All posts tagged: Books

The Tempest – Singapore Act

Kudos to Sam Mendes & the traveling cast of The Bridge Project. Singapore is one of the 7 cities to be stricken by The Tempest. If you are or were ever into Shakespeare, watch it! Watch it for creative, insightful direction by Sam Mendes (of the American Beauty fame). Watch it for a mind-blowing performance by Ron Cephas Jones as Caliban. Watch it for Prospero’s ardor, Miranda’s innocence, Ariel’s fragility, Trinculo’s humor, Gonzalo’s frailness. Watch it for the love of theatre. In exploring the Shakespearean themes of betrayal, love, power, wisdom, sacrifice, forgiveness & magic, The Bridge Project team did every bit of justice (and more) to the written version of the play. The actors breathe life into the characters with oodles of imagination & emotions, backed by stunning sets, and an apt selection of sounds & music. “These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air, And, like the baseless fabric of vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe …

Many Lives, Many Masters

Whether or not you believe in science, this is one book that’s bound to give you food for thought. Penned by a psychiatrist, Dr Brian Weiss, Many masters, many lives is what he claims to be the true story of one of his patients. Catherine, a young girl troubled by inexplicable phobias, seeks his help, and when typical psychiatric treatments don’t bare results, he resorts to the rarely used practice of hypnosis. What follows is plain bizarre. In her hypnotic state, Catherine appears to visit her past lives, reincarnations of herself in varied geographical locations and time periods. Often, Catherine reaches an in-between stage, where she’s dead but not reincarnated yet, and she communicates to the doctor the messages of highly evolved spirits (called the Masters), including personal details from his own life. I know it sounds like the plot of some psychological thriller, and as I re-read it, even the highly predictable story-line of a horror Hindi movie. But that’s the beauty of it – what you believe is completely your choice. At one point, …

Of this & that

This is not a comeback post. Pledge: I have decided to stop blaming my work-life imbalance, fleeting weekends, social obligations, and deadened-by-work-thought flow for my persistent inactivity in the blogosphere. I hereby pledge to revive my blogging life. Awards: This one is long due. Thanks to Aadil for awarding me The Lemonade Blog award, and to Valerine & Varun for the International Bloggers Community award. I hereby pass these awards to Thethoughtfultrain, Manchitra & Jayesh for their comforting presence in the blogosphere. Corporate  woes: I dedicate this to all my fellow-mates in the corporate jungle. Cheers to survival! Mini book review: Tin Fish, a book about an adolescent’s boarding school life, post the emergency period in India. It’s a walk down memory lane, a back-to-the-basics lesson in friendship, and a breezy read to momentarily transport you from the complexities of adulthood. (Author – Sudeep Chakravarty) Advice: I have been aching to learn something new, something radically different. Any advice, besides a language, an instrument & a sport? Lately, I have also been fantasizing about freelance writing. …

Poetry at its finest

While reading The Motorycle Diaries, I came across this hauntingly beautiful poem written by Otero Silva, a Venezuelan poet and novelist born in 1908: I heard splashing on the boat her bare feet And sensed in our faces the hungry dusk My heart swaying between her and the street, the road I don’t know where I found the strength to free myself from her eyes to slip from her arms She stayed, crying through rain and glass clouded with grief and tears She stayed, unable to cry Wait! I will come walking with you.

Keep Off The grass

I finally found, read and loved a book that hasn’t been extensively reviewed (yet) on the blogosphere! If you aren’t already enticed by the title, get a load of this: an Indian investment banker on Wall Street, born and brought up in the US, decides to quit his million dollar job to go to India to find his roots. He enrolls himself at IIM (Indian Institute of Management) Bangalore, and what ensues is a hillarious chase of answers, grades and weed.  Obviously, the IIM turns out to be completely different from typical B-schools in the US and elsewhere. Samrat Ratan, the protagonist, once a Yale valedictorian and a big-shot banker, is pitted against the super-brained IITians from the country, only to discover that mediocrity has its own virtues. His constant struggle between his American upbringing and Indian roots initially finds no solace in the rat-race of grades and jobs, until he realizes that relationships are what really matter.  In his quest for happiness, Samrat meets Sarkar and Vinod, the former an incredibly smart guy with …

Teacher Man

Frank McCourt has given a new dimension to teaching in this non-fictional account. He writes about teaching and learning and teaching to learn and learning to teach. McCourt’s journey is rooted in Ireland, from where he seeks to rise in the minds and hearts of the students in New York’s public schools, through his unconventional, inspiring approach to teaching. As he explores his own identity, he accepts that teachers don’t have all the answers, and that is only human. His creative writing class reads and sings cooking recipes, his English class discusses Little Bo Peep! Even when we don’t relate to the Irish life or the NY adolescents, we end up becoming a part of the Teacher Man phenomenon. The racy, decryptable writing makes you belong in McCourt’s classes. His humble, inquisitive approach to teaching makes you want to learn, as though it comes from choice and not force. Great teaching, great writing and very inspirational. If you’re a student, it will give you a new perspective on learning. If you’re a teacher, you’ll want …

The 3 best graduation speeches

Words can be ‘weapons’ of mass inspiration, especially when the right ones are found at the right moments, moments which tend to define the rest of our lives. The following three graduation speeches inspire me most as I prepare to undertake the journey that lies ahead. One. Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, to the Class of 2005 at Stanford. Two. Chetan Bhagat, an IIT grad and the author of Five Point Someone, at Symbiosis (India) Convocation 2008. Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in human life when one is truly elated. The first day in college is one of them. When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be like, who are …

Is college education over-rated?

As a graduating student, I’m starting to question the purpose of a college education. Is a ‘degree’ really worth all the money, time and effort? Do we really learn what they think we do, does it really prepare us for the big, bad world?  I doubt it. After 3 years in college and counting, I have started to doubt that I learnt anything ‘real’ at all in college. I’ve learnt so much more outside of classes and outside of college, and that is probably complimentary to growing older. So when I consider college in isolation, I’m not convinced it’s a value-add. I found the following video on youtube. It’s so brilliantly made and clearly illustrates the point that I’m struggling to make. Maybe it’s just me, but spending close to 3.5 years in such a grade-centric environment has almost killed my belief in education, staggered my creativity and made me reconsider any ambition for further education. It never occurred to me that in college, everyone will be running a politically correct race for grades, with …

The Last Lecture

I suppose we all have our notion of how we’ll confront death, when the time comes. Carnegie Mellon (CMU) created a platform for its professors to imagine such a confrontation and gave us the invaluable gift of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. CMU’s tradition asks professors to imagine the end of their lives and address graduating students, sharing with them their philosophy of life and what they might have done differently if they could do it again. For CMU’s computer science professor, Randy Pausch, things were a little more real. He was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live. His Last Lecture was indeed his last.  Randy’s lecture was a keepsake. It did the rounds online and became one of the most inspiring, most viewed videos on youtube [The Last Lecture, view here].  “Under the rouse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children. If I were a painter,  I would have painted for them. …

Into The Wild

Have you ever let fear deter rebellion, possibilities confine dreams or conformity define life? If yes, Christopher McCandless is probably the greatest inspiration you can find; he is the epitome of courage and bravery, an incredible example of a person who can dare to live exactly the way he wants, unaffected by all things human. In 1990, McCandless, 22, graduated from Emory University, donated his Harvard college fund to charity, and set out to explore the wilderness of the American West, harboring a dream of an “Alaskan odyssey”. A follower of Tolstoy and Thoreau, he chose of a life of isolation and asceticism. In the book, Jon Krakauer follows McCandless’ journey into the wild, and lends this true account his own expertise as an avid mountain climber. Often contrasting McCandless to other adventurers, Jon Krakauer glorifies, objectively, the boy, his life, his dreams and his conquests. During his travels before his self-imposed solitude in Fairbanks, Alaska, McCandless befriended strangers time and again and left an indelible mark on their lives. Again, through his heart-wrenching story, McCandless …