Saturday, May 24, 2008

Atonement - The Movie

I generally don't like to watch movies made from books as a lot of what was in the book gets lost in the movie and one is left with an unfulfilled feeling when seeing such a movie. The reverse is also true probably. I never can buy a book if I watched the movie first. I am afraid that the scenes from the movie will interfere with my imagination for the pages of the book. But what if you watched a movie and felt like you just read a good book? Well, then you just go and do a post on it:-)

So we had this video 'Atonement' waiting now for more than a month to be watched and finally we got a good night to watch it. A beautifully told and photographed movie. Do see it and you won't be disappointed. I saw in the credits that it is made from a much acclaimed book of the same name by Ian McEwan. If I had come across the book earlier I never would have bothered to watch the movie. Then I would have missed the incredible photography of this movie. I am not an expert on photography and so perhaps it may not be a big deal. But I just loved and appreciated all the camera angles and scenes in the movie.

The story revolves around young Briony Tallis who mistook something she saw for something else and acted based on it which put her sister's true love into prison from which he ended up going to the war. Her sister Cecilia - Keira Knightly - took up army nursing and Briony - by then 18 or so - followed suit as a form of penance even though she was slated to enter Cambridge. Well told and well made movie with superb acting. I didn't go much for the grown up Briony as a Nurse but everyone else did a good job. Reminded me of English Patient a little. I liked this better though. Click here if you are interested in more details of the story.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

I had to use the gift card after all, since the Library was closed:!!! Of all the days, it had to be on this Friday when I got to sit home with the kids for a day. There is no point crying over spilt milk so I headed straight for Barnes and Nobles. The cover of this new paperback edition of Siddhartha had attracted my attention the last time I wandered around the store. Catchy, don't you think? I loved it. Finished the book. It was translated from the original by Rika Lesser. If the translation is so good to read then what must the original be?

This classic book will remain so as it transcends time. Sometimes when you re-read a book years later you are able to get much more from it and in some cases a different view from the first time. I have even come to root for a different character altogther. Case in point is Anna Karenina. Having read it in upper primary/middle school time I was unable to sympathize with Anna and was always rooting for her husband. But when I read it sometime last year I couldn't fathom how I didn't get Anna before... As always I digress. Let us get back to S for Siddhartha.

As the introductions take great pains to let us know, this is not the Siddhartha who became Gautama Buddha but the story is set in the same time as the Buddha's. S meets the Buddha in the midst of his quest for truth. I was able to follow S's quest so well and wholeheartedly agree with how it ends that I am left - can I say flabbergasted?- amazed at Hesse's understanding of life. I wouldn't say Eastern or Indian or Buddhist as what Hesse has laid out in there is the truth of life in this world. I urge everyone to read this book. it is not full of pedantic and long stretches of text that are beyond one's immediate grasp but laid out in simple and concise lines. Maybe it is this particular translator but it is Hesse that shines from it.

The last few pages - chapter Govinda-maybe a bit harder to chew as there Siddartha discusses with Govinda all that he was able to internalize during the course of his life. You can come back to this chapter later if it leaves you curious or it can be left alone as it still is a whole book for a reader like me.....This paperback edition is only $6.95 and I didn't have to think twice about adding it to my humble collection of books.

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Earliest Memories

This is not a book. Haven't been reading one the past few days. I am adding a bird and her nest to make up for it. She was happy to make her nest on our not yet taken down Christmas lights! But not to worry I am all set to go to the Library with the kids in tow. Hopefully I'll be able to get one to read in the midst of finding their books and videos. If not, have my trump card. er.. I mean a Barnes & Nobles gift card that I am going to use to buy Herman Hesse's Sidhartha. I think I have read it before but would like to have a copy of my own. So while things are brewing in the reading dept. I'd like to honor a sort of promise I made to this blogger friend's sort of tag:-)

I do have vague earlier memories of playing around in and out of the house with my sister and brothers, but this one stands out pretty clear.

Being the youngest, Mom was reluctant to send me out for the Sunday Catechism classes that my older siblings were enrolled in or had graduated from. All the more so because the church that we go for these classes was at quite a distance from home. The parish church that everyone goes for the Sunday Morning Mass in a vehicle of some sort is much farther. But one had to walk to the church where we attended the Catechism classes.  Why two churches? It is a long story that I might tell later.

Well anyway, since my sister (who is only a year older than me and deserves to be as 'young' as me is deemed the 'older' and therefore in charge of me 'the baby' ) was taking me it was decided to be okay. I reached the church without event and the classes went well. I was always one to hog classes and therefore loved it. I was almost 5 at this time.

It happened on the way back. I fell onto the unpaved road and brutally scorched my knees. It was not that bad but the visuals were terrible and I remember the expression of horror and love on my Mom's face on seeing it. She then and there decided that I should wait one more year before making that perilous trek again.

Though I could always feel a general love in the family I had never felt it so focussed on me, us being a rather large family. I guess this memory helped sow in me an appreciation for love from family which gives you a warm cozy feeling no matter how old you get. I hope my kids do know this from us even without such incidents.......

I have some more but I'll save that for later as now the Libary is calling....