Word of the Day: metonym

According to Wikipedia, metonym is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is replaced by another that has a similar meaning. That is to say, you don’t want to call a thing by it’s name and you use another name in it’s stead. That is to say, you use it’s synonym instead. Essentially, metonym means instead. Now, where would you find such a convoluted word for such a simple meaning? Why, in The Hindu’s Editorial, of course! Specifically, this is how it is used in an OpEd piece I was reading today – Continue reading

On the Absurdity of Subconscious Thought

As I stood there in the hall, waiting for the pizza delivery woman to figure out down which path lay apartment 219, I felt the overpowering urge to rip out my beard from my face. My beard was itchy and irritating, having not grown fully as it has now and I just felt like tearing it out, along with the skin just below it, leaving behind the same smooth skin that I get after every shave. I covered the hair with my hands and imagined doing just so, knowing full well the impossibility of the task. Yet I imagined it away and just imagining it made me feel better. Continue reading

The Death of the Author

there is, however, someone who understands each word in its duplicity and who, in addition, hears the very deafness of the characters speaking in front of him-this someone being precisely the reader.

via The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes Full Text, Downloads, Cliff Notes, and Essays.

 

This text, pointed to me by Dan on ADN (which was in response to this article posted there by Matthew) reflects what I believe about writing today – that in as much as we want to give meaning to the text in terms of the context of the author, the real meaning can only be derived by the reader himself. The same is true, in my book, about any art – paintings, sculptures etc, where it is not the artist’s life, times, societal pressures or addictions, that define the true meaning of the work, but the impressions it makes upon the viewer that truly reflect the value of the art. Continue reading

On Writing

Recently, while on a plane, I was talking to the person next to me and in his inebriated drool, he gave me an idea that can be a major plot point for a story I’m working on. That spurred me into thinking that of all the things that we as writers do to get ideas flowing. Most certainly, on the top of the list is taking inspiration from around us. There’s plenty of inspiration hidden all around and we just need to reach out and allow it into our lives. It may be by talking to strangers or reading new things or just carefully observing something commonplace.

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Vast

I start my car and pull on to the road. The sky is hung quietly above me. There’s a single cloud towards the west, meandering, with a pinkish hue that bursts in my mind like cotton candy. It looks soft but tomorrow it’ll have jagged edges where the wind will have tugged at it. The day after, it’ll dissipate. The Sun is low in the sky and so it’s late in the evening. Not the time to be going home, but the time to be at home. I notice a bird dive in front of the car. It maneuvers to the right quickly and flies past me. There are two planes leaving marks high up in the sky, slowly gathering distance between them, like galaxies floating away from each other. Continue reading

How the Common Man will pay for the Internet soon

If there’s one buzz word that’s promised to solve all the monetary problems of every Internet-based startup in the past two years, its “Big Data”. Everyone’s collecting it, everyone’s recording it and everyone’s saving it for tomorrow. From Twitter’s Billions(of tweets) to your Netflix queue and even your Google Search history, everyone’s looking to figure out how to sell you more stuff based on your habits.

But no one’s actually selling the data. The data in itself is useless, no matter how much of it you have. It’s the connections that are formed from it that are important and that’s what everyone is hankering to sell – information. However, all that these companies are trying to do is sell information to advertising sources and point of sales organizations like Amazon because that’s where they can easily get a large paycheck in exchange for a much larger database of customer information. Continue reading

The guy in the rain

http://www.colorado.edu/ecenter/transportation/bike

Image Courtesy CU Boulder

About two years ago, when not one month had passed since I had entered the US, I once got a free bike from CU Boulder’s Bike Station. It’s a great service where any student or faculty member can rent a bike for forty-eight hours, for free. Since it was time to return it, I cycled up to the UMC, near which the bike station sits under a large tree. As I was returning the bike, it started to rain. Afraid for the newly bought iPhone in my pocket, I went into the shed and hid from the rain. Two guys were working at the station that day. The one on the inside showed me a Lenovo laptop that was basically everything proof – shock, water and temperature. It was given to the bike station specifically because it faces all the elements on nature all the time. Continue reading

The Decreasing Value of Physical Goods

Today, most of us are spending so much time online and on our smart devices that I feel that the value of physical items in our lives has decreased a lot. A few days ago, a friend took me to a store in the 29th street mall. It was a toy store that opened just for the holidays and on that day, everything in the store was 50% off. Needless to say, most of the store was empty, toys and funny calendars having been bought by people taking advantage of the sale. I bought a nice glass chess set on the cheap and then had a chat with the store owner. Apparently, this was a seasonal store that was closing today. She told me that about eleven hundred such stores open across the country during the holiday season and this one was closing that day. Everything that was left today was going back to the factories. I looked around the store for a while. Most of the good stuff that I’d seen in the shop a few days ago was already gone, but a lot of really interesting games and toys were still there.

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Reading about the past

It’s a cold, windy morning. I am waiting for the bus, sitting on a frozen bench. My face is burning with the gushes of wind that are blowing at me from every direction. My mind is burning with the words in front of me. I am reading a LongRead about the MacDonald murders that happened in 1970 and have haunted the annals of law since the past 40 years. The story is incredulous but something I’ve read and heard many times over. The length to which judicial process allows a person to go to prove their innocence is amazing. I cannot say whether Jeffrey MacDonald is guilty or not, except for the fact that everything in the article points towards it. But what matters is the strength of human resolve. Continue reading