Monday, May 14, 2007

Surmise Perception

There is a back log.

Having admitted that, a topic that is close to my heart.

Seems to set a trend that the books I give up for lost, often turn out to be the ones most enjoyed. The latest in the list are Pickwick Papers and A Passage to India.

E M Foster's account of colonial India was bought, because it was on the must read lists. It was given up - the characters seemed to crowd in. So full of life. The dust, the grime and the Ganges flowing by too placidly. Unlike other classics this one was not too inviting. You could have a seat in the gallery, but that's all.

Now, that hurt.

:) How could a book be soo impersonal??

Loving a book is easy when it invites you, gently cajoles you to be a part of the elaborate drama that is being enacted for your benefit. One can almost imagine, the author/ narrator with sweeping arms guiding you onto the back stage. You see the artists, the backdrop. You see the script.. Even if it is a thriller, you know you are the privileged one, someone wanted at the scene.

I was not satisfied by the seat in the gallery.

Slowly but inexorably it dawned on me.. The artists and the back drop seemed to have frozen; caught with myriad emotions frozen on their forms. They were vaguely familiar, yet tantalizingly unknown. And yet, and yet.... The movement was not on the stage, it was among the audience. The tables had been reversed. The show was up for the benefit of the artists.

Made sense on introspection though. The characters, the scenes, the emotions, the attitudes - they were all set long ago. It is the modern day reader caught in the flow of time, who is first unable to identify with the panaroma set out by the author. The context has flowed on.

The attraction of the book however, is the identity one ultimately builds up with the characters. The book might be set in colonial India, but the wealth of emotions can hardly be supposed to be outdated. :)

Must read!!!


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