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THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE by Thomas Hardy

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE

By Thomas Hardy

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    At a country fair near Casterbridge in the fictional county of Wessex Michael Henchard, a 21 year old hay-trusser, (person who makes bundles of hay) argues with his wife Susan. Drunk on rum-laced furmity (thick boiled grain dish) he auctions her off, along with his baby daughter Elizabeth-Jane, to Richard Newson, a passing sailor, for five guinneas. Sober the next day, he is too late to recover his family. When he realises they are gone, he swears never to touch liquor again for as many years as he has lived so far.

    Eighteen years later, Henchard has become a successful grain merchant and even the Mayor of Casterbridge, known for his staunch sobriety. Henchard has avoided explaining the circumstances of the loss of his wife, allowing people to assume he is a widower.

    On a visit to Jersey on business, Henchard falls in love with Lucetta Le Sueur, who nurses him back to health after an illness. Although Henchard never tells Lucetta exactly how he “lost” his wife, he does tell her he has a wife who is probably dead, but who may return. Besotted, Lucetta develops a relationship with him despite the risk. Henchard returns to Casterbridge, leaving Lucetta to face the social consequences of their fling.

    To rejoin polite society Lucetta would have to marry him, although Henchard is already technically married. Yet just as Henchard is about to send for Lucetta, Susan unexpectedly appears in Casterbridge with her daughter, Elizabeth-Jane. Newson appears to have been lost at sea, and without means to earn an income Susan is looking to Henchard again. Susan believed for a long time that her “marriage” to Newson was perfectly legitimate. Only recently, just before Newson’s disappearance, had Susan begun to question whether or not she was still legally married to Henchard.

    Just as Susan and Elizabeth-Jane arrive in town, a Scotsman, Donald Farfrae, is passing through on his way to America. He has experience as a grain and corn merchant, and is on the cutting edge of agricultural science. He befriends Henchard and helps him out of a bad financial situation by giving him some timely advice. Henchard persuades him to stay and offers him a job as his corn factor, (trader in grains) rudely dismissing a man named Jopp to whom he had already offered the job. Hiring Farfrae is a stroke of business genius for Henchard, who, although hardworking, is not well-educated.

    To preserve appearances, Henchard sets Susan up in a nearby house, pretends to court her, and remarries her. Both Henchard and Susan keep the truth from Elizabeth-Jane. Henchard also keeps Lucetta a secret. He writes to her, informing her that their marriage is off.

    Henchard’s relationship with Farfrae deteriorates as Farfrae becomes more popular than Henchard. Eventually they part company and Farfrae sets himself up as an independent merchant. The rivalry and jealousy for the most part is one-sided, and Farfrae conducts himself with scrupulous honesty and fair dealing. Henchard meanwhile makes increasingly aggressive, risky business decisions that put him in financial danger.

    Henchard’s jealousy leads him to oppose a marriage between Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane, until after Susan’s death, at which point Henchard learns he is not Elizabeth-Jane’s father from a letter which Susan, on her deathbed, marked to be opened only after Elizabeth-Jane’s marriage. His own daughter had died in infancy; this second Elizabeth-Jane is Newson’s daughter. Henchard is no longer concerned about blocking the marriage, but he conceals the secret from Elizabeth-Jane and grows cold and cruel towards her.

    In the meantime, Lucetta arrives from Jersey and purchases a house in Casterbridge. She has inherited money from a wealthy relative. Initially she hopes to resume their relationship, but propriety requires that they wait a while. She takes Elizabeth-Jane into her household as a companion, thinking it will give Henchard an excuse to come to visit, not knowing of Henchard’s hatred of Elizabeth-Jane.

    Farfrae visits Lucetta’s house to see Elizabeth-Jane and falls for Lucetta, not knowing she has come to marry Henchard. Lucetta is also attracted to Farfrae. At the same time, she begins to question Henchard’s character, when it becomes public knowledge that he sold his first wife. Although initially reluctant, Henchard decides that he wants to marry Lucetta, particularly since he is in financial trouble – he believes that his creditors would extend credit if he was about to be married to a wealthy woman. Frustrated by her stalling, Henchard bullies Lucetta into agreeing to marry him. But by this point she is in love with Farfrae, and they run away one weekend to get married. She does not tell Henchard until well after the fact. Henchard’s credit collapses, he goes bankrupt, and has to sell all his personal possessions to pay creditors.

    Farfrae buys Henchard’s old business and tries to help the man who helped him get started, whom he still regards as a friend and a former mentor, by employing him as a journeyman. He does not realise Henchard is his enemy, even though the town council and Elizabeth-Jane both warn him.

    Lucetta keeps her former relationship with Henchard a secret, but all is revealed when Henchard lets his enemy Jopp deliver Lucetta’s old love letters. Jopp makes the secret public and the townspeople publicly shame Henchard and Lucetta in a skimmington ride. Lucetta, who by this point is pregnant, dies of an epileptic seizure.

    When Newson, Elizabeth-Jane’s biological father, returns, Henchard is afraid of losing her companionship and tells Newson she is dead. The twenty-first year of his oath is up, and he starts drinking again. By the time Elizabeth-Jane, who months later is married to Donald Farfrae and reunited with Newson, goes looking for Henchard to forgive him, he has died and left a will requesting no funeral.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

***

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

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BOOK TALK: OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Oliver Twist

by Charles Dickens

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

 

STORYLINE

Workhouse years

    Oliver Twist is born and raised into a life of poverty and misfortune in a workhouse in an unnamed town 70 miles north of London. Orphaned by his mother’s sad demise during childbirth and his father’s mysterious absence, Oliver is meagrely provided for under the terms of the ‘Poor Law’ and spends the first nine years of his living at a baby farm in the ‘care’ of a woman named Mrs Mann. Oliver is brought up with little food and few comforts. Around the time of Oliver’s ninth birthday, Mr Bumble, the parish beadle, removes Oliver from the baby farm and puts him to work picking and weaving oakum at the main workhouse. Oliver, who toils with very little food, remains in the workhouse for six months. One day, the desperately hungry boys decide to draw lots. The loser must ask for another portion of gruel. The task falls to Oliver, who at the next meal comes forward trembling, bowl in hand, and begs Mr Bumble for gruel with his famous request. “Please, sir, I want some more.”

    A great uproar ensues. The board of well-fed gentlemen who administer the workhouse hypocritically offer five pounds to any person wishing to take on the boy as an apprentice. Mr Gamfield, a brutal chimney sweep, almost claims Oliver. However, when he begs despairingly not to be sent away with ‘that dreadful man,’ a kindly magistrate refuses to sign the indentures. Later Mr Sowerberry, an undertaker employed by the parish, takes Oliver into his service. He treats Oliver better and, because of the boy’s sorrowful countenance, uses him as a mourner at children’s funerals. Mr Sowerberry is in an unhappy marriage, and his wife looks down on Oliver and loses few opportunities to underfeed and mistreat him. He also suffers torment at the hands of Noah Claypole, an oafish and bullying fellow apprentice and ‘charity boy’ who is jealous of Oliver’s promotion to mute, and Charlotte, the Sowerberry’s maidservant, who is in love with Noah.

    Wanting to bait Oliver, Noah insults the memory of Oliver’s mother, calling her ‘a regular right-down bad “un.”’ Enraged, Oliver assaults the much bigger boy. Mrs Sowerberry takes Noah’s side, helps him to subdue, punch, and beat Oliver, and later compels her husband and Mr Bumble, who has been sent for in the aftermath of the fight, to beat Oliver once again. Once Oliver is sent to his room for the night, he breaks down and weeps. The next day, Oliver escapes from the Sowerberry’s house and later decides to run away to London to seek a better life.

London, the Artful Dodger and Fagin

    Nearing London, Oliver encounters Jack Dawkins, a pickpocket more commonly known by the nickname the ‘Artful Dodger,’ and his sidekick, a boy of a humorous nature, named Charley Bates, but Oliver’s innocent and trusting nature fails to see any dishonesty in their actions. Dodger provides Oliver with a free meal and tells him of a gentleman in London who will ‘give him lodgings for nothing, and never ask for change.’ Grateful for the unexpected assistance, Oliver follows Dodger to the ‘old gentlemen’s’ residence. In this way, Oliver unwittingly falls in with an infamous Jewish criminal known as Fagin, the gentleman of whom the Artful Dodger spoke. Ensnared, Oliver lives with Fargin and his gang of juvenile pickpockets in their lair at Saffron Hill for some time, unaware of their criminal occupations. He believes they make wallets and handkerchiefs.

    Soon, Oliver naively goes out to ‘make handkerchiefs’ with Artful Dodger and Charley Bates, only to learn that their real mission is to pick pockets. Dodger and Charley steal the handkerchief of an old gentleman named Mr Brownlow and promptly flee. When he finds his handkerchief missing, Mr Brownlow turns round, sees Oliver running away in fright, and pursues him, thinking he was the thief. Others join the chase, capture Oliver, and bring him before the magistrate. Curiously, Mr Brownlow has second thoughts about the boy—he seems reluctant to believe he is a pickpocket. To the judge’s evident disappointment, a bookstall holder who saw Dodger commit the crime clears Oliver, who, by now actually ill, faints in the courtroom. Mr Brownlow takes Oliver home and, along with his housekeeper Mrs Bedwin, cares for him.

Bill Sikes by Fred Barnard

    Oliver stays with Mr Brownlow, recovers rapidly, and blossoms from the unaccustomed kindness. His bliss is interrupted when Fagin, fearing Oliver might tell the police about his criminal gang, decides that Oliver must be brought back to his hideout. When Mr Brownlow sends  Oliver out to pay for some books, one of the gang, a young girl named Nancy, whom Oliver had previously met at Fagin’s, accosts him with help from her abusive lover, the robber Bill Sikes, and Oliver is quickly bundled back to Fagin’s lair. The thieves take the five-pound note Mr Brownlow had entrusted to him, and strip him of his fine clothes. Oliver, shocked, flees and attempts to call for police assistance, but is dragged back by the Artful Dodger, Charley, and Fagin. Nancy, alone, is sympathetic towards Oliver and saves him from beatings by Fagin and Sikes.

    In a renewed attempt to draw Oliver into a life of crime, Fagin forces him to participate in a burglary. Nancy reluctantly assists in recruiting him, all the while assuring the boy that she will help him if she can. Sikes, after threatening to kill him if he does not cooperate, puts Oliver through a small window and orders him to unlock the front door. The robbery goes wrong and Oliver is shot by people in the house and wounded in his left arm. After being abandoned by Sikes, the wounded Oliver makes it back to the house and ends up under the care of the people he was supposed to rob: Miss Rose and her guardian Mrs Maylie.

Mystery of a man called “Monks”

    The mysterious man Monks plots with Fagin to destroy Oliver’s reputation. Monks denounces Fagin’s failure to turn Oliver into a criminal, and the two of them agree on a plan to make sure he does not find out about his past. Monks is apparently related to Oliver in some way. Back in Oliver’s hometoen, Mr Bumble has married Mrs Borney, the matron of the workhouse where the story first began, only to find himself in an unhappy marriage, constantly arguing with his domineering wife. After one such argument, Mr Bumble walks to a pub where he meets Monks, who questions him about Oliver. Bumble informs Monks that he knows someone who can give Monks more information for a price, and later Monks meets secretly with the Bumbles. After Mrs Bumble tells Monks all she knows for a price, Monks takes the locket and ring proving Oliver’s parents, which had once belonged to Oliver’s mother, and drops them into the river flowing under his place. Monks relates these events to Fagin, unaware that Nancy is eavesdropping on their conversations and plans to inform Oliver’s benefactors. Mr Brownlow returns to London, where Oliver sees him, and brings him to meet the Maylies.

    Now ashamed of her role in Oliver’s kidnapping and worried for the boy’s safety, Nancy goes to Rose Maylie, staying in London. She knows that Monks and Fagin are plotting to get their hands on the boy again, and offers to meet again any Sunday night on London bridge. Rose tells Mr Brownlow, and the two then make plans with all their party in London. The first Sunday night, Nancy tries to leave for her walk, but Sikes refuses permission when she declines to state exactly where she is going. Fagin realises that Nancy is up to something, perhaps has a new boyfriend, and resolves to find out what her secret is. Meanwhile, Noah has fallen out with the undertaker Mr Sowerberry, stolen money from him, and fled to London with Charlotte. Using the name “Morris Bolter,” he joins Fagin’s gang for protection and becomes a practicer of ‘the kinchin lay’ (robbing of children), and Charlotte is put with the girls. Fagin sends Noah to watch the Artful Dodger on trial, after he is caught with a stolen silver snuff box; the Dodger is convicted while showing his style, with a punishment of transportation to Australia. Next, Noah is sent by Fagin to spy on Nancy, and discovers her meeting with Rose and Mr Brownlow on the bridge, hearing their discussion of why she did not appear the prior week and how to save Oliver from Fagin and Monks.

    Fagin angrily passes the information on to Sikes, twisting the story to make it sound as if Nancy had informed on him, when she had not. Believing Nancy to be a traitor, Sikes beats her to death in a fit of rage that very night and flees to the countryside to escape from the police and his conscience. There, Sikes is haunted by visions of Nancy and alarmed by news of her murder spreading across the countryside. He returns to London to find a hiding place and intend to steal money from Fagin and flee to France, only to die by accidentally hanging himself while attempting to flee across a rooftop from a mob angry at Nancy’s murder.

Resolution

    While Sikes is fleeing the mob, Mr Brownlow forces Monks to listen to the story connecting him, once called Edward Leeford, and Oliver as half brothers, or to face the police for his crimes. Their father was once friends with Brownlow. Mr Leeford had fallen in love with Oliver’s mother, Agnes, after Monks’ parents had separated. Mr Leeford had to help a dying friend in Rome, and then died there himself, leaving Agnes, ‘his guilty love,’ in England. Mr Brownlow has a picture. Mr Brownlow has a picture of Agnes and had begun making inquiries when he noticed a marked resemblance between her and Oliver. Monks had hunted his brother to destroy him, to gain all in their father’s will. Meeting with Monks and the Bumbles in Oliver’s native town, Brownlow asks Oliver to give half his inheritance to Monks to give him a second chance; Oliver is more than happy to comply. Monks moves to ‘the new world,’ where he squanders his money, reverts to crime, and dies in prison. Fagin is arrested, tried and condemned to gallows. On the eve of Fagin’s hanging, Oliver, accompanied by Mr Brownlow in an emotional scene, visits Fagin in Newgate Prison, in hope of retrieving papers from Monks. Fagin is lost in a world of his own fear of impending death.

    On a happier note, Rose Maylie is the long-lost sister of Agnes, and thus Oliver’s aunt. She marries her sweetheart Harry Maylie, who gives up his political ambitions to become a parson, drawing all their friends to settle near them. Oliver lives happily with Mr Brownlow, who adopts him. Noah becomes a paid, semi-professional police informer. The Bumbles lose their positions and are reduced to poverty, ending up in the workhouse themselves. Charley Bates, horrified by Sikes’s murder of Nancy, becomes an honest citizen, moves to the country, and eventually becomes prosperous.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: GOLDFINGER by Ian Fleming

Copyright@shravancharitymission

   Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

GOLDFINGER   … by Ian Fleming

Publisher: Penguin

The book comprises of 354 pages. But we have summarised it for you, in about eleven hundred words for your quick assimilation.

 

    I’m sure many of you must have already read this book or seen the movie. I recently finished reading it once again. But each time the thrill was no less and each time there was an adrenaline rush. Where, the narration is anchored by the precision of Fleming’s prose.

    The signature dialogue of the book, comes from the villain Goldfinger. When he threatens Bond: ‘Mr Bond they have a saying in Chicago:  “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time its enemy action.”

    If you’re a Golfer, a frequent traveller, a car lover, Judo—karate exponent or even an avid reader, or an adventurer you are definitely in for a treat. Goldfinger is an outstanding novel of Ian Fleming. He wrote this book in Jamica where he had built his house. The book has three main parts and under that 23 chapters. It was published in 1959.

    What fascinates the most in the novel is the meticulous description of an 18 hole, golf game. Between, Goldfinger and James Bond. It is narrated in 36 pages (from 107 to 143). Where, each description of a golf shot, their conversation around that and even the murmurs with their caddies are just superlative. The way he describes every swing in the fairway and the putt around the greens, and the outcome of the shot is just fantastic. The game is being played in the Royal St Marks golf course in England. The book has some fascinating sentences too. Like …

    When Fleming moans in irony … ‘Many unlikely people play golf, including people who are blind, who have only one arm, or even no legs, and people often wear bizarre clothes to the game.’

    Fleming brings about an accurate description of Goldfinger through one of his characters—‘This man lived gold, thought gold, dreamed gold’—Colonel Smithers. And surely Ian Fleming was a big lover of cars. The way he makes Goldfinger describe his car … The ‘Rolls-Silver Ghost,’ is just impeccable. Smoking, definitely, was not a health down-point then, as Bond was, shades below a chain smoker and a distinct boozer … often without a hangover.

     A quote that crosses Bond’s mind—‘Some love is fire, some love is rust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust.’ Neither had regrets—Bond nor Jill Masterton.

         The book is just fantastic in terms of its narration of the dirty business of gold smuggling in which he integrates America, England, Europe and even India.

    The car chase that he has narrated across Europe is out of the world. Taking part in that were three heart throbs … a Silver Ghost Rolls, an Aston Martin and a Triumph

    The book was written when the world population was increasing at the rate of five thousand and four hundred every hour of the day.

PLOT

    Fleming structured the novel in three sections—‘Happenstance’, ‘Coincidence’ and ‘Enemy action’—which was how Goldfinger described Bond’s three seemingly coincidental meetings with him

Happenstance

    Whilst changing planes in Miami after closing down a Mexican heroin smuggling operation. British Secret Service agent James Bond is asked by Junius Du Pont, a rich American businessman (whom he had briefly met and gambled with in Casino Royale), to watch Auric Goldfinger, with whom Du Pont is playing Canasta (rummy) in order to discover if he is cheating. Bond quickly realises that Goldfinger is indeed cheating with the aid of his female assistant, Jill Masterton, who is spying on DuPont’s cards. Bond blackmails Goldfinger into admitting it and paying back DuPont’s lost money. He also has a brief affair with Masterton. Back in London, Bond’s superior, ‘M,’ tasks him with determining how Goldfinger is smuggling gold out of the country: M also suspects Goldfinger of being connected to SMERSH and financing their western networks with his gold. Bond visits the Bank of England for a briefing with Colonel Smithers on the methods of gold smuggling.

Coincidence

    Bond contrives to meet and have a round of golf with Goldfinger. Goldfinger attempts to win the golf match by cheating. But Bond turns, the table on him, beating him in the process. He is subsequently invited to Goldfinger’s mansion near Reculver. Where, he narrowly escapes being caught on the camera looking over the house. Goldfinger introduces Bond to his factotum, a Korean named Oddjob.

    Issued by MI6 with an Aston Martin DB Mark III, Bond trails Goldfinger as he takes his vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (adapted with armour plating and armour-plated glass) via air ferry to Switzerland, driven by Oddjob. Bond manages to trace Goldfinger to a warehouse in Geneva. Where, he finds that the armour of Goldfinger’s car is actually white-gold, cast into panels at his Kent refinery. When the car reaches Goldfinger’s factory in Switzerland (Enterprises Auric AG), he recasts the gold from the armour panels into aircraft seats and fits them to the Mecca Charter Airline, in which he holds a large stake. The gold is finally sold in India at a vast profit. Meanwhile, Bond foils an assassination attempt on Goldfinger by Jill Masterton’s sister, Tilly, to avenge Jill’s death at Goldfinger’s hands: he had painted her body with gold paint, which killed her. Bond and Tilly attempt to escape when the alarm is raised, and both are captured.

Enemy action

    Bond is tortured by Oddjob when he refuses to confess his role in trailing Goldfinger. In a desperate attempt to survive being cut in two by a circular saw. Bond offers to work for Goldfinger, a ruse that Goldfinger initially refuses, but then accepts. Bond and Tilly are subsequently taken to Goldfinger’s operational headquarters in a warehouse in New York City. They are put to work as secretaries for a meeting between Goldfinger and several gangsters (including the Spangled Mob and the Mafia). Who have been recruited to assist in “Operation Grand Slam” – the stealing of the United States gold reserves from Fort-Knox. One of the gang leaders, Helmut Springer, refuses to join the operation. When, he learns. The operation includes the killing of the inhabitants of Fort-Knox by introducing poison into the water supply. As a consequence he is killed by Oddjob. Bond manages to conceal a capsule containing a message into the toilet of Goldfinger’s private plane. He hopes it will be found and sent to Pinkertons, where his friend and ex-counterpart Felix Leiter now works.

    Operation Grand Slam commences, and it turns out that Leiter has indeed found and acted on Bond’s message. A battle commences, but Goldfinger escapes. Tilly, a lesbian, hopes that one of the gang leaders, Pussy Galore (leader of a gang of lesbian burglars), will protect her. But she is killed by Oddjob. Goldfinger, Oddjob and the mafia bosses all escape in the melee. Bond is drugged before his flight back to England and only wakes up to find. He has been captured by Goldfinger, who has managed to hijack a BOAC jetliner. Bond manages to break a window, causing a depressurisation that blows Oddjob out of the plane. He then fights and strangles Goldfinger. At gunpoint, he forces the crew to ditch in the sea near the Canadian coast, where they are rescued by a nearby weathership.

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray– by Oscar Wilde

Copyright@shravancharitymission

–Read India Initiative–

Khidki (window)

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BY OSCAR WILDE

Khidki (Window)

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

        This is an amazing novel of its times but with an unearthly theme. The biggest truth of life is, everyone wants to look beautiful and that too all throughout their lives. This offbeat novel profoundly captures this primeval topic. Even in present times. You will find many celebrities and even average, well-to-do individuals going in for various beauty treatments to keep their looks shipshape. 

    Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, in the year 1854. After a notable career as a poet, a lecturer, and even an editor, he published ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ in a monthly magazine in 1890. But he wasn’t satisfied with it. So he soon revised and lengthened it, for book publication in 1891. Wilde even wrote nine plays that included four celebrated comedies namely: Lady Windermere’s Fan, An ideal Husband, A Woman of No Importance, and The Importance of being Ernest. Sadly, Wilde died in Paris in the year 1900.

    I had read this eerie book long ago. The story is not that easy to forget. As the essence of it keeps haunting you, even during your day to day existence—that is, how to keep your good looks alive. Remember, there are always moments in your life that can but change the drift of your pursuits.

    While waiting to begin his final sitting for artist Basil Hallward’s portrait of him. The beautiful, young Dorian Gray has a conversation that changes the very course of his life. Basil’s friend Lord Henry Wotton fills Dorian’s head with the idea that youth, beauty, and pleasure are all that matters in the world. He urges Dorian. To, indulge in all of life’s sensual joys. Before, age catches up and his good looks fade.

    When Dorian sees Basil’s stunning finished picture. He is transfixed by its reflection on his own beauty. But he is also troubled by the insight that the image in the painting will forever remain youthful and handsome, while he himself would grow old, and be less desirable in times to come. So, he wishes aloud if the roles could be reversed. Saying that he would give his soul, if only the painting would suffer the ravages of time and instead he would remain young forever. But as the old adage goes: Be careful what you wish for.

    And that brings me to the splitting point. If Oscar Wilde’s only published novel is at an elevation of hedonism? Or is it just a cautionary tale, or something else, altogether? In his preface, Wilde warns readers not to search for meaning in the story. He says ‘Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.’ He further says ‘There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.’

    ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is one of the most elegantly written books of all time. So I understand and even felt while reading.

    The chief protagonist ‘Dorian’ has some unusual emotions and beliefs when you find him saying. “How sad it is!” murmured Dorian Gray with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait. “How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June….If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that—for that—I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!”

    Some call it a philosophical novel. But I would also call it a controversial one for that era of time.    Since it has been published several times the plot of the novel varies between each of the published versions.  The summary below deals with the longest version the 1891 novel.                           

    ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ commences on a pleasing summer day of the Victorian era England. Where, Lord Henry Wotton, a dogmatic personality, is attentively observing the astute artist Basil Hallward while he is painting the portrait of Dorian Gray. A handsome young man who happens to be Basil’s ultimate muse.

    While posing for the painting, Dorian listens to Lord Henry, espousing, his hedonistic world view. When he begins to think that beauty is the only aspect of life worth pursuing. This prompts Dorian to incessantly wish that the painted image of his, would age, instead of himself. Under the hedonistic influence of Lord Henry, Dorian decides to fully explore his sensuality. When, he discovers actress Sibyl Vane, who performs in Shakespeare plays, in some dingy working-class theatre. Dorian approaches and courts her and soon proposes marriage. The enamoured Sibyl calls him ‘Prince Charming.’ She swoons with the ecstasy of being loved. But her over protective brother James Vane, warns, that in case ‘Prince Charming’ harms her, he will murder him.

    Dorian proudly invites Basil and Lord Henry to see Sibyl perform in Romeo and Juliet. Sibyl, too enamoured with Dorian to act, performs poorly on that day that makes both Basil and Lord Henry think. Dorian has fallen in love with Sibyl because of her beauty instead of her acting talent.  

     Embarrassed, Dorian rejects Sibyl. Telling her that acting alone was her beauty. Without which she no longer interests him. On returning home, Dorian notices that the portrait has changed. His wish has come true as the man in the portrait bears a subtle sneer of cruelty.

    Conscience-stricken and lonely, Dorian decides to reconcile with Sibyl, but he is too late, as Lord Henry informs him that Sibyl has committed suicide by swallowing prussic acid. Dorian then understands, where his life is headed, lust and good looks shall suffice. Dorian locks the portrait up, and over the next eighteen years. He experiments with every vice; influenced by a morally poisonous French novel that Lord Henry Wotton gave him. (The narrative does not reveal the title of the French novel. But during the trial, Wilde did say that the novel he had read was ‘A Rebours’ (Against the Nature, 1884), by Joris-Karl Huysmans.

    One night before leaving for Paris. Basil goes to Dorian’s house. To, ask him about the rumours of his self-indulgent voluptuary.

    Dorian does not deny his debauchery and takes Basil to see the portrait. The portrait has become hideous. Which Basil is able to identify as his work, only by the signature he affixes to all his portraits. Basil is horrified and beseeches Dorian to pray for salvation. But in deep anger Dorian blames his fate on Basil and stabs him to death. He then calmly blackmails an old friend, the scientist Alan Campbell into using his knowledge of chemistry to destroy the body of Basil Hallward. Alan not able to come to terms kills himself over the deed.

    To, escape the guilt of his crime. Dorian goes to an opium den. Where, James Vane is unknowingly present. James has been seeking vengeance upon Dorian, ever since Sibyl killed herself. But he had no leads to pursue. The only thing he knew about Dorian was the name Sibyl called him by, ‘Prince Charming.’ In the opium den he hears someone refer to Dorian as ‘Prince Charming,’ and he accosts Dorian forthwith. Dorian deceives James into believing that he is too young to have known Sibyl, who killed herself 18 years ago, as his face is still that of a young man. James relents and releases Dorian. But is then, approached by a woman from the opium den who reproaches James for not killing Dorian. She confirms that the man was indeed Dorian Gray by explaining that he has not aged even in eighteen years. James runs after Dorian. But by then he is gone.

     James then begins to stalk Dorian, causing Dorian to fear for his life.  However, during a shooting party, a hunter accidentally kills James Vane, who was lurking around a thicket. On returning to London, Dorian tells Lord Henry that he will live righteously now on. His new probity begins with deliberately not breaking the heart of the naive Hetty Merton, his latest romantic interest. Dorian wonders if his new-found goodness has reverted, the corruption in his picture. But when he looks at it he sees even an uglier image of himself. This makes Dorian understand that his true motives for self sacrifice of moral reformation were only a vanity and curiosity of his quest for new experiences. Deciding, only full confession will absolve him of the wrongdoing. Dorian decides to destroy the last vestige of his conscience, and the only piece of evidence remaining of his crimes—the picture.

    In a rage, he takes the knife with which he had murdered Basil Hallward, and stabs the picture. The servants of the house awaken on hearing a cry from the locked room. On the street, passers-by who also heard the cry call the police. Upon entering the locked room, the servants find an unknown old man, stabbed in the heart. With his face and figure, withered and decrepit. The servants identify the disfigured corpse by the rings on its fingers that belonged to their master. And beside him is the picture of Dorian Gray, restored to its original beauty.   

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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MAKE #CRICKET AS POPULAR AS #SOCCER–START ANOTHER #WORLD #CUP AMONGST CRICKET PLAYING CONTINENTS

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

In the Cricket world cup 2015 only fourteen teams are playing. Which are divided into two pools that will play 49 matches in two countries, to decide the world cup title. International Cricket Council (ICC) recognizes more than 125 countries that play cricket. But many are not up to the mark to be included in the international circuit, such as the World Cup. ICC has 10 full members, 38 Associate Members and 59 Affiliate Members and that adds up to 107 countries. The West Indies cricket team does not represent a single country.

The world today has 196 countries and with that logic, cricket looks like an isolated game with only 14 countries, vying for the world cup which is far from a world phenomenon. Even when the cheer and clapping is getting louder each day as the tournament progresses in those 14 countries. And so, this magnificent pageant that is hosted every 4 years is only witnessed by a small section of the world. As the game is not as popular as soccer which is played in almost all the countries.

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In the same fashion we also have the shorter version of the game called the T-20 cricket world cup, every four years. And, in addition we keep having individual test matches, ODIs and T-20 series between countries which are generally followed by the supporters of their respective countries only. Recently, BCCI has also launched IPL series to promote, both domestic and international cricket. But, even with all of this, cricket is not getting sold exponentially beyond the 14 countries that participate in the world cup. So, there is a greater need to popularize cricket in less and non-cricket playing countries, by shedding traditional, autocratic and bureaucratic ways of thinking and dealing with cricket.

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The 14 countries that currently play in the international world cup circuit are- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangla Desh, Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, UAE, South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies, England, Ireland & Scotland.

This more or less promotes cricket in their respective countries only, and to a certain extent in their neighbouring countries. But if cricket needs to spread to other countries by leaps and bounds. Something out-of-the-box needs to be thought through. A better way of popularizing cricket would be to have another world class tournament. Where, we could bunch teams of 3-4 countries, continent wise, and have a world cup tournament amongst them, such as;

Team 1: India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh

Team 2: Australia, New Zealand

Team 3: Pakistan, Afghanistan and UAE

Team 4: South Africa, Zimbabwe

Team 5: West Indies, England, Ireland and Scotland

HOW WILL THIS HELP IN PROMOTING CRICKET?

Cricket was never played in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, since Adam was a lad. It only came along with the Britishers and became an endearing and formidable game, close to a religion. Which goes to show, if publicized, facilitated and marketed well. It has the potential to become a game as popular as soccer.

Individual countries, and more pointedly India, may have done well to promote cricket in their own country. But Cricket as such has not seen a deluge of popularity, breaking barriers of borders and continents. Rather, it cocooned in its ego and bureaucracy and never butterflied across the world as soccer or lawn tennis. To sight and example, for so many years Bangladesh had to wait to get Test status and same goes for countries like Ireland and Scotland, that are still waiting.

WHAT WILL CHANGE BY BUNCHING TEAMS AND HAVING A WORLD CUP AMONGST CONTINENTS?

Just citing an example. Increase the team members in the squad of Team 1, as referred above (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) by 3-5 and include new talent from China, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives or any other country close by and give them a chance in warm up matches, or even just let them be with the team or include them in practice sessions or as twelfth man to be viewed by spectators back home. As this also will popularize the game back in their countries in a big way. For, didn’t it suddenly make a world of difference when some of our athletes were seen on world stage, in various disciplines at the Olympics?

And, hold this world cup tournament among continents every two years. As this will help in good publicity and brand building because public memory is too short, and keep the venue in some non-playing country or countries that play, but are not world class like China, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives, Kabul, Spain, or the US to name a few. Request their dignitaries or popular figures to inaugurate and play the game at these inaugural matches. ICC is rich and could allocate a budget for this. Also, give special incentives including discounted tickets to tourists who want to watch the game of cricket from non-cricket playing countries. And just before the tournament, legendary and star cricketers depending upon their popularity like Sachin Tendulkar, Imran Khan, Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, Sanat Jaisurya, to name a few, could give cricketing lessons to youngsters who want to play cricket.

Give this world cup tournament a well thought through, heavy weight title, making it look like a competition among titans, continents, giants, bravo juggernauts or even ET. For, this will have a domino effect in popularizing the game by leaps and bounds. Especially, in non playing continents or even non-playing countries or countries where the game is not played to its full potential. For where is the continued rejoice if the game continues to hover and be competed around in the same surroundings. Perhaps, the present day cricket may give you a feeling. As if it has been discarded and rejected by rest of the world and only adopted by few countries, with world potential still to be realized; and all in the interest of cricket.

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