Saturday, December 19, 2009

Books books... those which created stories..

Since long time I thought that I would write about the books that I have read, some books that have inspired me, books which after reading them created some stories in my life..

Treasure Island:

This was probably one of the first books that I read, as a twelve year old I think. Before that only comics, chandamama and champak. At that time I found this book really fascinating, on the ship in search of treasures, the pirates and lot of adventure. I played numerous games based on this books with friends, searching for imaginary treasure and what not. I used to imagine and hope that someday in our school picnic we all should get lost and land up in isolated island. I had even made a map of that island, and I had written small notes as to how it would all happen, and how should I emerge as a hero in discovering the way back, and ofcourse in the isolated place we would find the treasure. I had even thought that I wouldl make the tele-serial out of it, because I felt that I had to tell this story to whole lot of people.

Treasure Island is like a fairy tale, with lot of adventure, and imagination. I think every one should read this book.

Gone with the Wind:

Just before I had entered college, I had this urge to watch English movies, because I felt without watching these I would be ill-equipped to face other students who would have watched hundreds of them. One of the movies that I happened to see was "Gone with the Wind". I could not see it fully, but it looked grand. When I went to hostel and saw the book by this name, I knew that I had to read it. I liked the character of "scarlet". I loved the never say die spirit, and that little sentence which said, "I would think about it tomorrow, after all tomorrow is a new day". This lines still continue to inspire me. Also I loved the title "Gone with the Wind" and I think in our fast changing lives that we should enjoy the things when they are, because you dont know when things will change, and old ways would dissappear.


I rate this as one of the best books that I have ever read. It is just so wonderful and amazing story. I love the transformation from the guide to the saint, and it seems to happen so effortlessly, nothing looks artificial or fake. I love RK Narayan style of writing, he writes so simply and so well. I have read most of his books by now, but nothing can beat Guide. In many ways this book inspired me to write. Also inspired me to read books from Indian authors, because there are so many things that you can connect to so easily when you read this books.

Daddy Long Legs:

Chotu book. Am not sure if many have heard about this book, but it is a collection of letters written by one small orphan girl to a friend who sponsers her education. Letters are full of innocense and the experience of a girl in a school who earlier was inside the for walls of orphanage. I like the drawings and again the simplicity. I want to write more after reading that book, write in the sense, write more letters, write with hand instead of type writer.

Read it if you can, you can finish this book in about one hour.

The age of Kali:

Another addition to my books about India. The book inspires me to travel and write more. Love the way in which William, explores the history of each place and also the small anecdotes from each place and people. I learned so many things about India after reading that book, things which I did not know. I also feel that history books should be written in this way, which connect you to people rather than just the facts.
In this books I specially loved the essays on the Sati system and also on Lucknow

If you are reading this, and if you have a blog, do also post something about your favourite books, this is the best way to know and discover new books.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meeting up with Naga Sadhu

That was the first day of the trip, and we were traveling from Mumbai to Adilabad. On the morning when brushing my teeth in the train I noticed this guy, sitting on the window seat. I was wondering if I should talk to him or not, because sadhus always invoke a feeling of fear and disconnect. But I decided to talk to him and he turned out quite friendly.

His name was Vinod, and he was from Amarkantak, where he stayed in the aashram. Aparently he was given as a “Gurudaan” to this ashram and now as a part of ashram he had done various tapas and yogas and now was a naga sadhu. He was a bal brahmachari and intended to remain so for the rest of his life. His knowledge about plants was amazing, he was looking out of the window, and pointing me to various plants and things and was telling me about the medicinal properties about them. Dont know if they were true or not, but he was telling with so much of confidence.

He told me lot of things about this educational system about this life, about what he does during the day and I dont think I can pen down everything here. He even showed me the photo album of his sadhu friends and mostly which had pictures of Gods and naked sadhus. He knew sanskrit and hindi, but was uneducated if we considered with todays terms of educaiton. He had never given any board examinations and that did not matter. But am sure with the knowledge he had, he could easily make a living and was more capable to finding his way around and surviving as compared to most of us who are highly educated.

His language was so pure hindi. He told me lot of stories about God specially shiva and Bashmeshwar. He was so surprised at my lack of knowledge about his guru and about any of the stuff that he knew of. I just felt as if we were seperated out in time, and also totally seperated out in the way we live as well. Hopefully I shall go to amarkanthak and meet him again sometime.

After coming back to Bangalore I read up little bit about the aashram he belonged to. And I found this story about "Tapasvi Baba" who had started this aashram. He left home at age of 12 and wandered and became a Naga Sadhu. He walked and walked around India for so many years before founding this aashram in Amarkantak. I also found his story amazing.

I always knew and heard about these Sadhus, but I always thought they were kind of fake, but meeting Vinod I did feel that there is so much these people know, the knowledge that has come from generation and most of us just disregard.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taking a Stand

I am back after a long holiday and back to blogging. It was a hectic travel and net access was difficult and even you did not feel like sitting in front of the computer. Lots of travel blogs to write but before that just wanted to write this small story which I read somewhere. Am sure you are gonna like it.
Once upon a time, during the time of Mahabharata, there was this great warrior who wanted to be part of war between Kauravas and Pandavas. So he set out to Kurukshetra battlefield. On his way he met Krishna.
"I want to participate in great Mahabharata" he told Krishna.
"What can you do?" Krishna asked him
"With one arrow I can kill all Pandavas, with another arrow I can kill all Kauravas, and with one arrow I can kill Krishna" he said (he did not know that the man he met was Krishna)
"Prove yourself?" Krishna said.
"Ok, look at that tree, with one arrow I can pierce all the leaves of this tree"
Krisha asked him to do it, secretly plucking five leaves of the tree and putting under the five fingers of his feet.
The warrior shot the arrow and it after piercing each and every leaf, it came and pierced each of Krishna fingers one by one.
Krishna was very impressed and he realized that the warrior was of the highest class.
"On which side would you like to fight the war?" He asked,
"I always fight on the side of losers" the warrior said.

This really bothered Krishna, because he knew this would create a loop. The warrior would first fight on Pandavas side, and when they would be about to win, he would join Kauravas, and so on. The fight would never end. So he decided to end the warrior
Krishna asked the warrior, "Would you help me to fight against a a person who is destroying the dharma that I am trying to establish on Earth?"
Warrior said, "yes I will cut his head" he said
Krishna showed him the mirror. Warrior immediately realized that Krishna wanted him to be killed, but true to his word he offered his head to Krishna.

Pleased with him, Krishna asked him for the boon, and the warrior asked to be allowed to see the battle even when he was dead. So Krishna placed his head on the tree, where in spite of being dead he could watch the battle.

Well the story ends here and I have picked it up from Professor Devdutt's site. So Devdutt says that this story teaches us to take a stand because if you don’t take a stand then you end up being nowhere and don’t allow others to reach anywhere.

He says that in our day to day corporate meetings, we see people who are so brilliant that they can see things from both sides. When someone proposes a plan, they argue in favor of it, but as soon as everyone is about to agree to the plan, they argue about the misgivings of the plan. At the end of it, everyone is confused and you don’t take any decision. Hence the meetings just remain as mere intellectual discussions without any outcome.

So many of my meetings in my company have been like this. We just talk and talk and talk and talk very intelligently without making any decisions what so ever.

Even in my personal life, for lots of things I find balance arguments in favor and against doing something. And most times in these cases I don’t decide and keep thinking it over and over again. Guess it is best to decide something and move ahead and review the decisions at some point of time later.

Also reading Devdutt site makes me believe that there is so much in our mythology stories. If you try to interpret them, there are so many things. These stories are not just some imaginations, but have deep rooted meaning. Wonder why don’t we have more of these in our textbooks rather than decoding half French poems by William Wordsworth and "thou thy" language of Shakespeare.