Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Gu Family Book-Of Mythical Beings, Love and Other Dramas

Of late I've been watching one Korean drama after the other. The latest one is Gu Family Book.

A mythical guardian of a mountain sees a damsel in distress. The immortal chooses to become mortal so that he may love and be loved by the human woman. Tragedy ensues. But that is just the beginning for a child has been conceived and this serial deals with his life. History repeats itself. Love and tragedy are framed within a complex web of stories, yet the threads are rich with humour and the triumph of good.

With 24 episodes, I've still a lot to watch but at Episode 9, I'm glued and ever eager to get to watch the next one.

I do hope Indian Television will start broadcasting Korean films and dramas. Not only are they enjoyable and more so given the similarities in culture but they are also less laced with poisonous versions of reality such as we see in the few "foreign" shows available on Indian TV.

Exposure to Korean dramas will also improve the quality of Indian serials which, so far, seem to continue to reflect a twisted face of our realities. Without plagiarism, what should emerge from such a relationship is a richer stock of stories and better technical skills.

Korean dramas display a refined sense of moral values, including family values, on the one hand, and on the other, they manifest a concern for good government. To be able to do these heavy duties and provide ace entertainment is indeed laudable.   

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Theroux's Sunrise with Seamonsters: An enchanting introduction to English Literature, random authors, Theroux and other demons

Long long ago, I used to enjoy Paul Theroux. And then I chose not to read him and others who view the world as through a film of scum. He is, undeniably,  among those living authors whose works can be classified as Literature. Yet, like many such of these times, or, actually of a certain chunk of history, he manages, mostly, to leave one feeling distinctly soiled, leaves that which he writes about, tainted.

It was a random pick when I was in a bit of a hurry, that left me reading Sunrise with Seamonsters.

This is a book I would choose if I were to give one class on English literature. Theroux's pieces, of which this book is a collection, deal, as we are wont to expect from him, with his travels, on the one hand: Burma, Malaysia, Africa and India, among other places, lands he has traveled or lived in.

On the other side, the book has outstanding essays on authors like R L Stevenson and Henry James, to mention a few. One of my favourite chapters concerns the time he met Naipaul and how the latter became his mentor, in a way. I later found, by surfing the Internet, that they had a major feud along the way. So, this book is a great read for anyone who enjoys English language literature and a painless way for the amateur litterateur to acquire some knowledge about the great authors of that genre.

An added bonus is his splendid though sometimes noxious style. Little wonder that he chose to look upon Naipaul as a guru! And it is this trait which, of course, made the Singapore Government wary of him.

It's a delightfully gossipy and irreverent way to learn something of how famous authors, including Theroux, write, how they live and how the mighty can be flighty or just plain petty.

This is an excellent book for the traveler, the student of English and American literature, the reader who enjoys fine writing laced with piquant spice and anyone who enjoys a good  read.