This morning when Ilogged into my library catalog, this is the message that I saw,

Banned Books

Someone, somewhere, doesn’t want you to read these books. Find out more at:


There is something fascinating about banned books, isn’t there? It draws you. The mere words, ‘banned’ makes them ever so enticing. It makes me want to read them, find out what is inflamatory, derogatory or indecent about them.
I went through the list, and can only wonder at some of the famous books that are in the banned list. The words within quotes are the words from the website above.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. ‘The book has been banned as ‘satanic’ in some areas and was even burned by members of a church in New Mexico in 2001. The controversy is ironic, though, as Tolkien was a devout Christian and many scholars note Christian themes in his work. ‘ says the site.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – ‘Alice was banned in the province of Hunan, China (1931) for the portraying animals acting on the same level as humans. ‘

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling ‘It was banned and burned in many US states for promoting witchcraft, and also banned in some Christian schools in the UK. Maybe they didn’t realise it is just a story. ‘

Black Beauty – Anna Sewell. ‘It was banned by the South African government during the Apartheid era because of the word ‘Black’ in the title. ‘

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain ‘Alongside Huckleberry Finn, this book has attracted controversy for its use of racially charged language. In fact, this novel of a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River not only raised important questions of racial inequality that are still with us today, but revolutionised modern American story telling into the bargain. ‘

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood ‘A dystopian fictional world where women’s only function is to breed. It was no.37 on the American Library Association’s 100 most frequently challenged books 1990 – 2000 – challenged because it was claimed to be anti-Christian and pornographic. ‘

Do check out the website, if you want the complete list. It was fascinating to read why so many books which we would recommend based on so many criteria, is/was also banned in certain countries based on some other criteria. Also, how something that was inflammatory in another time period, would not even raise eye-brows today.

I also can’t help wondering why we still insist on banning books, when, in today’s global world, it is just so easy to get hold of a book, banned or not.

How is it for you? Are you more likely to try to read a book, because it was banned? I know I would. Banning something just makes me curious. Forbidden fruit, you know.

That reminded me of something from my childhood. There was some scandalous movie, which was making the waves. There were two older girls, daughters of my parents friends, whom I overheard lamenting, ‘By the time we get old enough to watch this movie, it will not even be outrageous!’. So true, don’t you think?

Unharnessed Thinking

This post was picked by Blogadda for its Spicy Saturday Picks. Thank you Blogadda and Sols!


In my working life, we used to have a lot of workshops and courses aimed at making us think beyond boundaries, to help us work out ‘out of the box solutions’, to unleash our creativity.

Most of us used to struggle to find these magical, outlandish ideas which would provide  wonderful solutions to our clients while staying within the budget. I am not sure how much these workshops actually helped, but it certainly opened our minds to other possibilities, than the steady stuff that we were used to. It also helped a lot of us think and look beyond what was obvious, so I think they did make some difference.  In today’s competitive world, creativity and the ability to think beyond the norms is what is going to count. Companies that innovate, that try to better what they do, that strive to excel are what are the most successful.

It was after my daughter was born, that I really appreciated how staid and strait-jacketed my own thinking was. Something ordinary and regular for me , would be interpreted in a totally novel way by my daughter, when she saw something the first time. It just reminded me how creative we were as young children, and how slowly and steadily, our thinking gets restrained by the limits set by society in various forms. The creativity that we are born with gets stifled in so many ways.

Right from childhood, if a child is not encouraged to try out different things and fail, she might never learn how to succeed. For example a child who fails at something he tried and does not get the necessary support from his parents, might never try something out the next time, and a truly brilliant thinker might just have been killed. Similarly in workplaces, if a team member comes up with a weird idea, but is suppressed or ridiculed, might never voice his ideas again and a really creative idea that might have come from him, might just never happen.

I find that I subconsciously do it, without even realising it. The other day, we bought a paint-it-yourself piggy bank for daughter. Now they had provided a bunch of paints and ideas to paint it. Daughter decided that it would be more fun to paint random colours all over and for a minute, I was going to guide her to follow the patterns provided, when I realised that I might just be stifling her creativity. If I cannot let her original thinking guide her for painting a piggy bank, would I ever encourage her later, with any thing creative? What difference would it make if her piggy bank looked a little different, after all?

This is how her piggy bank looked in the end 🙂


And could you guess what was in her mind when she painted this? Apparently this was not just general doodling – it is supposed to be something – according to daughter!


Answer in the next post, lets see how many of you get it right 🙂 I certainly did not!