More bits and pieces

The other day, I attended a book launch, because I found out K. Srilata would be in conversation with Sharanya Manivannan. I felt like an impostor, in my straight-out-of-work clothes and the anxiety that comes from knowing I was going to meet a writer. I stood awkwardly and had in place nervous smiles for everyone whose eye I caught.

Turns out I had a great time after all. I got my copy signed, and I asked a question, even if I hated the way my voice came out, more high-pitched than normal. It seemed like everyone knew everyone else, but nobody knew me, which is really the best situation. I hate showing up and having to say Hi to at least three people I know from school, college and the neighbourhood, especially if I’ve been trying to avoid one or all of them for the better part of a decade.

“What do you do?” She’s a blogger, I heard from behind me, even as I started to say I’m an engineer. This was a pleasant surprise, because I tend to forget that I could have an alternate introduction for myself, if I so choose. I often wonder about the negative connotations that the word blogger carries, as though a blog was just a big cry for attention in the guise of poorly written diary entries. This is somewhat true, of course, and I will not deny I like the attention – I have not risen above cheap thrills just yet. I also keep hearing that blogs are losing their relevance, especially if they aren’t about something specific, like fashion or cooking or movies or parenting; but I’m not too sure about that. I shall give myself some more time to figure that out.

***

This past week, I finally finished reading all of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s books, the one I had left out being Half of a Yellow Sun. The titular yellow sun is the symbol of Biafra, which was the name of the country that broke away from Nigeria in the late 1960s and managed to stay afloat for only three years. Her novel focusses on how war affects the lives of civilians and changes them in unrecognizable ways.

I remember when I was in primary school, there used to be a chart in our science textbook that listed out the various diseases we would contract if we suffered from any deficiencies. Vitamin D, the teacher would call out, and we would sing back Rickets. Protein, she would say next, and we would say Kwashiorkor. So finally, I learnt of the deprivations of war through this book, what Kwashiorkor means to a country, and the stories behind starvation and malnutrition that we flippantly associate with the African continent.

The war is at the centre of this novel, but the author takes time to help us get to know her characters. We observe how they behave with each other, how they react to the world at large, their ideologies and emotions. There are any number of beautiful observations – about grief, love, relationships, post-colonial toxicity and the futility of war, all written in prose that is never pretentious. We also find out how a situation such as this specifically impacts women, who are more vulnerable for they are often seen as spoils of war, how they find within themselves an impossible courage and resilience that allows them to continue trying to live.

This is a difficult book to get through, because the images it brings to mind aren’t comforting, they demand you acknowledge the atrocities that once happened.

***

In other news, I started the year right watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I thought was an enjoyable take on the magical universe created by J.K. Rowling, without the need for any of the usual suspects. The 1920s New York city setting was interesting too – there were many little details, like the American word for Muggle is No-Maj (short for Non-Magic), and all the fantastical powers that magical creatures have. There’s an adorable creature that picks locks! Yes, the movie is in 3D, which is the norm these days. To paraphrase Amy from The Big Bang Theory, it probably goes to show the studio has faith in the movie.

After what seems like a long long time, I happened to watch a Tamil movie in the theatre. I think I missed hearing Tamil on the big screen. I was glad to have picked Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru, which I chose after reading the headline to the review on Baradwaj Rangan’s blog (in keeping with my policy to not read about the movie until after I watch it, if I plan to watch it). I wouldn’t have known otherwise there was a movie of this name playing in theatres. I am a bit out of the loop.

Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru is fantastic, and one would use words like solid and craftsmanship to describe it. To think the director is only twenty-two…and no, I’d rather not think of what I was doing at twenty-two.

***

I acknowledge this is an uninspired post, and I resorted to giving you generic updates because I felt practice was important; and if an idea doesn’t strike me, I might as well resort to verbal diarrhea. Worry not, your patience has been recognized.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “More bits and pieces

  1. “I acknowledge this is an uninspired post, and I resorted to giving you generic updates because I felt practice was important; and if an idea doesn’t strike me, I might as well resort to verbal diarrhea. Worry not, your patience has been recognized”

    –> LOL! That was not verbal diarrhea at all! I was smiling continually as a result of your self-effacing wit, as you recounted your experience at the book launch. So, you “generic” update was not that generic after all. Also, jokes apart, I think it’s good to keep writing. I recently wrote this in a write-up, on people that handle their talents well: “They seem to be acutely aware of a talent that they possess, coupled with the realization that the value of a gift is maximized not only by fleeting zings of inspiration but also by old fashioned grunt work. I have seen this quality in a star cricketer like Rahul Dravid. But I have also seen this trait in even my Toastmasters speaking club, where certain fellow speakers practice diligently, realizing that not every speech might become a Gettysburg address. But they wisely realize that the constancy of practice can balance the variability associated with luck, circumstances and other extraneous factors. These people – stars in their own right – engage in an activity for the sheer pleasure of engagement and self-satisfaction, with awards and rewards being happy by-products, a sort of a fringe benefit, not the real reason to engage in an area where they exhibit talent.”
    So, the fact that you are committed to putting pen to paper…err, hand to keyboard, is worthy of praise for sure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thanks for reading Ram!
      Yes, I did read your most recent post. I had kept it aside because I wanted to read it one more time just to make sure I completely got your points. 🙂

      Like

      1. Anusha – LOL, was my post that obtuse?! Just kidding. Your comment reminded me of actor Raghav’s one-liner in the trailer of the movie that he’s directing – “Kamal padam maari puriyave puriyaadhu!” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, so people whom you don’t know, know you as a blogger? That is good.

    Well blogging may not be the in-thing right now but why should it be? It may not give celebrity status like it used to but there is peace in this. Less one-upmanship, if you ask me.

    And nobody gives you a word-limit. Yay.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am constantly surprised by what little recognition comes my way, as though I won the lottery without having entered! Having a blog gives me a sense of discipline.. I would never practice writing otherwise.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s