The colour yellow…

“Vincent Van Gogh used to eat yellow paint because he thought it would get the happiness inside him. Many people thought he was mad and stupid for doing so because the paint was toxic, never mind that it was obvious that eating paint couldn’t possible have any direct correlation to one’s happiness. If you were so unhappy that even the maddest ideas could possibly work, like painting the walls of your internal organs yellow, then you are going to do it. It’s really no different than falling in love or taking drugs. There is a greater risk of getting your heart broken or overdosing, but people still do it everyday because there was always that chance it could make things better. Everyone has their yellow paint.”

We all live with different shades of colour within us; bright and cheery when the day is going well, and grey and black when the heart is feeling heavy. Life is like a kaleidoscope which keeps us in a perpetual search for mornings when we look outside the window, hoping for a colourful rainbow to make us smile!

Reading the other side….

Sadly, anti Muslim sentiment is very high these days with Trump setting up travel bans, and members of the “So Called Islamic State” spreading chaos all over the world: religious tensions are on the increase and friendships are forced to change.  Stereotyping is prevalent and Muslims are being persecuted only for their faith, and not for their personal actions.  

I watched a TV show on Australian TV where the debate escalated becoming bitter and unpalatable. In the end, the Muslim lady invited the audience to read up about Islam with a very unbiased and open mind in order to understand that the religion itself is all about peace and love, and that the ISIS and terrorists are only harbingers of bad news.  

Feeling that I should increase my knowledge and learn more about Islam through the writings of other authors, I researched and found the following books :

– Muhammad by Martin Lings 

– After the Prophet and The First Muslim, both by Lezlie Hazleton. 

All three books are very well researched and detailed.  The interesting thing to ponder is that all these books are written by non Muslims who must have approached this sensitive topic with a critical eye and preconceived ideas. Yet they have emerged triumphant and presented their learnings which speak for all the misunderstood creed!!

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk 

Can love be this strong, lasting and undying? Is it a myth or a reality that man can live only on love? 

The Museum of Innocence is the realisation of Orhan’s book from words to real existence. It is based in Istanbul and showcases all the items collected by the lover which belonged to the object of his desire.  The cigarette butt’s thrown by Fusun, the pieces of scrap discarded by her are all collected and saved by Kemal.  The reader is taken through their tumultuous relationship shared on paper,

until they land in the Museum which Kemal creates for his loved one.  

The Museum actually exists in Istanbul and if you take your copy of the book along, entry is free of charge.

Florence and the Di Medici family

My interest in the history of Florence was further piqued when I visited the beautiful city during Christmas holidays. Art and Culture is part of the meandering streets and lanes, and every turn has something new to offer from the statue of David, the famous Uffizi Gallery, the tall bell tower.  The dome of the Duomo is the highlight of the trip, which stands tall and majestic over the city.  

During the pinnacle of the Di Medici family success, the incomplete dome  of the church was thought to be too  difficult to build.  That’s when Lorenzo Di Medici commissioned Filippo Brunellesci who was considered a magician by his peers as no one had dared to complete the seemingly impossible mission.  Brunellesci used an oval egg to show how he would construct the dome using mathematics and physics highly advanced for the fifteenth century. 

My next read is the life of Catherine Di Medici who was a powerful matriarch of this illustrious family.  

Pamuk….Silent House

Orhan Pamuk has taken over my heart with his poignant descriptions of man sucked in the vortex of pain, desire and helplessness. All of his books are centered in a Turkey straddling between East and West, Rich and poor, strong and weak.  

The Silent House takes the reader into the house of an old grandmother lying in bed and waiting for death to take her away from her unsettled world full of despair. The book gravitates between past and present, hidden and obvious, and sorrow and joy. The grandchildren along with the house servant are all characters linked with the debilitated owner of the house. 

Pamuk is not to be missed at all!!!

House of Stone 

House of Stone by Christina Lamb is the true story of a family divided in war torn Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s plan to evict the white farmers turns ugly when the trusted house servants turn into enemies: white turns into black, and good turns into evil.  

The book is a look into how race and colour transcend boundaries of friendship, trust and humanity.  Aqui, the trusted children’s maid gets fogged up in the brain when the nation turns violent….she forgets the good done to her by the Hough family, and joins the thousands who rebel against the love and support they received from their caretakers.  

A poignant look at relationships which become soiled by the fumes of race, caste and creed.  

The Colours and Flavours of Mistry

Rohinson Mistry takes you on a journey in India during the political strife of the 70’s. His novels encapsulate the colours, flavours and smells of working class India. Each of his four published novels take us deep within the hearts and minds of all the characters: the setting is steeped in tradition while on the periphery, social issues like birth control, marriage and sex are referred to delicately.

One of my all time favourite author…highly recommended!

Short Skirt and Red Lipstick!

I just watched a movie on how a short skirt, red lipstick and drink in hand can characterize a woman as being ‘fast’ and ‘available’. Why do we lean  so much on stereotypes? Why can’t a woman be judged on her intellect and capability, instead of on her attire? The movie revolves around a rape  case where the prosecution is bent on putting the blame on the short dress instead of the lasciviousness of the rapist!! It saddens me to think that despite the advancement of the world, women are still judged on the amount of skin they show, and the redness of their lipstick…..

Question:I wonder if a conversation in a library  is more kosher than a conversation in a bar. Would it be correct to say the location could determine the morality of a woman?..I wonder


A Little Life

I’m mid way through the bestseller A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and I can feel my heart bursting with the excess of pain and disillusionment felt by Jude, the lawyer with the ravaged body and broken spirit.  The relationships between the four friends is deep and strong, yet unsettling as its tinged with addiction, success and self inflicted pain. 
Judes best friend is a razor which helps him dull the horrific memories he carries with himself like a sack of thorns. The others try to help him along the way, with each friend losing a part of himself in the journey.  

This is a masterpiece of heartbreak and tyranny….not to be missed.  

Purple Hibiscus 

The Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie encapsulates beautifully the colour purple in her debut book Purple Hibiscus. Set in Nigeria during the civil war, the story is narrated by a 12 year old girl caught up amidst the fury raging in the country and her father.  The bruises she bears, the dark blood she oozes are deeply stemmed in the colour purple. War, strife, power cuts and religion are predominant themes in the book, and the love between the narrator and a man of God completes the sad and twisted tale.  A must read!