Tuesday, September 06, 2005

In love again,

only this time, it's Amitav Ghosh. For quite a few days, I was reading a chapter a day from Calcutta Chromosome. On Saturday, I casually resumed reading again, intending to put it down after a chapter or two, it was impossible. I just sat rooted to my chair turning page after page and went for lunch only after I was done. (That is quite a big thing, believe me)

When I was younger, I used to think that great writing was when you described lands you had never been to, people you had never met and creatures you had never seen in fantastic ways. Now I think it's the ability to take things firmly grounded in reality and mundanity and turn them into the kind of fiction that sets your imagination spinning and makes your eyes go wide while you're at it.

He puts together Ronald Ross, a supercomputer that has an insatiable appetite for information, genetics, Mangala devi, old time Calcutta, syphilis and philosophy in the most unfathomable ways and comes up with a great story. Who would have thought?

The first book of his that i'd read was 'The Shadow Lines'. Tridib is such a fall-in-lovable character. Sigh. The ending broke my heart and nearly made me cry.

Having studied in Egypt for a long period, he wrote about it so well in 'In an Antique Land' which is more like history laced with fiction. Being rudimentarily familiar with Arabic, his occasional uses of Arabic phrases made me nostalgic and gave the book a feel of reality. Makes me envy the Calcuttans considering both 'The Hungry Tide' and 'Calcutta Chromosome' are based thereabouts.

Found another book of his in the library a few months back, a thin volume called 'Countdown'. Its about how Indians don't recognize the danger potential of nuclear weapons and how misleading it is to think of nuclear power as a status symbol. About how many crores of rupees are wasted on the Siachen glacier, an uninhabitable, unhospitable and infertile area just for security, about how precarious the India-Pakistan nuclear situation is. He ends on a scary note, where he describes the damage that would result over increasing distances from the centre if a nuclear bomb were to explode at the Parliament House in Delhi. Very chilling.

I sent him a mail after reading 'Hungry Tide'. Didn't get a reply :'(

(Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth ( though I don't like his fiction much, I admire it for its versatility. I love his poetry! ), Amartya Sen.

Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Kajol. (Yes, I do realize I'm leaving out quite a few people.)

From brains to beauty, the Bengalis seem to have it all. What could it be? The fish?)


PlayBoi said...

aing, dont know a thing .. no comments

Bhim said...

Kajol... bengali?? Umm.. I never thought of that!

And her mother is .. umm.. that lady.. who... she's another actress... umm.. whats her name...

Never Mind.. I never thot kajol was a bengali. And please tell me what the name of her mom is/was.

TheDQ said...

Kajols mom is Tanuja. A pukka Maharashtrian. I think the name "Kajol" is bengali, but shes a complete maharashtrian.
You forgot Rani Mukharjee, SHarmila Thakur (Tagore). :-)

Arnav said...

Though I do agree that Bengalis have a good share of brains and beauty, it may not be as large a share as you might have thought.

Aishwarya Rai is not Bengali. She is
Vikram Seth was born in Kolkata, but I am not sure if he's actually a Bengali.
Kajol is only half-Bengali (or three-fourths). She has lived all her life with her mother, Tanuja (that is for the benefit of Bhim) and grand-mother Shobhana Samarth. Tanuja is probably half-Bengali but definitely half Maharashtrian. And the late Ms Samarth was a pure Maharashtrian.

Btw, try and read The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh too. A very different genre, but as readable.

Arnav said...

I am not trying to spam your comment box. Left a sentence midway. She is a native of Karnataka, afaik.

Arnav said...

I am not trying to spam your comment box. Left a sentence midway. She is a native of Karnataka, afaik.

Dreamcatcher said...

Aish isnt Bengali. Kajol is Bengali only from her dad's side and Vikram Seth isnt either.
And yeah iam a big Amitav Ghosh fan too.

The Reporter said...

playboi, but you still commented :P

Bhim, okay, she's half bengali, i retained that impression because i remembered hearing that Rani Mukherjee and Kajol are cousins .. therefore ..

theDQ, well seems like she's half bengali :D

Arnav, well people say the Chatterji family from A Suitable Boy was sort of autobiographical and I don't know why I thought so but i retained that impression somehow. Wikipedia says he was born and brought up in Calcutta. Doesn't mention his mother tongue though.

To dc and Arnav, apparently Aishwarya Rai is tulu. I thought Rai was a bengali name :|

Teq, you're bengali too :D. And yes, Amitav Ghosh is great :)

IdeaSmith said...

You're probably thinking of 'Roy'. But yes, the bongs certainly seem to have something in them, don't they?

The Reporter said...

Ideasmith .. yeah, that was probably the problem :( . Yeah, they certainly seem to :), are you also bengali? :)

handa said...

i can write a reaaaal long comment on this one, but that would be when you answer this question:

"mera number kab aayega?"