The Shining: Which Truly Shines – Movie or Book?

I thought that soliloquy might have just managed to save my blog. But looks like the ‘saving’ is still under way.

Last day, I wrote in my diary, after quite a long time. And, I don’t know if it was the myriad thoughts already in my mind, bursting to be freed, or the way the pen floated so smoothly over the paper (LOVED the feel of it) or even the mere act of writing…but I ended up writing a lot. Like, a lot. And not just normal diary entries; the ‘lot’ included random thoughts, some crazy, some profound. At the end of it, the process of emptying all those thoughts onto paper felt so great, so relieving…so much that I couldn’t stop smiling and feeling happy. And that also gave me  this longing to blog. Which is why I’m back here, nearly one month after I promised myself I would try not to neglect my blog!

The book I’m currently reading is ‘The Shining‘ by Stephen King. I saw the movie a few months ago. I kept seeing it in all the ‘Top the-shiningHorror Movies’ lists and decided to watch it (being the horror-movie-fan I am). Unfortunately, I didn’t like it much. I was disappointed, to be honest. Yes, it might probably be because I was expecting a real horror movie. By the end of the movie, I couldn’t figure out if there were actual horror incidents in the movie or if they were all just the characters’ imaginations. I’d call it more of a psycho-thriller than a horror movie.

But the book is an entirely different case! There were quite a few instances in the book which gave me the chills (and I’m only halfway into it!). It pulls you pulled me into the life of the Torrance family in a way the movie didn’t. The characters have a depth that they lacked in the movie (in the movie, I couldn’t figure out if Jack Torrance had a streak of insanity right from the beginning or if the hotel/the ghosts did it to him)…a depth that makes you understand why they act/react the way they do, that makes you see sense in what happens to them. It’s a lot different from the movie in terms of situations, characters and plot. Jack Torrance seems to be a much more emotional person, deeply attached to his wife and son, more than I remember him to be in the movie.

Well, I did some googling, and, turns out I’m not the only one who didn’t like the movie so much.

Stephen King has been quoted as saying that although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was not a good adaptation of his novel and is the only adaptation of his novels that he could “remember hating”. 

… King suggested that he disliked the downplaying of the supernatural element of the film, which he felt took the “bite” out of the story and made Jack a less sympathetic character. According to King, he viewed Jack as being victimized by the genuinely external supernatural forces haunting the hotel, whereas Kubrick’s take viewed the haunting and its resulting malignancy as coming from within Jack himself.” 

Sometimes, I wonder why exactly books turn out to be much better than their movie adaptations. The experience with ‘The Shining’ offers one possible explanation. A book can delve deeper into characters than a movie, giving you a lot of background with which to understand more about a person – his traits, behaviour, idiosyncrasies. This is particularly true in the case of books made into movies. The book would have drawn out a complete portrayal of the characters, giving you a perfect grasp of why they acted in the way they did. The movie can hardly achieve this kind of detail, considering the limitations the medium has, as compared to a book. So, when someone who has read the book watches the movie, they see semi-detailed characters, interesting situations omitted/altered, less sense in the way the plot pans out.

 

Whatever reviews might say, I’d skip the movie and go for the book any day! :)

Care to mention the movie-adaptations which, you felt, lacked the depth of the book?   

How A Soliloquy (nearly) Saved My Blog from Becoming Extinct

I realize that it has been a long time since I blogged. Some of my closest friends did ask about it and urged me to resume blogging (Once, Kiran told me I shouldn’t get used to NOT blogging. But then, I think that’s what happened, eventually). The problem was not lack of will or desire. I wanted to blog, yes. But I lacked the inspiration – that uncanny sense and ability to string together words and form a sentence, and to create a bunch of sentences like that, which make sense, ultimately. I got away with that “excuse” for a long time. Until I had to give an answer to myself. The conversation with myself went something like this:

Why are you not blogging?

Because I don’t find the inspiration for it. 

Is that reason enough for not doing something you enjoyed so much?

Well…

Did you never have thoughts that were worth blogging about?

Hell, yes, I did!

Then why did you never do it?

I don’t know…I just didn’t feel that urge to sit down and put those thoughts into words. 

Did you try?

No. 

Did you try to find the inspiration somewhere?

Umm..not really, but, at times, yes. 

And…?

Well…(clears throat)…All I can say is that what I found wasn’t enough. 

Do you even realize how stupid that sounds?

Yes. 

Without ever genuinely trying to find inspiring thoughts or using what you found or even trying to write something, how can you blame everything on the lack of inspiration?

Ok, maybe I was also lazy.

Makes sense. Do you know that you have a responsibility to yourself, to do what you love and enjoy? The responsibility to do what you’re passionate about? Because that’s the only way you will ever contribute anything!

Yes, I know that.

Great! Now that you have come clean and knocked some sense into your head, please get down to doing what you do best. And no, I don’t mean lazing around!

* * * * * * *

And that conversation is what brought me here, to this page, after so long. I love talking to myself. I do it at random instances but most often when I’m in extreme moods (extremely angry, happy or sad). And it always helps me clear my head in a way nothing else does. Whenever I’ve spoken to myself, I’ve always come out of the mood with some thought that was powerful enough to make an impact. And I love the fact that I have the power to change my state of mind. :)

When I started off with this post, I had no idea about what to write. I just wanted to start with it, just try to do it instead of complaining. And I must say I’m very glad with the outcome. Even though it’s really nothing more than a pointless, stupid conversation with myself. Now, all I need to do is make sure that I don’t fall back into the ‘Lazy Mode’ and leave this space to gather dust until the next time I get some sense into my head. *Fingers crossed*

The Saleem Sinai effect :)

I thought it’s time I took a look at my blog, blew off the dust that must have gathered and maybe get it back in shape. Also, since it’s vacation and I’m practically jobless, it’s not like I can give the “I’m busy” excuse and ask my ‘inner voice’ to shut up every time it points at my blog and asks me to do something about it. And with some friends who keep asking me to blog, I hardly had an option.

To be honest, I can’t really think of anything much to blog about. So, to get myself back into the flow, I thought I would just write about the book I read last. I started reading ‘Midnight’s Children’ sometime by February end and, much to my relief and happiness, finished it a few days ago! Finally! It’s very slow, and boring, at times. I felt it had a lot of unnecessary details and digressions. If I were to read it again, I doubt I would be patient enough to finish it. But did I like it? YES! Would I recommend it to you? YES!

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Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie is a book that was adjudged the ‘Booker of Bookers’ – the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first twenty-five years – in 1993. When I started reading it, I was curious. I wanted to know what made this book so great that it was given the Booker of Bookers title. As I progressed, I was confused. By the time I finished it, I wasn’t bothered. Whatever might have been the reason [for the award], whatever it might or might not have won, I loved it. I don’t know if it makes sense but I have a kind of bond with every book I read. Maybe not with the books I didn’t like. But with most other books, I do. Inspite of the way it irritated and frustrated me, I think I have ‘bonded’ with this book. And that’s what is important to me, as a reader.

Coming to the book, one point I strongly felt is regarding the implied focus of the book and its actual one. The title and the blurb/outline on the back cover lead you to believe this book is about the Midnight’s Children. My friend was reading this book before me and once, when I asked her how it was going, she said, “I reached Book Two (the book is divided into three parts) and yet, nothing seems to be happening.” I didn’t understand what she meant but once I started reading, I did. If you read this book, thinking it’s about Midnight’s Children, you might end up being very much disappointed. Because Midnight’s Children is just a part of it. Not even a major part, I’m afraid.

This book truly and totally belongs to Saleem Sinai, the narrator and protagonist, born on the exact moment of India’s independence, (and as a result, gifted with extraordinary powers). It is Saleem’s biography; one which he writes, and at the same time, narrates to his ‘mighty pickle-woman’, Padma. Saleem irritates, frustrates, confuses you just as much as he evokes your interest, moves you to laughter or tears and creates a place for himself in your mind. He can go on with his elaborate thoughts that are way too detailed and end up getting on your nerves. There have been many instances when I felt, “Why can’t he just shut up and get on with the story?” But then, that is how Saleem is, and after awhile, you get used to it…and the next time, you will be prepared for his rant. He digresses way too much but he is also adept (super-adept!!) at keeping you hooked (throwing in interesting bits about what lies ahead). He is one hell of a writer-narrator, I must say! I know it’s Rushdie who should be appreciated but, well, I think I’m too attached to Saleem to realize the difference. [And, anyway, when I appreciate Saleem, it's basically Rushdie I'm talking about, in an indirect way]

Like I said, it’s Saleem’s biography. And he relates it in a very detailed way, including very minute facts. You get to know absolutely everything, right from the details of his grandfather’s marriage, his parents’ life before his birth, all the ‘unspeakable’ acts he committed, the people who changed his life, so on…until his death. I’d be surprised if you have ever read a biography more detailed than Saleem’s. And, I forgot an important part. Saleem, being connected to India by his birth, relates the country’s historical and major events in a parallel manner. Which is brilliant, I think! The work of a genius, in fact. The writing style is kind of unconventional (different would be an understatement) but I loved it, nevertheless.

I’ve grown to love the character and am so attached to him (obviously, I know, literally, everything about him!!). So, well, I could go on. If you intend to read this book at some point, go ahead. I hope you will have the patience it demands and love it as much as I did. Only advice I’d give is: Don’t read it for Midnight’s Children; read it for Saleem.

This is the most favourite quote from the book. I think it kind of defines the book, and Saleem, as well. And what I loved most about it is the strikingly beautiful truth it talks about.

                                                                 midnights-children-quote.jpg (200×366)

Randomly Amusing

I’ve been away for so long that it almost feels like I’m blogging for the first time.

As usual, work’s been eating up most of my time and even if I want to blog during the weekends, I can’t seem to find the inspiration to do so. Although, there’s been no lack of ideas!

Work’s been going fine. Yes, it’s still tiring and leaves me with less time for myself and a sore throat. But there are certain moments of clarity that make me realize how much I love [the major aspects of] what I’m doing.

Anyway, this is going to be a random blah-blah post, about nothing in particular.

On Thursday, I had my first Parent-Teacher meeting. As a teacher. Right when I stepped into school, all tensed about meeting the parents, I saw one of my favourite teachers. It felt great seeing her after so long. She was surprised to know I was working as a teacher.  So, the evening started off on a good note. The meeting went well. I was, literally, gushing about most of the students, trying not to blurt out anything stupid that would belie my serious demeanour. Well, I admit I did have some moments of silly comments. But, on the whole, it went far better than I expected (and feared).

Talking about students, there were a few interesting, amusing comments I heard in class, which I wanted to blog about.

* As part of the special programmes put up for the school’s 27th birthday, there was a skit by some senior students, focussing on the rape-issues happening in India. That day, while having a random conversation in Class 3, I asked them if they understood what the ‘moral’ behind the skit was. A lot of them raised hands, volunteering to answer. Some responses I got were:

“Save the Earth!” (We had an Earth Day celebration two weeks prior to it; so maybe the kid connected both, hence the response)

“We should all be friends, not enemies” (Close enough, in a way)

“Save the girls!” (The kid had no response when I asked “From what should the girls be saved?”)

I just smiled at their reactions. How do you make a 8-year-old understand the concept of rape and the need to stop it from happening? Perhaps, it’s better to keep their innocent minds untainted by the malice of the world. Atleast for now.

Another interesting incident was -

In a particular activity, the students had to rearrange some jumbled letters to form words and then fill up sentences using these words. One sentence was: ‘This is the ________ where Krishna lived. (Hint – a p l c e) [Answer is, obvioulsy, place]

A kid came to me, saying he didn’t know the answer. I told him it’s easy, to try once more and read the sentence out loud. His reply: “Ma’am, I’m Christian (Krishna being a Hindu god).” I smiled at his innocent comment. I explained that religion was not the context and told him how to do it. But I couldn’t forget his reply. It still makes me smile. It will take some time for them to realize it’s wrong to consider religion as a basis of difference.

So, with memories of such seemingly-small incidents, I go on from one day to the next. Let’s hope it won’t take very long for me to come up with the next post.

Of Writer’s Block & Joys of Teaching

This is what I wrote in a mail to a friend: “I want to blog so badly. It’s like there’s so much in my head that I want to blog about but for some reason, I don’t feel that urge to write…or even when I try to write it out, I don’t feel satisfied. Like, I was typing out something right now. But I feel like it’s a half-hearted attempt… I don’t feel anything driving me on from one sentence to the next…after every sentence, I come up against a dead-end and I kinda push myself.  At the end of a paragraph, when I read what I just wrote, I feel like it’s not me, not true, not complete. Like I haven’t put myself into it, which is true, of course. “

Maybe this is a kind of writer’s block, wanting to write but unable to do it. When I read some blog posts, I get reminded of how much I have to write about and how I keep pushing it aside for later. So, right now, I thought I’d just write out something to pacify the guilty voice plaguing me.

So, I joined as a teacher in my school…completed over a week. And, yes, I’m happy. I’m still not very used to the whole system and I keep talking to some colleagues to get a better idea of what I’m supposed to do. The tasks that come along with teaching and being part of a school system aren’t very appealing. But I love the experience of teaching. I love the rush of emotions when I’m able to successfully put across a topic. I absolutely adore my students. Yes, there are a few who get on my nerves and are difficult to handle. But that doesn’t make them less loved. I enjoy getting to know them, bit by bit, each day.

At the end of the day, I come home tired and drained, usually with a sore throat and a headache. But ask me how my day was and I’ll always tell you it was good. Because when I look back at what I did in those classes, I feel a sense of happiness I can’t explain. It was fun, yes. But more than that, it meant something to me…standing there and teaching them, even if all that they grasped from it was a single word. I feel so lazy when I think about the next day. But once I’m there, I have to admit I’m happy in a way I can’t explain.

So, that’s what has been happening with me. Enjoying the new experience while trying to learn the ropes of the system. And trying to overcome this writer’s block. Or whatever it might be.

 

 

A Not-so-Equal & Opposite Reaction – Part 2: A Letter to the Person who was Taught by “People who Didn’t Want to do Anything”

Readers, in case you don’t enjoy this as much as the other posts, I apologize. This is exactly what I wanted to tell the concerned person. I couldn’t have said it any different if I truly wanted to empty my mind.

 

Dear Person,

Well, I might not have enjoyed the time I worked at your company but I did find you a wonderful boss to work with. It’s a pity you had to ruin it all right now, right when I was about to leave with a good picture of you. Of course, I’m sure my dislike won’t affect you or your business. I’m just telling you what I have in mind, what I want to tell you.. The effect it may or may not have is irrelevant to me.

Getting to the point, so you tell me, “People who don’t want to do anything, teach.” And you couldn’t really give an explanation for that. Were you just trying to discourage me and make me see how I should be in your company if “I want to do something?” Or were you genuinely voicing your thoughts? Either way, I’m sorry to tell you, it was very stupid of you to say something like that, especially being someone so intelligent  and understanding. I’ve lost all the admiration and respect I had for you, which probably won’t matter to you.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that you speak very good English. I suppose some poor soul who didn’t want to do anything must have taught you the ABCDs…and then, grammar and how to string words into sentences correctly & coherently. Oh, and surely, there must have been so many other people in your life who didn’t want to do anything…People who wanted to do nothing but the worthless job of teaching you subjects like Maths, Science, History and many more. And, yeah, none of that is probably of use to you right now. I mean, who cares how to multiply when you have accountants to do it for you; why would you care to know if the Earth is round or if it revolves around the Sun; why bother knowing what/who made your country what it is now… Why would you care about the lot of other stuff that these people taught you?

I think I totally see your point. Who would take up a job like teaching except people who don’t want to do anything? Who else would be jobless enough to sit and teach kids just so they can be something in life, like you became?

Oh, and your children are probably being taught by a bunch of people who don’t want to do anything. Don’t you think that would be horrible – being taught by people who are aimless, who find joy in doing something so worthless? I’m sure your children probably want to be something in life…and they should definitely be taught by someone like you, who is something. But then, how could you teach? You aren’t one of those people who don’t want to do anything. Ah, well, who needs teaching anyway, right? Your children probably won’t.

I could go on like this, trying to (sarcastically) put across how some teacher(s) must have contributed to what you are today…how you could have ended up being nothing, how your children are also dependent on a bunch of teachers to become something in life. Someday, you’re going to realize it and I hope time helps you to correct your thought. Not just because I’m going to be one of those people, but because when you say something like that, you are insulting and degrading the teachers who took the effort to teach you just so that you could be something in life while they remain the same. And yes, you’re insulting yourself. Teachers might seem weird (who else would spend their lives helping others to be successful and stay in the same position themselves). But that definitely does not make them people who don’t want to do anything.

Best of luck for the life ahead. Hope it brings you more success and better realizations.

 

Yours sincerely,

Ex-employee.

A Not-So-Equal and Opposite Reaction

There’s so much that I want to write about. But, for some reason, I don’t get the words when I try to do it. I get it in my head, at times…while at work, while trying to sleep, at random instances. But rarely when I try to write it out. What disturbs me most about the situation is – it never used to be like this. I could get the words so easily and put my thoughts across in the exact way I wanted.

For a moment, I wondered if I’m losing touch. But no, I think I’ll know it if I lose touch with something so integral to my being. So, I guess it’s probably because whenever I’ve sat down to write, I have been too tired (mentally and physically) to take a substantial effort to write.

It feels so suffocating when you have so much in your mind but cannot bring it out completely. Which is the reason I decided to try writing in the morning, when I’m much more relaxed and alive than during the remaining part of the day.

So, I’m done with the boring job at Dubai. Finally! And now, I’m going to do something that’s been on my wishlist. :)

When I came back to RAK, one of the first suggestions I got (in terms of a job opportunity) was to join my school (my alma mater) as a teacher. I was told that I could, probably, teach English or something in one of the lower classes. I was very happy with the idea but kept that as an alternative and continued searching for other opportunities. Which eventually landed me in the boring job.

Since I have had enough of office jobs, I have decided to finally take up the job at school. So, long story short, I’m going to teach! I love teaching. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do although not as a long-term career. Well, I’m excited. Very much. Obviously!

While basking in this excitement, something happened last week. An incident (or rather, a comment) that infuriated me. And, you know, writing is the most effective (and paractical and satisfying) way of taking out anger, for me. Especially when the person on the receiving end is going to be my (recent ex-) boss.

The background situation: I was offered a permanent position at the place where I was working until Thursday. But I turned it down because I wanted to teach.

What happened: It was on Monday. I think. The Boss said, “I had told [the concerned person] that you could work here in the media section but he told me you’re going to teach.”

Me (beaming face): “Yes, sir.”

Boss: “People who don’t want to do anything, teach.”

Me (I don’t know what my expression was, but I think I tried to keep smiling): “Why do you say that, sir?”

Boss: repeats same line. Adds “It’s like that.” (Or something as weird as that)

“Oh, I didn’t want to do anything in life. So, well, I teach. What else would aimless people do?” :-/

And, from that moment, I’ve wanted to tell him a lot of things. When he said it, a lot of emotions crossed my mind – amusement (I wonder why he said that); curiosity (Why would he say something like that?); rage (Why the hell would he say that?); intense hatred (WHAT THE FUCK DID HE JUST SAY?).

I had a lot of respect, admiration and liking for this man. He is intelligent, very much capable, likeable, approachable…all that he should be in order to run a successful company in Dubai. But the comment sort of drained everything I had for him. I’m not judging him, I’m not saying he’s a bad person just because of this statement. He is still a good man. Just that I’ve lost my liking for him, whatever reason he might have to justify what he said. I tried to list out possible reasons, too.

a) He was trying to provoke me, I don’t know what for. Maybe to make me think my decision was stupid.

b) He just likes saying such stuff. You know, kill your happiness.

c) He was trying to discourage me (and ended up enraging me!)

d) That’s what he really thinks

Well, none of the reasons seemed good enough to serve as justification (to me, atleast). So, I have irretrievably lost whatever liking I had for him. And there’s a lot I’d like to tell him (yes, that does mean there’s going to be another post, very very soon).

How was your week? And if you have had similar situations, I’m all ears. Always am. (Even if you just want to go blah blah about something random!) :)