Tag Archives: reading

Book Review: The Lowland

When I picked up this book, The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri, it was with a mixture of awe, apprehension and determination. This was because I was about to read a book by a Pulitzer Prize winning author for the first time.(Correction there- because actually this was the second. The first being Gone with the wind, which I had read long long ago, without being conscious of it being a Pulitzer Prize winning book at that time). The Lowland was also long listed for the Man Booker Prize and these awards to my mind gave the book a superior air.But surprisingly right from page 1 to the last page (page no. 340), I remained hooked to the book and so I was compelled to write its book review as soon as possible. It is a tale that begins in Calcutta (or Kolkata) and unfolds across continents and covers 4 generations. Primarily a story of two boys who live in Calcutta during the time of the Naxalite movement. They live along with their parents in the swampy lowlands. The author beautifully describes their growing up years from school days to youth and dwells deep into their similarities and differences. The bonding between the two brothers as well as their complexes is brought to life. You remain hooked to the tale of the different paths in life on which they eventually walk; in a narration that’s fluid, gripping, and a command over language that is nonpareil. There being absolutely no clue at all as to whats coming ahead, you are curious to quickly  find out and continue to flip page after page becoming a part of the whole scenario.

The characters are finely sketched to the minutest details. It is as if the lead characters, Subhash, Udayan and Gauri are living and breathing people whose lives are unfolding right before your eyes. They keep secrets from one another, but their individual thoughts, fantasies and feelings are laid thread before the reader in a brutally honest description. Revealing anything more of the story-line would in deed be a huge spoiler, so I wish to desist from that. Please read the book if my review inspires you enough.

Yes, there is some negativity in some of the characters etched. But towards the end of the book, we do see hope emerge and one character shines with his selfless and unconditional love. Needless to say , I’m now a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri ! And the next time I pick a Pulitzer Prize winning book, it will be not be with awe but a lot of excitement and expectation 🙂

P.S- My next pick is ‘To kill a mocking bird’ by Harper Lee, a 1961 Pulitzer prize winning book.

 

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The Bookmark Story

This article appeared in the esteemed paper Hindustan times, Chandigarh edition, India On Jan 9, 2015. I am providing the link. Please do read it.:) I would love to have your feedback on the article.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/chandigarh/the-bookmark-story/article1-1304887.aspx?htsw0023

The Good and the Bad of Blogging!

Its been four months since I tasted a share of the huge pie called blogosphere, and I’m beginning to realise that there is both good and bad associated with it. Here is a list of the inferences I have derived so far :

The good about blogging;

  1. Polishes one’s writing skills if desired.Well obviously you have to work toward it if you take blogging seriously.
  2. Ignites an interest in Photography.
  3. Widens your horizons and thinking perspective.
  4. Helps to make new friends.
  5. Gives your articles, recipes ,pictures a global platform which is really great!
  6. Keeps one positively occupied; rather than just whiling away time in unmindful activities.
  7. Great way to de-stress.
  8. Give immense-immense creative satisfaction.
  9. Blogging is for crazy people.
  10. You are your own boss..

The bad about blogging;

  1. Time is a crucial factor- you need loads of it.
  2. Blogging requires as well as entices one to read fellow bloggers posts. One,this requires time; two,you hardly have time or energy left to do any more reading. At least in my case I’ve not been able to read as many books as I could previously.
  3. Eye strain (read – Tips for sparkling eyes ).
  4. Muscle pain : Long hours of sitting in the same posture glued to the computer gives a pain in the neck (pun intended), shoulders and sometimes even a headache.Please take frequent breaks!
  5. Angry, irate  glances by spouse and kin. Even if you have a supportive family, they too at times get fed up when you wish to make a 3rd revision of your draft.
  6. You wish to take a camera along where ever you go (and laptop or i-pad too maybe).
  7. Scares of not revealing your true identity. Certain blog posts I read advice that its not safe to reveal one’s true identity. Can an expert in terms of online security shed more light on this matter?

So I have 10 good points and 7 bad points. Blogging emerges the winner!

Yippee ! A Landmark Day for ‘riturang’ !

Today’s post is simple but it means a lot to me.I wrote my first blog post on 18th July, 2014. I set myself the first landmark of achieving 1000 views. On 13th November 2014, I proudly state that this task has been accomplished with 1008 total views that day and still counting! At the time of posting this article its 1058 views.

Its been an amazing journey so far with immense growth in my own capabilities as a writer and blogger. This may be a relatively small achievement for some perhaps, but for ‘riturang’,its time to celebrate! For this I have to thank the wordpress team for the tremendous support offered by hosting events such as blogging 101 , writing 201,etc which push you to learn more and try and excel in putting across and sharing one’s stories ,thoughts and ideas to whole world.These events are highly recommended;.the latest one to add to the list in which yours truly is participating is Nablopomo.

I also take this opportunity to thank members of the blogging community for stopping by my blog and taking out precious time to read my posts,your likes and your comments. Support given by family members, friends, relatives ,facebook is also highly appreciated.Ah well ,it seems like i’m getting carried away and giving an award winning thanksgiving speech or something! Well the idea is that an encouraging response simply helps in pushing the envelope further.Each day presents new stories and new challenges.Stay tuned for more, as I prepare to write a post about another milestone crossed!

Give Me Some Easy Reads !

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The great divide- fiction vs non-fiction. How does one choose? I love both actually, depending on the time of the day,maybe even month and of course my mood.When I am travelling I prefer to carry some novels because I can be sure of a couple of hours of uninterrupted reading time (that’s why i mentioned month too, as that’s vacation time when we are most likely to travel).Fiction reading can be addictive and if the story is particularly alluring its a tough task staying away from the book,resulting in neglecting most of your other work.

When i am cooking or have a few minutes of free time I prefer to pick up a glossy magazine, reading in bits and pieces ,or just flick through the pictures or read through some food recipes.My choices are also sometimes influenced by the best- seller and must read lists.download (1)

When it comes to choosing favourites between the two genres of fiction and non-fiction i guess for me non-fiction wins hands down! I find it way easier to read through a non-fiction book albeit if its on a topic that interests me. And mind you, even a non-fiction book can be as unputdownable as a fiction book, but it can easily be picked up from where you left it last. i mean there may not be a story connect, making this easier.Further, I also find that non-fiction books have greater re-read value as in certain self-help books,although some might find this view debatable.This brings us back to the square one. Well to each his own. The idea is to love books!

Pictures credit; google images

Has this bug bitten you yet?

When it bites, it bites you really hard. There are many types of bugs – bed bugs, stink bugs and even software computer bugs. But that’s not what I am talking about. What I am actually referring to is the writer’s bug! This is one bug bite which is very difficult to cure. Apparently, I am one of the victims and surprisingly, rather enjoying the whole process of reading and writing. Writing can lead to completely opposite effects on different individuals. Some writers become more social, as they now like to listen more and speak less. They wish to catch the subtle nuances in what people are talking about. They also become keen observers and look at their surroundings in a new light. Food bloggers are intrigued as much by how a dish looks as it tastes, and travel writers wish to capture every moment in ink and pictures. But there are others who become more of a recluse, confined to their own four walls, digging deep into journals and looking for some peace and quiet so that they can write. One such example is the fictitious writer Peter Van Houten,  in John Green’s best-selling novel,’ The Fault in Our Stars’.

I suppose I belong to the former category, as I have started enjoying social gatherings and meeting people ever since I started writing. Perhaps it is also due to the fact that I am a much happier person, doing what I like. But at the same time,though I may not exactly be a recluse, there are times when I savour my own company  , whenever the opportunity arises. It gives me time to reflect and contemplate, read more, reflect again, and read some more.For any person who reads,books are the best and most trusted companions, and for me they are my pillars of support! Reading educates, entertains, improves language skills and most importantly, widens your outlook.

To quote Stephen King, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” photo (2) book pillar

Once bitten by the writer’s bug there is actually no looking back. Ideas start pouring into the brain at the oddest times during the day. It could be while driving, teaching your kids or while doing household chores. All this is perfect. What really annoys me is when all these super ideas (and complete sentences) come rushing into my brain when I wish to catch some sleep at night. I keep tossing and turning but they refuse to leave me. Often I get up in exasperation and start scribbling on paper – lest I forget everything in the morning. How wonderful it would be if I could sleep peacefully and dream of something interesting to write about, just like the chemist Kekulé, who discovered the structure of benzene molecule. In his dream he saw a snake eating its own tail. This gave him the idea for the ring

 

mommmmmm

structure of benzene. So let the ideas keep pouring in and let all writers continue the good work of reading and writing. Who knows your million dollar idea may be just round the corner!

Infinite Opportunities. Start Now.

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In life there is so much that we wish for and so much that we wish to achieve.But, sometimes that little voice somewhere in the mind, that urges you to follow your passion and pursue a dream can get lost in the humdrum and mundane duties and activities of day to day life. I am not talking of studies during student days or your work.That is a routine part of your life (unless you are one of the lucky ones whose work itself is their passion).What I am presently focussing on is a passion like learning to dance or wanting to scale a mountain peak,that might have taken a back seat.
A tip is to finally make a start.Find time to pursue your dream.Be inspired.Let me take my own example.I used to write when in college, highly influenced by greats such as William Wordsworth and Jane Austin.Then I took a long sabbatical and resumed writing a bit seriously in 2012.Since then there has been no looking back, with several articles published.In fact I also wished to have my own blog but somehow never really took the initiative.The idea generally got postponed on account of more urgent work.Finally it seems the time is now right.So here I am today with inspiration given by my son, with my very first post!

‘Lock-up your libraries if you like ; but there is no gate ,no lock,no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.’ —- Virginia Woolf

I am a die hard optimist,absolutely in love with all the colours of life. After all we live only once so why not make the most of it? Life is in deed a roller coaster ride with high as well as low points.The optimism comes in handy to tide over the low phases keeping the zest for living it to the fullest, alive.
Riturang has been visualised as a magazine with content ranging from articles to recipes and reviews. I hope you enjoy reading.