Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Aapdo Rohinton Rocks!
Believe me when I write this. I have read the Amitav Ghoshs, The Desais, the Rushdies, the Seths, the Mehtas of the world, but none like Mistry.
Here is an excerpt from my all-time favourite work in Fiction. Rohinton Mistry's Family Matters: Read each word carefully.
With his umbrella, which he used as walking stick, Nariman Vakeel emerged from Chateau Felicity. The bustling life was like air for starving lungs, after the stale emptiness of the flat.
He went to the lane where the vegetable vendors congregated. Their baskets and boxes, overflowing with greens and legumes and fruits and tubers, transformed the corner into a garden. French beans, sweet potatoes, coriander, green chilies, cabbages, cauliflowers bloomed under the street lights, hallowing the dusk with their colour and fragrance. From time to time, he bent down to touch. Voluptuous onions and glistening tomatoes enticed his fingers; the purple brinjals and earthy carrots were irresistible. The subjivalas knew he wasn't going to buy anything, but they did not mind, and he liked to think they understood why he came.
In the flower stall two men sat like musicians, weaving strands of marigold, garlands of jasmine and lily and rose, their fingers picking, plucking, knotting, playing a floral melody. Nariman imagined the progress of the works they performed: to supplicate deities in temples, honour the photo-frames of someone's ancestors, adorn the hair of wives and mothers and daughters.
The bhel-puri stall was a sculptured landscape with its golden pyramid of sev, the little snow mountains of mumra, hillocks of puris, and, in among their valleys, in aluminium containers, pools of green and brown and red chutneys.
A man selling bananas strolled up and down the street. The bunches were stacked high and heavy upon his outstretched arm: a balancing and strong-man act rolled into one.
It was all magical as a circus, felt Nariman, and reassuring, like a magic show.
Isn't the Bhel Puri stall description the most amazing, one could have imagined about that dirty little thing in the corner of Bombay?. For a quick read, just go to a bookstore nearby and pick up Family Matters and read page: 204-205: what does Merwan, the owner of an Iranian cafe, has to say about the youth of this country by citing a hilarious example.
Thanks to a friend, I could open my heart and speak to a journalist, Graham Smith from The Globe and Mail, a Canada based publication on the recent issue. As the conversation went on, I told him, its a wonderful feeling to see my favourite writer on page 1 of all the national dailies. Its all the more promotion for a writer who is so good that he desrves to be read by every soul before he or she dies. Mistry is someone who sees life so closely; that the reader is humbled. Every chapter in Family Matters ends with tears of joy.
Thanks to the Thackreys, Rohinton Mistry is back as the best-selling author. Landmark and Crossword have to order more copies. Earlier this year, the Thackreys made an ordinary movie turn into a super hit product: 'My Name is Khan' and now they selected 'Aapdo Rohinton'. At least this time they made a smarter choice by telling the world that we are indeed people with a propensity for good artistic work. This, infact is a wonderful opportunity to pick up his work from the corners of a book shelf and put it on display in the No. 1 to No. 10 position. Chetan fucking Bhagat - stay away, your days are numbered. The father of fiction is back and how.
Zalzala Jaag Utha hai Aditya Thackrey. Ab Gang War start hoga!' Civil Society has removed their trishuls and damroos: Here's what they have been doing on youtube.
Also for all of you who love your signatures, here's the petition to sign.
Its been close to a decade now since the release of Family Matters, his last novel and we the Mistry maniacs have been waiting for his pen to start doing the talking again. I hereby take the opportunity of thanking this amazing writer and his works, who have indeed taught me much more than what life could have taught me.
Here is another wonderful slice of life excerpt as I end my ode:
'After he finished, Jehangir announced with importance that he had to write an essay titled Why India Is a Great Country.
"Will you help me, Daddy?' he asked hoping it would please him.
"Come to me when your teacher gives an essay about why India is a hopeless country."
The remark provoked Roxana into forgetting her resolution. "that's such a cruel thing to say to a little boy."
"The truth is cruel sometimes. You can help him with lies. Or Professor Vakeel will invent some facts."
"With pleasure" said Nariman.
Jehangir looked to his mother for permission. She nodded, and he sat at the dining table. "Okay Grandpa, I'm ready."
From his chair in the corner, Yezad observed his son's intense concentration, and the pleasure written all over Nariman's pain-filled face. What had his life become, that he no longer had the patience to sit besides his own son and help with an essay?
Aah! life in its purest form!!
Photo courtesy: January Magazine website.