Lots and lots of people are borrowing our books nowadays. We've resorted to using reminders on the trusty E51.
So far we know that Emma has Sea of Poppies; the Nitwit has What I Talk About When I Talk About Running; Mango Indian has A Short History of Nearly Everything, The God Delusion, India: A History, and a couple of Eddie Izzard DVDs; the girl upstairs has Santorini, The Five Dollar Smile: And Other Stories (yes, a moment of weakness); and the neighbour uncle has The Unquiet Woods and Textures of Time: Writing History in South India 1600-1800. So all of you beware.
Someone, but someone has our copy of Norwegian Wood. If you're reading this, holler. The other Murakamis on the shelf are beginning to miss this one.
Speaking of which, the running book is unmissable, especially if you've had running and/or writing ambitions and lived in Cambridge, MA or Japan. One of the good things is that it de-mystifies Murakami quite a bit, and suddenly he is this ordinary runner guy (well, sort of, he runs one marathon every year) with ordinary running troubles. Lots of little things resonate for anyone who has engaged in long distance running. For example, that mysterious question that non-runners will pose, "What do you think about when you're running?" It's a bit of a baffling question for someone who's past the 10 mile mark. What are we thinking about? Nothing, really. To put it in a different way, who the fuck knows? It's a strange state, quasi-meditative, self-transcending and what have you. The book results in repeated mental revisits of Sharon Olds poem.
The good Imam has done the unthinkable and nominated us for some pink coloured award. Thank you, thank you. Curiously enough, Pragya (who through a complicated and unfathomable chain of links has been lurking here) also nominated us for said pinkie. Thank you, thank you. Now we needst pass it on. So here goes. Pretty much the only rule we're following in this is that the blog has to be a personal blog we read regularly and is not already on the blogroll.
1. Australopithecus - Sample: "Another thing that worries me about these Americans is the use of the word momentarily. I almost shat in my trousers when the pilot announced 'we shall take off momentarily'."
2. Barmy in Wonderland - For kaaryakshetra adhyayan and suchlike. Also for contributing some mufat ka gyaan.
3. Wisecandyman - Who will surely one day shuffle off the mortal coil during the video question at a quiz shortly after he has consumed industrial quantities of esoteric cuisine, thus neatly bundling all his passions into one compact event.
4. The River's Wing - Who really ought to write more often.
OK, that's it, have lost enthu. There's still a boatload of stuff to write in this post. Sue us. And we set all these worthies free of the obligation to continue the tag. So there. Muhaha.
Speaking of awards, we made a little bit of money at the Landmark Quiz on Aug 15 in Madras. This has duly been spent in Landmark on such things as The Watchmen; Common Sense and The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine; The Open Society and Its Enemies; I, Claudius etc. One of these days we'll write the definitive What Rs. x,000 Buys You At Landmark post, but till then what Rs. 3,000 can get you at Landmark is diddly squat.
3. Railway Wagons
A lot of time has lately been spent on trains, as readers will doubtless be aware. It's been very pretty too, what with all the rain and lushness. Behold, somewhere in northern Andhra Pradesh, dusk, Howrah-Madras Mail.
And there's the Godavari, all pregnant and ominous. Is there such a thing of joy as a bowstring girder in the middle distance?
But on these journeys, such of us who are wont to worry about such things, are plagued with unanswered questions of the following nature. Ever so often, you will pass a railway siding or a freight marshaling yard where there invariably are forlorn looking goods wagons lying about. This is a heartbreaking sight, especially at dusk, when there is a slight drizzle, especially. They look orphaned in a way that your average passenger coach never does.
The worst ones are from the far off railways. Nothing is more tragic than a rusting North East Frontier Railway wagon on an Erode siding, catching the last rays of the sun refracting through a light shower, silently watching the Salem and Coimbatore bound traffic thunder by with nary a care... Makes you cry. Oh, once in a while you'll find an engine that's as far removed from home as our wagon. A Tughlakabad WAG-5 in Thootukudi is nowadays not an unusual sight, but it's different for locomotives isn't it? The key word being locomotive. The thing could find its way to Delhi or Dehradun if it wanted to, innit?
Not so for the poor goods wagon. It's in our mind's eye, lying there silently in the gloaming, at the foothills of the Nilgiris. Meanwhile a clerk in Bongaigaon or Dibrugarh scratches out its serial number from a long list in a smudge-ridden, dog-eared, ledger in a dusty office in the Brahmaputra valley. Sigh. Think about it, the next time you see one of these.
4. Optimal Kerchief Management
Is this even possible? Are we to resign ourselves to the sad truth that there is a black hole or other such spacetime anomaly in the cupboard, into which kerchiefs disappear? We've bought 20 kerchiefs in the last year, and can barely find one when we need it. In pensive moments, we break into song. With Bong accent. "Bhere do you go, my lobhely? I bhant to no..." Where do they go? (That song, by the way, is one of those instantly evocative take-me-back-to-the-90s-when-STAR-TV-had-just-been-invented specimens.)
Is there some way of ensuring that all times 3-6 clean handkerchiefs are available for consumption in some easily accessible place? Please help.
Assumption: There is no god. Therefore, species evolve according Darwinian principles of natural selection and genetic mutation.
(i) Pigeons exist.
(ii) They are unquestionably the dumbest creatures on the planet. Staring deeply into a pigeon's eyes for about 3 milliseconds will make this truth instantly self-evident. If you aren't convinced, send us an application in triplicate and we will put a post on such topics as "pigeons; IQ of", "pigeons; cranial cubic capacity of", "pigeons; taste of" and so on which will doubtless convince you.
(iii) And yet they flourish. By the gazillion. If natural selection and all those fairy tales were true, they would at least have to have gone the way of the Kakapo or the Jerdon's Courser. But, nahiin. They darken the skies with their pestilential coochiings and cooings, and dive-bomb terrified, helpless Grand Slam winners. Did they go off in some distant past and engage in some ghoulish coupling with Stuka (Junkers Ju 87)?
Anyway, they exist, and seem to thrive.
(iv) Assumption must be wrong. Ergo, god exists.
Corollary: Given this sort of blatant bias towards an unfit species, the only logical explanation is that the biased One is Itself one of the beneficiaries. Ergo god is a Pigeon.
Jai Guttur Dev.
6. Outlook Traveler
Hah. Thanks are due again to Lesley because the Konaseema piece is finally out in print. Outlook Traveller recently released their 45 Weekend Getaways from Hyderabad book. It's not in the stores yet, but we have an author copy ("author copy", "author copy", oh delicious sound) and find that we're rubbing shoulders with the likes of William Dalrymple and Sheetal and are very kicked. Please buy in industrial quantities.
7. Graphic Novels
Who would've thought that there's something new to discover once you're 30+? As Jamesh Bond put it, "Never Shay Never Again" or whatever. Lately we have been lapping up these ones. That Man Keynes With His Execrable Urdu started us off by gifting us Maus and Persepolis. Then along came El Spaniardo with Amruta Patil's Kari, and the alea was well and truly iacta est. Latest couple of bouts of bookbuying have resulted in Tezuka's Buddha and the aforementioned Watchmen joining the ranks. Are we done? Do we need to do more? Sin City and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen beckon, but not much else.
8. Happy Pillayar Day
Today it is. We spent some quiet time in the evening on the terrace and thought we'll share some of the pictures with our
Close observation will reveal a sliver of moon that has been causing hullaballoo in certain parts.
We have mumps.
Does anybody remember this?
Found in a 1980s copy of a magazine/Indrajal comic on the CFL premises. Brought back some memories. Was it good for you too?