Tarzan? (Illustration)


…when Artificial Intelligence takes over the Fiction World…

Remember the scene in ‘Tarzan’, when Tarzan takes Jane’s hand and compares it to his – when he realizes they are the same kind? Remember when he is trying to learn to speak and he says, “Me, Tarzan…You, Jane”?
Remember ‘I, Robot’ by Isaac Asimov?
Remember Joss Whedon?
Since this is my first attempt at an illustration, it took me some time. I even had a little issue with the way the robot is sitting – but then I decided: hey it’s a robot, he can turn just his head around without having to turn his body, can’t he?
But, while this is not the best I can do, I had a lot of fun doing it!!!
For “Artificial” at Illustration Friday

“Friendship Day” – pfft


My best friend of seventeen years(which in our case, is our whole life) left to another city a few days back! After that, I had gone into a full-on needs-to-write-something-very-cliched mode! And I knew what I wanted to write – all that I didn’t say to her to keep from turning our happy little bye-bye into a mourning session! But I didn’t want us to just fall apart either. I was kind of bummed.
Till last night, when she called me. And we talked. For hours. And I realized everything is just the same! Sure, I won’t be able to call her to fix my stupid phone the next time it starts acting crazy; I won’t be able to kill time at her place. I hate that the next time it’s raining; no one will offer to ride MY bike for me!! I hate how much I’m going to miss her! But that doesn’t change the fact that we’ll always remain best friends. When you have known someone for all of your life and theirs – distances don’t have any meaning any more! We have shared some of the BEST and the WORST times in our lives- and NO amount of distance, or anything can take that away from us! Sure, we won’t have anything like the past seventeen years ever again, whether we like that or not! But, hell, she’ll always stay my best friend.
I was never the kind of person who celebrated Friendship Day! Neither of us were! Reserving a special ‘day’ for what we have seems kind of lame! And still, I wish she was here so I could smirk and say to her something like – “Please, how stupid is the whole ‘celebrating Frienship Day thing’?!”
And there you go! Just as I finished writing this – I got this text message from her:
It sounds weird to wish happy friendship day so rather thank you for all that you hav been in my life and done for me!
(Gah! I wish I had said it first, before writing this stupid post)

Incomprehensible for the sake of Incomprehensible.

I have always wondered whether it is too ‘immature’ of me to think that a blob of paint on a blank canvas is nothing more than a blob of paint on a blank canvas. It most certainly doesn’t seem like ART. What happened to perspective? Proportion? TALENT?
“The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” -Pablo Picasso
I guess, Picasso should be held guilty. Modern art, however, is what can only be called – Incomprehensible for the sake of it! The less you understand something, the better it is supposed to be. It reminds me of Hans Anderson’s fairy tale – The Emperor’s New Clothes! All the people ooh-ed and aah-ed over the Emperor’s “clothes” till the little kid shouted, “Hey, he isn’t wearing any clothes!”! Every time I look at an abstract MF Hussain painting, I feel like shouting, “Hey, he doesn’t have any talent!”.
Check out this painting, for example :
The Yellow Curtain – Henri Matisse
I have to agree, it does look like a curtain from a certain angle, if you keep looking at it long enough; and it does have quite a bit of yellow colour in it. So it may not be completely nonsensical. Yet, is it only me, or does it look like a 4-year-old’s not-so-successful attempt at drawing a yellow curtain?
Art is looking beyond the brush strokes, and expanding your horizons, and letting your imagination flow; or something like that, they say. I don’t completely agree with that. For me, art has always been like a work of fiction: a picture that tells a story. Have you ever read something, and felt that the words paint a picture in your mind? Actually painting that picture, that should be art. Painting something exactly like it looks, painting reality, making it believable, making it look real; that requires real talent, and hard work and time. What’s more wonderful : looking at some random strokes and wondering if it looks like something, at all, OR looking at a wonderful painting that is so realistic, and so correct that you feel like the thing/place in the picture is actually right in front of you. For me, modern art just seems empty. Behind the “ooh-aah” aesthetic thing that’s going on, there’s really nothing there. Why is it so ridiculous that I have seen a couple of elephants in Thailand paint pictures that can pass off as modern art?
Of course, my opinion does not carry any weight whatsoever: “I can’t possibly know what I’m talking about -I have not had any formal training.”! Any argument that supports the fact that some of the works out there are just plain rubbish gets rebuffed as “ultra simplistic views made by people who can’t grasp the process”. So, think for yourself- What’s more artistic? What’s more beautiful? What’s more meaningful?
This random, chaotic.. mess?
(A painting by Julie Mehretu)
or this : a painting that makes you wonder if it is a painting or a photograph?
(“New Moon” – by Maxfield Parrish)

“What do women REALLY want?”

People love to create stereotypes. Or arbitrarily create a set of rules to follow. There are people who make lists like – ‘Ten things women want from men’, and ‘Ten things men want women to know.”. There are people who call the earlier lists rubbish, while listing their own theories about the “Ten things to know about the opposite sex”. And then there are people who laugh at all the lists and proceed to enlighten everyone about “the ugly truths”. What a person wants depends on the person, not his gender. I fail to understand why people just can’t accept that.
I’ll do my part and enlighten you about my theory. The only thing women want now is, I’m sure, to understand what men really want. And vice versa.
So, you see the problem here? While there is no problem at all to begin with, all the wondering what everyone wants creates such confusion that it becomes a problem, which no one is trying to solve, because they are busy wondering what the other person exactly wants. And since no one finds any answer, because there is no answer, the confusion ends bitterly. And then they conveniently conclude that the only reason things didn’t work out was the fact that they didn’t know what the other person wanted. And then, there are new lists. It’s really a vicious cycle, you know.
Now, I’m no expert on relationships, but I can imagine it would be something like this:
The guy decides to talk about his feelings, since he feels that that’s what women want. The girl wonders why the guy, who is supposed to be so simple, is talking about his feelings. The girl figures there must be something wrong. All the while, the guy wonders why ‘talking about his feelings’ isn’t giving the expected results, and gets frustrated. The girl, in the meantime, decides to ask the guy if there’s anything wrong with him. The guy snaps at her, frustrated. And the fight starts…
Or, something like this:
The girl puts on a hideous dress, and decides to tease the guy by asking him how it looks. (I know, girls sometimes do just inexplicable things). The guy dutifully replies, “It looks beautiful”! And the fight starts…
It’s no wonder that people have been perplexed by what the opposite sex exactly wants for ages!
The solution, probably, is to forget all about what anyone wants, and just be yourself. But if that sounds too cliched for your taste, you can continue with your ‘wondering what the other person wants’. I choose the easiest way out – make fun of everyone!

This is in response to ‘What Women Want’, by blogadda with pringoo
Geek Grrl

Geek Grrl
Geek Grrl

Nargles, Wrackspurts and Blibbering Humdingers.

When you think about your favourite novel, where do you really start? There are so many books that can be called memorable, that make you nostalgic of the time when you loved them. There are so many books that you’ll love even years later only because you loved them years ago. I remember when I was a kid and there was nothing more imaginative and creative than Enid Blyton’s stories. I also remember the countless Famous Fives and Five Find-Outers that I read. Back then, I couldn’t have imagined better books.



It’s hard to pick the most memorable book. Right from my childhood favourite, A Book of Brownies by Enid Blyton, to the books I read in my ‘I-Worship-Ayn-Rand’ phase, to the book I last read, Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter; it can be any of these! And it’s also hard to pick my oldest, most favourite book. But it’s only hard; not impossible.
Harry Potter. Yes, I am treating it like one whole book, one whole story. There’s nothing I have read, till date, that is more amazing, and more memorable than this book. It’s a classic, or it will be. If I think about it, some of my best memories are about this book or because of this book or even while reading this book.
I can think of a hundred reasons why I love this book, and they are all so obvious! It’s interesting, it’s fun, but more than anything – it’s different. Don’t tell me it’s not; don’t tell me it’s a copy of some book, don’t tell me Dumbledore’s exactly like Gandalf, only Gandalf’s better. That’s not why I call it different. No, I’ve read a lot of fantasy. But Harry Potter is realistic. It is believable. It’s an alternate world, yes, but it is not some outrageously different world. It’s actually pretty much like our own world, with magic in it. I think that makes it much, much better than most of the fantasy books I have read. There is an explanation for everything. It’s funny! Take mountaineering accidents, for example; who knew they were actually giants attacking people?! (Book 5 – Hagrid’s Tale). It makes you wonder if such things actually exist: not actually wonder, just consider the possibility. The feeling of “who knows?!”, that’s what I love the most about this book.
And there’s the way she writes, the quick wit, the stereotypical characters that you’ll find in every “Muggle” school as well (every class has a Hermione, a Luna, and an irritating pair of Lavender and Parvati), the adventure, the mystery, the way every piece fits – how all the books are interconnected, it seems as though she thought of all seven books together; it’s one whole story with seven books as seven chapters and Quidditch – who can think of anything more wonderful than Quidditch! Like I said, there are a hundred reasons.
So, when I say my favourite book is Harry Potter I think of reading the first book and falling hopelessly in love with it; endlessly talking about the books in school; the amazing Harry Potter quizzes and games and competitions; saying Lumos to put on lights(everyone does that!) or muttering Silencio when someone just won’t stop talking; waiting for the next book to release and dying to be the first one to read it so I could tell my friends the suspense; discussing what house we’d be in at Hogwarts; sitting in a boring Chemistry class wondering how helpful a Nosebleed Nougat would be right then; wishing I had Extendable Ears during vivas; forcing my father to read the book and seeing him get as hooked on it as me! I think many, many of the funnest moments in my life wouldn’t have happened if this book wasn’t there!
If you haven’t read/don’t like Harry Potter, I have to say, you are really missing out on a lot.

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Un-Dead Man Walking



Many people, specially my age(which, by the way, is 17), think that the “vampire craze” started as a result of the Twilight series (that’s what initially got me interested in vampires, true, but that’s just because I was very ignorant when it came to fantasy fiction; a thing I regret). Vampire myths and folklore are, actually, as old as the human civilization itself. Vampire fiction is rooted in the ‘vampire craze’ of the 1720s and 1730s; when the vampires were quite unlike today’s vampires.


Why these myths first came to be, can be explained by the natural, but in those days inexplicable, processes of death and decomposition. People often suspected vampirism when the body did not look decomposed; as the gases from decomposition caused the torso of the body to swell, making it look well-fed. This body, when staked, would deflate with a groan-like noise, as the gases escaped. The idea that vampires can only be killed with a wooden stake through the heart, however, is a mere co-incidence; as the dead body, which was assumed to be a vampire, was in a cemetery close to a church; and the priest happened to stake the body with a wooden cross, right through the heart(which “killed” the vampire, effectively). This also explains a vampire’s fear of the cross. Also, after death, skin and gums lose fluids and contract, exposing roots nails and roots and parts of teeth that were concealed inside the jaw; which were mistaken as sharp, claw-like nails, and fangs. Porphyria is a rare blood disorder, often confused with vampirism, where the skin of the sufferers is affected in directed contact with sunlight – making them synonymous to the “Creatures of the Night”. Rabies has also been linked to vampirism; a disease which can cause a drive to bite others and a bloody frothing at the mouth. Of course, these myths were fueled by regular sightings of dead family members and lovers at night, which were probably just hallucinations.


From James Rymer’s Varney the Vampire, ofcourse, to Dracula by Bram Stoker and Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, to the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, till the recent Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith and of course, the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer; vampires continued to captivate us, soon becoming not only terrifying, but also highly attractive and alluring.

It is safe to say, of course, that Twilight is not one of the best books about vampires. I wouldn’t even call it a great book otherwise, vampires or no vampires; but since I’m discussing vampires right now, let’s leave aside the too much use of adjectives, too many repetitions, too shallow/predictable characters, and basically the fact that they are four books of nothing, really. So when you are bad at all these things, you could at least get your facts right; i.e vampires don’t sparkle, vampires have fangs et al. And, finally, if you can’t do that either, come up with your own story!! But no, Twilight has everything from Charlaine Harris’s motorcycle gang of werewolves, to LJ Smith’s, well, kind of the whole same story, and also Edward Cullen: Twilight’s very own, rather badly copied version of Joss Whedon’s Angel: the good vampire who ran around saving people’s lives, the messy hair, the handsome, pale face, the falling in love with a human girl, all of it, and, not to mention, the fact that Meyer keeps calling him “angel”. It is also copied, apparently almost scene to scene from a book called The Nocturne by Jordan Smith: I haven’t read the book myself, but this was enough to convince me. And it has still sold around 100 million copies worldwide. Of course, in a world where people like Miley Cyrus become famous singers, Stephanie Meyer was bound to get lucky.

What I am concerned with is how Stephanie Meyer has single-handedly destroyed the entire vampire genre. The world isn’t divided into people who like vampires and smart/sensible people. People who like vampires are not necessarily crazy teenagers who are obsessed with Twilight. Twilight vampires are not real (or precise: because vampires aren’t real anyway!).

Hey!



You usually start your blog with a “What got me into blogging” kind of an introductory post. In my case, the question should be “who” instead of “what”; and the answer is a rather long and uninteresting story. So, I’ll skip to the part where I write a bit about myself.

Apart from being overly obsessed with cats, I love reading (recently developed an obsession with fantasy fiction), writing, watching just about anything on TV, painting, birding, traveling. It’s usually things that I can do alone. I’m really shy; and honestly, quite terrible at striking up conversations. I just talk to people I know – talk a lot to them, though.

Writing a blog isn’t going to turn me from a reserved, likes-to-keep-to-herself kind of a girl into a social butterfly! But then, here I am; actually writing a blog post about not writing a blog till now – something that would have been out of question just a few weeks back. And this is what this blog going to be for me – a clean slate. Tabula rasa.