Friday, June 30, 2006

Book Review----A Passage to India by E M Forster

I read "A Passage to India" by E.M.Forster more than 2 decades back. This was one of the novels prescribed for in the English Elective syllabus in my 12th std. I had read that from the exam point of view. I picked it up again after 23 years. I had a different perception than before. Previously I had done only character studies. This time I could see it in a broader perspective.

The social structure of India under the British Raj has been portrayed very vividly in this book.The eternal clash between the East and the West, and prejudices and misunderstandings has been brought out very well.

All the three religions, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity have been shown to co-exist with each other. A Passage to India has all the dimensions of political situation, psychological effects and different religions. Christianity, though adequate for normal relationship and practical affairs, is too sallow for deeper human relationships. Islam is a faith that is more aesthetic and cultural than a binding spiritual faith. Hinduism does not guide the daily conduct of affairs. This is what is very interesting. Forster could bring out the positive as well as the negative aspects of the different religions so well.

This book has been dubbed anti-British for obvious reasons as the author tends to have a sympathetic view of the Indian under British Raj.

A passage to India concerns the relations between the English and the native population of India during the colonial period in which Britain ruled India. The novel takes place primarily in Chandrapore, a city along the Ganges River notable only for the nearby Marabar caves. The main characters are: Aziz, a Muslim doctor; Godbole, a Hindu Professor; Fielding, the head master of the government college ; Ronald Heaslop, another British official: Mrs Moore and Adela Quested, two visitors from Britain. The relationship between he Indians and the British official speaks a lot about the then British Raj. The British official is ever sceptical of the well-meaning Indian.

Forster ends A Passage to India with a bittersweet reconciliation between Aziz and Fielding, but also with the realization that the two cannot be friends under contemporary conditions. Aziz makes an important concession when he admits that Adela was brave to withdraw her charges, and expresses regret for the aftermath of the Marabar expedition. Aziz thus completes a movement from kindness and generosity of spirit to bitter and cynicism and back. Fielding, in contrast, realizes that he is in fact a true Englishman and belongs among his own race; to defy his race and maintain an active friendship with Aziz would be just, but not pragmatic. This brings back the theme of responsibilities and limitations of racial identity, as Fielding accepts the sacrifices he must make to retain his English identity. In this manner Forster ends A Passage to India as a tragic but platonic love story between the two friends, separated by different cultures and political climates.

Forster does not express any definitive political standpoint on the sovereignty of India in his book. Fielding suggests that British rule over India, if relinquished, would be replaced by a different sovereign that would be perhaps worse than the English. However, Aziz does make the point that it is British rule in India that prevents the two men from remaining friends. Forster thus indicates that British rule in India creates significant problems for India, but does not offer an easy or concrete solution.

Forster's description of the city of Chandrapore in the opening chapter creates interest to read further as one can visualise the scene unfolding before one's eyes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sonnet--On A Journey

if you ever change your mind, give me a ring
we’ll check out the weather to take out the boat
carrying food, clothes and other essential things
go out into the sea, whirring away we float
sleeping it out on the boat, soaking the sun in
to prevent from skin burns, I put up a shade
applying lotions, sunscreens on your fair skin
so soft, so smooth to touch, as velvety as suede

If you rather not we will go to the beach
watch the sea waves so beautifully blue
against my better judgement I slowly reach
out, pulling you into me to love all of you

just when you ask me to take you back to land
reaching for your finger, I push in the gold band!

Hmm. It seems I am hooked to sonnets!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sonnet---------Why do you write?

A friend of mine asked me why do I write? Hence this sonnet:

Why do you write?

What do you write, why do you write
How do you express yourself so well?
Whatever you write makes us think, dwell
On things that are grey, not black or white
How do you interpose darkness with light?
How can you make us go from heaven to hell
You words manage to take us to new heights

I write because I have something to say
To show what I feel about the world at large
Something propels me to put my thoughts
On paper, certain issues make me sway
These feelings just issue forth and barge
Out of mind, thoughts are no longer noughts

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

More than just education

Entering the portals of my old school
What did I see, what did I really observe
The children’s sense of learning still rules
They accept education without reserve

In school, we learn to read and write
Here the life’s skills too are taught
Interpersonal relations are given light
Knowledge here can never be bought

Those shape us for the world and life
Laying stress on communication skills
Coping with tensions, emotions & strife
Interlocked this with adventure & thrills

School is not just books and information
It is the first step to handle all situations

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thoughts about fast-paced life and drugs

Wrote this after someone high-profile almost died of overdose of cocaine or was it heroin...They have had drinks too. His friend died. He blamed it on the friend for acquiring the drugs...He had everything going...why did he need drugs? As he is high-profile, he might get scot-free. It wasn't the first time, he had taken those drugs..

Why have we all come to this state?
What is it that driving us to drugs or so?
Thin line between friend and foe
Do we then blame it all on fate?
Will that redeem us in anyway?
Maybe it will pull us into its vortex
Where it will it all lead difficult to say
Shall we let loose our guards; be lax?

Why these thoughts come into mind?
Never giving us a moment of peace
Will we ever be free, destiny be kind?
All these confusion will they ever cease?

With positive outlook we need not be sad
With faith, we can look so much ahead!

Another Sonnet! For someone who couldn't write one a while back, I am not doing too bad!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Great warrior that he was, conquered lands
He feared nothing, bravest of them all
Be it mountains, seas or hot desert sands
On the forefront of battles, always on call

Restless spirit that he was, roamed the world
Nothing held him long or tied him down
Conventions were not for him, neither a mold
No wishes for laurels or any kind of crown

But woe betide what went so very wrong
What made him so ill, confining him to bed?
He was in sanatorium, with dose so strong
As he couldn’t eat, with pipes he was being fed

Soon he passed away with no one there
For one so bold and courageous, was it fair?

Another sonnet----Shakespearean one!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Busy Bee!

He is always so busy
From morning to night
Driving us all tizzy
With antics so bright

Not he a doctor
Not an ironsmith
Neither is an engineer
Nor any merchant’s kith

What makes him engage?
What pushes him so?
Though he is no savage
Something makes him go

Despite his hyperactivity
He is so lovable
Always with a ditty
He turns the table

What else can he be?
He is only nine
Always full of glee
This nephew of mine

My nine year old nephew, Amlaan, insisted, I write a poem about him. So here it is…it describes him to a T!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sonnet----Working Man

looking out of my bedroom window, i see
that man toiling; sweating in dust and heat
paused he for a moment, standing on his feet
then sat down on the floor wanting to flee
deep in thoughts, he stared at the church door;
longing to escape the sun and retreat
into its calmness, and out of the street
wishing to be one with God and soar.

his employer yelled at him, he came back
out of his reverie and work yet again
practical world had intruded now
ah, well he had to get back on track
setting aside his thoughts and be sane
with renewed vigour, he toiled and how!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Worst of the worst writer

Worst of the worst writers, that’s me
as no one even bothers to read
Whatever I post on S and C

What kind of writing really leads?
As I myself have failed to comprehend
Why should anyone care, if my heart bleeds

On these, I have tried my hands
Fifty-fivers, lunes and/or cinquains
Not a single trace, nowhere they stand

Not for me long-winded explanations
Nor produced chef-d'oeuvre of literary kind
Neither did any kind of impersonations

Social issues are mostly in my mind
Something compels me to pen those
How can I ignore and put those behind

Someone shed light, what prose
or poetry do I write? To go with flow
I never tow the line. In compose

mode, whose trumpet do I blow?
Getting across my thoughts is my goal
Does use of difficult words make one glow?

Simplistic writing I thought, touched the soul.
As usual I was wrong assuming it all
Nutcase that I am, never saw loopholes

I enumerated my weak points, now ready to fall
After taking home the worst writer’s crown,
I will paint the town red and have a ball!

Wrote this for Why I am the worst writer Exercise thread on S&C

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


He lifted her veil, looked at her face
Sleep so deep, lashes so long
Casting shadows on her cheeks like lace

He stared at her with longing so strong
Tenderness and desire fighting within
Wanting her, how can that be wrong?

Mind, heart or body, who was to win?
This deep-seeded need, was that lust?
With all his guts, body wanted him to sin.

Closed his eyes, stopped himself just
From tasting her sweetness while she slept
Keeping distance from her was a must

He walked away not giving in to whim
Would rather wait for her to love him!

Terza rima poem...chk out the rhyming pattern, you can see what I mean. except for the last two lines!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Law of Nature

Switching on the light
I found a slimy lizard
slithering on the wall
into a nook in there

After a while it was back
following a tiny insect
on a hot pursuit

Paused for a while
and was so still
watching the insect
waiting for a kill

Seeing no action
the insect moved
in that instant
the lizard swooped

In single moment
caught its prey and
swallowed it whole

In fascinated horror,
I watched it happen
rooted to the spot
with unblinking eyes

Law of nature.
Death for one is
food for the other!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Compulsive need for attention

This has been in my mind for sometime now, to be precise, some months now. It involves most of us in our present life style.

The big question is: have we really become so depraved that we are almost always seeking attention to ourselves?

Why the need to be always in the move? To be seen at the right place, at the right time. To be part of every slice of life that one can get? It might not even interest us but still we want to be seen there. We want to be in the midst of a huge crowd, have a long list of so called friends without any deep friendships. Live one day at a time. Come from one party, mixer or whatever it is called now, and get ready for the next. What is it that drives people for these meets? Why is this constant need to be in the move, to be thought of a nice sociable person, to be liked by all?

Most people I see around me are so busy doing all these and more that they have forgotten to enjoy their own company, to quietly enjoy a book, to listen to music in solitude.

Are we afraid of solitude? Do we fear ourselves/our own company? More precisely, is it lack of self-confidence? Why does one feels so compelled to seek out company? What are we afraid of?

When I refuse to tow the line, I am thought of as someone gone bonkers. What’s wrong with enjoying my own company? I can’t go out each single day. I don’t even want to. I need time for myself; I need to be with myself at times. Why do I have to be part of the crowd? What’s wrong with being oneself? Why do we avoid ourselves? That’s how I see it, avoiding ones own company

If we have to be on constant move than why not do something worthwhile for the society? Why not give back something to this world?

To get answer to all these questions, I feel it's time to sit down and think; time for introspection for all of us.