Wednesday, July 31, 2013

'Cos the girl who reads...

I came across this on Facebook and loved it. Do read it and let me know what you think.

You should date an illiterate girl.

Date a girl who doesn't read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in a film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you've unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale or the evenings too long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn't fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn't, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn't read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent of a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, goddamnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn't read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the cafĂ©, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so goddamned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. Or, perhaps, stay and save my life.

— C. Warnke

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to juggle your cocktails and snacks at a party

I just came across these handy tips by Suneeta Sodhi Kanga in the Global Gujarati

So the party season is currently in full swing! A party is an enjoyable celebration where people get together to socialise, converse and relax but, more often than not, a lot of bloopers are created by guests. A savvy party goer should have a few tricks up his sleeve.

Guidelines for Eating and Drinking: Never, ever, drink on an empty stomach. Stop on the way to the event to grab a snack if necessary. The risks of losing control or being indiscreet are too great. In fact, be sure to pace your alcoholic intake throughout the course of the evening.

Don’t fill your plate to overflowing. People seldom notice you going back for seconds at large cocktail functions; they will notice the mountainous heap on your plate. If refreshments are being served by waiters, all the better. It eliminates the necessity for a plate, provided greed doesn’t get the better of you and you try to take more than one hors d’oeuvre at a time. Refuse if the foods are messy, dippy or drippy. Olives with pits are held in the fingers and eaten in several bites. Then the pit is discarded on the side of your plate, in an ashtray or into a napkin. Do the same with toothpicks.

Never, ever dip something from which you’ve already taken a bite back into the sauce. Hold your cocktail napkin beneath the vegetable to catch any drops of sauce that may fall.

Always exercise caution to avoid burning yourself when biting into a hot hors d’oeuvre. Test the temperature unobtrusively with the tip of your tongue, and remember that the inside is usually quite a bit hotter.

How to hold glasses at parties: First of all, the right hand should always be kept free to shake hands with other guests who may be arriving or leaving. Food, drink, napkin, stirrers, toothpicks - everything - goes into the left hand.

A cold, wet drink should never be held for more than the time it takes to have a quick sip. In fact, a chilled drink should be held by the stem, never

the bowl, so you don’t heat the drink. Hold a highball by the base of the glass rather than wrapping your hand around the drink. Only room temperature drinks, like brandy or a neat scotch that benefit from the added body heat to release the bouquet, are held by the bowl of the glass. If an elaborately garnished drink is provided, it may be drunk through a straw. Please do not fidget with it, or use it to stir the drink between sips.

How to Hold a Wine Glass: Wine is served in stemware because the temperature at which it is served can have a profound impact on the taste and the enjoyment it yields. Wine glasses should always be held by the stem of the glass rather than the bowl since the heat of your hand will quickly warm the liquid. Just hold the glass by the stem unless the wine is served at too cool a temperature and you need to warm it for a minute or two.

What to do with Stirrers and Toothpicks? While food served on toothpicks or cocktail sticks may keep your fingers clean, there is the problem of what to do with those sticks. Don’t litter, but don’t put them back on the serving tray; it is unappetising to others and unhygienic. If no containers have been provided for the toothpicks, put them in an ashtray, on a dish or on the tray when the waitstaff is collecting empty glasses.

If nothing is available, wrap the toothpicks in a napkin and dispose of them later. Please do not put toothpicks in your pockets, Ming vases or flower arrangements!

Here’s how to hold everything in one hand: Take that cocktail napkin and put it between the ring and baby finger of the left hand. Then, spread the ring and middle fingers to act as a base for the plate of hors d’oeuvres. Use the thumb and index finger to hold the stem or base of the glass and to stabilise the top of the plate at the same time. As you need something, reach for it with the right hand, use it, then return it to the appropriate finger slot in the left hand before continuing.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Song of the Lord on Google Books now!

Finally, my book is also available on Google Books. Those of you, who are interested in reading a few pages of the book, do click here

Book description:

On a dusty plain in Kurukshetra in northern India, stand two massive armies ready to fight the greatest war ever. As the kings of the world choose between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the gods look down nervously from their heavenly abode. Arjuna, the third Pandava prince, asks his charioteer and dear friend, Krishna, to put his chariot between the two armies. He then sees his teacher, friends and relatives among the enemy ranks. Distraught, he asks Krishna, "What is the point of this war, where I will have to kill the people I love and respect?" He throws down his bow and arrows and declares, "I will not fight." Krishna tries to talk Arjuna out of his dilemma and in due course, reveals His true Self. It is this conversation on duty (karma) and religion (dharma) between the two great friends that will be retold again and again as the Bhagavad Gita.

The Song of the Lord is an abridged translation of this ancient Sanskrit text. It gives you an insight into the world that was and the lessons that you could take from it and implement in this day and age. Whether you read it as a story or a work of philosophy, The Song of the Lord, will ring in your head.