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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review : 'Falling in Love Again' by Ruskin Bond

Just finished another Ruskin Bond book, called ‘Falling in Love Again’. Naturally, it was a collection of all the love stories, he had written in his career. Why did I buy it again? I had obviously read all his stories and his poems. 

I do not know. What is it that leads me to his book, excites me to begin reading and makes me feel a little sad, when I am done with it? Is it his eloquent prose, his simple yet moving poetry or perhaps his personality, which comes through every single time? It could be, or it could just be because it is his book. His pages, full of colourful characters, his portrayal of what he calls nature…

The sadness in all his love stories, comes through, whether it was in ‘The Eyes Have It’ or in both the towns of Deoli and Shamli, or even in ‘The Girl from Copenhagen’. ‘Love is a Sad Song’ or ‘A Love of Long Ago’ both stuck a chord. On Fairy Hill' took me along as most of his stories do. 

They take me away with them to new places, to new nooks and corners of nature, or even secrets told in the darkness. Kamla, Sushila or even Hameeda or Binya whoever, wherever they are or were all had it in them to inspire poetry.

So, Rusty, Ruskin, or Dada, do write on. Because you will have me as your reader for sure…

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Nur Jahan - A Diverse Character … perhaps in both books

As I was reading Indu Sundaresan’s ‘The Feast of Roses’, I was immediately struck by how different her characterization was to Alex Rutherford’s ‘The Tainted Throne’. While of course, there is the mention of opium and drink in both the books, it is surprising that both characters are so different.

In both books, Jahangir gives up on the throne while giving Mehrunissa almost all the power she would need to rule in the background. So, though I read both books and was familiar with the story, the characterization remained important. Was it really Nur Jahan’s wily schemes to run the kingdom and encourage him to take opium and swallow all the wine? Or was it Jahangir, himself, who though helped along by his wife, took on both these vices himself.

The character remains important and is starkly different in both these books. At the end of it, you are left with a vaguely sorry feeling in Sundaresan’s book, while one feels like Mehrunissa got what she deserved in Rutherford’s version.

One can see the difference, in actions, reactions, feelings, thoughts and mannerisms. Mehrunissa’s actions and reactions are kind of similar in both these books. But her feelings and thereby her thoughts or vice versa are quite different. Her feelings towards Khurram and Ladli are felt with much more impact in Sundaresan’s book. One notices a certain softening of her character, and one does feel for the mother, she is.

Ladli is also developed better, and is given due prominence in Sundaresan’s book. In Rutherford’s version, there is no standing of Ladli’s character. Rutherford has strongly written about the shrewd and her intelligent facets of Nur Jahan’s role as the queen.

Even Shah Jahan’s character is seen as a stronger version in Rutherford’s book, but in Sundaresan’s version, he seems to take on the devious role but with almost no importance. Arjumand’s character takes on a larger role perhaps in the grand scheme of things in Sundaresan’s book, where as she almost had nothing to do in Rutherford’s, other than being knowing that she was the main reason behind the Taj Mahal.