Posts tagged with “NowReading”

Oct 24, 2017

Chabter after enchanting, dark, pin-prickly self aware Chabter, Deepak Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People consumes the reader in whole, like the countless Pravasis and suitcases sprouting limbs littered allover its stories. The writing’s self-awareness stops just short of being too sweet to swallow, the bitterness too heady to spit. I read it like I used to read Stephen King back in highschool (during the run through Dreamcatcher, our motherly librarian was concerned). I was moved to tears many inappropriate times in state transport buses and sprawled atop awkward couch layouts during afternoon indulgences in the studio. 

He writes as if he knows—exactly, down to the quirky typographic detail—how someone is going to read not the lines but the inbetweens. You could see, with eyes half-closed, all the revisions the text must have been through, lighting pages up like Christmas trees in heat. For example (despite attempts, there are no stone-set rules in how Malayalam words ought to be anglicised*) he transliterates vegetable into Pucchakkari. A belittling† piece on the platter. In an Arundhati Roy book, this would’ve read like kulcha bait. Not in Unnikrishnan’s Chabters. Here, their visa out of linguistic self-harm is a knowing nod from the author, from behind the printed page. That is to say, I maybe imagining things. Pucchakkari and Kadakkaran blend in, with no (apologetic, italicised) footnote in view.

There is a Kiran Nagarkaresque rhythm to the sentences—the wordplay is effortless, long sentences bookended by short, punchy ones. The blessings of a coconut oiled tongue, alien but comfortably so, shines through. The more out-of-the-ordinary parts and the magically realist parts read like there were carefully measured, quality-controlled substances involved. Even then, the prose is grounded, the wackiness hitting you in ways least expected. Sentences deliver aftershocks way beyond their designated periods. Some don’t even wait to grow up to adult-sized sentences to drive home the despair. A two page Chabter (Google ‘Pucchakari’ and look at the Books result) on Gulf Malayalee nouns turns sinister word-sized-sentence after word-sized-sentence.‡

The type treatments and typesetting complement the content too; the blacked out words aren’t gimmicky, the illustrations aren’t afterthoughts. My only gripe with the design department is a misplaced diacritic late into the book. The Rodrigo-Corral cover tops the package off nicely, equal parts architectural plan and slice of the temporary, replaceable lives inside.


* A user-friendly version would say Pachchakkari, but that sounds pedestrian. Think Poppadoms over Pappatams.

† Puccham is denigration. Pachcha is green. Kari is a lady who trades in precedents.

‡ As I was reading this, I was mentally putting the terms in a spreadsheet, trying to find method to sort the madness into something as effective as the one in the book.

Aug 31, 2017

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Resurrected the right one and revived Nebuchadnezzar, thanks (to M) to a new battery all the way from Texas. Reading things on the commute means a side-dish of dedicated background research, (thanks to not being able to find a seat) from listening to long-winded (fun) interviews with the author to giggling all the way from K to N, to the amusement of people who found a seat or two in the crowded bus, despite themselves. 

It is bemusing to call the other one Neb-II. Mjolnir is making it too easy.

Aug 9, 2017

Living out in the village has its advantages; it’s already taken me more than a week to get to the final chapter of Rushdie’s delicious take on storytelling in Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty‑Eight Nights, with all the weeding-during-monsoons, rushed coconut-felling, felled-coconut-gathering, sorting, husking, marriage-attending, milk-buying, curry-leaf picking and slow wireless internet. Often, the story is too self-aware, balancing overt references to present-day dystopias and the author’s life, with crafty language gymnastics. Some sentences might even work well as triggers to long and interesting and weird tales. I was reminded of Neil Gaiman more than once (and then briefly leafed through Neverwhere again). Ashamed I never read Rushdie before. Worried this is going to be another spiral down Murakami lane. 

Rushdie calls one of the characters Dunia, the world. One may think that is a slow descent to corniness but, so beautifully, it isn’t. (The rest of you can have your refunds at the Peristan gates.)

In other news, this guy has two book reviews up in The Hindu. He has the best nice words and too many ‘entire’-s that jumped the editors’ desks.

May 9, 2017

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For us, one of the many ways to underline the physical, material qualities of a design is through the use of self-reference. The referring of an object to itself or to its own context can be seen as a form of 'materialization'. To quote British conceptual art collective Art & Language: "in order to perforate art with reality, it [art] has to be folded back into itself." We think the same can apply to graphic design. Using Helvetica, with its self-referential qualities, helps us create designs that function as a part of reality instead of as a representation of reality.

- Experimental Jetset, talking to Rudy Vanderlans. Emigre No. 65

Mar 17, 2017

Karl Ove Knausgaard talks about writng, life, etc. There is something about this man that reminds me of Alan Moore in Mindscape. It is either the intensity or the almost-dreadlocks. This guy suggested I read a volume off Min Kamp and see if the rest need to eat into the little green paper pieces I have hoarded.

Mar 10, 2017

The computer only does; it doesn't know. You can confuse it and it can turn on you. It's up to you to get along with it. Still, the computer can go crazy and do odd and strange things. It catches viruses, gets shorts, bombs out, etc. Somehow, tonight, I feel that the less said about the computer, the better.


—Charles Bukowski, The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship

Dec 4, 2016

Shadow of The Wind. Like a spilled bottle of Gentian-Violet over fresh toilet paper. Or the other way around. 

Here is a little list of things so far, this year. Now I can't sop worrying whether that first semicolon was egregious.

Aug 31, 2016

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The Warhol book, one that reads—appropriately—like a bag of chips, is from JB. 

Writers at Work gathered mite-tears sandwiched between slightly more cultured-looking hardbound volumes in the Institute library before I bailed it out into the rain and, for exactly thirty seven seconds felt the exact same kind of elation my mother usually feels after putting a frayed thread through a needle. A PhD. fellow who passed by, tried hiding behind a pillar unsuccessfully and leapt out after I did not slow down to attack. I was pretty sure he had sandwiches in his eyes and then I wasn’t sure anymore. He was probably just too late for the evening tea or liked the general idea of hiding behind pillars when running late for cheese (1-slice) sandwiches.

The thing is set in RCA VideoComp Avanta and smells of old tree stumps and dead pixels. A little bit of Google-fu brings up this PDF and then some, lining a rabbit hole slightly wider than something that can accommodate an atrophied miniature rabbit.

Mar 4, 2016

Discovered (gave in to) Anita Desai thanks to this wonderful Professor we have. Lungi over manbun in love with Bimla now.