Tokyo Cancelled!

And yayyy!!! I am at page number 255 of Rana Dasgupta's Tokyo Cancelled. I had picked up this book after a lot of deliberation and with a lot of expectations.
When I read the recap on the back cover, I was curious. Definitely, 13 passengers stranded at an airport, because of a snowstorm and each of them telling a story to while away time should be worth a read!
The reviews from various critics impressed me, even though people were comparing Rana's story-telling to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And my first GGM read was not impressive either. Maybe it is something to do with people like me, who are more into fast-paced thrillers (the Frederick Forsyth types) or about the timing (the previous month was spent reading the Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson non-stop). To cut a long tale short, the beginning was just short of a disappointment. The way Dasgupta's stories oscillate between the real and the surreal, cutting across boundaries of believable and unbelievable, possible and impossible made my interest wane. And I was sure this was going to join the ranks of Fountainhead and Enchantress of Florence that I could never complete the first time round. Or even the likes of Shalimar the Clown and A 100 years of Solitude that I would never complete.
But after nearly a month and a half of half-hearted reading, more for the lack of anything else to read that out of interest, I am warming up to Tokyo Cancelled. And over the last few days, despite my conscious resistance, I seem to be drawn into Dasgupta's web of improbability, of stories where people turn into stone and back, where men fall unbelievably and passionately in love with their own creations and such. Stories with dark or puzzling climaxes, ones that leave a lot to your interpretation.  

Then and now - my library experience

Rewind to the early 90's - a little library on the tree-lined streets of Jayanagar, run by an "uncle" who knew everything there was to know about the books that he had and in the process of running a library, introduced thousands of people to the joys of reading (including me) and an "aunty" who knew everything there was to know about the magazines. Together it was a family affair and we were all part of the extended family :)
Come Summer holidays and we, a gang of about ten 10-14 year olds would patiently wait outside the closed doors of the library atleast 15 minutes before opening time, exchanging and pre-booking books (read:striking deals) then and there.
And then, after what would feel like an eternity, "uncle" would come on his TVS, like a santa with a bag full of goodies (brand new Archie comics, the latest Hardy Boys adventure, the weekly edition of Sport Star). And a new bout of deal-striking would follow. Uncannily, in the end, everyone of us would be happy and content that we had the best deal :D
Fast forward to 2013...lives are busier, patience is a virtue, libraries are high-tech, have catalogs online and would be definitely happier and more lucrative if you do not find time to pick up your book.
How else would I explain my membership at an impersonal library chain, the fact that I look at the catalog online and pre-decide what to borrow, spend a total of 5 minutes in the library picking up a pre-decided, pre-booked book, notice neither the lady at the checkout nor a fellow member who is looking through the same shelf and probably shares the same reading habits as me.
And life goes on... :)

Being a Marwari groom

Ever wondered what it is the most unnerving aspect of being a Marwari groom?
While being stuffed with ridiculous quantities of sweets, having your shoes stolen by the brides sisters and being tricked into sitting on papads which make a prrrrrrrrrrrrrr noise (you know what that sounds like, dont you?) come close to fraying your nerves, there is one deed makes these more bearable:
The ghodi-pe-chadna experience. For all the confidence that a groom exudes, there is nothing more harrowing than trying to balance an already precaiously positioned sapha (turban) and its accompanying trinkets, manage the suddenly itchy sherwani and a fidgety mare and trying to climb onto it. There will, of course, be a lot of assistance from family and friends, who have been there, done that. They will help your left foot firmly into the stirrup and provide you a shoulder to balance, but in the end, it is you, Mr Groom, who has to make that one "elegant" move, lifting your right leg over the horses back and placing your rear onto the saddle and balance yourself upright, akin to a gymnasts landing. Ok, you might have not done it very gracefully, but the people around you will ignore it. Checkpoint 1- save.
And, it does not end there, because, there is the paparazzi that ironically your family has paid for. And the show begins...the baraat starts. The band/orchestra that moves ahead of you creating a racket, has weaned a lot of people from the warm comfort of their homes, onto the street to witness the spectacle of this smartly decorated fellow on a horse surrounded by 100's of well-dressed people dancing their crazy minds off. And with a Greater audience comes Greater responsibilties. How can a fellow, who is in the limelight (most likely for the first and last time in his life), be seen slouched on a mare, hanging on to the saddle, rein and god knows what for his dear life and dignity.
Ask me...I know it first hand ;)


2012 has been an exciting year with its ups and downs, with the ups outdoing the downs :)
January - the holiday season was over! But lets make it interesting by planning our first long vacation with Aadi. Sheetal and Aadi - does Shimla - Kullu - Manali interest you?
February - was travel. Delhi - Shimla - Kullu - Manali. Aadi saw and held "ice" for the first time in his life. I climbed a horse after 5 years (fortunately the horse was shorter this time around and saved me a lot of embarassment). The stunning drive from Shimla to Manali and the amazing vista's took our breath away.
March - Aadi's playhome days were over. Bye bye Chirantana!
April - Its time for my first promotion at Target, followed by everyone but me travelling to Rajasthan :(
May - I badly wanted to travel, a sort of a belated celebration...but do not. It's the final month of summer vacation and the "Kids" come down to Bangalore :)
June - Aadi starts formal school...this is much easier than we anticipated. We quietly celebrate our five years of marriage :)
July - Sheetal grows a year "younger" and yet another quiet celebration follows.
August - project Rajasthan begins with an implementation planned for October :) am absolutely loving it. Long train journeys with the kids...I'm superexcited...wait a I?
September - frantic planning for Rajasthan...and by now, I really am EXCITED :)
October - things fall apart...people drop out one after the other...finally it's only Aadi, Sheetal n me...painting Rajasthan red in a white qualis with a turbaned driver who treats us like royalty :)
November - Diwali, crackers and amazing food...A very happy and quietly satisfying Diwali.
December - yayyy!!!! My birthday is here...anyone who knows me well will know that I look forward to this day with childish anticipation right from New Year's. But then, I am now really a year older!
Aadi wins the Tortoise race at the Arena-2012 (ANPS Sports day for hte KG students) birthday present, albeit a little late :)
And as the year nears an end (pun intended), the cautious excitement over an apocalypse that never happened!