Author Archives: Janaki

‘The Lowland’

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The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri

Often, halfway through a book, I wondered if that sway of a story gets lost over the years; much like relationship chemistry.  Books are supposed to pull you into its sway, making you undulate to its rhythm.  But books like The Lowland (Jhumpa Lahiri) convince me that, much like people, books too evoke different reactions. With some people you perpetually have chemistry; with some, you have it sometimes and with some others, you never have it . Also with books. Some are easy to read and make you feel bereft once you are done with the book. Others

While I was never a big fan of Interpreter of Maladies, I found The Namesake very lyrical. The language conveys a sense of the time that passes in her stories, gently, while creating a vivid trail in its wake. This book is also expansive, lyrical and spans several decades.

I found many parallels in The Namesake and The Lowland. Of course besides the setting in Calcutta. It’s set in a similar time frame. Lots of lines devoted to how bonds are formed after marriages. So many roles that come from just expectation alone, especially in the case of the women here. Mothers and daughters; mothers in law and daughters in law. I am beginning to see how my experiences shape what I read too. Resentment of traditional roles. Decision to not follow those roles. The constant social justification that needs to be given. All of these are just points in an otherwise sprawling story. But it affects the way I process and remember the story.

For me, a good book of an author makes me want to read all the other books I haven’t read yet. So Unaccustomed Earth, here I come.

 

Life as an echo chamber

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“The anomalies and irregularities in Michigan are hardly exceptional. Voting systems in the United States are rife with problems, their methods often shoddily designed, their standards inconsistently applied. When you add the effects of human and machine error to those of massive disenfranchisement, our elections appear neither representative nor fair.” Rebecca Solnit.

Read this full thing here.

Sometimes I get the feeling that any one result – good or bad- is never the complete picture. We are lost in our perspective of battles and are never able to truly appreciate the big picture.

 

 

What is forgiveness? And how do I get some?

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A film dialogue got me thinking recently.

When you pray for forgiveness, does god give you forgiveness or does he give opportunities to fogive?

When you ask for courage, does god give you courage or does he give you opportunities to be courageous?

That’s perhaps a better way to approach all the things you don’t like in your life. As an opportunity to do something new, different and entirely doable.