Thursday, April 30, 2009

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The much acclaimed book 'The white tiger' was one of the books I was itching to read.The reasons being the fact that not only was the author a booker prize winner but also a Chennai born.
The narration of the story was refreshing as it was based on letters written to a Chinese premier, in a style very different from other contemporary books.
The content is our every day rags to riches story of a commoner named Balram Halwai. However it is the narration and the wit of the book that keeps you going.
The story is centred around the life and plights of the servant class in India. The picture he paints of the trauma that the servile class undergo is partly true (though not completely). The author uses subtle wit and humour to mock at the various characters and their doings.
I have conflicting views on the book. At one hand I could relate to the fact that 'In India you do not have drivers, gardeners,etc. You only have servants'. He says that irrespective of what you have been appointed for you should be able to fit into another servant's shoes with ease. Thus a driver would also need to sweep the floor, make dinner and cater to the master's whims. However the portrayal of the master's cruelty and insensitivity is slightly overboard.
There are parts of the book which make me think 'Why does he have to portray India as a poor ,destitute country living in "Darkness"?'However certain parts of it make me smile as I find some of the incidents so real
In short it is definitely worth a read. Once you start reading it you wont realise that you have reached the end of the book - it is that interesting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I read the Purple Hibiscus as a part of the Orbis Terrarum challenge . The author is from Nigeria and this book truly was quite a different read
Its about the life of a 15 year old girl, Kambili whose life is bound by rigid schedules set by her father. Her life just revolves around church , studies, reciting the rosary and 'set-aside' family time. Suddenly her life changes when she visits her liberated, hip, broad minded aunt whose house seems to be filled with incessant laughter , joy and contentment. Kambili sees that though she lived with great comfort in her parental home, she lacked the sense of joy and independence which she enjoyed in her aunt's house.
This story is set in the background of the Nigerian unrest. The author describes so many conflicting thoughts in the young girl's mind. Her father's tyranny had prevented her from enjoying even the small things in life . Towards the end of the book ,she says " I have nightmares of the silence when Papa was alive.In my nightmares it mixes with shame and grief and so many other things that I cannot name ....." which shows that the mere fact of living with her father was filled with dread and discomfort. However the end of the story was a little vague but I wont comment on it since it will become a 'spoiler' for the readers who havent read the book yet.
To sum it all up , the book was a good read. This is the first book on a Nigerian theme so I learnt a lot of things like their life style , food habits , dressing style, etc. A nice weekend read for anyone who wants to read something different

Monday, April 20, 2009

Being a true blue South Indian and of course a foodie , i had to post this bit of news
The rava idli which is a mouth watering dish usually served with chutney and potato sagu has a unique origin.
It was first invented by the popular Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR) in Bangalore. The normal idli is generally made with rice flour however the rava idli is made with semolina (rava). During world war 2 , there was a shortage of rice supply . Hence MTR tried to make idlis using semolina(rava) and hence the birth of rava idli!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This is my second book for the orbisterrarum 2009 challenge.
When i picked up Shantaram and started reading , I suddenly started paying more attention to places that were mentioned in the book. For starters , shantaRam's oft visited hangout was the Cafe Leopold ( where the first terror attack started on 26/11). Also there is a constant mention about the Taj Mahal hotel , the Colaba streets ,etc which have all become a house hold name after the dreaded terror attacks.Anyways that apart,this book is an intersting read and all of its 900 + pages is filled with so many characters , incidents ,learnings and what not.
The story of the bokkin short is about an Australian criminal who sets foot on the Indian soil (Mumbai to be precise) to start life afresh as an anonymous person. But he just has no idea whats in store for him . He starts off as a local doctor in the slum , serves a sentnece in Mumbai's Famous Arthur Road prison, acts in a few movies that need firangis , fights the mujahideen in Afghanistan and what not. In short this book is a spiritual journey of a man and triumph of a human searching for love
Gregory David paints really vivid pictures of all the people and places that the main character Lin (a.k.a Shantaram) encounters. His writing takes into account every minute detail - the way he describes Cafe Leopold and its surroundings,his characterisation of people like Didier, Prabhakar and Karla is impecabble.His narration of the life style of people in the Mumbai slums would give Danny Boyle a run for his money .
Well , what do I have to say abt the book ? Its definitely a must -read. Reading about India (Mumbai) and Indians from a foreign author is definitely an experience that you must have. The story and characterizations are so awe inspiring. However I felt that at some point hte number of characters kept increasing and sort of threw me off track . Also the enormity of the book made reading it a little tedious. Overall a good read and a good learning experience

Trivia for this week #3

Have you ever wondered why the popular game console by Nintendo is called Nintendo Wii ?
Nintendo spelled Wii with 2 'i' s beacuse it represents two people standing side by side (i.e. its a game console where people gather together to play it)
Interesting huh?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Trivia for this week

Hey all
There are a couple of interesting things that i keep coming across every day. So what better way to record it than blog about it. So starting this week (err...actually last week) I plan to post some interesting trivia every Monday. Some would be funny, some unimaginable and some just pure facts

Going on to my trivia for this week :
1. What is the cpital of Sweden - Ans : Stockholm
2. What is the capital of Peru - Ans: Lima
Hey dont worry ...the above 2 questions are not the actual interesting facts.
So u now know Stockholm and Lima ,but have u heard of Stockholm Syndrome and Lima Syndrome?
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed. The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Sweden, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28 in 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their victimizers, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.

The Lima Syndrome is a psychological condition, which is almost the reverse of the Stockholm syndrome. While in the Stockholm Syndrome, affected hostages develop sympathy for their abductor, in the Lima Syndrome, affected abductors begin to sympathize with their hostages.


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