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Famous Novels Penned in about a Month

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Seasoned authors will often tell you that starting work on a novel is easy. What’s difficult is finishing it. And that’s because, as you plough your way through your story, creating and eliminating characters and weaving tales of delight and dread, self-doubt, laziness, boredom and a host of other evils destroy your motivation and attention levels. That’s why, instead of spending decades on their novels, some smart authors chose to give themselves just a month to finish their book. Did this mean that they compromised on the quality of the work? Not at all! In fact, their novels have enjoyed a cult status, becoming the most read works of our times. Here are some novels that were penned in little over a month.

On The Road – Jack Kerouac

Although Jack Kerouac spent many years travelling through America, all the while noting down his memorable experiences, he took just three weeks to compile his notes and feelings into this long, adventurous read! He wrote the draft of the book on a 120 foot long piece of teletype paper which he created by sticking numerous sheets together.

on the road

A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle

This book is special because it introduced our favourite detective to us for the first time – the svelte, suave and shrewd Sherlock Holmes. Mr. Doyle, however, took just three weeks to create this fine piece of fiction, problem, solution and all!

The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas – John Boyne

While telling this story of a young Jewish boy living through the Holocaust, the Irish novelist says that he was so absorbed in his tale that he kept writing without a break for two and half days, and finished the novel! He didn’t even stop to eat or sleep!

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

This book gave birth to one of the most famous villains of our time – Scrooge. Yes, that grumpy, grouchy, miserly man who cared for nothing but money. The story of his transformation is heartening and loved by youngsters and adults alike. However, it didn’t take Dickens long to weave this cautionary tale, for he finished the book in just six weeks!

christmas

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

This novel was adapted into a film by the same name. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, it went on to become a critically acclaimed movie, especially loved by the freethinkers of our world. But, the author never imagined the level of success and fame his book would enjoy. In fact, he admits that he wrote the book in just three weeks and did it only because he needed the money!

Well, this just goes to show that the time taken to finish a work has very little impact on its quality. You don’t have to cook up a story that will take decades to write. Even a simple, relatable plot is enough to garner attention. So, what are you waiting for? Get to work on that idea you’ve been wanting to write about immediately!

Looking for a quiet, calm place to write? Head to QTube Café, one of the most unique cafes in Mumbai. Not only can you sit there for hours for free, you get to guzzle on cups of coffee, which are also handed out for free!

Mona Lisa: The Ad World’s Favourite Muse

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Look around and you’ll find ads everywhere. In the newspaper, on billboards, on your TV screen and even in your social media feed. With countless ads bombarding our consciousness every day, it becomes difficult for us to remember each one clearly. That happens only if the ad is very quirky and manages to stand out from the rest. To make such ads, advertisers have to work extra hard and come up with concepts that are truly unique. Often, they turn to classical paintings for inspiration. While some ads seek to spark chuckles by parodying famous paintings, some use software like Photoshop to tamper with the painting and make it fit into a theme. Here are some creative ads that have used the ultra-famous Mona Lisa painting to promote products and organizations.

In 2007, Pantene came up with this print ad to promote a product that promised to rejuvenate damaged hair. The copy that accompanied the ad was:

“Pantene Time Renewal. Restores Age-damaged Hair.”

mona lisa 1

When Prince Spaghetti Sauce wanted to advertise their product, they turned Da Vinci’s most intriguing creation. They used a chubby version of the smiling Mona Lisa to advertise their chunky version!

mona lisa 2

Knowone/Online, a dating site, showed the potency of their website through this hilarious ad.

mona lisa 3

Nescafe came up with a humorous campaign to promote their well-loved stimulant. They depicted characters from famous paintings with bulging eyes. Here’s what they did to the Mona Lisa.

mona lisa 4

Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization that works towards promoting and protecting human rights. They also highlight human rights violations through several impactful campaigns. Here is one of their print ads titled The Mona Lisa.

mona lisa 5

 

Before Breathing their Last – Last Words of Famous Writers

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

These literary greats have spent entire lifetimes crafting perfect sentences for their works. Finding the right word or analogy to express an emotion or thought isn’t an easy task and the job has consumed many, if not all, of their waking hours. However, when it’s time to fall into that eternal slumber, one most honestly described as, well, death, their eloquence lapses into a steely silence. But, before they breathe their last, there’s still time for that famous departing present, commonly referred to as ‘last words.’ It’s interesting how these barely audible, mostly muddled sentences enjoy a level of popularity even the most cryptic novels never have. But, who are we to judge, after all, we’re the ones writing the article! Here’s pandering to this morbid obsession, here are the last words of some of the most famous authors we’ve read and revered!

Aldous Huxley smoking, circa 1946

“LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.” – Aldous Huxley

The man who gave us one of the most interesting science fiction works chose to keep his imagination alive till the last. He asked his wife to inject him with LSD so that he could pass away in a state of mind that granted him happiness.

“It’s been a long time since I drank champagne.”- Anton Chekhov

This celebrated short story writer wanted one last shot at the good life and requested for morphine and champagne moments before he passed away!

“Now, I shall go to sleep.” – Lord Byron

This passionate poet who urged us to love in true Byronic fashion uttered the calmest words of his life on his deathbed.

“Kill me! Or are you a murderer!” – Franz Kafka

One of the most profound writers of our time, his unconventional outlook permeated much of his work and this is what makes his stories so intriguing. His last words too, which were directed at the doctor who refused to give him a lethal dose of morphine, leave you stunned. When you grasp the meaning however, you can’t help but marvel at his intelligence.

“I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room.” – Eugene O’Neill

This Nobel laureate was hit with one of the saddest realizations on his deathbed. Well, at least his books were never confined to a hotel room, they’re in library shelves all around the world!

6 Famous Cafes Literature Lovers Must Visit

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Gone are the days when we had to sit cramped up, and quite uncomfortably, on those bare long benches of roadside tea stalls, to sip a piping hot cup of chai or coffee. Although we still enjoy this as a nostalgic treat now and then, most of us prefer savoring our caffeinated delights seated on plush chairs inside hip ‘cafes,’ as we now like to call them. And why not, for aren’t we all partial towards creature comforts? The luxurious ambiance is relaxing, the cordial, almost friendly service uplifts our mood and the whispered conversation of gentility allows us to immerse ourselves in serious pursuits like work or reading. This is why many artists too enjoyed biding their time at cafes. In fact, they made use of these sanctums to pen down lines for their now famous works! Here are a list of such cafes that, along with serving up delicious beverages, also ended up serving us with some delightful literary offerings!

The Literary Café, St. Petersburg

This Café was frequented by the writer who gave us gems like Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and the Great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. In fact, Pushkin is rumoured to have taken his last meal here, before dying in a duel.

Today, to honour Pushkin’s memory, the café has erected a bust of him and has included his favourite dishes in the cafes menu!

literary cafe

The Elephant House, Edinburgh

This is a very intriguing cafe for Harry Potter book lovers because it is in here that celebrated author J.K. Rowling sat thinking up ideas for and writing the Harry Potter book series. It is said that the Edinburgh Castle can be seen from a backroom in this café, which is where Rowling sat, and perhaps, where she drew much inspiration for her magical school – Hogwarts!

the metropolist

Antico Caffe Greco, Rome

This café seems to have been a popular hangout among those in the poetry circle. The café played host to notable Romantic poets Byron, Shelley and Keats and the master of the fairy tale, Hans Christian Anderson.

antico-caffe-greco-6

La Rotonde, Paris

The elegant Parisian café, which is today a full-fledged restaurant, was a frequent hangout of Scott Fitzgerald. Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Elliot too were regulars here! Even today, many artists and film directors frequent the café to work, socialize and do business.

la-rotonde-14

Pedrocchi Café, Italy

This ultra-stylish café has always been the preferred place for artist and writer meets. Lord Byron and French writer Stendhal are among the famous this café boasts of having hosted.

pedrocchi

From this article, one can easily see that cafés are not only the best hangout places, but they’re also great places for getting work done. If you’re looking for a welcoming café to sit and finish penning some of your thoughts, we suggest you head to the sixth cafe on  our list, which is QTube Café, a wonderful café on S.V. Road that provides free coffee, Wi-Fi and a host of other things to its patrons. Know more about the café here: One of the Most Unique Cafes in Mumbai

QTube Cafe, Bandra

 Warm and welcoming, ain’t it?

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Poetry Puzzle – Can you Guess the Poem?

Friday, October 7th, 2016

We’ve often played games that require us to guess the name of a movie or a song. But, we’ve never tried doing the same when it comes to poems. Why? Because it’s hard; it’s hard to guess the name of a poem just by hearing a few lines from it. The lines might seem familiar, and we could swear we’ve heard them before, but, the name of the poem stubbornly evades us. Isn’t it frustrating to realize you can’t remember the name of a poem you spent days reading and trying to understand? Well, the only way to get better at this game is by quizzing ourselves incessantly and untiringly. Slowly, we’ll surely be able to name at least the few famous ones we’ve read even if our only clue is a couple of lines from one of its verses.

caged-bird-singing

Here are key verses from five well-known poems. How many of these poems can you name? (Answers shared at the end, but no cheating!)

1.

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run”

(Hint: The poem pays tribute to a season in which trees lose their verdant coats!)

2.

“Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

(Hint: The poem urges the reader to put up a tough fight against the universal leveller – death)

3.

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill

Of things unknown but longed for still

And his tune is heard on the distant hill for

The caged bird sings of freedom.”

(Hint: The realization you reach after reading the poem)

4.

“Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.”

(Hint: Robbin Williams takes the name of this poem on as a nickname in the movie Dead Poets Society)

5.

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,

starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking

for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly

connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,”

(Hint: ‘Yowl’ works as a good synonym for the title)

 

Answers:

  1. Ode to Autumn – John Keats, 2. Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night – Bob Dylan, 3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou, 4. O Captain! My Captain! – Walt Whitman, 5. Howl – Allen Ginsberg