Wednesday, January 26, 2011


serious pursuit of happiness

sometimes back just after the hurricane katrina created serious havoc in new orleans and some other parts of the usa i read in the international herald tribune an interesting article which i forgot what the title was. but the gist is something like this. here is a man, handsome, in the prime of life (lets say in early thirties) has a highly paid but high pressured job which takes him to travel everywhere and he has all the girls he could eat. for vacations he takes his girl friend (which he changes on almost yearly basis) to acapulco or some such resorts but he couldn't leave his job well alone and need to take and make phone calls send and reply to e-mails and switched on his laptop and keep connected 24 hours a day. and here's another person. this one is a fat lady, quite ugly, has a low paying but undemanding job . her days are spent with her grandchildren and on sunday she goes to church and contribute a part of her small pay to charity. if given a choice of who would you want to be it's quite obvious that all of us would choose to be the guy in question rather than the fat lady. but if one is to pick who is living a happier life perhaps there would be big difference in opinions. depending on how you think what happinness means . the international herald tribune pointed that in all likelihood the ugly lady would be leading a happier life. it took me quite a while to see through the article though. it was nothing about not to worry about being ugly and living a simple life and all that but doing some charity would do good to you. and yes, in a round about and sly way go help the katrina victims.

but in any case that's the good thing about happiness. you don't have to be handsome or beautiful and have a well paying job or filthy rich to be happy and it's not uncommon for someone who has everything to jump out of a building. people thousands of years ago know this. the great buddha and the saints of all religions know this. but despite all these, we are hell bent on trying to be the most of everything in serious pursuit of happiness. why? i don't know fuck why but in one word i think what we all search for is not so much happiness but 'fun'.

and for fun i'm currently reading gunther grass who is one of my favorite authors . the book is call of the toad . on one level it's just a love story between two very old people. doesn't sound much fun but if you know gunther grass you know nothing seems to be what it is and i find it very stimulating to savour his baroque sentences.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


on the last days of dec 2010

i don't have a good memory. in fact it's quite bad sometimes. it's a good excuse to have a bad memory. i can always come late to meetings or not at all for boring appointments. my excuse is oh i thought that was for tomorrow?!. people would say ; don't you use organizers and stuff? but i will say i'm too stupid to learn all these new fangled stuff. when people hear that you admit you're stupid they invariably leave you alone. people are kind that way.

and even if you have a good memory you would not remember what you did exactly a year ago , let alone five years earlier. but thanks to my blog posts i could . and here are some of the things i did on the last days of the year since 2004.

the last book i read in 2004 was kurt vonnegut's cat's cradle ( a rereading actually). on the last days of 2005 the last book was again by vonnegut . galapagos. no mention about last books in 2006 but on 31 dec 2006 i read the last interview of isaac bahevis singer in on Dec 31 2007 i wrote a resolution to read hikayat abdullah. which of course i never did. who keep their new year resolutions anyway?. Dec 31 2008 blog entry did not show any book list but i was in that familiar obnoxious mood and i attempted a kind of top ten from A to...well, i just managed to go all the way up to B and ended there. A is for asshole and for the year 2008 the biggest asshole of the year went to khairy jamaludin (local). He was the most hated bastard in 2008 by far. and george w bush won the international asshole accolade. nobody would dispute that either. there was no entry on Dec 31 2009 but on 27 dec 2009 i had a post on soldier of love. sade's new song from her then new album. it's a sad song and the whole album is a good one to cry over an expensive sofa, as one music critic described it.

soldier of love.

I've lost the use of my heart
But I'm still alive
Still looking for the life
The endless pool on the other side
It's a wild wild west
I'm doing my best
I'm at the borderline of my faith,
I'm at the hinterland of my devotion
In the frontline of this battle of mine
But I'm still aliveā€¦..

just about describe my feelings exactly a lot of times.
and on the last days of this year the last book that i finished from cover to cover was christopher hitchen's hitch-22. and currently reading Sea of Faith:Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World by Stephen O'Shea a highly readable book that described the familar historic battles between the muslims and the christians in the middle ages. and also dipping into Colin thurbon's travel book "The lost Heart of Asia".

didn't do too well on the fiction front this year. new books do not interest me much . mentions of 'booker prize' make me feel nauseated. new fiction these days probably parallel to what's happening in the art or music world. they don't speak to people like me any more. new arts are trying their best to shock you but peel a layer and you see nothing underneath.

but i do try. in fact the first fiction i read (and finished) on the first day of the new year was a short story by a new writer. on the first day of 2011 i picked up an old the new yorker summer fiction issue(June 14 2010- which happend to be my birthday by the way ) on 20 under 40 most promising writers in america today. a short story of 8 of these writers were featured. tried the first one 'The Pilot' by joshua ferris. left me yawning. Jonathan Safron Foer's story also didn't grab me. So was Philipp Meyer's first paragraph. But the next one by Rivka Galchen (who i couldn't make it if that is a man or woman) grabbed me by the balls straight away. but i also know immediately that this must be written by a woman when we were told early in the story that when her husband left her he took away a particularly nice parmesan grater...i mean only a bloody woman write like that. a man writer wouldn't give a fuck about a parmesan grater. okay may be some gay writers will. and that's the problem with woman writing and why i deslike them. but in any case i did finish her 4 pages or so "The Entire Nothern Side Was Covered with Fire".

happy new year !

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