A Tale Of Two Brothers – R.K.Narayan And R.K.Laxman

NOTE: I know you all must be confused as to why I am posting old posts now? Well, these are posts from my erstwhile blog (sounds so royal) and I have had people read them last year. But to my new readers, these are fresh posts and I don’t want them to miss out on any book related posts 🙂 So I will be re-posting random blogs, which some of you might have already read.


Today, 10th October happens to be the birthday of one of the most prominent literary figures in India – R.K.NarayanI am pretty sure that if you grew up studying in an English medium school, you couldn’t  possibly have escaped his stories in the curriculum. Or at the very least, you couldn’t have missed watching Malgudi days on TV and going through stories so wonderfully penned by him.

I can also proudly say that Indian literature in English would be incomplete without his contributions. From what I have read of his works and remember, his prose was simple. I think he was a keen observer and this very fact reflected in his characters. Even a small character in his stories or novel, left an impression on you. His books were my constant companions and I borrowed and re-borrowed them from my school library, hiding them in between my textbooks and reading them voraciously. It was compulsory to write book reviews of any book borrowed and I gleefully penned my thoughts in immature style, thinking of stepping into his shoes one fine day! 😉

If what I am writing doesn’t make any sense to you, read his Malgudi Days and Swami and Friends. Highly recommended. This will give you the hang of his writing style and you can then proceed to pick up his other works from the nearest bookstore. Here is a video of Malgudi Days, which was aired on TV. The music gives me goosebumps because of the high nostalgia content!!!

The house that R.K.Narayan was born in, also saw another genius (albeit of a different kind) in his younger brother – R.K.Laxman. He will be celebrating his 93rd birthday on 24th October. This powerhouse of talent is one of the most popular cartoonists in India. Long back, I read an interview about him. I remember that he likes the Ambassador car and the crow is his favourite bird. Many of his doodles have crows and brilliantly portrayed at that! Read more about his fascination with the bird here. He also doodled illustrations for his brother’s books. Talk about collaboration 😀

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

His creation of The Common Man gave a glimpse of political satire and political humor or simply humor in general. A common feature in the national daily, the creation was also a part of a current tele-series. Here is the YouTube video of the series based on his Common Man.

The day I began reading the newspaper, I started with the Common Man cartoon ‘You Said It’ printed on the very first page. Only then did I proceed to read the headlines and the inner pages. At first, I couldn’t make the heads and tails of what is this guy trying to convey! Gradually, the satires started making sense. In brief, I have grown up with his creation and got my lessons in politics from the same. Because the topics depicted in them were all based on the current issues, my G.K. was also quite up to date. Thankyou Mr. Laxman! 🙂

Wishing these two geniuses a very happy birthday 🙂

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My Childhood Was Shaped By Enid Blyton

NOTE: I know you all must be confused as to why I am posting old posts now? Well, these are posts from my erstwhile blog (sounds so royal) and I have had people read them last year. But to my new readers, these are fresh posts and I don’t want them to miss out on any book related posts 🙂 So I will be re-posting random blogs, which some of you might have already read.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

The day I started blogging on WordPress, I have been meaning to write about Enid Blyton. The famous English children’s author was introduced to be by a dear friend. She gifted me a book of stories and then the Enchanted Wood – the first book in the Faraway Tree series. Two books were not enough to satiate the budding reader in me. I yearned for more and more. I borrowed them from friends, libraries, bought them and did whatever it took to absorb the finesse with which she used to write the books.

My British vocabulary developed rapidly and I was always confused as to why people around me did not speak in the same English as to what I read in the books! Why Dinner was not Supper  and how come little kids were packed Tea for picnic!! Also, why Cross was a word used instead of Angry? Why why why? It was quite a hilarious affair, now that I look back at it 😀

I loved to read her St.Clare’s and Malory Tower series. Based on boarding schools, these books made me value my friends, school and teachers even more. I laughed with the books and I was immensely inspired to work hard like the girls did, to come up with good grades year after year. I also loved her Five Find Outers series more than the cliched Famous Five or Secret Seven!

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Even now, when I visit bookstores, I discreetly comb through the kids section to check out some of her work and give a quite hi5 to the child in me 😀 It is really soothing to touch the spines of books in person although the new editions make me cringe!

I am really sorry for the children who miss out on her epic collection and stay afar from the joy of reading one of the purest forms of children’s literature. I am sure that there are parents, uncles and aunts and even teachers, who keep the tradition alive by introducing her work to kids. But on a large scale, many of them have no clue as to who she was.

To me, she will always be one of my first English teachers – albeit, virtually 🙂

Here is a guest post by Adi talking about her love for the author and her books.

The Epic Reads Tag

Ravenclawsam nominated me for the Epic Reads tag. Thanks Sam for the tag as I am always up for these QandA writing prompts 😀 Here are the questions, which I will answer for her. But before that, I would like to state that I am keeping the nominations Open For All. Feel free to answer these set of questions in your blog if you wish to and give me a pingback 🙂


Question 1: If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

R.K. Narayan would be an author I would love to have tea with. I love his character Swami in Malgudi series.I would serve them Gujarati Farsaan (snacks) and coffee 😉 Om Nom Nom.

Question 2: What book do you wish the author would write the prequel for?

There are so many…such as The Book Thief, which I am currently reading. It will be interesting if the classic books such as Pride and Prejudice also had their prequels written.

Question 3: Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

Rudy Steiner from The Book Thief and Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia. Feisty and full of life both of them 🙂

Legolas from Lord of The Rings and Fleur from Harry Potter can also be a remarkable couple ❤

Question 4: If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them who is it and what would it be?

Khaled Hosseini is one of my favourite authors and I would just mutter “Please write more frequently for us readers.” 😀

Question 5: What book made you a reader and why?

I would say, my parents made me a reader by reading to me at every opportunity that they got. That too when I was maybe months old only. So, this question does not hold valid for me 😉

Question 6: Your bookshelf just caught fire! What is the one book you would save?

My Harry Potter Box set.

1 set. 7 books. Endless memories to rekindle forever.

I can always buy the rest later. But the box set is my precioussssssssssss 😀

Question 7: Which dystopian world would you want to live in and why?

Lord Of The Rings, under Sauron. It is dark, it is magical. Period.

Question 8: What is your most Epic Read of all time?

Till now, it is A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donelly. I have yet to find a book that can topple this one. The Book Thief + A Thousand Splendid Suns are a close second followed by A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam.

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 30

Day 30: Which are some of the places from where you get your books from?

I usually purchase my books from:

Crossword Bookstore

Landmark Bookstore

Airports/Railway Stations

Order online from Flipkart and Amazon, Indiaplaza and Homeshop18

Book fairs that sell slightly damaged books at dirt cheap rates!

I also get books as gifts. The best gifts ever isn’t it 😀

I also used to borrow them from The British Library but have not renewed my membership this year.

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With this, the challenge comes to an end. 🙂 Tadaaaa.

 

 

 

 

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 29

 

Image Source: Pinterest, Tumblr

Image Source: Pinterest, Tumblr

Day 29: A line that had immense impact on you as a person?

To be honest, I am forgetful. But this line, really had me captivated for the longest time:

“There is only one sin. and that is theft… when you tell a lie, you steal someones right to the truth.” – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner.

 

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 28

 

Day 28: What book are you currently reading?

I am currently engrossed in Marley and Me. I am reading it since a week…and I have managed to reach page number 172/400+ (the fonts are HUGE). This is sort of my resolution…to read at least a couple of pages each day so that I can finish of a number of unread books on my shelf and get started with those suggested here on my blog 😀

Which book have you buried your nose into of late?

 

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 27

Day 27: Best Horror Story Read Till Date?

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. It is a story in one of his books and I read it when I was as young as 8. The story still gives me shivers. You can read it here.

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 25 and Day 26

Again, because the questions are on the same lines, I am clubbing them.

Day 25: A Book You Have Struggled To Read

That would be all those crappy work by authors I refuse to name. Especially the one about an Indian Vampire…it is the author’s first work and it might have a sequel to it. Gulp. It was gleefully donated away. With no trace of sorrow or longing on my face :-/

Day 26: A Book That Was A Breeze

The Animal Farm. Short, simple and so much to learn from. Loved it to the core. 🙂

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 24

Day 24: Best Fairytale You Have Read

I have literally grown up on fairytales. In Bengali, they are known as Roop Kotha. The kings and queens, the prince and princesses and so on…were so real that I started believing that they actually existed sometime in the recent past! Again, it is challenging to name just one of the fairytales that I have come across.

Thakumar Jhuli , which is a collection of folk and fairy tales in Bengali is my all-time favourite. I lost the original copy though … 😦 I just love, love, love the book. Feeling nostalgic already 😀

I am not marketing it…but the English translation is available on Amazon 😀

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 23

Day 23: Best book that has been recommended to you

Almost a decade and two years ago, I was recommended a book.

It was by someone who was four years my junior and she was as nerdy/geeky as I was. We often discussed books, lived in the make believe world of Enid Blyton. As we lazed in an idyllic summer holiday, she mentioned that she is reading about this book, where they live in a completely different world. That of Magic. That they play this weird game called Quidditch. That they drink Butterbeer and get sorted into Houses.

As you might have guessed by now, I was recommended Harry Potter. 🙂

 

 

 

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 22

Day 22: A book that was turned into a movie and you were appalled?

Vikas Swarup’s Q and A, which was made into Slumdog Millionaire. The movie is great on its own but I liked the book more. The plot also changes a lot in the movie and that made me cringe, a lot.

The next would be The Princess Diaries. Nope Nope Nope. Utter disappointment. All the best parts were gone just like that. Poof. :-/

 

 

 

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 20 and Day 21

Note: Just because the tone of both these challenge questions are quite similar in nature, I have clubbed them into one. Brace yourself, winter is coming this post will be a tad bit lengthy. 😉

While I was scouting for the best ones to put forth, I was literally drooling by merely going through Pinterest book posts. If only I could do that all day long 😀

Day 20: Your favorite quotes about books

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child. – Dr. Seuss

No two persons ever read the same book. –Edmund Wilson

 A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. – GRRM, A Game Of Thrones/A Song Of Ice And Fire Series

What you don’t know would make a great book. –Sydney Smith

Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood. –John Green

Day 21: Your favorite quotes from books

I know it is a bad thing to break a promise, but I think now that it is a worse thing to let a promise break you. – Jennifer Donnelly, A Northern Light

Neighbours bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbour. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good luck pennies, and our lives. – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

There are few people whom I really love and still fewer of whom I think well. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Always. -J.K.Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Learn this now and learn it well. Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam. – Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

 

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 19

Day 19: Books that smell of your childhood?

Enid Blyton. Her books smell of my childhood. Here is a write-up about her, which I did sometime back 🙂

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 18

 

Day 18: Which book do you believe can be quite a challenge to read?

That would be LOTR – Lord Of The Rings for me. The language might not be a constraint, but the names in the movies have baffled me. I still do not know who is called what 😦 This is why when I will read the series, I will read The Hobbit before anything else and at a slow pace so as to know which character is what. Taking notes will be helpful I guess! 🙂

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 17

 

Day 17: The Type Of Book That You Read The Most

Well, as much as I try to find variations in my reading patterns, it often boils down to works by authors who infuse culture (from any part of the world) in their fiction based book.  Want me to cite some examples?

I Need A Help Here….

There was this story I read in a book as a child. It was Bengali translation of World’s best stories such as The Old Man and The Sea, The Good Earth, Mother, Hunchback Of Notre Dame among others. As you might already know by now, I do not have a great memory when it comes to remembering details of any book I read. The point is, I read this wonderful story in that book. The name of the story, unfortunately I do not remember. 😦 I have turned the pages of my memory upside down and here is what I remember. Please help me out, if you can and find out the name of the story/book for me.

  • Memory 1: The story is about this man, who makes a piece of infertile land on a mountain side fertile. He toils hard, really hard.
  • Memory 2: The man has a wife, who bears him two sons.
  • Memory 3: One of the sons flees and then returns, takes his share of property/money. Other son follows the footsteps of his father and toils hard.
  • Memory 4: The currency mentioned in the book as I remember is Krones. But then, many countries have Krones as their currency.
  • Memory 5: There is a mention of a mountain, which divides two countries. This is where I went crazy because….the country can be any of the Krone using countries. Norway, Sweden, Denmark. My Geography knowledge is…..not worth mentioning here. :-/

This is going to haunt my memory a long long time. 😦 If you happen to find out any leads on this, please let me know here. If you have any friends in these countries and have the slightest chance of knowing it, pass on the message if you can..

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 16

Day 16: Favourite title

The title of a book is always alluring, at least to me. It is the title that makes me notice the blurb of the book  and decide to put in in the shopping cart ! 😛 Some books have simple title, some have complex ones and others have quirky ones. There are ghastly titles as well, which literally chokes me on the spot with horror.

Anyway, the point here is to share my favourite book title with you. That would be – Chokher Bali. It is a book by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, written in Bengali (my mother tongue). It translates to – Grit of sand in the eye. It is an allegory to the friction between its characters, just like a tiny grain of sand in our eyes causing constant irritation. This is all I can reveal without giving away the plot. The book is also translated in English, in case you want to have a go through historical fiction set in India.

P.S. I would also love to mention – And Then Like My Dreams which is by a fellow blogger MR. Isn’t it an apt title for a memoir? Warm and inviting 🙂

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 15

Image Source: Book Wide Desktop Background

Image Source: Book Wide Desktop Background

Day 15: A book character you want to know more about?

In Harry Potter:

Severus Snape. Period.

I want to know his backstory, his upbringing, his days in the Muggle world with Lily Potter. This also reminds me, I want to know more about Aunt Petunia as well. J.K. Rowling, if you are reading this, then please please please have a back story in Pottermore 😀

In Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants:

Bree’s mother. Without a doubt in the world. I wanted to know her perspective and what were her thoughts.

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 14

Day 14: What Does A Perfect Reading Nook Look Like?

Something like the ones shown here in this post 😉

I often wonder what other people’s reading spaces look like. It is after all, our comfort zone isn’t it 😀

30 Day BOOKS Challenge – Day 13

Day 13: How Do You Decide What To Read Next?

This is where the challenge gets challenging for me! Well, I will be honest with you. See, I have the time but not the energy to keep the eyes open after a full-time ‘staring at the screen’ job 😦 This affects my decision to read the books – light ones on weekdays and anything on weekends, when I can spare some of the energy.

So, no…there is no hard and fast rule as to how I decide what to read next. I make a queue of five books at a row and pick the one I am in the mood to read and go ahead. That explains my incomplete reading lists 😉