Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I love train travels. Flimsy excuses like paucity of time don't let me enjoy a lot of them these days, but a few interspersed ones are true times of leisure. Tucked up in a blanket, eating chewing and reading for hours and hours is a well deserved reward after a few months of seemingly busy life.

Finished this off in one go. Probably the second book ever which I finished in one sitting. I wanted to read this leisurely – savoring all words and not losing thoughts and connections by breaking off in between – wanted to do it for all the recommendations about it. And it was worth it. Few stories are just narratives, few can raise a lump to your throat, and to some particular tit-bit of all of them, you can always relate your own life.

Khaled Hosseini is probably the best story-teller, and doesn't require my humble appreciation. If his last book had the potential to move you deeply, this second one goes one step beyond just watering your eyes. A fable of war-torn lives interwoven with deepest of human emotions and love, it portrays the entire history of Afghanistan. With the book, one can walk the streets of Kabul, Herat, even the fictitious Gul Daman, and witness the destruction of the country and its rich heritage year after year under different regimes, none of them really transforming the lives of people, or their deaths.

Hosseini vividly describes the state of women in Afghanistan, the perpetual grief and fear under which human lives keep on trudging – defiant against all odds. And amidst the description of these tangibles, he inserts his infallible knack – putting into words what human hearts feel. He narrates the separation of friends and of mothers and daughters and of lovers, the undying love of two children and adults, the grief of leaving one's homeland. Love is the prevalent theme of the book, and perfectly depicted, it does hurt.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Email Forwards

Forwarded mails are an interesting phenomena I've always been intrigued with. You receive those long emails, chained ones, wherein you can see the exact trail of how many IT industry offices the mail has traveled through before reaching you! They are great in the sense that you receive them from the most oblivious of people. One fine day, you check your mails, and there is a forward (rather a Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd:) from someone you least expected would drop you a message. A good thing, I must say, to at least maintain the illusion of keeping in touch in this everyone-is-connected-and-no-one-is-in-touch world.

And the messages themselves are quite interesting ones! One of them actually mentioned why the guy sending me is a great friend of mine because he at least bothered to send me a forward when he didn't have time to write a personalized message, while making me realize with those funny cartoons inserted in between, how emotionless I'm to lose contact. Partially true, I must agree. Majority of others I receive are photographs from here and there, sometimes quite funny ones, sometimes just beautiful. The most hated ones are those which claim to bring good luck if I forward them in turn to ten or twenty more, and to bring extremely harsh luck if I don't. Decent ones are those which have a collection of quotes, or anecdotes, or bearable jokes. Here's one of them which came to me about twenty one rules in life:

Rule 1:
Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

Rule 2:
Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

Rule 3:
Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

Rule 4:
When you say, 'I love you', mean it.

Rule 5:
When you say, 'I'm sorry', look the person in the eye.

Rule 6:
Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

Rule 7:
Believe in love at first sight.

Rule 8:
Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

Rule 9:
Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

Rule 10:
In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

Rule 11:
Don't judge people by their relatives.

Rule 12:
Talk slowly but think quickly.

Rule 13:
When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

Rule 14:
Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Rule 15:
Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

Rule 16:
When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Rule 17:
Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

Rule 18:
Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

Rule 19:
When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Rule 20:
Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

Rule 21:
Spend some time alone.

Nice ones, eh? ;)