Absence & Books
The camera has been lying idle, the fingers busy writing for a living and the blog un-updated. But in the forced absence, I have been reading. 'My Friend Sancho,' the debut novel of Amit Verma, a journalist turned blogger, funny, but as described by one critic, a good airport read. Then two books by American journalists. The first one, 'The Geography of Bliss' by Eric Weiner has an interesting premise, trying to find if there is a relation between the place you inhabit and your happiness number. Yes, your happiness can be computed like your income and a number can be put to it. There is an
In an air-conditioned room you cannot understand the
Grammar of this language,
The whirring machine drowns out the soft vowels,
But you can hear these vowels in the mountain wind
And in heavy seas breaking over the hull of a small boat.
Old ladies can wind their long hair in this language
And can hum, and knit, and make pancakes.
But you cannot have a cocktail party in this language
And say witty things standing up with a drink in your
You must sit down to speak this language,
It is so heavy you can't be polite or chatter in it.
For once you have begun a sentence, the whole course of
your life is laid out before you.
What put me off when I was a few chapters into 'The Geography of Bliss' were the attempts at humour. I remembered thinking to myself, 'Hey, here's a wannabe Dave Barry'.
The poem apart, I did get something from the book. It does have a point there about the relation between a place and the happiness of its people if you extrapolate it to the culture you inhabit and the kind of person you are.
The second book, ‘I am a Stranger Here Myself’, is a collection of weekly articles about life in the
Between these two books I read a memoir, again a debut, ‘The Girl from Foreign’ by Sadia Shepard. But that deserves a separate post.