Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Another way to live

June 11, 2011

The picture of a sadhu, with ash smeared face and a large naamam (a U with a line bisecting it arising from the center) on the forehead, on the front cover got my attention to this book.  It is an account of Professor/Dr. Kapur’s experience with yoga and yogi’s. I use the word yogi here synonymously with sadhus swamis and sanyasis. There are extracts and summaries of several of his interviews with yogis. However, in all his travails Dr. Kapur never came across a yogi with powers (siddhis). So there are no stories about magical/supernatural powers or even mind reading. The one sadhu who was shown to him to be a realised soul Dr. Kapur suspects to be schizophrenic! In his interviews he asked the sadhus  why they chose the path.   The answers are varied ranging from “i was on the path from childhood” to “i took it to avoid misfortune” and “it was a way to meet the challenges of old age”!  There are detailed accounts of some of them and they form interesting reading.

Dr. Kapur also joined as an apprentice with a Guru to learn yoga. He narrates his experience during training and also the effects after continuing it when he was back home. These chapters make interesting reading. There is also an account on changes in his behavior at home after and before yoga in his wife’s words.  To quote her ” Having observed my husband’s practice for an year, i came to the conclusion that regular practice of yoga enhanced the positive aspects of his personality and reduced the negative aspects. However, interrupted practice proved to be  more harmful than not practicing at all”.

The comments and guidance from his guru are listed as bullets in a couple of pages. They are real gems. I skipped the parts which dealt with the theory of yoga and details on psyco-analysis.  On the whole this book is a good read.

What i talk about when i talk about running?

June 15, 2009

I decided to go for a hike to Maisan Tapsa. Tapsa is the temple on Maisan mountain. The journey from Seoul is nearly 4 hours. Which means i had a lot of time in the bus. I wanted to read a book that would be right for a temple-trek mindset.

Haruki Murakami is not the name that is commonplace in India. Well atleast not in Bangalore and definitely not in the circles that i moved in.  But there are so many of his books in all of Seoul’s book stores. I picked this book because it was thin (just 180 pages) and the size too was smaller than the regular novel. The things written on the back side of the book mentioned that it had bits of philosophy and was semi-autobiographical. I like biographies and curiosity about what a non-professional runner could say about running and that too in the biographical sense sold me on the book. I liked the book.

I would say its good company if you are on a journey all by yourself. Even otherwise its a good book for the so many non-professionals like him who run(actually jog) now and then. They would probably identify with him at different times through the book. However, Murakami seems to me an exceptional non-professional runner. By no measure is he that common man who would run/jog occasionally. He has been running more or less consistently for over 30 years and long distances ( >6 miles a day).  He has participated in innumerable races and finished them.  He got bored of running and so switched over to triathlon. If you are like me you wouldn’t know what a triathlon is. Its three events in one: swimming (in the sea!)+cycling+running. What!  And this guy is doing the triathlons consistenly for more than the past 5 years! Definitely, you are not the common runner Mr. Murakami.

However, the book makes interesting reading.  Its about how Murakami took to running  and how it helps him in writing and in living. Its not a how-to on running but its about Murakami running…about his transformation from a nightclub owner to a novelist. About how he trained for events (races). Especially interesting and unbelievable is the narration on the 62 mile marathon (in a day!) and also his first marathon between Athens and Marathon.

It  does have tips on what goes into making a novelist. Reminded me of Stephen King’s suggestions in his book on writing.   It does get boring sometimes when he becomes self-critical (repeatedly and repetitively).  The book, as the author claims to be, is honest and possibly one of the reasons that one may like it.  I liked the lines when he talked about his wife.  For instance, ” …And my wife, waiting at the finish line, didn’t discover some unpleasant truth about me. Instead, she  greeted me with a smile. Thank Goodness. ”  Wish he had talked about her more. It ends with Murakami still running and looking forward to participating in more triathlons.
This book is a translation. The english is kept simple but could it be made more interesting? or is the translator short of vocabulory…

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