26 March, 2013

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

Helter Skelter: Julian Barnes
Read it in one sitting.
As a person who claims to have trouble remembering things and yet suddenly manages to dig up minute details from her memories, I was looking forward to this book. The blurb said  it is "the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past." Mutable Past. Aha! Here was a concept I was intimately familiar with, and so I started off with high expectations. Not a very good place to start of course. This was my first encounter with Julian Barnes, but after I finished the book, I think he earned himself a follower. Yes, I was a bit disgruntled with the ending, and I could tell you why, but I prefer to leave you with a quote instead. Also, here is the review I wanted to write but didn't.
"Does character develop over time? In novels of course it does: otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story. In life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that's something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that we're just stuck with what we've got. We're on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn't it? And also - if this isn't too grand a word - a tragedy."

05 March, 2013

You live some, you die some

My dear Dear, 

There is no dust here
(who knew the absence of dust
could be so alienating?)

There is no chaiwaala 
or doodhwaala
or newspaperwaala
to smile me a smile 
and provide me the comfort  
of a familiar face. 

There are sidewalks of course
straight and clean;
I teeter along them - briskly 
(the evenings get so chilly you know)
my watery tea, swishing woefully
in my gut.
my can of milk, I carry back
to a reproachful room. 
as I sit and wait 
for another day to dawn.

Love, M


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