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The last word by Hanif Khureshi

Harry is commissioned by his publisher to write a biography of well known writer Mamoon. Publisher Rob, tells Harry to write a sizzling story about the life of author. Mamoon does not know this part, but is willing to share his life story with biographer because he wants to revive his career.

Mamoon is in his seventies, and his books are not selling so well. His wife has very expensive tastes. He feels, when this biography is published, his book sales will improve.

Harry himself needs this book badly as he is a budding writer with only one book so far to his credit. And he adores Mamoon immensely.

Mamoon is an Indian based author settled in London, always in controversies, always rude to people. And as expected he is not willing to shared anything with Harry.

Harry starts feeling suffocated in the farm house of Mamoon and would have fled from there. But his girl friend comes as an angle and softens Mamoon with her charms and her massaging skills. She even makes the writer give permission to interview his very bitter ex-girlfriend.

And so the story goes.

Some how this book is reminding me of recently read book "Humboldt's gift". Both are about aged writers trying to hold on to their youth and fame.  Humboldt is much more senile than Mamoon. And in that book, even the protagonist is also in the tail end of his life.

And the main character in "The last word" reminds you of Rushdie. Written by a Pakistani writer, I felt author has some kind of vendetta against our Indian Rushdie.

So final verdict, it is an ok book. My rating: 3.2/5

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Someshwara shataka

ಚರಿಪಾರಣ್ಯದ ಪಕ್ಷಿಗೊಂದು ತರು ಗೊಡ್ಢಾಗಲ್ ಫಲಂ ಈವಿದಾ
ಮರಗಳ್ ಪುಟ್ಟವೆ ಪುಷ್ಪವೊಂದು ಬಳಲಲ್  ಭ್ರಂಗಕ್ಕೆ ಪೂವಿಲ್ಲವೆ
ನಿರತಂ ಸತ್ಕವಿಗೋರ್ವ ಗರ್ವಿದಂ ನೃಪ ತಾಂ ಲೋಭಿಯಾಗಲ್ ನಿಜಂ
ಧರೆಯೊಳ್ ದಾತರು ಪುಟ್ಟರೆ ಹರ ಹರಾ ಶ್ರೀ ಚೆನ್ನ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ

Will a bird in the wild go hungry just because one fruit tree dries up? If one flower withers, will not the bee get any flowers? If one haughty king is miserly, will there be no patrons (of poetry) on this earth?


ಕೆಲವಂ ಬಲ್ಲವರಿಂದ ಕಲ್ತು ಕೆಲವಂ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಂಗಳೋದುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಮಾಳ್ಪವರಿಂದ ಕಂಡು ಕೆಲವಂ ಸುಜ್ಙಾನದಿಂ  ನೋಡುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಸಜ್ಜನಸಂಗದಿಂದಲರಿಯಲ್ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞನಪ್ಪಂ ನರಂ
ಪಲವಂ ಪಳ್ಳ ಸಮುದ್ರವೈ ಹಾರ ಹರಾ ಶ್ರೀ ಚೆನ್ನ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ

Learning from wise men, reading from good books, observing others  work and learning from good company, these are the ways a man becomes omni-scient (sarvajna - one who knows everything). Just like many streams join together to make an ocean.

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