Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tintin: A tribute

Charles de Gaulle once said:
"My only international rival is Tintin"
In 1929, an androgynous baby faced reporter made his way into Le Petit Vingtième, a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle. More than 80 years later, that reporter is a legend and a household name. Tintin was and is more than just a character in a comic. Tintin is a hero; a role model and indeed a paragon whose daring exploits have inspired millions.

In the 20’s and thirties, the average Joe had a really limited knowledge of the world around him. TV had not yet caught on and one could not see anything through a radio. In such a world, tintin’s daring exploits in locations as diverse as Tibet and the Sahara desert were a veritable introduction to Geography for entire generations. They opened the eyes of millions to countries, cultures, landscapes and natural phenomena which were still relatively unheard of. From the sands of the Sahara to bitterly cold mountains of the Himalayas to the Scottish highlands, tintin served as a passionate introduction to planet earth.

Eighty years back, the world was a much worse place than it is now (no matter what elders will tell you convince you otherwise). It was an era of poverty, hunger, depression and yes, racial discrimination. To give you an idea how racially bigoted the world was at that time, let me quote Heinrich Himmler:

“We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude to animals, will also adopt a decent attitude to these human animals, but it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and to bring them ideals” 
In such an era, the broad mindedness of Georges Remi (tintin’s creator, popularly known as Herge) is frankly, astonishing. This is especially seen in ‘the blue lotus’ where tintin makes a lifelong friend in the Chinese boy Chang, whose life he will later save in ‘Tintin in Tibet’. Chang is modelled on Herge’s real life friend of the same name. In the blue lotus, Herge illustrates how deeply ingrained the notion of racial inequality was even amongst the oppressed through the following lines spoken by Chang when he is rescued by Tintin:

"I'm Chang... But... why did you rescue me?!!?"

The main reason why Tintin is such a role model is that he seems to be a paragon. He leads an enviable lifestyle as a bachelor with an adventurous lifestyle as a reporter. He can fight, fly aeroplanes and is skilled marksman with the pistol. He is kind, generous and essentially flawless. Tintin personifies all of the universal values that are a mirror to everyone's own aspirations. Eternally youthful, the indefatigable reporter continues to conquer the world with unflagging, never-failing vitality. A brilliant supporting cast of characters such as Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus and Thompson & Thomson lend colour, depth, and perspective to tintin’s world.

Not only is tintin flawless, he inspires change in others. When Captain Haddock is introduced into the series in “The crab with the golden claws”, he is a miserable drunken wretch whose ship is used by his first mate, Alan to smuggle drugs. By the time of ‘Tintin in Tibet’, he is a noble man ready to sacrifice his life for tintin.

When was the last time a comic character got a national award? Tintin was awarded Tibet’s highest civilian honour, the light of truth award in 2006 by the Dalai Lama for promoting Tibet thorough ‘tintin in Tibet’

A lasting memory of tintin will be that of him running alongside his faithful dog, snowy, both beaming in eager anticipation of adventure. A powerful image that makes you wish you were in tintin’s wonderful world. Just as you start believing in the reality of his world, you flip over the last page and you are brought back to the cruel reality of this mundane world.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Anthem- A Book Review

Title: Anthem

Author: Ayn Rand

Genre: Dystopian Fiction


You either love Ayn Rand or hate her. ( the latter far outnumbers the former) But you can still love her writing even if you don’t believe in her ideology. That is the problem most people face while reading Ayn Rand. They are simply not able to separate the quality of the woman’s writing from the ideology expressed in the same. That was probably the reason why people who saw me holding Anthem in my hand greeted me with a disapproving stare. I was introduced to Ayn Rand by a classmate of mine who recommended The Fountainhead to me. I was mesmerised by the indubitable profoundness and quality of Rand’s writing, at the same time bitterly disregarding her ideology as pure banana oil. However certain elements of her ideology came to be accepted by me, such as the futility of being abstemious purely for the sake of others, while other elements continue to remain hogwash in my eyes.

Anyway, Anthem is a novella takes place in a future where mankind has entered another dark age as a result of the evils of irrationality and the weaknesses of socialism. Anything and everything is strictly controlled and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the word "I" has disappeared from the language and everyone refers to individuals as “we”). Everyone is assigned their roles. There is an overwhelming sense of mundane routineness in the lives of the characters. Freedom of choice has been completely removed.

The protagonist of the story is Equality 7-2521, who defying all the laws of his dystopian future is trapped by the “disease” of curiosity and in a world of near zero technological advancement, he discovers electricity (which he refers to as “the power of the sky”) He works with International 4-8818 (His only friend in a world where friendship is not allowed as it indicates preference of one over the other) and Union 5-3992. What follows is a tale of curiosity, love and the will to be free and in essence, be oneself and not be controlled by other forces.

This book is short in words, yet in meaning profound. This book is Strictly NOT recommended for lovers of thrillers or Pulp fiction. This book was not written to please you. This book was written to stimulate your intellect. That is this book’s legacy.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Here is post by Anjali Chandrashekar ( ) about an amazing shop that she came by this summer.
Ever so often we crave for something sweet. Something sinful, something that can make your sweet tooth happy. Chocolate is undoubtedly that one thing that will give you a one way ticket to heaven or hell maybe.

I decided to review Choco World. A small shop amidst the numerous ones in Jayanagar III Stage,Bangalore.
The very word got me so curious that it lured me to this extremely colourful shop of sticky fantasies.
Greeted with amiable smiles I was showed around the small shop that left me aghast. The one thing I loved about the shop was the unbelievable variety they held. Most of them imported from Germany and Belgium, many which I never dreamed of seeing in India. From Ritter sport to ferrero raffaello and lindnt to Ice breakers they have everything.

They have a range of homemade chocolates which you are allowed to sample, and you wish you could keep sampling. I personally love dark chocolates and think they have tremendous variety. Milk chocolates, dark chocolates range from 15%-43% cocoa and 45% -70% cocoa. It’s a matter of tastes they say, If you are one for the liquorish there are a whole load of them . Then there is rum and raisin.
I previously tried some innovative flavours like Gulkand truffle &pan chocolate , both of which I am not a fan of. However I liked the fig and honey and coffee cream.

There were a whole load of Lidnt, Ferrero and Hershey’s products .A giant Hershey’s special dark chocolate bar caught my gaze for a whole 10 minutes. The wrapper made me feel like it was a willi wonka bar with a golden ticket straight to heaven. Another reason choco world is a must visit is the range of customised gifts they have.Chocolate bouquets, choco music records, slabs, gift boxes, candies, mugs are among the many choices of gifts. You could even get names written on them for you near and dear ones.

To sum it up it’s all sweet things you could dream of in one small package :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Audrey Niffenegger's masterpiece XD

Title: The time traveller’s wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger

The time traveller’s wife is a book that will stick with you long after the last page has been turned. This book was recommended to me by my friend Amritha when she saw that I had nothing better to do: P

The moment I saw the cover, I was seized with a nameless fear. The book seemed to ooze a “hey, I am a headache inducing book which you will have to give your entire attention span to” feel. Reading the back did not help one single bit. Considering that I had just finished reading a masterpiece of Wodehousian Insouciance before this, it was with apprehension that I picked up the book. Guess what. This is still a book that you will have to devote your entire attention span to :P (something i discovered when I tried to juggle this book and a peanut butter sandwich simultaneously ;) ) Thankfully, however, this book will not have you reaching out for the nearest strip of aspirin. Au contraire, it takes you on a magical journey of time, longing and bonding that will keep you so engrossed that the red ants will thanks you as they gleefully raid the open peanut butter bottle!

This story tells the tale of Henry and Clare. Henry suffers from a genetic disorder which causes him to take involuntary jaunts in time. Clare and henry meet when she is six and he, thirty six. Thus they begin a life of attachment and separation as they ceaselessly struggle to lead a normal life.

Audrey Niffenegger weaves and blends together wonder,romance,humour and tragedy as smoothly as a chocolatier blends cocoa butter with milk in a book that is intensly moving and entirely unforgettable.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A new dish…

Title: Rani

Author: Jaishree Mishra

Here is a book that lovers of historical fiction would devour and relish and demand second helpings of! Rani is the story of little Manikarnika, with stars in her eyes, who went on to become an unforgettable heroine in Indian history! Picking up a four hundred volume tome with minuscule print is a daunting prospect by itself… but once you get past this challenge, you are in for a treat in the form of a story etched beautifully in the background of the Sepoy Mutiny.

Mani grows up with her playmates Tantia and Nana in a shady haunt near Varanasi under the care of her doting father and a far sighted, indulgent Peshwa. The ground beneath her feet positively rumbles when, at a tender age, she becomes the second wife of Gangadhar, King of Jhansi, a man thrice her age.Playful, thirteen year old Mani parts from her father, family and friends and becomes Lakshmibai- Adopting a new name…Embracing a new life… Shedding her rash, energetic mannerisms.

Like a firmly planted line of dominoes, problems and obstacles stand tall in the way of her happiness, but this erstwhile young Rani knocks them down and wins a place in the hearts of all her subjects.A jealous brother in law…. unacceptable British laws… an ailing husband… a traumatic pregnancy…. and the premature death of her son… Over eight years and sparingly spent tears, she deals with them all with remarkable forbearance. A forbidden romance and the looming war are woven into the skeins of this poignant tale whose predictable ending still leaves you unsettled.

Add a dash of fact and a dollop of fiction… and marinate the ingredients in a sauce of delicious vocabulary and fine narration. Stir in the twists and turns,  grate the finer details and spice it all up with drama. End Result: Rani, by Jaishree Mishra. A dish with several flavours that warms the heart.

rani j

Monday, May 24, 2010

The tissue wall!

An amazing wall of opinions left on tissue paper discovered by me when I went to Cafe Coffee Day, Kodaikanal! This wall really adds uniqueness to the Cafe and the excellent grub makes it one of the best Cafes I have been to XD

Saturday, May 15, 2010

And Thereby hangs a tale!

jeff arch

Name: And Thereby hangs a tale
Author: Jeffrey Archer

My fellow bibliophiles, once more we have a book that will draw us into its realms and keep us engrossed. Once more we find a tome that will force us to keep the pages turning and leave us with a throat choked with emotion as every story ends… well, mostly anyway!

Largely based on true incidents and partly derived from his imagination, in his usual disarming way Archer surprises us with a twist at the climax of every tale. Each narrative is unique and entertaining enough to ensure that the reader isn’t tired of the monotony of the same voice. The reader instead, embarks upon a journey to different parts of the world… Italy.. London… Ireland.. India… and many other places where he has a rendezvous with characters from different strata of life.Cunningly woven, each short story explores a theme that is extremely different from its predecessor and successor.

For the greater part, the book is pure genius, but certain stories may leave an ardent fan disappointed. When viewed as a package, though, the book is an ABSOLUTE treasure, with a plethora of protagonists from a woman with a fetish for shoes.. to a diplomat with bad social skills… to Death himself! I flipped over the first page with a beaming smile and turned over the last one with a glistening tear in my eye! Jeffrey Archer’s latest book covers a myriad range of human emotions over fifteen novellas that cant fail to touch the heart of even an ardent hater of fiction!

Read them all at once… Or read them one at at a time and savour the magic… Read them in any order and over any span of time… But just be sure you Read them all. You wont regret investing your time.