Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nothing for the purists

Goaded by my friends-cum-roommates, I decided to buy a shirt for my birthday. One evening, we went to Hyderabad Central, a mall which contained 2+ floors of dresses. I wanted to buy a half shirt or a tee, and started looking at the first floor. There were rows and rows of shirts, most of them formals, from various popular 'international' brands. Though not interested in them, I did steal a look into their prices. Expectedly, they were pretty prohibitive, most of them close to a thousand rupees or more.

Then came the t-shirt section. My idea of a shirt is a pretty simple one.. A plain/striped tee would do, but I loathe tees with huge meaningless text/extravagent designs on them. They do look awful to me. In short, a taste of a typical purist. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite easily find what I was looking for. Most of the t-shirts had some designs... Eagles, Shakespeare(what on earth was he doing on a tee?), beer, a guy on skates attempting to climb a steep hill... and what not.

By then, I'd given up hope that I'd chose anything at all from that mall. So much so that I asked my friends to look for some dresses too, fearing that the 45-minute trip to the mall would become pointless. I then wondered.. what does it take to just make a simple tee and dye it with a color that is appealing? Why do people just splash it with some nonsensical graphic or meaningless text? Maybe they're of an idea that the 'youth' who buy such shirts feel 'funky'?

The very fact that there are so many disgusting tees put up on sale seems to suggest the same. Even if that be the case, I am pretty sure that there would be many like me who would desire a simple, uncomplicated tee. Am I not entitled to one? Are purists like me supposed to be confined to cloth shops where I'd have to pick some (so-called) old-fashioned piece and get it stitched to a shirt? I guess we deserve our own space too.

Anyway, after about an hour or so of searching, I ended up with the best shirt that I could find. I did want to take photos of a few of those horrifying shirts and post them here... But when I was about to take a second photo, the executive over there stopped me :-)... Here's the one that I managed to click...

Monday, September 17, 2007

A rather tame end

This post is long due, considering the fact that I've read the last of the Harry Potter series about a month and a half ago. Anyway, here it is...

The adventures that the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione faced throughout the novel were, I have to admit, pretty gripping. However, the way the novel ended left me pretty disappointed. I expected that the duel with Voldemort would last for quite sometime and Harry would ultimately end up proving his superiority over him. Alas, Rowling chose to introduce the concept of the deathly hallows and use it, rather effectively, to rescue Harry from the first Avada Kedavra death curse and then guarantee his victory over the Dark Lord at the end, courtesy the Elder Wand.

Well, so you might ask, what's your problem.

I had been hoping for an exciting finish, one that would've left me satisfied that Harry had indeed comprehensively beaten Voldemort with skill. I had expected a lot of fireworks, hoping that a minimum of ten curses and counter-curses would've ensued before Voldemort's death. I wondered how Harry would train himself to raise his skill in time for the ultimate duel and how Rowling would handle that problematic point.

But that was not to be. I do realise now that I should've expected this sort of an end. It does match perfectly with the development and portrayal of Harry's character. I failed to look at the larger picture and wondered how Harry would develop his skill.

There's absolutely no doubt that had Rowling set up a proper duel between the two rivals at the end of the novel, it would've been a fitting and an exciting end to the seven-part series. But to effect such an end, Harry should've been extremely intelligent and should've excelled in his academics. He would've had to master, or atleast tried to master, most of the magic out there. And that would've meant immersing himself for hours in the Hogwarts library :-) .

But, understandably, Harry is a simple guy, not a geek or a nerd. It is this image of Potter that has endeared him to his young fans, and has helped Rowling earn what she has. Making Harry an intellectual, with skill that would've matched that of Voldemort, would've been a disaster. Such an approach would've alienated the countless number of ordinary fans who wouldn't have touched the book. Rowling's approach does indeed make perfect sense.

For Rowling, the end would've been a minor compromise. Or it might not be one at all, given that she has compensated quite well with an exciting concept of the Deathly Hallows, and of course, love, right from the first to the last of the series. However, I do feel that she would've desired to give an exciting finish to the series with a good duel instead of a tame single-spell end to the life of a great dark wizard. Even if she had desired to, she wouldn't have been able to provide such an end, given the way she had groomed Potter. Potter wouldn't have been able to master spells in the last novel, nor would he have been able to give a proper fight to the dark lord.

Come to think of it, the end isn't very apt, but Rowling had no other choice.