Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Secret agent man...

No work today -- happy Raksha Bandhan! I love how holidays become a business opportunity for, for example, domestic workers. Our maid brought S a rakhi and tied it on him, then asked him for money for it -- of course quoting a price about twice the worth of the rakhi. Very enterprising, actually. Another interesting tidbit: This year, traditional rakhis have given way to those adorned by superheroes...baby Hanuman, Spiderman, and Krrish. I am constantly amazed at the way in which new ideas are assimilated in Indian culture.

Just finished The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad's only book set in London. It's quite short; I have mixed feelings about it, but at least it didn't take long to plow through. The first two-thirds, I thought, were a bit slow, but the end was quite nice, provocative. Not much more to say about it, so on with the quotes, which to me seem particularly applicable to American politics.

"To see [his ambition] thwarted opened his eyes to the true nature of the world, whose morality was artifical, corrupt, and blasphemous. The way of even the most justifiable revolutions is prepared by personal impulses disguised into creeds."

"She lamented aloud her love of life, that life without grace or charm, and almost without decency, but of an exalted faithfulness of purpse, even unto murder. And, as often happens in the lament of poor humanity, rich in suffering but indigent in words, the truth -- the very cry of truth -- was found in a worn and artificial shape picked up somewhere among the phrases of sham sentiment."

4 comments:

Dr.T said...

Doing the "next blog" thing - and because I stumbled on your blog, I now know who Hanuman is (with some help from Google). But you describe Hanuman as a "superhero"? Is there also a comic book, superhero version, along with the traditional Hindu understanding? Or is it part of Hindi popular culture for children to think of a figure like Hanuman the way children in the West think of Spiderman? Or am I seriously missing the boat here? I'm a Nashvillian Anglo, so I'm quite clueless on this kind of thing.

And I like your blog - very informative.

Never Just An Ordinary Girl said...

Hi there, Dr. T!

Ah yes. Hanuman, in addition to being an integral part of the Hindu pantheon, was recently the star of an animated children's film -- I suppose you could equate the picture to a Disney movie. I think you could probably find a Web site/information if you Google "Hanuman the movie." It's pretty interesting stuff.

Glad you like my blog -- I'm sort of a compulsive writer, and this helps me deal with being an expat, etc.

Dr.T said...

Ah, that explains it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You said: "Hanuman, in addition to being an integral part of the Hindu pantheon, was recently the star of an animated children's film -- I suppose you could equate the picture to a Disney movie."


No, it can't be equated to a Disney movie - even one based on a legend like "Mulan."


It is a mythological movie - in the same class as "Ten Commandments" or "Samson and Delilah" or "Hercules."


Hanuman is the son of Vayu (Wind God) and a very important character in the epic Ramayan. He is most famous as the greatest devotee of Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu. He is therefore an exemplar of a true devotee.

He is also the half-brother of Bhima, another son of Vayu.

Bhima is one of the Pandava brothers whose story forms the longest literary work in the world, the epic Mahabharata.

Perhaps you should seek out a very easy-to-read retelling of the myths by the late (and great) R. K. Narayan titled "The Indian Epics Retold" published by Penguin Books India and priced at Rs. 350!