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Archive for November, 2008


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They say it is India’s 9/11. I think I have heard that before. Maybe when they attacked the Parliament. Does it matter?

Reports like this come out once in a while and then are later discarded. Why?

The ATS team were interviewed by the TV last week or so. Did you know all of them were killed?

They attacked Leopold’s. Did they read Shantaram?

I was roaming on the same streets 3 days ago with a friend from far away while she absorbed everything on her first day in the city. I wanted her to have a safe journey, her first in this part of the world. Had this happened then, how safe would I have felt? How could I be my usual reassuring self?

How safe do I feel now?

This is Bombay, 27 November 2008. I am terrified. Petrified.

Written by aditya kumar

November 28th, 2008 at 12:20 am

Posted in Society


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Back in 1994, in New Delhi, my imagination was stirred by a Hollywood movie that I would later go on to watch 5 more times. Jurassic Park was the first Hollywood movie I watched that I completely understood. Maybe it was so because my first viewing of the movie was in Hindi. Besides, I had never managed to watch a complete Hollywood movie before.

Besides introducing a 13 year old boy to the science of cloning, it also introduced me to the rich experience of a Steven Spielberg movie and Computer Generated Imagery but the most profound and long lasting was the effect that Michael Crichton had on me. He was the author of Jurassic Park and there was a world out there to be read.

I had just started reading “The Three Investigators” and my insights into the English language and it’s literature were few. What I was not afraid of was, to pick up stuff that at first glance made little sense for someone my age. Nor was I afraid of picking books that were big in size.

I made my parents buy Jurassic Park, the book. It was a costly purchase, I remember. But more importantly, it was the start of a tradition that would serve me well — to buy books that are later made into movies.

I made myself a promise that from then on I would read every Michael Crichton book. I went on to read The Terminal Man, The Lost World, Airframe, Timeline, State of Fear and Prey. I started reading Sphere but during the course of it I once woke up to a terrifying dream. I could not complete the book. The back cover of “The Terminal Man”, the second Crichton book that I read, informed me that the author’s last name, “Crichton” rhymed with “Frighten”.

As you can see, the effect of Jurassic Park, the movie and then the book, was quite strong.

It has to stop now.

Michael Crichton, October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008. You will be remembered as a writer who captivated minds. You fired my imagination.

And You will be missed.

Written by aditya kumar

November 7th, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Books,Personal,Writing


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On the road, in Goa, found a few names of the same place.

Agacim, Agassim, Agasim, Agacaim

Two of them, on different walls of a Government building.

Hopefully, I will never need to post a letter to anyone there.

Written by aditya kumar

November 5th, 2008 at 9:36 am

Posted in Travel

Overcoming a Reader’s Block

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I realized I had hit a reader’s block after I read about it somewhere. I was not aware of it’s existence, let alone being in one.

I read for sometime before I go to bed. At least I used to. Its another thing that my daily routine has gone for a toss since the past 6 months. Then I had time but I was not able to focus on a book for long. I had just completed Shantaram and quite honestly, the last part dragged. I was looking forward to read something else. But it persisted — I could not concentrate while reading.

I’ll cut a long story short. The problem, as I found out after much thinking, was Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I had started reading it and did so with all my sincerity and thought I was doing a commendable job too. (I still think that.) But one has to admit, the first thirty pages of a book thousand pages long and written in the 19th century, won’t be, by any means, an exciting read in modern times.

It was kind of okay and things were fine while I was content at flipping 2 pages (of fine print, I must mention) per session. Problems happened when I started to seek other books to read for my daily kick of “modern literature”. So everytime I read “something else”, it was as if Tolstoy was right there, staring at me, reminding me of the 1000 pages of fine print and what lay before me. It was quite overwhelming. Had Aditya, the ever insightful and accurate reader, finally found a match?

Okay, that last line was tongue in cheek.

A phone call to a writer friend eventually helped matters. She told me that I should not think of reading Tolstoy for now. Tell you what — I had this thing in my head for long but was not being submissive about it to myself. So I said it aloud — “Its okay to have a book and not read it for years!.” The already unread books notwithstanding, I went to the bookstore and got myself a Bryson’s book. (“A Short History of Nearly Everything”, highly recommended.) Now, Bryson is easy reading and I should do well not to think of my new found urge to read as a war won but yes, for now, I do want to read.

Oh and how do you judge if you “want” enough? Simple. If while doing things that you normally do when you are not reading (and those must be lots) you find yourself thinking about the book; your thoughts flirting with the subject or the plot — then you should know that you are the reader every writer seeks.

So, while I zip through the pages written by a new found author I intend to read every book of, I must keep in mind that there are books like Garcia’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and Ghosh’s “The Imam and the Indian” in my bookshelf and there is much pleasure still to discover as I yearn to go to stories told by writers who have made literature such an essential part of me.

No Goodbyes to all that.

Written by aditya kumar

November 4th, 2008 at 1:45 am

Posted in Books,Personal