Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I love libraries.I love the smell of books.I love to hear the whispers and murmurs that have a special resonance when heard inside the libraries. I love the sight of books neatly arranged and thrown around in heaps.Each library has it's own personality.Most public libraries in India are not well lit.They are dark and damp.Some are excellent.They have very high ceilings.They are airconditioned and have good amount of light.They have comfortable chairs and canteens.But the fundamental character of any library is determined by the qualities of the people who visit.Till my seventh standardI didn't hear of library.My first affair with the library started at a residential school,Triveni Academy near chennai where I joined for eighth standard .As I was away from home for the first time and being a pampered kid I was terribly home sick.I found solace in the library.Library became my home and librarian my guardian. The librarian took a liking for me and made me feel as if i am one of the books.I got hooked and this addiction has continued.
The libraries can be broadly classified in to two.(1)The libraries at academic institutions and meant for researchers and scholars have a totally different personality from those (2)frequented by the general readers.The first types are dry and haughty.They exude knowledge and the consequent arrogance. But the other type not infected by the professional intellectuals is full of wisdom.It is motherly and engages the reader unconditionally.The readers of the first believe they know a lot and visit the library only to substantiate and to find support for what is known to them.They have a defined purpose and they confine themselves only to the books and fail to feel the library as an entity in itself.whatever pleasure they have in reading is incidental and purely intellectual.The second type of library has readers who wander in without any agenda.They simply love to read They know all about the librarian and staff.They feel humbled by the wisdom stored in the books.Although passionately opinionated,they readily accept that they know only a little.They donot plan and read.They graze the books randomly and meander through all the subjects.Their pleasure is emotional.
Years of formal education has made me in to a reader of the first type.I am trying my best to unlearn.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ernest Hemingway

I had read Hemingway and like his works. I have a fascination for war(Ofcourse not getting into one but reading about). I don't know how i developed a taste for it. May be Amar Chitra Katha that i devoured in my childhood had some role.The romanticism of War grew further as a result of movies like 'Great Escape','Where Eagles Dare','Guns of Navarone'. My dad was very fond of Hollywood,more particularly cowboy and war films. Although i don't remember all that i saw,my dad took me religiously to all the hollywood films released in Erode till my fifth class.There was a steady clientile for the hollywood movies in all the towns.Same people used to come to all the English movies.A big board was kept just near the entrance to the Theatre on which the story was written in tamil.This helped the audience to intrepret the film and mostly the classics were seen as Action masalas that were only technically better than tamil films.Times have changed and now Globalisation has narrowed the gap between rich and poor by dubbing the hollywood films in to tamil spiced with liberal use of tamil proverbs, idioms and tamil movie songs. At the library in my residential school near Chennai i came across magazines , 'EliteForces' And 'WWII' and developed a taste for world war II.So the theme of both 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' and 'A Farewell To Arms' appealed to me. As i was going through the role of french resistance against Nazi occupation i found the role of leading intellectuals of France interesting and similarly in spanish civil war intellectua

Saturday, October 08, 2005

India Wins Nobel

A major research institution of the Government of India has recently announced the discovery of
the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium."Left with no option, the nobel prize committee has chosen India for Nobel prize in all the categories. Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." When catalyzed with money, Governmentim becomes Administratium - an element which radiates just as much energy as the Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

I am i

We Are Many

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.

When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?

All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.

But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.

While I am writing, I am far away;
and when I come back, I have already left.
I should like to see if the same thing happens
to other people as it does to me,
to see if as many people are as I am,
and if they seem the same way to themselves.
When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.

Pablo Neruda

Desi Born Confused by America (DBCA)!

The other day a man came up to me at the airport and said "Congratulations for getting the Palkhiwala Award." I said thank you. Didn't correct him. Palkhiwala or Phalke, it didn't make a difference to him. Mind you, he was a well-dressed, educated person. We think that everybody knows everything about what concerns us. Need not be so. Anyway, for a lot of people the Phalke-Palkhiwala award is just a day's news, to be glanced at and forgotten.

Adoor Gopalakrishnan, winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in Frontline