Vinjettur IXVignettes IX

Vignettes IX contains 43 tales, written while Ármann Reynisson travelled far and wide in India. Here, he opens vistas into the multidimensional culture of the subcontinent with his characteristic sensitivity and thereby extends the horizon of his collection of vignettes. The India vignettes are evocative descriptions of life that seek out the very heart of the nation. The takes are designed to provoke thought and are well-suited to be read aloud.

Price: eur 44 $ 59 - (Delivery included)

Title: Vinjettur IX - Vignettes IX
Author: Ármann Reynisson
English translation: Martin Regal
Cover art: JBK Ransu
Design: Guđmundur Oddur Magnússon
Art photo: Ari Magg
Proof-sheet: Hreinn S. Hákonarson
Layout: Leturval slf. Halldór B. Kristjánsson,
Print work: Delo Tiskarna, Slovenia
Publisher: ÁR - Vöruţing ehf., Súđavogi 38, 104 Reykjavík
ISBN: 978-9979-9595-9-5

Leading up to the trip to India

The peace in Burma is suddenly riven as a fearful din blasts the ears of the terrified inhabitants and drowns out all their sound. Grey Japanese planes are seen hovering over the buildings and releasing bombs. The enemy tears the land to shreds and kills women, children and men as if with the wave of a hand. World War Two has arrived and no one know what the outcome will be.

A breach in the wall of the west

For whatever reason, westerners usually close themselves off from other parts of the world despite all their education. Many people's views do not reach beyond the wall of the west sometimes not even further than their own country indeed, some even believe that civilisation and culture were actually born in their homeland.

Indians

Many tribes and peoples have made their way to India and over the vastness of time have blended together in the melting pot. And the outcome differs according to the region. Different kinds of climate have also played their part in shaping the inhabitants. In the south there is more sun and heat and the people there are shorter with thicker and more curly hair than their countrymen in the north, where it is colder and the people are taller with more hair.

The fisherman

On Christmas afternoon, two men meet on the Mukkom beach. Aside from them there are no other people in sight. The greet each other without shaking hands and appear equally surprised to see one another. They start speaking, each in his own language and using elaborate mime. The guest has a man with him who stands to one side and interprets what they are saying. One of them is a happy local, young in years, on his way to do some fishing.

Pooram

For thousands of years, Hindus have celebrated the Pooram festival. It is still held today with accompanying musical ensemble, pomp and ceremony. The parade leaves one temple and goes to another, moving at a slow and even pace, stopping every now and then and carrying out certain rituals. Ancient brass band music is played while the parade marches.

The Astrologer

From time immemorial the stars have allured the eyes of men on earth, both out of curiosity and in the science of navigation. According to the bible, it was on the third day that God created the two great light and the stars in the firmament. In the heavens, all follows precise rules, so that it is possible to calculate the motion of the planets and stars both backwards and forwards in time.

Helplessness

Whatever land one travels to there are people who are helpless although in some countries, it is more obvious than others. It is ironic that the wealthy nations have never managed to eradicate poverty and need in the world despite all their loud declarations of what they are going to do. So, what hope is there that countries less well off can share out what they have equally so that all newborn children have the same opportunities?

The train journey

Across the plains of Tamil Nadu the train makes its way quickly and easily and for anyone watching from afar it looks as if the row of carriages will never end. It has all the signs of age, from dents and scrapes on the carriages, inside and out, and on all the equipment. But it is clean and tidy as the passengers take their seats before the journey starts.

Feeling the rub

Probably, the mystery of what happens after death will never be solved and it is good thing, too, for mankind needs to keep guessing at. In some religions, it is thought that souls are reborn in one form or another after death. And it even happens that people remember an earlier life and can describe it in detail. That applied to a woman who died from cancer at just twenty-five-years old after suffering with the disease for a long time.

The Astrologer

From time immemorial the stars have allured the eyes of men on earth, both out of curiosity and in the science of navigation. According to the bible, it was on the third day that God created the two great light and the stars in the firmament. In the heavens, all follows precise rules, so that it is possible to calculate the motion of the planets and stars both backwards and forwards in time.

Varanasi

To the holy city, dedicated to Shiva, come droves of pilgrims from all over the land to breathe their last breath. And to have their loved one cremate their earthly remains on the banks of the Ganges and finally to scatter the ashes into the river. The Hindus believe that this is how the soul will achieve eternal peace and stop being reborn on this earth.

Taj Mahal

At first sight and from a distance, the Taj Mahal looks like a closed pale tulip as it stretches up majestically towards the sun. As one draws closer, the flower appears to open slowly but surely with four pillars towering to the sky around it, one in each direction. And in the centre rises the bell-shaped dome, the crown of India, resting on a solid base surrounded on all four sides by smaller domes. The spectacle is enchanting.

The Punjab

When Alexander the Great arrived with his army all the way from Macedonia to the Indus, he looked with great satisfaction across to the Punjab meaning the "five waters". The great hindrances along the way, the weariness of his soldiers and later the death of the hero himself, meant that this was the furthest limit of the empire. The area has a rich history.

The wedding

Usually, Indian weddings require a great deal of preparation, not least perhaps because the parents have a say in the choice of partner. The great day itself is a momentous occasion, often with a great gathering of family and friends. And no expense is spared. The tables are laden with delicious food, and the feast can last a whole day or even longer. There are all kinds of entertainment in addition to the pleasure of meeting and sharing in the couple?s joy.

 

Please do not hesitate to send email to arman(at)centrum.is if you have any comments regarding this web page
© 2001 Ármann Reynisson