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Archive for October, 2009

Hung on to Lemon Tree still. There was a book that I was hung on to thus. Kafka On the Shore. By Haruki Murakami. So much that I slept, dreamt and lived the book. For days together. Read pages over and over again. The book literally changed me, my outlook, my dreams, my goals, passions and what not.

About Kafka Tamura, a 15-year-old who runs away from home, hearth and school to explore and learn, the book is perfect for the free spirited and wannabe vagabonds. Kafka reaches a town far away from home and his near-tyrannical father to meet up with characters who change his life and out look in a historical library called the Komura Memorial Library. Here he also meets up with Ms Saiki, a middle-aged woman who manages the library, with whom he has an almost incestious relationship, if it can be called one (the woman later turns out to be his mother). There is drama in the book as it paces past and forward, crisscrossing events of yore with that of future and featuring people who can look beyond the bounds of time. Almost trance-like. Kafka becomes just a pawn in it as the pages go by, with him learning what life and living is in the truest sense of the word.

Almost parallel to the Kafka plot is Nakata’s, a 50-year-old who has known no life beyond his work. He works like mad, eats like a pig and sleeps for days together “to recharge himself”. His gift is of sensing the time ahead and also minds of men and and their mission.

The two plots move in tandem, giving the reader a head-over-heels high, that remains for days. And the hangover is equally reeling. The book is worth millions and beyond. Indeed priceless.

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Was watching ‘The Lemon Tree’. The movie is on a lemon grove bang on the border between the warring Israel and Palestine. The movie begins placidly showing a middle-aged yet graceful woman’s life amidst the lemon trees she inherited from her father. A man then comes in as her neighbour, the Israeli Defence Minister, with his beautiful and alluring wife. He decides to cut down the trees, as it poses security threats, though his wife has a sensitive, sympathetic feel to the grove and the woman. The ‘lemon-tree’ woman does rounds of courts, and in the course of it, her otherwise dry life gets a smack of colour–she falls in love with her attorney, a young man trying to cash in his career on the case, which snowballs into an issue that almost represents the Palestinian cause. In all the hullabaloo, drowns the woman’s feelings, both for the trees and for the man.

‘The Lemon Tree’ reminds me of another film… ‘Children of Heaven’ by Majid Majidi, the miracle filmmaker from Iran. The movie is based on a story by him, which, if you go by his other screenplays, shows he is a writer of marvel. I must read him more.

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