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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh mi Gosh I am an Intellectual (OMG)

In 1967, I graduated from Government Victoria College.

As Field Marshal Manekshaw said , at that time too a queer was a person who read Tennyson, when all your roommates were out playing football or basketball or roaming outside..

I was a semi-queer in those days.

I played soccer football reasonably well and also read, not necessarily Tennyson.

That is why I was surprised by Professor M.K. Sanu's article on this week's Mathrubhumi on Albert Camus. OMG , is it possible that a renowned literary person is discovering (or rediscovering?) an author whom atleast a few of my generation was familiar with almost forty years ago? Is it possible that the pain of existence, the nostalgia, the eagerness to return back to the womb, that were the dominant themes of those days is coming back again? Is the succeeding (or preceding?) article on M.P.Narayana Pillai an omen ? Are we to be tried again in the the Court of George the VI ? Are we Ramus getting back to the Big world of Small men? Who will be the Guruji who will help us maintain our sanity?

I must have read La Stranger, La Chute, Rebel, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus and other Stories, etc by 1972-73 and liked them so much. And I do not know French. I do not know Mr.Sanu either, personaly. But I used to know the late Professor Guptan Nair who was in the Malayalam Faculty at Victoria. Years later, I read a comment by him on Arundhathi Roy's book 'God of Small Things" It was about a reference to EMS. It was crystal clear that he had not read the book when he made the comment. Gods do have feet of clay some of the times at least.

To keep yourselves in the 'intellectual forefront 'must be quite taxing.

And that brings me to the 'Response" of Ms.Geetha to Ms.Devika of Trivandrum in Mathrubhumi weekly. I am not joining issue as I have not read Ms. Devika's article. But Geetha writes Malayalam as it should be written. Like Churchill said: 'short words are best; short words when old are the best of all'. Most of our Malayalam literature critics thinks in English and translate into Malayalam and makes a mess of both languages.

My mother was expressing a desire to re- read Mrs.Henri Wood's "East Lynne" for over three, four decades. It was out of print. My father used to say that it is a third rate sentimental novel. Finally. I got her a copy a few years ago. She must have re-read it. She did not mention about the novel again till her death. I have the book with me now. I have not attempted to read it. Nor will I.

Some places or times are not worth revisiting. An apprehension about likely disappointment can be quite daunting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Check and Mate

Four times the FIDE world champion. Undisputed Prince of rapid chess. Every inch a gentle man in word, deed conduct, you name it. But not fit enough to be considered a Bharath Ratna. Perish the thought! That is reserved for the highest service in artistic, literary and scientific activities as well as recognition of public service of the highest order.

Presumably that is why Gopinath Bordoloi (how many of you have heard of him and his public service of the highest order?) Gulzarilal Nanada (the service of keeping the Prime Minister's seat safe and warm a couple of times for the Nehru dynasty ) M.G.Ramachandran (Great!), V.V.Giri (must be for his services to the cause of population control!) Morarji Desai (for his scientific experiments in urine therapy) are all there among the 41 odd awarded. And of course Rajiv Gandhi, for all round service of the highest order. Look at the 'yojanas' 'programmes' 'airports' etc. etc.

Perhaps, Anand will be better off in some other Company. Most jewels have a sordid history behind them. Kohinoor for example. Or the Hope diamond. Or think about the blood spilled in the diamond mines in South Africa. If Anand suddenly finds himself in the company of all forty-one of them (fortunately only a few of them are around in flesh and blood) he may have to hone his Sicilian defence still further to defend his position. And existing literature on Chess theory may not be adequate. Most of them are Shatranj ke Killadis

Sachin Tendulkar may not have any such problems. He only has to tweet a few more times in Twitter and his followers will jump a few more lacs. That is enough for the Netas doing the highest public service in New Delhi to take notice. And if he tweets something in support of UPA or the Gandhis, before he can take off his pad or unlace his shoes, he will be a Bharat Ratna and an M.P to boot. And why not. He can tweet, better, play cricket better, is younger than Shashi Tharoor and a charmer too. And he is not a Madrassi brahmin. We have to watch out for the sentiments of DMK, you know.