Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Watched The Time Traveler’s Wife yesterday and have been t
hinking about it ever since. I have put off watching this movie for a while as I assumed it was a movie adaption of yet another love story with “Oprah book club”-ish sadness and torment and the pain of lost love. I was true to some extent but it was worth the tears.
The movie is a good adaptation of what I can only imagine must be a dark and intense book. Not having read the book itself, I feel like I cannot do justice to it, so I will stick to the movie version here. This is not so much of a review as a reflection on the ideas floated in the movie. Would I call it a science fiction movie? No, it is a love story though and through. A story about love intense yet flawed in a very human way. A story about loss and man’s instinctive need to live. The movie tries to delve into these deep issues but the restrictive nature of the medium itself stops it from doing justice to the theme. Exploring the need to love and live is the central theme of the story. What makes it the consummate romance story is that even though Henry travels back and forth through time, the story is not muddled by the presence of extra characters. It involves only the people and relationships that are central to his life and the story is explained and explored through them. The pivotal scene to me that captures the existential and nostalgic mood of the movie is when an adult Clare post two miscarriages, is visited by a Henry from the past, from the beginning of their relationship . This is right after she has found out that Henry has undergone a vasectomy in order to prevent any more children from being born as they may turn out to be time travelers. It is a very short but well executed scene where the intensity of her love for him, the earlier Henry, before life has taken its course, come shining through. She also acts on her primal need to continue life by having their child by making love to him in the care. It is a reflection of the sentiment everyone feels, yearning for a past when things were better, life was easier and the world was full of possibilities . Throughout the story the feeling of yearning for the past is a constant presence and given the fact that Henry can go through the past, reliving it, though totally out of his control, makes it even more unfair for Clare. The sense of loss – of love, of time, of life – is so intense that it begs the question, would you really want to travel in time, past or future if you knew there was nothing you could do to change it? Would you want to know how you die, when you die and would death then be any less painful for your loved ones? Would going back time and again to a point in the past that was pivotal and excruciatingly painful help you deal with it any better? The one thought that echoed through my mind while watching this movie and after too was to live every moment to the fullest, as if was your last. For you never know and even if you do, there is nothing you can do to change it.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Why do you read?
I was asked this question once by someone very dear to me. As an instinctive reaction, I was upset but on further thought, I realized that I did not really have an answer to that question.
Reading like painting or sculpting or music is an art form. When you read a sentence, whether you realize it or not, it affects a part of your consciousness. Just as every person you meet leaves some impression on you, you cannot go through a single book without it making you pause and think even if for a tiny fraction of time. It doesn’t have to be a 150 page novel. An essay, a short story - anything that takes a strict course of introduction, body and conclusion has the capacity to draw you into itself, whether with admiration and anticipation or revulsion and disgust. When you read a story you are connecting with its author and in that space it is just the two of you, your imagination processing what the author has implied in the pages of the tome. Unadulterated by the images provided by a third party –like the television or the internet, you are free to roam around in the vast hinterlands of your own mind, processing what your brain is reading. It provides a sacred space, in which you can be yourself completely, without prejudice, without expectations and without being judged.
It is not necessary for reading to have a purpose other than reading itself. Sometimes, if it is a self-help book or something that proffers a solution or understanding of a subject matter, after reading it you may be able to explain something you didn’t know before. That is quite often the case with non-fiction. But fiction – that is a different story altogether - pun intended. What do you get from reading a “story book”? Do you read it to pass time? Glossy magazines help you pass time, at the doctor’s office, at the rental car lounge or at the salon. No, you do not read a fiction book to pass time. You read it to savor it. To go where the characters take you, maybe exploring relationships, maybe investigating past or future incidents, predicting where the story is going next. If this is done with an eloquent yet beautiful language which at once amazes and enthralls you, it is a pleasure like no other. Just as listening to an exquisite piece of music or marveling at a brilliant painting, reading a well written book can exercise your neurons to make them work at their best. It makes you think about the world around you, it may not change who you are in a big way but it will certainly leave an impression in your mind that you will carry for the rest of your life. It is not useful in any other way and as Jonathan Lethem put it, it is this “resistance to usefulness” that is so appealing about reading. You read because you can and because you want to.
Monday, November 8, 2010
So for the pumpkin challenge, I decided to make: