What have I been up to. Work, travel, reading and writing. Writing? Whatever happened to the blog then? This post is an assortment of ramblings to fill up the gap. Let’s see to what extent do I succeed.
Work is well – work. Not much to talk about it here. Work is great, and I am doing fine.
Rest of them are related. Am back from another trip to Mountain View. I visited Berkley (UCB) this time. And did it in a very convenient manner – thanks to Sid for driving me back and forth from there (and hence saving the pain of changing trains twice and still wondering how to reach the hotel from the Caltrain station in Mountain View 🙂 ). I flew British Airways this time and that meant that unlike Singapore Airlines, I was passing over land and countries for a significant period of time. And Europe tempted me. I want to travel there soon. And the fact that acquired the first digital camera of my life in this visit is doing its share of work in encouraging the traveller and tourist inside me. Have even made the estimates of expenses for a one month trip to Europe 😀 And also to places in Asia. How does Sri Lanka sound to begin with?
So, this urge to travel far and wide made me think. Is there a way of traveling across the world, leisurely, earning while traveling by doing small, little things? I guess its not so simple. VISAs cost a lot and tourist VISAs would not allow me to work in most cases I guess. Does anyone know of a good model, where you do not necessarily save all the required money before traveling?
Reading. I have read Namesake, Princess (by Jean Sasson and I conveniently lost the book right after reading – seems to have disappeared in my home!), Wise and otherwise (by Sudha Murthy), Mashi and other stories (Tagore) and Family Matters (Rohinton Mistry).
Wise and otherwise was a big disappointment. It’s naive and mediocre writing. For most part, neither the subject matter, nor the language creates an enthusiasm to read. I do not think I am reading any other books from her, if this is the right book to go by. Tagore was, like always, Tagore.
Namesake is extremely good. I have heard people not liking the book because the theme is a repeat of her first book of short stories. I think that’s a wrong thing to base the judgment on. Novel brings out a totally different aspect of story-telling than short stories. Most of the short stories of hers were a snapshots in time. In the novel you see the characters evolving, you live with them, you feel them around you. Not something short stories can achieve. And no, it did not evoke a sense of boredom because of the repetition of the theme. And there was more I saw in the book than just the story of an immigrant family. I mentioned it to some people once. You do not need to be living across the globe to identify with the movie. Its a story of disconnect. Disconnect from origins and past. Disconnect between generations, who have essentially grown up in different worlds, with different set of values. Its a story of inaccessibility. Inaccessibility of people who mattered. Inaccessibility of the roots. When I heard the news of my maternal uncle dying and figured that there was no way to reach there in time to see him one last time, I identified with it. When I realize just how far my life, despite living in the same country, is from the values, traditions and style of my origins, I identify with it. When I fail to explain my choices, my ways to my parents, I identify with it. I also saw the movie. Movie is pretty good. However, cliched as it may sound, it is no substitute for the book. Too much had to be fitted in the movie in a limited time. And then there are those subtle things, very, very difficult to explain in the movie, because a book can give words to the thoughts of people in a way the movie can not. I’d strongly recommend reading the book, even if (or especially if) you have seen the movie. But there was one thing that echoed in my mind more from the movie than from the book. “Go out and see the world”. It was told to Ashok. And later Gogol found it out for himself. I think Ashok did not really stay true to the message. He went out to see the world, but what he essentially ended up doing was to leave one world and inhabit another. And the world was still confined to those two pieces. He did not really go out and see the world. Hopefully with his American passport (and the travel conveniences that come with it), Gogol would do better 😀 And I hope to do that. I’d be different from Ashok. I would not uproot my home. I’d go out and see the world, but come back to the home. In India.
Princess is a disturbing book. If it is actually a true story, as claimed by the author, then it is just too depressing. The truth is a shame on humanity. And the worst part of it all is that it seems nothing can be done to better the situation! Some of the stories are really hearth-wenching. I am tempted to recount some of them, but they just seem too horrible. Not sure I want to get into that depressing mood right now. 😦
Family Matters is another good book. Probably I’ll write in details later. Or may be I won’t, given the recent performance of this blog 🙂
And now the writing? Why was the blog suffering if I was writing. The reason in this. Several times in my blog I had said that regular readers should not assume that they know all about me because they read all my blog posts. And that’s true. Because I am usually very careful about what I write in my blog. I do not want to reveal details about myself that should not be out there for everyone to see, I do not want to offend people around me, I do not want to write about people I am not sure I should write about in public and I do not want to even accidentally reveal a confidential information related to my employment and get the company in trouble with SEC 🙂 You get the idea. Plus I also try to resist the temptation to write trivial, harmless things about my life, which add no value to anyone reading them. I may not always succeed always. But again, you can see that there is a lot that I do not write. That means I have to be more careful about choosing the subject to write about and also about what I am writing. I have not had enough time recently to give enough time to write with these constraints. Once you remove some of these constraints, writing becomes much easier and faster. But I do not think public blog is the right place to do that kind of writing. So, I have been sharing that with only a very small group. What I’d probably do periodically is to go through those and the parts that fit in well with the scope of this book would be copied here too.
Okay. 4.29 AM! I am jet lagged. But I better try to return to the regular routine fast. Lots of things need to get done before I fly again – very soon! Don’t know whether to feel good or sad about it. But the travels of next month are not only to the US, but also to China, Japan and Israel. Am I excited? 🙂 Its all official trip, but a trip to new countries anyway. Of course, I am excited! Let me get some sleep, while my American colleagues take their doses for immunizing them before coming to India 🙂