Month: August 2015

The Great Gatsby – II

I think its my second post on this book. The first one is here.

Fitzgerald

I like the book for 2 reasons :

  1. Its the epitome of the greatest American dream – from rags to riches. But for living any dream, one has to pay a price.
  2. There are people like Tom and Daisy who think its their right to thrash and play with things and people and at the end of the day they retreat to their shells of wealth.
  3. Characteristic Immoderate obsession to the past.

Each and everything is so relevant even today.

The era in which it was written was a revolutionary one. I heard someone saying that the youth revolution started with Gertrude Stein’s lost generation in 1920s not at Woodstock in 1960s.

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Um ourives des palavras

A Goldsmith of Words

For past few weeks I have been living the life of a sloth. I haven’t cooked in two weeks and have been surviving on breads and take outs from arbitrary places. I have been binge watching movies, documentaries, TV series on Netflix, writing whatever is coming to my mind in my diaries and doing arbitrary stuff. Today,I stumbled upon a movie called- Night train to Lisbon and I am glad I decided to watch it. It was worth the $10 I pay every month as subscription fee to Netflix.

The movie was based on a novel and it mentioned Amadeu de Almeida Prado. The protagonist during the Portuguese revolution who wrote  the book  Um ourives des palavras (Portuguese for “A Goldsmith of Words”). I am not sure whether I will be able to get my hands on the book as its out of production but I learned a great deal from the movie’s subject itself.

It dealt with something intriguing. Is it possible that the best way to make sure of yourself was to know and understand someone else? One whose life had been completely different and had had a completely different logic than your own? How did this curiosity for another life bean in first place?

This must be a book that talks to you and forces you for silent introspection.

Few wonderful quotes from the book

“Is it a wish to stand once again at that point in life and be able to take a completely different direction to the one that has made us who we are?”

“Isn’t it a question of self image, the determining idea one has made for oneself of what one has to have accomplished and experienced ,so that one can approve the life one has lived?”

“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty”

The Book of Disquiet

“Fields are greener in their description than in their actual greenness”

For a long time … I haven’t recorded any impressions; I don’t think, therefore I don’t exist. I’ve forgotten who I am. I’m unable to write because I’m unable to be. Through an oblique slumber, I’ve been someone else. To realize I don’t remember myself means that I’ve woken up.

Fernando Pessoa

Bob Dylan ??

Today I spent my evening in Greenwich Village, an area in downtown Manhattan that used to be haven for the musicians in the yesteryears. I go to Bleecker street often but today I was scouring for few signs- the signs of presence of the activism of 1960s. Greenwich village was famous for its musicians and political activism,its cafes, live music performances. Unfortunately, gaslight cafe couldn’t stand the test of the time. Cafe wha is not the same as it used to be but its still there.I have this (bad) habit of reading about things and places on internet and such unnecessary researches hog my time.

I knew that cafe wha is associated with many famous names but that list on internet was overshadowed by Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix wasn’t mentioned a lot for he passed away young but Dylan like a Victoria Secret’s advertisement was overwhelmingly everywhere.

60s wasn’t the era only of free love but also of the social and political activism. The term generation gap was coined in those years for there was a lot of difference between the thought process of the youths and their parent’s who had seen the perils of the world war. It didn’t mean that the youths had myopic visions or were in complete disillusionment. Greenwich village in NY was the incubation center of the revolutionary ideas that governed the political and economic facade during those years and those ideas found their ways resonating in the songs that those multi talented artists wrote. Each of the artist was presenting his/her thoughts in the form a song be it on civil rights, Vietnam war, crony capitalism, nepotism or sycophancy.The idealist generation of 60s purported to reject the materialism and bolstered movements that forced Nixon to step down.Not only music but food also was affected as many people turned towards non violence and vegan-ism.

The weavers were quite popular in the era for they brought the folklore and music not only to the big apple but also on the int’l podium. Thanks to McCarthyism that weavers were blacklisted under HUAC (House Un-American Activities) ,Pete Seeger asked correctly “what the hell is an American activity, what is the definition” when he was also booked under HUAC and his name appeared in the red channel magazine floated by oppressive forces. That was the era of the change Seeger, Woody Guthrie,Harry Chapin, Dylan, Tom Paxton etc were few names.Everyone was famous for his own type of work.

I have nothing against Bob Dylan; When I listened to “A hard rain’s A-gonna fall” for the first time after more than 50 years it surfaced, I was en-rapt and enthralled. He definitely is talented but somehow I feel that he not only knew how to write resonating songs but also how to sell them. He was able to create an image and kept it afloat. He did join the artists of protest music but with the banishment of many under HUAC, he definitely got an advantage.None of his songs are for Vietnam war but I am not sure why and how people have linked the two. He didn’t go to the famous Selma march in which everyone was chanting the Dylan’s hymn “The times are A- changing”. He did say in one of the award ceremony which he attended in an inebriated state that he no longer wants to write songs on people and doesn’t wishes to be spokesperson. He choose his next genre of rock and roll and remain stuck to it.He started “playing it safe”. And I personally have started believing that when the competition is tough then one has to play safe to soar and be relevant. I won’t say that he was an opportunist who grabbed the hot selling cake of folk music to open his own shop but he wasn’t exactly the same revolutionary that media propagates him to be. He was from the main land Minnesota and came to NY to test his destiny and he succeeded splendidly. The American dream – from rags to riches came true and many benefited from the same directly or indirectly.

I don’t have any topic sentence for this blog ! – Wait it is “To pay or not to pay” .

Once upon a time there was a boy and there was a girl.

Nah !

romantic-nyc-300x200

It’s so cliched way to start a story.

So, let’s chose another way.

I met her in the flight from London to New York and we started talking. It was my first visit to NY and I asked her about where to find apartments, library facilities etc. She seemed a helpful person and was quite nice to talk to. We exchanged email Ids and resumed our cyber communication after I got settled. We decided to go for drinks at P J Carneys on 7th avenue near Carnegie hall.We talked a lot about job, movies, life etc . We did have few similarities for both of us liked cats, friends(TV show), Manhattan and we did order same drink. It was a short and sweet meeting. We decided to meet again after few days and so did we. Again, same place, same time. We talked and after an hour or so we decided to call it a night. Now, at this point something happened which still baffles me. The bartender gave us the bills and I decided to pay for both of us. It wasn’t anything major – only $30 . There is no harm in showing a little chivalry.

But I think this act of mine lead things south and she never responded back to my emails, texts again.

I have given it a thought few times and the plausible reason is , she was a strong independent woman who took the payment of drinks offensive. But in my defense I would say ” In India, whenever we go out for food or drinks then one person pays generally and others pay at some other occasion”. And if the amount is high then we split it into appropriate parts. But what I didn’t know that it can be taken offensively. I have talked about this “to pay or not to pay” dilemma with many of my friends and most of them had the thought that its fine thing to do.

Nevertheless, let’s get back to the story. After few more months I was transferred to Chiberia(Chicago) and I spent one year there. This year in February, my team asked me to operate from New York office again. It was tough to find an apartment here and finding a decent studio is an uphill task here esp. in winter when its snowing all the time. I made walking records on my pedometer everyday. Eventually, I found a decent studio on upper east side.

Days,weeks,months passed by in the play called life when I saw her again near cafe Jax on 84th street. I went to her and said Hi ! She was stunning than ever.After talking for a while I asked whether she would like to go for lunch sometimes. Answer was affirmative.

Later that week I met her for lunch; we ordered food.I noticed that she had a book in her hand and there wasn’t any cover on it. I started talking about books and the best places in Manhattan for books and other book bars.

I asked her what was she reading and was she liking it.

She opened her book, took out a small leaflet type book and slid it across the table towards me and while she was doing so she said to me “we all should have strong relation with Jesus Christ and should commit our lives in his service”

That was the eureka moment for me, the moment of truth that it wasn’t a date, It was her attempt to “save me”.  🙂 🙂