Through Time And Across The Planet

Through Time And Across The Planet

Everyone who has explored English Literature has heard of Shakespeare and Milton and Bernard Shaw and J.K.Rowling. What did all of these have in common? Yes, English was their first language.

I too grew up reading works of authors whose first language was English. Almost every single work of literature that has ever existed can be found translated into English today. English as we know it, is considered to be the Universal Language. Online sources state that there are about 1.8 billion English Speakers world wide. Until today, I never quite questioned, ‘Why is English considered to be the Universal Language?’ I wonder how many of you have done so, but I guess now’s the time if you are willing to!

English is definitely an amazing language. Because it was once my second language and today is the language I speak the most, I can admire its perks and flaws when compared to other languages- I speak Hindi and am trying to teach myself French and Japanese. My fluency in the English language is because of all the English literature that I have read.

In course of time and due to globalization in almost every sphere of my life, I came across literary works by authors whose first language was anything but English. Until now, many works have left a profound impression on me and my life and contribute to my character, including my perspective. Yet, the works of one man has stood out and has made me appreciate the need to explore literature from across the world.

Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace was a work that made me reflect upon my ways in life at least thrice, if I recall correctly. His subtle understanding of the human character is so vast and deep that as I read, I could connect with the characters and probably feel what they were undergoing. The simplicity of his style and the ability to produce something interesting and intellectual out of the most boring and mainstream topics of human psychology and human relations is something that really appealed to me. The journey of one character(I won’t reveal who) as he underwent successive changes in life and morality was the beacon of light for my own character. The depth with which Tolstoy has explored human relations is outstanding.

Of late, I have been reading Anna Karenina-his other most famous work. In my opinion, it pales in comparison to War and Peace and is rather dull owing to the vigor with which it chronicles a scandalous affair between two highly prominent characters. Yet, I was captivated by the timeless value of the entire story and its relevance to modern society.

The fact that I could draw a fine connection between modern human social relations and values to the likes described by Tolstoy back in the late 19th century made me want to appreciate his brilliance even more. These two works of his are timeless and carry a message for everyone capable of understanding his prose, including a blogger like me!

Yes, reading Tolstoy and appreciating him is too mainstream, but not everything that is mainstream is dull, is it?

In my opinion, Literature, as long as it is original in approach and carries a message that can inspire you to be a better person is good literature. I have decide to move away from English literature and explore some translated stuff by Swedish and other Russian authors.

Feel free to recommend me some good literature!

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Perception Through Strategy

Perception Through Strategy

How long has it been since you last read a book that has had a profound impact on you and has changed the way you look at your life and the practical aspects to it?

Now, I am talking about one of those self-help books which most people would choose to ignore, deeming it to be exhaustively dull. If you are one of those people, I urge you to continue reading. Until recently,  I was disinterested in books that lent straightforward practical advice. I preferred to experience things and learn out of experience, and I still do. But, The Decision Book has enabled me to examine myself from a whole new perspective!

The book consists of four sections, under which there are varied number of strategic models that help us analyze and address various issues faced by us. These issues are in essence questions that are asked by all of us in our daily lives.

For example, you may ask yourself, ‘Is this project worth an investment?’ or ‘What makes me happy?’ For these questions, various models will help you practically analyze the question and you will be left to decide the next step. What makes these models efficient is that these have been developed through research and used before in time. There is a reason why a book becomes an international bestseller.

One must remember, however, that flipping through the pages like you do for a novel does not do justice to the true potential of this book. You must sit down and work out the models on a sheet of paper, delve into your mind to put down the elements required for a particular model, and then examine the final structure.

At The End of An Adventurous Journey

My first introduction to good quality literature was through short stories that I read as a schoolboy. Eliot, H.W.Longfellow, Ruskin Bond, Rabindranath Tagore, Robert Frost and many more whom I have forgotten have been largely responsible for instigating me into exploring literature.

When I was in 8th grade, I was fascinated by the world of wizards and witches and the story of the boy who  survived. It was the first fantasy series read by me.

Little did I know that my favorite works of literature were yet to be introduced to me.

It was after my final exams at the end of high school did I receive a present from my sister. In my opinion, it was the most fantastical subtle piece of literature ever written. I had watched the movies before and that considerably helped me shape my imagination as I read along. It was not long before I was entirely fascinated with Tolkien’s Middle Earth- from regularly pestering all who would have an open ear with war cries of Rohan to the brave deeds of the little hobbits. I even got hold of the various soundtracks and the words of wisdom from the books became a part of my life, defining my beliefs and giving justice to my actions.

I read the Hobbit, The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales, and have gone back to reading the Lord of The Rings and the entire collection again, just to enjoy the brilliance of Tolkien’s writing and the unexpected revelations as I badgered my mind to try and understand what I am reading.  I have always admired Peter Jackson for giving Lord of The Rings the lease of fresh air that it very much deserved and needed. It drew the attention of even those who have no love for books and thus have given Middle Earth the grand attention it has earned.

Now that the world has watched our favorite hobbit return to his hole(just in time to save his possessions from being auctioned away) an era has come to a beautiful end.

It is too wishful thinking to think that we might just see the wizard in Jackson conjure another tale of Middle Earth. He is definitely as grand as Gandalf to us, but even the old wizard was limited in his power and influence.

There And Back Again

Of fair elves and evil goblins,
Sturdy dwarves and wicked dragons.
To end comes the tale of a courageous hobbit,
As was foreseen, it will be a box office hit!

Esgaroth gave Thorin’s company the leave,
To plunder the mountain like noble thieves.
Unknowing were they; The dragon was yet living,
In slumber deep; On his treasure waiting.

Dwarves he knew; But to him was foreign,
Shire and little hobbits; Lucky Bilbo Baggins!
Wit and humor and generous flatter,
Pleased the dragon; As did his stammer.

Great was Smaug; He sensed the gold,
An ancient evil; Bright and cold.
The hobbit vanished; Smaug was awake!
He roared aloud; He flew towards the lake.

The Lonely Mountain cried aloud,
In the light of the moon and the heavenly shroud.
Esgaroth awakened; It Feared and Wondered,
An old memory and the King was remembered.

A mad king and his rightful throne,
The dwarvish pride and the Arkenstone.
Fire and woe shall befall Esgaroth,
Erstwhile, a great battle shall be fought.

The Unparalleled Legend

Many people have repeatedly questioned my fascination and apparent obsession over Tolkien’s works. 

Middle Earth in 5 books
My Collection of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. From right to left: The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King.

And I have repeatedly put off their questions, fully aware that people will not understand it unless they themselves take a leap of faith and immerse themselves in the Legends of Middle Earth. 

At this moment, I feel at liberty to explain to you precisely why I am so fascinated with Tolkien’s works, and why I consider him to be the pioneer of the Fantasy genre, not without asserting his dominance in the field of storyteller and well earned reputation as the best fantasy writer of all times.

Tolkien’s work is a creation of genius. One can hardly imagine how he must have connected everything in so subtle a tale that makes me feel that such times actually existed! Never before the publication of his works did a well written saga exist that was entirely and completely a work of pure imagination. One can always remark at his creative wizardry from the fact that he invented an entirely new language! The multitude of fantastical creatures that play their part in the entire web of events, the extraordinary skill with which Tolkien connected the events that took place thousands of years apart and the epic quality of narration highlights the vast imagination that cropped up as Tolkien went along rewriting his works, over and over again, until everything seemed to make sense. 

I must have read the books more than 3 times yet and I always discover something new, something that went amiss the last time I read them. The more you delve into Tolkien’s world, the more you discover and the more you wonder at his brilliance.

Some would consider Rowling’s Harry Potter series to compete against Tolkien’s mythic grandeur. But I disagree and hold that Tolkien is in a different league of his own.

Why do I say this? 

Tolkien’s works are a product of pure imagination. Everything that he wrote, he imagined it and wrote it in the form of a narrative. From the Silmarillion to the Return of the King, everything has been explained in such detail that it is nothing short of a masterpiece. How did Middle Earth come into existence? Where did Elves, Dwarves and other mythical creatures come from? How did evil take shape? Why was it that a hobbit and not an elf overthrew the evil of Sauron? This, and all their histories was clearly explained by J.R.R. Tolkien and his son and literary heir, Christopher Tolkien.

I agree to the fact that Harry Potter has been more successful than Lord of The Rings in the market and has become nothing short of a phenomenon. Rowling, very skilfully, managed to link many events separated by many years and has definitely established herself as the best modern fantasy writer. Her work was set in the modern times, and since it very well included children, it targeted a much wider audience. Tolkien’s style of writing and the fact that everything that he wrote was imagination is what sets him apart from every single fantasy writer that came after him. 

Consider this as well: The rich diversity of names of characters in his works. 

When I try to write a story inked with pure imagination, I find it a serious strain coming up with imaginative names. And every time I find myself in such a situation, I remark at Tolkien’s creative genius: How cool do names like Eriador, Gondor, Aragorn, Gandalf, Theoden, Frodo and the countless others sound! Has there been an author as accomplished as him in this sphere? I presume not. 

At this point, I would do injustice if I failed to mention Peter Jackson and his contribution to Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I salute him as a director, for the epic work that he has produced and for providing us with undisputed visual insight into Tolkien’s realm. His work entirely changed the way one reads and interprets the Lord of The Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. All of the music composed by various artists like Howard Shore and Neil Finn was revolutionary and did unbiased justice to the five movies produced so far. 

Every time I watch the movies or read the books, I am transported to an entirely different world, which seems much more fair and desired. Admittedly, I would prefer the life of a Hobbit: For ‘their hearts lie in peace and well tilled earth’. Even the thought of facing a hideous orc feels exciting! 

You, dear reader, would probably be clueless about my raving if you have never experienced Tolkien’s magic. Nevertheless, I urge you in good faith, to read the books or in the least watch the remarkable movies that have quite frankly given the books a new line of perception.

I vow to thee, thou will not be disappointed!

A Brief Spell of Freedom

Walked the path he ne’er dreamed of,

Of friendship and love; A persistent emotional cough!

The flower bloomed and the shell was broken-

Happened for the good, perhaps?

Windows and doors were laid bare open.

 

How it felt to sleep long?- Knew he not,

In the heat of all the organized chaos that he was caught!

Past the moon and stars he held his fort-

‘Soon it will end!’, ushered his soul,

With the first light it was time to roll!

 

Thence came the three dozen new,

Equally unknowing with experiences few.

Perplexed was his mind, unsure was his heart-

But Fate had fulfilled her duty!

Finally, he was quite despaired to part.

 

The days flew bye, came then the end,

Along with all the reserved tears to spend.

Beautiful it was, and an experience too!

Wilt he see them again?-Knew he not,

They were more than just allies and prosaic crew!

 

Odd throughout was this 17 year old,

He took back to his haven numerous tales untold.

Paths of Time can leave one weary and wise-

Lies there a treasure in the near pale future?

The fun’s dismissed!Forward the noble disguise!

 

Four Dogs and a Monkey

With eyes akin to an innocent convicted,

They gaze at you, thy defenses evicted.

Wagging and drooling, jumping and cuddling,

Come they to you, ‘How do you do?’

Effect as such can produce humans few.

 

Adamant than the most unyielding men,

Conquering thy room, they make it their den!

Amidst growls and scratches spent the days,

Yet, how lovely aren’t they?

To their mild affection, all fall prey.

 

And then came our cousin, small and fair,

Behold his gentility! Hark his funny hair!

Prowling about all over the sanctuary,

Established he has a zoo at home,

Free are his spirits! Free is he to roam!

 

The four, au contraire, were not easy to please,

For the little one hopped around in a playful tease?

Pulling and pushing, to kill time troubling!

‘Stay away boy! We despise thee!’, said Jeanie, Elfie and Pixie,

Scotch never spoke to the little one, a little afraid was He.

 

How will this tale end, knows not my soul,

Yet I shall sit back and watch the tape roll.

It’s pouring outside, ominous yet beautiful,

The storm is settling, the blue sky clearing,

Look for the sun! -there is always the silver lining.