Monday, March 29, 2004

Backward glance

I feel I must talk about the last piece of fiction I truly enjoyed. This was about 3 months back, before
I decided to jettison all 'stories' in favour of biographies. This was my reaction to it:

In a I-don't-know-what-else-to-do trip to the British Council Library (a regular feature of my life in Delhi)
I came away with "Espedair Street" by Iain Banks and two other books. Just last night I finished reading
"Espedair Street" - and felt insanely happy. Read on and I'll try and explain why.

"Two days ago I decided to kill myself...
Last night I changed my mind and decided to stay alive.
Everything that follows is...just to try and explain"

For starters, this blurb on the back of the book hooked me. Because I'm a sucker for inspiration.
(Maybe that's why I read so many biographies) But we're meandering, let's get back.
Espedair Street is about Daniel Weir, an ex-rockstar in a late-seventies behemothic rock band.
Now he's 31 years old - 6 years after Frozen Gold (the band) reached dizzy fame doing the sex,
drugs & rock n roll routine.

It is a journey of self-discovery (ha! which book isn't these days) but where Espedair
Street differs is its written by a master. Iain Banks manages to get into the skin of Wier
and about half-way through you begin to feel what Wier feels and heck, you can almost
predict what he will do next. Its sad without being depressing, sentimental without
being maudlin, and rip-roariously funny. And, it has a nice ending.

Not like some of those books which are so depressing that you're trying hard to see what was the frickin
point in the first place. Sometimes you need to be stoned to understand these Brit writers.
(Nothing against the Brits at all - they are after all the best writers you get these days).
The Americans are incomprehensible, and we are trying hard to write the next Great Big Indian novel.

Now lets see what the other two books bring. I have a good feeling.

Postscript: I only read one of the remaining two - Twelve Bar Blues. Another nice book.
I'm dying to read fiction again.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The old cliche?

India and Pakistan. These three words are enough to make me want to skip the article,
change channels or just switch off completely.

Pity really, because the cricket series so far has gone beyond any stereotype. And I'm not just talking
about the matches. It's the little things you don't see on tv or even in the newspapers.
I can't really appreciate the whole thing as much as the lucky few who're covering the series in
Pakistan. But this much I know - that India and Pakistan cricket have been more about
emotional cricket than we can even imagine. And in a good way, that too.

There are a few articles on the net which tell it like it is. One link to many such reads is here

Saturday, March 20, 2004


Didn't I mention something about reading only autobiographies and bios this year?
Well, it's not going too well. No, not because fiction has led me astray, but rather...
i'm not able to finish what I've started.
Here's what I've read since December -
Rahul Dravid - by Vedam Jaishankar (informative but otherwise nothing more to it)
Lee Iacocca - by Lee Iacocca (cool even if a bit outdated)
And Why Not? - by Barry Norman (a good read)
The story of My Experiments with Truth - by M K Gandhi (more on this in future posts)

Now here's a list of false starts -
Living to tell the tale - by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (deferred until I can appreciate the prose)
Straight from the gut - by Jack Welch (finished one chapter, then friend took it back)
Dalai Lama - by Dalai Lama (finished two chapters, left it with my dad in B'lore)
Man's search for meaning - by Dr Viktor Frankl (finished half the book, left it with friend in Bombay)
Krishna - author forgotten (my current read)
From Bengalooru to Bangalore - author forgotten (planning to tackle it after Krishna)

By the way, am back in Delhi.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Okay, I'm back from Dharamshala, but in the meanwhile, I've had to
go down to hometown Bangalore. Laats of happenings. Full fast forward.

Shall update in a couple of days.