Sunday, 21 March 2010

And I guess the thorn bush did turn white ... well almost!

Fiction? Is reading fiction 'worth' it? What does one gain during the period of time which one spends reading those fictional stories? There ain't any knowledge, per se, that's assimilated as it is, at the end of the day, all fictitious, with any resemblance to any person, living or dead, purely coincidental. All one gets involved with is a make believe world, authored artfully by its creator. Nothing concrete like what one derives by reading history, politics, business or technology. So to speak!

With such a cynical attitude towards fiction I have shunned such writings hitherto and have enjoyed the dubious distinction of having read only a couple of books which deal with fictional stuff even though I am supposedly a voracious reader. Sounds ironical but then that's how it's been. But is this how it is to stay in the future? Well ...

Taking a break from my usual routine in a bookstore, I sauntered into the 'fiction' section with an aim to checkout the (now outdated) first installment of one of the best selling fiction series of all time, a story about a tender, rebellious belle and a brooding vampire - Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. The idea was born out of natural curiosity as I had just gotten over with watching the movie (yeah, usually it's the other way round - people read a book first and then watch a movie based on it .. but then ... eh!) and what I experienced while I went through the first chapter was surreal! Transported into an altogether different world where it rains a lot and vampires and humans can co-exist, I could actually feel the clattering of pattering rain. While partially it was due to the fact that I had watched it all in motion picture in the movie (and this aided the visualization), the other reason was the power of the pen that these crafted fiction-storytellers wield - ability to create a new environment describing every little detail with such precision that it all comes alive mixing and matching the moods and feelings of the characters therein. The real world shut out for me. I was hooked! And that's how I define entertainment - when you can block the mundane world out of your mind and get engrossed in what you are doing as 'entertainment'. Totally!

And now I guess I know why people read fiction - it 'refreshes' them in the true sense of the word. It eases the mind throughout the process as while reading fiction one only needs to fantasize. One does not need to analyse constantly as to what business deals have happened or how many dollars have been spent or why globalization is a relevant issue in the current scenario or why Caesar's mindgames were not very well comprehended by Pompey or why in Java do we have the concept of a final class that can not be inherited! Fiction sets the mind free -  all the braincycles can then be employed to the cause of building the character and trying to feel 'that' environment, trying to wonder about being a part of it and unleashing one's imagination as well as delighting in vicarious pleasure while one reads what the characters are upto. Fiction sets you free. And that's wholesome entertainment. So, while ignorance may be bliss, this one left me devoid of it!

This is not to say that fictional writing is dumb. It ain't. It does provoke one to think on issues, but in a not-so-mentally-taxing way unlike the above mentioned examples. For instance, the very first chapter of this book lends weight to the love-at-first-sight syndrome. While the debaters may argue, it does seem like a clear case of the lady getting immensely attracted to our vampire at first sight. What else do phrases like 'devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful', 'absurdly handsome' and 'voice like velvet' suggest? Or am I jumping to conclusions? Well I think I can answer that once I have read it completely :). (But I know I know - she's unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him!)

I guess the world of fiction, just got a new convert ,even before the thorn bush could turn white!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Blabbering after watching a nice flick!

A handsome actor. An exotic disease. Solid research. And a supporting cast that seems to be totally sensitive to those affected by this particular disease. That's the formula everybody seems to be following these days. Add terrorism to the equation and the whole thing becomes so 'socially relevant'!

But there's another perspective with which I would want to look at SRK's latest - My Name is Khan. Given that this movie was slated as a comeback vehicle for one of the most successful on-screen pair in Bollywood, and my favourite for that matter, I had huge expectations from this one. I am not a movie freak, generaly speaking, but this one I had to had to watch... and I 'grabbed' that opportunity on my Holi holiday when I was home with my family.

Basically a love story with various underlying themes, MNIK weaves into its plot an exposition on Asperger's Syndrome, the standard jehaad related theories and several subtle sub themes like that of a community coming together in times of adversity breaking religious boundaries... 

What stands out most in the entire drama is the depiction of a purist's version of romance - caring, focussed, adventurous, obsessive!

Teri kaali ankhiyon se jind meri jaage...

Enough mush! Shush!