Monday, May 08, 2006

I Missed His Book, But I Read His Name

Though authors are a dreadful clan
To be avoided if you can,
I'd like to meet the Indian,
M. Anantanarayanan.

I picture him as short and tan.
We'd meet, perhaps, in Hindustan.
I'd say, with admirable elan ,
"Ah, Anantanarayanan --

I've heard of you. The Times once ran
A notice on your novel, an
Unusual tale of God and Man."
And Anantanarayanan

Would seat me on a lush divan
And read his name -- that sumptuous span
Of 'a's and 'n's more lovely than
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan" --

Aloud to me all day. I plan
Henceforth to be an ardent fan
of Anantanarayanan --
M. Anantanarayanan.

Wrote John Updike after seeing a review of a book by Mr. Ananthanaryanan. Can you tell me the name of the book? To know the answer click the comment link.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

How skilled are you?

In the ancient times, a well rounded person was expected to be skilled in 64 arts. The Valmiki Ramayan lists the Chausat Kalas as follows:

1.Histrionic talents, drama, story telling techniques and mnemonics.
2.Making musical instruments and simple mechanical devices.
3.Playing musical instruments that is instrumental music including jalatarangam- creating music with water, percussion and string instruments.
4.Decorating, dressmaking, costume making, artful dressing and personal grooming.
5.Ornaments and head adornments.
6.Singing, dancing and practicing fine arts.
7.Making beds and bedroom decorations.
8.Garland making, flower arrangement, designs with grains on the floor like rangoli.
9.Playing games like dice.
10.Mastering eroticism as per Vatsyayana, erotic devices and sexual arts.
11.Making honey, liquor, beverages and desserts.
12.Plucking out arrows and healing.
13.Cooking, eating and drinking skills.
14.Horticulture & forestry.
15.Breaking and pulverizing hardrock, mining.
16.Making medicines from herbs.
17.Sorting, mixing, isolating ingredients.
18.Making and using astras and sutras.
19.Wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, physical culture & body building.
20.Making missiles.
21.Parades, army bands and dharmic warfare.
22.Ratha, gaja & turaga wars (chariot, elephantry and cavalry).
23.Asanas, postures & mudras.
24.Training elephants, horses & birds.
25.Making vessels of clay, wood, bronze.
27.Making paints & painting.
28.Architecture, sculpture, house and temple construction, mosaic tiling.
29.Mixing air, water (air products and water products).
30.Making boats, ships, chariots.
31.Making threads, ropes.
32.Weaving and spinning.
33.Diamond, precious stones and gems - distinguishing them from ordinary ones.
34.Alchemy, chemistry, preparing ointments, unguents for charm and virility.
35.Jewellery making including artificial jewelry.
36.Gold plating, metallurgy.
37.Skinning and preserving bodies.
38.Leather technology.
39.Dairy farming.
40.Tailoring, sartorial skills and embroidery.
41.Swimming and water sports.
42.Cleaning houses and vessels.
43.Laundering and washing.
44.Hair dressing and shaving.
45.Managing oil resources.
46.Having control over others' minds, spells, charms & omens.
47.Tilling and agriculture.
48.Handicrafts including carpentry, furniture making and furnishing.
49.Making vessels of glass, ceramic and pottery.
50.Drawing water & resources.
51.Gardening and fencing.
52.Caprisoning elephants etc.
53.Child rearing & pediatrics including doll making and toy making for kids.
54.Punishing guilty appropriately by law and order.
55.Learning languages (native & foreign dialects), literary excellence, semantics.
56.Preparing `Tambool' etc.
57.Composing impromptu poetry.
58. Preparing perfumes, cosmetics, playing poetry games, oratory, elocution, prosody, rhetoric.
59.Sorcery, conjuring, sleight of hand, magic, illusions, impersonation.
60.Composing riddles, rhymes, verses, puzzles, tongue twisters and involved recitations.
61.Making swords, staffs & archery.
62.Training fighting partridges and rams, cock fight, bull fight etc.
63.Teaching parrots, mynas to talk and training animals, veterinary science.
64.Writing in cipher codes and languages, secret mantras, coding and decoding.

I think I'll get a score of 1.5/64. What about you?