Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Narziss & Goldmund - Hermann Hesse (Book)

Narziss & Goldmund - Hermann Hesse. 

Disclaimer: I am not expert when it comes to the subject or Hermann Hesse's philosophy so please excuse my blabber and do get the book and read it without fail.

I must have mentioned this earlier too that I am an atheist, but every-time I go through a book like this one which talks to so much about Life, Philosophy, Religion and belief, it does changes me a bit from inside (not that I will start going to a temple to pray) and makes me slightly a better human than how I was a day before. This is my second Hermann Hesse and I must tell you that he is the master of philosophy, one of the favorite writers of my own parents who totally refuse to share their copy of any of his books and I am supposed to get my own if I plan to read him. And just like my last from him "Siddhartha" this too is based on the life of a nomad named Goldmund who is always on move, never settles at one place but takes his life like a journey (superb at that) and tries to find the meaning of it all. I love this genre where the protagonist keeps moving, keeps meeting new people, keeps making relations to break away from them and land into new one, it keeps me wondering if there is ever going to be an end to his story and what kind of an ending one can expect to a philosophical book. Still Hermann no doubt puts a smile on my face, second time in a row by giving a perfect ending, you've got to read the magical book if you want to know how the journey ends for Goldmund and his most loved teacher cum best friend Narziss. A brilliant book on friendship and teacher student relationship.

Goldmund, a young kid is forced to join a cloister after his mother's death as his father decides to abandon him for reasons unknown to him. Coming from a royal family the new life is a surprise to him but he is delighted to have a master like Narziss, who himself is not so old, hardly a few years elder to Goldmund but is totally loved by his colleagues and chief of the monastery they work with. How they develop a repo between teacher and student, and what adventures young Goldmund goes through with his cloister mates is the story all about. After spending a few years at the monastery Goldmund decides that he has learned all he could and goes on to have his own learning with in the school called life and take each day as it came his way. The only purpose of his life as per him is to love and be loved in return, he is more of life for the pleasure of flesh guy whereas his master Narziss is more of live for the enlightenment of soul types. But fortunately they are never at the warring ends and their face to face interactions are a pleasure to read. The new masters that Goldmund comes across in his journey is again a terrific tale of loving and learning, how he aspires to become the perfect pupil and deliver what is expected of him, how many times he fails in his eyes more than anybody else's is the rest of the story. I never expected to come across this kind of a story from Hermann Hesse which totally bowled me over and made me yet again a fan of the great man. Especially the way he has touched the subject of sensuality yet never going over-board and delivers a solid punch in the end. I am not sure how this book was treated by the then critics as it does explores the sexual orientation of Narziss too (very subtly) in a most beautiful way but totally to my surprise and shock.

Another thing that I loved about it all was the way Goldmund keeps getting flashes of his past life and his association with his mother which was too short lived yet she keeps coming back in his senses, that was so beautifully done. As I said this is one of the most beautiful books based on Love, Lust, Lose, Friendship as well as Teacher Student relationship and like I mentioned, you have to read this to know who teaches whom more, is it the teacher or is it the student who teaches his teacher. Although I am no expert on neither on the book like this or on the Authors like Herman Hesse, so please forgive me if my blabber makes no sense but do read the book without fail and come back with your thoughts. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

4 Latas (2019) Spanish Movie.

4 Latas (2019) Spanish Movie. Few days back I was talking to my colleague about his last years bike trip to Leh from Pune and back. The guy is a legend when it comes to riding and he wouldn't miss a biker's festival ever anywhere in India. His next trip is going to be a cross country from Pune to Nepal, Bhutan etc and while we were talking about his plans and how can we be a part of his trip in our car the name of this movie cropped up. He insisted that we watch this movie asap as the movie covers one of the most treacherous drive ever and that is crossing the Sahara desert starting from Spain to Mali :), I had to logon to Google to know what exactly was the terrain. My mind got blown by just watching over the African map and on top of that the maniacs start from Spain and finish their drive in Mali, what happens to them on the drive and how they cross the desert is movie all about. Why they do that, can be anybody's guess as well have few of those crazy friends who have the most whacky ideas and on top of that they have the will to fulfill them too. On top of all that as if that all is not interesting, "4 Latas" is actually a very capable Renault 4x4 vehicle known as "4L". A movie named after a car in my books is a must watch just for the name. On top of that the main lead character is played by one of my favorite French star Jean Reno. He hardly gets his due in any of the movies that he has done but in 4 Latas, he is full on action and plays an amazing character with superb style. Movie is based on the life of a trio of friends who have done multiple crossings of the same desert a few times in the younger days and a lot of road trips. One of them is passing his last days suffering from some disease with his wife in Mali. His wife writes a letter to his friends informing that he has very few days left and they may not be able to see their friend anymore. This dying guy has a daughter too, the two friends meet her for the first time and ask her to join them to meet her father and she gives them an idea that her father may not like the idea of them flying to to meet him rather they should do a cross country trip on a car that he himself built for her so when she turns 18 she would take it for a spin. As they look at each other and at the car and at themselves if they will be able to cross the desert or finish the trip in one piece is something you've got to watch the movie for and for the rest of the electrifying journey. The people they meet and some old acquaintances as their past comes hitting on them makes it an amazingly superb watch. Visually the movie is stunning and so is its background score and music. Other than Jean Reno the rest of the characters are lesser known (at-least to me) but they are totally amazing in the characters that they enact. I had a jolly good time watching their histrionics. Have you seen "4 Latas"? If not, trust me you have no idea what you are missing. You've got to watch it without fail ASAP and do come back with your thoughts. And if you have seen it, do let me know how you like it.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nothing to Lose - Lee Child (Book)

Nothing to Lose - Lee Child. Another pleasant surprise that I kept for myself without my own knowledge :) as this is fortunately or unfortunately my first Lee Child read and again I had no idea what it was based on or if it was a part of a series or something. The first thing that excited me was the very first page with big bold letters saying "Jack Reacher" and I almost did a happy jiggle in my living room as I started this one. I have seen both the Jack Reacher movies, loved them as one of my favorite Tom Cruise plays the lead character and eagerly waiting for the third one to hit the screens this year. Unfortunately this is the 12th book from the series :) I know I am way too late but isn't it better to be late than never. I wish I had picked up the first two parts instead of this one and now onward I will be a little cautious in picking up the books that I am going to read and will stop picking books randomly without knowing anything about them. Guess that will take me another 6-8 months as I have that much stock left on my book rack which is yet to be read. My first Jack Reacher book has given me an awesome background of the much loved man who lives a ghostly life from one place to another, no family or friends to look forward to and almost no present and future. Surprisingly the book has some 550+ pages yet not for one moment I found it challenging. The book is way different than how they have made two movies on the character the guy is much more huge, handsome, milder and smarter than how they portray in the movies. If I hadn't seen the movies, I am totally sure that Tom Cruise wouldn't come to my mind rather someone like Henry Cavill would fit the bill more, he is more subtle, better looking and handsome too. As this was my first Jack Reacher book, it was a superb introduction to the ghost character who appears at his own will anywhere in the world and solves the problems even when no one asks him to do so or may be in the first place there appears no issue with the town. This time he is on his feet, moving from one place to another (on foot) with just a tooth brush and a handful of necessary things. As he crosses a small town called "Hope" and enters another called "Despair" the trouble starts when the people of Despair try to throw him out of the town for no reason at all. Now the Jack Reacher that I know is a tuff nut to crack :) as one can ask him to do things but no one can "tell" him to do something especially when he doesn't want to do it :) I guess you get the point. And what he uncovers at his own pace with the help of a local deputy from Hope (of-course a female) who has her own story to tell. Jack Reacher is Ex Army and have been in and out of quite a few countries especially Iraq and Afghanistan etc. What could be so wrong with Despair's only iron recycling plant which is very heavily guarded and even the military has some involvement, is what the rest of the story all about. How he clears his own doubts and solves the case is the terrific story spread over 550 pages at leisure, not for one moment the book is written to be competing in the "thriller" segment but will certainly qualify as a superb drama which keeps the reader glued to the narrative asking what happens next from the protagonist :). What an amazing character Mr. Lee has carved for us, if I liked him from the movie now I am totally smitten in love with him after the only book that I have read on him and I am craving so much to know more about the man's past :). Oh! And before I forget, Lee Child throws some very precious lines in the book that I will never forget ever in my life. Especially the definition of "Assume", not going to disclose it here as you have to read the book to know more about it. Also, Authors knowledge of mathematics and physics is simply brilliant :) again thats another reason why one should read this book or I guess any other Jack Reacher book too. The man is such a gentleman who believes so much in minimization that I am totally impressed. And as the title suggests, he never has anything to lose but it is for the people who come in his aura who are more to gain so much from his company. Have you read Nothing to Lose or for that matter any other Jack Reacher book? Do let me know which one is your favorite and I will get that with the first of the series which I am definitely picking up in my next book haul. Any other Lee Child favorite if you may have, do let me know about it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

IT Chapter Two (2019) - Movie.

IT Chapter Two (2019). Things that I had to do to watch a horror movie on big screen which is based on an acclaimed book from my all time favorite Author - Stephen King. I practically begged my friends, colleagues and family members, tried buying them with gifts, beer and what not, I even blackmailed a few Jr colleagues ;) but nothing worked. Finally one of the (best colleague ever) understood my frustration and realized that I may go in depression if I do not see this on the big screen soon as I had seen the first chapter some 48 hours ago in preparation :) she agreed and the rest is history. Shockingly we met a 20 something girl in theater who came all alone to watch this, I even spoke to her and she said she usually watched all movies alone, horror were no exception, that encouraged me so much that I may give it a try in near future if my fundaas to take someone to big screen fails anytime soon. I actually bunked my office in broad day light to watch the movie and that is a different matter that I had to put some extra hours in the night hence the blabber is running exactly 24 hours late. But let me tell you upfront that even the Second Chapter failed to scare me but it has so much more heart, character and story that technically I loved it in comparison to the first chapter and on top of that it actually gives a closure in the end (finally). Introduction (of upcoming feature) by the acclaimed and much loved Author was a surprise factor for me, since I didn't watch the first part on big screen, I had no clue and that sets up the things for the audience followed by "The Shining" sequel's trailer which is coming in next few weeks. Chapter Two picks up the story 27 years after the end of Chapter One as the joker hits every 27 years and now the teenager gang is in the middle age with their own stories to tell. One of them is still stuck in the old town and gets in touch with them all as they made a pact last time to come together if "IT" returns :). The way the first hour unfolds is simply superb, the transition from kids to adults and flashbacks are simply the best part of the whole movie, especially the way they have cast the perfect 7 for the roles and they are super fit. It took me back in time to my own home-town and it is exactly the way they pick up the things after so many years is what we all do in our own lives, the way they bug each other, stand by, understand and have lighter moments till the reality of things hits them as why they are assembled and how they would be tackling the problem at hand. So far the built up was good and keeps the audience glued but once the story is told and everything is set up, it takes way too long for the movie to hit the point and from any standard I see it, it is indeed a over stretch at 169 minutes. I enjoyed it personally as I am a sucker for good stories and entertainment but most of the people will not like it because of its sheer length and not for having too many scary moments. Blood, Gore and Gross moments are aplenty but nothing that I haven't seen earlier is my grudge. I expected so much more and it had nothing new to offer. One thing that I totally loved and which kept me exciting throughout the movie was the book / author references. You've got to watch it and see it for yourself how one of the lead character turns out to be a writer and what happens to all his stories, how they are treated by the movie makers, his friends and even fans :) was simply mind-blowing. As I said earlier, the movie is a full on entertainer but fails on only one ground that it isn't a horror movie, rest it has everything to make it a success only its sheer length may turn out to be a spoilsport for some. I loved the blood and gory movie and it kind of reminded me so much of one of my all time favorite "Evil Dead" on so many counts. Have you seen IT Chapter Two yet? if yes, do let me know if it was able to scare you and if you haven't seen it yet, go ahead and watch like a superb thriller with a rocking story and some thrills throughout, it is a joy-ride if nothing else. I am so much inclined to get the book and read it ASAP (in next two years).

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

IT (2017): Chapter One (Movie).

IT (2017): Chapter One. I've stayed away from Horror movies for last few years especially after challenging myself to see a movie like Conjuring and The Shining and spending a few sleepless nights, taking cab to office as our official parking is Basement 4 :( etc etc. This weekend I decided to yet again check my guts and see if anything has changed as I am now way over 4 decades old (in numbers at-least) and what better movie I could watch but "IT" (2017) Chapter One. As Chapter Two released last Friday and I may gather enough guts and graduate to a horror movie on big screen after all. So how was the experience? For one, I lived to tell this tale and two, to impress you, I must tell you that I saw this in the dead of the night, started the movie at 1 AM sharp on Sunday with Volume at 130%. Technically I watched it alone but to tell you the truth, initially my friend was watching it with me but he found it so boring that he slept over in the first 30 minutes itself. I was well prepared to terrify myself as it is based on one of my all time favorite - Stephen King's Book of the same name and he is one of those few Authors, whose books I usually keep miles away from me and won't read more than one a year just to be on the safer side (and live long) as they are way too scary. But the movie altogether was a lukewarm affair for me. It had its own moments which kind of excited me but wasn't able to scare me one bit. As my friend slept over, I finished the movie in one shot, turned off the living room lights myself, went to my bedroom without help and slept peacefully. If a horror movie allows me to do all that, it cannot be considered a horror from any standard. A typical Horror movie setting in the First Chapter of IT, a small almost dead town, with a bunch of not so exciting kids going around their affairs and being bullied by their senior schoolmates. One of them loses his brother in a freak accident and sort of blames himself for the same. Before we are told that his brother wasn't the only kid missing, there is something more in the background who may be doing some horrific things to the missing kids. On top of that our own bunch of 7 kids (6 guys and 1 girl) go through their own set of horrible experiences, they are in a kind of a fix which only the could witness and no one else. By the time they and the audience puts the two and two together, and the story sort of moves, I had already lost a lot of interest and was only watching it for some thrills and fun it was offering which was strictly average. I have seen way better movies in the past with almost similar stories but with terrific visuals, this was no match to its earlier counterparts, I guess the book must be a superb scary read but the movie wasn't one bit. How it all is cooked up was nice, the calculations, the settings, the friendship angle, bullies in school and the kids family backgrounds, the way they stand up for each other was all good and works like a perfect drama but doesn't stand on its own two feet when it comes to making a thriller (at best) and no ways a Horror for sure. Overall it was a heart-break for me. Unfortunately (or say Fortunately) I haven't read the book yet and not even planning to read it any sooner, but I am all charged to see it's second part on Big Screen tomorrow for sure. Do let me know if you have read the book and seen the movie both or any one of them, if that worked for you. I will be right back with my post on the second chapter shortly.