Showing posts with label Pensiamento Fantastico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pensiamento Fantastico. Show all posts

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Pensiamento Fantastico: Logos

When at college, I do remember how  I would go and search for new books to read especially on how to become a writer, how to build a good vocabulary and how to get published. Rather than spending time on learning what was in the curriculum, most of my study time was spent exploring the world of books on my own. Now, much to my chagrin, I imagine how many more marks I could have scored or how I could have got a job I dreamed of, if only I had been less adventurous and more industrious. 

My teachers at college were a huge inspiration for me; for most, they have a favourite or the other; but for me, they were like an extended family. One would advise on reading classics in sparetime; one would bring in lists of foreign words and phrases to embellish the writing style; one would give us writing assignments; one would read and comment on my amateurish writing efforts; one would ask us to write down all the words that we knew categorising them by active and passive vocabulary and so on. 

Those days, I was so obsessed with improving my vocabulary that I had a notebook for writing new words and their usage. The dictionary was a favourite tool (unlike now, when google is the ultimate tool) for the process of learning words. I used to gobble up new words during my last year, neglecting my studies, so many that my favourite book was Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. 

The fascination for polysyllabic words made me use words such as essentially, prolific, voracious, capricious, precocious, meticulous in my assignments and answersheets.  However, the constant reading of this book ended the day when I bought a personal copy and it remained a showpiece in my bookshelf till it was frequently discovered during a houseshift, (which is of course routine is a way of discovering old useless stuff and losing precious new stuff). 

The love of words from Latin and Greek was a natural side-effect  of studying in a college full of scholarly teachers. My favourite words that were used in writing were raison d'être, faux pax, sanctum sanctori, debut and so on. This became a trend so much that I'd sit with the dictionary for hours just to find some new word to show my scholarship with, all in the true humour of a scholar. 

Once I landed on this word membrum virile but the moment I looked up the meaning I had to suppress my laughter and disappointment that this is one word that I might never get a chance to use in writing ever. So much for the love of Latin words! 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Pensiamento Fantastico: The Kitchen God’s Wife

Amy Tan’s novels serve as cultural documents that describe the immigrant experience in terms of communality and identity. They contain the customs and rituals of China that might get lost in the new country in the process of cultural assimilation.

The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991) is her second novel and presents a mother-daughter relationship complicated by secrets- the mother withholds information about the daughter’s real parentage while the daughter hides her progressive multiple sclerosis from her mother.

The novel begins in the present time when the daughter Pearl is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her mother Winnie reveals about her first marriage in China to a pilot named Wen Fu. Winnie had lost her mother when she was a child and was brought up by her uncle’s family. She discloses her sorrowful past, her unhappy marriage, the deaths of her three children, her meeting Jimmy Louie, her escape from her first marriage and her marriage to Jimmy, whom Pearl calls father. 

Her bitter experiences at home after her mother’s escape make her angry towards her father. Later, when her marriage is fixed, her father asks her to spend a week with him. He asks her opinion about a painting in his study that she used to dislike. He asks her to take into consideration her husband’s opinion in the future. 

During times of trouble, she is helped by Auntie Du, Jimmy Louie and Helen. She was like the Kitchen God’s wife, who got no credit for her faithfulness and loyalty to her husband. Winnie, however decides to move and discards the image of the Kitchen God’s wife from her home because she feels that now that she has divorced her husband Wen Fu, this God has no value for her. 

Once the secrets are out, both women try to come to terms with what they are entrusted with. Winnie wants to take Pearl to China to find a cure for her incurable disease. She brings the altar that Auntie Du had left for Pearl and finds a new goddess for it, a goddess with no name, obviously a factory error. She names the goddess Sorrowfree. 

Tan portrays the miserable life of Winnie, who leaves China in search of a new life. She shows the patriarchal Chinese society that values boys over girls does nothing when a man hits his wife in public. There is no one to stand up for the woman as it is considered to be her fate. Tan also critiques the generation gap that comes out of the prejudices that the old and the young feel toward each other. In the novel, the mother-daughter relationship becomes warm only when all secrets are let out and the prejudices overcome. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Vidya Vox

I think since the time that I was 12, I have this constant problem of having an earworm, which is a phenomenon where you are so obsessed with a single track that it keeps on playing in the head. I remember on my walk back from school (these are the very roads that I walk even now), there will always be a song to hum much to the consternation of strangers who look at me in a strange manner thinking that I am talking to myself.

Even now, there is this fun in singing a song for so long, learning new songs from lyrics mint or YouTube and pretending that you are in front of a huge crowd when you might just be in your glamour room having a bath. Scientists are of the opinion that to cure one earworm you need another new one; otherwise there is no cure for it.

Last year, one amazing singer that I came across is the peppy Vidya whose mashups add much to the original tracks so much that I have forgotten how they go. Like for example, the first song by her that I heard was the mashup Love Me Like U Do/Hosanna, which combines two favourites, soundtracks from Fifty Shades of Grey and Vinnaithandi Varuvaya respectively. Now, whenever I hum any of these songs, I have Vidya’s version playing in the head.

I don’t know how many times I have heard this mashup and this was one of the best earworms last year. I guess I am not the only one who adores her for her infectious energy and seductive voice. Hrithik Roshan tweeted “Vidya Vox, wherever u are , what an amazing voice u have. Listening mash up non stop!”. Her mashups are quite ingenious as can be seen from Calvin Harris How Deep is Your Love/ Balam Pichkari, Justin Bieber Sorry/ Kandukondein, Come Alive (original)/ Hasi and Selena Gomez Same Old Love/ Mere Sapnon Ki Rani. Her latest release is a remix of the Kerala boat song Kuttanadan Punjayile with English lyrics.

Vidya or Vidya Iyer was born in Chennai and was raised in the US. She is trained in classical music and has a degree in Psychology. She started posting her mashup videos on Youtube only last year and has become one of the celebrated artistes of the year. However, her popularity is not just limited to singing as she has become a fashion icon as well. She says in her blog that a lot of her fans are curious as to the clothes and accessories that she wears in the video that she has started posting details on where she has got them from.

Picture Courtesy:

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Pensiamento Fantastico: Silent Spring

Rachel Carson is a marine biologist who wrote books and pamphlets on natural resources and conservation of the environment. She has already written a series of books on the sea such as Under the Sea-Wind, The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea. However, her Silent Spring published in 1962 was a turning point in environmental studies because of its harsh criticism of the excessive use of pesticides in farming. 

She ushered in a significant change in environmental studies with the publication of her Silent Spring. This was published in serialised form in the New Yorker and later in the form of a book. It is about the impact of industrialisation and urbanisation on the environment . 

The title highlights the silence that come over nature as the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird species have become extinct.The writer speaks of a springtime world that has become completely silent and no birdsongs are heard anywhere. 

Carson pointed out that the reason for this destruction of the environment in the United States was the uncontrolled use of organic pesticides such as DDT, aldrin and dieldrin used to control pest insects in agriculture. Though these compounds led to agricultural benefits, they posed serious threats to animal and human life as Carson proves by giving scientific evidence. 

She gives several examples of how the pesticides such as DDT, aldrin and dieldrin has managed to get into the human food chain largely through aerial spraying. She speaks of the large-scale contamination of the waterbodies in several places and the subsequent entry of these compounds into human and animal bodies. She gives the example of an egg that a child eats, which might contain traces of these compounds from the grain that the mother hen ate for its food. 

The harmful effects of these chemicals on humans and animals ranged from genetic mutation to cancer. However, what she predicted was the complete extinction of many bird species as a result of using pesticides. Moreover, she was of the view that the pests of the future might be resistant to these chemicals and might even result in species mutations. 

This book was a clarion call for greater awareness about the great destruction that human beings were causing to the Earth and its natural cycles. Though there was much protest from the chemical companies, Carson’s Silent Spring is a key text in environmental studies because it led to the banning of DDT in the US and to a greater awareness about the consequences of using deadly pesticides on the environment. It gradually led to the development of an ecocentric attitude in the latter half of the twentieth century.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Pensiamento Fantastico: My River Green

The River Green always looks like a sheet of green glass, flowing majestically and serenely. It was in a small town beside this river Pamba that I grew up fighting with my brother and playing in its waters.

My memories associated with the river are innumerable.Every evening we, along with my aunt or grandmother and cousins would walk to the river and play in the water for an hour. Every day was fun, with us staying in the water for at least an hour, though both of us never learned how to swim, splashing and shouting, while the sun set and it grew dark.

In the still waters, near the banks, people washed clothes and for bathing or swimming they walked to where the flowing water was. It was an adventure to stand in the flowing currents without falling. It required considerable practice. 

Once we rescued a plaintain trunk from the currents and gave it to a neighbour who raised cows. It was a big adventure, something that brought a "we" feeling between my brother and me, who were like Tom and Jerry throughout childhood.

Then there are boat-rides across the river, holidays during floods (once we had 10 days of holidays) Onam and the Aranmula boatrace, when the decorated snakeboats travel across the river to the beat of the boatsongs. It can be heard from a distance and we would run to the riverbank on hearing the boatsong from the distance, abandoning our sadyas.

On the night of Thiruvonam, belief has that Lord Mahabali comes to see his subjects on his boat called Thiruvonathoni. After midnight, people wait on the banks of the river with lighted torches and lamps for the well-lighted Thiruvonathoni. This was one adventure for we, children to boast about. The ones who had slept that night had nothing to talk about and felt ashamed the next day.

Now the river has changed. It is no longer clean. Clean water exists in the middle of the river and it is a long walk. You need to wade through muddy waters to take bath in clean water and then after bath, through muddy waters again. 

Despite of many changes, this is one of the sacred spaces, I can reach in an instant, travelling in thoughts, to where I like to stand, on that mound of rocks taking in the entire view of the river looking like a large sheet of green glass.

I guess as a child, I viewed everything in relation to the river. Once during family dinner, when I was six or seven, I told my grandfather that the sky ended at the other side of the river. He roared with laughter and asked me:"Really?" 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.