Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bibliophilia Revisited - Part II

Thanks for reading the earlier post and feeding me some brilliant new titles. Here is the second set of 9 books. Tell me which ones you adore and abhor - and why!
(Also, it took me a while to complete this post - I am finally at the point in life where hours in each day are too few!)

1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Gifted by Saif bhaiya. He never goes wrong with books and poetry. 

What you remember is a very personal version of what happened. This book, a short text of profound depth, will grill into you precariousness of memory, history and constructs of identity.

2. The Sensualist by Ruskin Bond

Bought from Oxford Bookstore. 

Why this book makes the cut is because this is unlike any Ruskin Bond you might have read. The endearing author who wrote of childhood, hills and nascent relationships suddenly delves into topics of intense and even violent sensuality - a surprise from his corpus.

3. The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

This book called out to me from a shelf at Spell & Bound, SDA. The bookstore, unfortunately, does not exist anymore. 

I have misplaced the picture of the book, but it remains indelible on my psyche. It is among my top 5 reads of the entire lifetime. I have a definite crush on the author, and he, in my opinion, is the best writer of Magic Realism among Indian writers in English. The Last Song of Dusk is a masterpiece of intensity, poignance, pain and sensuality. Treat, this book is a treat for any heart!

4. To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite

Sent to me by Ayush, a cousin from Mumbai.

A classic. This is an autobiographical text about a teacher making a forceful impact on the lives of students. It resuscitates your belief in the institution of education, which, however obsolete in terms of content, can create remarkable differences with the aid of one motivated and enterprising individual. (I am so kicked about being a teacher in a part-time role, more so because I know of such possibilities!)

5. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

Gifted by Gangesh, who remained disappointed with me for the greatest time because I couldn't find time to read this book. 

This is a memoir - about a child growing up along with the world around him. Each new development brings an opinion along with fascination - a wonderful guided tour through the America of mid-20th century.

6. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

Gifted by Saif bhaiya, as a Diwali present. His choice, as always, was impeccable. 

I sigh as I read the name of this book. Neruda creates magic while fusing melancholy and love in his verses. Read - there is no other way of understanding this experience. I have gone through each poem here more than six times, and I cannot help but be captivated into a lull each time. A lyrical lull.

7. My Gita by Devdutt Pattanaik

Bought from a roadside book-shack in Green Park.

"Yatha ichchhasi, tatha kuru" is my takeaway from this book. Own your beliefs, be an eternal observer and change along with the times - this is what the text teaches us. The best part is, this text will probably teach you something much different than what it emphasized to me. Pattanaik has created a following for a reason - he makes Indian philosophies accessible, while providing counter-narratives to each. Read this book, and then read this again. I have put it on my TBR this year as well.

8. Urnabhih by Sumedha Verma Ojha

Gifted as a performance reward by Deepak, my boss in the previous organization. 

A love saga set in the Mauryan times, drawing its basic plot from the state espionage system - what else do you need for killer excitement in literature! The author brings an altogether different era alive in front of you - and I experienced racing heartbeats more than once. I was literally sitting on the edge to see plots and sub-plots unfolding with alarming grace as I turned pages. This is highly recommended!

9. Norwegian Woods by Haruki Murakami

Secret Santa gift by Shweta, colleague at Shiv Nadar School, where I am currently employed. 

Need I even spare words on praising Murakami? I will say what I said in a review earlier - Murakami makes sadness titillating. It is a task accomplished with much difficulty and immersion. Norwegian Woods became a part of my blood flow while I read it, and rendered me incapable of reading anything else till long later.

My reading is coming along just fine this year as well. I recently received my Brunch Book Challenge hamper, for having finished 58 books in the past year, and I am more positive now about the ways in which reading can impact your life. Above and beyond all, reading gives you yourself. I don't know if it makes sense, but each time you run a line and its meaning in your head, you're talking to yourself. It brings you at peace with the idea of existence. It also, many times, gives you answers that you had forever been seeking. Read, and keep reading, for there is only so little time to absorb so much out of the Universe.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


My thoughts meander
In first person
Through geometric patterns
Woven with dreamy glow

I am the centre of the culvert
Which bends towards you
And then disappears behind
A foliage
Of ugliest brown
Vintage solitude.

I am the incline
Of the scale
Which refuses to measure
Your lengths
In my breadths
And the hypotenuse of
Long dead human concern
Longer than the sum
Of your lengths in my breadths.

I am the radius
Of the ellipses
Which dot the ends
And enjambments
In all sentences
I create and destroy
Within the haven of
Illuminated text boxes.

I am the angle
Between my desire
And your swollen ego
Acutely aware of the
Obtuse notions
You straightened in your head
At quarter past nine
Over an empty flute of wine.

I am the point at which
Reality blurs
Into forcibly conjured dreams.
Nightmares of your departure
Touched by the feathers
Of my dreamcatcher.

You left.
Nightmares left.
I am the circumference
Around the dreamcatcher
Swaying without a centre