Thursday, August 11, 2005

To some old companions...

I am sorry my friends...you who contributed so much to my growth as a human being...you who opened vistas to a thousand dreams and words like the ones in this blog...you who gave beautiful expression to my feelings...like Pip in Great Expectations I have turned you all, my best friends, away...yet when these posts keep adding up I never found it worth to dedicate one to y'all until this blessed night... a friend recently complained that my blogs were one-dimensional and that I can never write without getting emotional about my subject. Blame it all on Boz! I have read his David Copperfield and Great Expectations too many times over and over again to know of any other way to write. Every word he has written in the two great novels lies imprinted somewhere in my soul.

One of my favorite memories of reading was my mom frisking my textbook whenever she saw me studying without even exams around the corner. Many a time she had caught me with a novel hidden inside my textbook and the lurking suspicion that I was again upto my old tricks always entered her. 95% of the time the sound of her steps up the stairs would be enough for me to toss the novel far away and in all innocence i would say, "ho, padichaalum kuttam, padichillengilum kuttam"!!! I really dont blame her...though she never ever discouraged my reading i was such a weak student upto the ninth that they had no way other than to forcefully suppress my addiction...even without anyone around I ended up reading that way all through school life and in classrooms it wasnt really an odd sight seeing almost 75% of loyolites having a novel resting on their lap while presenting an occasional straight face to the unsuspecting teachers. Again another abiding memory of how desperate we were to get our drugs was of our librarian, the dear Susheela madam sighing at the young souls searching under book shelves, standing on our toes reaching out for the the top of the shelf, the space behind the shelf, and the wall to which it leans, for long lost books or those hidden by other possessive patrons...as i write this cant help smiling at one discovery i made from beneath a shelf...it had lain there for almost four years...Irving Wallace's Celestial Bed...and the steamy scenes in the book, made our lives...for a few days(remember those were the times b4 mms, pc's, cd's etc - and the vcr and video cassette library were our only recourses and even there i remember many of my friends getting shooed off by owners with the "meesha polum kilichillalloda" dialogue!

Well my reading took the same paths as everyone. From Enid Blyron's Noddy I moved to a period of early enlightenment...where I read a lot of indian and western folk tales, stories from the Puranas, the Mahabaharatha, Ramayana, Bible and a condensed version of the Quran. I dont think I comprehended the spiritual side of the holy books much but that wuz a period I wanted to become a priest after getting inspired seeing my uncle, Fr.Isaac Karoor. Well boys will be boys and no boy who stumbles on a Hardy Boy can get away from it without reading atleast a hundred of them. When an HB became hard to get, the Nancy Drew's, Three Investigators and Famous Five's abounded in our out-of-the-world school library. Sometime in the 7th a friend introduced me to Frederick Forsythe and I graduated to the world of thrillers. Then followed a line of similar writers like Archer, McLean, Higgins, Hailey, Wallace, Grisham, Ludlum and Clancy. Sometime in the 11th I got initiated to the Victorian classics and the plus-two years were well-spent building a collection of the best novels of that age. In between, Shakespeare and Poetry which we had to study, analyze and dissect for the ICSE, ISC exams grew within me and like history I let my mind loose and never once thought of it as something to be studied. Sadly that was the phase parental restrictions relaxed, friendships spilled over beyond classroom hours, the onset of cable television and a film craze that grew manically and has ever since refused to yield ground to anything else in me. The reading since my college days reduced to a trickle in comparison...haha lemme not get into it...i ofcourse read, but at the rate of maybe 10 books a year with that number coming down with each year... not to be left unsaid, the usual exception was Great Expectations and David Copperfield which i read and keep reading countless times just like I have watched Manichithrathazhu.

Moving over to Neil's Book Tag

1. Total number of books owned: I took great pride in how our library at home looked and nobody needed to tell me a second time to keep it clean, i really feel proud of the three sets of encyclopaedias we own(one in malayalam) and once in a while my dad, sis and I would get together to stack the great heaps of sociology books he acquires neatly...at one time I had like more than a 100 novels but carelessly lend many to friends expecting them to return it but I have found much to my despair that Loyolites are never gentlemen when it comes to one thing...books. After coming to the US, I have found thrift stores here which sells books at a nominal 50 cents for charity and aarthi pidiche I have snapped them...but many of them I have been forced to leave behind when the time to relocate came which was like once every six months or so.

2. Last book bought: Da Vinci Code - I am willing to give this away for free...its nothing more than a novel to be read and forgotten...except for a few truths which every objective xian like me must have thought abt(jesus wuz human...i wudnt blame him if he felt attracted to mary magdalene) i have found some of brown's claims in the guise of fiction totally revolting...like jesus having a child whose descendants became the merovingian dynasty...he hasnt substantiated many of the theories he puts forward.Spent freakin 30 bucks for this...that too at a time when i wuz strapped... i am mightily and rightfully pissed!

3. Last book read: Well thats an embarassing one to answer - Check out Anish's Blog. He has a link there to a book written by Rajan's father, Prof.Eachara Warrier if you havent already. It is definitely recommended reading for every Indian and Malayali. If you say thats not a book I really cant remember what I read last...but does it matter??? What with so many fantastic bloggers in our midst!!!

4. Books that mean a lot to me:

Great Expectations - The Pip who conveniently forgets his childhood friends and grows to manhood amidst riches, carefree pals and false pride in his social standing before he sees everything he once lived with crashing to the ground is such a splitting image of myself.

David Copperfield - David's journey through life was Boz's way of writing his autobiography...Mr.Dickens, as long as the world turns and men live in it and know to read you will remain unarguably the greatest writer in the English language.I always wonder how much I am like the David, who fell impractically in love for the immature Dora amidst working odd jobs to survive before his true calling came visiting.

The Covenant - This epic story by James Michener which begins in the middle ages right to the modern-day world of the 60's telling the saga of three families in England, South Africa and Netherlands and how their destinies inter-twine held me engrossed to the very end of its 1100 pages.

Khasakkinte Ithihaasangal - After reading this, I wondered why O.V.Vijayan was never considered good enough for the Nobel or the Jnanapith Awards. His breath-taking style of narration and description of the political, social and geographical landscape of Kerala as it transformed...was so spell-binding. Made me so aware of my ignorance of my own people...wished why i wasted so much of my precious youth in awe of kerala's cities when i could have experienced far more beautiful things in her villages. For those who cant read malayalam his own english translation of the novel is equally brilliant.

Mindapennu - Fascinating novel that we had to study. It depicted the winds of social change blowing across the kerala of the 50's as women ventured outside their homes to work in offices and of men still caught in the time-warp.

Godfather - Do I really need to write anything about this one!!!

My Father, My Son - I wept like a baby reading this one. Apart from a numbingly beautiful storyline it has some great subtly written humor too...somebody in college took it and never returned it.

Little Pricks - This book was an all-time bestseller written in 1916 by a Ralph Moore...another book I retrieved from under a loyola shelf...its a great book about a young boy in the american midwest of the 19th century who grows up to adulthood surpassing great difficulties.

Tom Brown's Schooldays and P.G.Wodehouse - These books virtually mirrored our schooldays though they were written so many years before...so many colorful characters in these books were similar to many of the guys who studied with me not to mention all the hotly contested cricket, basketball and football games we indulged in akin to these novels...i wonder when a book on our loyola days will get written by anyone of my multi-faceted classmates there.

Neil, thanks a lot for this book tag. I thoroughly enjoyed keying in this post. And to you, my dear old friends, whatever I read in you is all that this blog contains...i am certain you guys live...bcoz u breathe so much passion, so much sensitivity, so much life, so many dreams into us who befriend you...maybe you live in another plane of existence...I hope to soon come visiting you guys as of yore...

8 comments:

silverine said...

Hi Jiby,

Thanks for your comments on my latest post. I have been book tagged so many times but never took it seriously. But now that I have been book tagged by Niel, I have to oblige as he has promised hefty discount in lawyer fees when I take to a life of crime. (Which will happen the moment he gives it to me in writing, fine print and all that the discount is on)LOL
You have listed all my favorite books so perhaps I will cut and paste this post of yours to mine, I will however edit that part about Celestial Bed and replace it with Learning Crossstich or some other do it yourself book. Also the attempt to hire the CD will be replaced with an attempt to bunk classes. :)) Please dont sue me.

Jiby said...

lol...no worries...even if u choose to adapt this post i know u will impart to it the magical silverine touch and spin...wonder what it is that makes u such a gifted writer!!! guess we all got to be happy with the simple things we possess.

Praveen said...

Pretty good list. Glad to see you have put some mallu books in as well. I havent read most of the books you listed, so I will maybe give it a shot soon :)

Jithu said...

hey jiby, really liked ur style of writing.. :-)

now this is a kumbasaram.. for sometime i also liked irving wallace books.. especially, celestial bed.. he he..

but i beg to differ in the case of Dan Brown's DVC. I was more than thrilled while reading that book.. I mean the way in which Brown ornates fiction with history was awesome, though i didnt like the ending.. i mean ithrem okke paranju avasanam holy-grail kanichu tharum ennanu njan vicharichathu.. u know i finished the book in two days flat..

Neil Padayatty said...

Jiby chetta,
The Loyola part was just about the same for me! When mummy used to catch me red-handed with a book during study time, I would come out emotionally on how while other parents complain about their children not doing enough reading, my parents are doing just the opposite.
And it's true how books used to be the source for all the extra's!

@silverine - It's Neil and no discounts to you until you learn to spell me properly!

Jiby said...

praveen,i'd like to read ur book tag too and get some recommendations on books to read.

jithu, i agree dvc was a great peice of fiction but after a few days the fiction is forgotten and me as a practising catholic has been left with a history totally contradicting some beliefs i was raised with...thankfully i have ppl in the church who cud privately tell me truthfully the little facts and major wrongs in the book...but i feel sorry for a lot of ppl who have been left with only browns version of history as the church struggles to give mary magdalene a reasonable place in xian history which is why they havent yet opened a full-fledged fight against dvc but i expect the church to come out with their spin of facts when the dvc movie releases which i believe will have a greater audience than the book...i am thinking of coming out with a post on dvc soon.

neil, maybe ur prospective client, silverine believes niel is numerologically better for you!!!

silverine said...

Well... I for one would like to read your post of DVC. I too think that this book is an irresposible piece of work. Perhaps the fact that we Xians don't issue 'Fatwas make' us targets of such trash.

Matter of Choice said...

hey jiby...great blog!

ur childhood experience of reading is so similar to mine!!!

yes Eachara warrior's book is not strictly a book. But for the experience it contains and the "malice towards none" way in which he has written it, "moemoirs of a father" goes further than lots of other books. I wonder if some body has actually published the hardcopy version of it.

and thankx for popularizing my blog :), i have been getting lotsa visitors from ur post!

cheers
anish