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Booking Your Time
|by K.S. Subramanian|
When one has all the time in the world he little knows what he can do with it. Yet he would pontificate to his friends circle that he has little time to do all the work on his palm. “Oh! I am so busy that I have to find time” as if it is a needle in a haystack. It is part of a defense mechanism not to leave room for someone to think that you lounge around. Better to spread around the feeling that you are busy or at least a busybody.
No need to be altruistic or social minded and get your feet up in happenings around. A lot of it is happening anyway – be in politics, society or any other walk of life. Most who see it all happening don’t want to poke their nose into it and get it scratched or let their flannels get dirty. Suffice it to say that you build your awareness by writing about it where the sagacity of your ideas flows out. Besides when you spend a part of the day – say about two to three hours – on reading a novel, biography or reillumination of a foregone event that had happened in your time the time is well spent. It makes you reflect on it for a while and someday when you put it down on paper (nay, lap top) you are stunned by your own reappraisal of the event.
Before the pomposity of this intro drains itself out let me say that I bought quite a few books through gift vouchers recently – Dan Brown, Khushwant Singh, Amitav Ghosh and of course of all O’Henry – and read them more or less in alphabetical order. Quite an unseemly and incompatible collection it was, going by the nerve-holding raciness of Brown, meditative and liquid prose of Ghosh to the easy prosody of Khushwant and archaic Americanisms of Henry. They had an uncanny charm, albeit original, and kept me riveted throughout. It never gave the wry feeling that you are a bookworm or idling your time in reading. Rather the meticulous building of the plot and sub-plot in Brown punctuated by exceptional research or the rib-ticking witticisms of Henry gave one the feeling that time flew and was meaningfully spent.
Dan Brown’s Deception Point should remain a classic in terms of the theme itself – space technology and the inhering fraud and the weaving of related episodes climaxing in the uncovering of the culprit (always the one who is least suspected). Right through it is always patent that space research in itself is not bad but when it becomes a ploy or issue of power then extraneous factors creep in to make it dangerous. One does not have to dwell on his other novels essentially because one feels compelled to return to them. I did read Inferno and was as engrossed with it as anyone should be.
Khushwant’s Good, Bad and the Ridiculous was of another kind – quite the North Pole – though every personage in it comes out interesting to the reader. And to think that he was fortunate enough to have seen and known them in his diversified roles makes one nearly envious. What is unquestionable in it all is his amazing candour. He is always honest in all that he says, however unpalatable it may be.
O Henry has been an institution in the genre of short story and the less said about it the better. But the lively twists and turns in his stuff are always accompanied by the peculiar, ringing dialect of his time which cannot be found in contemporary American fiction. The local idiom in it has the verve of the ghetto language of some characters in Michael Crichton’s “The Great Train Robbery.” Of course times have changed but Henry has lasted 100 plus years after his death. There in lies his originality.
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