Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

Don't Walk Through the Brick Door.

(Amazon US, Amazon INAnniversary Edition, Flipkart, Flipkart e-book)
What happens when you run into a brick wall, figuratively speaking of course? You go get the key. And if that key eventually takes you to an alternate reality - a parallel universe, ghosts, ghouls, a twilight zone? Where you have a new set of parents wanting to give more tender, loving care your real parents will not, or cannot, but which would cost you your heart and soul, for all eternity? Can you get to keep your soul and get your real parents back? That, in short, is the premise of this creepily darkish short novel for kids.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mahabharata Quotes - Virata Parva

The Virata Parva is the fourth parva in the Mahabharata, and the shortest of the first four, clocking in at under two thousand shlokas, and covers the thirteenth year of exile in incognito the Pandavas have to spend, which they do in the King Virata's kingdom.
Covers of Vols 1 - 6
These quotes are from the unabridged translation of the Mahabharata by Dr Bibek Debroy (my reviews: Vol.1Vol.2Vol. 3Vol. 4Vol.5 (12), Vol. 6 (123)). The Virata Parva begins with the fourth volume of the translation, and ends someway around the half-way mark. Then starts the Udyoga Parva, which also features the story of Amba.
The start of the parva, where the Pandava's consiglieri, Sage Dhoumya, advises them on how to conduct themselves while in exile, could well have been taken from an HR manual for executives at a Fortune 500 company.
On to the quotes.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jallianwalla Bagh

How do you shoot more than one thousand defenceless, unarmed, peaceful men, women, the elderly, and children in cold blood? How do you get honoured as a hero, as saviour, by your countrymen for saying you would have murdered even more women and children had you been able to? That, my dear fellows, is a question that does not seem to have troubled most people.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Truck signage, near Dharmapuri

Spotted at the back of a truck on NH7, between Salem and Dharmapuri. The funny thing is that even though this truck is sporting license plates of the state of Nagaland, I doubt it has ever been to the state in a long, long, time, since this is a truck carrying vehicles for the Hyundai car company.

Anyway, there are three fine examples of the art of poetry - shayari to be precise - here. I have transcribed two here. The first is a very typical example of what one finds on the back of trucks.

"Itni mod sadak pe nahi jitni vo teri baalon me hai
Itni rs angoor me nahi jitni teri gaali mei hai"
इतनी मोड़ सड़क पे नहीं जितनी वो तेरी बालों में नहीं
इतनी (sic) रस अंगूर में नहीं जितनी तेरी गाली में है

And the second is definitely risque.
"Hai raam kitni lambi hai, par dekhne me kitni achhi hai"
हाय राम कितनी लम्बी है, पर देखने में कितनी अच्छी है

© 2013, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mahabharata Quotes - Aranyaka Parva

The Aranyaka Parva is the third parva in the Mahabharata, and in my reckoning one of the riches in terms of content. While the Adi Parva is literally the book of the beginning, and contains stories few may have heard of of the origins of few know of, and even fewer associate as belonging in the Mahabharata (like that of Uddalaka Aruni), and the Sabha Parva is perhaps the most pivotal of all parvas, as it lays the foundations of the destruction to be wrought thirteen and some years hence, the Aranyaka Parva is literally a goldmine of stories - a veritable forest of tales and philosophical discourses. Stories that are told, most of them by Sage Markandeya - and who himself has a story behind his everlasting life, as the Pandavas spend the twelve years of their exile in the forest, waiting, preparing, pondering. The thirteenth year, to be spent incognito while living among people, forms the fourth parva, the Virata Parva.

Covers of Vols 1 - 6
This post then collates quotable quotes from the third parva, the Aranyaka Parva, which at more than 10,000 shlokas, also happens to be the second longest parva in the epic, right behind Shanti Parva. This Parva starts in Vol. 2 of the unabridged translation of the Mahabharata by Dr Bibek Debroy (my reviews: Vol.1Vol.2Vol. 3Vol. 4Vol.5 (12), Vol. 6 (123)), and continues into Vol. 3.

The second chapter in the parva is itself an exposition of Samkhya Yoga, and in the words of Dr Debroy, "This entire section is reminiscent of the Bhagvad Gita."
On to the quotes then.
  • "There are four kinds of reasons behind physical sorrow - disease, the touch of something painful, labour, and distance from loved things."
    [Shounaka recounting King Janaka's shlokas  to Yudhishtra, Aranyaka Parva, Aranyaka Parva, Ch 2] (the first sub-parva in the Aranyaka Parva is also named Aranyaka Parva)