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Archive for January 25th, 2009

I can’t believe my friend and photo journalist Jawapix from IE has actually taken the time and effort to upload my pictures onto picaso. When I took these pictures I was using a manual SLR, so we had to scan some of the pictures. This post was to say a Big Thank You to him. You can view some of my photos at picasoweb. If you think I have a pre-occupation with food, you maybe right – I still have a few extra pounds that I can’t explain away 🙂

breakfast

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labelledameMarion Zimmer Bradley retells the Arthurian legends from the point of view of the women – the much maligned Morgaine, Viviane, Igraine, Gwenhwyfar and Morguase. A feminist perspective which gives the classic characters new depth and dimension. It’s a fantastic and pleasant read, whose flaws don’t make it any less interesting.

The Mists of Avalon politics and intrigue take place at a time when Christianity is taking over the pagan worshipping island-nation of Britain – it shows the legendary rise and fall of Camelot. God vs Goddess, Christianity vs Paganism, Patriarchy vs Matriarchy, Love vs lust are some of the dominant themes of the book.

Though Bradley explores interesting ideas in ‘Avalon,’ her writing is disorganized to the extreme. In her efforts to cover everything – King Arthur’s Round Table, Pellinore’s dragon, the Holy Grail, – the book become an enormous tome of almost 900 pages with

Too much mush and too much Christianity is bad and Paganism is good. When we actually see the hard lives Morgaine and Viviane have to lead because of their faith, the harsh decisions that they take – one would prefer the less-taxing Christian God who doesn’t seem to mind having dumb priests in his service.

Gwynhwyfar and Lancelot have to be the most irritating characters ever created. From a vapid, frightened, stupidly-prejudiced girl, Gwynhwyfar grows into a hypocritical, adulterous and seemingly pious, over-religious female.

Gwenhwyfar is shown to deeply fear and hate the Goddess yet she had no compunctions in asking Morgaine for a charm to cure her bareness. And again her constant bullying of King Arthur to turn the country Christian is nothing short of tyrannical. She uses her knowledge of theladyofshallot2 incestuous (accidental) relationship he has with his sister as a Damocles sword over his head to emotionally blackmail him and get what she wants. Also her own inability to carry a child, she blames on Druid Kevin when she miscarries. Gwenhwyfar is so whiney and whimpey that one wishes Arthur had just shut her up (as he was advised by many of his councilors).

Lancelot is another irrriating character. He is never happy with what he has, but is always lusting after something or the other. There is a also a hint by Bradley that he might be a homosexual, because of his attraction to Arthur and the threesome they once have during the Beltane fires.

The fight between Christianity and paganism is delightful to watch; in particular the arguments and counter-arguments placed. For me these thoughts resemble my own struggle to relate Christianity and the dominant religion of my country-Hinduism.

Believers of each religion seek to influence both Arthur and Uther – but ultimately Christianity ascends the throne.

The Isle of Avalon is painted in bright, seraphic, rose-tinted colours. The Isle is the centre for druids and priestess, inititated into the worship of the Goddess and one of the last abodes in Britain still untouched by Roman occupation or Christianity. The island surrounds itself in a mystical era – the mists and fogs protect this haven from the once-borns or those lacking in physic powers.

An interesting and pleasant read, for everyone except the history buff, because of its large-scale historical inaccuracies.

(For the full review, visit castlesinthair)

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escapism1I think my blog is definitely escapist in nature. It never seems to dwell on the harsher things in life. I have very rarely commented on political affairs or business. At this point of time, the Indian media is focused on our PM’s heart condition, Pricewater’s auditors and the Sri Lankan Army’s military victories in the North, but reading my blog one would think it all sweetness and light air in the world. Reading my blog, you would never guess I was a journalist. And then again I never write about any of my personal troubles ; not that I have many 🙂 .

My friends say blogging is all about sharing things with people and accuse me of being close-mouthed about what’s happening in my life. Some of my friends on the blogroll are quite comfortable sharing how “horrid that b**** in office is..” and “How they wish they could beat up that m****f*****.

That way I guess I am still old-fashioned – I share only what I am comfortable with sharing. The blog is not my sound-off and neither do I want to become some kind of agony aunt.

I wonder at my fellow-bloggers. If they keep on bitching about the people in their office, will it not lower their chances of employment elsewhere? And also can they not sued by the company, since people know which company they are working for even if they don’t mention it by name? And again what if their boss happened to come across their blog and read all the horrible things they had to say about him?

And if you are going to write about your friend’s marriage or her engagement…for all you know she might not be comfortable with you sharing that news with the entire world. There was this blogger, who posted huge pictures of her boyfriend on her blog….a few months later when she broke off her engagement with him, she still had people congratulating her on her engagement on the blog. Unnecessary and embarrassing explanations had to follow with each comment. Or maybe I’m wronging the person, maybe she was quite comfortable with the world knowing everything about what happened to her on the personal front. But this level of openness somehow makes me uneasy – in India with everyone being so traditional and hypocritical – it is tough to be really open about our personal affairs and expect people to respect our decisions.

There also those who give the world wide web a minute-by-minute account of their social activities. If you want to rave about the sushi made in the city’s hottest eatery, no one is stopping you. In fact people will find your review both enjoyable and useful. Or if you donated something to a charity; feel good about yourself, blog about it. But Friday night bingeing, pubs and drunken driving should be definite No, Nos. For one – your public image will go for a toss and secondly – your chances of employability will definitely go down. And again reading about how someone puked is not everyone’s cup of tea and might actually bring down your blog readership. This last line makes me sound saintly and snooty – its not like I am part of the temperance movement, but I do wish that people would give a little more thought to what they write about.

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