Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Philosopher on the Wrong Side of 40!


Some books convince you on the unique nature of everything that constitutes you. Such books carve a very permanent niche in your heart and make you trust the author to an extent that you feel an acute urge to exhaust his/her entire literary corpus. The book I am referring to here is Fault In Our Stars written by the genius wordsmith, John Green. It wasn't a book which shook the earth for me - but it was definitely one which made me want to know more about the thought process of the writer. And yes, it lent me some very fascinating perspectives on this short life we lead.

I had jotted down my spontaneous reflections on the book about 5 months ago, and revisited them this morning while trying to positivise some persistent negativities. A very senior person called me a 'philosopher on the wrong side of 40' for those reflections, and when I remembered that, I caught myself smiling. And just like that, the day acquired a vibrant hue, along with the still persisting cynicism. Who says cynicism and vibrance can't coexist? Look at me and you'll know - I am wearing pink with a black-&-white top.

Here. My thoughts on Fault In Our Stars

"I have read the book and seen the movie, in that order. Quite obviously, I enjoyed the former more, since it left so much scope for me to think beyond the obvious tale of love between two protagonists whose love affair with life was about to end.

The Fault In Our Stars is so much more than the story of Hazel and Augustus - it is the tale of entire humanity struggling to come to terms with the nature of existence. Are we all tiny, ephemeral specks on the grandness that is the Universe, or are we all, in our own ways, altering the Universe in a manner that leaves a permanent impact?

By changing our perception on the disease called cancer, John Green succeeds in changing so much about the way we view struggles in life. Like cancer is a necessary evil on the road to evolution (arrived at through mutation of cells, few of which mutate to malignancy), struggles are a necessary force to makes us grow, to chisel us to perfection. In his lens, cancer is actually evolution, or progress/growth.

That our prism is biased towards pity is also brought out handsomely in the text. I will give away the plot if I say anymore here - read on to find out. But, we sympathise too easily to visible distresses. Not the best idea perhaps.

Let us live, breathe, and smile at the bounties which life gives us. Probably only he can live life unabashedly from whose existence the fear of death is eliminated. Iconic quotes are found by dozens in the book - I have a lot many scribbled in my journal.

The movie is good to the eyes, but fails the book completely in the sense of the sorrow it evokes in us, against a sense of triumph for having lived a life which NOONE else in the entire history of humanity is going to get an opportunity to live."

So, hmm. Life is a fair deal that God has given you. As John Green says "What makes life precious is that it ends."

P.S. - The next book I am picking up is An Abundance of Katherines. Do you want to tell me something about that one?


  1. Hey Saumya!! Your piece is so well written that I am left with no choice but to find the book and give it a thorough read!! Thanks a ton!

    1. Hey Pranav! I am glad to know you drop by my blog sometimes. Thanks for commenting!

  2. hey! chanced upon your blog by accident. as the one part of a husband-wife team dealing with cancer - all i can say,philosophy aside, is that the difference between books/movies and real life is that with former you write the script and with latter you see the story unfold.. having said that i have gifted multiple copies of fault in our stars since its the only book that uses the cancer jargon as i would identify with

    1. Hey Sunita! I am so glad to hear from you. Just went through your blog and loved reading it :)

      I wish you power and laughter. May the force be with you!