U=US(South) from Gone With the Wind

U was a difficult letter for me. I almost gave up on writing for U because I couldn’t find a book which described such a place. But then, I realized that USA starts from “U” too, and there definitely is a book which had made me aware about US and the civil war is “Gone With the Wind”. I have talked a lot about this book already in my past posts, so I am not going to explain the virtue of the book in this post. So, with “U”, I am going to talk about US, especially Southern US.

I wasn’t aware about much of the history apart from what is told in history classes. I had known about the civil war that happened in US, but while reading history books, one is not able to imagine the pain of losing so many young men, the hunger that must have been perpetual, the fear of the women etc. These are the factors that you see in the stories only. This story brought US-South of that era alive. I could see the parties, the tiny waists, the corsets, the plantations, and even the wars.  

The South of that time felt overloaded with formalities. There is a quote in which Mammy tells Scarlett to eat before the party because “you can always tell a lady by the way she eats in front of folks like a bird”.

The setting is such an integral part of the story that it is a bit difficult to define it in a post. But it does cover the horrors of the war and one of the quotes I love is:

“All wars are sacred,” he said. “To those who have to fight them. If the people who started wars didn’t make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight? But, no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money. All wars are in reality money squabbles. But so few people ever realize it.”

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T=Tamil Nadu of Poonachi

For T, I want to talk about Tamil Nadu from a book called Poonachi. This is state which I have seen quite closely because of various visits in different parts of the state. Most of these visits were official. Only a few personal visits have been to Tamil Nadu. Poonachi is a book which I read very recently. I got this book as a part of the Prime program and wanted to see what is so special about the book. The book did not disappoint me as it explained the life of female goat from its birth to its death.

The setting in this book is not very strong, but it is inherent in the story itself with some fantastical elements weaved in. The story starts with a pondering of rain, wherein the narrator observes that people crib when it rains too much, and they complain when it doesn’t rain as well. This is a true enough sentence, but with my travels and my friends, I have learned this is quite commonly spoken dialogue in Tamil. The story moves further and explains a sunset that the narrator sees while the goats are moving around and frolicking nearby. Then he is given the gift of a very feeble goat called Poonachi, whose story this is.

The description of setting is mostly limited to parts and pieces afterwards, but still, the story carries in it the aroma of the south India in it. The words like dhooyi, ayah etc. roots the story in southern part of India, while the people’s taunts about dark colour and puny shape are like social commentary.

As I said, the story veers in a bit of political foreplay by showing a regime which likes to number the goats and is made out to be quite oppressive. But despite the non-matching of these political situations, the story does transport you in Tamil Nadu. And for a moment, you wonder whether you want to live as a woman in one of the interior villages of Tamil Nadu or not.  

S=The Romantic Scotland

This post is the proof that I am not ready to give up. I might not be consistent, but I am determined. And I am going to finish all the alphabets

I am writing about today’s alphabets, and rest of the alphabets I will catch up slowly and steadily. Please cheer for me as I fight for my time to write.

“S” is such a common letter that it can represent millions of things. When I started thinking about the places, I thought of writing about Shire from “Lord of the Rings”. I dreamed about it, you know—peaceful expanse of land, greenery, flowing rivers, and hobbit-holes. It is like one of the dream places. But there is something else from “S” which is special for me—Scotland.

This also comes from reading a lot of romance novels. Like Ireland, I know every inch of Scotland. I know there are glens, mountains, standing stones, and their English is a bit different from ours. What else I know about Scotland? That there are times when the ground is covered with purple flowers of heather and that there are castles. I know more about the war between England and Scotland from these romance novels than from my history books. I also know that there is a falconry somewhere in Scotland.

Like Ireland, this is my dream place. Someday, I will visit the Scotland. I don’t know whether I will find the Scotland I read of or not, but I am sure it will be magical still. And, now I realize I did not mention any author here. There are many, actually. But the very first author who introduced me with Scotland is Julie Garwood. She taught me a lot of things about Scotland. Then came Diana Gabaldon with her Outlander series. There have been many more books and authors in between, but these two are the most influential authors for me.

Lessons learned from the April A to Z challenge in 2017

survivor-atoz [2017] v1

There should always be a post about lessons learned after finishing a challenge, an introspective view of whether I achieved what I wanted to achieve or not. That’s my motto for almost everything. That’s how one grows!

  1. Life will always be difficult. During the month of April, I thought that the month was tough. I actually wondered if what I was facing was depression—such was my mood. But then now when the 10 days of May have passed and I feel a bit better, I think I can conclude that life is going to be difficult. It is up to me only to pick myself up and move on.
  2. I failed badly at writing daily in the challenge. In fact my posts were written in the spurts of inspiration. I don’t think I lacked the will to write; it was more of the time and mood thing. Lessons learned here is perhaps I should stop wishing to write daily. This might be 50th time that I have failed at it.
  3. I need to schedule things in advance rather than writing them at the last minute. Most of my posts were written after 11:30 at night. I was in so much of rush to post them that I did not even revise them properly. I need to learn to end this last minute rush. It is too taxing for my mind.
  4. There is no alphabet which won’t inspire me. When I started the challenge, I was afraid that I might not find sufficient things to write about. But despite all this, I did find sufficient things to write about. In fact, I had to even select from the many themes I wanted to talk about. So, only thing that I need to write is the will to write and the writing instrument.

Overall, the challenge was semi-successful. I was able to regain my will to write again, but then I failed at developing the daily writing habit. The good part of it was that I managed to finish 26 alphabets in this blog at least.

For all the people who supported me and discussed my posts with me, thanks a lot.

Z=Zero to Hero

Last post of the season, with Z, I want to talk about zero t hero phenomenon. We are delving in romance novels again today. There is this guy who is nothing—a stable boy, a helping hand, a nobody—and then suddenly they are handed over a company and they are able to perform exceptionally well in these companies.

Forget the fact that they have no idea about how the companies are run. Forget that they have not acquired sufficient qualification yet, but they end up making just the right decision and be at the top. I feel so sorry for all those people who have spent midnight oil in studying and working to reach that position.

I am not against rich and successful heroes, but I am against characters who have to do totally no journeys. They just get a chance, and they become successful. I read about such characters and I am like murmuring, “Oh, do you know that being a successful person involves more than flying from one place to another, more than merely talking on phone.” I know novels are not supposed to show the strategic plans for companies, but something should at least be shown to showcase that the character has worked to reach that place. Mere zero to hero situation does not satisfy me as a reader.

With this, I have discussed 26 things that I relate to or do not relate to in the books. The consolidated post of my learnings will come up soonish. Thank you for traveling with me in this challenge.

Y=Young Love= Bookish Confession#25

My confession here is my guilty pleasure too. This is my favorite reading section in any book. The first blush of relationship, the time the love start blossoming—I adore those scenes. I could literally be heard squealing “Aww” while reading such scenes. I would smile unnecessarily recalling those scenes (People do know I am weird, ;;P)

And I am not talking about only the love that exists in YA novels. This is the love, the romance that is everywhere—the unsaid feelings, or the exploratory love(now, it sounds like the exploratory research.. :P) I have read some of those beautiful scenes in the “elderly” women too.

I rarely have any complaints against these scenes. Unless they are badly botched up, they are going to satisfy me as a reader. The only requirement that I have for these scenes to not be the scenes of instalove. Instattraction is okay, insta-hatred is okay too, insta-liking is good too, but no first sight love scenes.

Despite this, in my opinion, many of the Indian romance novels lack in the presentation of these scenes too well. I cannot put my finger on what is missing in those scenes, but there is something which disconnects the readers from these scenes. I wish our writers will grow in their skills to write such beautiful scenes.

X=Xerox me Up!

The third post of the day and we are almost nearing the end. For X, I want to talk again about the idea of everyone being casted in the same shell, especially in YA novels. Almost everyone want to conform to a kind of standard. If you actually list down the features of the characters of these YA novels, they will end up appearing Xerox copy of each other.

Individuality, if there, is actually looked down upon. I understand the need for the social acceptance, I so totally do. But I do feel it quite strange when people are ready to forego everything in such cases.

I guess that’s the true result of peer pressure. In fact I find it strange in the real life too, but books exaggerate it to a great extent. More likely, I feel it is the western culture which is probably reflected there. I think the relationships there are much harsher comparatively. Or probably it is the modern times which are like this. I don’t know what is it, but I just do not enjoy this Xerox culture.

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