Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekend With The Wimpy Kid

I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid last weekend! It is the unlikeliest of the books that I pick for a reading, but I ended up reading it and that too in a single sitting with a 10 minute nap in between. The kid whom the book belonged to was seemingly shocked when I picked it and told me plainly it was not recommended for me as it was the tale of a naughty boy. May be she thought the story of a mischievous and selfish kid plotting against his friends and doing bad things will adversely affect me. But she doesn’t know that the damage is already done! She recommended another book for kids were a rat and his friends run a newspaper and do incredible things. As I could not get past the second page, I returned back to the wimpy kid. Sunday evenings are not to be spent with rats, however intelligent they may be.

When you read a bookprimarily meant for entertaining kids and you are of an age past30, it is tough to keep the inhibitions aside. You are dispassionate,not feeling much of anaffection to the built up and you go on looking for loop holes.And then I took the nap that I mentioned before. Do you know apeculiar thing? After taking a nap in a Sunday afternoon, your skill to appreciatethings takes a beating.I remember a couple of weeks back, a Sunday afternoon I slept and woke up to find a Mithun Chakaraborthy movie playing in TV. I watched it full and even felt it was ok. I don’t know if this is ever verified scientifically, but ultimately I enjoyed the book.

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is written by Jeff Kinney. Wimpy kid is Greg Heffley and the book is written as a diary with funny illustrations and caricatures depicting his struggles in middleschool. He wants to become the most popular kid and everything that he does for achieving it backfires. The book is really funny and will appeal to kids most. Even adults will find the story amusing. I love the parts about Cheese touch, becauseas kids we used to have that concept. If any one of us touches anything dirty, no one touches him. He can transfer the curse by just touching another kid. If you are an adultand happen to like this book, I will recommend two morebooks to you- “Tottochan, the little girl by the window” and “The Little Prince”.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Yathicharya: A Spiritual Journey

In Malayalam, there are many writers whom I really adore. But the one writer- doesn’t know if I can call him that as he is much more than a mere writer, who has really inspired me, is Guru Nityachaitanya Yathi. One of my close friends, an avid book lover as me, recommended his books to me and a skeptical me opened his book “Soundaryam, Anubhavam, Anubhooti” expecting a very spiritual kind of book. It was an experience! After reading it, I came to know how to read a book, how to look at art, at life and at world with an open eye, not to just see it, but to feel, understand and make it an experience as the title of the book suggests. His writing style is so passionate about life and art and so simple that you cannot help feeling a strange attraction towards the subject that he writes about. And talking about subjects, he writes with same passion and in depth about Poetry, fiction, philosophy, psychology, religion, society, people and many other topics. His (incomplete) translation of the autobiography of Neruda is one of the best Malayalam translations that I ever read. You cannot believe that a Sanyasi can translate love, passion and anger felt by the rebel poet and make the reader empathize with him.

“Yathicharya” is his travelogue on one of his visits to Europe and US. This book, I feel can serve as a good introduction if you are interested to read more of his books because essence of his philosophy, his interests and his vision can be seen here. His interactions and discussions with the friends, experts in various fields and totalstrangers constitute most of the narration. You will not find many descriptions about the places that he saw. Only those things that interest him are detailed. But the book is in no way boring as Guru does a good and interesting character sketching of every one whom he has met. A healthy dose of humor surprisingly garnishes otherwise serious proceedings. There are lots of pages devoted to thoughts of death. May be the reason is his failing health and the news of the death of some his near ones.