Tag Archive | society

The Great Gatsby


I was quite ashamed of not having read any classic literature at all so I resolved to read this all-time classic which is on every ‘Books to read before you die’ list I have come across.I am not sure about how to gather my thoughts on this book.

The book is based on the post-war  times in the US where the society is fully materialistic and everything is measured by the length of your car, the size of your mansion and the depth of your pockets.

The central character Gatsby is someone who comes from a simple background. He joins the army to impress his lover – Daisy who meanwhile marries the richest boy in town to lead a simple and easy life. Years later, Gatsby gathers enough wealth so he can match up to his Daisy’s family. The story is from the perspective of Nick who happens to be Gatsby’s neighbour and friends with Tom and Daisy. Nick is the conscience of the plot. He sees things as right and wrong instead of being carried away with the flow of the materialistic world.

There are some lines from the book which are going to be remembered for centuries more (assuming the world doesn’t end this dec 😉 ).”Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

I think it is quite an interesting read but needs quite a bit of patience for a noob in classic literature like myself. I am used to reading light entertaining books so I had to push myself to get through even though it was just 179 pages. The words are quite heavy so you cant just flip pages like you can with a  Memoirs of a Geisha. I am glad I read it as it marks one of the most significant literature of that time but somehow wasn’t gripping enough.

Overall rating : 3.5/5

Advertisements

Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid


In Lahore, Daru Shezad is a junior banker with a hashish habit. When his old friend Ozi moves back to Pakistan, Daru wants to be happy for him. Ozi has everything: a beautiful wife and child, an expensive foreign education – and a corrupt father who bankrolls his lavish lifestyle.

As jealousy sets in, Daru’s life slowly unravels. He loses his job. Starts lacing his joints with heroin. Becomes involved with a criminally-minded rickshaw driver. And falls in love with Ozi’s lonely wife.

 But how low can Daru sink? Is he guilty of the crime he finds himself on trial for?

I have an interest in literature written in an Asian or middle-eastern set up so the choice to read Moth Smoke wasn’t a hard one at all. In one line this book can be described to be about sex, drugs, and class conflict in 1990s urban Pakistan. It urges the reader to judge the trial of an ex-banker and heroin addict who has fallen for his best friend’s wife. The book highlights one key transition affecting the life of a warm hearted banker. The first cause is the personal financial crisis he goes through after losing his job. Second cause is the society. It is interesting to see the role society plays in making him a darker person.

After Ozi and his family return from New York, Daru has his old friend back and he thoroughly enjoys their company. He finds Mumtaz, Ozi’s wife very intriguing in her ways of being and her open-mindedness. Mumtaz is a very non-conventional asian woman. She doesn’t feel affection towards her son and doesn’t appreciate her husbands inherited surreptitious fortune. Because of these reasons her married life is going through its lows for a couple of years now. She is an anonymous journalist and covers controversial stories and this is where she gets the excitement and enthusiasm in her otherwise boring and lonely life.

Slowly, joblessness makes Daru ‘try’ hash and soon becomes an addict and a seller too. During this phase, it is very clear to see his life falling apart. Daru and Mumtaz find a lot in common and indulge in intoxication and bantering. Slowly these meetings blossom into a full fledged affair.

Another harsh reality that dawns upon reading this book is the huge rift in lifestyle for people belonging to different classes in society. Daru despite being a better student and more hard-working has a much harder life and cannot take anything for granted. On the contrary, Ozi has a dont care attitude has the best cars, alcohol and mansion in town without having made any effort to achieve or deserve it.

What I find most fascinating in this book is the way in which Hamid forces the readers to rethink about the three central characters. Daru starts off as being the likeable guy who unfortunately loses his job, who was a good student in school, misses his mother, happy about his friends, doesn’t like too many favours from his family/friends and a friendly character overall. His character progressively becomes darker. This is shown by his hatred for his friend Ozi because of his financial situation, his betrayal to his ‘best friend’s wife.

Ozi starts off as being the spoilt New York returned guy who cannot manage without air conditioners. Slowly, Hamid brings out other characteristics like being a good father, a faithful and loving husband very strongly. Taking a look at the third central character Mumtaz, the initial description of an asian married woman with a young child makes her sound rather normal but her nature is far from that. She loves her privacy, loves adventure, enjoys alcohol, indulges in an extra-marital affair and does anonymous magazine articles about most controversial issues that society normally shuns away from. In the end, it makes it extremely hard for the reader to make any judgements about any of the protagonists.

However there is a downside to the book. The analogy that Hamid tried to portray between Shah Jahaan’s sons and the characters of the book failed quite badly. I don’t know if it was just me but I was slightly lost and disinterested during that phase but I am glad I dint give up on the book.

Overall verdict: 4/5

Khaled Hosseini- A Genius


Profound thinker and writer Khalid Hosseini has made a mark with his books -‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. The two books became best sellers in no time! With such content and skill it would be a surprise if they weren’t….

Both the books give us a peekaboo into the lives of the people of Afghanistan. For a majority of us Afghani’s hav been just the news headlines and the figures, nothing more… Not many of us think about the emotions of the people living quite literally ‘IN the line of fire’. The two books are quite different and force you to picture the pain and misery of people there.

The first book that is The Kite Runner tells us more about the social barriers of caste that induce suffering. It is a story of two boys Amir and Hassan who are best friends right from childhood. Hassan is a Hazara (one of the lower castes) and he goes beyond limits for his dear friend who does not realize this at that point of time. In reality, Hassan is the Amir’s illegal step brother (which he discovers very later). Just to save himself from the disgrace, his faithful servant takes Hassan to be his child. The story is set in the background of the Sovient invasion. It tells us about how Amir flees from Afghanistan and has a life long regret of never having stood up for his best friend. A MUST read for all!
Amir might be the hero for a lot of people but for me Hassan is the true hero. He symbolizes true friendship and commitment. His forgiveness and love touching!

A Thousand Splendid Suns(ATSS) is again a great book but nothing in comparison with The Kite Runner.No wonder they say a writers first book is his best!
ATSS revolves around the story of two women and how they form a mother-daughter relationship in the hostile situation in Afghanistan where there had been one invasion after another. It also makes us aware of the pitiable state of women under the taliban rule. How the rules, regulations, schools even hospitals were different for both men and women. It is sadly the most inhuman behaviour one can imagine. But nevertheless it is a story of a fighter- Laila who not only overcomes the odds of life but also is lucky enough to spend her life with her childhood love -Tariq. Laila is an educated woman who dedicates her life to bringing her country back to life.

If you are still looking for another reason to read Khaled Hosseini books here it is…. Well… he is one hell of a good looking man! 😛 😀  hehehe

Reiterative Incidents!


OK! This is something that I have been thinking to write about but what really probed me to do it right away was this blog I just read “Groping Tales” http://diptea.blogspot.com/

 

I dont know when people will change rather when men will change! What a pity it is to see girls having a hard time in every single day of their lives because of eve-teasing. A simple routine like getting back home can seem like a nightmare!

 

I have personally had some experiences and never had the guts to say it to anyone. Probably today am going to try to break the ice and say things because despite being the ‘bold’ types if I have been refraining myself from saying this. I dont think many girls will be able to really break free from this burden that they carry with themselves silently.

 

Well, I would like to give you a little background about myself which will help you understand better. I am a north indian girl born and brought up in Kochi, a city infested with conservative and narrow minded people(not all though!).

 

Being an extrovert north Indian girl in the south is more like being a fish out of water. I dont know how many people would actually agree with me but if you are a northy girl in the south you are bound to agree! So the ‘extra’ undue attention is guaranteed which never helps but just spells disaster! Because of this kind of an instant reputation, terms like BI*** become a part and parcel of life! (sheesh! I cant believe I am ACTUALLY writing all this!). I learned to laugh at it but no doubt that it took some time. Because of this kind of instant reputation I did find it hard to get close to people in my new school as everyone was apprehensive. (I dont really blame them!) But in a period of a 5-6 months, people who really got to know me started defying these rumours. After this I made great freinds for life! Am still in touch with them and they mean the world to me! 

Anyway this was just one of the first incidents that happened and sadly it just worsens!

 

I used to walk home from school everyday and we just had to walk through a residential area. Now, walking through a residential area doesn’t sound like much of a problem but believe me it was! It was more than just any normal problem. There have been days when I have had my heart in my mouth!School used to get over in the afternoons there hardly any people on the road especially on those days when we had extra classes. And on the road there would be these 35-40 year old men who would have their bikes and actually call out for us and show certain ‘parts’. UHHH!!!!YUCK!  This has happened with me thrice and I remember what I felt like! It has by far been one of the worst experiences responsible for god-alone-knows how many nightmares. Later, our teachers got to hear about it and they would be with us and some police flying squads were also there to control eve-teasing which made life much better!

 

With that school life came to an end! And then I thought I was strong enough to FACE life (as expected) I was wrong,HORRIBLY wrong! 😦

 

The next battlefield was college! I joined a college which was 3 hours away from home and I was sadly a hosteller who would RUN home every weekend, which meant 3 hours in public transport! hmpf!!!!I will get to those a little later.

 

Let me begin with the northy girls reputation on joining college(which is in Kollam). The normal belief is that all girls from Ernakulam are hip and are just known to be characterless! Being a northy girl from Ernakulam was like the cherry on the cake, it meant 150% characterless! grrrr…. As I mentioned earlier, that am an extrovert and dint believe in talking to guys as wrong. So, I used to speak with guys which the “good” “naadan” (traditional) girls dont! This added to my already exploding reputation!

 

In school, the level of comments was limited to tags like ‘BI*** but in college it started off at an altogether different level  (I know you all can guess!) which I dint expect!. I know should have expected this but whatever!

 

Anyway I heard about all this from a very good friend of mine. Lets call him X(He was one of the guys I used to speak to). Because of which my dear friend X had to hear nasty things about me! One fine day he somehow gathered the guts to look me in the eye and tell me about the ongoing stuff cause I had to be prepared to face it one day or another! I still remember having swollen eyes the next day. I just failed to understand what wrong I have done to hear total crap like that! Thanks to X, I got through it bravely and learned to turn a deaf ear to this SHIT. (Sorry for the language! but cant help it)

I know I have already written 800 odd words but I have LOTS more to add! Thanks for your patience for reading. Hope you can read a little further also! (No harm in assuming there are readers!  😛  )

 

Getting to the journeys, sometimes drunk men would practically stick to you. At other times they would get uncomfortably close and touchy. Sometimes we fail to realize their intentions while at other times some guy friends of ours come around. There was one particular journey when this man was trying his best to get touchy with me and my firend in an extremely crowded bus. FI my friend is the silent types and this guy was taking advantage. I gave him this Killer look and asked him to move away ALOUD!Bravo, it WORKED!!! This is one thing I am extremely proud of!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

These journeys were irritating but none affected me as much mentally when compared to what I am about to mention. The next was a train journey.  This passenger was fashionably late and this man who claims to be a ‘clinical psychologist’ tries his best to ask our names (our is my friend say Y n me), what we do blah blah. I showed an immidiate disinclination to talk but my friend is the sweet types and found it too hard to ignore someone. So she answered though she wasn’t comfortable. Initially, he made his best attempts to flatter us by complimenting both of us. Because of my disinterest in him and his talks he told my friend that I was never going to prosper in life because of my ego n blah blah! Then he spoke about ‘God’. And yes, I forgot to mention he gave these looks which would make you uncomfortable and concious and that jerk looked like a complete pervert! He even dared to say cheap things to my freind like ‘I know you have had a past and have gotten physically close to someone but it just resulted in failure. I can help you if you wish’. Till date I dont understand how she managed to not slap him! Anyway this guy followed us on the station till our parents came! I have never been so happy to see my Dad as I was on this day! I was down for the next few weeks because of this. My mother, my mentor were all woried because of this.  I still dont know why it affected me so much but it did! 
 

There are many more incidents where my friends have had a hard time with men who are the age of our fathers and are “FAMILY FRIENDS”. Not getting to all that. Cause this is one thing I can go on writing about!

 

Moral of the story::::  A**HOLES are all around! You cant look to change the world but can be better prepared for such things.You really dont have to learn all lessons the hard way. Whenever such people approach you be bold enough to create a hungama by either slapping the guy or just yelling! If he is not worth so much of your time, energy and attention try ignoring him, plug in a MP3 and enjoy the music (This was suggested to me by my Mentor after meeting the ‘clinical psychologist’ and believe me it works!!!)

 

PS: Will this ever stop??? I dont know!

Playwright Conversations

Black Playwrights, Black Artists, Black Plays

Walk The Line

Guided by Karma, Dharma and Drama!

The Write Side

A little bit of this and a little bit of that!

The Domestic Man

Gluten-free & Paleo-friendly recipes, inspired by traditional & international cuisines. New recipes every Tuesday.

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Blogging for a Good Book

A suggestion a day from the Williamsburg Regional Library

Books, j'adore

story lovers unite

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

A Little Blog of Books

Book reviews and other literary-related musings

Scriddles

scribble doodle sketch

madamecroquette

Just another WordPress.com site

FROM THE WILDERNESS

Veritas Vos Liberabit

Freedom to Fail

An aspiring young professional with a blog

Bytes won't bite ...

Networks | OS | Games | Fun | 11111000011