Thursday, December 21, 2006

Deathly Halo?

Today morning, I woke up to an extremely important piece of news. The title of the seventh and final Harry Potter novel has been announced as 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'. That is bloody brilliant, as Ron might exclaim, but I do have some questions and comments on the same.

1. Harry must die?
The title is sinister. Is that a setup for Harry Potter to die? I think not. Keeping up with her tradition of bumping off characters in the past few books, I think she'd need book 8 to do so. Reason: people being killed are getting closer layer by layer to Harry. However, Harry's inner circle is Ron and Hermoine and neither of them have been bumped off. By Hindi movie logic, I'd have to bump either of them before bumping off Harry.

2. No change in title?
You mean, the title doesn't change in the US? No hyphenations and word-susbtitutions? Didn't they misspell Halo? They are going to regret this.

3. Horror-cruxed
I have lost count. How many did he have? How many did he need? Is one within Harry? Is that the key to the series? It reminds me of air hockey games. Whoever gets to seven wins first.

4. Hogwash
No school this year for Harry. I bet all that he did in six was to make sure he didn't have to go back to school to slog it out. I mean, I understand. We all remember our twelth exams, don't we?

5. Main tera unicorn juice pee jaoonga
What Harry needs is a little bit of Dharam Paaji! I see him straining his sinews and simmering in anger when everyone around him drops dead, presumably because of him. But he ain't intimidating Voldermort that way. Maybe even Sunny's roar will work better than the Patronus charm when it comes to Dementors.

6. Return of the he-who-must-not-be-named
I am not talking about Voldermort (don't gasp). I am talking of the character who had a mysterious demise at the end of the sixth book. For fear of spoiling anyone's suspense, I shall not reveal the name of that character. Needless to say, he will rise from the ashes.

7. Let me tell you how the book ends
It ends with the word "car". I think. I remember reading it somewhere. Or did one crazy fan tell me? Experts, tell me. Oh, and yes, Voldermort will be dead. Rowling will be filthy rich and will buy Tunisia or Manchester United, whichever is on a deal. She won't write anything for the next few years. Her next book will be about Muggles and will have wizards who don't know of their existence.

Your thoughts requested. By comments on the blog. Don't howler with an owl-er.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Gone With The Wind

What happens when winds blowing upto 80 mph lash against a region full of tall trees? The question was answered this weekend when the worst windstorm in more than a decade knocked out power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses. It all started Thursday evening when the winds started picking up and in a couple of hours of madness, the Pacific Northwest was blown away, literally. We struggled home late night on Thursday through pitch darkness and debris of trees all over the place. Oh, I forgot to mention the temperature. Hovering around the low 30s or around 0 degrees in Celcius, it can be classified as a temperature you don’t want to have when the heating in the house does not work. Thursday night was a throwback to all the Ramsay movies where the bhoots and the shaitans and Kaali maa all need noisy winds to surround them as they do their supernatural deeds. The sounds were loud and it was tough to concentrate on sleeping when you heard what you thought was a tree breaking. By next morning, we woke up groggy eyed to a calmer day with no power still and mobile phones non-operational due to lack of signal. Calls from the landline to friends brought in news of horror stories. A huge tree lying in the middle of a cul-de-sac, a house saved by a chimney that bore the brunt of a coniferous tree that would have otherwise split the house in two. With no internet connection at home and the house beginning to get colder, we headed to work in the hope that things would be better here. The drive to work gave a good idea of the carnage with trees lying across the road, hanging precariously on the power lines. Work was a disappointment as there was only basic power available. Internet was down, so were the cafeterias. After scratching around for a few hours, we headed home. It isn’t a lot of fun driving through areas with a lot of traffic lights and each one prompting a stop and go from every single car. What made it worse was the roads blocked all over the place and the circuitous routes we had to take to get home. To complete an 11 mile distance, we had to drive 30 miles over two hours, while thinking of food all the time. To our advantage, our house has gas cooking ranges and a gas fireplace. That opened the possibility of food being cooked and all our friends converged at our place to kick off a weekend of great company and a discovery of ways to keep one entertained when there is no light after four in the afternoon. When night descended, the sight of eight adults huddled in a line next to the gas fireplace, in an attempt to sleep with a hint of warmth was mildly amusing. The next day saw us heading out to areas that we knew had power and spend time in malls and restaurants to stay warm. The highlight of the day was heading back to office and playing cards in a conference room and spending time watching pictures of new trips and old weddings. Going back home at three in the night brought the full impact of the black-out to us and the house greeted us with extreme chill as whatever heat the house had retained earlier was lost. It took until 1 pm on Sunday, after three nights and two days of frustration that power finally returned. The banal sounds of television sounded sweet, not having to wear a sweater inside the house felt great and being able to use the microwave seemed like a blessing.

The experience was instructive. You almost take for granted that a first world country should be able to handle disasters more efficiently. But this was a major letdown. Three days without power? We know friends with little kids who had to check into hotels in Seattle. I can only imagine the plight of the victims of Katrina. It also goes to emphasize that hours spent in India without electricity were a piece of cake compared to this. Life is back to normal today, and I am thankful for that. The one thing that I was desperate to know in all the three days of not having internet access: what’s the score in the Test match? The desperation was well rewarded.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Death Wish

It happened on the thirty-fifth day of summer
A rosebud came to life, albeit stealthily
Propped by thorns, bent by its weight
It blossomed, sheltering dew on its red petals

Sixty five hours of its exuberant life
Brought along a sinking feeling of death
As a petal broke slowly, and slid to the ground

Panicking, it bloomed bright and fragrant
And called out to everyone who looked at it
Save me, from being forgotten

Three boys ran past it, so did some retired gentlemen
And none touched the rose
In due reverence of the sign, “Don’t pluck”,

It was left to a bloke reading poetry.
Stumbling along the path, he absent-mindedly
plucked the rose and spread its petals,

to bookmark a poem titled, ‘An immortal rose’

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Discovery

Come, sit with me:
See the snow skate down
The trees, and the rooftops.
Secrets hidden behind a veil of white.

Come, listen to me:
Forget that you know what lies beneath.
Forget that life has no treasures.
Forget that truth is cynical.

Come, watch with me:
The suspense lifting off that heavy leaf,
Like wide-eyed kids with expectant faces,
Snow unwrapping a gift for you