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 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. This much is similar in the case of the Malayalam movie Sharapanjaram. 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 has nothing to do with the class they belong to. Love is a classless feeling. 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 upper class and working class worlds with ease. Even though the relationship was built on 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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thinking about thinking - notes

In one of my previous posts I wrote:
Once I moved to professional life, my usage of English went up. And nowadays I think only in English and it's not just technical information. I find it interesting to observe that where the common lingo would have been Kannada when conversing face-to-face, the imaginary talks are conducted in English.
 I was reading a NewYorker article by a Bosnian born English writer. There he writes:

Back in my early years in the U.S., at the time when my English was in transition from tourist to survival mode, I’d catch myself dreaming in English, and noticing, in my dream, that the people who shouldn’t be talking in English were doing so. Even more bizarrely, I would recollect English conversations with my family or friends, which would certainly have taken place in our native language. I interpreted those dreams and memories as my subconscious mind welcoming this non-native language. If I hadn’t absorbed the new language in that way, I wouldn’t have been able to write any of the books I’ve written in English, or to have lived a full life in this language.

It looks like our transitions are similar. But I'd be deceiving myself, if I think, our mastery over English is similar. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Yoga without Mind Control

[After one of the rape cases involving a godman in India]
"You know what, all these Babas do Yoga, so their sex drive is very high. Hence most of them indulge in such sexual activities."
"Aren't these basically rape?"
"Not really. It's generally consensual sex. But things go wrong when these women are not properly compensated."
"Well, that's not what I read. Nevertheless, as a baba you shouldn't indulge in these activities. No?"
"Well, they do Yoga and because of that they can't control."
"But isn't Yoga all about control. Mind control, body control, emotion control, breathing control etc..."
"Yes, true, but they get too many opportunities."
"But that's the definition of the control. You control your senses in the face of temptations."
"Ha, ha...when you have opportunities..."
"That really shows, Yoga is good for improving  your libido but not so much for mind control."
"I think it makes sense. If you read the history of Yoga, it was considered heretic in olden day India. But today a smoke screen of spiritualism and mind control was created to hide its true motivation."
"No wonder it became popular with publicly sex doing White people."
" "
"I  think evolutionarily Yoga makes sense as it improves your sex drive. However, there should be a caution that people who don't have mind control shouldn't practice it. Especially, the babas."

Monday, September 4, 2017

Clothes Make the Woman - ii

In my previous post, I opined that feminine clothes are sexist and masculine clothes are gender neutral. It appears the gender neutral trend in clothing agrees with that assessment. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

TV Serial Review : Sci Fi series

I suppose the basic premises of all Sci Fi series are:
1. The scientific and technological advancements of the future do not help human beings to transcend their petty primitive instincts and behaviours.

2. Even when you basically possess a magic wand with all the scientific and technological development, it's far easier to correct the past than correct the dystopian present.

Is our imagination just the sum of our experiences?