Reading Freedom

It’s that time of the year again. Independence Day is round the corner. Here’s my take on when I feel most free: I’m free when I read. I really get a kick out of it when I think that with something as simple as the flip of a cover I’m free to enter a whole new world. This may be fantastic or futuristic. It could be a world gone by, a world that existed many centuries ago. Yet with the flip of a cover, it becomes real and I dissolve into it and become a part of it. The world … Continue reading Reading Freedom

My Fluid Relationship with Rain

I like to think there’s something special about the rains in Kerala. Their very sound is different. But they have been playing truant and that set me thinking about my rather fluid relationship with rains. Rains bring childhood memories-   Of wading along in knee high water through a maze of lanes, clutching my umbrella close while the beast pounded incessantly on it. Of Father wading along beside me, pants folded to knee length; grim faced and silent because conversation was impossible in the roar. Of the smell of new schoolbooks both texts and note and the slightly damp feel … Continue reading My Fluid Relationship with Rain

Quotes Recalled

As a child and later as a teenager, I had this habit of collecting quotes. I would write them all down in a notebook I’d stitched together from the blank pages of used notebooks from the previous academic year. In those ancient pre internet days I would often come back to a quote either to pep up an essay we’d been set or to introduce a speech as part of an elocution contest I was participating in or simply for the sheer pleasure of it. My notebook of quotes was lost in the several moves that we made from one … Continue reading Quotes Recalled

Some Musings on the Tamil Film Super Deluxe

It has been more than a year since the release of the Thiagarajan Kumararaja Tamil film Super Deluxe. But I suppose one can indulge in some thoughts about it after having watched it recently on an OTT platform. Spoilers Ahead For those who are reading this and haven’t yet watched the film but are planning to there are disclosures about the ending of the film ahead that may spoil your enjoyment of it. Plot The film strings together the stories of an unfaithful wife, three teenagers whose hormones are running high and a transgender who has returned home. It is … Continue reading Some Musings on the Tamil Film Super Deluxe

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

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

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

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