharapanjaram, he's evil. As I already mentioned about D H Lawrence's working-class background, I was interested in knowing that Malayalam movie director's background. I couldn't find the caste of the director Hariharan. However, Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, the script writer, comes from a privileged caste. So, we have a working-class writer writing the original story about a working class person and questioning the class differences and trying to prove that true differences lie in our attitude or in our feelings that have nothing to do with the class they belong to. Love is a classless feeling in the original story. And then we have a privileged caste person writing a script which basically reinforced the stereotype that working-class men are brutes and who don't understand love at all. The mistake of the upper-class woman in falling in love and marrying a working-class man had to be corrected by eliminating the working class man.

Also, D H Lawrence's working class man is much more complex. In fact, he could move between the upper class and working class worlds with ease. Even though the relationship was built on the compatibility of love and lust between upper and working class persons, the author made sure that working-class man was intellectually equal to the upper-class woman. I think this is important as the feudal upper-class men of that era in fact married woman only based on their class and not on educational or intellectual compatibility (as education was optional for women in general). So, D H Lawrence's working-class man basically mocked at the existing class system which only considered birth and had no place for compatibility of love and lust and also intellectualism.

It would be unfair to expect such a high-level thinking in the Malayalam movie, however, one can only say that it was basically anti-Lady Chatterley's Lover.