Monday, 23 October 2017

Book Excerpt: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer is no stranger to most bookworms, the epitome of mischief and loafing as he is, Sawyer's enduring evergreen appeal that has lasted over a century can be attributed to his indomitable spirit. In the following lines from the first few pages of the book, Mark Twain kind of sums up the essential Tom Sawyer character for us:

He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though — and loathed him.

Within two minutes, or even less, he had forgotten all his troubles. Not because his troubles were one whit less heavy and bitter to him than a man’s are to a man, but because a new and powerful interest bore them down and drove them out of his mind for the time — just as men’s misfortunes are forgotten in the excitement of new enterprises.

(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Fiction Reads: A Tiger for Malgudi by RK Narayan

RK Narayan (1906 - 2001)

Most of RK Narayan's novels and short stories are set in the fictional, sleepy town of Malgudi, somewhere in south India. A Tiger for Malgudi is no exception. Even as an aging zoo tiger narrates its life history, the story's climatic moments inevitably occur in the small town. Instead of its usual full-fledged role, Malgudi makes a guest appearance here. But more of that later, sample an excerpt from the first chapter: 

You are not likely to understand that I am different from the tiger next door, that I possess a soul within this forbidding exterior. I can think, analyse, judge, remember and do everything that you do, perhaps with greater subtlety and sense. I lack only the faculty of speech. 

But if you could read my thoughts, you would be welcome to come in and listen to the story of my life. At least, you could slip your arm through the bars and touch me and I will hold out my forepaw to greet you, after retracting my claws, of course.      

A common thread runs through most of Narayan's works, the flow persists here. The storytelling is simple, the characters well-defined, there are no complexities in the plot. Time is an invisible character in all Malgudi tales, it is as if time lingers on a park bench, or stands still as a statue while passing Malgudi. 

Many times I have found this lingering pace a bother in Narayan's novels. This despite the fact that none of Narayan's novels extend beyond 300 pages. But A Tiger for Malgudi is one Narayan novel I love returning to. The 176-page length works for the book. It has the charm of a fable, old world wisdom, incidental humour and at its best moments, a leisurely, enjoyable aroma of a much-repeated (and thus polished) grandmother's tale.

(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Art Corner: The Runner, Athens

Yet again, I write about unforgettable Greece. I had never heard of The Runner until I saw it in Athens for the first time. A unique body of sculpture, it is made from shards of glass and it appears green in colour. It is a colossal piece of work situated at the Vassilissis Sofias Avenue in front of the Hilton. The Runner or the Dromeas is 30 feet tall and when one looks at it, it feels like as if it were running against the wind. It was created in 1988 by Costas Varotsos, one of the renowned Greek sculptors. He is known for creating large works of sculpture for natural or designed settings.

Undoubtedly, The Runner will hold you in awe of it if you see it for the first time. If you sight it past more than once, it will still enthral you against a harmonious setting of trimmed lawns and greenery and architecture. Simply marvellous and I can’t wait to see it again.

(Article by Kabita Sonowal)