Sunday, October 10, 2004

Adventures of Alice In Wonderland

Finally I finished the book... Not only I took too long to read the book... I feel I read it 15 years too late. Anyway, It is said about this book that it is for people at all ages... Each one gets his own interpretations. The book requires a fair bit of knowledge about rhymes of Vicorian era to understand that they are being mocked.

Some stories in this book are really thought provoking. Things like, Alice trying to answer "Who am I?" provoke deepest philosophical discussions. It also points out that no matter what you are inside, people only care for what you do. When Alice has a long long neck, it does not matter to the little bird whether she was a serpent or not. If "Alice/Serpent" was long and ate eggs, it was a threat to its family.

It is very well pointed out that it is very diffcult to think like another person. When Alice tells that it was very difficult for her to have changed so many sizes that morning, it comes as a surprise to the caterpillar for whom changing size and shape is just a part of life. But for little Alice it was so diffcult to comprehend the changes.

The whole episode of the Hatter and his realtion with Time is intriguing. What if Time was our friend?? What if we could really control Time? Obviously even though all of know that time has a constant pace, we often refer to terms like "time flies" or "it seemed like ages"... The Hatter puts the very same logic with little bit of exageration to make the point that individual mood has lot to do with how time passes.

The Mock Turtle's description of life under sea, is a good mockery of the British education system. So is the Court room scene a mockery of the British judicial system. The converation of Alice with the Dutchess mocks the intent of so many fairy tales searching for a moral in each one of them. A fair knowledge of the social setup would help to enjoy the book more.

My take : A must read, at any age. Preferable every 10 years.

My Lucky Pen.

I am not superstitious. Definitely not. I have never based any of my decisions on things that I cannot control...

Having said that I have had my share of irrational, inexplicable choices. During my school days from 7th standard I always wrote exams using the same pen. It was a HERO pen, Chinese make. Never used that pen for anything trivial. I used it for filling forms for scholarships, writing essays for competition and so on... You may call it down right superstitious. On the eve of the most important exam then (10th Standard,1994) I slept over it (literally) and broke the pen. If I was superstitious, I would have been mentally broken... thought it was some sort of a sign for something really bad. No.. I just went on to write the exams using a brand new pen. I did very well in the exams. This new pen soon became my "Lucky Pen".

Few days after the exam results I had been to SBI, JC Road where the rank holders would be felicitated. The manager had a very similar pen and our pens got exchanged while I was signing on the guest list. I realised it only after I had come home. But I feared that if I told someone that I wanted to back to the bank to exchange the pen, I would sound irrational and superstitious. What would the bank manager think?? Just 2 days before he had praised me for doing so well in the exams and now I would ask him for my "Lucky Pen"?? At last I thought it was not worth the effort... after all, it was not even my original Lucky Pen... if luck could pass on from my old pen to new pen, then it could as well pass on from my pen to that manager's pen and I would still continue to do well in the exams...

There ended my saga of "Lucky Pen". Now-a-days, I don't care which pen I use to do what ever important I do. I make it a point not to. Superstitions are bad either way... if they work for you we get over confident... if they don't we get a scape-goat to blame our mistakes upon. Its best to let them go as soon as possible. Nevertheless, life would get boring if everything becomes logical.

I hope the pen is working fine... where ever it is now... I miss you.