How slow life is, how violent hope is.

Guillaume Apollinaire

Writer Guillaume Apollinaire (born August 26, 1880) is credited with coining the term “surrealism.” He first used it in the program notes of a ballet by Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie.


One Hundred Years of Solitude

Just finished reading the much talked about novel “One hundred Years of Solitude” by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. Must admit that I could not make much head and tail! Could be because of the fact that there is a lot of supernatural in the form of ghosts and dead moving in the present which I could not relate to! May be a second reading will help.

This is a 1967 novel by Gabriel García Márquez that tells the multi-generational story of the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founds the town of Macondo, the metaphoric Colombia.

The book is widely acclaimed and considered by many to be the author’s masterpiece. It was first published in Spanish in 1967, and subsequently has been translated into thirty-seven languages and has sold more than 30 million copies. The magical realist style and thematic substance of One Hundred Years of Solitude established it as an important, representative novel of the literary Latin American Boom of the 1960s and 1970s.

The novel describes the story of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the town of Macondo (a fictional town). The founding patriarch of Macondo, José Arcadio Buendía, and Úrsula Iguarán, his wife (and first cousin), leave Riohacha, Colombia, to find a better life and a new home. One night of their emigration journey, while camping on a riverbank, José Arcadio Buendía dreams of “Macondo”, a city of mirrors (also dubbed as city of mirages) that reflected the world in and about it. Upon awakening, he decides to found Macondo at the river side; after days of wandering the jungle, José Arcadio Buendía’s founding of Macondo is utopic.

Founding patriarch José Arcadio Buendía believes Macondo to be surrounded by water, and from that island, he invents the world according to his perceptions. Soon after its foundation, Macondo becomes a town frequented by unusual and extraordinary events that involve the generations of the Buendía family, who are unable or unwilling to escape their periodic (mostly self-inflicted) misfortunes. Ultimately, a hurricane destroys Macondo, the city of mirrors; just the cyclical turmoil inherent to Macondo. At the end of the story, a Buendía man deciphers an encryption that generations of Buendía family men had failed to decode. The secret message informed the recipient of every fortune and misfortune lived by the Buendía Family generations.

There is lot of sex which is made to look irresistible not only by the men but also by women. Even relations are forgotten behind the lust but mostly the experience not only enlivens the ‘lovers’ it seems to make them wiser! Sex can be had anywhere, in the house living room, bedroom, bathroom and brothels! Between people of different ages! All sex in this book has been presented not only as violent and passionate but also a great learning experience. It goes on to prove that Sex, after all, may be the only human desire that keeps the mankind going!

Most characters in the novel come out as honest in their dealings except the founders of one Banana Company who destroy the city in their greed, kill over three thousand workers and then conspire to obliterate the truth of massacre by dubious means including official conspiracy. It can also be understood as the struggle for survival by the simple God fearing people (like our Adivasis today), who are the natives against the greedy immigrant exploiters! The natives are bound to lose the war to the all powerful capitalists!

The number of characters is very large and is often confusing due to the similarity of names. This makes the story tedious to understand. Despite the fct mentioned in the beginning there have been some real gems which I could understand! One I share:
He ended up recommending … that past was lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by can never be recovered,and that the wildest and most tenacious love was ephemeral truth in the end. (page 408).

What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?

John Green

Happy 37th birthday, John Green! His bestselling young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was inspired by the time he spent as a chaplain at a children’s hospital. Though he was enrolled in divinity school and wanted to be a priest, the experience shifted his ambitions.

ਕੌੜਾ ਸੱਚ-ਸਿੱਖ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਕਿਓਂ ਨਹੀਂ?

ਅੱਜ ਇਹ ਕਹਿਣਾ ਕਿ “ਸਿੱਖ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨਹੀਂ ” ਇੱਕ ਫੈਸ਼ਨ ਬਣ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ….ਕੋਈ ਨਹੀਂ ਦਸਦਾ ਕਿ ਉਹ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਕਿਓਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਹਨ! ਅਸਲ ਵਿੱਚ ਕਿਸੇ ਵੀ ਸਿਖ ਦਾ ਕਿਰਦਾਰ–ਭਾਂਵੇ ਉਹ ਰਾਜਸੀ ਨੇਤਾ ਹੋਵੇ, ਧਾਰਮਕ ਨੇਤਾ ਹੋਵੇ, ਬੁਧਿ ਜੀਵੀ ਹੋਵੇ, ਵਪਾਰੀ ਹੋਵੇ, ਅਧਿਆਪਕ ਹੋਵੇ ਜਾਂ ਆਮ ਸਿੱਖ ਹੋਵੇ– ਆਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨਾਲੋਂ ਕਿਸੇ ਤਰਾਂ ਵੀ ਵੱਖਰਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ! ਇਹ ਇੱਕ ਕੌੜਾ ਸੱਚ ਹੈ! ਜਦੋਂ ਤੱਕ ਅਸੀਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਵਿਉਹਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਵੱਖਰਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਦੇ “ਸਿੱਖ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨਹੀਂ, ਸਿੱਖ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨਹੀਂ ” ਕੂਕਣ ਨਾਲ ਕੋਈ ਫਰਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਪੈਣਾ!

Humility has limitations!

Some times some people have great qualities/skills which if they share with people can improve the society greatly. But it is noticed that they hesitate to share their qualities out of sheer humility. Humility is no doubt a great virtue but beyond a point it is meaningless. As we all know most people grow by imitating others. So, I feel, it is the duty of everyone to acquaint others with his/her positive qualities and not hide them.

Similarly, some people hesitate to share their skills, particularly if their own kids have not followed them! I believe every one is responsible for his/her deeds/misdeeds. No one needs to take extra burden on that account! So, even if your close ones have gone against what you believe/ preach, go on to share your beliefs. Keep enriching the society with positive thoughts. Who knows even those who have gone wayward may also return seeing your steadfastness?

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” —Leo Rosten