Sunday, 27 September 2015

God of small things

For the past 6 hours except eating and responding to nature’s call what I did was to feel the taste of one exceptional outcome from Arundhati Roy – The God of Small Things. It was not a day when I would expect to finish the long pending novel because it was a week day and usually on these days I remain busy pressing keys in front of a dumb box. It became possible because I had to attend a tremendous boring seminar “VG Training day” where I had to do literally nothing.
So coming to the point without much transgressing, I would state that the novel was one of those kinds for which whatever praise you do, falls short for that. In a nutshell, Mrs. Roy circled the novel around a ‘one-egg twin’ – Esthappen and Rahel and their childhood. Let me not go into deeper of the content of the novel, rather I want to say about different aspects running in the background of “God of small things”.
In the novel the writer mainly highlighted the thinking methodology of a child. Many times we do not care for the thought process of younger ones. But those innocuous children also think wisely in their own way. Their quality analysis of events sometimes surpass the older ones. The viewpoints of those twin like “Everything that counts, counts.” or “It is best to be prepared to be prepared.” or “Anything can happen to anyone.” were much thought provoking.

Another thing which struck me very much in the novel is the character of Velutha. He has been depicted as a lower class boy whose passion is hand crafting. He has been portrayed as a solid and rigid character who can overwhelm anybody with his charm. In the later part of the novel author pictured Velutha as true “God of small things”. Undoubtedly he is the “God of loss, god of small things”.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Minions: pros and cons

Just now watched the prequel of couple of despicable me, minions with souvikda in gopalan signature mall. We went there directly from office. This is my third experience of watching movie in multiplex after despicable me 2 in bangalore and penguins in kolkata. Surprisingly all the movies seen by me in multiplex are animation.
Anyway, talking about minions, in few words , it is far better than despicable me 2 but not as good as the first version of same. After watching the previous couple of parts, it is clear to everybody that minions are a weary-language-telling, obscure-things-performing a total funny species. In Minions, which is basically a prequel of the series, they were bound to find a leader. Throughout the movie they searched for their captain but failed to find so. And finally, they found the despicable Gru who would be the future leader of minions.
The first half of the movie was really well. That depicted the true funny natures of minions. They were surpassing various obstacles wittily in course of finding their leader. They found one but that proved to be a treacherous lady. The encounters with the lady in the very first half of the movie was on the funnier side. But in the second half, to me, the movie makers messed up a little bit. They engaged minions in too much artificial, imaginary fighting which should not be the main theme of this movie. Moreover, the fightings had neither any intelligence part nor any humorous elements which two are most important characteristics of minions as highlighted in previous minion movies.
Drawing attraction of general public and subsequently making more money from it might have added little sour in the taste. In this context, I have some thoughts about this type of sequels or prequels. Despicable Me was an excellent movie undoubtedly. But Despicable Me 2 was a super-flop. iMDB rating of it bolsters the fact. Now, the producer wants to make a new movie but he is not sure of its outcome. He got the idea in his brain but is little hesitant to launch it in industry. So he applied a wrapper of previously popular movie and shotted it. So what is the result? He produced a mixture of oil and water-two things which will never mingle. My point is that, minions is like a mixture of some mutually repelling characteristics. Those high voltage fightings can never suit to minions. Whenever someone is making a movie he should have enough confidence on his idea. But I found a somewhat less confident creator in Minions.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Thousand Splendid Suns

This is the second novel by Mr. Khaled Hosseini I have read after “The Kite Runner” and for the second time he literally baffled me with his extremely awesome writing capability as well as portraying deft. This is the novel where one can enrich his knowledge about how the political scenario of Afghanistan has changed from time to time and what scars the situations have left on the Afghan people. This novel also makes us aware about the conservative and patriarchal Afghan society where women had very little freedom of words as well as action.
There are four frequently discussed characters in the novel – Mariam, her husband Rasheed, their neighbor Tariq and Laila. The novel portrays the socio-economic instability of Afghanistan through growing struggle of Mariam and Laila. Mariam was an illegal child and so her father left her, but he had feelings for her. Mariam grew up under the care of her mother. After her mother’s death, she had to get married with Rasheed, owner of a shoe-shop. In Rasheed’s house she had to face severe mental as well as physical torture which she bore quietly. Laila was a young girl residing in their neighborhood. Laila loved Tariq from their childhood. However Laila lost their parents and Tariq also moved far away from her due to the ongoing political situation. Later, Rasheed married Laila as he and Mariam could not produce any child. But, Rasheed’s growing torture on them became intolerable and Mariam killed Rasheed afterwards. After that Mariam surrendered her guilt and sentenced to death, Laila married Tariq and they lived happily after.
In the entire novel Mr. Hosseini left us many messages from which we can learn different aspects of life. The life of Mariam or Laila simply tells us that life is all about a fight. If someone gives up the fight, he or she will perish. Mariam and Laila in their life fought tremendously to cope up with the situation. They ever did not give up hope of what they wanted. Another thing Mr. Hosseini pointed out that there is nothing which can replace our motherland. Mariam always remembered the place where she grew up. Laila and Tariq returned back to Afghanistan though they were leading a smooth life in Pakistan. Surely, the comfort and pleasure which can be cherished in residing within the place where someone is borne and brought up can’t be felt anywhere else. This eternal truth is the main understanding of the novel which the writer has drawn very efficiently throughout the entire “Thousand Splendid Suns”.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

To kill a mocking bird

To kill a mocking bird is a literary masterpiece created by Ms. Harper Lee and she also grabbed Pulitzer for this fictional novel at ‘60s. The novel basically highlights the dark side of severe racism practiced in European culture that time. The story is centered on Mr. Atticus Finch, a lawyer, her daughter Scout and a negro Tom Robinson. The main side characters are Atticus’s son Jem, children’s friend Dil, their neighbor Boo Radley and family attendant Calpurnia. Tom Robinson was wrongly accused in charge of rape of a white girl. Mr. Finch was defending Tom in the story. In course of his work he had to struggle a lot as defending a negro person was the worst proceeding in society as depicted in the novel. His daughter Scoutt witnessed some of his struggle and that experience gradually blend her character. However, Tom was shot dead later while he was trying to flee from the jail desperately and the girl’s father who wrongly charged him for the guilt and also harassed Mr. Finch a lot was killed by Bob as he intended to harm the children of Mr. Finch.
Ms. Lee portrayed the characters and the whole story so efficiently that we can relate the happenings with our daily life. There was a quotation from Mr. Atticus to Scout, “Kill as many blue jays as you can but don’t harm any mocking bird.” Blue jays as indicated in the novel are the filthy minded rulers of the society who discriminate people on the basis of race and mocking birds are the harmless people within us who toil hard to live and always tortured by those blue jays in many ways. Truly these blue jays are waste of any culture and should be expatriated. Besides, Mr. Finch’s mental toughness and serenity are also learnable traits for us. He faced many obstacles from various people while defending his client. But he did not give up and also he did not become rude to anyone despite of experiencing severe jeering at him. His utter care for his children is also a remarkable instance for every father. Wittiness of Scout as showcased by Ms. Lee has made the novel more interesting. Her curiosity of surroundings, her receptive capability, and her friendly manner has provided the novel a unique dimension. Surely, To Kill a Mocking Bird is a worth reading novel for every human being.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Shadow Lines - A marvelous novel

Just finished reading the shadow lines by Amitabha Ghosh. This is a quite good effort by the writer in which he depicted the cultural difference between India and England as well as the sentimental issues arose during the partition of India and Bangladesh. The story has been written around the author himself. The other main characters of the story is Tridib, author’s uncle, author’s grandmother, Robi, May and Ila. The later three are not the main characters of the novel. Tridib who was pursuing PhD in archaeology was author’s childhood friend. Author’s grandmother was almost his guardian in his childhood. She was basically from Bangladesh. She had to come to Calcutta long before partition but in Calcutta she was living with her childhood reminiscences of her native land.  Once her grandmother wished to go to Bangladesh to take back her uncle to Calcutta. Tridib, May and Robi also went with her. When they had gone to Bangladesh, that time in various part of India and Bangladesh, communal riots were going on due to religious issues. When they were coming back from Bangladesh, they were attacked by a violent mob and during that attack Tridib was killed. This is the gist of the novel. Mr. Ghosh has nicely developed the plot and well executed the sentiments of the characters. Also his brilliant choice of words will amuse any reader. Surely, the author has a unique adroit in writing novels.

But, as nothing can be total perfect, to me some part of this novel seemed little out of track. Mr Ghosh has written this novel little tortuously. In first part he pictured the situations when Tridib was there. Next, he showed the happenings after Tridib’s death. And lastly, he told about Tridib’s death. In between he changed the flow of incident numerous times. This style of writing somewhat may disgust the reader. Moreover, if he would written the whole story chronologically, I think the motto or the message he liked to share would not change. And, there are two exotic scenes in the novel. One of those characterized Tridib and other the author himself. Again, inclusion of these seemed irrelevant to me. Because the lusty nature of both of them had no use in the story flow. Except these two, the overall novel was simply awesome to me.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Cast problems in India – is there any solution?

From years cast system is not only itself a burning problem but also creator of many unsolvable problems in India. Many will repudiate the fact that cast system is no longer practiced in India and so the matter should be disclosed by now immediately. But the documentary ‘India untouched’ made by Mr. Stalin K proves that wrong. Whether cast system still prevails in India or not – let’s not get into the debate. Let’s discuss the unhealthy effects of cast system and its probable way out. If someone scrupulously analyzes the current socio-economic situation in India then it will be clearly revealed that the people who are categorized as SC, ST or OBC are worst sufferers of the cast system. The root of the cast system is laid from the ancient Aryan literatures like Vedas, Upanishads or Srimadvaghabat-Gita as well pointed out by Dr. B. R. Ambedker in one of his famous undelivered speech ‘Annihilation of Caste’. There may be many arguments and counter arguments about this fact but none can deny that whatever be the reason, cast system is surely dragging the development of India backward. Today almost seventy percent of Indian population belongs to any of SC, ST or OBC category. Only few percentage of them are leading a respectable life and the rest is economically as well as socially way backward. If this vast population of India is properly uplifted then India will surely be a far better country in terms of economy than it is now.

So what are the possible ways of improvement of this situation? The one way which immediately pops out of the brain is education. Educate the people who belongs to those backward class and they will automatically find their own means to lead a respectable life. But, if this method would so easy then we should not see people suffering here and there. Moreover Indian Government is already providing reservation in education as well as in government jobs for those backward classes. So where is the fault? Basically the thing is that the advantage of reservation system is enjoyed by a few percentage of those SC, ST or OBC. Those who live in remote villages, toil hard day and night for two-times-a-day-meal are merely benefitted by this reservation system. People who have no food to eat can hardly think about proper education. They are economically so downtrodden that they will not be willing to send their children to school rather their children will be engaged in some labor-work to make little money. There is another question. Why only these backward class people are economically feeble? If someone tracks history then he will understand that these people have suffered immense case of social stigmatism. Varan-Byabastha in the ancient Aryan civilization made them slave and did not let them come out stronger in socio-economic perspective. This tradition went on and till now they are deprived of education, good culture or whatever needed to uplift a society.

But there are other problems too. Even if some of the backward class people are becoming educated and trying to join the mainstream of the society, they are being continuously oppressed by the forward class people. They are not getting their due respect from society. This happens because these upper class people want those backward community people to be remained ever backward. They do not understand that the so called dalits (lower class people) are also a part of the society and so they have equal right to be educated, admired or to have whatever privileges are enjoyed by them. These days, forward class people have a gross misconception that dalits have little intelligence within themselves and if they let dalits to come up then work efficiency in various fields will decrease. But this type of argument is totally flawed as recent researches have proved this thing otherwise (‘Quotas do not hurt efficiency, says study’ – The Hindu, February 5, 2015). So, the privileged class people should be made aware of this fact so that they can participate in the upliftment process of the backward class people. These forward class people have now most of the money and power of India. So, without their help, people in dark can never experience the light.

Another solution of this problem may be practice of inter-marriage. Now-a-days, inter-marriage is very rare incident to happen. Both upper and lower class people mostly do not want to get married with someone belonged to other class. But inter-marriage is definitely necessary for the improvement of backward class. If it happens then there will be mixing in cultures between higher and lower class. Also, the notion of separation between these two will be reduced and vanished gradually. But inter-marriage in India will happen frequently only when the mindset of people will change. People should be free of all prejudices or superstitions if inter-marriage has to happen. Today, many parents do not let their children to marry someone from other caste even if there is no strong reason to prohibit so. It happens because they have fear of society too – what society will whisper if they let their wards to do the same. So, again awareness comes into play for this issue. People have to realize that there is no real threat posed by inter-marriage, rather there are possibilities of good outcomes due to this.

In many Indian villages, besides cast there are practices of sub-cast as well. The lower economic group between shudras (scheduled cast) are called ati-shudras and shudras hate those ati-shudras. Moreover they treat those ati-shudras as untouchables. This type of division between backward class people also hindering their way to improvement. In stead of living together and finding paths of illumination, they are immersing themselves into more darkness.  If these lower class people do not unite together, then how their society will improve? Now-a-days some of the backward class people are coming in the lights of social upliftment as they are getting cast based reservation. But after they are placed in high position they do not tend to improve their deprived society. They forget that they have got the advantage because many people of their community are still in darkness. This situation also has to be changed. The lower class people who are in somewhat good position in comparison to others in the same community should come forward to develop their community. They ought to be the torch-bearers of their society in-stead-of being self-centered. Who knows that their little effort combined, may eventually emerge as an excellent result.

So, to sum up, yes, cast-ism is creating many problems in India. But they have solutions too. These solutions are never easy to be implemented. But, if, people come forward with their logical mind, willing heart, then the problem can be annihilated from root.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A trip to Digha

While we were spending some jobless days in the starting of the semester a short trip to Digha was planned all of a sudden. We five – Debdoot, Abhay, Priyabrata and Siddhartha including me was part of the plan. We decided to start our journey on 16th of January at around 10 PM by a scorpio and come back by next morning. We would have our dinner in some dhaba midway. We were excited from the thought of an exhilarating night journey on the way to digha. We were all set to start our trip and were waiting for the hired cab to come. We rang the driver and he assured that it will take some time as he was repairing the car. Now gradually the clock ticked 10:30 but there was no sign of the driver. Our tempo began to flag. Then we dropped our plan to go by scorpio and hired a mere Omni thinking that going slightly uncomfortably is far better than the cancellation of plan. So we started the journey at around 11:15 PM in an ebullient mood. But we forgot that there was a rule in the campus that prohibits students to go outside the campus after 11. As the main gate approached we decided that we would tell the security that we were going to railway station. But in reality that was of no use as the they were strict enough to let us slip through the gate. Again we became morally down. We then decided that let us drop the plan of experiencing a night journey rather we might change the scenario to a go-in-day-back-in-night type. Anyway in that case also we could make a night journey but that might not be as much enjoyable as the previous plan. We told the driver that we would set out early morning. But he was also not sure whether he could able to take us that much early. But anyway he took my phone number and told that he would reveal his decision in a moment. Being dejected we started to have our dinner in VS. now suddenly there was twist in the tale.
Someone called me and told that a car was ready to pick us up to go Digha and we should come outside VS in no time. We were in such hurry that we forgot to pay the bill in VS. We could not understand the situation and went there hurriedly. Then we realised  that there was a private car to sneak us out of the main gate and from there the Omni would take us and begin the journey. But still we were not sure that this time how we could get out under the nose of the security. The driver of the car assured that they would exempt us from checking as that was a private car. But the logic did not satisfy us completely. Anyway we got into the car and rushed towards the outside of the shell. While approaching the main gate we crossed our finger and to our utter dismay the car passed swiftly through the gate. We were ecstatic then and found resemblance of the situation with that of a scene in the movie Argo. The driver of the car got us down in front of the sub-divisional hospital and told to wait for the Omni. We thanked him and praised his skill though that was not his skill but the nebulous rule of the security which brought was outside in a tricky manner.
Within a while the Omni came and we finally began our journey at around 12. Now we were in full mood of enjoy. Debdoot brought out his newly bought sound box and started to play some song. That made our journey more rejoicing. Meanwhile we stopped by a roadside dhaba and had some eatables as per or plan. In the whole journey we did not sleep even for a while. We spent our time by chit-chatting, throwing pranks to each other and making plans after we reach Digha. Truly speaking a long distance night journey could not be better than this and thanks to my friends whose company made it a worth to remember.
We reached Digha around 5 in the morning. The weather was chilling outside. Outside was as dark as night. When we got down the car we just trembled in the cold. The sea breeze seemed to touch our bones. It was that much cold. We had tea in a shop there. The tea was so awful that we thought the tea-maker mixed some soil with tea. Then we moved to the sea. There was not much crowd then. The moon was up in the sky and the sun was all set to rise. So, the surrounding was like half bright. Some fishing boats were seen from distance. We made our feet wet in the sea water. The water was not as much cold as the surrounding. I then folded my jeans up and went to ankle deep water. But I refrained from going deeper as that would make my jeans wet. After that we took a stroll along the beach. As the sun rose I took some photos of the rising star. We enjoyed the fish-hunting of seagull. We sat down for a while in front of the beach. We gelt hungry and decided to have some breakfast. After the breakfast we headed towards our car and we felt a little tired then. The clock was ticking 7 at that time. So we decided to have a short nap of about an hour and then take the sea-bath. But our nap duration become much longer and we headed to beach again at 9. We bought a ball with which we would play in the sea.
Now this was going to be Siddhartha’s first sea-bath experience. So he was little frightened initially. But as time went on all of us started to enjoy the sea heavily. I was vey excited and shouting at top of my voice. The gorgeous waves roared towards us and when it was breaking on us then we became elated like none else. We created different postures out of joy. We started to play with the ball we bought. But after some time the strong breeze took the ball away from us and it disappeared in the mid sea. As time went by, much people gathered in the sea and took the bath. The sea wave formed higher as I and Debdoot went much further into the sea. As the waves broke on me, salt water was entering through my nose, ear, mouth as well. But I did not pay heed of the trouble and continue my excitement in the sea. We splashed water to each other. After all, we were enjoying in all possible ways. Now it was time to leave and return to the car.
After returning, we changed our clothes. Then we felt immense hunger. We had our lunch in a nearby hotel. The lunch was awesome to me. We took prawn and pomfret with rice. Both fishes were too delicious. Having finished our lunch, we got back to the car and we were all set to go back to our den –Kharagpur. But the driver told us there was a little problem that the LPG gas by which the car was running was almost emptied and it had to be refilled. So, he began to search for gas. Now, this was not an easily available in the street. So, after a tiresome search he was able to find an LPG provider and the driver refilled his cylinder. Now, finally we were heading towards Kharagpur. We told the driver that he would go little quicker as Priyabrata had to catch the train to go home. Now, the driver took this utmost seriously and started to drive recklessly. He ignored the bumps, sometimes broke the speed-checkers, spread dust all over the street, took sharp turns and lot more. Debdoot had his spectacles broken due to his rough driving. But finally we reached to campus safely.
Now, this was my third outing with these sets of friends after Shushunia and Shantiniketan. But I have to admit that this was the most successful trip out of these three. We enjoyed a lot in this night-day trip. Hope, I will able to manage to experience such awesome outing with such awesome friends.