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The problem with story telling is unless you have lived the story, the story looks like a narration. It does not matter how much you empathize with the persons in the story, it does not matter how much of scenes you craft accurately in the story.

So that was the first impression I had when I started reading The ministry of utmost happiness by Arundhati Roy. But I did continue to read the book. Reading is better than TV watching because it does not give us time to ruminate during commercials. Or it does not make you curse yourself for watching the rerun for nth time.

But I appreciate her courage to call a spade a spade and am thankful to her for giving us another viewpoint to look at all strange, scary events happening in our world and external world in the last few years. 

Well one thing I must admit, when compared to 'chandamama' like story of murakami , this is certainly a better book.

But were these two books worth purchasing? OK, I have mentioned earlier, I read most of my books from library or on line. But of late I am not going to library and online books are hard to read. They do not look at you with pleading eyes to be read. They are there in some corner of  your computer.

After reading further into the book I realized I have been so much critical about the book. Why? Was I trying to be kind of apologetic to certain section of people?

Anyways the book is sad, because that's what I look in a book. In our Bengaluru, politics is something you read in papers, not experience first hand. That may not be the case in rajadhani - Delhi.

The book is covering major events in the recent history of our country.  It is a good book. Worth reading for all of us sikulars.

The first part is the story of transgender Anjum - how Arif becomes Anjum, how he/she leaves her parental home to stay in the home of hijras - Khwabga. And various inner and outer turmoils she faces.

She at one stage goes to Ahmedabad to some Darga. But her stay there unfortunately coincides with very tragic and gruesome post-godhra violence there. And she watches people being butchered and she is being spared only because mob is afraid of curse by a hijra.

That event completely changes her. She leaves Khwabga and starts living in funeral ground.

There is another person who has faced another tragedy. Dayachand has watched his father being killed by crowd for carrying a dead cow in his van. He converts to Islam and changes his name to Saddam Hussein because he wants to be as brave as Saddam in the face of death.

This part is something we are not familiar with. Where as second part deals with an officer in IB and his unexpressed love to a revolutionary architect Tilo. So we are back to being comfortable in the story line. Because this is middle class set up.

But again, this story revolves around Kashmir terrorism.

On the whole the book has so much to say about so many problems our country is facing now.



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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.

P.S.
1) If you find some of my wordings in this shataka is wrong, please let me know. It is a 40 year old memory.
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