Monthly Archives: June 2014

Excerpt from “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel ~~Religion~~

picture-LifeofPi-MartelAfter the “Hellos” and the “Good days”, there was an awkward silence. The priest broke it when he said, with pride in his voice, “Piscine is a good Christian boy. I hope to see him join our choir soon.”
My parents, the pandit and the imam looked surprised.
“You must be mistaken. He’s a good Muslim boy. He comes without fail to Friday prayer, and his knowledge of the Holy Qur’an is coming along nicely.” So said the Imam.
My parents, the priest and the pandit looked incredulous.
The pandit spoke. “You’re both wrong. He’s a good Hindu boy. I see him all the time at the temple coming for darshan and performing puja.”
My parents, the imam and the priest looked astounded.
“There is no mistake,” said the priest. “I know this boy. He is Piscine Molitor Patel and he’s a Christian.”
“I know him too, and I tell you he’s a Muslim,” asserted the imam.
“Nonsense!” cried the pandit. “Piscine was born a Hindu, lives a Hindu and will die a Hindu!”
The three wise men stared at each other, breathless and disbelieving.
Lord, avert your eyes from me, I whispered in my soul.
All eyes fell upon me.

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Filed under Fiction, Literature

Excerpt from “59 Seconds” by Richard Wiseman ~~Act Happy~~

picture-59Seconds-WisemanAct Happy. Research by Peter Borkenau from Bielefield University and others has revealed that happy people move in a very different way to unhappy people. You can use this information to increase your sense of happiness by acting like a happy person. Try walking in a more relaxed way, swinging your arms slightly more, putting more of a spring in your step. Also, try making more expressive hand gestures during conversations, nod your head more when others are speaking, wear more colourful clothing, use a greater frequency of positively charged emotional words (especially ‘love’, ‘like’ and ‘fond’), show a lower frequency of self-references (‘me’, ‘myself’, and ‘I’), have a larger variation in the pitch of your voice, speak slightly faster and have a significantly firmer handshake. Incorporating these behaviours into your everyday actions will help enhance your happiness.

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Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction

Excerpt from “Victor Hugo” by Samuel Edwards ~~Homecoming~~

HugoThere had been no opportunity to send a telegram to anyone in Paris that Victor was coming home, as he believed that in the confusion no one would be on hand to receive it. So Victor expected no homecoming celebration of any kind. A rumor reached the train that the monarchy had been abolished and the Third Republic established – at least in Paris – so Victor could imagine the wild scenes taking place there. No one would know or care that a novelist-poet was returning from exile, he told his companions.
It appears that he was not posing for effect, but truly failed to realize the great stature he had attained in the hearts of his countrymen. But the others knew, and were determined that he not be cheated of his triumph. Jules Claretie told the conductor the identity of the white-haired passenger in the slouch hat, and the conductor sent the news ahead to Paris in a series of telegrams.
The train reached its destination at 9:35 A.M., and from the windows Victor could see that Gare du Nord was crowded with thousands of people, while thousands more filled the streets beyond it. He assumed that a riot of some sort was in progress, but would let nothing deter him from going home.
He stepped from the train, and a roar rattled the glass panes in the ceiling of the station. Volunteer “police” who were identified by their armbands held back the throngs, and a beautiful young woman walked alone down the platform, bearing two huge bouquets of flowers. Judith Gautier, the daughter of Victor’s old friend, had been selected to do the honors, and presented one bouquet to Victor, the other to Juliette.
Then volunteer police formed a flying wedge, and Victor was escorted to the balcony of a small café opposite the station. There he was cheered so loudly and continuously that the brief speech he made could not be heard.
The chant, “Vive Victor Hugo!” rose from thousands of throats.
Victor wept when the crowd spontaneously began to recite entire verses from Les Châtiments, his poetic paean of freedom.

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Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction