Thursday, 10 September 2015

Interpreter of Maladies

Three days back I read in a newspaper that on September 10, 2015, President Obama will award the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal to some distinguished recipients. This got my attention because Jhumpa Lahiri was in the list. I remember her from my GK (General Knowledge) class in school. Many times I thought of reading her work but never did until this August when I bought her first book, Interpreter of Maladies from .

Summary :

Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant stories tell the lives of Indians in exile, of people navigating between the strict traditions they've inherited and the baffling New World they must encounter every day. An interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing revelation, a young Midwestern woman is drawn into a tantalizing affair with a married Bengali man, the eccentric nervous Mrs Sen needs to learn to drive if she is to keep her job minding eleven year old Eliot after school, a young couple exchange confessions each night as they struggle to cope with the loss of their baby and their baby and their failing marriage, and Mr. Pirzada, whose watch is always set to Decca time, worries about his family back in Pakistan.

Whether set in Boston or Bengal, sublimely understated stories, spiced with humour and subtle detail, speak with universal eloquence to anyone who has ever felt the yearnings of exile or the emotional confusion of the outsider.

My Review

I feel a good book is one that connects well with the reader and explains what the author wants to convey. Interpreter of Maladies is one such book. It is a collection of nine short stories beautifully knitted with emotions. I really liked Jhumpa Lahiri's style of writing which is simple and elegant. She is a superb story teller. Every story left me with an urge to know more about the characters and what happened next in their lives. I realized how difficult it can be to adjust in another country. I guess this happens more with Indians because we are always around our family, relatives and friends on every special occasion that we find it painful to deal with loneliness. Also it throws a light on how a series of events can drastically change relationships forever.
  • A Temporary Matter : This story is about a married couple, Shukumar and Shoba who had a stillborn baby and how this changed their lives.
  • When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine : This is a story of a Bangladeshi man, Mr. Pirzada who was awarded grant from the government to study foliage of New England in America and how Lilia got attached to him during his visits to her house. 
  • Interpreter of Maladies : It is about Mr. Kapasi, a middle-aged tour guide and an interpreter in a doctor’s office who takes family of Mr. Das for sight seeing.
  • A Real Durwan : It is a story of a stair-sweeper or durwan of an old brick building, Boori Ma who used to narrate stories of her royal past but one afternoon a sink was stolen from the building. Everyone thought she informed the robbers and no one believed her.
  • Sexy : This is a story of relationship between Miranda, a young white woman and Dev, a married Indian man. A seven year old kid explained the meaning of sexy which changes Miranda's mind.
  • Mrs. Sen's : This story about Mrs. Sen, wife of a mathematics professor who babysits Eliot and cooks food but doesn't know how to drive is painful. This is one of my favorite because one can feel how terrible it feels when there is no one for you.
  • This Blessed House : It is about a newly married couple, Twinkle and Sanjeev who moves into a house previously owned by Christians. This is the only story I din't like much.
  • The Treatment of Bibi Haldar : Bibi Haldar has an unknown disease that no one is able to cure. The story reflects the hopes of a girl who wants to get married. A mishappening changes her life and she gets a reason to live.
  • The Third and Final Continent : This is my favorite. It is about the struggles of a man who moves from India to London to America. The story explains his relationship with Mrs. Croft and how he gets married to an Indian women he hardly knew. It has an happy ending.

About The Author
Jhumpa Lahiri (born on July 11, 1967) is an Indian American author. Lahiri's debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and her first novel, The Namesake (2003), was adapted into the popular film of the same name. She was born Nilanjana Sudeshna but goes by her nickname (or in Bengali, her "Daak naam") Jhumpa. Lahiri is a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama. Her book The Lowland, published in 2013, was a nominee for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction. Lahiri is currently a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.

Connect with the author :

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

31 Quotes by Rumi that will Inspire You to be Better!

I never thought living in 21st century I would love something written in 13th century. Yes you read it right. This 808 year old poet has magical power in his words. His works are written mostly in Persian, but occasionally he also used Turkish, Arabic, and Greek. Today three countries claim him as their national poet : Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. He is none other than "Rumi"

Its said that Rumi's meeting with the dervish Shams-e Tabrizi in 1244 completely changed his life. From an accomplished teacher and jurist, Rumi was transformed into an ascetic. Shams and Rumi were close friends for about four years. In December of 1248, Shams disappeared; it is believed that he was either driven away or killed. Rumi left in search of his friend, travelling to Damascus and elsewhere. Eventually, Rumi made peace with his loss, returning to his home believing Shams to be a part of him.

My Favorite Quotes By Rumi 

  • The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
  • Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
  • These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.
  • Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
  • The moon stays bright when it doesn't avoid the night.
  • You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?
  • Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.
  • If you dig a pit for others to fall into, you will fall into it yourself.
  • People want you to be happy. Don't keep serving them your pain!
  • If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?
  • You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.
  • Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
  • When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
  • Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.
  • Love rests on no foundation. It is an endless ocean, with no beginning or end. 
  • I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.
  • Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
  • Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.
  • Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
  • Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death.
  • Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself. 
  • Listen with ears of tolerance! See through the eyes of compassion! Speak with the language of love
  • Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.  
  • Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are. 
  • Let's get away from all the clever humans who put words in our mouth, let's only say what our hearts desire. 
  • If you could untie your wings and free your soul of jealousy, you and everyone around you would fly up like doves. 
  • Never lose hope, my heart, miracles dwell in the invisible. If the whole world turns against you keep your eyes on the Friend. 
  • Hardship may dishearten at first, but every hardship passes away. All despair is followed by hope; all darkness is followed by sunshine. 
  • The world's flattery and hypocrisy is a sweet morsel: eat less of it, for it is full of fire. Its fire is hidden while its taste is manifest, but its smoke becomes visible in the end. 
  • When you go through a hard period, when everything seems to oppose you, when you feel you cannot even bear one more minute, NEVER GIVE UP! Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!
  • Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others' faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear. 

Rumi (1207-1273)

I am one of those who keep looking for quotes to motivate myself and others around me. But if some of you are thinking why I am so much into quotes I would say we all go through ups and downs and quotes somehow are able to relate to many of us. Sometimes the words perfectly explain our situation or what we are going through in life. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Amy - The Girl Behind The Name

"I don't care what people think about me. 
Never did, never will. 
Life is too short to be worrying about that shit."
~ Amy Winehouse

This is one of my favorite quote and I believe the same. Life is too short to waste time worrying, thinking or explaining. Life is not a bed of roses but then it is not full of thorns too. Its just that we have to decide what we want. No one knows us better than ourselves. 

Recently I won a contest on Twitter and got couple movie tickets for the movie Amy. I booked the evening show at PVR - Select CityWalk. In case you haven't heard about Amy, it is a 2015 British documentary film about singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, directed by Asif Kapadia. The film shows her life closely from childhood to death. It features some of her unseen archival footage and unheard tracks. Amy's family members and friends have also shared their experiences with her in the film. 

I liked the movie and realized how some things can change life forever. She was a blessed and talented artist who was not after fame or money. Her glorious rise and sad decline is heartbreaking. I was never her die hard fan but now I love listening her songs. Its just that once you understand what the other person has been through you have a soft corner for them. Amy was the first British female to win five Grammys in 2008. Its said that Amy died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 but God knows what factors contributed to her death whether it was just alcohol or drug addiction, depression, loneliness and troubled relationships together. I just pray that her soul rests in peace. The world lost her but we have her words and songs with us.

Amy Winehouse Quotes :
  • Life happens. There's no point in being upset or down about things we can't control or change.
  • Life is so much more rewarding if you strive for something, rather than take what's given to you on a plate.
  • You are the only person who can sort yourself out, you can't rely on other people to sort out your problems. 
  • I don't like to look back and think 'That was a horrible time'. I prefer to think 'I'm glad I came through that'.
  • There is no point in saying anything but the truth, because at the end of the day, you don't have to answer to anyone but yourself.

Amy Winehouse Songs :

Facebook Page : Amy Winehouse

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

7 wishes before I die!

Few days back I came across an article in The Huffington Post, Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying by Bronnie Ware. I was really surprised to read and immediately promised myself that I will not die with these regrets. I don't know how successful I will be in keeping this promise.

Life is unpredictable and death is inevitable then why not take pleasure in small things. Everytime we cannot walk away from things or people or moments that hurt us but we can take joy in the things that make us happy. That's why I thought of writing down about my wishes. I would love to see them fulfilled. (P.S. I believe in miracles and I know wishes do come true.)

  • Wish 1 : Try atleast 3 adventure sports with my better half. My list includes Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, Rafting, Paragliding, Zorbing, Hot air ballooning. I have done Zip-line and Scuba Diving in Mauritius but would like to try again in another country.

  • Wish 2 : Build/buy a small beautiful home right next to a beach anywhere in the world where I can spend some time with my family and friends once an year.

  • Wish 3 : Learn swimming & swim the largest pool in the world (San Alfonso del Mar).

  • Wish 4 : Read atleast 501 novels before I lose my eye sight. 

  • Wish 5 : Celebrate my 25th and 50th wedding anniversary in the most amazing way.

  • Wish 6 : Lose weight and look the way I have always imagined myself in the mirror.

  • Wish 7 : Develop the ability to easily Forgive and forget. A life without complains, regrets, fears, frustration, irritation and depression. A habit of paying gratitude to God for what I have rather than what I don't.

Thought of the day
“Life will always get busy, make time to do the things you love.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Ang Lee : A successful Director and his story

Have you ever wondered how powerful is this seven letter word "INSPIRE". It can fill you with the urge or ability to do something or create a positive feeling in you. There are numerous stories of ordinary people who went from rags to riches. They went on to become successful with their hard work, discipline, dedication, determination, sincere efforts, vision and what not. They might have had hard times but they din't let the spark die.

About Ang Lee
Born on October 23, 1954 is a Taiwanese-born American film director, screenwriter and producer. Lee has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice : for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and for Life of Pi (2012). He also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). He is the first person of Asian descent to win an Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA for Best Director, and is the only director to win both the Golden Bear and Golden Lion multiple times. 

Lee studied in the Provincial Tainan First Senior High School where his father was the principal. He was expected to pass the annual Joint College/University Entrance Examination, the only route to a university education in Taiwan. After failing the exam twice, to the disappointment of his father, he entered a three-year college, the National Arts School and graduated in 1975. After finishing Republic of China Armed Forces's mandatory military service, Lee went to the US in 1979 to study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he completed his bachelor's degree in theater in 1980. Originally, Lee was interested in acting, but his challenges with speaking English made it difficult and he quickly turned to directing.

During graduate school, Lee finished a 16mm short film, Shades of the Lake (1982), which won the Best Drama Award in Short Film in Taiwan. His own thesis work, a 43-minute drama, Fine Line (1984), won NYU's Wasserman Award for Outstanding Direction and was later selected for the Public Broadcasting Service. Lee remained unemployed for six years. During this time, he was a full-time house-husband, while his wife Jane Lin, a molecular biologist, was the sole breadwinner for the family of four. With Lin's support and understanding, Lee did not abandon his career in film but continued to generate new ideas from movies and performances. He also wrote several screenplays during this time. 

In 1990, Lee submitted two screenplays, Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet, to a competition sponsored by Taiwan's Government Information Office, and they came in first and second, respectively. The winning screenplays brought Lee to the attention of Li-Kong Hsu, a recently promoted senior manager in a major studio who had a strong interest in Lee's unique style and freshness. Hsu, a first-time producer, invited Lee to direct Pushing Hands, a full-length feature that debuted in 1991. Lee's three acclaimed first dramas opened the door to Hollywood for him. His Notable work includes : Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi.

My Take :

Few days back I saw Life Of Pi for the first time though it was released in 2012. I came to know about Ang Lee after I googled about the director. I realized every person has his/her own fights which is not impossible to overcome. Lee's father wanted him to have a respectable profession (teaching). As a kid he could not really concentrate on books or homework. He did OK to poorly at school because he would fantasize all the time, having a lot of fun in his head. Artistically, he was very repressed. He failed the annual Joint College/University Entrance Examination two times. Even after having a degree in theater, winning an award for his thesis work couldn't help him much. He had to stay at home for 6 years without any work. During that time he was picking up the kids from school, doing the cooking and writing. In an interview to The Guardian he told when he sent those two scripts, that was the lowest point of his life. He just had his second son and when he went to the bank to try and get some money to buy some diapers, the screen showed $26 left. 

I personally feel it is very easy to say or read but choosing a different direction and getting failed is way too depressing. The stress affects relations and frustration takes a toll on everything. Still there are some people who show strength during tough times. They do not let negativity affect them and set example for the world. So his story taught me - No matter what happens never quit.!

Picture courtesy :

"Everywhere can be home and everywhere is not really home and you have to deal with loneliness and alienation. I’m old enough to realize that eventually you have to deal with loneliness, anyway. I’m happily married, I love my children, but eventually you have to deal with yourself. I trust the elusive world created by movies more than anything else. I’m very happy when I’m making a movie." ~ Ang Lee