Its been close to a year now since I wrote here last, and while a lot of that can be chalked down to lethargy, and career pursuits, the major reason is of course that I found the means to get more people to read my stuff by "legitimizing" it. If you think that is a curious choice of words, I would explain myself by saying that it probably all boils down to my interview at Hero Motocorp. My CV listed, at the fag end of it, nothing more than a filler, among my hobbies, sandwiched between guitaring and reading, this word: blogging. And that one word had me chalked down as a socially inept, nocturnal, "underworld" nerd. That is the stigma that we bloggers live under I suppose. But then I could further suppose that that is what we have invited upon our sorry selves; we children of a lesser god, of unread articles, and untimely posts.
Earlier tonight I took some childhood buddies for a drink, a celebration, now that two of us are on the cusps of major transformations in our lives. As fate would have it, it turns out we had to wait till our last evening together to discover that one good bar in the town, now when we have no idea when the three of us would ever raise our glasses together again, while we spent about 6 vacations hunting for good watering-holes, settling for the theka at Naraaj and the outcrop of rock overlooking the barrage. While that place had its own perks, the wind in your hair, the economy of the outing, there are certain times when a decent bar is where you want to be. It does speak about the nature of the town when its bars don't even have a ladies' room. At that moment I felt nothing but the deepest sympathies for the good people over at NLUO Rourkela- 1. Cuttack- 0.
One thing that I was losing out on and have regained in the past 5 months has been my reading. I only sat for two interviews in 8th semester- XLRI and ZS A, having already gotten placed last August. And both of them were experiences of the highest order, much more enriching than my trials and tribulations of the Autumn. Of course part of why I view these two so fondly in particular could very well be the positive or positivish nature of their outcomes, but hell, I'm human and I am allowed to favoritize. So what I am trying to say is this last semester has been particularly ameliorating. I started off a tabloid in our college, completed my thesis, got my dream job and yes, caught up on a lot of reading. The last one was helped by a sudden windfall in the form of a huge accumulation of cash in my insti book account. So there I was at the book fair with 3000 INR and nothing but novels to buy. The only books I had read in the entire last year were The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs and Midnight's Children. So I decided to pick up where I had left off. There comes a stage when you start appreciating novels in terms of their literary and intellectual worth, where plots and characters become tools, a secondary concern.
Now Rourkela has a pathetic book scene. There are absolutely no good book stores, so I haunted the one where I had placed my order everyday, lapping up whichever good book came to its shelves. I started off January with The Chemistry of Tears, a tale of two people stuck in two different centuries. Their only connection being the journals of one of the protagonists being read by another. It was very reminiscent of the Luisa Rey-Robert Frobisher connection from Cloud Atlas and has, if the text is indeed independent of the author, a touch of surrealism in the pages. Or maybe its me who feels that ways because most of the time I was reading it, I was in a half-stupor either in my room or in the class. Next thing I picked up was this journalistic epic- India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha. Its a 1000-page masterpiece detailing the entire modern history of India, and although I only read it on the side, and it took me close to 3 months to be done with it, it has to be one of the most erudite works ever done. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years Of Solitude was one of the finest pieces of literature I have ever come across and its easy to see why Salman Rushdie speaks so highly of it, although truth be told, its a slow read. God of Small Things had me melancholic for an entire week, but did show me the beauty of pain and suffering. The Shiva Trilogy by Amish started off strong but ended limping, and Coelho has gotten on my nerves. Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger was very different kind of book from what I had been reading for some time, but was thoroughly enjoyable. Then there was this book of stories by Franz Kafka which I borrowed from my friend, although I could read just Metamorphosis, The Great Wall of China and Investigations of a Dog before he took it back. Kafka is a genius, my friend is a dick.