Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Tag

Once upon a time, I was tagged by Devaki. I was required to write about characters – real or imaginary - in literature that attract me enough that I can identify with them or remember them from past to share them with you. Yes, once upon a time because it was in June. The heat in the North overtook me so badly that I absolutely forgot about it and now when I was trying to finish my long pending tasks in short days of winter, it popped up as an admonishment. Not that the graceful Devaki ever reminded me. But Bandey ko khud bhi toh sharm aati hai na ji. So here I am.

I love Anne Frank as we know her from The Diary of a Young Girl for her guts and for the very fact that she was for real, that she had the courage to bring to us the horrors of war as she and the people around her lived it. I admire her because she was innocent enough to feel blessed even during the times of trial. Another character that I love for her innocence is Tess from Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Joan of Arc in Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan always leaves me speechless because of her sheer faith in what she believes in, in her courage in the face of opposition by the forces that were literally and figuratively a whole lot larger than her. Her innocence in her impatience to perform while the so-called wise ones preferred to wait for her to prove the existence of the “voices” that talked to her.

Two characters that I admire despite the lack of innocence are Lady MacBeth (Macbeth-William Shakespeare) and Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell). Lack of innocence, yes; but not lack of courage and grit. These two female characters tried to get everything by hook or by crook. The singleness in achieving their respective aims is what gets them my admiration. However it does not mean that I approve of Madame MacBeth’s bloody decisions. But yes, a Scarlett tearing the emerald green curtains off her windows to stitch a formal gown definitely has stayed on in my mind.

A naughty demon Mephostophilis from Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is my darling especially for turning up in the costume of a Franciscan friar in all his naughtiness and evil. This reminds me of the cute little imp Tom Sawyer from the Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain too.

Ayn Rand never fails to fascinate me with her characters like John Galt and Howard Roark who are a symbol of human power over mediocrity and Gail Wynand for being as real as he could . I admire Dominique Francon too but somehow I feel she could have done without the destructive streak-but then like my torchlight, what would the story be without a twist. Kira from We, The Living has been a wow character in my memory.

A few more characters that come back to me again and again from the past readings are Thomas Shadwell (Cos he was the king of the dunces. And we adulate kings, don’t we?) from MacFlecknoe by John Dryden, and Shylock for the sheer evil that he represents. I have always imagined the latter with long protruding canines with inbuilt straws (Yaar, to facilitate drinking of blood). And how can I forget Lucky Santangelo? I like her because she is the ideal mixture of richness, smartness and looks-Thank you Jackie Collins.

Milkha Singh, after I read his autobiography Flying Sikh-Milkha Singh in class 8th, is the earliest hero that I remember in my life. This book is in Punjabi, it contains the memories from his earliest days to the struggle he had to do to make both ends meet while also trying to realize a dream to run in the Olympics. And run he did, barefoot. Though he has no Olympic medal to his credit, he is my hero. Hero-for having a supreme survival instinct, for having made the best of all the opportunities life offered him. The one paragraph I remember the best from his autobiography is his memory of defeating death by a hair’s breadth. During the Partition riots he, an orphaned child of merely 12-13, happened to board a train to get to India. Now this compartment had some Muslims in it. It so happened that Muslim rioters also came there in search of sundry prey. An old man in his compartment hid him under his seat and saved him. We are grateful to that old man for gifting us our Milkha (treasure).

I could add more, but I think five months is a long time to do a tag. I cannot give myself another five minutes now to think.

I do not dare tag anyone now. Kis muh se tag karoon??

28 comments:

Leo said...

hey mampi ji..!! nice tag...!! :)
evn me is a fan of anne frank!! :)

loved ur write!!

vinay.
ps: come help me celebrate!! poems blog!!

sukumbho said...

Such a long journey. I mean not the book itself, but the variety of books you've explored over the years and remember till the day. One hundred years of solitude wouldn't be enough to exhaust all the books we love to read. Out of the list, there're many I knew and loved, many still unread and unexplored. Any character (s) from A Tale of Two Cities or To Kill A Mockingbird? The list is endless, na?

my space said...

Bade well read ho ji aap..iagree on Anne Frank, Lady Macbeth and Shylock..do characters from hindi lit also count? in that case Toba tek singh , Budhi kaaki(premchand) ,devdas..I think i should stop..all characters are jus tumbling out!

Devaki said...

Haha! Oye, you didn't have to be soooo embarrassed... you just reminded me I have lots of pending tags too. :)

And your reading is a little high-fundoo for plebeian little me :) but Anne Frank and Scarlett would figure in my list too!

Ritu said...

Nice list - but where is my favorite - Heathcliff? Can I add him?

indianhomemaker said...

Nice tag! I too have pending tags... better start doing them now, many are half done, forgotten amongst the drafts.

I liked Melanie and Scarlett both. And what do you think of Dagny Taggart? My favorite is Atticus of 'To kill a Mockingbird' and also Homer of 'Cider house rules'.

Mithe said...

Very nice tag...I have read many of them myself :)

Hip Grandma said...

A nice long list.Howard Roark and Scarlette O'Hara are my favorites too. and I like Rhett Butler too.How about Heidi in Johanna Sypri's Heidi.What a cute child.1

churningthewordmill.wordpress.com said...

nice list..its intersting to see that u added some not so positive characters too..
i dint know milkha singh had a autobiography...im sure its worth reading.
mandira

Mampi said...

Leo(Vinay)-Congrats on your 100th post. And I was touched by that gesture.

Sukumbho-Umm, yes, one does feel that life is indeed short to read all that there is to read. Yes, Atticus is one of my favorite characters.

MySpace-Yes,yes characters from every language count. Interested in doing the tag? Shall I tag you? hehehe...

Devaki-Nahiiiiiii, tumharey pending nahi ho saktey koi tags. You are my idol. Come on, the reading is hardly high Fundoo, it is plain like me, hehe.

Ritu-Heathcliff, Sure you can add him.

IHM-I admire Dagny. Somehow, I missed her out here. Thanks for reminding.

K-Mithe-Reading is life to me. You are coming to know so many aspects of me, hehe.

HipGrandma-Yeah, I missed Heidi too and Rhett too.

Mandy-Well, they are fascinating, Baaaad is fascinating, hehe. Yes, Milkha Singh's autobiography is really worth reading. Perhaps it is available in English translation.

RiverSoul said...

Very well written.
I've read Anne Frank myself.
Very tragic. Actually, i've already written an ode to her. Will publish it soon
:)
Coming to this tag, i'm gonna take it up someday.
:)
Sigh. Xms killing me.
:(

Rajindarjit said...

You posting is an interesting and acknowledged one.All characters are worth appreciation, but Milkha Singh's reference is superb as a living legend. Though he did not have Gold Medal to his credit yet he broke the previous world record along with his 3 racers.

But you missed a very interesting and even meaningful book, you got on, one of your birthdays as a gift from your mama-daddy. Its title is -
A SUITABLE BOY - written by Vikram Seth.
and your readers miss the anecdotes by your teacher about the book.
And the list of books is long.

In short I must appreciate your gesture toward your blog-readers.

Keep it up.

Dhindsa

Manish Raj said...

Hi Mampi

Anne Frank and Ayn Rand are my favorites as well.

And I liked the variety of your reading.

Cheers
Manish

Pinku said...

awesome list.....i have already done this tag...so wont pick it up.

Like in most things we seem to like the same characters too Anne, all of Ayn Rand's, Scarlett are some of my fav's too.

why dont you do a list of fav books too?? and....btw the white tiger review is also pending...just a reminder

Manasa said...

Awesome collection :)

Haven't read Gone with the wind, yet.. Shantaram, Fountain Head are worth reading.

zirelda said...

I know several of the characters you mention but now I want to read the autobiography of Milkha Singh. I wonder if there is an english version....

philip9876 said...

That's quite a lot of books. ;) Btw, loved the punjabi soundtrack you had on the blog. I myself have a few of them playing on my Creative Zen.

Sujata said...

Very nicely done tag. Love the way you write.

Balvinder Singh said...

Manpreet, now i understood why the rate of torch cells is going up day by day. You must have burnt all of them (burning the mid night cells) in reading so much that you have listed. Well read and and keep it up.

roop said...

that was so fantastically done!! :) like IHM, i like atticus too. :)

How do we know said...

amazing! That u remember so many characters from so many books.. you have read way more books than i have! :-)

Mama - Mia said...

i have a whole reading list here!! :D

loved reading the tag!

der aaye durust aaye! :)

cheers!

abha

Mampi said...

RiverSoul-Looking fwd to your ode to AnneFrank.

Mama-Ah! Suitable Boy.

Manish-Thanks.

Pinku-White Tiger, my bane!

Manasa-Read Gone with the Wind,you would love it.

Z-I will try to find the autobiography of Milkha in English if I can, or I will translate it for you.

Liju-It is Urdu, by Allama Iqbal. A popular prayer.

Sujata-Great to have you back.

Balvinder-Heeeheee, but I didnt use the torch on all of them.

Roo-Atticus is so cute-an ideal father.

HDWK-Yeah, even I am amazed that once I started to write, they kept coming back to me.

Abhs-Yeah durust aye, aa toh gaye. Thanks.

MAN IN PAINTING said...

ji..
oh my god..
i too remembered your tag..
i will do it too..
but this one was very very good..
loved the way u presented it..
take care

Sidhusaaheb said...

Quite an eclectic mix...

:)

himalayan adventurer said...

Hi,
Your list of favourite character is very intersting; however, it doesn't include a single Indian woman character; though as a saving grace you finally included an Indian hero, Milkha Singh. Your post brought alive memories of Mephostophilis. We saw stage performance of Dr Faustus in Hamburg many years ago. The show was put up by God's own children, the adorable Downs' and other challenged ones.

D said...

Mephistopholes is an unusual choice indeed!

Bharat Bhushan said...

Acctually Milkha Singh's Autobiography was written not by Milkha Singh himself but by our much loved Punjabi revolutionary poet Avtar Paash.The story of how this autobiography came to being is narrated by Paash's father at my blog http://paash.wordpress.com