The Rice Mother

A great book is one which causes the reader to think about it long after the last words are read. It is a book which makes you forget you are reading and throws you through the pages into another world. The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka is one such book. This book drained me emotionally at times but I don’t know how it did, or will affect others.

Before I finished reading The Rice Mother, I started to think about my ancestors and realizing even more there is merit in understanding our relatives of old. I don’t only mean understanding them historically but also emotionally. This is not about dwelling in the past but about understanding the struggles which brought us here today. You may find out that you are a chip from some old blocks, a replica of a good soul, or a completely new but unclassifiable branch of the family tree.

In every family there are skeletons in the closet but some families have more than the average amount of skeletons and, as a result, closets. However, what is more important is appreciating the day to day burdens which people endured in order to ensure the future generations are born, and hopefully into a better life. It is important to understand where the skeletons came from. Studying our ancestors may show that we are a product of both kindness and cruelty, and sometimes to the extreme.

While reading the book I kept asking the perennial question; how could the same two parents raise children, some whom came out as angels, while others ended up as perfect examples of strife and family shame? The reality is that no two people are alike and parents are rabidly judgmental about their children. Life is never fair and parents even more so. Yes, in the end both parents and their children are responsible for their own actions but when one family member takes misguided action, the others members also suffer, and shaped or distorted by its results. Whether we like it or not, a large part of who we are today is a result of who our ancestors were, the choices they made, and the fate they were handed. The rest is our history to create for the future.

p.s.1 – This book was recommended to me by Tunks 🙂

p.s.2. – I took the photo above during the wee hours of this Sunday morning. I clicked the shutter while the book lied captivatingly on a table which, incidentally, might be Malaysian 🙂

Night Lights

The night lights of St. Augustine

I took four photos last night (22nd. July, 2005) using a 2-second exposure time. I actually took more than four shots but the choosen four were shot from the same position on the tripod. I was trying to capture the streaks of light (white and red) from the passing cars. I then put the pictures together in an animated GIF file. I think the inspiration to do this came while flipping through the pictures. The effect created is almost the same as a movie flip-book.

Bin and Bomb

Humor masks our greatest fears and an event yesterday proves I am still full of it, the fear I mean. This blog is my mask.

Blame it on a sick sense of humor and fear, but I laughed when Shelly Dass on TV6 reported that the police were still investigating what caused a “garbage bin to blow up in down town Port-of-Spain on July 11th “. I laughed when a friend told me that the police was now on the hunt for Dust-Bin Laden. I laughed all the way to St. Anne’s.

The reason is not important, but only the fact that I had to take a trip to mid-town Port-of -Spain starting from somewhere on the extreme west of Park St. My regular route through Victoria Square soon turned into a nightmare when I suddenly noticed that I was surrounded by bins upon bins (see illustration above). If the amount and the placement of these bins (poor attempt at small circles on the drawing) were typical, I could not say because like most people, I never paid attention to garbage bins before. Take a look at the drawing. Wouldn’t you say the amount of bins and their placement are strange? This had to be the work of a sanitation engineer gone mad or the Government.

Gripped with fear, my mind, independent to my brain and body, told me “get the hell outta here.” The only two other people in the Square were vagrants. I made this assumption because they had that very calm, not-a-care-in-the-world look about them and their sense of fashion begged to be forgiven. Their calmness was reassuring but their distance from the bins weren’t.

As good fortune would have it, I came out of the square physically intact but mentally shattered. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the only one in the country who reacted, and is reacting this way. I think not. My humor only hides my fear but my ski mask probably does a better job.


This is the first real drawing exercise in the book. The actual drawing from the book is much better and much less flawed. It’s strange though, how people admire perfection, never realizing the better part of interesting is the imperfection.

Flat Glass Bottle

I distorted this image using Photoshop while waiting for the ever-popular Tropical Storm Emily to either hit, or not hit. The original image was that of a flat glass bottle. Yes, such bottles do exist and this image is partial proof of that. The full proof is on its way, threatening to silence the skeptics forever.

Hitch Upon a Star

Shouldn’t a blog tell you something about the bloger? It should, but what is says is not always useful. I posted this blog to prove my case.

I decided to collect ticket stubs from Movietowne because years from now I hope to retire and live a lavish, and occasionally vile lifestyle, on the vast sums I will have made from the sale of these collector’s items. The future is brighter than I could have ever imagined, as you can see from the preview of my collection above.

What’s the saying again, Hitch upon a star, or is it Wish upon a star? I could never remember but that’s what I have done.


Girls of Red Square

I captured these shots from the DVD Paul McCartney – In Red Square. This photo montage I put together could be called Girls of Red Square, The McCartney Red Square Concert Girls, The Cameraman Likes These Concert Girls or Aka’s Picks. The pictures were sewn together using Corel Draw 11. The DVD was called a concert film, but since there is no film in a DVD I prefer to call it a docu-concert. The DVD was put together by the A&E/History Channel people so that should give you an indication what the DVD is like. Amazing; that’s my opinion.

half -a-brain

Almost three years ago a small but rebellious bunch of brain cells, nestled somewhere in my head, formed themselves into a pressure-group. This seditious group immediately jumped into action and complained that I was unbelievably boring and I didn’t seem to support neuron growth. With my ego shattered, feelings hurt and sedation wearing off, I listened to their grievance. “What do you do in you spare time?” the loony pack of neurons asked in a most neurotic tone. “You sit around waiting for the sun to rise with a Canon strapped to your eye. What is that about, its boooring, that’s what?” “Don’t you get it? It’s the same sun everyday. You point and click, point and click. True you play around with a few settings, a few angles but so what. Move on, do something different, get a life.” The truth hurts but not as much as the headache these poor excuses for a thought process were giving me. This headache forced me to take up an interest in peace and neuron growth. This also led me to take up drawing, not because it would be a challenge but because it was something I was sure to fail at. I would show these neurons who was the real brains!

What this fore-paragraph is leading to is the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Dr. Betty Edwards. I bought this book because it was designed to make non-sketchers into sketchers by using a revolutionary method of right-brain activation. Apparently learning to draw is learning to see and seeing is not as easy as I thought, especially if you have only half a brain.

The sketch above was one of my early and few efforts. It represents me trying to reproduce a sketch I saw in a book called “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (This book is a challenge because reading in the dark is not easy).

The yearning to restart this journey into the right side of my brain, after a three year absence, was inspired by Words Unspoken, and also my insatiable quest to cause public outcry. The reason for bloging about it is to put myself up for further public ridicule if I slack off, or not.

A Simple Sample and All That Jazz

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a picture of a desktop is worth considerably more, especially if it was painted by Picasso.

I have a feeling that the lost art of desktop-reading will soon replace toothbrush-bristle-reading as the number form of fortune telling and psycho analysis. “Show me your desktop and I will tell you who you are. Give me a hundred dollars and I will tell you what you want.”

What can you tell about this bloger by a simple sample of his desktop? Simple Sample is the latest method used in the psycho analysis of the distorted mind of some Blogers. It is based on the theory that things are arranged on the desktop as it is arranged in the mind. You allow things to happen in the physical world as you do in the mental world. This has to be true since there is mounting evidence which suggest that I do have a set of headphones and a pen precociously lodged among my neurons. You see, I have been hearing things that nobody hears and writing things which nobody reads. These writings have turned up mainly on my blogs and lately as graffiti in washrooms of certain alien spaceships. These sounds have not turned up at all. What else does Simple Sample reveal about the Bloger in question? Wonder no more – – it says the bloger has the writing ambitions of a master storyteller, the smile of a 21st century female jazz singer and either looks like a Russian or a used Post-it. It also says the Bloger quite likely has the IQ of a used ticket stub. But all of this is only on the surface, and what lies beneath is even more disturbing, and yellow.