Of late I have been in a ‘explore music’ mode. Please leave the link/title/audio of a song that you like/that immediately comes to your mind in the comment box as I so want to listen to and appreciate what others like and are listening to. A link or a mere mention of the song should suffice. However, a brief introduction to the specific charm of the song for you, if added to the comment, would make it all the more interesting for me. Would appreciate if it is just one song. Language, mood, country, genre, instruments no bar at all! I do wish to write a post on the songs that I receive from you. Thanks in advance for paying attention!
Hoping to ‘listen’ from you!
You would know if you have spent a night all by yourself in the countryside. How the dampening moonlight quivers around the eyes while delivering to the ears packets of rhythmic noise from a wedding party on miles away. In the lonely sheet of helplessness where you lay uneasy, these parcels recreate the many weddings you have been to in the past. So, the groom must have arrived and his feet must have already been washed. The guests must be feasting somewhere close by. The band must still be playing for the over enthusiastic friends of the groom. One of these would shake a leg to the whiskey in his head. The percussion strikes all too gently for its intensity and its distance. Listening to it you relish the charm of being by yourself. Loony bird nights.
Feels like a street say from somewhere in a dusty town, The sun has set. The street is fast emptying while you continue staring at it from the street side bench. Chill sets in quietly and the hands reach for the warmth of the trouser pockets. You wish that the town permitted you a night out on the street without anyone questioning or offering shelter. You wish one of the home-bound vendors could take you along for a meal and his biography. Tales of his white female buyers would be delicious dessert. The vendors leave, the bench begins to hurt and you get up only to find a reason to go back. To that pending assignment or to that regular TV show.
You are awake on a rainy midnight and are in a hotel room close to the sea. Sleepless and aroused you think of the book to read, Turn a leaf and dream aloud yet again. A sea is so much about life and warmth. Yet you don’t have access to any of it. May be because you don’t belong. But the scene from the window tells me that the ones who belong too are leaving for their huts. Their baskets and stands rolled up in one. Who does the sea belong to then if it has to spend the night on its own. May be I am only being jealous of people who don’t really own the things I am now yearning to own. Doesn’t everyone go to sleep night after night? Leaving the groom and the bride, the dust and the bench, the hotel and the beach-all to themselves?
I woke up today to lingering thoughts of this lovely poem that I read a long time ago. Not far behind was the flash of the brilliant Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin thriller that draws its name from the very first line here.
Hope you will enjoy reading it yet again! Keen to hear about what you feel reading it!
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
In the dark of this broken street let me say to you. Let me say to you that at the end of the street would face us a deserted mansion. In case you were willing to walk along that far, we sure could unlock that rusty iron gate and clear the cobwebs. While you would light a lamp I could make some fire, brew some tea and we could talk some politics. While you would play with the burnt wick, I would stitch together some old poetic thoughts into one. You would be entertained I guess if offered to gaze at the overcast monsoon sky while braving the humidity and the cricket’s noise.
A monsoon evening leading to a rainy night is no plain an evening. It is the precursor to a lot of dreams, a pile of self-pity and a bunch of romance all entangled into one. I am sure you won’t mind helping me straightening some of that, sitting on the terrace. At midnight we would make some bed and talk about how huts are made with straws, of how ghazals are written and of how lovely do little baby frocks look in old black n white photographs.
At dawn we would snuggle, make some space for dew to settle down. In the embrace would I tell you how lovely things are on a rainy day that ends with an embrace the day after. Are you coming?
The plot of the second novel by Hogashino revolves around the investigation of a ‘murder by poisoning’ case of Yoshitaka, a reasonably rich Japanese man. Married to the pretty woman that Ayane is, Yoshitaka is in an extramarital relationship with Hiromi, his wife’s pupil assistant at the patchwork training school run by her. The novel opens to the reader with a feel of the apparent discord and unease that has crept in the fabric of Yoshitaka and Ayane’s married life. The Ikai family comes to the couple’s house for a party following which the wife leaves for her parents’ place in Sapporo for a break. After she leaves, Hiromi meets Yoshitaka and the following day he is found dead on the floor in his house. Kusinaga, the detective from Tokyo takes on from here and investigates the case with his assistants Utsumi and Kishitani. It is established that the man has been killed by poison in his coffee. The wife and the paramour both emerge as the suspects. Interestingly it so happens during the course of the investigation that Kusanagi, the detective gets enamoured by the beautiful wife and his observations are subsequently guided by this feeling he develops for the woman who is a suspect in the case. The remaining plot is further foray into the investigation during which arise some necessary and emotional and at times not so necessary and not so emotional situations before the murder mystery is cracked.
In my opinion, the strength of a novel or of a film lies in the ability of the writer or the director to conceal to the extent possible the design of the work from the reader and the viewer. What adds to the mediocrity of a work is its manifest attempt at explaining situations and justifing the occurence of events or continually relating one event with the other so that reading the novel becomes a major exercise in nothing else but connecting the dots. In the process, the reader loses the essence of the larger aesthetic that the author has in mind. I found Salvation of a Saint to be precisely such a case. The author says almost everything through his characters. This approach frames the characters very well as we get to know who they are and their personalities stay with us. At the same time this approach makes reading the novel a mechanical exercise if one may call it that. A lot of ink is spent on the ‘thinking aloud’ characters. Consequently the author fails in painting the canvas where his characters stand as wonderfully drawn sketches. Undoubtedly the novel has a good plot and makes for an interesting reading. There is much that goes missing in the detailing of things not so necessary, of dialogues not so pertinent.
Lastly, Salvation of a Saint is a translated piece and hence a comment on its language might end up being unfair. Yet it may be pointed out that it makes for an ordinary reading of what could have been a brilliant thriller. Despite these shortcomings, Salvation of a Saint does moderately succeed in keeping the reader glued till the end. It is in my opinion a sincere attempt at targeting a readership that has predetermined ideas of what a ‘murder mystery novel’ should be and hence fails to break new ground.
The blue of my jeans and the red of my shirt do not talk to each other. Forced to temporarily inhabit the residence that is my body I see that they squirm and tease each other all the time. They lay claims to inheriting my liking of colors as I am sure they did somewhere hear me saying “I love the red of the roses and the blue of the skies”. Made to share space, I see them caught in a relationship that is characterized to say the least by rivalry, by dissent and by mutual distrust- as if siblings in a moment of feud. Only at the belt area do they meet occasionally and peripherally. Never seen them sharing a hug or a lighter moment. Whatever one says of the therapies of touch and massage, the fact remains that touching also is one of the most irritable things to do.
The black of my hair and the brown of my shoes do talk to each other. Just that one cannot hear much of the other. Placed distantly they look up to and look down on the other. The color from the hump of some camel feels proud of its origin and the one from the shackles of a long incarcerated convict’s cell reeks of pity, disgust and suffocation. The two come close when I kneel to tie the laces. It is then a stream of my locks falls to the shoe and caresses it momentarily. However romantic that moment, the fact remains that the ones residing above can hardly be in love with the ones who are dragged endlessly on dusty muddy floors.
The brown of my right hand talks to the brown of my left. They meet, shake hands and share their day-to-day happenings like good friends, like neighbors who rarely quarrel. Why and how is such a relationship possible? I think it is because of their even handedness, because they belong to the same domain of the residence. One does not have a point to prove to the other. They know what they do and where they come from. I do believe that all working relationships where partners from uneven platforms are involved seem to work only because one of them is either unusually appreciative and understanding of the esteem or of the plight of the other. It often does not make sense to see relationships as a game of give and take. At times things just are. I however do not believe that relationships aren’t possible between two unequal, or between two ‘different’ individuals. They are. But when they come into being, the compassion and the pity, the tolerance and the accommodating nature of one over the weaker, poorer other cannot be left unmentioned leave alone highlighted. C’est La Vie? What do you think about it?
Devdutt Pattanaik is currently the Chief Belief Officer at the Future Group. His website introduces him as an author, speaker, illustrator and a mythologist which to me sounds like the coming together of an extremely interesting set of professional skills. His latest book is a most welcome contribution to the exposition of issues that ail the modern discipline of Management. Business Sutra involves a very serious and painstaking effort on the author’s part to bring to light the differences in the approaches to business and its management across cultures and belief systems. Pattanaik considers the mythology of a people to be the central axis around which their beliefs, behaviour and consequently their ways of doing business revolve. The primary argument he seems to put forth is that in order to make sense of the metaphysical as well as the practical worlds of a people, one needs to be careful of the mythological background that nurtures these worlds. In order for the discipline of Management to be truly what is aspires to be, such approach is indeed beneficial. By a ‘Very Indian Approach to Management’, Pattanaik aims to trace ‘Western ideas’ to ‘Indian vocabulary’ so as to present an altogether different context to situate the relevance and the applicability of those ideas.
The book has three main sections. The first of these deals with connecting belief to business. In this part the author quite convincingly tries to lay to rest the many debates that the very title of the book is likely to engender. The second section is titled “From Goal To Gaze” where he brings together the Western, Chinese and the Indian historico-philosophical systems of thought to conclude that:
“Indian thought yearns not for an efficient way like Western thought, or a more orderly way like Chinese thought, but an accomodative and inclusive way”.
While discussing the mythology that informs the Indian way of life, the author does not restrict himself to the Hindu scriptures but gives due attention to Buddhist and Jain sources where classical scriptural sources from Sikhism and Islam (most importantly Sufism) are left out. The Indian way to do business is not to chase wealth but to let it come to you thanks to the Indian’s unique relationship with Lakshmi- the Goddess of wealth. The Indian mind according to him is not obsessed with making sense of prevailing chaos and ordering ones’ life to achieve harmony with nature. Instead the Indian mind is comfortable with this chaos and does not consider one point of view to be the only point of view or the truth.
The third and the largest section of the book details the Business Sutra where the author discusses the topic along five sub chapters i.e. Kama’s vision statement, Drishti- observing objective reality, Divya Drishti- observing subjective reality, Darshan- observing the subject and finally Yama’s balance sheet.
The book relies on a substantial review of literature ranging from Sociology of India, Anthropology, History and other Social Sciences. Management in his view is a western science is and is deeply rooted in Greek and Biblical sources. Pattanaik seems well aware of developments and debates in sociology and social theory and introduces the ideas and tenets of Positivism, Weberian modernism, Structuralism, Orientalism and Post colonial thought in very subtle and lucid ways. On that account the book is to be rated very highly as it touches upon crucial debates on the ways and the categories through which Indian society has been hitherto understood both by the Orientalists and Indians themselves. The book is written very simply and the numerous lovely sketches produced throughout the text aid in summarizing the key points presented.
Pattanaik’s discussion of mythological characters remains largely restricted to Sanskrit-North Indian- Brahmanic-Scriptural sources. There is little evidence in the book to suggest his understanding and appreciation for the oral narratives, for the folklore and mythologies from other parts of the country. Epics like the Silappatikaram, Thirukkural and characters like Kannagi and other local, classical or vernacular traditions remain untouched. This lacunae however should be taken more as a limitation than a drawback of this impressive contribution. Readers interested in Indian mythology and the historical development of the discipline of management in the west as well as in its fate in the Indian subcontinent will find the book very interesting.