My Long Overdue India Trip

After I got back from my spiritual journey in India 6 weeks ago, I have not updated my blog to tell stories about my experience there.

My hands just got too tied up with work—catch up and all. I promise to post stories soon!

Like real soon.

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Shantaram

I am currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts on my Kindle. I am not yet done with the reading, I think about more than a hundred pages yet, but the narration is so powerful. Take this line:

“One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying.”

According to the author, Shantaram is the 2nd book in the 4part series. The next novel, The Mountain Shadow, is a sequel to Shantaram, and will be published Sep 2010. The third book will be the prequel to Shantaram, and the fourth will be another sequel.

There were plans for a movie adaptation, but has been shelved temporarily after the writers strike years ago in the US. Johnny Depp is said to be the actor who will play the main role. Tentative start of filming is 2011.

Mumbai on my mind

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The multi-awarded movie Slumdog Millionaire will officially open in theaters in the Philippines today, April 11. I have to admit that I saw the movie in bootleg copy last year prior to the Oscars. I first encounter the movie while reading the online portal of BBC News. It was no-heard during the film festivals last year, but through massive marketing campaign, gain substantial exposure to merit its cons. And they all reap their hardwork when they swept all major awards from Golden Globes to Oscars.

 

The movie is based on a book by Vikas Swarup titled “Q&A.” The publisher change the title to Slumdog Millionaire afterwards. I read the book months after I read the movie. The book then is not available in local bookstores. Thanks to the movie, the book became available afterwards.

 

I will not argue if which is better, book or film, because most of the time book is always better. Same argument applies for Slumdog Millionaire.

 

The story is an easy read. You can finish it in one sitting if you got nothing to do. Very engaging and the twists at the end part is poignant and bittersweet.

 

If the movie focuses on the love angle of the main protagonist, the book version focuses on revenge and the spirit to selfless charity. It tells us that even if there are two sides to a coin, it is what you do that defines what will become of your life. It is not luck, it is not serendipity, it is not even predetermination. And the surest way to uplift one’s soul to be really, genuinely happy, help someone in need. The main protagonist did this all his life, and has reaped all rewards in the end.

Grand Slamdog

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What if someone from lower strata of the society suddenly becomes an instant celebrity because he knows all the answers to the questions in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Will you think it is a sham? He cheated? Or he is just plain genius?

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is an urban drama of a young Mumbai vagabond named Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), his life littering the murky and dark streets of the Indian city. His childhood is spent drifting from the changes and problems of Mumbai, including religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims (which led to his mother’s death), city dwelling (squatting), black market (his engagement with a syndicate dealing with begging along the streets), and Bollywood (the scene where the young protagonist is coated with poop is darkly funny).

The film is chopped based on the questions of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. It so happen that for every question, the contestant happens to know them based on some instances on his life. Of course, the love angle is at the focal point of the story. Dev Patel’s character said that his main reason for joining the contest is for him to find the girl that he wants to be with, Latika (Freida Pinto).

I love the juxtaposition at the end of the film where he won the 20 million rupees while his brother died at exactly the same time, with money scattered all over him. You win some; you lose some.

The story is beautifully written, the musical score great. Although you get to see the filth of Mumbai in the movie, it resonates with so many rich stories. Stories that we all can relate because it is universal.