Its not much of a deal when you try to tell it now. But I am beginning to wonder if there is something in what Mom says about my having to keep my bodam in check.
This library in Trivandrum, has this weird system of keeping your bags in a counter outside and then an even weirder system of bringing this little square piece they call a token for the shelf space. Being an obedient rule-follower I keep my bag and what do they do in return? They give me one of these little tokens! The nerve! My memory must have understood this information should not be stored at all! There were far more important things than little tokens to be stored in my memory. So wasp – that’s not a bee sting – that’s my memory throwing out the token from mind. So I get in, losing 1 minute of my life forever to blankness.
All book taking later I go out and ask for my bag and there comes that word again. Token. Eh what token? Which token? Oh token. Was I given one. Both security chettanmar (Malayalam for big brothers) are in the process of grring now. Of course we gave you token, we give everyone token, that’s our duty. Giving token is our aim in life. It is the only way to salvation.
Err I have no token.
No token??? Eyes bulge out. Those are two words unheard of till date. No token! How can anyone lose a token … this was crossing all limits.
Victims of betrayal, they said in a hurt voice, find it please or you get a fine. But please find that token…
I was beginning to understand this was a rare piece of token, a priced possession.
The hunt began. Security chettan 1 ran to the magazine section. Security chettan 2 was biting nails and jumping around. I am sure he had some object. I ran straight to the books. There was a lot of running around and a lot of questioning. Did you or did you not see a beautiful little square piece hanging around here? No?
Finally one guy at a counter – bless him a few thousand times – said those magic words. Is it a token you are looking for? The return section – and you always thought it was the boring part. Yes yes we are, all three of us echoed together. The jumping chettan jumped to the counter saw the token and held it in hands – I am sure he recited some silent prayers of thanks. Their lives were complete. There was a meaning in life once again. But the next step this chettan jumped at me “I will kill you!”
I too jumped. Behind my friend and peeped out. Whew he didn’t have a weapon.
Jumper chettan after finally returning my bag said that it was time my father and mother were notified, this girl was thinking and dreaming of something else all the time.
All I have to say is tokens are bad mean worthless things. They should not exist! They should be banned from the face of earth!
Charlie. I don’t know what got me to take this book. I didn’t know old George Mikes was a funny guy who wrote humour. If I did, I would have taken it without bothering to read the extracts in the back page or the language in the first page.
But on page 2 is this line: “It may sound strange but there was a time when I loved my father; and stranger still, there was a time when my father loved me. A pretty unnatural state of things as old Sigmund Freud might observe.”
That shook away all my would-this-be-a-waste-of-time concerns. It wouldn’t, my intelligence told me. My intelligence was right.
Only catch was it had a lot of politics in it, and I wasn’t expecting that. I should have read the extract carefully – it says this is his first political novel – Mikes’.
But it wont be much a of a trouble that you don’t know anything about politics. Cause you see, Charlie doesn’t either. So we get to learn together.
But all the while, no matter how much we go into politics – and politics cant be all that drab if it happened the Charlie way – there is a good lot of the rofl stuff that I badly yearn for in every novel.
So when the prime minister greets Charlie as “Good old Jack” the novel goes “Before Charlie could say anything (and of course he did not mean to embarrass the great man with such a triviality as the fact that his name wasn’t Jack)…”
But the best part was Charlie’s maiden speech at “The House”. After his disastrous start he goes on: “I love animals. We all love animals. All animals. But not the Minister of Agriculture.”
Charlie “quickly realizes” where the misunderstanding lay. He says “I mean the Minister of Agriculture does not seem to like animals and not that the Minister of Agriculture is the only animal I dislike.”
Sigh ok it looks like I have quoted more form the book than I have talked about it. But then it should say better than my words, how Charlie was written. It’s an entertainer 🙂
On an attempt to restart blogging I decided to write about a book I finished recently. Finished reading that is (writing one still remains a distant dream). Vertigo by Ashok Banker.
Mumbai. Early 1982 to 1984. Jayesh Mehta in his early 20s, caught in the rat race. Plus he has got an alcoholic mother and an ever-demanding girl friend.
After reading nearly 400 pages of tiny font, I am left wondering what was really there in all these pages. Really, couldn’t it have been written in less than 10 pages?
It was easy reading no doubt about it. But it doesn’t really move. I felt the book ended the same place it started at. You could have told the story without moving through all these pages. Predictability is not a problem. I mean, it could have been a little different – it could have moved in a different direction. But then maybe it is just 2-3 years of a normal everyday person, like me. There wasn’t supposed to be any big surprises, any supernatural effects – it is just an ordinary life of an ordinary individual – a troubled individual at that.
Still, somehow I am left unsatisfied. I couldn’t say what exactly is missing, but it just feels incomplete – heck it feels like I just read chapter 1. And there is a lot more to go.
Anyway, the book is written in simple easy-to-read language and that’s what attracted me in the first place. And maybe it is not about moving things in the life of Jayesh Mehta. It is just about the fast and furious life in Mumbai, about how people live there, about what happens… about what does not happen.