Nov 30, 2010

A book for all seasons !

As someone who is a certified Bookoholic I am fond of all the books that I have. Some books I like because they make me laugh, some because they make me think and some because they are sheer masterpieces with words woven into them as beautifully as an intricate tapestry! And then there are some special books that you can read again and again and again and never tire of. They give you the same comfort as a soft fluffy blanket on a cold winter day, warm and familiar. Books by Ruskin Bond make me feel that way. All his books are precious to me but there is one particular book by him that is very very close to my heart. And that book is Scenes from a Writer`s Life.
 


Scenes from a Writer`s Life is basically a memoir in which Ruskin Bond talks about his childhood years in Dehra, the brief but lonely years he spent in New Jersey and London as a struggling writer and his nostalgia for his friends and for India while he was there. I bought this book about 13 years back, just a few days after it was published.I guess the timing was simply perfect because a few weeks later I got an opportunity to go to Japan. I was very excited about it, it was something I had wanted for a long time. But my happiness was also tinged with little niggling fears. It was my first time in a foreign country and the first time I was going to be away from home for so long! As I packed my stuff for the year long stay, I mulled over which of my books I should take with me. Airlines to Japan only allow you a measly 20 kgs so I could hardly carry all of my books, much as I wanted to ! I had a hard time deciding the few books I wanted to take with me and I am so glad I chose Scenes from a Writer`s Life as one of them. This book turned out to be a real blessing in those first few harsh and lonely days that I spent in an alien country without any family or friends. Sitting in my small apartment in Tokyo, as I turned the pages and read Ruskin Bond`s poignant descriptions about the time spent with his friends in Dehra and his reluctant decision to leave India to become a writer, I could relate to it instantly. I could understand his loneliness, his yearning to get those days back again and yet his determination to follow his dream. In the chapter, “The Pure, the Bright and the Beautiful” Ruskin Bond writes about his going away「A month, only a month and I shall leave with the autumn…… I wish time could stand still now, this very minute, and that life could carry on this way. But my accursed ambition would not have it !」It was the same “accursed” ambition that had brought me so far from home and family to Japan! During those days, this book was my solace, something I turned to whenever I felt homesick. I read this book every night before I fell asleep and to a lonely and troubled heart this book was a great comfort and a source of inspiration!
Japan is almost a second home to me now, a country that I have returned to again and again. But even now, all I have to do is turn the pages of this book and I am instantly transported back to those very first days in Japan ! I have had this book for over a decade now and have read it innumerable times. It has become rather worn over time, but this is one book I can never let go. It has too many memories attached to it !
Another very very special thing about this book is that it has Ruskin Bond`s autograph in it. I had an opportunity to meet Ruskin Bond when he was in Delhi for a Book Reading and from all his books that I have I chose Scenes from a Writer`s life to get autographed! You can see his autograph here. Although its not a very clear picture!



I am extremely fussy about lending or giving away books, and It will be very difficult to get me to part with this book but if I have to lend it, it will be to someone who really appreciates what this book is all about. This book is not for the logical, calculative kinds, this book is for people who follow their hearts more than their minds!
This book should go to someone who is trying to chase his dreams. In his unobtrusive, gentle manner, Ruskin Bond might just give him some courage!

Note - This post has been written for the Blog Adda My Oldest Book and its memories Contest in collaboration with  FriendsofBooks.com.
Friends of Books - Library that delivers and I connect with bloggers at BlogAdda.com

Nov 24, 2010

Haiku - Memories


A handful of memories
some lost dreams
like sand slipping through my fingers

Geisha Girls - Wordless Wednesday # 2

This snap was taken by me exactly 5 years back on 24th Nov 2005  in Kyoto !
 

Nov 22, 2010

Haiku - First Bud


The first bud peeking out of the frost
 like a stranger
unsure of his welcome


(This Haiku has been written for Haiku Heights. This weeks Prompt word was Stranger)

Nov 17, 2010

Autumn - Wordless Wednesday # 1




Autumn - Kyoto, Japan
 

Nov 14, 2010

Confessions of A Book Worm !

There is a tag doing the round of the blogosphere about books. I love to read and there can be nothing better to break the dry spell on this blog than to write about books. But I found the original tag rather long and tedious so I tweaked it to make my own personalized tag about the joys of reading!
So here goes -

1. What do Books mean to you?
They are as important as food and water. Hardly remember a day when I haven’t read a book even if it’s just a few pages. Once I start reading it’s as if I am transported to a magical world. They have the same restorative effect on me as music has on some others!

2. What are your Favorite Authors?
① Ruskin Bond. I have done a whole post on why I love Ruskin Bond so much. His writings are simple yet very eloquent. The power of his words lie in their very simplicity and gentle humor which I feel is much more difficult to accomplish than any complicated piece of writing.
Gerald Durrell. He is simply hilarious! I have never seen anyone have a way with words as Gerald Durrell. His flamboyant use of figurative language simply amazes me.
③ Some others that I enjoy : Shashi Tharoor, R.K Narayan, Jhumpa Lahiri, Satyajit Ray,O henry (actually the list is endless)

 3. What are your Favorite Poets?
Tagore, Harivansh Rai Bacchan, Shelley
I also love Haikus especially by Basho

 4. What are your Favorite Childhood Reads?
I once did a whole post on childhood reads. Two huge favorites were Target magazine and Amar Chitra Kathas. I think there is a whole generation out there that swears by Target and ACKs. I had a whole almirah full of them but gave them away in a fit of madness. Something I’ll never forgive myself for!
I also lapped up anything by Ruskin Bond and Enid Blyton.
Another favorite was The Borrowers series by Mary Norton.

 5. What’s your Favorite Genre?
I am not fussy about what I read. But my favorites are Fiction, humor and travel. I am not too fond of Mysteries and Suspense though.

 6. Something you can never ever bring yourself to read ?
Chic Lits and Mushy Romances like MBs. I think I am the only girl who hit puberty but still avoided MBs like they were the plague.

 7. What are you reading right now?
The Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok Banker. And loving it!

 8. What’s on your reading list next?
River Dog by Mark Shand and Difficulty of being good by Gurcharan Das

 9. Any author you would like to meet?
Ruskin Bond. Met him briefly at the Habitat center once but would give away my right arm to be able to meet him at his cottage in Landour, where he stays. 

 
10. Do you have an e-reader?
No. Cant imagine getting one! For me reading is like a whole ritual that must be enjoyed. I love the smell of paper, its crispy feel as I turn the pages and the comfort of a book in my hand.

 11. Any Books you thought you wouldn’t enjoy but got hooked to? 
   The Secret – was very skeptical before reading it but liked it.
  Twilight series – My only exception to Mushy, romantic books!

 
12. Do you read comics?
Ohh yes! I absolutely adore Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts. I have a whole collection of Peanuts. I also got into the habit of reading Mangas while in Japan.

 13. What’s your Favorite place to read?
Coffee shops and a sunlit corner of the room. But most of my reading is done on an old comfy sofa with my feet tucked under me.

14. Any funny memories associated with books?
I was once caught reading Gerald Durrell’s [Picnic and such like pandemonium] in History class at school. I was in the middle of a hilarious story and burst out laughing at something rather funny in the plot. We were studying World War 2 at that time. Everybody turned around to see what I found so funny about the Nazi Invasion !

15. Have you ever devised ways to read when you were not supposed to?
I spent half my childhood doing that! I have read books in classrooms, closeted in the loo when I was supposed to be asleep, under the quilt with a torch and by keeping a book over my textbooks!

 16. How fussy are you about your books?
Very! I lend only if I know the person well. Also God help you if you dog ear my books or if I find the book even slightly worse for wear than I lent it in!

 17. Do you have a separate library or a reading room at home?
Would love to but don’t have much space right now. At the moment my books just occupy every available inch of free space in my house. My dream is to have a nice sunny room with lots and lots of bookshelves where I can keep my books and read to my heart’s content.

 
18. What is your favorite language to read in?
English, Hindi, Japanese (in that order)

19. What makes you love a book?
Narration, how the author plays around with the words

 20. What makes you loose interest in a book?
I hate it if the plot moves along at a slow pace.
Another thing that puts me is off is Bad translation. So many times the beauty of the words is lost because the translator couldn’t get the essence of it. I noticed it several times when I read translations of Japanese literature and then the original in Japanese.

 21. Are there any particular books you turn to when feeling low?
Anything by Ruskin bond is a sure mood up-lifter. Wanderings in the Himalayas by Swami Tapovanam is also something that acts as a balm for the soul.

 22. How do you choose the books you buy?
I like to skim through books in bookshops. If I like what I read then I buy it! That’s why I hardly buy books through the net.

 23. Are there any languages you wish you could read in?
Bengali. I would love to read Tagore in the original.


24. Any favorite lines or quotes from books you’ve read ?
                                         We look before and after
                                  And pine for what is not

Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought
                                                                      (To a Skylark by Shelly)

25. A few of your Favorite books ?
① The Lamp is Lit and The Scenes from a writer’s life By Ruskin Bond
② To Kill a Mockingbird
③ The Great Indian Novel – Shashi Tharoor
④ Corfu Trilogy (My family and other animals, Birds Beasts and Relatives and   Garden of Gods) by Gerald Durrell
⑤ Wanderings in the Himalayas – Swami Tapovanam
⑥ Gone With the wind - Margaret Mitchel
⑦ Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri
⑧ Swami and Friends – R.K Narayan

I am not tagging any one specific for this one because this is for all you book lovers out there! You can do the whole long tag or pick up any specific questions you liked. Leave the responses in my comment box or do it on your blog. But please come back to drop a link here so I can hop over and read it!

Nov 10, 2010

Why I haven’t been blogging !

If readers of this blog (If I have any left by now!) are wondering where I’ve been hiding these past few weeks, I haven’t written because I couldn’t think of anything to write. You see blogging is a not such an easy task. No Sir it isn’t. As someone very wise said once “Writing is easy; all you have to do is sit in front of your typewriter until the sweat on your brow turns to droplets of blood.”

So this is why I haven’t been blogging:

• I dipped into my well of creativity but came up with mud instead of ideas.
• Nothing interesting is happening in my life.
• Nothing interesting is happening in my neighbor/friends/colleagues lives.
• Nothing interesting is happening at work.
• Nobody tagged me :(
• Nothing has made me angry, happy, contemplative, thoughtful enough to    write.
• None of the prompt sites have any interesting prompts.
• Couldn’t find any good topics to steal surreptitiously from other blogs !
• I am still waiting to get up in just the correct creative mood in the morning.
• I am waiting till I read some brilliant posts on other blogs and I am ashamed enough of my own procrastination to do something about it.
• I am waiting for that perfectly brewed cup of coffee that I can sip while writing.
• I am off junk food/sugar this month and I am spending too much time on controlling my cravings to write anything.
• I am waiting for my toothache to go away magically (as even wild horses can’t drag me to the dentist!)
• I am waiting for the first flowers of spring so that I can be in a happier mood.

 

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