I’m at it again. Reading English, August for what seems like the millionth time. I don’t know why I read it over and over again; I can quote it verbatim. It is by and far the most depressing work I’ve ever read. No, it isn’t like Nineteen Eighty-four which scares the willies out of you. It doesn’t gross you out like The Silence of the Lambs. It’s what is called a philosophical novel, a journey-of-sorts.
Once upon a time in Y2K2 when I was looking for some non-RK Narayan good Indian English fiction, I came across this orange paperback with a youngish Rahul Bose [and a green frog] on the cover. Like most others, I thought it was An English August. Images of the Scottish countryside came to my mind. Two pages into the book [I’ve a reputation in South Bangalore … whoopsie… Bengalooru for finishing entire novels in the bookstore, which makes the proprietor of Prism bookstore in Jayanagar 4th Block shoot me piercing glances whenever I enter his store without mum, dad or any credit card-flashing elder], and I realized I was very wrong. The Hebrides gave way to the dustscape of Madna and other “dots in the hinterland”.
I’m grateful to Upamanyu Chatterjee for having written a book that saw me through some of the toughest spots in my short and mainly happy life, for having given a whole new dimension to worry.
Now I don’t have to worry ‘coz I don’t have a reason to worry. Get that previous sentence right. I can conjure up millions of reasons now to feel low. All ‘coz Agastya Sen and his anchorlessness had made more than just a deep impact on me.
My philosophy doesn’t stem from Ayn Rand or Paulo Coehlo or even Asimov, like it does for most losers out here who have no philosophy of their own, and hence go for these cults. No, I don’t have an English, August philosophy. It’s just that I identify more with megalopolitan Agastya than with people far far away who do big big things, use big big words which only emphasize their birdbrains [or that of the author]. The very fact that it isn’t about anything concrete appeals to me. For there will always be enough concrete worries in this world. We need someone to mope about the lesser things – about indecision, anchorlessness, about “What am I doing?” and “Where am I going?”. These questions acquire a new dimension when not placed in a life-or-death situation like those that form the bread-and-butter of most novelists.
But I digress. The whole point of this build-up was to get to the scene in the book where Agastya vents his frusts by stealing the Collector’s car keys. Well, I haven’t done anything that liberating, though I agree it would be just as good to hide someone’s contact-lens-cleaning fluid, or tinker with someone’s folder options, or break into someone’s system just to freak them out.
Some things that I just have to shout out loud:
- Worldspace Radio doesn’t have city-specific channels. There aren’t any portable models of WS receivers, or models for cars. It’d be really great if all that were possible, and if the subscription rate was so low that every dhobhi ghat had one. What I don’t get is that Vidhu Vinod Chopra could have talked about FM radio instead of WS which he gave us a very wrong idea about. Yup, it’s very wrong. For daring to make a movie with zilch research behind it.
- Section 377 says it’s illegal for people to have intercourse which goes against the laws of nature. Being gay is natural. Period.
- Barkha Dutt is unfit to host a nation-level talk show.
- You can’t make people accept homosexuality by just glamorizing it, and asking Vikram Seth to speak on it. You need to educate people on the whys and wherefores of Victorian and medieval Semitic reasoning, and how they are irrelevant in today’s world, and how the sexuality of a person is the last thing that matters in most aspects of life that discrimination by sexuality should be nonexistent.
- The world is unfair.
- Why does NITK spend thousands providing washing machines and repairing them when they go bust due to overuse? What’s the impediment in providing laundromats?
- The reward for hardwork is only more hardwork. Everything else is plain fringe benefits.
- I’m lazy. I hate it. And I’m not saying this just to sound ironical, but I’m too lazy to do anything about it. I don’t like saying it, it almost feels like it’s the truth by repeated assertion
- There are some opportunities that shouldn’t be given to everyone; they are to be earned.
- It’s irritating that the sixth most popular Indian blogger is an idiot who desperately tries to be funny, and succeeds in doing so in the eyes of her ardent readers. Bah! Says volumes about the sense of humor most people have. Their definition of a joke can be found in the gutters lining the road… or the spam that lines their inboxes.
- Most people have an exaggerated sense of importance about themselves. They think they matter more in others’ lives than they actually do. And that they have a larger say than they actually do.
- The Net is a dangerous place. Nothing is reliable. Proof: the third result for “NITK” on Google is this place. Yeah, the place where we whine about the lack of sensible people at college, the irritating aspects of day-to-day grind, and just general negative publicity. We’re not complaining, though.
- Apparently, hard work and truth always come out tops in the end.
- What’s Naples to us is Napoli to local Italians, and Rome is Roma to them. It’s anyway Bengalooru to us, so why bother asking the rest of the world to change the way they call us?
- Making slick-ish videos that look right out of Discovery channel is not the best a college can do for publicity. Space travel is far far away, and I don’t think it even gets mentioned in symposia.
- Life’d be a lot better if people didn’t pretend to be nice when they’re actually being nasty. The worst thing is being nasty with a nice demeanor.
- I hate it that people who can’t spell write blogs. That isn’t the point of providing such a service.
- I wonder why most people don’t understand that proclaiming oneself to be cool automatically debases the “cool” from you.
- I also wonder why people bother sending spam.
- What’s with vying to be called a tomboy? IMHO, tomboys are the enemies of feminism, and the worst is that most people don’t know that.
- This post isn’t going to change ANYthing, and I know it, and I’m still posting it.
This isn’t philosophy. It’s just wonder at why things can be changed so much to make life better. Why am I doing this? To prove I can be as good as Upamanyu Chatterjee in finding things wrong? Coz I think I’m a nobler-than-Atlas burden-shoulderer? Heck, nope. It’s coz I CAN.