Policing Memory – Book Review

Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police is a dystopian novel set on an unnamed island where the Memory Police disappear things from time to time. The protagonist is a novelist (also unnamed) who lives alone in a house by the river. Both her parents are dead and from as long as she can remember things have been disappeared from the island. The other characters are an old man and R the editor of the protagonist’s novels. The people on the island forget what has been disappeared though not all of them do. They are the ones in danger of being arrested … Continue reading Policing Memory – Book Review

They Too

Though it was a Sunday all seventy nine of them were at the large auditorium on the dot as if it were a normal working day. They had got up early cooked the promised specials for their families and hung on to crowded city buses resigned to the idea of a thirteen day work week. The boss had dangled a carrot; two in fact – permission to wear casual clothes snazzy ones maybe to facilitate ease of movement and a free lunch. What exactly it was they were going to be taught no one had deigned to tell them. The … Continue reading They Too

Vignettes From A Literary Festival

From January 30th to February 2nd of this year the well-known Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi conducted the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL). With over three hundred writers participating from different parts of the world and a host of interesting topics for discussion, it was the place to be for people interested in the world of letters. The venue too added to the charm of the festival. Kanakakkunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram is ideal to hold such an event as it offers a large enclosed area within which several smaller venues can be set up. Under The Tree Some of the venues … Continue reading Vignettes From A Literary Festival

Favourite Quotes on Reading

Here are some of my favourite quotes on reading: “Books are uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King. Yes, books are magical and the best thing about them is that you can carry them anywhere and be lost in them; whether you’re travelling or waiting for your turn at the dentist’s. And there is something delicious in being able to surface from this magical world and look at the people around you and pity them about the ordinary everyday world they are part of. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives … Continue reading Favourite Quotes on Reading

No, Nose Is Not Sexy

GIRLS AGITATE AGAINST INTRODUCTION OF NEW UNIFORMS Our Correspondent/Somewhereinindia The girl students of a local school reportedly staged a sit in in front of the office of the District Collector Mr Parvah Nahi, IAS, supposedly as part of an ongoing protest against the alleged introduction of new uniforms in the prestigious Girls High School. The leaders of the protest alleged that the conspiracy for the change of uniforms was brewed in a social media group that consisted of ‘concerned’ members of the public and the principal was allegedly threatened with dire consequences if she did not comply with the request. … Continue reading No, Nose Is Not Sexy

Women and Creativity

The house was being painted. And the painter turned out to be a real chatterbox who jabbered incessantly. Not only would he talk non-stop he would also insist on active listening. Attempts to ‘mmm…’ through his anecdotes were instantly greeted by energetic ‘Are you listening, Madam’ queries.  Not to say that all of his stories were boring. He did have interesting anecdotes to narrate. After much silent eye rolling among other family members I was (predictably) designated official listener. He painted and chattered and well, I listened. All grist to the writer’s mill, I consoled myself. One day he was … Continue reading Women and Creativity

A Song in Perspective

Film music in India is a genre by itself. Songs are a uniquely Indian style of narration in movies. That is just as well. Imagine how much poorer our leisure hours would have been otherwise. The lyrics of many Indian film songs are fine poetry. That is not surprising because many lyricists in different Indian languages are also renowned poets. This is true of Malayalam film music too as it has been especially enriched by the work of lyricists who are also poets of outstanding genius. Vayalar, P. Bhaskaran, O. N. V. Kurup, Yusufali Kechery, Rafeeq Ahamed are the names … Continue reading A Song in Perspective

Sticky Post

Strange Dreams

Dreams have always intrigued human beings. From the earliest civilisations down to the modern day humankind has tried to interpret them in a variety of ways. Every person has an interpretation for dreams. There are those who feel that dreams, especially bad ones, are the result of thoughtless overeating at supper. Others claim that they can predict your future if you tell them your dreams. Dreams, they say, help us process emotions especially negative ones. Whatever the latest scientific theory about dreams the one fact that remains is that they continue to be a mystery. Besides they are endlessly entertaining, … Continue reading Strange Dreams

“A Land Full of Muslims”

At a wedding I recently attended, a lady asked me where I was from and when I responded that I belonged to Kerala her reaction was like a tight slap on my face. “Kerala!” she sneered, “It’s a land full of Muslims. They’re all over the place. You can see them everywhere when you step out.” Her tone made me doubt my ears for a moment. Was she talking of human beings or of queasy creepy crawlies infesting a week old corpse? The hatred in her eyes rattled me. More so because this lady was not some monster out of … Continue reading “A Land Full of Muslims”

English Vinglish

The average Malayali has a tortured relationship with English. It’s full of contradictions – love, hate; admiration, envy; desire, indifference. The actress Urvashi commenting during a popular music reality show put it succinctly when she said, “Those who make fun of those who speak English well are actually jealous. They just hide behind a pretense of disdain.” She could not have been more right. Mallus have a strange fascination for and hatred of English. They secretly admire those who speak the language fluently but put on an outward show of dislike. “Oh, come on,” you will hear them say, “There … Continue reading English Vinglish