Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Farewell Auteur

I return home, close to midnight.

I log on to Guardian online.

On the home page, there is a picture from the Seventh Seal; Grim Reaper is standing on the rocks. There is a caption: Ingmar Bergman, 1918-2007.

I stare at the picture. Then my synapses fire and it hits me. Bergman is dead. The auteur of gloom is no more.

I remember the only time I watched a Bergman movie. When my heart took a leap at the haunting ‘dance of death’. And afterwards, even as my knees shook, I understood that Seventh Seal was not a parable of dark pessimism. It was about hope. About losing faith and finding it again. About stumbling on the meaning of life.

So I guess, the joke was on Death. He didn’t win. Not even today.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bullshit by Bing

Came across an ‘inspiring’ book in library yesterday.

‘100 bullshit jobs and how to get them’ by Stanley Bing.

Felt reassured to find that advertising still tops the list of bullshit jobs.

Followed by other fulfilling vocations like Ayurvedic Healer, Motivational Speaker, Critic, Book Editor, Investment Banker, among others.

PS: Though the content is all bullshit, Bing wraps it up with a catchy book title (a previous one was called ‘Sun Tzu was a Sissy’). He would have made it big in advertising. Pity.

The hits just keep on coming

Life hit a new low this weekend.

First that Harry Potter thing. Another skin-crawling spectacle of hype and hysteria. The ‘universally ecstatic’ reviews. Kids and grown-up idiots scrambling towards bookstores. People who don’t even read a newspaper, devouring the 759 pages in one day. And claiming to be terrified, devastated and overjoyed after finishing the book. It's as if everyone is in the throes of a collective orgasm.

It riles me, because I tried to read those tomes and found that they strained my patience and common sense. How can anyone find the energy to read this babel of spells and witchcraft? Why not profitably employ that stamina to read 'War and Peace', 'Ulysses', 'Finnegan's Wake' or some equally mind-numbing classic?

Second, to add insult to injury, some goddamn Brit university conferred an honorary doctorate on Shilpa Shetty. For her glorious contribution towards promoting cultural diversity.

Somebody give me a long, thick rope.

All Time Favourite Books

  • Dracula (Bram Stoker)
  • Sophie's Choice (William Styron)
  • Portnoy's Complaint (Philip Roth)
  • Rabbit at Rest (John Updike)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (James M Cain)
  • A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)
  • Herzog (Saul Bellow)
  • Ham on Rye (Charles Bukowski)
  • The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger)
  • The Secret History (Donna Tartt)