On Audio books and Kalki…

I sure seem to be on a roll tonite… its like a dam has burst and I need to spew all my thoughts right now and I am placing the blame for that right where it should go.. on RP’s shoulders for inspiring me to start blogging again 🙂

I have never been a fan of Audio books, I mean why listen to someone read when I could read it myself. But I am a convert now. And this is all thanks to Kalki’s epic novel Ponniyin Selvan (Son of Ponni).

This is considered the epitome of Tamil fictional literature, a story of medieval Chola dynasty and a 2600 pages novel divided into 5 volumes. My sister, a lovely lady, had read out the whole novel and another one by Kalki (Parthiban Kanavu/ Parthiban’s dream) to me when I was in high school.

But as my Tamil was/is not upto the standards that I could read a story of this size in its entirety by myself, it was always a thorn in my side that I could not re-read it. I did try to read the english translation of the books.. *Shudder* the less said about that horrible experience the better!

It just so happened that my brother had a copy of the audio book of Ponniyin selvan which I took from him in the hope that I might want to read it sometime in the future.

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But what a book! Once started, it refuses to let me off its hooks and the people enacting/reading it out have done such an amazing job that sometimes I am actually transported to Thanjavur and Srilanka with the different characters. I am trying to listen to the book as slowly as possible as I am worried it will get over too soon, while also trying  to find out what happens next immediately.. quite a conundrum 🙂

The best part is that I have now got my hands on audio books of the other two great Kalki novels – Parthiban Kanavu and Sivagmiyin Sabatham (Sivagami’s Oath).

While I am still not interested in English or Hindi Audio books, its double thumbs up for the Tamil ones, especially these three. 🙂

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And now something to look forward to…

After the rant fest of the last three posts, it must not be mistaken that its all gloom and doom in Sanjana’s life…

I have something quite exciting to look forward to in the near future.

A short vacation to the Andaman. Not Nicobar coz you need some permit apparently and I am taking quite a short vacay.

Having lived most of my life next to a beach one would think I would have enough of it but nooooo.. the activities available out there is keeping me tied to the computer doing more and more research and getting more and more excited.

My only regret is that I don’t know to swim, which prevents snorkelling and scuba diving and for which lack I just got soundly scolded by mom. She always kept telling me to learn swimming in Canada and I was a scaredy cat.

But there is one activity called Sea walking.. you guys look it up in Youtube, which I really hope I get to do and which would almost make up for my lack of swimming skills.

Will of course provide more info and photos once I have been to and back.. until then its toodles…. 🙂

Atheism

As I am not politically inclined, I am not religiously inclined either. But I am a semi-practising Hindu, with the firm belief that religion is a deeply personal thing and should not be forced on anyone or ridiculed.

I have always had a great respect for atheism as its something I do not really understand. Having been brought up in a very religious and conservative family with a deep abiding interest in mythologies, religion permeates all aspects of my life and thinking. While I might not agree with all its doctrines, hinduism allows me to question anything I am not comfortable with, but the one thing I have unequivocally accepted is the existence of God. And that is why I have trouble trying to bend my mind to a concept of no God.

Why am I talking about Atheism suddenly, though? The last little while I have become, if not exactly, active in Facebook at least checking it once a week or so. I have found a few of my acquaintances associating themselves with atheism in it. Since I do not follow the fashion trends, I am not sure if this is just the latest trend or a real (dis)belief that they have.

Now what is sad is that they all seem to think bashing hinduism makes them an atheist. They are careful not to bash any other religions. I guess the relative tolerance and maturity of the oldest religion in the world, makes them feel safe to do so. And they also get a huge sense of accomplishment doing so.

A true atheist’s religion would be that he has no god. Why then feel the insecurity to show up the perceived inconsistencies in another’s religion? After all if something started 4000 years ago , should one not at least respect that there must be some aspect that made it not only survive but flourish for so long?

Anyway coming back to my point, I really wish these so called Atheists would first understand what is Atheism and then post their opinions, especially as they tempt me to reply to their idiocy but  I am forced to keep quiet owing to the level of their (in)tolerance and my own self-respect.

Tolerance, who?

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall

I have always thought having a person disagree with my point of view was a good thing because it would

  1. help me gain a new perspective
  2.  give me a good excuse for a rousing healthy debate. [I can turn on a dime and argue on both sides on most issues and enjoy doing so too]

But its an unfortunate thing that most times nowadays I keep quiet whatever I may feel about a matter, especially in social media outlets like facebook or whatsapp.

The reason for it is an unfortunate and absolute lack of any tolerance with the masses. The mentality now is to read up a little bit on some topic, decide on a side to support and support it to death, even if proven wrong, and even if it means reacting violently and vulgarly against anyone opposing it. Its taken as a personal insult if someone opposes one’s point of view. “If you are not with me, you are against me”.That means I will take everything you say personally and insult you in every means possible and maybe even physically.

This has been very appalling. When I supported Modi’s demonetization in a whatsapp group, last November one friend got so offended he would not even read what I was trying to explain. He has not spoken to me the last 3 months now. Another got so offended and personally affronted that he called me names. I was not the one who took the decision to demonitize, so why turn on me? Am I not allowed to have a stance, where we can agree to disagree? where does it say we should always think on similar lines? and how boring would that be! I was very hurt and bewildered by their attitudes.

On the same day Trump won the US elections and world went on mourning. Just to be the devil’s advocate I said he would not be able to do much harm, as I am sure there were checks and balances in place. By God! I don’t even want to talk about the abuses I had to face.

Similarly when people started abusing PETA for the Jallikattu ban and sexually and physically threatening its CEO, I felt sympathy for the lady. PETA is not a law making body and she did not ban the sport. It was the highest court in the land that banned it and there were protests already against the ban. Why then all the hatred against the Organisation and its head? Does she not have the right to express her opinion, the same as you? But this time I kept quiet. I had been abused enough.

Tolerance and the concept of healthy debates are a thing of past. With the advent of social media, its an unfortunate fact that there is more false news and followers of the same than truth and one can always find acceptance and support for ones ideologies and perceptions, however incorrect they maybe. And people have become rigid in their thinking and in their belief that they are always right.

Oh! for the freedom to think and express without fear of persecution, not by the government but by one’s own friends and acquaintances. Sigh! those were the days!

My Poor Poor Tamil Nadu

If it’s not one thing, its 10 others for my poor state. I cannot even call is eventful, though it sure has been, but disastrous.

It all started couple of months ago when one Monday the nation received the news that the ailing CM JJ had passed away. Only to find a little later that she had not after all died. Then some 5-6 hours later she really passed away. The poor lady’s mortal remains was surrounded by her housekeeper (HK) and the housekeeper’s family, all of whom she had hated and kept away from her during her life, while her blood relatives were kept away forcibly. And she, a practising brahmin, was buried instead of cremated, amidst much excuses.

There was already suspicions brewing that the CM had been murdered by her HK when suddenly …but wait I am getting ahead of myself.

The Monday after CM’s demise Chennai and its environs faced a super cyclone of the magnitude not seen in centuries, with winds of over 130 kmph bringing down houses and trees. [The sheer magnificence of nature at its best (or worst) was something to be seen to be believed]

Even as the state was getting itself back to normal, the HK had become the general secretary of the CM’s party, much to the irritation of the general populace.

And come New year and Pongal and there was a huge mostly peaceful protest that blew up for nowhere against the Ban on Jallikattu, which on its last day turned violent and had people scurrying home from work and schools in fear of their lives. [I was lucky to have had my brother pick me up, there were people walking 10-15 kms home that day]

As we were starting to breathe normally, two oil tankers collided near the coast of Chennai /Ennore and there was an oil slick to end all oil slicks killing the whole marine eco system near the Marina beach.

So are we done?.. of course not. Now the HK had nominated herself as the CM of TN and the actual CM had resign. This was exactly 2 months from the date of the JJ’s demise and even the governor did not want to swear her in and refused to come to Chennai until he was sure it was even legal.

While people were all praying to rid of her, the acting CM OPS has come out in the media about how he was forced to resign and insulted repeatedly by the HK’s supporters and would not support the HK in anyway just tonite.

While I am no way a political person, the happenings in Tamil Nadu in the last 2 months is enough to make anyone’s head spin.

Oh! Couple of other things that I forgot to mention

=> The honor killing of a dalit girl which has shaken the state

=> and the removal of all milestones with Tamil wordings in Coimbatore and its environ and replacement with milestones in Hindi for a PM’s visit. Really guys! you want to place Hindi milestones in Tamil Nadu, the origin of Anti-Hindi protests of 1970s? and that too at a time when the whole state is all set to explode ? So tamils being what they are, they painted all the Hindi milestones black 😛

Phew! I did mention it has just been 2 months, didn’t I? Now we are all eagerly waiting to see what next on the one hand, while wondering if the roads would be safe to travel to work tomorrow on the other.

Another day Another Year

Where is the time flying? I blink and its gone. So many changes in life. what do you I write?

Since my last post, we had this mega flood that inundated my poor Chennai and showed it up to be the gem it is. Needless to say we were worried about this year but when has nature ever been predictable, so she gave us a cyclone of mythic proportions. Trees, buses, cars, buildings falling. City again ground to a stop but Chennai is nothing if not resilient. So she was up and going in a couple of days.

We lost Jayalalitha, Balamurali krishna and a host of other stars. Donald Trump became US president-elect, showing that americans were fools again. Modi demonitized 500Rs and 1000 Rs notes and made life at India a misery again. Now he is going around crying about how folks want to kill him.. well Duh!

Personally got a JioFi router and quite thrilled about it as it allows me internet access anywhere I am and to multiple machines. Went to Gujarat for a visit. oh yuck! horribly dirty place but lovely for shopping :-D. Did so much shopping this year that I have almost crashed my own economy :-P, now have to wait for a year or two before i start again to replenish.

All in all a miserable year.. Cannot wait for 2017 to come now.

PS; Not bad .. I have improved from once in 3 years to once a year blogging

Helloooo

hello, am back after nearly 3 years and reading some of my older posts and comments is like meeting old friends again. The Sanjana of 3 years ago, so wide eyed and excited about life and living is so changed that it feels like a different person wrote those posts all those years back.. But so many thoughts, so many words dammed inside, wanting to break out of their constraints. This has been the longest hiatus I ever took from blogging… I remember the day I started.. It was a rainy day like today almost exactly 10 years ago when I took up blogging on a friend’s dare and never looked back. But I guess life interferes with all the best intentions and I was more interested in experiencing living rather than writing about it.

3 years! Friends lost, friends gained.. New relationships made.. Happiness, sadness, good decisions and horrible ones. I am glad through it all I still have this with me…

Welcome back Sanjana !!