How many books does one read in a year rather can one read in a year given hosts of other responsibilities and myriad bonds and so many tempting distractions to lure one away..... Well haven,t been much of a reader this year...and then how do we decide what to read..well whatever i can get my hands on for me.. wonder how others decide.. wonder if one is always supposed to be conversant in classics and talk about the latest talked about books....but then no rule works for me fine and with no answers to give to anyone...
Started the year with ' The Trial'. Took time to catch the magic, the starkness, the unpredictability..sheer meaningless of it all..but the magic catches on as you wait for it all to unwind... and ironically nothing does.Guess the poignancy lies in this very fact as reader gets entrapped in unwinding the tangles only to realise you get more and more into the maize and then the irony and the beauty of the truth within strikes like lightning... the maize of courts,lawyers, police can a ' common man' ever get through these...and the trial of conscience we all face justifying our actions... The incompleteness of the book may be one of its USP,s and the entire dark world of K... a bit on the tougher side yet an intriguing start to the year.
Next i picked up something which has been lying on my bookshelf from long...the much loved Jeeves...well some books are immensely popular and it is difficult to have the feel in a different time perhaps...i was not totally able to get through the British jargon and enjoy the humour... i know many jeeves fan would disagree with me...i did enjoy bits and parts..but somehow finished it with relief. Better luck to me next time for Jeeves!
My father,s recommendation the next one and not only that he handed over one of his favourite book to me to bring back with me...as i left ' The Trial' with him. Well blessed with having a father for whom i read
' Deshe Bideshe' by Sayed Mujtaba Ali. About Afghanisthan ...Afghanisthan of early 20th century...began with the incredible journey into the fascinating country through Khyber Pass..the vastness of the land from Kabul city to the ' other' part as he hears the most from his servant and most loyal friend...the poitical and social turmoil the country was in, interesting royal tales of the throne...an insight into a country perhaps misrepresented in modern times...well one of the best reads for me in the year...and my benchmark for a good book... wiped my tears as i closed the book..!!
Finally a read by a book given by a younger friend, pure mush...but then will have to admit most girls grow o a staple diet of mush... very irritating at times but the mush and the sheer delight of it and we read on... Movie was quite a let down after the book..
After a hiatus..i opened up ' Panchagram' again another possession of my father, though it is a sequel to Ganadebata which i was unaware of, just picked up the book because of its light weight amidst heaps of my clothes while i was out of Delhi for training.. Sometimes i just feel blessed that i am able to read and understand Bangla... i know i am supposed to..but given the limited number of persons i know who read this language.. i do not find myself unjustified as i relate to Debu the protagonist, the peasants of Bengal oppressed by zamindars, Debu rising like God with light of education...the struggling peasants, the joy of farming, the flamboyant low caste Durga, the killer flood...you can finish the novel at a go...curse yourself for being born in this country, country of peasants and zamindars and Brahmins and Dalits..and the country of hope which the book is able to imbibe from the immense negativity all around... and leaves me yearning for Ganadebata... a distant memory of the novel being made into a serial long back in Doordarshan.. which i used to watch with my father.
This was one of my buys from traffic light..after a bargain. Still reading it in the beginning of the year with about a hundred pages to finish... Afghanistan again albeit in a different form...though a jumble of too many characters and many sub plots... initial story of Pari the little girl with gap toothed smile from a remote village of Afghanistan ,the story teller had grip over the plot...which lost mid way but the language and lucidness somehow binds the reader..which is why i guess i would finish it in a couple of days..
How to pick up reads for this year as i cannot get past the second page of the newspaper..with all the ' Aam' news!!!
Will have to steal father,s collection again i guess...as he advises me ' Get the latest Desh... catch up with the short story collection'
And i buy a little bit of Bengalipan from Haryana, from the fish shop which sells Bengali magazine Desh and Sanada as well...a total package which sells and works for the Jat owner!!