Monday, July 30, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012
As with all things, book review blogging comes with its share of pleasures and perils. Sometimes you have a Random House asking you to review their new releases and sometimes, you have requests from new authors (who also happen to be ex bosses of your spouse) to review new works. And when the latter happens, you cannot say no. That’s how I landed 10 ½ Stories by Saurabh Subhash Pawse. Before I began the book, and after I finished it, I’ve maintained that the best thing about the book is its title. If for nothing else, one might pick up the book out of curiosity about half that story. (Although there is nothing to take home from that last unfinished tale.)
The book, as the name suggests, is a collection of 10 and a half stories, if they can be called that. Some aren’t fiction at all; they seem more like accounts from the author’s real life. In these accounts, like ‘The Discontented Commuter’ or ‘Deja Vu’, Pawse narrates his experiences and tries really hard to be funny. But humour is difficult. Wry humour is doubly difficult. He has a long way to go. The problem with the author’s style is that he is waayyy too analytical, and doesn’t spare his readers the process by which he arrives at his conclusions. He doesn’t credit his reader with any intelligence, and deems to explain himself every step of the way.
“Forgive me for meandering, but if I had not let my thoughts pour forth in the manner in which they have, with unabashed frankness, you, my dear readers, would not have been able to fathom the gravity of the next sentence.”
“If you, my dear readers, have noticed, I have used the ‘past tense’ in explaining this little idiosyncrasy of mine - to be precise I have used the words was, had, did and possessed. That is because I possessed this ‘idiosyncrasy’ as I choose to call it, until a little incident that happened in my life fairly recently.”
Seriously, Mister Pawse? Your ‘dear readers’ aren’t really in class three.
One more thing the author needs a little practise with his romantic voice. The first story, ‘If Looks Could Kill’ is positively howlarious, and not in a good way. “A generous dabbing of kohl on her eyelids, served to outline and accentuate the form of her gorgeous eyes, out of which emerged long and thin eyelashes, curving upwards, much like the awning of a shop, providing shelter and protection to the eyes.” Eyelashes like awnings!? Bahahahahaha!
However, where the author has some promise is the pure fiction department. ‘Jalpaiguri In’, ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and ‘The Conman’ are decent enough stories, and Pawse has a penchant for endings with a little twist. If he wants to succeed as a writer, fiction is the way he should go. 10 ½ Stories isn’t too bad a start.
You can buy the book here, and check out its Facebook page here.
Friday, July 06, 2012
It shouldn't have to be so, but it always is. Death to remind one of life. Pauses to remind one of effortless continuity. Adversity to help count the blessings. I've been wanting to write this post for a while, but it took the death of another wonderful person to make me want to do it. To really put my fingers to the keyboard and express this lust for life that seems to be growing on me with every passing day.
I used to romanticise death. Dying early seemed like a fantastic idea. Why would one want to turn into a bumbling old fogey? Why would one want to live past his 'best before' date? Why would one want to carry the burden of a body no longer watered by the fount of health? Not so long ago, slipping away at the prime of my life, my career, my everything - a time when I was wanted, needed most - seemed ideal. But it's changing. I am changing. I am realising my life (and my death) isn't just my own. There's a selfless, hopeless, love growing rampant roots into the deep recesses of my heart, and these are binding me down, down, down. This love has me pinned to the ground, hands tied, gagged, bidding me to do its bidding. No, I cannot, must not die. Love will make live.
But this love hasn't come easy. It has come through nurturing a life with my own blood, sleepless nights, endless annoyances, loves lost, and missed heartbeats at every first. Jishnu, my firstborn, is almost three. As with most 3-year-olds, his zest for life and his neverending reserves of energy are amazing. One moment, I could be tearing my hair out in frustration at his ceaseless string of questions; and crying silent, joyful tears the next just watching him play. He makes me laugh so much. He is such a goofball, an affection machine. I could hug him all day, I could say things about him all day...
How can I leave this? How can I leave him? I cannot bear the thought. I'd even accept a senile, diseased, loveless life if it means I can see him shine, see his beautiful mouth break into a smile that so overwhelms my heart. I want to live some more days, some more months, years, decades. I want to savour the air in which he grows. I want to taste the labour of my love. I want to hold him to my breast in his darkest nights. I want to comfort him, love him, bless him everyday. I want to watch him bloom and smile. I want to be proud at his achievements, shed tears when he fails. I want to watch him sleep like the angels do, to watch him wake up like a thousand rays of the sun. I want to build him, protect him. I want to live; I so want to live now.
You, my son, have given me such lust for life. I now fear death.