Thursday, April 24, 2008

Build up

After a long time, I am really looking forward to a Kamal movie. They have given it a lot of build up. Here is a peek from youtube.

The movie has passed through the clippers yesterday. People raving about it after seeing the beta version. The audio releases tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Easy" mac

It is normally easy to fix easy mac lunch for kids, as the name implies. Duh! That was the menu for the kids' lunch today. All you do is open the cover, remove cheese packet, pour water upto the mark, zap for 3 minutes, mix with powder and transfer to lunch box. Easy, right? Except that I missed a crucial part. After about 2.5 minutes in the zapper, I noticed that there was an unusual amount of smoke swirling behind the glass door. Opened and almost choked on the fumes. Definitely toxic. Closed the door, opened the windows and the back door to let fresh (cold) air in, so that I could breathe. Luckily, once I threw the container, there was no mess left. Except of course for the smell of smoke that seems to have taken residence with us.

Yep, water is very essential to any kind of cooking!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Palace of Illusions

I usually faithfully read all of Divakaruni's books, though I haven't liked all of them. I was going to wait, but Rads'review intrigued me. That this book is based on one of the greatest epics ever.

I have to say, firstly, that this is a well-written book. Especially if you have read Mistress of Spices. The style is smooth and not at all abrupt.

I have read bits and pieces of the great epic in its English Translation. And as far as I can recollect, I don't think I have read the Draupadi/Karna angle before. May be I skipped that part or may be it is a regional thing. I have always heard that she was devoted to Arjuna. Since reading this book, I have heard of other Bengali works that mention the same angle. And we know that works on the epics can alter a bit, according to the origin of the writer and suspension of reality is a norm in these cases. All the characters are infused with CBD's visions of them - a tiny bit is visible in the spices used for the brinjal fry, the yearning for fish curry and a couple of other instances that struck me as typical Bengali at that time.

Most of the events related coincides with what I have read earlier. Although the viewpoint differs. Divakaruni has weaved Draupadi's personality in such a way that the story flows very well and through her. In fact, all her characters are very well-etched. Kunti is shown as an archetypal mother-in-law, wanting to make sure her position among her sons is unshaken by Draupadi. Kunti's subtle power struggle, Drupad's vengeance, Dhritirashtra's jealousy, Gandhari's wifely devotion, Duryodhan's hatred, Karna's loyalty, Drona's love for his son, they all are very much alive in this book.

Vengeance is what Draupadi learnt in her cradle, and that is what feeds her later in life. As a brash young woman, she is ready with her barbed words. Over time, she learns to tame it some. She is shown not as a paragon, but as someone with a lot of faults. In short, human. And that is true for all the characters in the epic. Even Yudishtra had his faults. As human beings, we are all fallible. To me, that is something Mahabharata teaches - to accept one's faults and learn to live with them.

Then the war. The havoc it causes. When there is no fairness in it (is there ever?). The inhuman side of it. How even good men lose a little of their soul in the killing. (Harry Potter and horcruxes, anyone?) The aftermath, that is worse than the war itself.

Above all, there is Krishna. The cushion that helps devotees when they land hard. Although, there is no sermonizing, far from it. A hindu fanatic might take a cudgel against her for writing Draupadi in such a light, with an improper yearning. But, it needs to be taken as a work of fiction. A fantastic one in that.