Paul Graham has an interesting essay – Startups in 13 sentences I particularly like the one about “Don’t give up”. It’s surprisingly true of most professions – you will eventually succeed, sometimes just through sheer perseverance. However, sometimes it is better to give up, and the trick is to know when to give up and…
I wish someone would pierce a dagger through my chest
Pull it in and out and then a few times more, and more.
I wish I would dip myself in oil boiling in a pot on a raging fire
To feel myself melt away from the reality of worldly life.
I wish I could be trampled on by the wildest of the beasts
And be made one with the earth that rests beneath their feet.
I wish there would be a whirlwind that lifts me high into the sky
Just to swirl me round and round till there is nothing left to be.
I wish they would tie my limbs and pull them apart from east and west
Till I break down into a million pieces never to be put together again.
I wish I would jump from atop the highest mountain into the deepest abyss
So that all that remains would be the memory of what once was.
I wish a smaller pain would be mine than that that haunts my burning soul
Anything else but the deep dark abyss that is my heart’s eternal home.
There is no better reason to get out of a blog rut than a tag by a good friend. Thanks Chakli! Here are the rules of the tag –
Get the book closest to you. Open the book to page 123.Count to line five. Write the next three lines. Tag five people and acknowledge the person who tagged you.
I have a pile of books next to me, from the weekend shopping spree. Books are marginally cheaper in Johannesburg and I don’t need a better excuse. I pick the one on top and here we go:
“Well I wouldn’t. The less each group knows of the activities of the other, the better. But you are perfectly aware of that – you are. Particularly in the matter of recruitment to proceed outside. The people I work with won’t deal with that. There are others. She must have been with them – perhaps all these years and we didn’t know it.”
Reading three lines of a book can be frustrating. I can only guess it is about Apartheid. It is from the book My Son’s Story by Nadine Gordimer. Here is a synopsis of the book from Amazon:
Highly praised as a literate goad to South Africa’s conscience under apartheid, Gordimer here delivers her most perceptive and powerful novel in years. The story of a man’s evolution as a political activist and the toll it takes on his family and on him, it is also a picture of a marriage and of an extramarital affair, set against a backdrop of daily life in segregated South Africa, even as the winds of change begin to blow. An exemplary husband and father, a pillar of rectitude in the black community, Sonny is dismissed from his teaching job after he leads a political protest. Imprisoned, on his release he becomes a leader in the revolutionary underground; at the same time he is swept into an affair with a white woman, a worker in a human rights organization.
The intertwined events that lead to the breakup of Sonny’s family and the tragic end of his high hopes and ideals are partially narrated by his teenage son Will, bitter and cynical over his father’s marital betrayal. The novel is eloquent in its understated prose and anguished understanding of moral complexities in a land where blacks keep “rags . . . on their persons as protection against tear-gas as white people carry credit cards.” Tightly focused and controlled, expertly plotted, the narrative is replete with ironies; the tension increases almost invisibly, until the unexpected, jolting denouement. In the end, Will resolves to record “what it really was like to live a life determined by the struggle to be free.” Which is exactly what this book does, honestly and memorably
And now it’s my turn to tag!
Picture: Pillars of the South African constitution from the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg
Spring issue of Paris Review has an excellent interview with Ishiguro.
Random books from my library are now online, thanks to librarything. Not particularly useful, but staring at my books helps my homesickness when I am away from home..
An interesting study from DDI on career transitions – Making a step up in your role has quite a personal impact – but are the individuals sufficiently prepared? If not, how can they prepare for it and how can organizations help them? It is worth downloading the pdf.
Leveraging ideas claims that Twitter suffers from its own branding. I am one of those who has been doing the”Should I twitter? Should I not?” dance for a while. The post hasn’t convinced me one or way or the other, but it did give a push – interesting perspective.
â€œWe go boating
Go for tea,
We sail to the portage
Drink sweet milk with creamâ€
– Dutch nursery rhyme
Portage, also called a carry, is a place where boats are carried over the dike from one canal into another. Something, which is quite hard to imagine, till you actually see it.
Broek op Langedijk, literally means the bridge on the long dike. The village, about 50 kms north of Amsterdam, consists of houses built on the dike that was built to protect the land from the vagaries of the North Sea. The region around this is called the â€œRealm of the Thousand Islandsâ€. In actual fact, the number of islands dotting this area is close to 15,000.
Around the year 1000 AD, the North Holland of today was mainly a peat area dotted with peat rivers. Houses were built on the banks and the surrounding sands were used for agriculture. However, during the 11th century there were several dry summers, which rendered the land unsuitable for agriculture. In the ingenious Dutch way, ditches were dug around the land, resulting in a lot of water ways surrounding numerous islands. The small islands were used for cultivating vegetables and fruits. The proximity to water kept the plots relatively warm even during the cold Dutch winters. The size of the island was determined by what one man could cultivate by hand. The reclamation continued for centuries and ultimately, the â€œrealm of thousand islandsâ€ was born.
Wishing everyone a happy Vishu!
Just finished the title story in Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest book Unaccustomed Earth. It is an amazing read – I was feeling a tad guilty that I bought the hardcover, but now I am glad I did not wait for the paperback. Looking forward to reading the rest.