O frabjous day!

It’s always enjoyable reading¬†Jabberwocky.

Lewis Carroll’s utterly nonsensical poem written in 1872.

In the realm of nonsense poems, this is considered one of the greatest ūüôā

Who said everything had to make sense in any case?

So as you go galumphing through the gyre & gimble of life,

Or have those uffish thoughts,

Clutch your vorpal sword & mark those frumious plots.

It will strengthen you.

I hope.

Have a frabjous Sunday.

~  *  ~

Jabberwocky

by

Lewis Carroll

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
 Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
 All mimsy were the borogoves,
 And the mome raths outgrabe.

*

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
 Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
¬†The frumious¬†Bandersnatch!”

*

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
¬†Long time the manxome foe he sought —
 So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

*

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
 The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
 Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
 And burbled as it came!

*

One, two! One, two! And through and through
 The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
 He went galumphing back.

*

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
¬†O frabjous¬†day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

*

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
 Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
 All mimsy were the borogoves,
 And the mome raths outgrabe.

**

The Power of Les Mis√©rables

Found myself reaching out for Victor Hugo’s masterpiece¬†Les Mis√©rables. Nothing wrong with that. Just that I was starting to read it for the third time. Again, not owing to¬†a shortage of books to read. In fact many of my books have been lying on the shelves long unread…asking to be read. And I looked beyond the rest¬†& reached out for this, one of my favourites.

It was plain obvious the book had been read a couple of times earlier, by the passages I had marked.

Jean Valjean is convicted for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread (with charges added on), the grace of the Bishop Bienvenu who offers him rest for the night he was out on parole when no one else would have him & the events which follow lead to his eventual salvation.

The Thenardiers, a vile & wretched couple  whose combined evil minds are always indulging in some mean scheme; little Cosette, the unfortunate little girl who became the target of the Thenardiers  greed & contempt; the rigid police officer Javert & his ruthless attempt to trap Jean Valjean  are characters that can never be forgotten.

The Bishop Bienvenu¬†who opened his heart & home to Valjean to spend the night when he was out from prison, as a rule never locked any door in his house –

His view of the matter is conveyed by three lines which he wrote in the margin of a Bible: ‘This is the distinction: the doctor’s door must never be shut; the priest’s door must always be open.’

*  *  *

Jean Valjean was found guilty. The Penal Code was explicit. There are terrible occasions in our civilization, those when the Law decrees the wrecking of a human life. It is a fateful moment when society draws back its skirts and consigns a sentient being to irrevocable abandonment.

*  *  *

No one is more avidly curious about other people’s doings than those persons whom they do not concern.

*  *  *

About the¬†crafty ¬†Thenardier –

His tavern-sign bore witness to his feat of arms. He had painted it himself, being a jack of all trades who did everything badly.

*  *  *

In every small town, and this was particularly so in Montreuil-sur-mer, there is a class of young men who squander an income of 1500 francs in the provinces much as their peers in Paris squander an income of 200,000. They belong to the great species of nonentities who own a little land, a little silliness, and a little wit; who would look like clods in a fashionable salon but think themselves gentlemen in a tavern.

*  *  *

For those even considering Hugo, Les Misérables is a great place to start & it will not disappoint.

More to go, can’t wait to finish it !

Pip-Pip, it’s Aunt Agatha

I was thinking about Aunt Agatha recently. No relative of mine but as any PG Wodehouse fan will recall, Aunt Agatha is¬†that fiercely¬†formidable character who¬†leaves a well…deep & lasting impression. While everyone will recall Jeeves, Aunt Agatha has her spot in the sun too.

This¬†imposing dame was described by her nephew Bertie Wooster as “My Aunt Agatha, the one who chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth.”¬†

And elsewhere –

“Aunt Agatha is like an elephant‚ÄĒnot so much to look at, for in appearance she resembles more a well-bred vulture, but because she never forgets.”

“My Aunt Agatha, for instance, is tall and thin and looks rather like a vulture in the Gobi desert, while Aunt Dahlia is short and solid, like a scrum half in the game of Rugby football. In disposition, too, they differ widely. Aunt Agatha is cold and haughty, though presumably unbending a bit when conducting human sacrifices at the time of the full moon, as she is widely rumoured to do, and her attitude towards me has always been that of an austere governess, causing me to feel as if I were six years old and she had just caught me stealing jam from the jam cupboard: whereas Aunt Dahlia is as jovial and bonhomous as a dame in a Christmas pantomime.”

You get the drift.

Some characters always make you compare them with people in real life who fit the job description. Aunt Agatha for example is the kind you either have within your own family or with luck, escape having.

P G Wodehouse is one of my favourite authors for that dose of subtle, wry humour & sarcasm that pricks. Reminds me, I got to pick up another PGW to read.

Heidi

Heidi by Johanna Spyri was my all time favourite book as a child.

I loved the story.

Over the childhood years I read the book 4 to 5 times.

The above picture is of¬†my¬†original book…rather worn out though it be.

Heidi & her life up in the Alps with her Grandfather have been etched in my memory.

Reading the book made me imagine her life in the mountains.

It was all so vivid.

I am grateful for reading which sharpened our imagination as kids.

Looking back I see the value of not having been brought up on  internet Рyoutube, google, wikipedia.

Instant information on any topic.

We had to imagine while reading. Period.

A few years ago I got an opportunity to visit Switzerland & see the Alps.

Such an incredibly beautiful country.

Yet it was not very¬†close to my own¬†dramatic imagination of Heidi’s life up in the Swiss mountains.

I am thankful for what we did not have those days.

 

Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives & Women Preachers

I stumbled upon the title of this book & was intrigued.¬† Written by John Rice & published almost 70 years ago, it’s not a book to be easily found, in India at least. I asked my dear friend in the US to get me a copy when she came to India. She faithfully did. Also with utmost sincerity & alarm in her eyes she wanted to check if all was ok. With me. Reading books such as these. Extremist she thought. She wondered if I had tipped the balance & gone on to become a fundamentalist Christian. I laughed. And I laughed. And I laughed some more. She was relieved. I reassured her this was just curiosity to read something I came across. Relief spread all over her face.

This book is written by a pure old time, fire & brimstone preacher. He advocates that we follow the scriptures that show a woman her place. He uses scriptures in defence of the same to richly admonish women who wear their hair short, are bossy halves to their husbands &  preach.  Rotten sinners, we.

 I must confess that having been saved by Grace, I found the book to be way too strict, almost legalistic & suffocating.

¬†I gave up¬†reading mid-way through…

Books – Shame

 

Once I started reading this book, I found it hard to put down. So a large part of the Sunday went into i-must-finish-the-book mode.

Riveting.

It’s the one word which describes Shame by Jasvinder¬†Sanghera.

Brutally honest yet incredibly sad, as she narrates her escape from a forced marriage as a teenager in Britain.

India is known for its tradition of arranged marriages which have very often been the object of¬†wonder, ridicule, surprise, shock…in many other parts of the world, where the concept is almost alien.

I think arranged marriages come with its own intrinsic value & India boasts of happy marriages that have withstood the storms of life. It is not uncommon to see couples blessed with long life go on to celebrate their 50th, 60th & beyond wedding anniversaries.

A forced marriage is another matter entirely. Especially if it leads to the one in question feeling traumatized & more a victim than a bride to be.

While Jasvinder’s story may be a representation of several others hidden away from society,¬†this is her story. She has been bold & candid¬†in sharing her personal¬†struggle¬†& it really touches a cord.

I have never understood¬†the concept of maintaining¬†family honour, even at the cost of personal¬†trauma & suffering. That family honour must be maintained, the community must always be kept in mind… but honestly when the battles of life rage,¬† honour will remain just that – a word.

One can’t help but feel her pain,¬† the tragedy of being ostracized for life by those she held closest¬†& eventually her life which¬†was¬†a¬†series of consequences to the choices she made along the way.

Definitely a book worth reading & passing on.

If – Rudyard Kipling

Some poems have the ability to inspire & strengthen. If¬† by Rudyard Kipling is one of those poems I have never tired of reading…

If

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!