Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Malegalali Madhumagalu(book) - Kuvempu

Finished reading it the third time...!

I got lost the last two times, but this time, I am determined to write something about this book in the blog. 

The book is about the marvels of the nature in the western ghats of Karnataka. The story is set up in the beginning of 19th century where the electricity and analog clocks had not gotten as far as the remote villages of India. There was British rule, freedom struggle, Vivekananda and missionaries converting Indians to Christians. 

As it is said in the prologue, there is no one character or incident the novel talks about. Everyone and everything is important or not important at all. There is no beginning or end, There is no destination, there is end. 

As such there is no ONE thing that you remember as summary to the story. Its an ocean of emotion, sky of language and the characters are stars. 

It starts with naayi gutti planning a kidnap of his maternal cousin Timmi and marry her. Then there is Timmappa Hegde, Rangamma, Jattama, Subbana Hegde, Bharamai Hegde, Mukunda, Chinnamma, Itha, Peenchlu etc etc. Naayi Kutthi succeeds in kidnapping Timmi and elopes in to the dense forest of Hulikal where the dangerous wild animals and tiger attack each other. Timmi is agreed by her parents to be married to another guy from her own village. The landlords of Timmi do not agree to send of Timmi with Gutti as Timmi and her family owe their lives to the landlord. 

Timmanna Hegde is a ugly looking rich man but no girl wants to marry him. He plans to exchange his sister to another man - Bharamai Heggde and get his sister marry Timmana. There is cold war between Sankranna Hedge and Subbanna Hegde, Kanna Pandita is a malayali ayurvedic doc who give tantra for all types of maladies. Aiytha and Peenchulu are newly wed couples. Mukunda is in love with his childhood sweetheart Chinnamma. His brother in law - Devay Gowda is deeply influenced by the pastor - Jeevarathnayya. Naayi Gutti is held by police, escapes and elopes again with Timmi. This time his beloved dog - gutti naayi dies. Itha and Peenchlu plans to get Chinnama run away with Mukunda on the eve of her wedding. When she runs away in her wedding attire to the nearest hill - one among the thousands in the ghats, she is pictured as "Malegallalli Madhumagalu". Her father dies after realizing Chinnamma has run off the wedding. Mukunda looks after Chinnamma's father left over property and business, Devayya Gowda is stopped from undergoing Christian conversion process at the last moment. 

There are stories to no end and one just needs to keep tab on whos who and enjoy the book. Kuvempu has finely sculpted this book with more than a 100 sub stories in it. Each one has its own beauty and grandeur in it. The characters are too many but one feels like, they are all so familiar. The description of the nature is too real to make it appear in front of the reader's eyes. One will be inspired to visit the forests on the ghats during rains when reading it.

Its one of the best books I have read. I recommend everybody to read it

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Mountain Shadow - David Gregory Roberts

Its the sequel to the legend of a book - Shantaram. Shantaram is a super duper book with a lot of spirituality, philosophy and referable quotes. It dealt with a criminal who ran from a prison in Australia and settled in the slums of Bombay to make a living by selling drugs and waging gang wars.

The sequel too deals with the same man - Lin and his girl friend Karla. Plot is also a continuation of the Shantaram story. There is Abdullah too who reappeared after being thought as dead for long. Lisa is married to a different man - someone famous in media industry. Lin has a bisexual girlfriend who is later murdered by Lin's enemies. Lin and karla are very much in love with each other - to the extent where they are married to different people but still think of each other's safety 24/7.

Tariq - only heir of Khader Khan dies after his house is set on fire. Gang wars become the main scene in the book. Lin leaves the gang this time as against taking significant role in Shantaram. Karla divorces her husband and goes to live in an ashram of Idriss along with Lin. There is a lot of unwanted philosophy here. Adbullah dies again due to an ambush between the police and the terrorists at Khaleed Ansari's Ashram.

Vikram, Didier, Jonny Cigar, Kavita Singh, Lettie all continue with their roles as in Shantaram even in this book. Leopold cafe holds the important stage to the plot from beginning to the end.

There are a lot of other threads like some huge family looking for a treasure in their house, a goonda police, zodiac georges, Lin's friend befriending and safeguarding a daughter of a rich Mumbaikar, a drugged young girl whose boyfriend committed suicide, Madam Zhou, a disguised waiter from Srilanka who joins Lin in Mumbai, a woman in blue hijab etc.. These stories take the intensity away from Karla-Lin main stage.

While reading, at times you feel like lost as the author seems to confuse as to what he wants to convey. There is ambiguity in many areas of philosophies and the lines are not very appealing. Idriss gyaan is not easily understandable. As such the story drifts with no conclusion or you feel there is no point the author wants to make. As a whole I was a bit disappointed as I started the book with Shantaram in mind.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bharath Stores - Kannada Movie

This is also one of the great movies I happened to watch on the Chandana series at home. It was in my wishlist for a long time.

Its a movie about how India is taking the heat of foreign direct investment against traditional retailers. It has Dattatreya donning the role of Govind shetty, owner of one of the famous retail shops in south Bangalore. One of the bus stops in the route would be named after this and such is the popularity of it.

Govinda Shetty is a typical business man of nineties who by nature is a gentleman, taking interest in the good being of the society and people. He looks after his staff well and respects them. He makes good money also which he returns to the society in various forms.

He is faced with first hand disapproval from his son who is keen on taking up employment at a mall than managing the father's Bharath Stores. Govind Shetty loses all his customers day by day to the goods sold at the near by mall. He would be left with nothing at his old age and is admitted at a old age home.

India is witnessing a big number of stories where many Govind Shettys are quitting their shops due to the mall culture. Govind Shetty at the same time is reluctant to change his ways of doing business. He likes to send home the grocery where the actual customers like to go to mall, shop, eat and have fun time. He is reluctant to provide discounts like the way malls do(or advertise). He is also reluctant to provide credit(in the form of credit card). His shop does not have many options or brands for the grocery item. All these reasons make the consumer to look for a place which provides all of these or some of these. I being an engineer, always mentored upon to learn the technologies of tomorrow, find it bleak too see the future of small retailers like Govind Shetty.

The movie is a good depiction of paradigm of shutting small scale retailers and growth of malls. It also has Sudharani who is the narrator of the story. A good watch if you are looking for documentary kind of material. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pravaaha - a beautiful movie

Since I am spending my days working from home these days, I happened to watch a beautiful movie - Pravaaha in kannada.

It stars Achyuth Kumar as Marappa - a potter in a village. He owes a rich fellow in the village a very huge money. His son Siddarama is shamed in his school for this fact. He is shamed for being a potter's son. Siddarama takes a oath never to become a potter which is his family tradition.

The film portrays Marappa making pots hysterically and trying to sell them. But he soon loses demand to a plastic seller. Plastic seller mocks at Marappa every time he hurries to the market with his supplies.

Siddarama is determined to make it big in his life. He runs away from his house to a near by town. He is scared of police. He meets a nice boy at the temple. Temple boy gets him  job at a bluffing center, Siddarama obtains a lot of money in the form of tips. Once the bluffing center is ridden by the police. Siddarama escapes and goes back to his village in a slum dog millionaire style wearing cool goggles on a moped just to find his father dead.

He brings his mother to town and live a life of a migrant in the town. Its a story of a struggle through the competition between tradition and modern plastic era. Its a story of decaying condition of rural education system, migration to cities, pollution in cities due to this and multiplication of slums for the incoming crowd.

The director Naidu has done an awesome job in bringing the realities in the form of a beautiful movie. Achyuth Kumar as usual has done his best to show the character of Marappa. In today's mainstream kannada movie industry, it is a good movie to watch and enjoy your Sunday for a thoughtful week.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ajeya - Biography of Chandrashekar Azad

A piece of information on why I chose to read this book. When my mother was preganant with me, she read this book. When I became pregnant, I was in search of some good books to read. I came across THE MAN by Irving Wallace and Ajeya by Babu KrishnaMurthy.

Ajeya is the biography of Chandra Shekar Azad famously known as Azad in the Indian freedom movement. He was classified as a revolutionary with ideology following that of Hindustan Republican Association(HRA). He was born in a small village in Madya Pradesh. At a very young age, he was held by police for supporting Gandhi's non co operation movement. He managed to escape from them quite soon. He named himself as Azad from then on symbolically saying nobody can captivate him.

He ran away from home and came to know Ram Prasad Bismil - founder of Hindustan Republican Association. Azad accumulated funds to the association through robberies of rich Indian supporters of British. During this time he took part in Kakori train robbery that attempted to destroy viceroy's train. He was mostly moving around in disguise due to this.

During a peaceful protest against Simon commission, Lala Lajpat Rai - punkab kesari was hit brutally by James A Scott - a police. Rai subsequently died which led to the revolutionaries like Bhagat and Raj Guru avenge Scott. On a eventful day, they including Azad planned to kill Scott but mistakenly shot John P Saunders.

After this, Azad, Bhaghat and RajGuru were most wanted by the police and they made a wide spread look out for the trio. Azad based himself in Jhansi for a long time in the disguise of a sage and tought the local children. He became the favorite of the locals. He also managed HRA activities from the same place.

He now had alliances with a bigger group of people and he also extended the HRA membership. Though funding was a big challenge he could carry revolutionary activities against the British. He managed to make bombs and test them. Once during the test in a far off forest, he lost his best associate Bhagawati Charan Vohra.

He planned to escape Bhagat Singh and RajGuru from jail when they were arrested in explosion in assembly case. But it was a failed attempt.

He died by shooting himself in Alfred park when the police were to captivate him owing to the promise that he will not let anyone to capture him.

Azad was the heart and soul of HRA aka HSRA. He inspired the Indian youth to take part in revolutionary freedom fight. Now he is looked upon as a great leader amassing thousands of young Indians towards freedom struggle.

About the book - You feel like Azad is a friend of yours and you cry when he dies. You cry when his friends die too. The narration is a perfect tale that takes you through the journey of a onlooker at the freedom movement. You start living in those days and find people and everything else relating to freedom and revolution. The book inspired me to visit the places Azad has stepped on. It inspired me to read more of these heroes. It definitely enriched my life. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The MAN - Irving Wallace

The MAN - is a book written by best selling author Irving Wallace. I was suggested to read this book by many of my acquaintances including my father and brother and a well wisher.

About a month ago, I started with the painstakingly long book(again on Kindle) and could finish only now. Its about a Negro man who gets to become the president of America accidentally.

It so happens that the old president and the vice president would be dead in a building collapse in Germany.  Back in America, there is a senator negro man selected as the new president as he is the pro tempore of the president.

The book is the journey of this new guy as the president in the White House. There are aspects as to how he deals with the racism against him and the racism that he is inflicting the people of America, how unbiased he is, how wise he is when he tackles issues related to his children etc.

He is challenged by the white racists and the black men seeking freedom from racism. He is impeached with false charges of dismissing one of his board members, harassment and others. His fights the impeachment trail with the help of his friend lawyer and wins over. At the same time, the Russians who are trying to capture a small piece of land backed by America - called Amboko also suspend their operations by which the Negro man wins popularity back and there is no re-election held due to these reasons.

As said by all else, I was expecting the book to give me some lines of definition of THE MAN, probably all MEN on earth. But it failed to keep up my expectation as I knew better MEN than this Negro Douglass Dilman - Men who are wiser, more intelligent and courageous.

Piece of advice: Do not set expectations before picking it up. A big book indeed with a lot of pages of repetitive text(like the charges of impeachment, I almost knew those lines by heart when it was over). Douglass Dilman was the MAN of 1960s and does not hold good for current society. He may prove to be inspirational in terms of beings unbiased. But everything else, I expect him to be updated. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nikola Tesla - Biography

My husband introduced me to the whole new series of biographies of which the story of Nikola Tesla was also one. I read this biography on Kindle which was a new experience.

The man Tesla is a creator of 20th century. His inventions have shaped our lives and continue to do so even after centuries.

He was born in Croatia in 1856 and later migrated to the United States of America. He dreamt of working with Edison and briefly did so before realizing that Edison is no friend.

Edison hired Tesla to fix problems he was having in DC generators and motors and promised Tesla a very huge amount. But when the job was done, Edison laughed away on the promise he made to Tesla on the monetary part. 

Tesla could not stand the argument with Edison that the direct current is the one world class solution for the electrical supply concept against his own alternating current. 

Thomas Edison - already established as an inventor and the business mogul in electrical science and technology could not stand the idea of alternating current and hence dismissed the idea and went on to speak negative about it in the scientific forums.  Tesla in one of the forums wore the alternating current carrying wires to prove that its not dangerous. He also organised the forum to run completely on the alternating current concept so that people find its merit. 

Tesla was met with numerous failures in his journey of innovation. He was rejected in various stages by the sponsors, fund providers and general public. He kept his attitude to invent no matter what came his way. One of his important inventions - Radio was stolen and a year later Marconi was awarded the Nobel prize for the same invention. It does not end here. Some other examples are - X-Rays, Radar, Hydro Electric Plant, Transistors. 

He died in his room on 7th Jan 1943. He was found by his maid. Tesla obtained around 300 patents worldwide for his inventions through out. Any gratitude to this man I harbor is simply not enough.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Julius Caesar - play by William Shakespeare

Last week, I happen to watch the Julius Caesar play by Abhinaya Taranga at Ranga Shankara.

This was the first play I watched without reading the book. It was a total chaos for me as I did not understand any point in the whole play though I had read the life story of Julius Caesar many many times.

The play is about ambitious Julius Caesar who wants to come to throne and rule Rome. To his dismay, he is encountered with Marcus Brutus a respected Roman senator. Brutus is contacted by Julius's lesser known enemies in pretext that Julius is going to cause devastation of Rome to fulfill his personal ambitions. Consequently Julius is assassinated by Brutus.

Mark Anthony - Julius's friend on his death gives a funeral oration that leads to civil war and Brutus and Cassius meet their death at the end of it.

It is originally written by William Shakespeare and translated to Kannada by OL Nagabhushan. The original version of the play may be full of kick, but the play was very dull and banal. The team lacked skills to narrate the dialogues in an effective way.

Total time waste for 2 hrs. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Street Lawyer - John Grisham

This fictional story is about Michael Brock is a lawyer at Drake and Sweeney - one of the acclaimed law organisations in America.

One fortunate day, a street dweller enters Michael's office and holds hostage of 8 lawyers in his firm. The firm does everything to save the lawyers and kills the street dweller. Michael is curious to find why the homeless man tried the drama of the hostage when he did not want to kill anyone neither wanted any money. He goes in search of this homeless man and discovers that he was one of the tenants who were evicted from an old building in the city. Michael quits his job at Drake and Sweeney and joins a law clinic for the homeless.

He comes in contact with a homeless family of Lontae Burton and her four children while serving food at a shelter for the homeless. Later he learns that they all died in an unfortunate incident in a car that they were sleeping in to keep themselves warm in the mid winter. He finds that the homeless man who tried to kill him at his office and Lontae Burton were all evicted from the same building where they were not squatting but living on rent.

The eviction was a result of a greedy lawyer from Drake and Sweeny who put the client RiverOaks also at risk to liberate the building to accommodate a postal office.

Michael succeeds in proving Drake and Sweeney guilty. He also influence the director of Drake and Sweeney - Arthur to spend time helping the homeless.

The book is a slow pace read and almost drags in the middle though it picks speed in the last 20 pages. Do not expect a bone chilling high drama experience.

A good choice of book if you have fixed a time of the day to read ANY book - just to keep the good habit - meaning to say it does not make you come back to it unless you are disciplined to read anything. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gold Mine - Wilbur Smith

Sonder Ditch - remember that because that is where the next full month's of action is going to happen to you if you decide to read Gold Mine by Wilbur Smith.

The story is of two men -Rod and Manfred. Rod is promoted to be General manager of the mine when there is huge collapse of one of the floors in the mine. Manfred has a personal motive to acquire political advancement in the mining industry by conspiring with a bunch of wealthy men on destroying a couple of gold mines to hike the gold rate overall.

Manfred is told by these wealthy men that there is a big treasure of gold beneath the "Big Dipper" in the mine for which Rod is the manager. By this time, Rod has fallen in love with Manfred's wife Teresa who happen to inherit the power and wealth of Hurry Hirchsfeld - a very wealthy man in Africa.

A man of mining passion that is Rod - reluctantly digs deeper behind the big shaft to find a catastrophe waiting. He finds out a river flowing meddling with which, it would destroy all of the gold mines in the entire vicinity. He also finds that Manfred is up for killing all of his drilling employees by posting them in this region.

In a story that has all the elements of greed. lust, power, adultery, violence and love - the reader is never left without excitement.