Sunday, April 25, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
For all ye near extinct cricket lovers, don't you think the bookcricket world cup is up next ? Imagine India winning and then some extrapolation about who should retire will possibly be made. And then I expect self-respecting journalists writing insightful articles about this:
It is a format that really challenges the technical acumen of the players
and the captain. You need to adapt the flipping techniques on the fly factoring
in the texture of pages, tuning the nimbleness of the flipping fingers etc. The
dynamics of the format demand the quick thinking and level headed youngsters
are best suited for adaptive play.The world cup victory
assures us that we can confidently think of the change of the old guard as the
future of Indian cricket is in safe hands
PS: recycled old text written circa IPL1.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
As I am writing these lines I see the following headlines on my Bloomberg
- Dow is up 1.03 on lower interest rates
-Dollar down 0.12 yen on the higher Japanese surplus
and so on for an entire page. If I translate it well, the journalist claims to provide an explanation for something that amounts to perfect noise. A move of 1.03 with the Dow at the 11,000 constitutes less than 0.01% move. Such a move does not warrant an explanation. There is nothing that an honest person can try to explain ; there are no reasons to adduce. But like apprentice professors of comparative literature, journalists paid to provide explanations, will gladly and readily provide them.
- Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
It is hard to rid oneself of the notion that one is somehow a unique snowflake. I - belong to large swarm of the population that rejects self- help books or even popular literature. They are meant for others. And don't worry - this post is not about how I was wrong all along and I have now found my bible. I continue to believe in the wilde dictum that 'art is superbly sterile'. One is reluctant is to claim to be influenced by a book. To hear the statement: book X changed my life is cringeworthy. The milder version: 'book X changed the way I think about Y' is amusing and cringeworthy in that order. However, one likes to believe 'well read' is a compliment. The cumulative is something but the details are vulgar.
The awareness of the existence of a certain thought processes similar to one's own. A more fluent putting in words, of what one may have said all along, is sometimes a reason why one likes a book. When the book is widely regarded as 'thought provoking' and 'insightful' it may be a rash thing to say. But hey why else does one have one's own wall on the net for.Somewhere in the 20th century, it has become acceptable (even endearing) to be brash.I have taken it upon myself to be the knight in shining armor, defending humility (in others that is). So I actually fail in my noble duty when I endorse a book noted for the author's sweeping statements and bluntness. As truth needs to be told: the book is good.
The crux of the book as I like to interpret it is: 'actually, nobody has a clue'. My reading it was kinda preaching to the converted (well, my reading it wasn't the preaching, but I got tired wrestling to get the idiom right so I let it be). The book aims to deflate anyone who is given to reverence of any kind for anything - people, institutions, history -and everything else in sighting distance .
But - a word crucial in every literary review - a critic must talk about both sides. Where Taleb falls short is coming across as 'sure of himself' amidst a whole book claiming 'every man to himself, there's nobody to look up to'. Sure he talks about the vulnerability of it, the near inevitability of disaster and ends the book sounding dangerously close to self-help. But the kind of fear of being alone in a bulwarkless universe - is something that did not come across in the book. Are he (and so many of his readers) so much at peace with tackling the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' by themselves ? "All the best !" I'd say sarcastically as if I've gone about living several times.
I see that I managed to say I didn't like something because it could have been soomething else. Su.Ra would have disapproved.
But, in doing what I did I uphold a strong tradition in literary criticism. I am sure someone must've told Hemingway that in his latest work, he had been disappointing parsimonious with characters. "It should've been :The Old Man, the sea and the Pirates".
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
கதியினை நகுவன தளர்நடை-கமலப்
பொதியினை நகுவன புணர்முலை- கலைவாள்
மதியினை நகுவன வனிதையர் வதனம்
- பால காண்டம், கம்பராமாயணம்
"X is mocked at by Y (which is greater)" is the framework of this verse.
I maintain a largely hostile attitude towards verse libre- particularly in Tamil. There has been a historical overemphasis on capturing the moment and expressing, to the extent of viewing form and conscious sculpting as antithetical to art itself.I find it hard to see spontaneity as its own argument.The pretense of spontaneity is sometimes at the core of a poem.
There has been a lot of lip-service paid to the expression: 'knowing the grammar before breaking it', that I am bordering cynical on that. But there are some pretenses of spontaneity that do pull me back, make me enjoy and even believe (or atleast want to believe) the importance of 'the moment', the afflatus overpowering rules. (a la ஆத்திரம் கொண்டவர்க்கே கண்ணம்மா/ சாத்திரம் உண்டோடீ)
How would have Kambar written the above verse ? Surely surely not in the same order of the lines above. The first line in all probability came last. After he had comparators for the others, he struggles to find comparators for the spear-like gaze of the women. The gaze mocks at the rule of finding a comparator. He has to break the rule or atleast there is a pretense of grasping for a comparator and failing - and making a poem out of it. He presents an exceedingly convincing exceptional situation where one cannot be bound by the rules when floored by beauty.
Kambar is all about lovely visual comparisons and exaggerations (பொய்யோ எனும் இடையாள்). So to see him stumped - even if only once - and even if he is just pretending for effect, elevates this verse to great heights. And reminds of me of a little something written about half a century later by Matsuo Basho:
It's like nothing
They compare it to
The summer moon
PS: I am sucker for works where the artist presents his struggle (or his feigning of it) for finding expressions.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I dismiss Bhagat Singh without much deep consideration.
The world does not concern me as much as my limited understanding of it does. Worse still is the realization that there are wrought-iron bounds to my understanding - not much different from a physical disability. This realization has been afforded to me by the heralded teacher that is life, on various occasions with varying degrees of politeness.
PS: podcasted the same for the benefit of தமிழ்கூறும் நல்லுலகு
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