White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Too Saggy

They say sequels suck and there are popular exceptions of course like Godfather (though personally I liked Part 3 more than Part 2 overall) and more recently, the new Batman movies (isn't it lame that most of my comparisons are cinema related? Oh well, that's what you get for hanging out in this blog for too long!). Unfortunately, Upamanyu Chatterjee's "The Mammaries of the Welfare State" is not in that clique.

The title in itself sums up its digression from the first novel. It is too wordy when compared to "English August" and has vast passages on the Welfare State that made me drowsy, which may have been Chatterjee's intention to begin with, but such portions of the book are not interesting reads. My unabated obsession with the first book stems from the fact that it was a lot more personal, with the spotlight almost always on Agastya, or his friends, whereas here that is hardly the case. The book starts out wonderfully however, dedicating a chapter to our incorrigible protagonist and the blooming of an interesting love affair, but soon delves headfirst into the matters of the state.

The entire book is a lesson in satire writing and has its brilliant moments, mostly connected with Agastya or his new horrific boss, and the very relatable nickname gifting to his boss and his Home "ministry", or his attitude towards a venerable senior's marriage proposal of his daughter. Some of his equally incorrigible friends like Dhrubo and the hardly utopian Madna are back but are lost in the crowd of a bevy of new set of loony characters. I missed Sathe from the first book.

An August (or Chatterjee, so to speak) fanatic like me shouldn't miss out on this one. It's just that it may take you much longer to finish this than "English August" and you may find yourself wandering away to other levels as you read this, much like Agastya daydreaming through some dormant gorment meeting. I will obviously read the third book of the trilogy - "Weight Loss" to find out what happens to my dear August as he gets even older, but it will have to wait for a while.

PS: I haven't seen Dev Benegal's movie "English August" with a cleanshaven Rahul Bose made circa '93-'94, but if I had to make it today, I would cast Kunal Kapoor.


What's In A Name ? said...

why not Imran Khan ?

ArSENik said...

For one, he is too good looking and doesn't really represent the upper middle class common man. Secondly, August is tall, thin and bearded, but more importantly, he is a philosopher in his own right and I think Kapoor has those thinking eyes. Besides, Imran is too young to play August right now.

A said...

Why is that soooo many us identify with that clueless careworn Agastya Sen of the book! I guess the restlessness showcased within that character does a good job in bringing life to the empathy in that obsessive search of some unknown life-purpose among many of us...especially dripped in the post-modernist thoughts...Isn't it? And while all through the book there's a little dust of glum strewn out, I had expected a dirge of hope in the end, which hasn't...Maybe true realizations come more boldly without a success. What u say?

As for the 'sequel', I haven't read that, it won't be naive to read and feel it without being thought-of as a sequel, and as an independent work...

First time here, will blogroll :)

PS: Even I haven't seen, but Kunal Kapoor can't compare to Rahul Bose...Never! :)

ArSENik said...

I agree with you, in more pedestrian language and a lot more beating around the bush, of course. I actually loved the fact that it was a so-called "bleak" ending. I think it was what Agastya would had wanted - to be politically incorrect, and leave a not so desirable taste in your mouth.

The sequel is fairly independent of the original, which makes is less attractive to me personally.

Thanks for the blogroll.

IMO it's all about casting here. KK looks more the part as described in the book than Rahul Bose, and KK is a good enough actor (even though he isn't as good as Bose) that a decent director should be able to extract the optimum performance out of him.