Monday, March 31, 2008

Pasolini's Anti-modernity

Nothing new but very well summarised, excerpted by Girish from Making Waves: New Cinemas of the 1960s by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith:

"All his films represent a turning away from modernity into the past, from technology to nature, from the industrial west to the Third World, from the bourgeoisie to the peasantry and subproletariat, from the patriarchal to the maternal, from repression and heterosexism to the polymorphous sexuality of childhood — in short, to a world before the Fall. This prelapsarian world, of course, does not exist, but it is evoked as the negation, piece by piece, of a world which all too emphatically does exist, and which Pasolini hated. There is no coherence to the universe the films portray except in the form of this negation. And the only recoverable part of the lost world would appear to lie in sexual revolution, which might — just — restore to the modern world some sense of the freedom it had foregone. Such, at least, would appear to be the lesson of Theorem (1968) […]

How the world lost its innocence is explored in the films set in mythic prehistory (Oedipus Rex, Medea, and half of Pigsty) and in their present-day counterparts (Theorem and the modern sections of Pigsty). The so-called ‘trilogy of life’ which follows [The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, The Arabian Nights] can be seen as an enactment of how the lost innocence might be recreated. But by the time Pasolini came to the end of the trilogy he had ceased to believe even in the liberatory potential of sex. The sexual ‘revolution’ of the 1960s was no such thing but just a new form of embourgeoisement which normalized adolescent heterosexuality, while the gay movement (or what little he saw of it, which was not much) was just a way of channeling homosexuality into another bourgeois ghetto."

On Hypocrisy

Lots of predictable and tedious reactions to the recently published biography of V. S. Naipaul. Of all the people expressing their moralistic outrage, this one published in the Business Standard has to be the best. It is actually quite touching in its simple-mindedness and naivete. The writer says: "this kind of wanton display of chronic apathy towards the women in his life, shows his writing to be a great big sham" and further:

Greatness isn’t something that should be restricted to a small area in one’s life. The great writer has to be supplemented with the great person, and should have at least a nodding acquaintance with civility in his closest relationships. Otherwise, a life like Naipaul’s is an area of darkness that leaves his most devoted reader feeling as cheated as the two women in his life did, and left asking the question: how could a man so cold and self-centred manage to write novels like A House for Mr Biswas with such sensitivity?

I am not going to ask her how she came to this conclusion* but reading this made me think of something I have been thinking about recently. I had mentioned it in my post on pornography too. Is it really hypocritical if your thoughts and action don't correspond? As I said there, to me it seems perfectly fine if a person imagines dastardly and immoral things as long as he is able to exercise his moral faculty so that those thoughts are not expressed in his behaviour and action. This is one of the fundamental tenets of liberal justice system too. Otherwise we will end in the Orwellian state of thought-control. This is also how you can morally defend works like Lolita (without even considering its aesthetic merits.) It is perfectly fine to imagine a character like Humbert Humbert and spend your time in his imaginary company. That's the realm of imagination i.e. the realm of art.

This problem of great writers who were also enthusiastic wife-beaters is just the converse of the same. Is it possible and if it is then is it hypocritical that one thinks sublime thoughts but fails (or consciously refuses) to act in accordance to those thoughts? Is it also hypocritical on the part of the readers if they concern themselves solely with the thought i.e. the works in question rather than the personality as it comes out in the public life? If you just make a list of great poets who were really callous in their real life you will end up with a really long list. It is actually one of the reason why men of thought are often the most egocentric of people.

With Naipaul things are actually much more complex because he is equally bitter, resentful, unforgiving and merciless in his writings (at least in his journalism) as he is in his personal life. I wonder if the biographer has done some pop-psychologizing too in his book. Like for example, is it the case of self-hatred as a psyhic response to post-colonial trauma? A twisted and misdirected reaction to the pain of not belonging anywhere, the injustice meted out by the history, the internalization of racist ideology of the empire? I haven't seen any reviews talking about these things even though I think that should be the primary focus of any biography of Naipaul because it would show how life and writing influence each other. (I also wonder why, a self-hating third-worlder hasn't become a category like for example a self-hating jew. Nirad Chaudhuri would probably be another specimen from the Indian context.)

* She has obviously never come across Proust's idea of a creative artist and his well-known quote about "two selves". Naipaul himself mentions Proust's essay on Saint-Beuve in his Nobel prize lecture.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Holy Mountain

Mexican director Alejandro Jodorowsky was a highly celebrated artistic figure during the heydays of the counterculture movement. When it came in 1971, El Topo became a cult sensation and was one of the most talked about films of its time. John Lennon was so blown away by it that he persuaded Beatles' manager to buy the distribution rights of the film. He also helped finance Jodorowsky's next film The Holy Mountain. Though nowadays, like much of other artifacts of counterculture, Jodorowsky and his films have also vanished away from the mainstream into obscurity.

When I saw El Topo ("The Mole") a couple of months back I found it extremely tedious, which is much worse than it sounds because the film is so full of way, way over-the-top imagery and jaw-dropping, eye-popping visuals and set-pieces. I was probably not the intended audience of the film, given my extreme indifference, indeed even hostility, towards all kinds of esotericism and occult, which to me seem more like sentimentalization, perversion and infantilization of religions than any worthwhile or intellectually respectable challenge to the dominant ideology of rationality, as Jodorowsky's surrealist affiliations would lead us to believe.

In was with this background that I found Jodorowsky's next film The Holy Mountain a huge leap forward. Most of the religious ideas and symbols still seem to be imagined by some over-enthusiastic student of comparative religion but there is also an element of irony and self-consciousness, specially in the final act, which to my surprise actually goes even further and seems to repudiate a lot of what counterculture stood for. The film seems to plead for a return back to "reality" and "life" and acknowledges (at least it seemed to me) the airheadedness and sentimentality which those gurus passed off as deep thought, in the process even satirising the LSD gurus. These is also a lot more social political critique, much of it very original if not in the ideas then at least in the metaphors used to convey those ideas.

It is impossible to describe what really goes on in the film. The main narrative thread tells the story of a Christ-like thief who with the help of an Alchemist (played by Jodorowsky himself) plans to become immortal by climbing up one of the titular holy mountains. Okay. In his journey he is accompanied by a bunch (I forge the exact number) of powerful people in the world, each from a different planet, who in turn recount their sordid biographies in voice over. This sequence is the most straight-forward and coherent of the entire film. All these mini-stories delightfully and very pointedly and effectively satirize a bunch of Jodorowsky's targets like Militaristic ideology, Arms industry, cosmetics industry (and consumerism in general), modern architecture, entertainment industry and many other institutions of modern life in the western society. Images and set-pieces in the film are so way over the top and so weird that once seen they will not be forgotten easily. Like the one in which an army of real (yes, real) toads and lizards, all dressed in army regalia, attack a replica of Mexico city or a scene in which the alchemist turns shit into gold (I mean literally). There is one scene involving an electric "orgasm machine". I can go on and on.

The film ends with what seemed to me a repudiation of counterculture ethos. The thief, the alchemist and the powerful men in their quest for immortality by climbing up the holy mountain come upon a pantheon bar where they meet people who came before them in search of the same immortality but decided to remain in the bar enjoying material pleasures. They meet an LSD guru who lectures them about how the experience of a drug trip is the same as finding spiritual wisdom. There is also a "spiritual magician" who can walk through stones who says he has conquered the holy mountain but only "horizontally" not "vertically." All these satirize the same perversion of religion and spirituality that I mentioned in the beginning of the post. At the end when they reach the summit of the mountain, Jodorowsky as the alchemist says that the immortals are actually dummies and advises them to go back to reality and life and spouts some cliche about love. He finally tells the camera to zoom back, which it does revealing the artificial sets and lights. He finally says that this is "Maya" and asks us to leave the movie and go back to "life."

Wikipedia has some more details about the film.

Self-commodification & blogging

It's nothing new but somewhat amusing: an article on literary tastes and dating strategies in the new york times review.

This is something that troubles me a lot about social networking sites and by extension a lot of relationships in the online and sometimes even in the offline world. The idea that a list of someone's interests and hobbies will give you a picture of who the person really is and that is sufficient to base your relationship on. I don't know, to me, it just feels like an exercise in self-commodification, not much better than judging a person based purely on physical attributes - you are basically still reducing human beings to fungible commodities. (There are lots of proust-lovers, one certainly replaceable with others if that's the only criteria.) I know those who consider themselves "real" and enlightened readers will bristle at this idea of reading being reduced to another act of cultural consumption but I think it is a valid assumption in most cases.

It is also not surprising that the article uses the phrase "self-branding" to describe what is going on. It is rather interesting and ironic that more and more advertisers and marketeers are trying to create a "personality" that goes with a branded commodity. An mp3 player or a phone from apple or nokia isn't just a commodity - fungible and replaceable - but rather it comes packaged with a unique personality which of course can become an extension of your own only if you buy and own it.

There is also another thing about this whole trend which makes me sad - this obsession with "compatibility" and the extremely shallow way in which it is defined. In our time it has certainly become much easier to be sure of "compatibility" before you enter into a relationship. It makes you wonder why then is it that sustaining stable, lasting and fulfilling relationships has become so much more difficult? And what really happened to that old fashioned romantic idiom - opposites attract? The stuff of so many romantic comedies of Hollywood golden age?

Sociologists taking their cue from the theories of Marx and Weber believe that commodification of self and inter-personal relations is inevitable in a capitalist society. That is true I think, though still that doesn't mean one can't resist the impositions of self-definitions from the outside even if it only results in negative definitions. I am not what I own, or what I buy or what I read or at least not just that. As Ulrich (or Walter perhaps?) says in The Man Without Qualities that making these lists one will end with qualities without a man. The trouble is you really can't define a man with qualities...

I am wondering where will blogging fit in all this. Is it another exercise in self-commodification and self-advertising? It probably is but at least certainly much better than those networking sites...

Lost Highway Opera

An article on the Opera version of David Lynch's Lost Highway in the London Telegraph. Surprisingly, it doesn't mention that the libretto was written by Austrian nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek, who said that watching it was like "a blow to the brain stem." Another article covering the same event in The Times.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

High Sierra

Humphrey Bogart in a very Bogartesque role - a tough guy (that stare in the shot above!) with a hidden sentimental and soft side. It was his first major hit as a leading man. It was co-written by John Huston, who directed him in The Maltese Falcon which came a few months after this and which really made him a big Hollywood star. Raoul Walsh, the director of the film, is more well-known for his straightforward gangster and action films so may be it was the presence of Huston which gave this film depth, complexity and pathos and which places it in the great noir tradition. (Though admittedly I am not really familiar with Walsh's work.) It does boast of some very impressive chase sequences and location shooting however.

Abida Parveen

A song I have been listening to...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pankaj Mishra on Dalai Lama

There is an interesting discussion about Tibet in the context of Globalization in the latest new yorker. I also found this quote by Hannah Arendt very perceptive and thought provoking:

“For the first time in history,” Hannah Arendt wrote in 1957, “all peoples on earth have a common present. . . . Every country has become the almost immediate neighbor of every other country, and every man feels the shock of events which take place at the other end of the globe.” Arendt feared that this new “unity of the world” would be a largely negative phenomenon if it wasn’t accompanied by the “renunciation, not of one’s own tradition and national past, but of the binding authority and universal validity which tradition and past have always claimed.”

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Rape" in Marnie

A very strange and interesting poster. The "rape scene" alluded to in the picture is available on youtube too.

I saw Marnie last month after a gap of many years. In fact, along with Vertigo, it was probably my introduction to Hitchcock. It is one of my favourites, at least among his colour films. I like the way it is so very self-conscious and ironical about psychoanalysis. I also like the stylized way in which Hitchcock used back projection and matte paintings to create an artificial background resulting in the introspective mood of the film and also giving us a window into the lead character's subjectivity.

It was actually how I remembered the aforementioned "rape scene" that really surprised me on this recent viewing. In a documentary collected on the film's DVD, one of the early screenwriters of the film says that he was fired and replaced by Hitchcock after he expressed his doubts about the scene. He thought that it would be impossible to recover the lead character after such a scene and it wouldn't make any sense dramatically if that happens. The female screenwriter who replaced him eventually, and who got the final credit, says that she never realized or saw it as a rape. Instead, something that can "happen in troubled marriages." When I first saw the film, I certainly didn't see it as rape. I was thinking that may be she will be "cured" after a bit of careful and sensitive "manhandling" (ah, those good old patriarchal times) Even Robin Wood in his book on Hitchcock says that in this act of aggression, rather than violence, Mark (that's Sean Connery) sees solicitude and responsibility. It might be a desolating experience to Marnie (in fact she is so traumatised that she tries to commit suicide afterwards) but to Mark it is potentially therapeutic. It is a pretty grim view of gender relations, one that will certainly anger feminists. I, of course, must have seen the whole thing from Mark's perspective too. The suicide attempt scene had completely slipped off my mind. The only thing I remembered was the way he undresses her with a flick of his fingers and the phrase "boning up on" which actually made me look up the dictionary last time and also made me chuckle thinking it might be a Freudian slip and he actually wanted to say something about a boner :)

Anyway, this time I saw the film from a much more gender sensitive perspective or may be it was just the Andrea Dworkin effect. In fact there is a long discussion in her book on Pornography about the steoreotype of a frigid woman, perpetuated by psycho-analysts and sex researchers. In pathologization of frigidity Dworkin sees a denial of agency, subjectivity and autonomous sexual desire. She doesn't mention this film but it will fit in very well in her discussion. In fact in the film itself there is an interesting scene in which Marnie proposes to play doctor-patient seeing that he is reading books with titles like "Sexual aberrations of the Criminal female" implying that she obviously thinks such kind of psychoanalysis to be a racket. The eventual conclusion does seem to weaken this reading, even more so when you see it with other Hitchcock films, specially Vertigo, Psycho and Rear Window which have strong sexual elements which have all given ample intellectual fodder to feminist critics.

Clarice Lispector

An extract from The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector...

The most unreachable part of my soul, the one not belonging to me, is the part that touches on my border with what is not me and the part to which I give myself over. My whole anxiety has been this untranscendable and excessively close proximity. I am more what is not within me.
And that is why the hand that I was holding has abandoned me. No, no. It was I who let go of the hand, because I now have to go alone.
If I succeed in retuning to the realm of life I shall pick up your hand again, and I shall kiss it in gratitude for its waiting for me, waiting for my sojourn to pass, for me to return, thin, starved, humbled: hungry just for what is little, hungry just for what is less.
Because sitting here quietly, I have come to want to experience my own remoteness as the only way of experiencing my nowness. And that, which is apparently innocent, that was again an enjoyment that resembled a horrendous, cosmic pleasure.
To relive it, I am letting go of your hand.


The Passion According to G.H. is not really a novel (in any meaningful sense of the word). Instead it is actually a collection of aphoristic speculations on a bunch of things, written mostly in a free-associative way, or at least that's how it read to me. There is a narrator alright. She calls herself G.H. but later says it is not her real name. (It actually is an initial for "human race" in Portuguese). The only real event that happens in the novel is crushing and killing of a poor cockroach. This event sparks off lots of thoughts and speculations mostly related to that magical philosophical word "Being", which also sometimes leads to thoughts about "Non-being", even "Nothingness." Those who have their Sartre and Heidegger all done with, might be able to appreciate what really goes on here but as a philosophical dunderhead it all sounded a lot of gibberish to me. Not surprisingly, the translator of the book in his introduction says while remaining largely obscure and mostly unread in the Anglo-American world, Lispector is highly regarded in France (even more than her native Brazil), where she has been subject of numerous monographs and dissertations. Not that I doubt the profundity or the seriousness, one just needs a solid intellectual background apart from some patience.

It may or may not be related to what Lispector says in the book but all this talk about "Being" in the context of thinking about life of a cockroach reminded me of a line of thinking that interests me a lot. At one place she says that a lack of self-awareness implies that "nonbeing is a closer approximation to truth." She is probably critical of this position but I am not sure. Is a cockroach's way of being not a being at all because it lacks self-awareness or even more fundamentally, it lacks "language"? This struck me also because I was reading Celine's Journey to the End of the Night in which at one place the narrator says that he prefers an insect's life because unlike humans it doesn't need to "believe" to go on with life, which to him, by definition, smacks of dishonesty, compromise and hypocrisy. In other words an insect's way of being is more authentic, truthful and less alienated than a man's being can ever be?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Clive James: Cultural Amnesia

I have been reading Clive James' essay collection Cultural Amnesia on and off over the last week. At over 900 pages, it is a pretty hefty volume and the scope and the breadth of his subjects make it look very impressive and daunting indeed. Only when you start reading the essays that his writing and opinions start getting on your nerves. Now I have no problem with either dilettantism or being opinionated, even when someone is both at the same time, as James certainly is but rather the way he behaves as a petulant elementary school teacher giving off marks to these twentieth century luminaries on good behavior, or at least what he thinks constitues good behaviour, which to him is saying appropriate things about the totalitarian powers of twentieth century Europe - Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. He condemns those who he thinks gave aid and comfort to totalitarian powers and his list includes Sartre, Brecht ("creepiest major talent of modern times"), Neruda and many others. Even poor Wittgenstein gets a few marks cut off because he didn't say anything about what was happening in the Germanic part of Europe in his time. He concedes that it was his prerogative but still finds it a "strange omission." In the end James comes out as yet another in the same line of contemporary intellectuals like Hitchens, Martin Amis and others who pass off their essential conservatism under the guise of anti-totalitarianism and rational humanism. James actually has an adulatory piece on Margaret Thatcher in the book. Hitchens and Amis at least were critical of her or probably it was only when they were young.

It is not that he is oblivious to the essential unfairness of judgment from hindsight. In his essay on Golo Mann, who according to him was the finest German historian of last century, he calls hindsight, "a disposition of personality that likes to impose itself on the past and turn it into a self-serving cartoon." But that's exactly what he has done in the rest of the book. Sartre and Brecht have their reputations skewered elsewhere too, though James does heap on some new abuses (a most thoroughgoing conman, that's Brecht for him), but his essays on other more admirable figures like Walter Benjamin that baffle. He barely stops short of blaming him for his own death because he refused to see what was coming. He then criticises him for his belief in Marxism while in reality his Marxism was nothing like the institutional leftism. In one of his other essays he accuses Paul Celan of being deliberately hermetic and then impugns a political motive - that of a calculated disengagement from reality. I really don't understand why is he wasting his time reading poetry when his notion of reality is so shallow. There is an essay on Rilke too which I thought would contain similar gems but he goes into the same Nazi/Soviet crap allover again there too. This is yet another problem with his book. I generally like digressive writing because it feels much closer to how our minds really work but in this case it is as if his record were stuck in the same place. It is Nazis, communists, nazis, communists and on and on. Even when it is not so, his digressive imagination doesn't lead to interesting places. In his essay on Sophie Scholl for example, he is more interested in who is best suited to play the role in a hollywood adaptation. He thinks it should be Nathalie Portman. I mostly yawned through it, looking for some more information about Sophie Scholl which never came. (The recent German film about her life is excellent by the way with an amazing young actress (Julia Jentsch) playing the title role. Here is a trailer.) The book is also dedicated to her memory...

As I said in the beginning the breadth and the scope of his learning make it look very impressive and the book can serve as a useful starting and reference point since many of the names featured here are not well known. I hadn't (or barely) heard of more than one-third of his subjects and I look forward to reading and finding more about them. If not for anything else, the book does inspire with its project. In the context of Viennese intellectuals of the turn of century period he says that for them education was not something that was required to start off on a career. Education itself was a life-long career. That's a very valuable lesson, even when you realize how difficult it is to live by this principle under all the material and financial exigencies of modern life. Still it is an inspiration to keep reading, learning and thinking and making it a life-long project.

For more, The Millions blog has a very nice and critical review of the book. Really worth reading. Complete Review gathers some other reviews and offers its own too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Asia Argento Profile

The latest village voice has an adulatory profile of Asia Argento. If you don't know who she is, this NYT article from last year by Dennis Lim has more information, including the correct pronunciation of her name.

If it is male sex object that's your thing then you probably need to read this in NYT about Louis Garrel. Also, here is a trailer of his latest film Love Songs. I love that line when the girl says, "I am into threesomes, Mom" lol.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Andrea Dworkin on Pornography

Sporadic blogging, at least compared to my standards! It will probably continue for some more time. I don't know, may be it is just regular homesickness, but I haven't been feeling very well. I haven't even been reading or commenting on the regular blogs either. Sorry folks, hopefully things will get back to normal soon.

On reading front, I finally finished reading Andrea Dworkin's Pornography: Men Possessing Women. To call it grim would be an understatement. What can we do? The world is so full of pimps, pornographers and rapists. For women and children it is just hell on earth. This is the worldview that the book proposes.

Dworkin is obviously very well-read. The book is choc-a-bloc with literary and intellectual references. It is a surprise then that she is so literal minded about the ideas behind a pornographic imagination and censorship in society. One of the basic tenets of any humanistic liberal system is the way it differentiates between private thought and external behavior or action. In between the two there is a moral consciousness. Men may think and imagine a lot of sordid things but that need not translate into any recognizable behavior and so long as it does not, it does not harm anybody and so can't be censored. This is how she misreads Marquis de Sade, and also Georges Bataille (I have read neither by the way). You can have problems with Sade's personal life, even with his published text but not on these grounds that his imagination was immoral. Freedom from ethical intrusions can lead to an anarchic self-fulfillment in the interior world, that's what Sade's writings seem to show or at least that's what one of the interpretation of his writings goes. There are of course many more intelligent critiques. Albert Camus has a few things to say about him in his essay The Rebel (of which I don't remember much now) and Simone de Beauvoir also has a chapter on him in her The Second Sex (which is next on my reading list by the way.)

It is not that Dworkin is interested only in intellectually respectable pornography. Most of the book is about run of the mill commercial stuff. She recounts the plot of few of these in sordid and tedious detail, most of which I skipped. Nobody will deny that almost without exception commercial pornography is hateful, ugly and misogynistic. It is also stupid, thoughtless and banal. But even after that I wouldn't say that the existence of such pornography and the laws which make it possible prove that Men hate Women, as she says in the book.

Much more basic fact, and she also acknowledges it elsewhere in the book, is that in our society economic and political power is still concentrated in the hands of men. It is men who own most of the property and the money. One would have to agree that in a society with this kind of inequality, even in the the best-case scenario, the best that one can say about a man-woman relationship is paternalistic. Even romantic love is actually in most cases this paternalistic love. It is not a love based on respect because men find no need or reason to respect women. (Now that is different from an active hatred.) They have what it takes - money and power. In one of her controversial statements Dworkin once said that all heterosexual or penetrative intercourse is rape. Rape is probably a stronger word, but in a male supremacist society all heterosexual intercourse is definitely prostitution. The difference is mostly just a matter of degree. Thinking along these lines one also realizes how complicated really are the concepts behind coercion and consent, and indeed the very definition of "violence". If a secretary agrees to sleep with her boss to gain promotion, is it really a consensual sex? It is also not rape but yes, one does begin to understand what Dworkin is trying to say. (Or, "in seduction, the rapist often bothers to buy a bottle of wine," as one of her famous quotes goes.)

In the end it comes as a disappointment then that rather than hitting at the root cause of the problem, Dworkin advocates censorship against pornographic images. Pornography and prostitution exist because men are buyers (because they have excess money) and women are sellers (because they don't have excess money). Once this inequality is breached the demand and supply will automatically take care of the problem, to a large extent at least. There is a lot more in the book which got on my nerves and a few with which I agreed but I will save them for later.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Looks really good - a top 10 list of books about boredom in the Guardian. It is one of my favourite subjects as well. I have read only two on the list - The Book of Disquiet and Hunger. Hamsun's book is not really about boredom though it has some passages about this spiritual state. I can also understand the inclusion of Moravia and Houellebecq. Having read a couple of books by each, but neither of the two on the list, it is clear to me that they are both authorities on the subject.

I would probably have included Kierkegaard's Either/Or which talks about Boredom in detail and also some representative work from nineteenth century Russian literature, specially those about the "superfluous men", like Oblomov or Eugene Onegin or few of those love stories by Turgenev. Now I am off hunting for some of those books on the list above.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Short notice and long vacation. I was in Patna actually, attending my sister's wedding. An extremely elaborate affair, as usual. I could have felt grumpy about the evils of patriarchy, traditionalism, conservatism and the whole pomp and pageantry associated with any affair like this, but I didn't. There was just so much happiness and joy all around. I will write about some of these things in detail some time later after I am done with a bit of thinking about it.

I now need to catch with work, routine life, reading and yes, blogging as well. I am currently reading Andrea Dworkin's memoir Heartbreak, which is serving as a good reminder and an antidote after so much of feel-goodness and optimism, that things are not always rosy, at least not for everybody and beneath the surface happiness may lie undercurrents of prejudice, hatred and violence. It is extremely powerful and very witty and engaging too. I will write about in detail later as well. I probably should revisit her book on Pornography too which I had found extremely tendentious and distasteful when I read it last. I am also reading a Hindi novel called Ek Inch Muskaan written by the (then) writer-couple Rajendra Yadav and Mannu Bhandari. It is a very interesting experiment with both of them writing alternating chapters in the voices of different characters. I am feeling a little sad saying this, but I really need to work on my hindi vocabulary and comprehension skills, which is actually much worse than it sounds because my English is not so good as well. And to think that there are so many people in the world who are so skilled in more than half a dozen languages!