Over the last one and half a month I’ve been silent on my blog, I haven’t posted anything. But, I had not given up on writing. In fact, on a whim I started to write fiction. A project which started as a short story soon turned out into an eleven thousand worded novella. But, why did I write fiction in the first place? If you remember I started to write this blog as a test – to see if I have the discipline, drive to take on more writing projects – fiction being one of them, and finally one day I took the plunge. As a kid I enjoyed Chandamama Kathalu, Kaasi Magili Kathalu sitting on the lap of my grandfather. The promise of adventure in those stories was one motivating factor for me to start reading. As I grew up and picked fiction – mysteries, classics, drama, pulp fiction – I still missed adventure. Other than Sherlock Holmes whodunits & Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventures, nothing came close. But, it was with ‘Da Vinci Code’ that I found adventure again. The book seemed to have invented a new genre all together because suddenly the local bookshop’s aisles were filled with similar titles. I don’t want to know how much of that book was true or how much of it was false, all I knew was that it held my attention, and took me on a journey filled with puzzles, cryptograms, danger & history. I loved it. Soon, I followed it with Dan Brown’s other books and then with Sigma Series of James Rollins, Jones & Payne stories of Chris Kuzneski and with Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone. Cheap, trashy books? Say what you will, these books satiated my hunger.
Thomas Carlyle once said, “Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.” Tools are what we use to accomplish our day’s work. When I step out of the house I do it with my bag which has all my tools. I love my them and have always been interested in knowing what tools others use. I feel what we carry in our bags can tell a lot about what kind of a person we are. In this post I examine the tools & bagis I use (to carry them).
Yesterday there was an attack in Paris killing 12 journalists of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Though the events are still developing & the perpetrators are still at large, it is widely believed that this act was committed due to the magazine’s repeated portrayal of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. This incident brought out two issues I’m bothered about, but never wrote about – freedom of expression & violence in the name of god.
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” – Salman Rushdie
I feel December has a charm, it marks the end of a (generally tiresome) year with anticipation of a (hopefully a good) year, ‘round the corner. Optimism is all around us, with Christmas adding to it. In these good spirits we very naively draft resolutions hoping these will be the steps for creating a better ‘us’ even though we know the last years’ resolutions did not work. Once Jan starts, we start off good, we work on our resolutions for the first two weeks, then we start slacking off. By the end of Jan we conveniently push the resolutions out of our mind and bury the guilt. The cycle repeats every December/Jan even though we know that life does not change suddenly just because the calendar changed.
Sometimes surprisingly it is in the English text that we find really good stories (or as we used to call them, texts) to read, some which stay with us for many years after school. Few such pieces inculcated my love for the language. One of the heart warming lessons I still recollect everyday particularly on this day is ‘A Christmas Morning’ by Pearl S. Buck, an abridged version of the same writer’s ‘Christmas Day in the morning’ (as I would later find out).