Friday, August 29, 2014

10 books that linger in my head for some reason

I did this as an activity on Facebook but then wanted to put it in my own space as well:

The 10 books that linger in my head for some reason:

1. Wuthering Heights, for it taught me how intense love could be and introduced me to my favourite (anti-) hero, Heathcliff 

2. A Thousand Splendid Suns, for it left me with the immense satisfaction that I had read it

3. City of Djinns, for it introduced me to the author who would soon become my favourite, William Dalrymple 

4. Absolute Power by David Baldacci, which I gave to my brother to read and it started his collection of Baldaccis 

5. Pride and Prejudice, for I am still trying to figure whether I identify more with Elizabeth Benneth or Mr Darcy 

6. Tintin, for it introduced me to the word, 'reporter', that would eventually become my career

7. The Witch of Portobello, for it introduced Paulo Coelho to my grandfather

8. Love in the Time of Cholera, for it was the first book I reviewed

9. The Pillars of the Earth, for it was recommended to me by Kati Au, while we were standing inside the Dom in Cologne, which was once the tallest building on earth and Kati believed Ken Follet's book was about building that cathedral

10. The Hungry Tide, for it introduced me to Amitav Ghosh and turned me into his fan

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Australiana #15: The Things Indians Say

In Australia, because I do not have the typical Indian drawl or an American or British Indian accent, the people here wonder whether I really am from India. “How do you speak such beautiful English?” I shrug their ignorance with a smile. What I can't shrug off as easily is the ignorance among my fellow-Indians who make comments/questions such as these:

“I hardly find north Indians here, only south Indians... They are not the same.”

“Aussies are white so they're all beautiful.”

“Only white people are racist.”

“I had to change my name to an anglicised one because people here could not pronounce it properly.”

“Do north Indians eat with their hands?”

“White skin means you'll get skin cancer.”

“White people don't find dark-skinned people beautiful.”

“White people cannot eat with their hands.”

“Aussies can't speak or write English properly. Not like us Indians. We speak British English.”

“Their (Aussie) media focusses only on Australia.”

"Aussies cannot be poor."

"People here are lazy. They work only from 9 am till 5 pm."

"Australia's so expensive. There's no point of buying anything from here."

"If you have to become Australian, you've got to drink beer, eat steak and play pokies."

"Aussies don't even know where India is."

"All they (Aussies) know about India is because of cricket."

How many faces do you see?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Brisbane, from Mount Coot-tha

Kenmore and the Brisbane River
Downtown Brisbane

Mount Coot-tha, at 287 m, is the highest peak in Brisbane. Coot-tha comes from the aboriginal word, kut-ta meaning honey. The natives would come here to gather the honey produced by the native stingless bee. 

I'd rather be...

I had a few words popping up in my head this morning so I penned them down. Do let me know what you think.

I'd rather be a student than a teacher,
For I know how much more there is to learn than to teach.

I'd rather be a poor writer with a clear conscience,
For I know I'll sleep better than a scheming empress.

I'd rather be a lonely wanderer,
For I know my life will be measured only by my footsteps.

I'd rather have little of ambition,
For I know I lack the tenacity to achieve it.

I'd rather be someone people would easily forget,
For I know how much pain memories make.

I'd rather sing the song I love,
For only I know the happiness it will bring to my heart.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Australiana #14: Hills Hoist

When I started looking for houses to rent in Australia, I was quite taken in by a fixture in some of the backyards – the Hills Hoist. Since 1945, Lance Hill in Adelaide, South Australia, has been manufacturing these height-adjustable, fixed rotary clothes lines.

The Hills Hoist in a suburban backyard in Brisbane

You hang your clothes to dry like you do on an ordinary line. The Hills Hoist allows you to dry several large pieces e.g. bedsheets, curtains, etc, at one time. When there is a wind, the Hoist starts rotating, allowing the clothes to dry quicker. 

Artists hang their work on a Hills Hoist in Unley, South Australia

The Hills Hoist is one of Australia's most recognisable icon and is listed as a national treasure by the National Library of Australia and has been used by artists to exhibit their works.