Saturday, August 30, 2008


A lovely rain is making everything wet in Colombo and things look dreamy from my balcony. The coffee smells good and Pooja is making cheese omelet, while David Bowie sings ‘Heroes’.

Looks like it will be an easy Saturday for us, while many in the world struggle with their difficulties.

My young inspirations are 2 kids of nine and seven. You can get to know them over here and here.

ps: thats the view from my balcony...can you see the rain?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

One Night in the Life of Meraj Hasan

Years ago, I discovered him on a wintry night train between Varanasi and Gaya. He was a battered prisoner inside a Soviet labor camp of the 1950s in Siberia. And I was a berthless traveler in the general compartment of the train, facing the December chill of the great North Indian plains. But, he was facing much harsher temperatures.

The person I discovered that night was the Nobel Prize winning Russian author, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in the form of a novella called, ‘One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich’. Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn died 2 days ago of a heart attack at the age of 89. And this is an attempt to pay my homage to the great writer.

The book is about the harsh realities of Stalin era when people in Russia were sent to the Labor Camps under the Gulag system for any or no offence. Solzhenitsyn was exiled to one, and he came out of it with this semi-autobiographical book which described one day in the life of a prisoner called Ivan Denisovich Sukhov or simply ‘Sukhov’. The book has all the abilities to disturb anyone about human cruelty and appreciate human endurance. It came out in 1962 with the consent of Nikita Krushchev who wanted the world to know about the extreme conditions under the Stalin era. The 150 odd pages of this classic shook the world!

Later, I went on to read other brilliant works of Solzhenitsyn but that chilly train journey with ‘Sukhov’ will always be intact somewhere in the attics of my mind. The Siberian temperatures in the book along with the increasing chill of the night had me completely frozen, despite a sweater and a jacket.

To give you a comparison, the mercury reading outside would be about 3-5 degree Celsius. And the temperature inside the book was -40 degree Celsius. I can’t even start to think of such conditions.

That is Solzhenitsyn with a saintly look and beard.