Master craftsman GGM, rip

(Reuters) – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian author whose beguiling stories of love and longing brought Latin America to life for millions of readers and put magical realism on the literary map, died on Thursday. He was 87.

A prolific writer who started out as a newspaper reporter, Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece was “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” a dream-like, dynastic epic that helped him win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Garcia Marquez died at his home in Mexico City. He had returned home from hospital last week after a bout of pneumonia.

Known affectionately to friends and fans as “Gabo,” Garcia Marquez was Latin America’s best-known and most beloved author and his books have sold in the tens of millions.

Although he produced stories, essays and several short novels such as “Leaf Storm” and “No One Writes to the Colonel” in the 1950s and early 1960s, he struggled for years to find his voice as a novelist.

But he then found it in dramatic fashion with “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” an instant success on publication in 1967 that was dubbed “Latin America’s Don Quixote” by late Mexican author Carlos Fuentes.

It tells the story of seven generations of the Buendia family in the fictional village of Macondo, based on the languid town of Aracataca close to Colombia’s Caribbean coast where Garcia Marquez was born on March 6, 1927, and raised by his maternal grandparents.

In the novel, Garcia Marquez combines miraculous and supernatural events with the details of everyday life and the political realities of Latin America. The characters are visited by ghosts, a plague of insomnia envelops Macondo, a child is born with a pig’s tail and a priest levitates above the ground.

At times comical and bawdy, and at others tragic, it sold over 30 million copies, was published in dozens of languages and helped fuel a boom in Latin American fiction.

Garcia Marquez, a stocky man with a quick smile, thick mustache and curly hair, said he found inspiration for the novel by drawing on childhood memories of his grandmother’s stories – laced with folklore and superstition but delivered with the straightest of faces.

“She told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness,” he said in a 1981 interview. “I discovered that what I had to do was believe in them myself, and write them with the same expression with which my grandmother told them: with a brick face.”

Tributes poured in following his death.

“The world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers – and one of my favorites from the time I was young,” said U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Your life, dear Gabo, will be remembered by all of us as a unique and singular gift, and as the most original story of all,” Colombian pop star Shakira wrote on her website alongside a photograph of her hugging Garcia Marquez.


Garcia Marquez was one of the prime exponents of magical realism, a genre he described as embodying “myth, magic and other extraordinary phenomena.”

It was a turbulent period in much of Latin America, when chaos was often the norm and reality verged on the surreal, and magical realism struck a chord.

“In his novels and short stories we are led into this peculiar place where the miraculous and the real converge. The extravagant flight of his own fantasy combines with traditional folk tales and facts, literary allusions and tangible – at times obtrusively graphic – descriptions approaching the matter-of-factness of reportage,” the Swedish Academy said when it awarded Garcia Marquez the Nobel Prize in 1982.

Although “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was his most popular creation, other classics from Garcia Marquez included “Autumn of the Patriarch”, “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”.

He admired Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and was also influenced by esteemed Latin American writers Juan Rulfo of Mexico and Argentina’s Jorge Luis Borges.

U.S. author William Faulkner inspired Garcia Marquez to create “the atmosphere, the decadence, the heat” of Macondo, named after a banana plantation on the outskirts of Aracataca.

“This word had attracted my attention ever since the first trips I had made with my grandfather, but I discovered only as an adult that I liked its poetic resonance,” he wrote in his memoirs, “Living to Tell the Tale.”


Like many of his Latin American literary contemporaries, Garcia Marquez became increasingly involved in politics and flirted with communism.

He spent time in post-revolution Cuba and developed a close friendship with communist leader Fidel Castro, to whom he sent drafts of his books.

“A man of cosmic talent with the generosity of a child, a man for tomorrow,” Castro once wrote of his friend. “His literature is authentic proof of his sensibility and the fact that he will never give up his origins, his Latin American inspiration and loyalty to the truth.”

The United States banned Garcia Marquez from visiting for a decade after he set up the New York branch of communist Cuba’s official news agency and was accused of funding leftist guerrillas at home.

He once condemned the U.S. war on drugs as “nothing more than an instrument of intervention in Latin America” but became friends with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

“He captured the pain and joy of our common humanity in settings both real and magical. I was honored to be his friend and to know his great heart and brilliant mind for more than 20 years,” Clinton said on Thursday.

Despite his reputation as a left-leaning intellectual, critics say Garcia Marquez didn’t do as much as he could have done to help negotiate an end to Colombia’s long conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people.

Instead, he left his homeland and went to live in Mexico. The damning criticism he leveled at his homeland still rings heavily in the ears of some Colombians.

He was also a protagonist in one of literature’s most talked-about feuds with fellow Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru.

The writers, who were once friends, stopped speaking to each other after a day in 1976 when Vargas Llosa gave Garcia Marquez a black eye in a dispute – depending on who one believes – over politics or Vargas Llosa’s wife.

But Vargas Llosa paid tribute to Garcia Marquez on Thursday, calling him a “great writer” whose novels would live on.

Politics and literary spats aside, Garcia Marquez’s writing pace slowed down in the late 1990s.

A heavy smoker for most of his life, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1999, although the disease went into remission after chemotherapy treatment.

None of his latest works achieved the success of his earlier novels.

One of those, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” told the story of a 50-year love affair inspired by his parents’ courtship.

It was made into a movie starring Spanish actor Javier Bardem in 2007, but many critics were disappointed and said capturing the sensuous romance of Garcia Marquez’s novel had proved too tough a challenge.

Garcia Marquez’s most recent work of fiction, “Memories of My Melancholy Whores,” got mixed reviews when it was released in 2004. The short novel is about a 90-year-old man’s obsession with a 14-year-old virgin, a theme some readers found disturbing.

Garcia Marquez is survived by Mercedes Barcha, his wife of more than 55 years, and by two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.

When he was working, Garcia Marquez would wake up before dawn every day, read a book, skim through the newspapers and then write for four hours. His wife would put a yellow rose on his desk.

His last public appearance was on his 87th birthday when he came out from his Mexico City home to smile and wave at well-wishers, a yellow rose in the lapel of his gray suit.

(Additional reporting by David Alire Garcia in Mexico City and Julia Symmes Cobb in Bogota; Editing by Kieran Murray and Ken Wills)

He lived my dream life!

Image“Since I have no faith in God, nor in the day of judgement, nor in reincarnation, I have to come to terms with the complete full stop.”

- Khushwant Singh (Author, journalist)

ImageIndian author and journalist Khushwant Singh breathed his last today, at 99.

He wrote several hugely successful books during his long writing career. I could easily say he was probably the most influential writer in my life. Not only was I drawn into writing a book by his perfectly scripted books, my life path itself has been much influenced by the thoughts he inadvertently popularized through his humour laden works.

I am yet to read his later works, The Good, The Bad and The Ridiculous and the Sunset Club, which I will in the coming weeks.

An editor who made popular the now defunct Illustrated Weekly of India and later the Hindustan Times, his column ‘With Malice Towards One and All’ was syndicated in many dailies.

Mr Singh was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986.

Some of his popular books:

train to Pakistan

Company of women



Leave Ellen Alone: A Lesson in Misplaced Transphobia

Sindhu S.:


Originally posted on beautifulCHAOS:

Comedienne, actress, host extraordinaire, and overall amazing human Ellen DeGeneres recently came under fire for a comment during her opening monologue at the 86th Annual Academy Awards, which aired Sunday, March 2nd. During her witty opening, which employed her signature wry-delivery and the pop culture-laden humor of her daily talk show stand-up routines, she referenced gay icon Liza Minnelli, daughter of Hollywood Legend Judy Garland, by saying, “Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen!  Good job, sir.”  This spurned a barrage of internet-related hate, calling DeGeneres “transphobic” and “disrespectful.” Others denounced her status as a “lesbian icon,” saying that using drag queen humor is hateful and intolerant towards the trans community.

I don’t understand this.

Have we forgotten who Ellen DeGeneres is? Has the gay community forgotten what Ellen stands for, and how much she has done for positive exposure to gay culture? In The Age of…

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Wearing a Skirt Has Consequences: A Men’s Rights Redditor defends a man’s sacred right to take upskirt photos

Sindhu S.:

What about ‘upfront’ photos?

Originally posted on we hunted the mammoth:

Women: If you wear skirts here, some MRAs think you should be punished for it

Women: If you wear skirts here, some MRAs think you should be punished for it

So we, as a society, have “peeping tom” laws to protect people who might unknowingly expose themselves to the creepy peepers of, well, creepy peepers who get their thrills from seeing and sometimes photographing strangers revealing more than they meant to.

It would seem reasonable enough to consider surreptitiously taken “upskirt” photographs as violations of peeping tom laws. But not in Massachusetts: On Wednesday, the Supreme Judicial Court in that state ruled that upskirt photographs are legally ok, as the laws there are written to apply only to protect victims who are “partially nude,” not those who are merely wearing short skirts.

In the wake of the ruling, legislators and women’s rights advocates are saying that the laws — written before cell phone camera were ubiquitous –  need an update.

Naturally, this…

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Eating Humble Pie

Sindhu S.:

She made my day! ;)

Originally posted on SinghCircle:

images I learnt something today!
Never criticise a woman driver.
Never also mock at one when she gets into a no entry zone, drives in two lanes at a time or applies make-up while negotiating traffic.
Why this change?
I was in the middle of old Muharraq when I got myself into a jam – literally. After going into a narrow lane and finding myself at a dead-end, not knowing what to do, I looked for help.
Knocked on a door and requested the abaya-clad woman who emerged to move her car so I could easily take mine out.
But that did not happen.
Instead, she got into my vehicle, a large SUV, reversed into the lane as if it were a knife slicing through butter and there I was, out of the woods!
And, all the time, she had a smile on her face and the look of someone in…

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Winners fixers?

Sindhu S.:

Awards and national titles have to be earned not with service to the world, but systematic lobbying and PR, which we all know. So, don’t feel bad about it; the winners are the BIGGEST LOSERS as far as real respect is concerned. UNSUNG heroes are the real ones. SALUTE.

Originally posted on SinghCircle:

index I read with a fair bit of amusement today a leading Indian in Bahrain being honoured for “leadership”. A few weeks ago, there was another person who was similarly feted in India for “work among the downtrodden.”
I have lost count of how many such people regularly receive “honours” for having “excelled” in various fields, most commonly being philanthropists or “givers” to the community. What I do not, however, understand is how can these people “serve” the downtrodden, the less fortunate among us, the homeless, or the “park benchers” by sitting in air-conditioned offices, jet setting across the globe or setting up massive business empires. images Okay, I am not saying they should ignore their businesses and come on the streets but what I am saying is there are countless such selfless people who have done so much for the community. For example, there is this one gent who makes sure…

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Indian ‘masala’

Originally posted on SinghCircle:


vlcsnap-2014-02-26-00h08m41s124vlcsnap-2014-02-26-01h23m55s206vlcsnap-2014-02-26-00h56m23s72The Bollywood Masala Orchestra performed in Bahrain yesterday. Though not one of the top-notch groups, the enthusiasm and energy of the dozen-odd performers was enough to entertain a select audience of senior government ministers, VIP’s and other guests at the imposing open air ‘auditorium’ of the Bahrain Fort.
Though all the songs and other acts centered around the traditions of Rajasthan state, the 90-minute programme did take us back to some of the well-known but rarely seen lifestyle of people in some parts of India.
The awesome fire ‘eating’ and the balancing acts, with one performer even dancing on a bed of nails or the very energetic dance by women in traditional clothing were a treat to watch and got the audience on its feet.
Not much happens in the name of entertainment in this country but when it does, it’s an occasion to go out and be part of…

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Proud mom

Yes, I am a proud mom. ImageMy son made his debut on the professional stage last week in Mumbai with ‘One Coin Please’. Sure, he had wanted to be an actor for a while now. Advaaith has been training for the acting career for the past five years. And as far as I can see, and as far as his mentors’ say, he will be ready for the big screen in a couple of years. But this entry into the theatre world was unexpected. 1960857_820839307931137_939024920_o He did well. More than that, he enjoyed the theatre experience. It is only the beginning of a long promising career, I know. Never mind the many setbacks an actor is bound to come across. I know, in the end, anyone with great talent and a stubborn determination has to succeed. Both being on his side, I wish him the best for his actor life. 1932738_821424477872620_705067743_o 1900744_820835197931548_993856414_o

When love is not enough…

Union Minister of India Shashi Tharoor’s wife of three years died a mysterious death, probably an anti-depressant drug overdose two days back. After a fairy tale wedding, where the couple appeared blissfully content and the entire world around them showering love and blessings, what went wrong in their beautiful world? Shashi Tharoor with Sunanda
Okay, we know she had minor health issues, and that she was suffering from anxiety attacks and depression, probably resultant of her illness, but more as an offshoot of being married to a celebrity husband, a desirable man, public figure.
Naturally insecurity hits the wife, especially when the husband entertains female friendships, call it intellectual companionship or emotional anchoring. This is in spite of the wife being extremely desirable and successful. That is how women are made, and some of us are more sensitive to apparent dangers like losing a cherished love life.
After listening to the journalist in question speak disrespectfully about Sunanda the other day, I can only imagine the utter distress she was in when she probably decided to call it quits. Such ambitious, self-centred people can only be home breakers.
SunandaI am most saddened about the fact that her son from another marriage has lost a mother he was surely closer than any other soul in this world. I only hope Tharoor quits politics and women companions for good and take responsibility to be the strongest support to Sunanda’s bereaved son for the rest of his life. That alone will allow her soul to rest in peace. 20140118161927
If he is the gentleman he appears to be and if he has a heart, this he will do. If not, he will never ever be happy or sane; not in this life.

Don’t know why, I am sad, heartbroken. May Almighty give her son Shiv strength to bear the pain, peace to move on and bring loads of love into his life, and soon.

Let Almighty also give Tharoor the wisdom and heart to see the poor child’s pain and loss and realise he is indeed responsible for this tragedy.