The rules of the world I live in are made up by extroverts. Not fair to the introverts, especially when, if reports are to be believed they make up at least 33% of the world population. How can this be so? For as long as I can remember, our society rewards encourages extroversion and frowns upon its brother. School, college, exams, interviews, jobs - all preach, encourage and reward extroversion. They rate higher and favor individuals who show traits of extroverts. Extroverts are more open about their thoughts and emotions while introverts may not even present to people half of what they are capable of because they feel no urge to do so. They may seem quite comfortable in their spot. Look closer please!!
So on March 14th 2013, the college of Cardinals elected a new pope for the Catholic church - 86 year old Cardinal Jorge Bergoglia from Buenos Aires, Argentina henceforth to be known as Pope Francis I. This choice, which came after 5 votes, established a few firsts for the Catholic Church:
1) First pope from South America
2) First pope from outside Europe - modern era
3) First Argentinian pope
4) First Pope from the Jesuit order
The Pope's choice of name - in this case, after Francis of Assisi, is often considered to be the reflection of whom the Pope will model himself on during his papacy. Pope John Paul II took his name from two separate previous Popes as his new identity. He speaks German, Spanish and Italian.
This election, along with the previous one, is among the shortest ever elections ever in Vatican history.
A book is a collection of ideas that make some coherent sense, created by the imagination of an individual who has experienced a life that draws inspiration from a pool that you may or may not have ever laid eyes upon. For me, the more contrasting a point of view / an idea / the story from what I can relate to in my daily ordinary life, the longer it stays with me. I may not agree with the opinions, but they get seared into my conscience and I feel myself pondering (could also be daydreaming) longer upon them. Who wants to read a book that is exactly about what you do all day or on a regular basis?
Perhaps, this may be the reason I am drawn more to fiction and the fantasy genre in particular. They stay with me longer and the more contrasting their ideas, the more difficult to shake off their aura. The Castle, Catch 22, My Name is Red, LOTR are some of those. Comparatively, The Sidney Sheldons and the Ludlums are slowly fading.
Over time, I have become more choosy with what I read. I rely heavily on the reviews or opinions of the Internet Junta now, compared to a decade ago, when I would read through hieroglyphics if I couldn't get anything else. As inspiring a good book can be, a book can also turn to bile .. if you are not careful.
I read the first two books of the series quite a long time back and Eragon and Eldest can never aspire to touch what Tolkien created. Yet, that hasn't stopped Paolini from having his own devoted followers and finishing off the rest of the series. Though, the books were most un-extraordinaire, an unfinished book (or series) is like a bad itch. So..... I completed the Inheritance cycle.
Even though I still feel that his work is not completely original and takes a lot from Middle Earth (like the Harry Potter series), Brisingr and Inheritance have mostly been better fare compared to the previous two books. The book traces almost a similar line as the Harry Potter series and mostly, only differs in the props. Murtagh and Snape, Arya and Hermione, Horcruxes and Eldunari. You can see what I mean, the similarities between these characters is not that difficult to spot. Yet, everyone loves a story about a hero fighting for freedom and victory defeating an evil tyrant more powerful than our hero himself and so do I.
I could not at times, decide whether I wanted Eragon to triumph or wanted the book to end a bland taste in my mouth. And the ending was most disappointing in the way Eragon has to leave Alagaesia, never to return. 'Tis almost equivalent to killing off our hero. Yet, this is Paolini's story to tell. And not mine to praise.
It's been a long time since I had taken up a work by an Indian author. Chetan Bhagat has scarred me. An involuntary twitch passes over my face every time I recall the absurdity that was " One night @ the call center ". So despite a conscious effort to not read any Indian works of fiction, Ashwin Sanghi's name appearing again and again on my screen, made me visit the nearest bookstore and take up "The Rozabal Line".
The book packs a plot that brings together history, conspiracy theories and religion across time. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Atheism, Vatican, Al Qaeda, Illuminati, Opus Dei, Mossad, R&AW, CIA all come together in this book and across time. Despite the volume of different theories that he has brought together, the author has managed admirably to fit all the pieces together well. Yet, the book falls flat on the story when it comes to the protagonist's part. It almost seemed as if the author was more passionate about all the historical events and organisations and talking about them more than the base upon which he made them rest. Comparisons to Dan Brown's work is to be expected. However, the author has brought up new ideas and events regarding Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism that Dan Brown's work didn't include and hence, TRL feels richer in these areas.
Also, the style is that of a non linear narrative. You dip in and out of various points of time in history, which makes you dazed and provides you with no orientation as to where the story is heading. I consider it as a plus point.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
Stumbled upon (stumbleupon.com) this site called "The Quite Place".Through a series of pushes on the spacebar, it forces you to a 30 second relaxation. It is very rare that you are forced to stay on a site especially when our attention spans have degraded to an alarming level. Give it a go!!
I came across this piece of article through Facebook. It's true that Ang Lee cuts a very distinct figure from the rest of the crowd at the Oscars. A guy from Taiwan sitting with some of the greatest names in movie making. Makes you wonder how did he get here. If this article is correct, it wasn't a very straight road to success.....
Ang Lee: A Never-Ending Dream
"In 1978, as I applied to study film at the University of Illinois, my father vehemently objected. He quoted me a statistic: ‘Every year, 50,000 performers compete for 200 available roles on Broadway.’ Against his advice, I boarded a flight to the U.S. This strained our relationship. In the two decades following, we exchanged less than a hundred phrases in conversation.
Some years later, when I graduated film school, I came to comprehend my father’s concern. It was nearly unheard of for a Chinese newcomer to make it in the American film industry. Beginning in 1983, I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty. Much of the time, I was helping film crews with their equipment or working as editor’s assistant, among other miscellaneous duties. My most painful experience involved shopping a screenplay at more than thirty different production companies, and being met with harsh rejection each time.
That year, I turned 30. There’s an old Chinese saying: ‘At 30, one stands firm.’ Yet, I couldn’t even support myself. What could I do? Keep waiting, or give up my movie-making dream? My wife gave me invaluable support.
My wife was my college classmate. She was a biology major, and after graduation, went to work for a small pharmaceutical research lab. Her income was terribly modest. At the time, we already had our elder son, Haan, to raise. To appease my own feelings of guilt, I took on all housework – cooking, cleaning, taking care of our son – in addition to reading, reviewing films and writing scripts. Every evening after preparing dinner, I would sit on the front steps with Haan, telling him stories as we waited for his mother – the heroic huntress – to come home with our sustenance (income).
This kind of life felt rather undignified for a man. At one point, my in-laws gave their daughter (my wife) a sum of money, intended as start-up capital for me to open a Chinese restaurant – hoping that a business would help support my family. But my wife refused the money. When I found out about this exchange, I stayed up several nights and finally decided: This dream of mine is not meant to be. I must face reality.
Afterward (and with a heavy heart), I enrolled in a computer course at a nearby community college. At a time when employment trumped all other considerations, it seemed that only a knowledge of computers could quickly make me employable. For the days that followed, I descended into malaise. My wife, noticing my unusual demeanor, discovered a schedule of classes tucked in my bag. She made no comment that night.
The next morning, right before she got in her car to head off to work, my wife turned back and – standing there on our front steps – said, ‘Ang, don’t forget your dream.’
And that dream of mine – drowned by demands of reality – came back to life. As my wife drove off, I took the class schedule out of my bag and slowly, deliberately tore it to pieces. And tossed it in the trash.
Sometime after, I obtained funding for my screenplay, and began to shoot my own films. And after that, a few of my films started to win international awards. Recalling earlier times, my wife confessed, ‘I’ve always believed that you only need one gift. Your gift is making films. There are so many people studying computers already, they don’t need an Ang Lee to do that. If you want that golden statue, you have to commit to the dream.’
And today, I’ve finally won that golden statue. I think my own perseverance and my wife’s immeasurable sacrifice have finally met their reward. And I am now more assured than ever before: I must continue making films.
You see, I have this never-ending dream."
Taken from another blog. Not my work or translation.