Book Reviews of some priceless books..!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Magical World of Goopy & Bagha Byne..!

Grandfather of legendary film director and writer Satyajit Ray,
Upendrakishore Roychoudhury was a remarkably gifted man — writer, illustrator, musician and an amateur astronomer. His stories for children, which were written a century ago, included stories of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. These gave a great impetus to children’s writing in Bengal. His most lasting contribution was establishing Sandesh, the immensely popular Bengali magazine for children. Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne has become one of his most popular works, courtesy the very popular film (of the same name) made by his grandson, Satyajit Ray, in 1968.

This book is a selection of the best of his stories and the most fascinating of his characters. The 18 tales contained in the book have been aptly divided into tales of men, grandmothers, birds, foxes and cat.

The action of the title story, 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne' (gyne means singer and bagha byne means a tiger-like drummer), takes place in an imaginary land. Goopy and Bagha are dedicated but unsuccessful musicians who are cast out of their homes since their music drives their families and neighbours crazy.

In the forest, they meet the king of ghosts; please with their music he grants them boons which change their lives forever. They arrive in the kingdom of Halla where they are able to please the ruler with their music. In the course of events, their music saves the annexure of the kingdom of Halla by the king of Shundi. As a reward, they are married to the two daughters of the king of Halla and also given half of Shundi to rule!!

The book also contains tales of other fascinating characters like Kenaram Becharam, Granny hunchback, 'Tuntuni', the little bird, Majantali Sarkar, the clever fox, and many others. The stories inhabited by ghosts, kings, crafty ministers, soldiers, magicians, generals, courtiers, princesses, horses and tigers - have all the ingredients found in children’s literature -- talking animals, magical shoes, dancing ghosts and fantastic settings.

The language is simple, witty and meant to entertain. All the stories are hilarious yet thought provoking and delve into human psyche. The stories are still a pleasure to read decades after they were written. They are sure to grip the imagination of the young and shape a world of possibilities in their minds.

Personally, the one character which impressed me the most was the little tailor bird - "TunTuni". The onnocent yet very clever little bird fooled the King. The best part is that she celebrates every success (however small it is) by singing a song....!

D Notorious Tutuni...!

What the King has, I too have it!
The wealth the king has, I too have it!
(When she sees King's shiny gold coins - poor bird wants them too)

The king got scared ! The king got scared!
He returned Tuni's coin because he got scared!
(When our smart Tuni manages to get her gold coin back from the King)

Serves him right! Serves him right!
The king has lost his nose and it serves him right!
(When while catching naughty bird - king's men chopped off King's Nose)

Likewise, the imaginative vitality of the visualization and execution make the sequence in any story a visual treat.

Do get your copy of the book soon...and post ur comments :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Listen to this article...! Listen to this article

"It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea. A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water. and the word for Breakfast Flock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food. It was another busy day beginning. But way off alone, out by himself beyond boat and shore, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was practicing.".... This was one of the few lines that I read in a book review sometime back and it took to me high on the motivation peak to say that nothing is unachievable.Well, let me tell you something ,I was never into reading books that promoted confidence building techniques or personality development because I believe that its all in own's own self and needs to bloom out with our actions.But,this book delves into something really different from all general books and it says , it is "To the real Jonathan Livingston Seagull,who lives within us all"-- that implies that just believe in yourself that you can do it and no wall or pebble can stop you from reaching the zenith.Lets walk back to the historical memory lanes to explore the origin of this fabulous book:

Des Moines,Iowa,July2-John H. Livingston, was the man who inspired the best selling novel "Jonathan Livingston Seagull".

Johnny Livingston , as he was known ,moved many years ago from Iowa to Florida.He was one of the country's top pilots during the batnstorming days of the nineteen-twenties and thirties. From 1928 through 1933,Mr. Livingston won 79 first places,43 seconds and 15 thirds in 139 races throughout the country,many of them at Cleveland.He won first place and $13,910 in 1928 in a cross-country race from New York.He was a man who used to enjoy every moment of his life with the passion in his eyes and that sparked his immense success in all his ventures.Richard Bach,a former Iowa Air Guard pilot, has said his best selling book about a free wheeling seagull was inspired by Mr. Livingston.
Well, the storyline below will hint you on how can you solve tough problems and achieve goals in the rugged terrain and also on how do you make a race of your own that marches to success by motivating others as well.Also, you will get to know the ways to setting goals, not giving up, and being determined to overcome all obstacles to reach those goals.
This book narrates the story of seagulls that relates human life. Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor. But Jonathan Livingston Seagull was the seagull who was unashamed, stretching his wings again in that trembling hard curve - slowing, slowing, and stalling once more - he was no ordinary bird. Its the general nature of the that they don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight - how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else. Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly. This kind of thinking, that he found,was, not the way to make one's self popular with other birds;infact it was something that drifted the seagull community to go against his thoughts. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent whole days alone, making hundreds of low-level glides, experimenting. But,Jonathan Liviing seagull loved freeedom and was not a normal seagull like the outcast.He always wanted to learn how to fly better even in the difficult of all situations but the rest of the flock never felt that as important.
The elders of his flock inform him in no uncertain terms that a seagull only needs to fly well enough to feed himself, that flying is not the point of being a seagull. But Jonathan rebels against the proscribed ambitions of the other gulls; he yearns to explore the boundaries of flight. As he continues to test these limits, the Flock expels him, but eventually a group of younger gulls join him in his quest and together they transcend their seagullness.
The message of the book is perhaps best expressed in the epigraph above and in a conversation between Jonathan and Elder Chiang:
"Chiang, this world isn't heaven at all, is it?"
The Elder smiled in the moonlight. "You are learning again, Jonathan Seagull," he said.
"Well what happens from here? Where are we going? Is there no such place as heaven?"
"No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.

The author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull, tries to convey the fact that "For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight." Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar. Ultimately this is a story about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening. (At one point our beloved gull is even banished from his flock.) By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness.
So, as you must have got the hint by now---Seagull Jonathan Livingston aims not to be the ordinary, but to be the ordinary extraordinary. He is not satisfied with his restricted norm of life, but aims higher. He wants to fly, fly the perfect drop,achieve great heights and master it to perfection. Of course being different is a sin to his flock. He becomes the outcast, but that doesn't let down his moral. In his quest for the flight he attains heavens and he meets his old friend who teaches him the essence of flying.To his friend and himself, flying perfect was not about flying, but knowing it to the fullest. However he is still not at peace because he wanted the rest of the flock to pursue the same dream. He met his equals, who were against him and yet within time he could overcome all of them because of his desire to fly perfect. In his quest for the supreme learning to perfection, he flies back to the flock.

He sees that there are several Seagulls who now want to fly like him. He becomes their teacher and promptly all of them become outcast again by the rest of the community. Still, more Seagulls followed him as their teacher,and this was something great that was taking shape--especially the zeal! He becomes a messiah for those students, however hard he tries to fight it saying he is only a learner. In due course of time when he feels that his time to serve his friends had ended, and he had succeeded in making at least some Seagulls see the possibilities of life, and that his subordinate friend could take up the job, he decides to fly back to his old friend.His reluctant friend doesnt like the idea of taking up God's job, but Jonathan could convince him to smile with acceptance.
What sets this book apart is its simplicity in conveying the thoughts on life. Like the author says in the beginning that the book is to the real Jonathan living within us, it does force you to introspect. Limiting ourselves is the worst thing in the world we can do. But the one who challenges limits is the one whom the society rejects and yet it turns out that the one is one whom others follow.
We are too scared to let ourselves go. We are too scared to challenge ourselves. Most of the time we need that secluded cloud of society on us to feel safe. Out of society we are most likely to cripple down and break.
Only the brave few make it and they become the God figure who inspires you to look beyond the possibilities.Its only faith which stops us ,so start working on that ,what say??
Learning is finding out what you already know
Doing is demonstrating that you know it..!
Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you...!
You are all learners, doers, teachers...!

Do get your copy of the book soon...and post ur comments :)

The 3rd September,2006 walk into the "The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre" at New York was one of the moments that I would cherish forever.Built in 1910 as the Globe and renamed as the Lunt-Funtanne in 1958 in honor of the famed acting couple,this handsome theatre is now owned by a Nederlander organisation. The house's most recent productions have been Titanic ; A Mid-summer's night Dream; The Three sisters etc.From mid- 1932 until 1957 this theatre was a movie house with its entrance on Broadway,New York.At this time,the house was restored to legitimacy by completely redoing it in an elegant eigteenth century style.The entrance has now returned to its original 46thStreet location , and the theatre was renamed the Lunt-Fontanne.The gala reopening of the theatre starred the Lunts -one of the great actresses,in one of their best plays-The Visit.It was their last appearance on Broadway.The theatre as, you must have been thinking by now, has graced many shows of substance alltogether. The clock ticked 1:30 p.m with the sunny afternoon at New York and we were all occupying our seats at the theatre for the well reknowned musical play :"Beauty and the beast"--the most accoladed fairy tale. The fairy tale is one of the compilations of the childhood memoirs of everyone's one fourth phase of life..

One upon a time ,there lived a handsome, but self-absorbed prince who owned a moonlite castle. One day he was pleaded by an old and needy lady witha rose in her hand, but he treated her badly with much of disrespect and this further took a toll on the life of the prince.In response to the bad behavior shown by the prince,the old lady turned out to be a beautiful woman with magical skills and she threw the prince into a spell of ugliness and loneliness--the beast.Much before the prince could plead to the lady to forgive him,it was too late. His staff were transformed into... well objects to do with their profession. He had a magical mirror to watch the world through in his isolation. He needed to learn to love a person for who they are, and get them to love him with his good mannerisms but the beast transformation was a hindrance to all mannerisms.

In the village nearby,lived a beautiful young girl who always felt lonely and misunderstood, 'cause she read books, and seems to be the only one who used to like reading books. She had daydreams about getting out, getting a better life, meeting a prince. Her father was a "nutty professor" who was always into flop inventions but in other ways very true at heart.One day he went off to compete at an inventors' fair but he got lost in the woods and ends up a prisoner at the beast's castle. His daughter,when started looking for him, found him there and pleaded the beast to let her father go, in return for her staying there with the beast. It was a done deal and girl was trapped in the castle with the beast and his.. staff. She read books, enjoyed musical numbers such as "Beauty and the beast" and "Be our guest", and managed to befriend the beast. In the village there was an ignorant and manly Gaston who was upset that pretty girl wasn't interested in him. When her father claimed that she was trapped with a beast, Gaston saw the opportunity to have him committed to a mental hospital, thereby forcing the girl to marry him. This almost worked, but the beast lets the pretty girl out and she is just in time to save her father and prove there is a good heart within the Beast. She shows them the magical mirror and Gaston takes a posse to go and kill the beast. And the ending begins.... The Beast killed Gaston, but not before he was wounded. He is turned back into the prince by a magical "shot" transformation, and all the other objects turn back into people with a "whoosh", and they have a wedding for pretty girl and the Prince.
However, only the aftermath could turn back the time in the prince's life,could you realise what was that? It was his hospitality , in other words his gregarioys heart within the beast helped him sail through his petios of curse..So,"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what's right to the mankind,it can be anywhere! even at your workplace!

You will find the story more charming once you open your childhood face to read this vivid fairy tale with a deep morale.So, why is your maturity stopping, go and smile the child like way to the world....!