Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama's Inauguration Speech

Obama’s captivating Inauguration speech gave food for some thoughts. Critics rate it as not so good as JFK’s or FDR. However I consider it as good if not arresting.

As a die hard of fan Richard Dawkins I was really floored when he included “non believers’ in his speech. At least he has recognized non-believers have a right to exist.
His assurance on economy warms our hearts.

“but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control--the nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.”

His call,” To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” Would they reconcile is another matter.

“We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.”
I hope these are not mere empty words. He gave a warning to,

“who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”
World (we in India included) would watch his steps in his brand of war on terrorism. Would he bold enough to restrain Pakistan in their export of cross border terrorism?

He gave a passing mention to the poor nations and also cautioned the developed nations to understand the widened gap between the haves and have not.

"To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect.The world has changed; we must change with it."
Next four years will decide whether they are mere words or not.
Link to the full Text
For Inuguration Photos

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

44th of President of United States Of America

To day Barack Obama is swearing in as President of United States of America. The dream Martin Luther King envisioned realized through him. Martin Luther King in his historic speech told his followers,

“In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, “
Yes. African –Americans really achieved this through non-violence- the weapon of Gandhi. A lesson for our fellow Indians. Dalits wake-up as our brethren arose in America.
Good luck to Obama and America.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thoughts on Poetry again


12/01/09

Again poetry facinated me. Perhaps 2009 would be year of poetry for me. I already included Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julieat in my reading plan. The poem that came to my attention is Darkness by Lord Byron.It’s an apocalptic poem written in the year1816.That year was known as year with out summer. A strange weather and in explicable darkness caused low tempertures across Europe. The reason for such dramatic change in weather was due to the eruption of Mountain Tambora in Indonesia which spewed enormous amount of volcanic ash in to the atmosphere. It was not known at the time. Inspired by such drastic scenery Lord Byron wrote the poem about impending doom.

The concluding part of the poem:

The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless -
A lump of death -a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropped
They slept on the abyss without a surge -
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The Moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perished! Darkness had no need
Of aid from them -She was the Universe!

How Lord Byron perceived the end of our universe. Read the full poem

http://www.online-literature.com/byron/685/

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Thoughts on Poetry



07/01/09
To-day I read an interesting poem in one of the brit blogs- Age of Uncertainty
. Infact the poem is written by another blogger who is also an author. The author of the poem is also interviewed by the blogger.

In the interview the author made an interesting observation,

“ poem works best if read slowly alertly to oneself in that private inner voice we all have that is not as crude as real voice. A real voice locks the person down so much; and so many poems are so complicated, you need able to see them and think them and read them slowly.”

Another blogger- The Truth about Lies one of my favourite blogger wrote about a brilliant post on surrealism .He states that he likes a ‘ poem that resonates after one has finished it and appreciate it when there are bits for him to chew on afterwards- unanswered questions if you like.’

Both these observations about poem are true. Poetry reading is also my favourite thing. Try reading a poem aloud when you are alone. You would just love the sensation, feel.

Read this Robert Frost poem. One of my favourites.

Bereft

Where had I heard this wind before
Change like this to a deeper roar?
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
Summer was past and day was past.
Somber clouds in the west were massed.
Out in the porch's sagging floor,
leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
Word I had no one left but God.

When ever I am depressed or alone the line,

‘word I was in my life alone
Word I had no one left’

would automaticlly ring in my ear. It would lift me from my depth. Refresh me. Try yourself.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Challanges for 2009


My Reading challenges for 2009.

I never attempted any challenges for every New Year. This year I set a reasonable reading goal for me. These challenges can be met only if I am able to locate it in my library and that to in a reasonable time.

In year 2008 I read about 22 books. I have also read some story collection by Somerset Maugham, Anton Chekov and Flannery O’Conner. I discarded many books after gone through few pages as I did n’t have the appetite to finish.

Sweet Dreams, Michael Frayn recoomended by The Neglected book blog
Netherland by Joseph O’Neil
Nothing to be frightened of -Julian Barnes
A short history of nearly everything –Bill Bryson
How to read a book-Mortimer J Adler
The Stranger-Albert Camus
Farenhit 451 -Ray Bradbury-
Outliers- Malcom Gladwell
Jhumba Lahiri-Interpreter of maladies
The White Tiger- Aravind Adiga
The Reader- Bernhard Schlink
To Kill a Mocking Bird-Harper Lee
The Selfish Gene- Richard Dawkins

I have some books in my bookshelf unread. I hope to finish this year.

Herzog- Saul Bellow
The Golden Note Book- Doris Lessing
The Metamorphosis- Kafka
Emma-Jane Austin

Besides this I wish to read some Raymond Chandler, Katherine Mansifield, Virgenia Woolf. Anton Chekov etc.

I am also planning to re-read Colin Wilson’s The Outsider which I bought recently along with Jack Kerouc On the Road. My son has bought a bound volume of The Crime and Punishment which is also in the list for re-reading.

It is also in my wish to collect Somerset Maugham books from second shops in my Chennai.( my love affair with Maugham would never end.)


I hope to finish at least two books per month. Considering my age, a tall order.
Wish me luck. I need it.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thoughts for to - day



To-day I read about Time traveler’s wife in a blog. I was impresssed by the post and I decided to read the book later. I added it to my google book list.

Yester day (01/01/09) I posted a poem in my http://www.yathra.sulekha.com/.

I feel very lonely in my literary pursuit. I have no friend with whom I can discuss my readings. Unfornutely my friends have no literary taste. I have one friend to whom I can discuss about old hindi songs.That is my only consolation.I am in an intelectual isolation. Some times I felt why I have developed such tastes? Why I was not ordinary person with ordinary tastes? Booklovers reside in a different world talking to themselves and chewing books they read and about to read.

Blog is my only companion where I can share my thoughts.

I already finished Namesake. Yet to write a post on it. I have taken two books for reading- Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham & Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. The Pattern Recognition is a challenge to read. I don’t think I will finish.

To day morning I twittted a message enquiring any interested reader in chennai. It is my desire to start a reading club in chennai.