Lotus wild over sakura

Lost words finding a home....

Tie Me, Tease Me - Reese Gabriel Unlike the groundhog who did not see his shadow after he got his rickety ass out, spring had not come in for a long time to Col.H. Kinkweaner’s sexual game. Kinkweaner could not get it up, let alone seeing a shadow while hijacking an apple bottom at JC Penny. After those lame ass pills did not work, the Colonel decided to visit a sex shop owned by 'A Pimp Formerly Called Slickback(aPFCS'). And while the Colonel was trying on some pink furry handcuffs……

aPKCS:- Sir, pink ain’t your fucking color!

Col.H.Kinkweaner :- Huh....I think I wanna have sexual relationship...

aPKCS:- You a ho’! Coz’ I ain’t fuckin’ some old motherfucking ass!

Colonel:- Fuck you! You punk ass pimp! Imma need a tied up pussy.

aPKCS:- Please say the whole thing , sir. It is ‘A Pimp Formerly Called Slickback’.

Colonel: - Man this same ol’ bullshit! You better have an ass whupping insurance coz’ I’m gonna whupp you ugly ass!

aPKCS:- Bitch don’t start with me! I ain’t taking my pussy ass asking for a *sexual relations*

**( The Pimp Formerly Called Slickback hands the Colonel a DVD of ‘Tie Me, Tease Me’)**

aPFCS:- Watch this! You ol’ sonofabitch! Might bring some fucking kink in your lame ass weiner…

Colonel:- Whaaaaaaa……. Shiba-fucking whoooo…..

aPFCS:- Shibari…… It’s a Japanese art of knotting wet pussies…

Colonel: - Imma make my dick do some pussy ass piñatas!!!

aPFCS:- Look at you!! Ol’ bitchless sonofabitch wanking on those tied pussy piñatas like it’s your motherfuckin’ birthday. You need some hog-tie to make them bitches wet.

Colonel:- Whaaaa….hogtie!! Fuck you!! I ain’t fuckin’ some punk ass pig!! I like my ham dead and cut on my plate.

**( The Pimp now frustrated with the Colonel , kneels down to prayer)**

aPFCS:- Lord, please pray for the soul of this bitch. And, guide his dick to be hard. If ain’t getting any tied pussy, let him get some bigg-ass Viagra. Amen.

Colonel:- Look at you speaking all that good shit a second ago and now you pray on your ugly ass. FUCK YOU!! Its like calling 1-800- ass –whupping, Imma go get some tied up pussies on my own. Thankyou , Mr.Slickback.

aPFCS:- Did being bitchless made you deaf? Repeat after me. It’s ‘A Pimp Formely Called Slickback’. What’s gotten into you?

Colonel: - The same punk ass thing that’s gonna get into you. Imma make it do what it do!

Colonel Kinkweaner finally a saw a morning shadow and spring came early!!

The Sound of the Mountain - Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker

As the last smell of spring faded in a flowery envelope at a nearby bin, it was time to bid adieu to Shingo Ogata. I wanted to escape from his loneliness, as if it was mine to hold to; the prospects of designing uncharted ideas somehow enticed me more than Mr. Ogata. Unaware of my goodbyes, Shingo sat in his veranda, greatly immersed in a probability of a possible quarrel between the sparrows and the buntings nestled in the majestic gingko tree. All he heard was the peculiar yet familiar roars of the mountain. Why would he bother about me closing a page on him when he could hardly remember the name of the girl he saw in his dreams, last night.

Summer has gone; and the new window did not bring the joy I thought it would. The smell of fresh paint although quite endearing, still made me reminisce my old room. The walls are same but the paint is different, the furniture has changed a bit, and the only old thing in that room besides the clock is me. I wanted to meet Shingo once again. I yearned to dwell in his loneliness, hear Yasuko snore and see Kikuko weep silent tears because of Shuichi. Shingo made me wonder the thoughts that my wrinkles would bring some day. Would my facial creases read out my wisdom or scream my fear of being old and ignored? Will it be egotistic on my part if I let go the roles I play in my family and the society as a whole and for once shine in my individuality? From the very moment a child lets out a cry in midst of a joyous room, it enters a social stage where it plays numerous roles enmeshing the tribunals of life and finally death. And during those performances, behind those responsible masks, a mere human gets lost through the fuddles voices of helplessness. Mr. Ogata gifts these thought to me, when he himself reflects between the possibilities of benevolence, love and sadness.

“It was like the wind, faraway, but with a depth like a rumbling of earth..... He had heard the mountain. It was as if a demon had passed, making the mountain sound out”.

Shingo, a man in his sixties was still fighting the demons thriving in his life. Although married to Yasuko for decades, he could not bring himself to understand his wife and the marriage in its entirety. His heart belonged somewhere, to someone from his past. A true family patriarch (as seen in many Asian familial cultures), he donned the responsibility of cementing his family and his children’s life to a happy trouble-free structure. Yet, somehow on the path of playing the roles of a husband, a father and grandfather; Shingo stopped searching the true essence of being an individual. Unlike the gingko tree up in the mountain that puts out new leaves in place of its weathered typhoon marred branches, Shingo was afraid of the changes that his life years were bringing in. Kawabata delineates the landscape of Kamakura thriving on the cusp of Japanese modernization and the aftermath of WWII. The old generation makes way for the new and along with the reigning youth comes a vast package of new ideals and life style. The intricacies of arrange marriages that sometimes become more of carried social responsibilities rather than a lovable union. The secrecy of abortion, the pressure of a fertile womb, the pain and anger for a burgeoning fetus in a strange womb and the onset of divorce; was seeping into the traditions threatening the foundation of being a 'successful father'.

Shingo finds himself stuck between the “selfish bonds of his blood” and his loyalty to his family when he tries to comfort himself with the ending of Shuichi’s (his son) extramarital affair.

“Shingo was astonished at his son’s spiritual paralysis and decay, but it seemed to him that he was caught in the same filthy slough. Dark terror swept over him.”

Although Shingo’s loyalty was towards his children, he also felt an immense sense of guilt towards Kikuko (Shuichi’s wife), a woman who understood Shingo and his sentimentalities.

“In all his life no woman had so loved as to want him to notice everything she did”.

Kawabata crafts the relationship between Shingo and Kikuko beautifully on the cutting edge of sensuality and sympathy. Both the characters thrive separately in their miseries and still somehow in a bizarre way find a spiritual connection with each other, making the reader curious for the unheard. At times kindness becomes the nectar that saves from the trenches of loneliness. Maybe, Kikuko’s subtle pampering of Shingo’s needs and a most awaited ear to listen to his dilemmas, in some ways shielded Shingo from hearing the deathly roars of the mountain and marvel at the rows of blooming acacias.

“What had been killed by the war had not come to life again. It seemed too that his way of thinking was as the war had left it, pushed into a narrow kind of common sense...."

Kawabata metaphorically symbolizes the ending of the war with the conclusion of old and beginning of the new. With it comes the demise of youthfulness and the seclusion that overwhelms old age. The “ugliness of old age”, the desperate need to find refuge in death , the loss of will to live and the nakedness of dying while being loved rather than living without love ; it is all so disheartening. A reality that is far shoddier from being a mellow isolation. As the novels deepens into the torrid mind of Shingo, one can see the disabilities face by the aging generation with questions looming over them, whether being successful parents with happy families or the illusion of a rearing youth would make them senile or just a divine sanctuary from life’s tragedies.

"Turning a Noh mask slightly downward is known as "clouding," explained Suzumoto, because the mask takes on a melancholy aspect; and turning it up is known as "shining, because the expression becomes bright and happy. Turning it to the left or the right, he added, is known as "using” or "cutting" or something of the sort....."Children were precocious in those days. And a real child's face would be wrong for the Noh. But look at it carefully. It's a boy. I'm told that the jido is a sprite of some sort. Probably a symbol of eternal youth".


Kawabata symbolizes the embellished Noh mask as the symbol of eternal youth, a facet of life that haunted the characters in this book. One can cheat by dyeing the hair black or plucking white hairs, but as Shingo says, “the ugliness of old age is more horrid than adultery”. In a “marsh-like” arranged marriage where the wife automatically dissolves in her husband’s identity to become one solid societal structure it is sometimes better to “die when you still loved”.

Rather than putting Shingo as an operational actor in this novel, Kawabata deliberately lets Shingo’s perception about life and its nuances acts as the protagonists and making the psyche take the centre stage rather than the body. Similar to the solitary crow that descended on a naked branch on an autumn evening, mulishly waiting for spring to come and the great Gingko tree that shoots buds after a stormy night, Shingo Ogata stood tall through all the guilt, responsibilities and skepticism that life bestowed upon him.

Comprehending ‘Sound of the Mountain’ is like looking in the mirror. At the very first sight you see a visage generally viewed by people. And as you keep staring at the portrayed image, you start noticing the deep embedded colour of your eyes when it is lit amid the sun rays, the smallest freckle on your forehead, the imperfect mole on your cheek, the tapering end of your mouth that curves when you smile with sheer joy , the lines in between your eyes that deepen each time you frown and lips that are dying to mouth the word “crazy” while you keep staring into the mirror, and ultimately it hits you that the image of your face is full of stories and memories of the past and is never afraid to display new changes over the course of your life irrespective to your struggles to accept it. At first it may scare you, it may saddened you but, at the end it will make you understand the very nature of being YOU.


** Shingo and Kikuko portrayed by Japanese actors in Mikio Naruse aesthetically brilliant rendition of Kawabata's novel.

House of the Sleeping Beauties: And Other Stories - Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker “The aged have death and the young have love, and death comes once, and love comes over and over again”.

To love is a game of a brave heart. To die; a desire of a sullen heart; a definite verb for the inevitable. Akin to the broken heart sitting by the sea, pleading the waves to carry it like a child; the loneliness of old age seeks the black sleet of death. The “ugliness of old age” that whispered in ‘The Sound of the Mountain’, roars in this book like the stormy waves Eguchi hears as he nestles in supple breasts of youth. A virginal body of a maiden in the pristine state as the day she was born, slept peacefully as it teased Eguchi’s aged physicality. Day after day, the smell of the untainted youth in all its unfazed beauty, the warmth and the tenderness of an unpolluted woman brought a surge of sorrow in Eguchi’s empty existence. The symbolic virginal magnificence encompasses both the freedom of an unadulterated youth and the possibility of its violation.

Had he not come to this house seeking the ultimate in the ugliness of old age.....”

Why did it seem like Eguchi’s existence was somehow vacant? He had lived a full life, as living would be defined. Like Shingo (Sound of the Mountain), he was a father, husband and a grandfather and had his share of affairs, yet when he slept besides the naked ‘sleeping beauties’ hearing the ocean, a beauty whom he could not violate , Eguchi was claustrophobic by the chaos of his own emotions. What makes a man to lose the very being of his existence for a woman? Is a penile erection the only viable proof for a man’s existence? In the fight between the old and the young, at which point does a man find himself standing on the edge of humanity and inhumanity? Does the impotency of old age find an illusionary sanctuary in the potency of the youth?

True to his beliefs in Zen Philosophy, Kawabata puts the idea of ‘Shunyata’ (Zero); the emptiness that becomes necessary for a man to achieve freedom from emotional corruptibility. But, the author being known for his brilliance in the sinister caricatures of the deepest human sentimentalities uses his protagonists’ (Eguchi, Kikuji, Gimpei. etc...) minds as the prime internal sensitive organ by showing the desperation of achieving the ‘purity of life’ through haunting ideas of eroticisms and death. The menacing sorrow of loneliness suffered by all the actors in this novel comes from the emptiness of being unable to achieve the ‘unattainable’. To sleep like a child, serene, devoid of monstrous dreams is a novelty to a restless mind. To sleep with no dreams, no guilt, no trepidation; to sleep like the dead. The man who never knew the feeling of a tender, sweet sleep until, the warm, clean blood from a round and plump womanly arm flowed through his veins. However, in that blissful moment, the idea of his filth soiling the wholesomeness of another life form repulsed his existence at that very moment.

“The clean blood of the girl was now, this very moment, flowing through me, but would there not be unpleasantness when the arm was returned to the girl, this dirty male blood flowing through it?”(One Arm)

Through morbidness of death festers the thought of contemplative possession of death. In ‘Of Birds and the Beasts’, the misanthropic living of the protagonists, again reflect and urge to achieve the unattainable – purity of life in its true form. It seems that the birth of animals brought elation to the protagonists as it was an “untainted life”, with no mistakes and then when by putting the young ones with the old ones, the stark differences of life stages, brought certain viciousness to the permutation of events that made seem like a salvation from a foreseeable ugliness of life.

“Husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, the bonds were not easily cut even with the most unsatisfactory people”..... “On the other hand a certain sad purity in making playthings of lives and the habits of animals”...."

The commotion that arises from the man’s desperate need to breed and kill animals once again delineates the lingering theme of passivity of a vacant existence of human conscious that sometimes shatter the fine line between humane and inhumane environments.

What are memories? They are reflections of our past actions, the passivity of existence that metamorphoses into inexhaustible shame. Kawabata emphasizes on this factor of human mind to accentuate the relationship of an individual with the existential world. The reflections of our past, the mistakes of our life, always come running back at the brink of death. And then, how we desperately yearn for that impossible chance of grabbing our youth, even for a briefest moment, to relive a clean existence. An impossible chance to experience youth shamelessly. What if? The toughest part about life is living it. And, sometimes when I think about the possibilities of being marred by sorrowful loneliness for not having a full existence , I hide amongst the cerulean depths of the pool , avoiding to reach the surface, swimming for hours till I can no longer hear my thoughts. However, I crave to hear Kawabata even after the pages are closed because in his surreal depictions I find warm repose just like Eguchi did in the purity of the beauties.

Coming, all is clear, no
doubt about it. Going, all is
clear, without a doubt.
What, then, is all?

---Hosshin, 13th century.
The Lake - Yasunari Kawabata, Reiko Tsukimura

To the singing oars,
Jump the watery imp,
Moon-lit skies wake,
Tender palms aglow,
Lonely hearts to split,
Weeping willows below,
Cages with open doors,
Fireflies over the lake.

On a nearby tree, the screeching became louder with every passing minute. I knew it then, it was already past midnight. The bats were probably having a little party; for once their pairs of lustrous eyes were not being meticulously counted by a silly woman amid the flickering of the street light. I did not care about these nocturnal visitors; I was more fascinated with the valiant fireflies that nestled in monstrous human palms. The haiku of great poet Issa ran through my mind:-

Issa says:-
So quickly they join
the human goblins...

Tiny insects being chased by humongous strangers, trying to capture their splendor in a glass jar and as they glow in dark, gaze obsessively; till they glow no more. Behind the glass cage, as these fireflies flutter, radiating through their fears, smiles are painted as we take pleasure in their confined beauty. Is it then the beauty of our eyes that bestow upon the flies a claustrophobic existence, pleasing? What is it that drives human psyche to harbor a blinding compulsion of illicit beauty? Does a soul find an empty heart desirable? Do murderers find their hands beautiful? Does a sleeping man discover beauty in his nightmarish mind? Or, like Gimpei, is there a need to reveal ugliness of the body to rationalize the craving of a dream-like beauty?

“How many times in his youth had he told different lies because of his ugly feet?”....”Was the ugliness of a part of his body crying out, longing for beauty? Was it part of the divine plan that ugly feet chased beautiful women?..."

Gimpei likes to pursue strange, gorgeous ladies because similar to his athlete’s foot, the women keep coming in his path and never fade away. The surreal delicateness in a woman’s youth is ephemeral and Gimpei needs to embrace it by trailing his “angels” before he may misplace them forever. Gimpei followed the women to the theatre, the concert halls, in the school where he used to once teach, but with the exception of Hisako, he never stopped to talk to these strange pretty ladies as it would be the end of his hallucinatory paradise.

"One can’t stop and suddenly speak to a complete stranger, can one?......When it happens I could die of sadness. I feel somehow empty and drained...."

The glances of Gimpei’s memory are an ongoing charade of past and present; chronicling his lonesome and insufferable life. His stubbornness about not sharing secrets delineates the existential truth of secrets being the only personal and constant companion of a man in this transient world.

“Perfect awareness might exist in heaven or hell, but not in human world. If you have no secrets, it means that you don’t exist, that you are not living your life….. No human emotion can survive without them..."

See, this is why I love Kawabata, he speaks my genuine sentiments. Your secrets, your deepest scars belong only to you. You might lose an arm, you might lose loved ones, but you never lose your secrets. And when you become an open book, your life somehow amalgamates into someone else’s surreptitious world and you feel lost in their secrets, once again. Happiness sometimes perishes, but sorrows live on in the darkest corner of your heart.

Kawabata employs the ‘mono no aware’ concept, strongly. Similar to his [b:Beauty and Sadness|14029|Beauty and Sadness|Yasunari Kawabata|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327954071s/14029.jpg|1414440], he delineates the power of beauty that walks along the path of emptiness and lingering sadness.

The thought of her life savings being gone brought a momentary joy to Miyako; as if her life had avenged the ignominy of Arita’s hideous monetary compensation for Miyako’s lost youth, somehow restoring her dignity. The power of money came with the ugliness of being a mistress to an elderly man.

“The two hundred thousand yen was Miyako’s compensation for the loss of her youth-that brief flowering which she had wasted by giving her body to a half dead, gray haired old man.....When one loses the money one has saved, the very thought of saving is a bitter memory..."

By making a bizarre comparison of sucking his mistresses’ firm breasts to breast feeding in his mother’s warm arms, Arita found a respite for his nightmarish dreams. The loveliness of youthful breasts was marred by Arita’s despair of an unfulfilled motherly love.

“For only with a mother could the old man find peace of mind.”

The tranquility of a Turkish bath destroyed by Gimpei’s chaotic dreams, his arousing upheavals over his newly acquired obsession, the stillness of the lake disfigured by ghostly memories and his ever festering illusionary Athlete’s foot; made Gimpei fall even further in depths of self-loathing lies sinking in the “inky waves” of wretchedness.

“I want to follow them to the ends of the earth, but I can’t. The only way to chase a person that way is to kill him”.

Kawabata allows human emotions to escape the culpabilities through an abstract tunnel by entitling remorse to non-living objects. Hence, the reader can see Gimpei’s innate desire to pursue “angels” being weighed down by the guilt harboring in the inadequacies of his diseased feet. The frosty lake being the victim of Gimpei’s past and present regressions. The mono no aware concept reaches its climax with Gimpei questioning the compelling reality of one-sided love and Miyako experiencing a vague ecstasy when being followed by odd men. Here, we have a man who mixes the very purity of love with sinister passion and a woman who finds affection from her creepy followers; both these people sensing beauty from their repulsive occurrences.

Kawabata with precise erudition slips in the wabi-sabi theory of transience and imperfections.

“The world’s most beautiful is not always some towering green peak, but a vast, barren mound covered with volcanic ashes and rocks.”

To every beginning there is an unavoidable end. An attractive hand must accept the fate of someday being covered with nasty liver spots. To every thriving life there is death and to every beauty there is an awaiting decay. A clean existence is always muddled with clandestine stories. The beauty of prostitutes being robbed by the war, the infant for whom death would be a lucky escape, Gimpei’s women who would one day prefer being old rather than be stalked for their youth; Hisako momentary gifting Gimpei his first true happiness and the lake whose serene waters carry secrets of melancholic human corpses; are buried in the aesthetic core of impermanence.

Kawabata does not insist on liking Gimpei, Miyako, Arita,Hisako etc… ; he does not either seek sympathies for them . He yearns for the reader to perceive these actors for who they really are. Kawabata hopes that in order to avoid viewing flaws in the standing perfect picture, we stop squinting till our eyelids hurt. Even if the eyes are shut, the flaws still exists. The missed line, the shabby strokes, is what makes the painting comprehensible. Nothing last forever, nothing is faultless because perfection itself is a vibrant masquerade of imperfections. Let the night be dark without the radiance of fireflies, let the lake be silent even with floating scary images because some day the chase for a single firefly or the need for counting the eyes of screeching bats could be repulsive as a diseased foot. The advent of insanity.

“You fool! You fool!”


The ephemera of beauty and a prospect of leering blemish.

Chechnya: From Nationalism to Jihad (National and Ethnic Conflict in the 21st Century)

Chechnya: From Nationalism to Jihad (National and Ethnic Conflict in the 21st Century) - James Hughes **This review is particularly for Randy for he sweetly anticipates my perspective.**I will not evaluate this book per se. When politically acute manuscripts are grasped I refrain from viewing through its technicalities and focus on its erudite impetus. I do not give a rat’s ass to the author’s literary style or synchronization. All that matters is the articulacy of problematic inceptions that materialize from the printed prose.Chechnya, ‘Kurdistan’(varies with regional ethnicity),East Timor, Myanmar, Palestine terrains, Congo, Sudan and Kashmir; these are just few of the numerous explosive landscapes where life is celebrated every night as it may not be able to see the subsequent sunrise. As a woman who has matured among the recurrent news of the bestowed atrocities on Kashmiri residents and rebellious bloodshed propelled with a religious garb, I desire to yelp each disturbing question that churns in my agitated mind.1):- Is human life only valued on the basis of their birthplace, caste or religion?2):- What makes an individual resort to the utmost inhumane tactics engulfing every guiltless soul that come in the way of their "existential sovereignty"?3):- Why is 'free will' the merely valued gem of human existence abused with a deathly gusto?4):-Why is hatred spewed beneath the roofs of sycophancy and falsified harmonious assertions?5):- What is the root cause of the leeching terror that never seems to stop sucking blood from cores of unscathed living?6):-Why do we restore fear in the fearless (children), flinging them in an abyss of boundless nightmares?Chechnya found a prominent listing in my politically contested world through the dishonorable Beslan School Massacre(September 1,2004),when a group of Ingush and Chechen militants took more than 1000 people(including 777 children) hostage in a three-day fatal anguish ensuing 300 horrific deaths. While scrutinizing the repercussions of terror hostilities, the mass devastation blurs our senses to an abnormality of muddled judgments. I am not and never will defend any terror mechanisms; however through the pandemonium we tend to overlook the obvious-"thinking outside the box". Through all the denied allegations the truth of the flourishing power-mongers and tainted governmental operations cannot be washed away as it subconsciously sows the seeds of uncouth rebellion with a thirst for self-identity.In the late1980s during Gorbachev’s regime, Chechnya was one of the most politically stable secular parts of the Soviet Union.After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991; numerous regions sought independence establishing separate political systems. The Chechen-Ingush ASSR was split into two: the Republic of Ingushetia and Republic of Chechnya. The latter proclaimed the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, which sought independence. However, and then President Boris Yeltsin snubbed Chechen’s declaration of independence declining to accept Chechnya as separate republic. Speculatively it was inferred as ‘oil’ being the main element for Yeltsin’s denial; since a major pipe line carried the oil from Baku onto the Caspian Sea and from Chechnya through Ukraine. Frail egos, misgovernmental policies and refusal of peaceful agreements resulted in two brutal wars in the 1990s terminating into tormenting genocide. Since then there has been a systematic restoration and upgrading process, though sporadic fighting continues in the mountains and southern regions of the republic. Steady rise in religious radicalism, political violence and conflicting nationalist hegemony, led to terror insurgence embedded in the antithesis, jihad. Furthermore, Chechen resistance has been linked to Bin Laden’s demonizing repertoire of vengeance against the "West" making it one of the most litigious issues in international political inconsistency.Terror is an influential weapon used to attain egotistical motives in the cloak of religion; a devious cloak indoctrinating radical extremities in the feeble. When faith submerges in the unfathomable squalid of raging supremacy and audacious fervor, humanity dissolves in the reins of brutality. Consequently, how must a demarcation be set between legitimize use of violence confronting unethical governmental systems, imperialism and the exploit of terrorism against a justifiable decree? Or are they no resolutions to indispensable lessons learned from horrific conflicts hindering every nonviolent prospect. I vividly recount the BBC documentary on the Beslan outcome. From the profusely aired interviews of victims (dominantly children) and the Beslan populace, rancorous tones erupted from every uttered expression of revenge and atheist connotations seeking answers from deafened authorities for the bequeathed mayhem.It irks me immensely to be a voiceless spectator to the continuing Hammurabi-‘eye for an eye’ coded sadistic global cycle termed "justice".

If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans

If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans - Ann Coulter Why on earth does this woman even bother to write? What a squander of valuable print.

New Kids on the Block (Pop Music Stars)

New Kids on the Block!: Pop Music Group - Rosemary Wallner I was a gawky 10-year old besotted by Jordan Knight and insatiably humming to Hangin’ Tough & The Right Stuff. Hahahaa!! Cringe at the very thought of it now! Yikes!!

'AHistory of Reading by Manguel, Alberto ( Author ) ON Apr-07-1997, Paperback'

A History of Reading - Alberto Manguel Even though I am in the midst of reading of this book, every page is a passage to scintillating information. It clears the misconception of reading being restricted to literacy(books) and moves on to this unbelievable plethora of deciphering methods for gaining wisdom and knowledge. From primitive methods of reading faces,pictures to highly cultivated medium of materials, this book is not only an enlightment but also a wonderful gift to a hungry mind.


Rudin - Ivan Turgenev, Constance Garnett One of the few intense books i have enjoyed.

Postmodernism and China (A Boundary 2 Book)

Postmodernism and China - Arif Dirlik, Xudong Zhang The book is a collection of sixteen intensive essays edited by Arif Dirlik(a historian) and Zhang Xudong(prof.of comparative Chinese Lit.).The essays interrogate the ambiguity and relevance of post-modernity in China while debating the phenomenon as a cultural-political question. Post-modernism was introduced to the Chinese culture in the 1980s through Fredrick Jameson's :-'cultural logic of post capitalism'.Postmodernity brought a wave of radical change influencing the modus operandi of various disciplines of arts and literature. When a third world country is exposed to modernization there is a tremendous skepticism and resistance in accepting it whole heartedly.Even today with globalization roaring wild, many heritage rich countries see it as a Western or rather a bourgeois identity.Hence, it becomes necessary for the Western world to view the modernization of any third world countries from that particular country's perspective. The books starts with elucidating the fine line between modernity and postmodernity.Terming Modernity:- canonical&conservative while Postmodernity:-avant-garde progressive.Eventually, touching all the existing socio-economic aspects of mainland China and PRC dominant Taiwan and Hongkong; it concludes by rationalizing the Chinese post-modernism effect. Although informative, the writings tends to get repetitive and a bit dragging. It is more of a text book read.

Jobless in January: Johnny Smith

Johnny Smith (Jobless in January, #2) - Mara Ismine Monique Lerbier is my ultimate heroine. On knowing that her fiancée fathered a child with another woman, a forlorn Monique endures an extreme makeover. She walks off from her disloyal fiancée and her traditional family and flees to Paris. Coming into her own, the wild child dons a tomboyish attire, smokes, utilizes trance preparations, indulges into a bisexual acts through several lesbian mistresses and dances nights away at the local jazz clubs. Monique reeks of sheer rebellion and liberation, making her extremely enticing to me.La Garconne /The Bachelor Girl (English trans.by Alfred Knopf), is an engrossing story of Monique Lerbier. Set in the 1920s, it is the earliest lesbian fiction of the post-war(1917-1921) French literature. The original French manuscript includes 28-pages of colored stencil drawings by Kees Van Dongen; depicting the radical transformation of a gallant and independent fashionista. I treasured the portrayal of Monique by the classic French actress Marie Bell in the 1936 film adaptation. There are numerous fictional feminine characters I admire, but Monique is simply my true love.

A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone

A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone - Lansana Gberie I read this book as a part of my research paper couple years back. It is a definite must read. The literature is direct and brutal; seething with muddles of corrupt governing coerce powers, making life a burden in itself.

Wet Silk

Wet Silk - Joji Numata The narrative did start with the "oh-so-intriguing" mood when Gwen(the American Protagonist) develops this enthralling attraction towards Mieko and their numerous clandestine escapades, etc... Alas! after a while it got mundane with a high probability of guessing what would be scripted in the coming pages.Got me a little irksome with the sex antics being pretty tamed for my appetite.I immensely dislike when the mood swings from enticing to predictable.

Tales From Firozsha Baag

Tales from Firozsha Baag - Rohinton Mistry It is said that when the British left India, they gifted their mannerism to the Parsis. I do not know the authenticity of such whimsical statements, although I have never seen any community with such great degree of clear-cut decorum. Parsi is a Persian Zoroastrian ethnic community; a minority in the Indian sub-continent. In a religion conscious environment Parsis are the most –mild-mannered and according to my adolescent psyche aromatic individuals. As a child my pleasant memories of experiencing Parsi culture were those pleasant Sundays spent with an elderly neighbor. Dhun Aunty, as we would address her, would serve our hungry mouths with the most delectable savory dishes of meat and eggs. The spicy curries and rice with caramelized onions were devoured amid the lingering aroma of sandalwood and eau de cologne. Bowls of warm bread pudding with afternoon tea while laughing your guts outs to the antics of Laurel and Hardy would see an end to a wonderful soiree. It is where I learned to differentiate between Mozart’s Symphony. 40 and ‘The Blue Danube’ (although I’m still a novice to ‘C’ major or ‘G Minor identification) and browsed Wren & Martin before it became mandatory in school. Things have drastically changed now with increase in western urbanization and vast immigration to foreign lands, yet the authenticity of the culture can be experienced in certain residential colonies strictly built for the respected community.Firoza Baag is one such residential colony adorned by a three apartment buildings and filled with the quirkiest and amusing occupants one can come across. The 11 short stories brim with incidents that flatter the humdrum lives of its occupants or events taking place at a lazy hour that either might be life-changing or may just fade away into a speck of wistfulness. The stories trickle from hilarity to seriousness of bigotry and communalism that become a major part of a sub-culture. Subtle racism, cultural labeling and the insecurities prevailing over other influential communities can be seen throughout the book. This is quite a norm here in India where preference for “fair” skin tones and understated prejudices seep into daily life. The multifarious patterns of Bombay and its people through the lives of one community are comparable to listening to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ at a crowded train station. The concluding story “Swimming Lessons” sums up the entirety of this book as it juxtaposes facts and fictions and illuminates the brilliance of a writer called Rohinton Mistry. Words fail me when it comes to Mistry’s scintillating mosaic of inconsequential lives that seem to get lost in the crowd. He captures the nitty-gritty of one of the strictest religious community in Bombay through an array of lucid emotions and gentle compassion. Through his books I breathe the sweet air of my nostalgia and observe the frowning faces of strangers wondering the tale behind the wrinkle of their middling life. Rohinton Mistry, which is why I love your words so very much.

Red Sorghum

Red Sorghum - Mo Yan “With this book I respectfully invoke the heroic, aggrieved souls wandering in the boundless bright-red sorghum fields of my hometown. As your unfilial son, I am prepared to carve out my heart, marinate it in soy sauce, have it minced and placed in three bowls, and lay it out as an offering in a field of sorghum. Partake of it in good health.” Land is an altruistic asset. It belongs to no one; neither to its possessor nor to the ruthless capturer and not even to the industrious farmer who survives on its souvenirs; apathetic to worldly narcissism, does it shines in its benevolent vitality. If the land could speak it would spin tales of worship and treachery; if it could cry it would wail for the corpses cuddled in its core and one day, the red sorghum would desists from transforming into a fiery liquid, shying away, fearing the stark resemblance of the scarlet wine to the gory mayhem on its very land.“Start skinning! Fuck your ancestors and skin him!” shouted the interpreter." The Japanese commander says to skin him. If you don’t do a good job of it, he’ll have his dog tear your heart out”. The knife in the lonesome butcher Sun Five’s hand trembled as he begged Uncle Arhat’s forgiveness for cleaning his blood soaked body with cold water ; skinning the man alive like a cattle suspended on a hook. Sun Five breathed his last humanly air while he pierced the shining blade in Arhat’s moist dermis and somewhere between heart wrenching screams and primitiveness of exposed tissue; Sun entered sadistic chambers of hell. Killing and getting killed became a way of life to the citizens of Gaomi Township. Families slaughtered, men skinned alive, women raped, employed as sex slaves; it was a hemorrhaging mockery of the very land that took pride in its humanity. Death completes human suffering. Love and hate amalgamates into a vaporizing sensation dissolving the final string of civilization; life is overwhelmingly frightening. Was Arhat heroic for enduring horrendous tortures for being a faithful servant to his birthing land? The elongated sorghum stalks clapped through the swirling air welcoming the young, beautiful bride with the most exquisite golden lotuses (lily-feet) as the sedan braved the bronzed sweaty shoulders of its dancing carriers. Dai Fenglian was all of sixteen when her father married her of to Shan Bianlang , a rumored leper for couple of mules. As she traveled though the black soil of the sorghum field, the Northeastern Gaomi Township waited for its mistress. A quintessentially docile daughter like many other Chinese girls;Dai endured the agonizing foot-binding ritual – a cultural norm during feudalism, primed herself for a marriageable suitor and lived a sheltered life. Dai was a fearless soul defying the authoritative patriarchal society. She dared to love Yu Zhan’ao- the young sedan carrier; took over the wine distillery after Shan’s death, tricked Spotted Neck-a local bandit from raping her and solely inspired the vengeance of Arhat’s death by pledging to the God of Wine. She gave her life a rebellious possibility charting its own consequences and eccentricities. Was she heroic after all in her succinct existence? Did her pleading to the heavens for her life make her any less a victor? “Is this death? Will I have never again see this sky, this earth, this sorghum, this son, this lover who has led this troops into battle? My heaven you gave me riches, you gave me thirty years of life as robust as red sorghum. Heaven since you gave me all don’t take it back now. Forgive me, let me go. Have I sinned? Would it have been right to share my pillow with a leper and produce a misshapen, putrid monster to contaminate this beautiful world? What is chastity then? What is the correct path? What is goodness? What is evil? You never told me, so I had to decide on my own. I loved happiness, I loved strength, I loved beauty; it was my body, and I used it as I thought fitting. Sin doesn't frighten me, nor does punishment. I'm not afraid of your eighteen levels of hell. I did what I had to do, I managed as I thought proper. I fear nothing.”Dai saw the sorghum grow in her fields frolicking in the sun, standing tall in the rain and yielding the fiery scarlet wine after its harvest. Were the chaste crimson sorghum stalks Gaomi’s heroes?“The glorious history of man is filled with legends of dogs and memories of dogs; despicable dogs, fearful dogs, pitiful dogs”. Yu Zhan’ao was a man of many traits; a gambler, murderer, adulterer, a lover, a father and eventually a hero in the anti-Japanese revolution. A bastard that he was dearly loved Douguan’s mother and stepmother. Yu Zhan’ao was a man of integrity. He obeyed Dai like a diligent soldier in the 1939 Black River Massacare to avenge the death of many of his people. Yu was the triumphant idol now, one who lived like a pitiful dog nevertheless, fought like a ferocious animal claiming victories on his perished land. But, the nakedness of his vacant heart froze his heroic endeavors in the frosty graves of his loved ones.Mo Yan’s metaphorical saga nostalgically maps heroic virtues through the landscape of his hometown of Northeastern Gaomi Township; a paradoxical ground that once flourished in prosperity of human grit and kindness was now a cauldron of heinous crimes howling at the ill-fated blackened cinders. Gaomi was plagued just like its former resident Shan Bianlang perishing in its own pitiful existence."At one time the site had been a wasteland covered with brambles, underbrush and reeds; it became a paradise for foxes and rabbits. Then a few huts appeared and it became a haven for escaped murderers, drunks, gamblers, who built home, cultivated the land and turned it into a paradise for humans driving away the foxes and wild rabbits, who set howls of protest on the eve of their departure. Now the village lay in ruins; man created it and man had destroyed it. It was now a sorrowful paradise, a monument to both grief and joy, built upon ruins." The accentuated elegiac impression of the appalling devastation, reeks of imperialist nihilism; irony of human ambitions. We construct houses; raise our families merely to see them being annihilated by outsiders sheltering their own. Yu Zha’ao questioning the dying Japanese combatant about the existence of his family and whether he loved them, and if so why would he guiltlessly slaughter their ( the Chinese populace) kin ;cites the anguish of two men – one on his death bed and the other fretting his own death; slamming bullets in his wounded chest. Mo Yan’s symbolism of life and death surpasses the familiar grounds of human hostilities delineating the sarcasm of the rising red sun flying high on the Japanese flag whilst it eclipses bleeding the Chinese frontiers. The red sorghum wine that once got its peculiar scrumptious taste from Yu’s urine, now, seeps into the ground serenading its distillers. Mo Yan bleeds his deepest sorrows through the verses blurring the lines between the past and present depicting the end of feudalism and the rise of Japanese imperialist incursion. The laudable tale chronicled by Dai Fenglian’s third generation embarks on the end of the Japanese invasion during WWII following an anti-Japanese ambush by Commander Yu. It spans from the 1929- the first year of Republic wandering all the way through the Cultural Revolution; witnessing inhumane crimes of rape, slaughter and numerous horrendous war crimes. Mo Yan underplays the political aspects of the Japanese-Sino war putting human life on a valuable didactic dais. He diligently scripts history through the eyes of his villagers and their kin; the desolation of loss and the emptiness that chases a rewarded vengeance. The veneration of the ancestors, as every descendant has a generation that endured darkness darker than hell. The idea of colonial power – act of imperialist pursuit of a nation, itself is a cowardly act. Slaughtering the fearless and ambushing agricultural lands; how can one take pride in destroying lives while trying to improvise their own? And in the end, the acquisition of land is futile if all it gives are the graves of blameless souls. The concluding passage of the novel delineates the narrator’s resentment of importing “hybrid sorghum” into the Gaomi’s fields spoiling the authenticity- undesirable outsiders. I speculate whether the Hainan sorghum stalks was an allegory to Japanese establishing naval bases on Hainan islands in South China Sea; blocking outside communication in China necessary of arms import and related materials or was it to signify that bastard children of Japanese descents were undesirable in China. The disdain of the vulgarity in hypocritical affection by the urban societal dogma shows the loss of harmony in acknowledging noble sacrifices.“Heroes are born, not made. Heroic qualities flow through a person’s veins like an undercurrent ready to be translated into action."Yan’s heroes are not Mao’s preferred comrades but ordinary people who fight for their survival in most corrupt yet heroic ways. They are unconventional, passionate, rebellious and brave; they may not have inherited monetary affluences, but demonstrated mutinous arrogance and undying grit.“This was a great victory..... China has 400 million people. Japan has 100 million. If 100 million of us fought them to death they’d be wiped out, but there’s still 300 million of us.”Dai- who dared to love a bastard and stand up for her rights, Yu Zhan’ao- who never let his pitiful surrounding hamper his audacity, Passion- who braved the horrendous sex crime, Douguan – for being an honorable at a young age, Douguan’s wife- who got her first period while hiding in a cave embracing her death brother, Uncle Arhat- for being loyal to his kin and enduring the agonizing torture, Sun Five – for sacrificing his human existence for sullied lunacy and numerous other citizens of Gaomi Townships and above all the very earth where the deep-rooted sorghum still bow to blazing sun; all of them are heroes. They rebelled against feudalism, poverty, love, abhorrence, imperialism and most of all human greed. Approximating the demeanor of the bold sorghum stalks, they stood tall and when autumn befell they sacrificed their world saluting the heroic spirit of Gaomi Township."....The yang of White Horse Mountain and the yin of the Black Water River, there is also a stalk of pure-red sorghum which you much sacrifice…wield it high as you re-enter a world of dense brambles and wild predators. It is your talisman, as well as you family’s glorious totem and a symbol of the heroic spirit of Northeast Gaomi Township!" Yan’s characters are not judged by their individual demeanor but by their cohesive valor. Therefore, I chose to do the same. I let go of all those prejudices of several Goami’s residents and recognized the obvious. The text is bounded by nameless heroes who drank their wines and never kowtowed to the Emperor in Japan’s holy war.New wine on the ninth of ninthGood wine from our labour, good wine!If you drink our wine,You'll breathe well, you won't cough.If you drink our wine,You'll be well, your breath won't smell.If you drink our wine,You'll dare go through Qingsha Kou alone.If you drink our wine,You won't kowtow to the emperorOn the ninth of ninth you'll go with meGood wine, good wine, good wine!**(the song taken from the namesake film by Zhang Yimou)Every now and then when reading a remarkable book it becomes crucial to pen copious notes; precious to be wasted on an epigrammatic appraisal, making it even harder to articulate the treasured sentiments. So, without thinking much, I decided to pour my heart out, just as Mo Yan.

Geisha: Women of Japan's Flower & Willow World

Geisha: Women of Japan's Flower & Willow World - Tina Skinner, Mary L. Martin My fascination with Geisha enhanced with this gorgeous book illustrating the enigmatic and exquisite world of Geisha, principally in Meiji era when they were a vital part of Japanese society. The skillful and ultra-feminine stride of these alluring women is depicted amid beautifully crafted pictures in a rich layout clarifying every myth and misconceptions associated with them. I am simply enamored by these exotic creatures.

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