Reading clubs and discussion forums move on.
We have an informal reading club in Tripoli. This is an interesting exercise which one can undertake with a little effort, enriches life tremendously but does not require too much money. A dinner in a modest restaurant costs more than the cost of some enriching books which are a treasure over the years.
End of the year,2008, reading group discussions-the year which saw the death of some noted playwrights-Vijay Tendulkar of India and Harold Pinter of Britain.
Some friends came over for dinner. A quiet Christmas day get together. An Egyptian friend with whom I discussed some works of the writer Naguib Mahfouz.
Fellow workers in the Global Work space.
Doing sketch studies and collages of the different characters and situations brought alive by these great writers is an uplifting exercise.
Ek Palde par Paurush, Ek Palde Par Napunsakta
Aur theek Tarazu ke beech mein..Ardh Satya
On one side is Valor, On the other is cowardice
And in the middle is the Half-truth
Well said by Anant-the police officer played by the great Om Puri in an immortal classic way.
Arth Satya-1982 Award winning movie
Script:Vijay Tendulkar-Died May 19,2008
Last year, I had taken the children to Shaniwar Wada in Pune which was the palace of the Peshwas where Nana Phadnavis once was the minister. Tendulkar’s portrayal of Phadnavis, in the famous play
“Ghasiram Kotwal” led to the initial banning of the play by the government which felt that it showed the Peshwas in poor light.
Harold Pinter-Oct 10,1930 to Dec 25,2008
“Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there”
Lenny ..In the Home coming
One of my first direct interactions-experiences of the East London working class districts was when I saw a very interesting exhibition of the working lives by the Photographer Tom Hunter in the British National Gallery in 2005. He has made very interesting series of photographs like “Life and Death in Hackney” and “The Headlines” which portray the lives of the people.
These are some of the same areas where the playwright Harold Pinter grew up.The only son of a working class Jewish tailor in the East End of London, Harold Pinter was born at Hackney on October 10, 1930. The Pinter family had migrated to Britain from Portugal where their name had been da Pinta.
That reminds me of my dear friend Merwyn Pinto a former Air force pilot, and fellow Vincentian,(St.Vincent’s Pune) whose surname Pinto also has Portuguese roots. He now lives in Lullanagar Pune and it is always a pleasure to hear his voice
The essence of ruling is Justice
While walking down the Nile on a lovely evening in Cairo in Nov 2004, I got hold of some of the writings of the Arab Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz.
We are all beggars in a way, begging for more, middle class greed and values. This thought came across acutely on reading Naguib Mahfouz’s book “The Beggar”
On a cold Christmas evening, with chicken curry and Basmati rice of India, Egyptian breads and Serbian drinks, we sifted through some of the works of Mahfouz
The attacks mean only one thing: there are those in the world today who feel that US power is being used against them. America’s power may indeed liquidate terrorist organizations and crush this or that dissident group, but until the injustice ceases violence and evil will not. The essence of ruling, as the old Arab adage maintains, is justice; The US needs to remove not only the evil perpetrators of such crimes but the causes of injustice in the world
Naguib Mahfouz-27 Sep 2001
Pinteresque” (meaning an awkward silence suggesting some kind of hidden menace).
There was an awkward “Pinteresque” silence as I finished reading these lines of Mahfouz.
The Serbians remembered the destruction of their country in the bloody conflict of the Balkans.
The Egyptian talked about “Al-Naqba” which marked 60 years of the creation of Israel.
What is celebration for one people is a mark of grief for another.
As our friend-Kofi Annan said in his deep emotional tone…
“The suffering of the Palestinians should not be forgotten.”
We played and remembered the speech of Yaser Arafat.
“We shall have Peace. But not peace at any cost.
We shall have a Just peace.”
A line a day-a read a day, will take you far.
Is this all not too much, one restless friend who likes pop-culture asked? Who reads Mahfouz and Tendulkar, Trevor Griffiths and Vinci?
Apart from recording a daily diary-In a line a day, a small quiet five minutes reading some of these great works will take one far.
A heart-felt letter written to an old friend is another uplifting exercise.
Is it too heavy?
Enrich your life
All it takes is a small effort from your side, and you will go very far.
Quoted from Hard Talk-BBC with Vladimir Ashkenazy-25.12.08
To this restless superficiality I would like to answer by quoting the words of Vladimir Ashkenazy the great composer,pianist and conductor.
“Rock and Pop will never get people to the higher level of perception which classical music can bring.”
He believes very passionately that Rock-Pop music cannot fundamentally enrich a person in the way classical music can.
All it takes is a small effort from your side, and you will go very far.
If you do not want to make this effort, that is your problem.
This talk of the ‘small effort’ which will take you far brought to my mind a walk in Malta on 18th May, 2007, after I bought a book “ The Complete Works-Leonardo Da Vinci”.
After that I walked down to the Gzira Strand, had some pies to eat with beer, feeding pigeons and watching ripples at Fort Manoel Yacht yard with the dome of the Anglican Cathedral of Valletta in the foreground.
We feed pigeons…and watch them fly.
And read some pages from Vinci’s works.
Quoting from the Introduction of
“ The Complete Works-Leonardo Da Vinci”
This small monograph, of which this volume of Leonardo is an example, is a category of book that continues to play a role in the critical interpretation of an artist’s work. It is addressed to the general reader who is looking for an introduction to the work of the great painters. In the 19th century the major European publishers were known for their editions of classic texts, introduced by scholars of the day and illustrated by famous engravers such as Gutave Dore. But alongside these academic publications they also produced a large number of low-cost booklets that targeted a market they called ‘the studious youth.” ….
Unlike the past when a few wealthy aristocrats, with an educated background planned their Grand Tour with care and discernment, today’s tourists are guided by a well-informed mass media while at the same time they are looking for as profound an intellectual and spiritual experience as that experienced by Shelley or Byron.
A little attention to these things will take you far. The depths which one can reach by studying classical music cannot be reached by the superficial currents of pop culture
The same is true for many things in life, as we try to raise ourselves above the superficial currents.
We finished our discussion remembering Shelley who dreamed of man ‘sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, equal, classless, tribeless and nationless, exempt from all worship and awe.’
After a nice reading forum session, they drove back home on a cold Tripoli night.