Thursday, November 29, 2007

Books I Read (very unimaginative title)

“It was inevitable: The scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

And thus I begin to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. I know it is a great book, the first few pages are evidence to that. I have never read Marquez, though I love the way his name rolls on my tongue. Actually I love the name most Latin American names sound, be it Che Guevara or Antonio Banderas. Anyways, I bought myself the book for my birthday. The first few pages made me feel like going slow on the book and really savoring it, like the way I read Alex Haley's Roots. (Ok, ok I admit it, I am too preoccupied and busy with other things to read for long!) Roots was one amazing book…… screeeeeeech!!!! I am losing my train of thought here….

Anyway, this post is about what I am currently (pretending) to be reading. There is Marquez, a book of poetry called the Satsai by an ancient poet called Bihari, translated from Brij to English. Also Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes (second time reading, wait, I think it is the third) and the best of Ruskin Bond for some stress buster reading. Also a Kannada book on Queen Shantala by G V Iyer. Phew! that’s a long list, only wish I could finish faster than I can manage now.
Off late, I re-re-re-read Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs (a beautiful, light hearted classic) and Moth Smoke by the Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid. It was a strange book, all about the characters being high on drugs. I guess I could say it was an ok book, though it is not much of a recommended reading.

Also read Racists by Kunal Basu. Now when I read the blurb on the jacket of the book, I just had to buy it. It is a story set during the height of the slave trade in Britain when two scientists decide to conduct an experiment. There put a black boy and a white girl, both babies on a deserted island along with a nurse who is deaf and dumb. The idea is that the children grow up without any intervention and without any emotions. The scientists study the “samples” periodically to see whether nature intends white supremacy over the black as was the accepted norm of that society or whether racial differences sprang up due to upbringing. Sounds very interesting, right? The book build up beautifully but was extremely disappointing towards the end. Bad! That’s what it was.

I so miss reading books sometimes. The days when I would perch up on the window sill in my room, hear the pitter-patter of the rain drops and be engrossed in a novel. The nights when I would stay up and read into the wee hours. The times when ma would yell at me to switch off the lights and I, very naturally, disobeyed her and read under a torch light… I miss all that. I miss the times that give me these warm thoughts of nostalgia, the times that give me memories that I weave with the threads of my dreams and store away in a corner of my mind, the cozy blankets that warm me on a rainy day, a hot summer afternoon or the winter morning….I miss those…..

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Being a Bit Older

In the office library this evening, I was flipping through the latest Outlook magazine and chanced upon an article about the return of Madhuri Dixit in the soon-to-be-released film ‘Aaja Nachle’. The article was about how she reigned as the queen of Bollywood for nearly a decade and went on to wonder whether she would still make an impression as the younger generation had found other, newer idols.

What hit me when I was reading the article was a line that mentioned her as this 42-year old. She is 42? One, she doesn’t look that old. More importantly, it made me think of myself in a different light altogether. Madhuri was the idol, ideal woman when I was growing up. She starred in all the films that was, for us, the cult films of the day, Hum Aapke Hain Koun and the rest. We grew up admiring her clothes, her looks. If she is 42, what does that make us?

My friend Raksha is forever cribbing about us growing old. Today was a reminder on the same lines too. Age is catching up, I suppose. I no longer drool over the latest teen obsessions, be it Ranbir Kapoor or the latest music sensation (are there any boys on the scene? God I don’t even know that!). I no longer care to giggle except with really really close friends. I am not a teen, I don’t read chick-lit, I don’t watch school/teen movies anymore. I prefer a set of close friends only. I look around at CafĂ© Coffee Day and see that most are much younger than I am. I no longer copy the latest trends/phrases from the latest teen flick. I no longer think trousers that droop dangerously below the waist for guys is cool. My parents, like all parents, are hankering after me to "settle down"; I admit they sometimes make me think I am already an old hag. I am almost two years into the profession I am in. I like intelligent conversation, I read more "mature books", I like films that make me think (ok, most times at least).

I still think of Madhuri Dixit as someone from my time. I am still nostalgic about her films. I am quite looking forward to watching her new comeback movie. I will turn all of 24 in exactly three days time. Does that make me old? I don’t think so, I don’t feel old, maybe just a little older that’s all.