Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shalimar from Rushdie...

Have you read 'Midnight's Children' by Salman Rushdie?

I did. A few years back. Didn't get it. And consequently relegated Salman Rushdie as a writer who I would always deride and not recommend to anyone. Not that my non-recommendation had any great effect on his fan following. He still managed to date (and marry?) Padmalaxmi, a lady with her name as the only problem in her life. Oh, and a fascination for older gentlemen.

But recently I picked up 'Shalimar the Clown' by Mr. Rushdie from the library.

Aside: I'm in two minds about using the library now. I mean, it does give me the option of exploring new authors and I've certainly come across a few gems just because I could just borrow the book instead of buying it. But the downside is that I don't have any of these great books in my own collection. I don't have an option of picking up the book and re-reading it whenever I feel like it.
I don't have the option of smiling at my books, smelling them and just being happy to hold the book. These thoughts came upon me when I was setting up my book collection in the new apartment I've moved into. My collection looks fairly juvenile and is not really representative of the kind of books I like reading.
I probably need a middle path in which I buy some books while at the same time keeping the library option for more experimentation.

Coming back to Shalimar the Clown, I loved it. It was beautifully written and there were so many interpretations to the various story lines. And the mastery with which language has been used in the book is really really captivating. It is a great book to read, if only for some passages that border on the poetic. Passages that make you close the book, lean back and think.

The book takes a very personal story and juxtaposes it on historic events (I seem to like such books the most. Big events through the eyes of common people. Events brought home to the people, mostly reluctantly, because of their subtle (and progressively less subtle) impact on regular life and its meaning)

In this book the beginning of organised terrorism and the consequent (some would say politically opportunistic)intrusion of the army in Kashmir forms the backdrop to an intensely personal tale of innocence, love, ambition, betrayal, despair, anger, hatred, revenge, uprooting and angst. A beautiful book in which the characters are well etched and can be equated to many players of the larger backdrop.

For me, the way the people changed the way they looked at and thought of 'Kashmiriyat' over the course of the story was fascinating.

A book meant to be in your collection, to be savoured on many occasions...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rukawat ke Liye Khed Hai...


I look back and the last post I did on this blog was on 10th September, just under four months back. To think that there was a time when I wrote here twice a day and also refreshed the blog multiple times in a day in the hope of some comment (no, scratch that. I am, and was never, not a comment seeking blogger. I wrote for myself. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it)

That really does bring back the good old days when office and work was merely a distraction from the real things in life - my blog, facebook,planning trips, planning parties, recovering from parties, making fun of friends, getting fun made (sic)by friends. Ah, those were the days...

Anyway, let me start (the paragraphs above are just me ruminating), let me wish you a very Happy New Year 2012. The very fact that you're still reading this after a four month hiatus means, sniff, that you are true fans of the awesome prose that I spew here. You, sniff, deserve a happy new year. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Now there's been a lot happening in my life. Amongst other things, I am also going to break atleast a million female hearts next month. Yeah, yeah I know, you missed your chance ladies. Aw cmon, don't cry now, I'm sure there are other eligible guys too (hehe yeah, right!)

I did keep coming across things I wanted to write about, but somehow I couldn't put pen to paper (figuratively speaking).

For instance, one thing I did want to talk about was the joy of taking the bus instead of driving. You end up seeing so many things on your very own regular way that you never even notice while driving. So every weekend I go to the library ( on a bus and its amazing. Really. I saw the new buildings on the side. New pubs, stores and hotels have cropped up which I had never noticed! Apart from that you also end up seeing the very limited flora and fauna. I saw a beautiful, sleek, black swallow gliding next to the bus and was mesmerized by its grace.

Then another thing I wanted to talk about was books you read as a child and not enjoy at all. And then you pick them up and read them with, it seems, someone else's eyes. For me the book was 'Lord of the Rings' which I read again in college and became a die hard fan. But this doesn't always happen. I picked up 'Catcher in the Rye' recently hoping that it would run its magic on me and I become a fan. Nope. Nada. Still didn't get it. I guess I just never experienced the typical teenage angst that makes people identify with the book.

Anyway, I think this is a good start for 2012. Lets not try to write an opus in the very first post. Baby steps, I say, baby steps.

Happy New Year again!!