Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Impossible by Danielle Steel

When a high-powered gallery owner collides with a wildly offbeat artist, it’s the perfect recipe for disaster. But when two hopelessly mismatched people share a love for art, a passion for each other, and a city like Paris, nothing is truly impossible…or is it?

Sasha is widowed, a woman who knows she was lucky enough to be married to the most wonderful man in the world and thankful for every moment they had. Liam is half in and half out of a marria
ge that only a “wacky” artist could manage, and that his own impossibly impulsive behavior has helped tear apart. But while Sasha has been methodically building her father’s Parisian art gallery into an intercontinental success story, Liam has been growing into one of the most original and striking young painters of his time. So while the two are utterly unalike–and a nine-year age difference stares them squarely in the face–the miracle of art brings them crashing together. Now the question is, can Sasha guard her reputation while juggling a secret, somewhat scandalous relationship? And how can Liam, who lives for the moment, put up with a woman who insists on having things her own way, in her own style, and at her own time?

For Sasha, it’s a matter of keeping Liam hidden from her grown children and well-heeled clientele as she commutes between New York and Paris and two thriving galleries. For Liam, it’s about creating chaos out of order, bringing out the wild streak that Sasha barely knows she has, of choosing pizza over foie gras, and making love when others are busy making money. That is, until a family tragedy suddenly alters Liam’s life–and forces a choice and a sacrifice that neither one of them could have expected. But from the snow falling on the Tuileries to the joy of eating ice cream by candlelight, the artist and the art dealer have tasted perfection. And giving up now might just be the most impossible thing of all.

A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett

I am trying to pen down excerpts from some of my favourite books and this is a little from the book by Ken Follett -- A Place Called Freedom. I hope this would encourage you to explore a copy of this book.

A Place Called Freedom

Snow crowned the ridges of High Glen and lay on the wooded slopes in pearly patches, like jewellery on the bosom of a green silk dress. In the valley bottom a hasty stream dodged between icy rocks. The bitter wind that howled inland from the North Sea brought flurries of sleet and hail. Walking to church in the morning the McAsh twins, Malachi and Esther, followed a zigzag trail along the eastern slope of the glen. Malachi, known as Mack, wore a plaid cape and tweed breeches, but his legs were bare below the knee, and his feet, without stockings, froze in his wooden clogs. However, he was young and hot-blooded, and he hardly noticed the cold. This was not the shortest way to church but High Glen always thrilled him. The high mountainsides, the quiet mysterious woods and the laughing water formed a landscape familiar to his soul. He had watched a pair of eagles raise three sets of nestlings here. Like the eagles, he had stolen the laird’s salmon from the teeming stream. And, like the deer, he had hidden in the trees, silent and still, when the gamekeepers came. The laird was a woman, Lady Hallim, a widow with a daughter. The land on the far side of the mountain belonged to Sir George Jamisson, and it was a different world. Engineers had torn great holes in the mountainsides; man-made hills of slag disfigured the valley; massive wagons loaded with coal ploughed the muddy road; and the stream was black with dust. There the twins lived, in a village called Heugh, a long row of low stone houses marching uphill like a staircase.


The estate workers and the crofters took Mother’s view. They said the king was appointed by God, and that was why people had to obey him. The coal miners had heard newer ideas. John Locke and other philosophers said a government’s authority could come only from the consent of the people. This theory appealed to Mack.

Few miners in Heugh could read, but Mack’s mother could, and he had pestered her to teach him. She had taught both her children, ignoring the jibes of her husband, who said she had ideas above her station. At Mrs Wheighel’s Mack was called on to read aloud from The Times,the Edinburgh Advertiser, and political journals such as the radical North Briton. The papers were always weeks out of date, sometimes months, but the men and women of the village listened avidly to long speeches reported verbatim, satirical diatribes, and accounts of strikes, protests and riots.
It was after a Saturday-night argument at Mrs Wheighel’s that Mack had written the letter.


The reply had come yesterday, and it was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to Mack. It would change his life beyond recognition, he thought. It might set him free….

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Beginning

Today, there is nothing much coming into my mind, to write about and so I am putting down here a small poem....

The Beginning by Rabindranath Tagore

"Where have I come from, where did you pick me up?" the baby asked its mother.
She answered, half crying, half laughing, and clasping the baby to her breast-
"You were hidden in my heart as its desire, my darling.
You were in the dolls of my childhood's games;
and when with clay I made the image of my god every morning,
I made the unmade you then.
You were enshrined with our household deity,
in his worship I worshipped you.
In all my hopes and my loves, in my life, in the life of my mother you have lived.
In the lap of the deathless Spirit who rules our home you have been nursed for ages.
When in girlhood my heart was opening its petals,
you hovered as a fragrance about it.
Your tender softness bloomed in my youthful limbs,
like a glowin the sky before the sunrise.
Heaven's first darling, twain-born with the morning light,
you have floated down the stream of the world's life,
and at last youhave stranded on my heart.
As I gaze on your face, mystery overwhelms me;
you who belong to all have become mine.
For fear of losing you I hold you tight to my breast.

What magic has snared the world's treasure in these slender arms of mine?"

Monday, June 23, 2008

A look at the biggest fort in Kerala - Bekal Fort

A trip to the northern part of Kerala, that was the intention when we started off and we landed in Kasargod, located just close to the borders of Kerala and Karnataka.

We stayed in a beautiful resort called Nalanda, owned by the Gokulam Group and the beauty of it is that it has got a beautiful landscape and a step forward is a small river/backwater. Morning as we go to the restaurant for breakfast the serene view of a fisherman in his boat welcomes us. It’s the patience of the fisherman that wonders me, as he moves along with the current of the stream, holding his fishing rod.

The walk up the seashore to the Bekal Fort, in the drizzling rain was the most beautiful part of the journey and I would say that everyone should make a trip to this wonderful place, to take a look at the all green scenic beauty of the fort.

Birthday Time

Happy Birthday….!!!!

It’s my colleague’s birthday today and we all are waiting to celebrate it in office. The attraction is the creamy cake that we would be cutting up and the snacks that would be served thereafter.

I am remembering the days, when the b’day would start as early at 4 or 5AM in the morning. A cold shower, blessings from the elders at home and then a visit to the temple wearing the new skirt and blouse (pattu pavada)

The luxurious lunch in the afternoon is the main course of the day, with the varieties of dishes laid on a plantain leaf and the sweet kheer (payasam) in the end.

I wish I had a time machine with which I could go past and live all those days once again... to experience the innocence and the joy of every moment.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sleep -- A Natural State

Sleep is supposed to be a natural state wherein the body takes rest for sometime everyday. Did you know that the fishes sleep with their eyes open? Well I cant do that but I can sleep anywhere at anytime with no rationale. I was travelling from the place where I work, to my home town in a bus yesterday and I slept off in the last crucial minutes, exactly when it was time for me to get down. I was so deep in sleep that I missed my stop and I got up 3 stops further. Blessing it should be that I got an alternate transport and reached back home safely. But what striked the most is the capacity for the mind to sleep off even when it knows that in the next few minutes there is an urgent situation to react . It seems the sleep timing is controlled by the circadian clock, by homeostasis and, in humans, by willed behavior. Was it by my own willing that I slept off ??? I dont remember that and so I did a little brwosing on this aspect and here's what I found about SLEEP....'the ZZZZZZZ's..............

Satge I sleep which is the drowsy period gives way to light or Stage II sleep, which is characterized by further decrease in the frequency of the ElectroEncephalogram (EEG) waves and an increase in their amplitude, together with intermittent high-frequency spike clusters called sleep spindles. Sleep spindles are periodic bursts of activity that generally last 1 or 2 seconds and arise as a result of interactions between thalamic and cortical
neurons. In stage III sleep, which represents moderate to deep sleep, the number of spindles decreases, whereas the amplitude of low-frequency waves increases still more. In the deepest level of sleep, stage IV sleep, the predominant EEG activity consists of low frequency (1–4 Hz), high-amplitude fluctuations called delta waves, the characteristic slow waves for which this phase of sleep is named. The entire sequence from drowsiness to deep stage IV sleep usually takes about an hour.These four sleep stages are called non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep, and its most prominent feature is the slow-wave (stage IV) sleep. It is most difficult to awaken people from slow-wave sleep and hence considered to be the deepest stage of sleep. Then there is a reverse to reach quite a different state called rapid eye movement, or REM sleep. In REM sleep, the EEG recordings are remarkably similar to that of the awake state.

In short the typical 8 hours of sleep experienced each night actually comprise several cycles that alternate between non-REM and REM sleep, the brain being quite active during much of this supposedly dormant, restful time!!!!!

Life - A story untold ever...

I am sad today evening. At times its so difficult to face problems and take them over. We tend to run away and hide off somewhere, to a more secured safe house. Is it like this for most of the people out there? I am just wodnering!!!

There is this friend of mine who has some legal issues in her life. She's married and is in the verge of a divorce. Both of them had been my close friends and I was always happy to have been there to relish every moment of their wedding. Today, it looks like a dream when she is pouring out to me the problems of her marriage. I am dumbstruck, my mind is not working and I know whatever it is, how much ever big their problems are, still, deep inside they still carry the love they had 5 years back. But when its so easy for me to see it in their eyes, so well, why are they not able to see it in each other. Or have they got blindfolded with the hatred, ego and the whole lot of failed expectations on each other.

I wonder why it is so difficult to love each other. The love, that we all read in the books and see in movies. The love that is existing in everyone's heart, all set to be given and never expected to be received back. Is that something that we can see only in movies or is it something which we can also adopt in our lives. I am not quite sure, but then I guess its possible if we are ready to forgive and most important to forget the past. Is it so diificult to do this simple thing when we know so clearly that we only have a lifetime and not an eternity to live. The days are limited, so why are we complicating the process by our own stupidness. Can we make it more simpler so that we can move on and enjoy the few days that we are existing in this face of earth. Is it possible?? What do you think....?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reading -- EXODUS

Exodus is a novel written in 1958 by American novelist Leon Uris about the founding of the state of Israel. The main strength of the book is its vivid description of different people and the conflicts in their lives. As in several of Uris's novels, some of the fictional characters are partially based upon one or more historical personages, or act as metaphors for the various peoples who helped to build modern Israel.

The story unfolds with the protagonist, Ari Ben Canaan, hatching a plot to transport Jewish refugees from a British detention camp in Cyprus to Palestine. The operation is carried out under the auspices of the Mossad. The book then goes on to trace the histories of the various main characters and the ties of their personal lives to the birth of the new Jewish state.

A film based on the novel was directed by Otto Preminger in 1960 featuring Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan. It focused mainly on the escape from Cyprus and subsequent events in Palestine/Israel.

Another date in life

My brother was browsing through the engineering counselling updates when I called him up today morning. We spoke for sometime and then as usual gave the phone to my mom. Since we both know that she can go on and on talking for hours together he gave the phone warning her to talk and finish in the next 10 mints. I could hear her laughing at it and taking the phone she called me "mole". Mother.. my mother.. today even after 3 years of my marriage I have not had that blessing to know this feeling ... the feeling of protecting someone ... Anyways, rather than talking of the have not's I prefer to talk about what I have, here today.

So, I was telling about my mother.. thinking about it I can easily say that I sometimes tend to share a very special kind of a relationship with some people in my life and one of the most important one is the relationship with my mother. A lot of people would say that they share a friendly relationship with their parents and if I say the same for mine, it wouldn't sound so different. I'll take a little twist here just to let you know how different my bond is... "My mom is one person whom I hate the most in my life and also the person whom I love the most in my life.." Now does this sound a little odd??? May be our bond also is..!!! A little too odd.. We can fight.. fight to the extent of getting into fist fights and boxing.. we sometimes hurt each other through harsh words and pointing fingers out.. we tell openly that we hate each other.. and there in the next moment or in a day or two we are the best of pals .. we seek out to each other at times of depression and sadness.. we hold on to each other at times of greatest joy.. and we tell we love each other so much..

Now I think you would have got what exactly I meant when I said it's little too odd.. Writing this i am wondering .. is all or most of the mother - daughter bond like this.. ??? I am not sure.. the only thing I am sure of, now, is that I'll always stand up to protect my mother and will love her all through my life... since the life I have, is what I inherited from her.

Third Eye - I Guess that is What it is all ABout!

This is the first time I am using this service to write something and believe me, I did have a tough time sorting things out. May be that's one reason why all the authors get addicted to writing. It involves sorting out the minds of so many people whom you are fantasising about.. sorting out their thoughts, actions and results and end of it all a lifetime for the characters. I prefer reading more than writing .. its like peeping into someone else's life and knowing if its any better from yours.. ;) There is this book called the Third Eye that is written by Lobsang Rampa and it narrates the story of a small boy who became the Lama. It talks about that one eye which we all humans tend to forget about -- the inner eye.. the eye of our soul. When I was a kid I used to wonder how people could ever become sanyasi's and live a entire life of solitude. But the stories that I read never showed any of their frustrations, but instead it was all about their happiness and content in lives. I wonder if any man in today's world can ever feel as contended as them. Lets Ramana Maharishi for example. In his last days he even forgave his food and clothes. Can any man in today's world do that.. forgive things that is so dear to us. May be that's why we are never free.. we never feel free at heart and hence there is no freedom outside also for us. When Gandhiji fought so much for India's freedom. little he would have thought that the future Indians, especially the youth of the 21st century is going to have nothing of that word inside them-- the freedom of the soul. There are many people who are talking about it, including me, but how many of us are really able to get past that glass door and enjoy our life and experience the freedom and joy??? Today, having lived for a quarter of it, I am wondering.. why is it so difficult to live or is it that I am making it so difficult. Why is it that I tend not to enjoy the little moments which this world has given me, why is it that I forget about the five senses that god gifted me so that I can see, taste and feel the life and the colors and the happiness around me ...

End of it all... I am wondering... am I really living or am I already DEAD!!!!!