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Friday, January 09, 2009

From Narayan to Fitzgerald

Amidst the murky doings of Ramalinga Raju and co. there is a faint sliver of light (which unfortunately does nothing to dispel the financial gloom). The man is a poet! Or, at least, aspires to poetic sensibilities. After all, how many of us, whist disclosing our dark dank deeds, would pepper our confession with evocative wordplay such as 'riding a tiger.....'??

A prominent economist pointed out the Satyam Chairman's letter was very 'Keats-like'. I can't get it out of my head that Raju is an RK Narayan fan. When I read his condensed confession, the visual of the reclusive Swami's chatty pet tiger ('Tiger for Malgudi') immediately sprang to mind.

Narayan's books' appeal lies in its austerity. He never uses clunky words that have his readers thumbing feverishly through a dictionary, his plot is never convoluted. Instead his story simply flows, bubbling over like a happy brook from one quirky chapter to the next.

My Narayan favourite remains to this day, 'Swami and Friends' - a dog-eared 24 year old copy of which is still one of my most treasured possessions. It is a delightful chronicle of a child's innocence and his growing years - before the Adrian Mole hormones set in. Most adults see it as a chronice of a childhood lost.

As my mommy pal Swati puts it, kids no longer enjoy the simple pleasures of life, they are way too materialistic. But sometimes when I see a streak of adventure and the thirst for an imaginative tale, I know all is well with the world. But these instances are far and few and which is perhaps why I hate the damned television. And why I haven't yet plopped my one-year old in front of it and hopefull never wi ll. Or at least, until he gets hooked. God give me the strength to hold out:)

Books I am reading :: Mostly Fitzgerald.
After re-reading
'Great Gatsby' for the 4th time (Can ANYONE describe the play of light and shadows as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald???!!), I moved on to the intriguing short story collection 'Diamond as Big as the Ritz' ('Bernice Bobs Her Hair' being the pick of the crop...pun intended). I heard about the movie version of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' and scoured the net to pick up a free copy of Fitzgerald's short story here. And of course I spent an unpleasant half-n-hour dwelling over Mrs. Button's labor pains.
Just started 'Tender is the Night' unfortunately the blurry penguin print is getting to be a regular eyesore.
After 'Making a Mango Whistle' (a so-so children's version of 'Pathar Panchali') I am confident there are Apus (and Swaminathans) all around us if we only make the effort to get to know them. True, they might not see the beauty in a budding leaf or try to create telegraph wires out of vines but nonetheless.
When it comes to children, yours truly remains a resolute optimist.

1 comment:

John Doe Alive and Kicking said...

I am always in raptures reading you. And yes, I do envy you for the books you get to read. You must give me tips on time management, my lovely!