The London Reader: Part 1

The London Reader: Part 1
I have been a reader for years and London seems to be full of readers. Reading, for me, is both, a refuge and a battlefield. It’s been over a month since I have shifted to the United Kingdom for my Masters. It takes me 30 minutes to reach London and a total of 1.5 hours to reach to my university. In that sense, I thought it would be interesting to write this note, sharing my experience here as a reader. This one is not about the libraries and bookshops of London because that deserves a separate blog. This one is more about reading while commuting.
In my first few days in London, I was pleasantly surprised by looking at the number of diverse readers I would see everywhere around me- people reading physical books, kindle, newspapers, magazines- what not. In the train/tube, on the roads, in restaurants, everywhere. On the other hand, I wasn’t very comfortable yet. When you are new to a place, you are constantly vigilant. I didn’t want to miss a turn or miss a stop or being taken advantage of. There was so much to see, so much to observe. Now, after a month, I see myself reading everywhere! I carry two bags, coffee mug in one hand and my book/kindle in another. And that too in the most uncomfortable seating or standing position.
The underground tube in London makes itself more conducive to reading because there is no network or wifi down there. Also, listening to music or watching videos is inadvisable (in London, headphones in someone’s ears has a special meaning. It means don’t talk to me.) because the tube is too loud already. In such a situation, you can choose to stare at some spare space (because you can’t stare at people, that’s too rude) or you can choose to read.
Reading in the London Underground Tube

Continue reading “The London Reader: Part 1”

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Book of the Month: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Book of the Month: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley's LoverLady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. For reasons more than one. First of all, this is such an old book and yet it retains such an explicit sensuality. And then in spite of being sensual, it never crosses the line. Every single description of two people having sex has been presented in the most beautiful manner. Perhaps the writers of today need to learn the art of sensuality and subtlety from DH. Lawrence.

I love the act of rebel in Lady Chatterley, and how she falls in love with a sheer servant, without any inhibitions. I like how the conversations between Sir Clifford (her husband) and her have been woven into very explicit yet veiled debates about sexuality, pregnancy, etc.

More interestingly, I had bought this book from an 80-year-old bookstore owner in Mumbai, who proudly admits that her father was fined Rs. 100 (a huge amount then) for importing this book, banned by the government for its heavy explicitness. This book is a sheer act of rebellion, even today.

Here’s my favourite quote from the book:

“If only I could tell them that living and spending isn’t the same thing! But it’s no good. If only they were educated to live instead of earning and spending, they could manage very happily on twenty-five shillings.”

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Dear ‘I used to read a lot once, but now I can’t…”

Readers are the most ingenious people. These days they are a rare sight, with increasing distractions around us. We want to do at least 3-4 things at the same time. Unfortunately one can’t read a book (sincerely) while checking Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.

We take our mobile phones to our beds and even between our most private moments. At times, these things take us away from reading or say most of our loved habits. There is no such thing as, “No time.” You have to make time if you really wish to do something. I repeat this to myself, every time I get disillusioned. I thought to write about this because this has happened to me a lot of times, keeps happening. It’s like the Reader’s Block (like the Writer’s Block). These methods help though.

Continue reading “Dear ‘I used to read a lot once, but now I can’t…””

When Hypocrisy Isn’t as Bad

India is a land of breaking news. And now it’s not just news channels. Thanks to twitter, we don’t even need news channels anymore. We make news out of who tweeted what. By ‘we’, I mean the non-troll and non-lechers community, whether right or left leaning but people who have opinions, get outraged for the wrong being said and sharing it out there. In the last two days, there were two-three such things. One of them being:

Narendra Modi said, “Our Muslim sisters should get justice too (on triple talaq)”

People said, Narendra Modi talking about Muslim sisters is so ironical. He abandoned his wife.

Snapchat CEO allegedly said that “Snapchat is not looking to expand in India because India is a poor country and the app is for rich people.”

There was such a huge outrage that Indians began uninstalling Snapchat and downrating it. Some idiots also confused it with Snapdeal and uninstalled the app. “How dare he call us poor?”

Yesterday, I began reading Givler Ray’s book, “Don’t Get Fooled!” The book is about Cognitive Biases and Fallacies (now don’t get scared and run away, I’ll explain what it is). A Fallacy is a mistaken belief, generally based on an unsound argument. Argumentation doesn’t mean to argue but it means to have sound reasoning behind what you say and believe. We tend to make fallacies based on our biases about things. Our arguments, negotiations and relationships can be more swift and peaceful if we keep our biases and fallacies. The first step to being a rational person is to learn to keep our biases aside.

Continue reading “When Hypocrisy Isn’t as Bad”

Confessions of a Serial Reader

Home is where the books are. There’s a reason why home is our comfort zone. It’s a place our tattered ego gets fixed, the self-confidence gets rejuvenated and there’s love all around. Books make a huge part of my comfort in life, not just at home. But even otherwise.

photo_2017-04-16_11-07-43

It could either be my cowardice or a strange kind of fear, but when I move outside my house without a single book in my bag, makes me feel like the most vulnerable person in the world. Even when I am going to a movie and there’s absolutely no chance I am going to get a chance to read, keeping a book is a must. It’s a safety measure- better safe than sorry.

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Must Read: Ken Liu’s Short Story ‘The Perfect Match’

Must Read: Ken Liu’s Short Story ‘The Perfect Match’

Ken Liu (born 1976) is an American science-fiction and fantasy writer and translator of science fiction and literary stories from Chinese into English. His short story “The Paper Menagerie” is the first work of fiction, of any length, to win the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards. I loved his short story, ‘The Perfect Match’. It is a fantasy story about the future of Siri (robot helper) where the robot suggests you everything about your day and your life and talks about the mysteries behind it. It is especially relevant in the age of Aadhar where the government is aware of each and every move of yours and there is no right to privacy (in spite of it being a constitutional right).

Some of the quotes from his short story:

Centillion is an algorithm that’s gotten out of hand. It just gives you more of what it thinks you want. And we—people like me—think that’s the root of the problem. Centillion has put us in little bubbles, where all we see and hear are echoes of ourselves, and we become ever more stuck in our existing beliefs and exaggerated in our inclinations. We stop asking questions and accept Tilly’s judgment on everything.

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The Reason of Your Illness

The Reason of Your Illness

Illness is never welcome. No one ever says, “Oh! I am so glad, this was the best time to fall ill.” Illness is detested. I am not talking about fever. I am talking about some of the worst and the most crippling form of illnesses. I am talking about the illness that makes us stuck in a phase, makes it difficult for us to move. In one of the earliest written English literature, you may find a brilliant piece called ‘The Consolation of Philosophy’ written by Boethius, a prisoner who made a legendary contribution to philosophy during his trial in the jail for his alleged crime against the King. The book is about his (imaginary) conversations with him (as a prisoner who begs not guilty) and Lady Philosophy. I thought to present here the part of the text where Lady Philosophy explains him the reason of his illness- his sorrow, lack of motivation and confusions. You might resonate with some part of it: Continue reading “The Reason of Your Illness”