Short Synopsis: Set on a Bengali noble’s estate in 1908, this is both a love story and a novel of political awakening. The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip. Her attempts to resolve the irreconcilable pressures of the home and world reflect the conflict in India itself, and the tragic outcome foreshadows the unrest that accompanied Partition in 1947.
What I liked:
1. The characters. Each POV from the three central characters brought me to their shoes. I struggled with Nikhil in keeping his morals, I lost my way to sensationalism and terror with Bimala, and I breathed in Sandip’s clouded fanaticism. These internal turmoil that each character go through make the story relatable.
2.The depth in this slim volume. It talks about infatuation — one that goes beyond the physical attraction. It weights the pros and cons of being infatuated with an idea. It tackles the concepts of freedom and bondage, pitting rationalism, nationalism and humanism against each other, backdropped by the political scenario of the Swadesi movement.
3. Tagore’s poetic power. I know people did not miss the faulty translations but that did not hamper Tagore’s beautiful prose.
Hope is an illusion
A lie behind the blinds
It walks you into the wind—
Points you to distant bergs
Where refuge hides
Ask a child from Quneitra
Or the slums of Manila
And both will give you a laugh
For life has taught them what hope is
A vanishing mirage, not an oasis
No food, no water
Not a breath left for a dream
For a deserter trapped in the desert
Does hope even matter?
Does anybody cares?
Tilt those heads slightly
Perhaps, from a different angle, you’ll see
The lives of the lost, last, and least
Trampled down by privilege, indifference, and greed
A scene less click-worthy
Uninteresting for the media frenzy
Day 2 of NaPoWriMo and I am not feeling well. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually – I feel drained. Whenever I mull over something that strikes a chord within me, I experience a relapse of depressive episodes. Now, the obvious reason is the global pandemic COVID-19. And I am not only saddened by the number of deaths it brings but by the extent of hatred and greed it ignites. I need not zoom out because my country itself is thrown in disarray. It hurts. 💔
There is, I assume most of you would agree, a long list of reasons why physical copies of books are better than their eBook counterparts. However, not everyone can bare the temptation for too long. A peak at a sentence that reads, IT WAS A PLEASURE TO BURN, could lead you to the very last page. And that’s what happened. I read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 online.
This classic dystopia will take you to a time when books are banned and burned. In Guy Montag’s world, lives are dominated by televisions and literature is on the brink of extinction. Books and freethinkers are burned without a second thought. The storyline is good enough that it could stir the minds of many, but perhaps I was looking for more. More hard-hitting satire, more stimulation. Maybe a stronger revolt.
Nonetheless, it’s still a commendable piece of writing. This quote, for one, is very timely.
With all the happenings in different corners of the world — be it political, moral or environmental concerns — we really need to be bothered.
“What do you do when there is an evil you cannot defeat by just means? Do you stain your hands with evil to destroy evil? Or do you remain steadfastly just and righteous even if it means surrendering to evil?”
Just recently, I was thrown into an alternate world where a philosophical and moral battle strongly exist. The quote above is taken from the Japanese anime, Code Geass. I’ve heard of the series years ago but I never had the drive to watch it. James successfully lured me into the anime this time. No regrets. 😀
The story revolves around the Empire of Britannia who conquered Japan and now call it Area 11. Its residents lost their rights to self-govern and are now called Elevens. The Empire uses destructive robotic weapons called Knightmares to ensure control, but someone is about to stand up against it. Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian student, seeks to use the power of the Geass to build a world based on his ideals. Unfortunately he finds himself caught in a crossfire between the Britannian and the Area 11 rebel armed forces.
Back to the question, I have this weird feeling inside that has been weighing me down. As an INFP whose choices and decisions are tethered on emotion and idealism, I find it hard to agree with Lelouch’s ways. For him, the ends justify the means. This just doesn’t go right with me. However, by the end of the series, I felt like loosening up to his approach. It’s a dilemma still. Can’t one just remain righteous and destroy evil instead?
To some, this might just be an ordinary statement of inquiry. But to those who have read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, these four words carry too much weight.
Originally published in 1985, Atwood’s dystopian novel takes readers to the fictional Republic of Gilead. It follows Offred, a Handmaid assigned to a high-ranking commander and his wife. In an age of declining births, Handmaids are valued only for their capability to procreate. They are held prisoners — stripped off their past and future. They are forbidden to read, write, or interact with the outside world. They are meant only to bear children for their assigned commander and failure to do so warrants death.
The book ends with Professor Pieixoto’s final line, Are there any questions? To me this seems a rhetorical question asked not to get an answer but instead to emphasize a point. It forces us to question our role as witnesses, both of Offred’s tale and of our own history of oppression.
Do we forget and stay silent? Do we remain neutral and indifferent? Do we stand up and fight?
You! Yes, you. As The Handmaid’s Tale becomes grimly relevant these days, would you ask a question?
Would (or do) you stop to help (presumably) stranded folks by the side of the road?
As an empath in nature, I would. Of course this does not mean that I don’t feel a tinge of fear or distrust, but I still want to believe that there is goodness in each of us. That, despite all the negativities, people can be kind to one another.
Do you think the world is less mannerly today than in past times OR are we just more touchy and manners are as they’ve always been?
Truth is I’m morally scarred. I would not zoom out to the rest of the world because even just the current situation of the people here in my country, the Philippines, is enough to trigger my cynicism. There is a prevalent disrespect for women and much more disregard for life in general. All these are led by none other than the head of the state. His brand as a populist leader has enticed many Filipinos. Whatever he says, believes or does, people will follow. His rape jokes ripple throughout the country and his bloody war ensues at the expense of the poor.
The Philippines has gambled for an actual medicine-man to cure the nation but I fear that we might have taken the wrong prescription.
What happens if you’re scared half to death, TWICE?
HA! I wouldn’t even try to do the math but I’d probably end up doing the first thing I always do when something scares me: freeze.
If ALL the world’s a stage, where does the audience sit?
This reminds me of a piece I wrote one the first Monday of July a year ago. Maybe life is one big stage, maybe it isn’t. But one thing is for sure, we all have a part to play. The audience don’t just get to sit.
Share your thankful comments here. It’s a gorgeous day most places, so celebrate!
I’m grateful to God for surrounding me with beautiful people who keep me anchored to life. My family, for being my strength and motivation; my friends, for reminding me that the beauty of life can also be found in people; and the boyfriend, for sticking through my anxieties, mood swings and existential days.
I’m grateful for the comfort I find in words whenever I read or write. To my books, for taking me to different worlds; and to blogosphere, for allowing me to have my own little world. As most of my friends here in WordPress know, I haven’t been writing much — by writing I don’t mean blogging about my escapades out in nature. What I mean is gone are daily poems and flash fictions.
This is why I am also grateful to Melanie for this prompt. SYW for me is a chance to introspect. It allows me to get in touch with my inner self and my muse. Who knows, one day, writing may come easy. 🙂
how many mouths must be starved
or epitaphs must be carved
for these blinded trolls to see
past this fractured democracy
this populist and his isms
his ideology of acquiescence
make cage ‘round free birds
and voices unheard—
trolls you’re trolled,
can’t you see?
In response to dVerse’s Quadrille hosted by Frank who challenges to put some TROLL with our poems today.
Here’s a short lament for the current state of the Philippines. Sigh.
I was not at the wrong place at the wrong time. Their eyes followed me with a laugh— or perhaps a mock— as I sit on the stand. My anguish did not mean a thing and I only reaped what I have sown.
I was asking for it.
When my shaking hands pointed at man across the room, I saw them smirk. My giggles the other night begged to differ the word I am trying to utter, R A P E.
I was asking for it.
Before the judge, the defense flashed a picture of my girlfriends and I. Hands holding a glass of vodka, laughing with our heads thrown back, the neon lights flashed before our tight miniskirts. I felt dirty with shame as I buried my face in my palms.
I was asking for it.
I should have known better the moment I slipped into my short skirts and high heels. I should have known the danger and the danger I bring. You see where this is going, right? When a man twice your age stops you with a leering face, it is your fault. Men will be men, and we are but a single piece plucked from their ribcage that they need to reclaim. It has always been their birthright.
I was to blame when his groin pressed down on me as his tongue slithered all over my skin. My shouts were that of ecstasy. My tears were that of joy, they say. I fucking liked it because my breath quickened with every thrust!
I was asking for it.
He showed the marks on his back with pride. That night, I buried my fingernails deep into his skin. God, I wished they were knives. Each night, the bare wall in my bedroom echoes his moans. His groans. The sound of slap from an unrecognizable monster plays on repeat. No anti-depressant or pill can help me sleep.
I wish they were knives.
I wish to be guilty of murder.
I wish I had killed that man.
I was never told being a woman is an open invitation to be fucked. That I am a platter of legs, thighs, breasts, and neck served for hungry beasts to devour. And when the meat is handed free, what kind of animal would dare to scowl?
I was asking for it, wasn’t I?
“Duterte, in a speech in Mandaue City, joked that his hometown of Davao City has a high number of reported rape cases because it has many beautiful women. Those who attended the President’s engagement laughed at the joke.” –GMA News
This is Philippines. Where a president jokes of pardons for soldiers who rape. Offers Filipino ‘virgins’ to foreigners with purchasing power. And orders soldiers to shoot women rebels in the vagina, so they become ‘useless.’ This is not the first time and it will not be the last.
This morning, through a friend’s post, I read a circulating issue regarding one Angkas driver here in Cebu. Angkas, a motorcycle ride-hailing service accessed through a mobile booking app, has been one of our reliable mode of transportation for quite some time. It appears that he was pressing the lady passenger to come with him to a motel.
This afternoon, in a sports warehouse, a man kept on stealing a gaze. As I was checking out shoes, he brushed his hands to mine “by accident”.
Tonight, as I get out of work, I do not want to go home. I assessed I have gotten used to it but the thought of men giving you catcalls and ogle as you pass by them is equal parts disturbing and tiring.
No harm done, they say. But what of the seconds we spent holding our breaths? What of the palms curled into a fist, just in case? What of the trembling knees? What of the fear as we breathe? Don’t these count?