When you feel what you read.

Sometimes, I want a different ending. A different narration. The book that I am reading, becomes my book. I become the author and I do not like where the narration is going,  I do not want to go to the place, I do not want to feel this any longer. I can not live this any longer. I cannot watch it happen.

I am an ostrich with head in a pile of sand.

Are you still with me? Does it happen to you? Do you live the story?

There are a few books I could not finish. Various reasons and the stupidest of all was the font is too small, the big is too thick aka The Lord of the ring, actually, I say,  something jinxed about it, I could not even stand the movie.

Then there is  “All the lights you cannot see”. It is such a poetic book. Wonderful. I just stopped reading it. I could not live the life of a blind girl anymore. A smart blind girl. Blind, never mind that. She could see all the lights, more than me. I was tired of waiting, waiting for when the author will interweave the lives of the blind girl and the German boy. I needed a happy ending soon. It felt like a trap. I had to leave it midway.

Actually, those were the easy ones. The next one is so hard.

I want to see where it goes.  where Laleh Khadivi is taking me, rather taking Rez. And with each chapter, I am feeling the nudge. I am at the edge of the cliff along with Rez . He is almost Reza now. I haven’t touched the book since morning.

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A Good Country. The book I picked up read about Iran and also Goodread had thumbs up reviews

 

A Good Country is a book about 14-year-old Rez, an America-born son of upper-middle-class Iranian immigrants. He is growing up as an all American teenager, with the complete surf, sex, weed, and chemistry deal.  The words are real. So real. I loved the writing style.

One incident distances him from his all American boy- gang, polarizes him and he becomes friendly with The others. The one who shares his background.  Arash is equally cool with lot of better manners and Fatima is lot more beautiful than Sophia. It took one bombing, one cheating case, one expulsion from school to nudge Arash over the fence. I think this was very weak. Very convenient .. Is it for real?

But I read on, for Rez. He is living his American life but now wants to know how to be a good man. How to be a good person. He believes what his father says “America is a good country“.

It looks good. So far. I can live this. One human to another.

Rez is still rez. But there is a series of bombing, the influence of Arash, and an airport incident where is he taken for questioning because of his name. He finds himself in a mosque and then another and then is mesmerized by brother-hood. He is now distanced from his all-white American friends, almost. His girl-friend is wearing Hijab.

And I know what the next chapter could be. and I cannot read any further. I want a different narration. A different ending. Rez is searching for his identity and how can Syria give him that?

I feel sorry for Rez. Now Reza. I do not want him to jump off the fence. To be brain-washed. I sure hope, he doesn’t take his girl-friend to Syria. To a good country. This is a scary subject.

I asked my Muslim husband if anyone can brain-wash him to go for a cause. He laughs at me. He can turn the preacher around to renounce his religion 🙂 I believe he can do that 😀 , To him, religion is crowd control and he is not scared one bit of it.

So then, why can’t Rez be like my husband? Doesn’t it feel like a bad choice of decision from an extremely bright intelligent Muslim teen? Maybe that is the point.

This is what an author does to you. This is what a good book does to you. I don’t have many chapters left to read, but I cannot read it further. I am an ostrich now, refuse to believe that Reza is perhaps going to cross borders in the next chapter. My head in the sand, I just cannot see this through. As if Reza is real. Maybe, he is.

Kudos to Laleh Khadivi. She is scaring the hell out of me. She is making me feel sad. I am gonna read her narration. But right now, I need a break. Because the story narration, the writing style is so vivid, Rez has come alive.

When you feel, what you read….

 

 

Tonight is gonna be a long night….and why am I tip-toeing since morning..

My office moved to a new building a few months back. Bright and shiny, it’s awesome.

It has a library. How cool is that!

Being in India, the last time I walked into a library was ……Meh, I can’t even recall. We have very few libraries here, But then, this is India. It has a thousand others way to tell stories.

Back to today, to my new bright and shiny office.

I was curious, On the first day, when I had visited the space defined as the library, it was bare-shelf, cartons lying around oozing books! Today books were on the shelf.

And I peeked. I looked. I turned pages. I scrolled through. I smelled 😍

And there it was, a tad bit old with rough edges and a dark cover, petite, surrounded by thick IT books, a name, a familiar name.
Jhumpa Lahiri.

What? Are you kidding me? My eyes were out of my socket.

You mean, all this time, Jhumpa Lahiri and I were on the same floor, separated by few steps. And, not just any book, her PULITZER PRIZE WINNER Interpreter of Maladies

I was floored, muttered- “Tonight baby after Adi goes to sleep, I will have the soft light and you!”. Jhumpa is waiting to speak her words. She wants to start a conversation with me. Tonight!

I had just finished reading Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari. Sapiens is about the evolution of human-kind, of how we evolved from being hunter-gatherer-forgerer who roamed-traveled- moved every season, lived off berry, fruit, honey, and occasionally small animals, worked 3 days a week, 5-6 hours a day, polytheist-polygamous to being God.

Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?

I know a few things now.

  1. Yuval Noah Harari hates humans 😉
  2. I wanna be a hunter-gatherer. And they work fewer hours than me has got nothing to do with this decision.
  3. I wanna read more of Yuval Noah Harari.

Guess what else was on the shelf?

Tada!

Home Deus; A History of Tomorrow. By Yuval Noah Harari!

By this time, my eyes were out and I was drooling. My head vibrating “Am booking tickets to Israel and then a hop to Italy”. I was tip-toeing , jumping in excitement. What is the chance that I will find two of my dream books, free of cost!

I love this library. Am so glad I joined here.

It has Books. Old, new, bounded, paperback, hardcover, faded , bright, red/black white and dark. The place is all white. The ink will probably fade but the conversations, the life in the book will remain even after centuries have passed. And that is what draws me to reading.

I was in a chocolate factory ❤

I could not get the book issued, but tomorrow is gonna be my day.

Tonight am gonna sleep with a smile and thoughts of Lahiri and Harari.

Whoa, that rhymes! How cool is that !

Happy Reading!

When you see a lady sitting on a table, with a book..

LEAVE HER ALONE.

Do not small talk. Do not “Hey, How are you?”.

And never-ever-ever join her on the table. Period.

She might be your best buddy, but you are definitely not hers, not at that moment.

Total stranger.

And if that lady happens to be me, with my crush, I might bite, meow, roar or just chuff! It goes south from here, so if your headaches, you will know whom to blame.

You may be the King of the North out to save the world from white walkers, Night King and Zombies, but I am the Queen of Seven Kingdoms, I have two full-grown Dragons, an army of Un-sullied, an army of savages Dortharaki’s……….

And a BLOODY HELL GOOD BOOK to read!

Oh My! Why so much ranting? Whatever happened to the sweet girl?

I told you, I hate reading…

I reach my office early, not that I want to. But for brevity sake, let’s just know that I get there a good half-an-hour before I should. And I find solace in the cafeteria. I look forward to reading what is happening next in Saleem Sinai life. Add to that, the reading done while commuting to the office, has already transported me to the pre-independence India, somewhere in Delhi, where Saleem Sinai’s mother has just made a public announcement of his existence.

Get this picture straight – Am deep down in the world of words.

You can only find me physically walking to the cafeteria, picking up a cup of coffee and settling down on a table with a book in hand, but in my mind, am not present in cafeteria. Am in Delhi.

Here is a visual, just so you get it straight.

girl and boy sitting in front of brown wooden coffee table
She doesn’t want your company buddy. She isn’t smiling for you. Get your own book.                  Photo by Zun Zun on Pexels.com

 

But the universe is full of people who have a head that talks. (rolling eyes) does not read. The cafeteria is mostly empty at this time but has few from this breed. They have their head full of thoughts that ought to be spoken out loud in the presence of another head.

And they join me on my table, the table where I already have a company. Of my book. I could almost bark- Can’t you see, I have a company?

This one here and it’s a bloody good company.

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But I didn’t bark. Or even Meow!

And so, I was interrupted by their life’s rumble about travel, office, kids, life ..blablabla. I was lending my ear but inside, I was cursing. You.

Sorry. Apology.  Forgive me, please.

It was supposed to be me-reading time. You are at the wrong table! Clearly.

When it happened the second time. I even gave a cue. Out-loud Or maybe I just murmured.

Me picked up my tea, headed to a table. *Spot* a “Hey! Person”, Ignore, ignore and grand Ignore ..

“Hey! Person”: Hey, Are you alone? .. I will bring my cup.

Me: Am not alone… (watching him go to coffee machine) (murmuring) I really don’t need a company. 

I hated him. With all my Heart, Kidney, Lung. Cumulative.

And then it all poured out of his mouth….

Forcing me to ask about his life. His commute. His work. But my mind was on the bookmark peeping out of my book placed neatly on the table. It will be only until the end of the day, a good ten hours before I could pick up my story 😦  

See, How can I not hate that “Hey! Person?”

Moral of the story. 

I have a book. I don’t need your company.

I have a book. I shouldn’t sit in the cafeteria, find a better place ( Heading to my desk, I realised we have a small pantry, crammed behind reception, on my floor, one down the cafeteria)

I have a book, sit in the pantry, hidden from all Hey! people.

Get the cue 😉 I don’t care!

 

 

 

 

 

Am having a goosebump moment..

The feeling, that very soon I am gonna finally fulfill my long awaited desire. That next time, when  I come across this title, I will be able to raise my hand and dig into my memory of today.

I finally have a copy of Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie!

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN.

Am gonna read it. It’s stupid. I have a crush on a few titles. This is one of them.

In fact, I had to bribe my dear friend/hoarder-of-books/voracious-reader/sorry-cant-part-with-my-book with another of my favorite-yet-unfinished crush of mine. I will give you my “An Era in Darkness..” in exchange for Midnight Children? She paused just for a sec before saying yes. She has her crushes too 😉 I was feeling devilish exploiting her, but heart pounding for Midnight Children!

Some titles are the legend. The authors are the greatest artist in the world. They have created a masterpiece that will live in the memory of millions of peoples, that will outlive them and their readers. That will inspire millions of minds. Will make a person completely stranger to the author smile, or cry or just connect in the deepest level of the heart without even knowing of the existence. That is the power the authors have. The magician of words, the creators of history.

So then, How can I not have a crush? 

I have to admit. I just don’t go out and buy all my favorites. They come to me. Each one is an episode. Like it is a conspiracy to slowly unravel to me instead of just heading to my bookshelf.

Here is the conspiracy.

Gone with the Wind – From a college friend, who just wanted to offload book. Was at awe at the courage of Scarlet-O-Hara then and even today.

The Kite Runner – I don’t possess a copy. I got it from my colleague. I loved Afganistan and I could see a boy running under a blue sky covered with colorful paper wings even thinking about it.

The God of Small Thing– Has its own post 🙂

The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Story of Love in the most difficult of time.

On a side note- Why couldn’t I finish “An Era in Darkness…”? because two chapters into the book, I couldn’t look at anything British..ily without resenting them. I just hated them. Plain Hate. And I wasn’t feeling good about the hate. And I know, I love Hugh Grant and Harry Potter! So, it was a tussle and the best thing to do at the time was to abandon the book and pick it up after I could stabilize the raging hormones within me.

So, what am I doing here instead of delving into the story of children born on the stroke of midnight of 15th Aug, 1947?

Am just sitting and admiring the book. Literally. Am just happy that I can start reading it. I have it. The words, the story will come alive soon and I will die knowing I have read a masterpiece, that one day my son, his child and generation of Sayed clan to come have a chance to read this masterpiece and at that moment will be connected to my soul.

Too much? I should just stop now..Am having goosebumps!

Now, tell me about your crush ❤

 

I hate reading…

…..because life sucks when am NOT reading. Why can’t life be about reading, sleeping and occasionally eating?

Life, the sucker, has to happen exactly when I have a good book in hand, Exactly while the story is creating a world filled with moving images, characters, era, location, emotions and transporting me to a time where I cannot possibly ever reach without the words in the book.

When I remember the quotes from the book, or can almost smell the rain, barish, soil my feet walking down the muddy path, feel the sadness of the daughter waiting for her father, the pain of losing a dear friend, the happiness of finding love, the redemption,the world of witches and wizards and flying dinosaurs

At least life doesn’t suck when it is within words.

And so I do all that life expects from me, cooking, packing lunch, office -home, But I hate the author for engaging my mind.

The result? I read whenever I can.

On the toilet seat; when the pot is whistling on the stove; when am walking eight stairs down at the office; when am at the elevator; on the dinning.

THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS, is the first novel in my memory by an Indian author to won BOOKER PRIZE(1997). I remember when I heard this news, I was very proud. I didn’t forget the name ever Arundhati Roy and the title. But I wasn’t a collector then. I couldn’t afford to buy it. It was too expensive for someone who just started reading novels outside academic. I was very sure, one day I will read it.

20 years later ( See, why I complain about life?), it took me 20 years to buy this book.

I was at the mall last weekend, waiting for father-son to join me when I wandered into a Bookstore and found this. 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.

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And of course, I bought it. Without thinking that probably it will be cheaper to order online. Am on page 43 and I know why this is a winner Book. I have already been to Kerala(where the story is set) and back several times. Am a Christian now. The book is a poetic novel.

“Things can change in a day.”

“Chacko was Mammachi’s only son. Her own grief grieved her. His devasted her.”

Good authors are like pied-piper of Hamelin. The readers will merrily follow them into the world that really doesn’t exist; to doom or rejoice. The beauty of this world is that there is only one story and as many dimensions as there are readers. Each reader follow the pied-piper but see, feel, smell and sign in his world! For me, some days the story comes alive at the night in the softness of light from the table-lamp, after the father-son have gone to sleep. This is the time when the world outside my window is still and dark. But the words in the book are thumping for my attention to be read more. I stop reading and soak in the story. Estha and Rahel (Twins from God of Small Things)  forms a bond that I wish to share with my unreal twin brother 🙂

Then there are non-readers like my husband, who never failed to ask me when he sees me with a book in hand.

Am gonna ask you a question from that book now! Ready for the exam?” ” Does it have pictures?! What no photo..must be a very bore book”  “Abhi tak pass nahi hui, kitna padege?

I hate reading because I miss it so much when am not!

If only I had a job that gives me money while I spend time reading a novel from my favorite genre.

 

I have analyzed this life situation very carefully, There is perhaps a parallel universe where I can read all I want, but it doesn’t sound like a good ending.

Somewhere Am a librarian but it is too silent for a Libran social butterfly like me.

Or working at a bookstore- that will be then even more pathetic, surrounded by this sea of novels of all genre by all authors great, small, big and all I can do is arrange shelf, help the kid find coloring book! I wouldn’t survive a day.

Or working at a publisher – Naah, I wanna read a book that I like, not the one I publish. Not anyone bossing me to read this when I wanna read that.

So in this universe, I have settled for reading on the toilet seat.

I do have the plan to open my own Reading Cafe one day. Walls filled with books. From all genre. By all authors. A chalkboard-painted wall to write your favorite quote, to paint the world from novel just finished. The cafe will have all sort of sitting arrangement, from hammock to bean-bag, to give you a cocoon to just read and drink coffee. Where one could come out and quote favorite line or read fav passage and not feel out of life.

I will serve coffee and wait for monsoons. Authors will be the celebrity. Air will be filled with quotes from books and stories will come alive. There will be talks, discussions and book club meetings. Each will have own world to immerse in from any genre or be at any place the author takes them to.

One room definitely will be for people reading the last leg of the novel. DO NOT DISTURB ME when I need to know the end.

Life finally will stop sucking.