One autumn, I picked up Jhumpa's 'The Lowland'. A cyclone hit us then. Metaphorically and literally. Then months, probably years later I remember picking up a distant suggestion. 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak. That book has made me a WW II fanatic for the rest of my life. Probably after this, Murakami happened. I chanced upon 'Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman'. You must know there is a charm in not completely comprehending what is being read. Murakami enthralled me with that. I had 'Norwegian Wood' then. Soon after, totally by chance, discovered 'The Diary of Anne Frank'. After that, I must have tried 'Kafka on the Shore'. But Murakami's cats and faceless men, kept me awake longer than I could handle. So gave it up. Then Jon Krakauer's 'Into the Wild'. Christopher McCandless stayed for a long time in my mind. He might never leave, to be frank. Also let me confess, I tried reading 'Jane Eyre' and 'Persuasion' somewhere in the middle. But failed. I also tried 'The Great Gatsby'; but Leo's face kept coming to my mind. To Fitzgerald's displeasure, read Hemingway's 'Old Man and the Sea' though. Sometime, somewhere. In between. Couldn't go back to 
'Moby Dick' after a few days. Out of the blue, started '1984'. George Orwell's dystopia soothed my jarred nerves for sometime. And then, J D Salinger's 'Catcher in the Rye'. The last story I finished would be Murakami's again. 'Tony Takitani'. Meanwhile, tried reading Plath's 'The Bell Jar' more than a couple of times but it depressed me so much that the book and I mutually abandoned each other. And out of fear and mouth tottering respect for Woolf, yes, lets call it that, shall we, never finished 'A Room of One's Own' and 'Mrs. Dalloway.' And probably I would never know, what the woman writes about. Rand's 'The Fountainhead' changed me forever. I still am saving 'Atlas Shrugged' for the next decade of my life; which starts in slightly more than a year. Yes. It's lying in my bottom drawer. And Roy's 'God of Small Things' needs to be reread. Something that had so generously enthralled me, is now beginning to fade in my eclectic memory. 


A Story

Sometimes, the stories you write, don't let you sleep. At night. 
Your eyes burn all day through. Shamelessly, unbridled, your two eyes look red. 
Like you made love all night, through dawn and didn't, hence get a wink of time, to sleep. 
But that there was no real person. 
All night, you stayed up, making love to your story. 
And not getting enough of it. That's the libido of an idea. 
A plot, that is driving you insane, almost as if it's new love and raw lust.  
Each time you touch it up, undo and redo twists and turns, create pages, paragraphs and moments, it is the equivalent of touching the lover's body. 
Feeling for curves, squeezing soft flesh. 
Every pause in writing and the distant stare are like assuming and finding his arms in the pitch dark. 
Waiting for fiction to come to you is like waiting for his next surprise move on you. 
Like the act of love, writing a story is a two way thing. Being the subject and object in the same sentence. Being made love to and making all the good endless love, to him.   
The men and women you are constantly creating and disintegrating, the narrations of their face come alive so strong and so real that their faces stare back at you from the screen and you can't sleep no more.
It's like Frankenstein. But a good one. This story of mine. 

A Happy Man

A happy man is hard to find. Specially to my eyes, that I constantly squeeze out only the morose. But this one, is a happy man. He oozes with calm and content. It's almost like a spectacle. Like a natural wonder, to me. A man, so in his skin. I wish he could scatter the dust of his joy on the jinxed like us.

It comes with a lot of seasoning, this happiness.He wasn't born with this. Nobody is. He must have consciously, laboriously developed into his present person. He wears it like his attire, the Ganesa like laughter, the suitable little paunch, his gestures, everything about him is so slow and beautiful. I wonder what thoughtcrime have I ever committed to feel the way I do. Forever trapped in my imagined list of things to do, I am so restless. Whereas, the happy man's eyes are like a calm ocean. Glistening and deep. Like he's trying to tell me, life is not about today or tomorrow. It's going to stretch decades and I could be myself. That this day to day struggle is going to kill me and that I shouldn't. Allow it to do so. That in the really long run, tiny compromises are the harbinger of so much joy.

Happy man, relishes his lunch of four side dishes. He takes two full helpings of the rice that his wife cooks and packs. His daughter's name is stickered onto the rear windshield of his car. He doesn't care about the font, it's his daughter's name. He talks good of his wife and how she chops up the vegetables the night before and keeps them in the fridge. About how she takes care of the tiniest of things, to make him happy. He talks good of even his house maid. He talks good of everyone. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have an opinion, he does. Just that he does not make a business out of being an asshole.

Some people when they exhibit their happiness, they helplessly make it appear so fake. And I have an allergy for such people. But not this man. His happiness, is probably infectious. Need I say more.