One of the more admirable traits of the English is their curious capacity to find big pleasure in small things. It almost makes up for their tendency for Grumbling While Pretending Not To Grumble ("I don't wish to complain, but..."), and I simply adore the way they go into raptures over some activity that most folks in my nation of 1.1 billion would consider an essential non-activity. Take walking, for instance…
Of all the things I did not know of Hardy and came to know only recently (and here's a gory bit: his heart was cut out from his body to be buried with his first wife in the village cemetery, but the rest of him lies in London at Poet's Corner), what struck me as particularly interesting was his war poetry. Rather, the anti-war sentiments in his war poetry.
Of late -- this afternoon, actually -- I have been thinking about an inadvertent trade unionist named George Loveless. It is possible this had something to do with the fact that I found myself at the Martyrs Museum in Tolpuddle, a little English village in Dorset that I have been planning to visit for aeons. On my way out I stopped to investigate the old boy's statue at the entrance.
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His father was a difficult man, a volatile man, a tiresome man, a loud man, a quiet man, a cruel man, a kind man, a righteous man, a man hated more than he was loved, a man respected less than he was feared, formidable, complex, deceivingly simple. His father was a good man. All of that, all of his father, the sum of his life, all his complexities have now been reduced to a single digit, one death...
When I woke up on New Year's morning, it occurred to me that nobody had bothered to investigate how Christmas and the year end were different in my adopted home town of Bournemouth from what played out on the streets of Pala. Did the good people of Bournemouth start the day with an alcoholic beverage too? Did New Year celebrations include a visit to the emergency room with a stab wound or two?
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Sometimes when you least expect it, you meet someone who leaves an indelible mark on you -- at someplace you least expect that to happen. Sometimes this someplace happens to be the edge of Scotland, and that someone an 82-year-old artist who drives a car crammed with a hundred oil paintings and a Chihuahua named Puppy in her front passenger seat.
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I love small airports. I believe they are wonderful creations of God, made solely for the purpose of teaching big airports a thing or two about how airports are meant to be.
Small airports are refreshingly cosy. They don't hurry you. If you are late, which in my case is almost always, there is someone willing to help you through with some good, old fashioned hollering. ("Hey, Bill, this gentleman has forgotten his luggage, can you run him home in your car while I hold the gates open?")
Ghatotkacha is right. We are worse than animals. We barter our own if it suits our purpose.
Seeing my troubled face, Drishtadyumna says softly, 'War is ugly. There never has been one without treachery. There never will be.
'The righteous war you seek exists only in Yudhistira's mind... Come, we must prepare for the battle at night!'
It occurred to me The Mahabharata was perfect for an experiment on Twitter.
For one, it catered well to my scholarly side: besides dawdling in digital media, I study how war is narrated to justify my paycheque.
War narratives, thus, were of academic interest to me. And in a rather reductionist way, I had begun to see The Mahabharata as a war story.