Tag Archives: Writing

Book Vs Movie: The Girl Who Played With Fire

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“Power is a flame that burns from within…”

I finished reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in February (you can check my review in here), and all of those who have read the book would know that the book leaves us at a bit of a cliffhanger at the end to ensure you’ll pick up The Girl Who Played With Fire to find out what happens to the heroine, Lisebeth Salander next. And by now, it wouldn’t be news to most of you all that the Millennium Trilogy is a series which dwells around strong social critique and conspiracy, which exposes the state of the morally bankrupt world of business in the first book, and misogyny and damage done to women by corrupted philanderers in here.

(This post doesn’t contain spoilers, so you can keep on reading, yet, I’d recommend you all to read the book or watch the movie first!)

Jumping straight into the book, I must say in this book also the opening was not much into my preference. Yes, the whole escapade of Salander in Grenada did enhance the character building of her’s to a whole new level, from a tattooed, pierced, bisexual computer hacker to a mathematical genius, who would try tackling Fermat’s Last Theorem while having her morning coffee. Yet, conversely, this methodical background detailing would go overboard at times and hinder the story, making it dull to be read. Anyhow, after that the story lives up to its predecessor, unraveling the real masterminds behind the three murders, for which the incompetent caricatures of the police make Salander the prime suspect, and also portraying the depths eminent public figures who are rapists and sexual criminals, would go to cover their tracks. So, overall, although the book disappointed me at first, I’d give it 5 stars (to the book).

Next, turning to the movie, I’d say this time the movie was not much of a disappointment when compared with its predecessor. True it had abandoned the whole Grenada hurricane catastrophe scene, nevertheless, it stays faithful to the book in most scenarios, reminding us the books of law don’t mean anything unless they could be translated into lived experience, while bringing the events of Salander’s childhood and traumas to live. Yet, I must also admit that I found the absurd scene where Salander asks for the help of Mikael to be unbelievably hilarious!!!

And now its time to pick the winner.

To me,  the winner is the The Girl Who Played With Fire book, which very much delineates the quote “Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less” by Susan B. Anthony.

Do share your thoughts, in line with me or not?

The Way I See It

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All of those who have been reading this blog for a while would have sensed that this is the space I use for my salvation, the space I use to present even the ‘thorny’ issues in life (like homosexuality and abbreviating words!) in a light-hearted way. Although I was worried  at the beginning I would fizzle after blogging for a while, today I’m happy that I have been able to yield some rewards out of this. Some bloggers found what I write to be entertaining and My Business Addiction once awarded me the ‘prestigious stylish blogger award’ in her blog saying ‘She’s just rambling when she says she’s demented. Very cool blogger and book-lover. Young and funny with the whole world in front of her for the taking!’ And I also made new friends in blog-sphere, who by their insightful and interesting comments on what I write have encouraged me to go on rambling!

Even though now you might be thinking “Ah, she is going to write a ‘thank you’ note today”, well, apparently, I’m not. All those lines were to help me with an opening warning, that I’m going to take my serious mask out of my safe, wear it and try to come up with this post in a different tone today. I’m sure that many people would have a discernment on the subject I’m going to write. Even if you don’t, you could still refer to this article which appeared in Daily News of today, a premier news paper in Sri Lanka, and then start reading mine. And since I’ve not written a single ‘serious essay’ after I was 15, before reading this please send all your luck on my way!

AND get ready to be choked up! 😉 😀

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This post, I will use to address the issues that have forced me to the front-lines of student activism.

I’m not a student union hater and in fact the credit for bringing the Applied Sciences faculty of Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka to the main university premises at Belihul Oya, from far away Buttala goes to the student union.

I had to become a student activist accidentally because I believe in justice, because I reckon the imposing-mob-rule status quo of the student union to be unjust, and because I feel that protecting it will do more harm than good to the student community as a whole.

In many instances I have come off as an anti-ragging crusader, but I’m not. I just don’t believe in preserving ragging as practiced in Sri Lankan universities at present, if it is a university sub culture that is used to oppress the first year students, if that is a sub culture used as a cover to physically abuse them, to disempower them, to subjugate them and to silence them, because then that is unacceptable to me.

In some cases I come off as an anti-university sub culture campaigner, but I’m not. I just don’t believe the students should suffer just so a sub culture can go on. If certain elements of a sub culture create stress among students, I say we need to get rid of those elements; the elements that promote physical and verbal abuse and require the victims to accept, endure and excuse such behaviour.

Often I have been labeled as a rabid student union demolisher, and I say it’s just a matter of opinion. I’m devoted to the cause of our education, empowerment of students and emancipation from the student union hegemony by the  simple means at my disposal such as rejection of what is not acceptable and disobedience to what  is not  fair. Having recognized the student union as an institution that underpins and legitimizes the status quo in which majority of the students are oppressed and subdued, I believe it’s time to question, confront and reject some ideologies of the student union.

And every now and then some people come up with the revelation that my problem is that I’m a born metropolitan(!), and therefore incapable of relating myself to the prevailing ‘university sub-culture’. The way I have been brought up and educated, there is nothing sub-cultural in accepting all the silly dictates passed by one batch to the next without subjecting them to any scrutiny. My sensibilities tell me that even a sub-culture should be dynamic enough to serve the students and not to enslave them.

The way I see it, the Sri Lankan university student has nothing but him/herself. Most of our identities have been destroyed by the inferior state dictates the student unions have imposed on us. And because of it, I say at some point the student has to decide whether to stand up for his/her rights as an individual or merely become a member of an aimless herd and settle to keep the student union running according to their personal (most of the times) agendas.

And I know that the student unions rarely encourage the students a pursuit of an individual expression. Instead they teach that the interests of the collective supersede the desires of the individual. But let us not forget that these individuals could be having  limitations, needs and desires of their own which often get overlooked in the broad picture, and sometimes if those individuals are given the opportunity to voice their ideas, that they might even outnumber the said ‘greater number’. The way I see it, that so-called ‘greater good’ which often make the students cede all their needs and desires to student union, just because anything else is considered to be ‘unsub-cultural’, is highly damaging and nocent.

Yet, in any case, the emancipation of the students can only begin in their minds. It’s up to them to reverse the deeply embedded beliefs of their inferiority and fathom the shallowness in abiding to ‘university sub-culture’ in every vital decision they make which could affect their future.

To conclude this I’ll add that some people believe its impossible for the deep-rooted student union status quo and certain aspects of university sub-culture to change. Nevertheless, I think its impossible for it to remain the same as the world is changing and we are changing with barricades and limitations being broken everywhere.

Book Vs Movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic

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Everyone deserves a break now and then.

Everyone who is on study leave trying to learn the ropes of their respective subjects and instructing themselves to breathe, everyone who has been drowned in a 650 page bulky book like ‘Wolf Hall’ and trying to convince oneself to ignore the loud screaming: “You are bored with that book, pick me, pick me”, coming from one’s wardrobe to-be-read book collection, even more deserve it.

And that’s when the let-me-take-all-your-tense-away magic predominantly created by chick lit writers like Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot and Lauren Weisberger and, their ‘for fellas only’ notion of writing style wrapped by entertaining rock’n’roll scenes come into play.

Shopping is one exercise all of us women embrace with much enthusiasm and glee. Well, glee may be a little bit overstating because there could always be a ‘guilty pleasure’ linked into it, but it leaves the element of enthusiasm involved untenable, even when all you do is stumbling upon a blog which swirls around fashion like SIXTHIRTYTHREE. Moving into compulsive shopping itself, it is the step higher of ‘normal’ shopping, whose superficial fashion victims are invariably females, which is the theme reinforced in Sophie Kinsella’s book; Confessions of a Shopaholic.

This book unravels around one such victim, Rebecca Bloomwood, a distinctive financial journalist who works for ‘Successful Saving’ magazine and who can not simply resist a bargain because she justifies all her purchases as investments! This book also sheds light to an acute problem; the non-existence of the distinction between creative choice (choice which reflects your inner soul) and consumer choice (choice you make out of the choices offered). Over the years the progression of the advertising field has been such that now they have imbued the creative choice and the consumer choice are pretty much the same to our systems. They convince us what we need and deceive us fabricating our desire for something which we would not have bought otherwise. When doing this whether these goods are affordable to their customer is the last thing they have in their mind. Sometimes they even add a flair into their course in the form of discounts, and allure women like fireflies who get attracted to light to make frivolous purchases. Hence this book is a good testimony of the female physic on consumerism in the modern-day.

Having pointed out the plus side of the book I must also admit that I found the scenario where Luke Brandon, a high prolific business tycoon whose company is employed by Flagstaff Life, another major investment company to maintain their public profile, states he doesn’t agree with some of the activities Flagstaff Life has undertaken or has been acknowledged of them in public to be uncanny. I’m confused if the lack of awareness is a justifiable argument a person at his level could bring up and if his actions abide to professional behavior. Apart from that the book is an enjoyable light read which meets the chick lit standards and it gets two stars from me.

Now turning into the movie, this adoption is different from the original story, but that is in an appealing way similar to the adoption of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Certain scenes have been removed, certain characters have been dismissed, and some have been portrayed differently, but the movie is about the same savvy yet naive and amiable Rebecca who ultimately ends up bankrupt due to the ramification of her excessive consumption patterns. Highlight of the movie is the article Rebecca writes using the by-line ‘The Girl in the Green Scarf’ after realizing the scarf she purchased spending a huge sum of money is not 100% cashmere, which exposes us to think of the rigor of brand name consumerism. After it, it is the typical boy-meets-girl-and-then-happy-ending story.

Now the winner? Hmm, this time I’m going to claim there’s no winner. But if you are ready for some fluffy, silly series of escapade, I can promise you that both will serve the purpose!

Dedicated To My Feet!

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I know, I know! I have been a bad girl and neglected my blog for a while! Its not because I had nothing to write, but simply because I didn’t have the words to express how sad I feel and  what I’ve been thinking about the death of  a  student by electrocution  at our university hostels solely due to negligence of authorities. The outrage I feel is such  that if  I start venting my anger, you will surely know how malicious I can be if I choose to be so. So in the end it seems prudent for me to say nothing, for no matter what I say or do now, he is not going to come back.

Now that you know how my life has been during the days I went missing, lets move from being serious to chasing butterflies, shall we?

The above is a picture of our university, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka (SUSL), renown to be second only to the University of Peradeniya for its beauty and size (note by acres and not by number of students!). And if you have been to our university you would know most of the times your life savior, your only transportation mode is your feet!

In simpler terms at SUSL its all about walking the walk using your feet!

And that’s how we rock, overrating our walk, you see!

In case you’ve not still got it, lets come clean.

I’m not the biggest fan of morning strolls mission! I mean, come on, at SUSL the mornings are misty! So rather than getting up and traveling from our boarding place to the university, I’d rather crawl in and sleep! I wish one of these days I would write some Java programme to make myself sleepwalk! But since I know that’s not going to happen I’m gleefully waiting for someone to invent a car chair like in Wall E!

Remember back in school they taught us walking is exercise cos it burns calories? For chubby people, yes! But if you are skinny like me, how on earth walking is going to help? Enlighten me, please!

But in any case walking is way better than jogging. They say jogging increases your life time. Well, who can argue with that? Cos each time I jog I feel 10 years older, with my legs turned sore and lethargic!

Like there is a silver lining in every dark cloud, there is one good advice they give about walking; before criticizing someone walk a mile in his/ her shoes. When you think about it, its a pretty good idea! Cos when it comes to the time you mock the other, you’d be mile away with their shoes on your feet!

Book Vs Movie: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

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When I bought The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I was equipped with the knowledge that the book is massively hyped, even though it is not what caught me under its spell. In fact it’s the dragon TATTOO of the girl what made me cave in and pick the book. At that time I had no clue this girl is Stieg Larsson’s agent to remind us that there are certain things in life to which we turn a blind eye. One more casualty of sexual assault,  one more victim of social cannibalism, one more person in pain because of unfair jurisdiction, we sure do catch a glimpse from our peripheral vision. May be it’s because we are overloaded that we have become numb enough to hear but not listen and to look but not see the most of it. Anyway, it is only one of the reasons which makes the book/ movie commendable! So digging further in to the story…

(Sorry, but from here onwards this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie, PLEASE, stop right here, go read the book or watch the movie and come back again!)

… I can tell you that I thought it’s one explosive, monster of a thriller imbued with incredibly fascinating and unique characterization. Since you all may have read the novel or watched the movie, and already know how the combination of Mikael Blomkvist’s insistent journalism skills and Lisbeth Salander’s quite unconventional information gathering methods lead them towards discovering the gruesome history behind Vanger family, I’ll focus on the comparison of the book and the movie and try to come up with a winner!

First of all, I won’t deny that most of the readers would have found the first few chapters of the book to be extremely dull the way Stieg Larsson chose to describe Mikael’s libel trial. Given my accounting background, I thought it helps to encompass the characters, the situations they face and the way they are related, deeply. But most could have grown bored thinking it’s going to be a story about financial corruption. So according to my thinking, that start was definitely not the best way to make the readers stay excited! Anyway, after uncovering the novel’s strength –  Harriet’s mystery, in such an interesting and a shocking way, the book gets back in track from where it started, and devotes the last few chapters to describe how Mikael takes revenge from Wennerstrom, an industrial giant who falsely accuses Mikael of producing a slanderous article, again with the help of  indomitable Lisbeth. So, overall, despite poor choice Larsson had made at the beginning, I’d give five stars to this piece of writing.

And now moving to the movie, Lisbeth Salander’s characterization which makes the novel interesting, was pretty much lost in here. The sullen, anti-social and people skills lacking Salander is not much portrayed. And the reckless way Salander sends information to Mikael, making it obvious that she is a hacker when he has no idea who she is, is an insult done to her character, I dare say, specially when later in the movie Mikael suggests that Salander could be having a photographic memory in possession. Apart from the several plots which stretch credulity to a certain extend, the way it exposes to viewers how Salander becomes an enactor of justice, taking the matters into her hand, and resolving them in a way perhaps disturbing and disgusting, but undeniably fair and fitting compels viewers to confront their own ideas about the treatment meted out to the women in the society.

The winner? Although I like the movie, to me, ultimately the winning “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is the book, which pares the story down to its core. Now give me your thoughts. Which do you prefer the best?