Shades Of Words


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One Book, Two Book, Three Book, Four…

This meme has been doing the rounds recently , and I was just reminded of it on Darlene’s blog. I found it really interesting coz it not only gives a snapshot on the variety one is reading but also provides good suggestions on what to read next. So here is my take on this
The book I am currently reading

A Traveller’s History of Turkey by Richard Stoneman

I picked this book as a reference to another book that I was reading ( From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple). Slightly text-bookish but detailed and written in layman terms, this book traces the history of Turkey from the neolithic age to the very recent political history. Though detailed, it does tend to break in bits and inspite of giving all the factual information , it does tend to leave me with a desire to read something more cohesive

The last book I finished

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey is without doubt an extremely interesting book. The entire novella is based on the events of a single day. There a lot of undercurrents in the book apart from the main apparently mundane plot and I would like to go back and read it again before I do a review

The next book I want to read

The New Turkey by Chris Morris

Do get more context on From the Holy Mountain, I am adding another book that takes a look at the modern religious and political history of Turkey. I figured if I am trying to learn something about Turkey then why not do it thoroughly?

The last book I bought

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

In my endeavor to acquaint myself with works of this playwright, I will now attempt to read and truly understand the comedy Twelfth Night. My first foray in Shakespeare was Othello – a truly haunting drama. Twelfth Night is so different in its message and tone and even though I am new to Shakespeare, I am beginning to get those sharp jokes and innuendos that he is so famous for. I also use a lot of Sparknotes 🙂

The last book that I was given

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

My sister ( the only who ever gives books to me !) bought an old copy edition of this book from those incredibly gorgeous bookstores that are found in university towns. I remember reading through this entire novel in a night so long ago – shivering as I read the wonderfully haunting and melancholy prose. It is time to go back and read this

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My trip to the US of A

My mom recently traveled half way across the world to spend some quality time with us. This is her first time ever in the US and I thought it was interesting to see what she thinks of this place. So I present, her take on the ways of America after spending a few weeks here.  You can also follow her on her blog On the Top of my Mind . Her guest post below:

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After much resistance to the invitation from my children to visit USA, I was gradually convinced to consent to the offer. My reasons for hesitation were multi-fold; the top-most being the thought of long flying hours which I feared could aggravate my back problems. Another fear was leaving home for so long; I knew that I will face a huge pile of accumulated work once I go back. Last but not the least I would miss my routine and social circle. The fact that I would see my children and meet them and would get to spend time with them, weighed heavier against the reasons for my not coming.

Once I set off, I completed my journey comfortably as I found the hospitality level of Lufthansa airlines quite high. The staff (ground as well as on-board) was very polite, courteous and helpful. The food served was good and offered various choices. The airline though, should seriously consider updating its air-crafts – the seats were too congested, reading lights were very dim and fell somewhere else. There should be individual TV screens for the passenger’s entertainment as common screens are a thing of the past now. Moreover, their programmes lacked variety. Showing satellite pictures of the position of your plane for hours together is too much on the nerves of already tired passengers. Apart from these inconveniences, it was a hassle-free journey and I landed in one piece at St. Louis.

I was out of jet-lag soon (which I think I never really suffered from as my sleep pattern in India was quite erratic or Americanized as I am a late sleeper and late riser there). Here it has become an `early to bed and early to rise’ kind of a thing which suits me very well.

My children have already started taking me around and I am surprised to see all these places which I was not expecting in and around a mid sized town like St. Louis.

I want to share a few interesting observations about America compared to back home in India-

1. People are trustworthy here. The whole establishment runs on mutual trust and honesty. You can do shopping from choosing stuff to billing and paying yourself without any checking on you and nobody takes advantage of that.

2. If you have ordered something by mail and if you are not at home when the delivery arrives, the parcel will be dropped at your door-step and you will find it safely lying there when you return home. The parcel may contain an article worth 10 dollars or worth thousand dollars!

3. The staff on duty at tourist sites is very polite and most of these places may not charge you any entry fee. Sometimes there is a request for a humble donation for the upkeep of the place, that too in a very dignified way

4. People wait with patience in queues and there is no elbowing and pushing to `get in/out first’.  Not even from Indians…hmm why this happens only in amrika?

5. Americans, I observe, have no concept of saving, conservation and preservation of personal, public or natural resources. Everything is produced on mass scale to use and throw. I find it quite disturbing when I see there are electric lights in porch driveway/street etc which are switched on 24/7 and that this is mandatory and residents have no control on switching these lights off! And then Americans talk of global warming to the whole world

6. Every food package comes with the accurate calorie count which indicates a very health conscious state; on the contrary, I feel Americans indulge too much in eating and people are mostly over-weight, plump or obese here. This means no one is bothered about what is written on the food packet. This is another case of preaching and not practicing.

7. I fail to understand why the size of a dime coin (10c) is smaller than that of a five pence coin?..Strange! And do you know the cost of making a 1-cent coin is higher than 1 cent? In India, the cost of making the 20-paise coin was higher than the actual value of the coin which is why people are known to have started melting it and selling it for scrap metal !!

8. Wal-Mart is India’s Big Bazaar – `Isse sasta aur achchha aur kahin nahi’

9. I had heard that the weather forecast is quite correct and dependable in the US. This is correct but….I have noticed that the forecast announced for a day in advance of 4-5 days is changed according to the changing weather before somebody can say – you said so. In other words it means that you look out of the window, see some dark clouds and announce possibility of it raining. i.e., what you see, you get!

10. I have seen a very interesting thing here. Parents tie a small, soft toy at the waist of their small kid and this toy has a long belt, like a leash, which is held by the parent when the child is walking along on the road. And I have also seen people walking their dogs in prams. This is just the opposite of what we do back home- we walk our pets tied to a leash and carry small kids in prams!

11. Motorcycles are allowed to emanate any decibels of noise!

12. I saw this friendly discrimination at a local store for the benefit of the Asian community living here – whole of the Indian Sub-continent clubbed together in one aisle – yes we are so alike !!

-Saroj Gupta

http://onthetopofmymind.blogspot.com


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Prince of Persia

With the explosion of technology in the world of multimedia, it’s become quite amazing the kind of visual effects that you can create on big screen. And because you can, it’s driving the type of movies that are being made. Thought I don’t have any statistical data, I am pretty sure that the numbers of sci-fi, fantasy, animated movies that are coming through are much higher than ever before.

This also means, that there are not many movies that stand out. However, when I saw the trailers of The Prince of Persia, I was hooked. I loved, absolutely loved the fight sequences. And then we have all played the game as a child so there is some sentimental value with that. And you know if Disney can create a multi-million dollar franchise inspired by a ride, then they definitely had lot more to draw out from an incredibly complex game.

Anyway, the premise of the movie is straightforward. Dastaan (Jake Gyllenhaal), our rakishly handsome, brave and reckless hero, is the adopted son of the King of Persia. Though third in the line to the throne he is devoted to his elder brothers – Tus (Richard Coyle – not recognizable as Jeff from Coupling !)  and  Garsiv (Toby Kebbell).  When the movie opens, the three brothers are planning to attack the holy city of Alamut, as they believe its involved in illegal arms dealing (not much has changed since the middle ages, has it?).  What follows in the next half hour of brilliant fast paced fight sequences, beautiful CGI effects and some clever script is that, Alamut is taken over, Princess Tamina of the city is awarded to Dastaan as a bride and the King of Persia is murdered with the blame on Dastaan’s head. The Prince and the Princess turn fugitive as they try to find the truth behind the assassination.

I would like to call this movie a typical “masala” fare – pure entertainment. The plot is good if not great, funny at the right places, the action sequences breathtaking and the acting quite top-notch. Jake Gyllenhaal is perfect for the role of Dastaan, Ben Kinglsey is such a veteran that he is always brilliant in each scene that he is in. Gemma Arterton is likeable as Tamina though not exactly a perfect fit.

The last 20 minutes of the movie are slightly over the top and unbelievable even for a fantasy fiction and probably the only part that I did not like. However, the ending is quite unexpected and you are left with the feeling that few hours of your life never happened 😉

 Verdict : Do watch it if you like this genre of movies