"When the slaughter of Whites by Whites was over, who among them would remember the Black men they sent running and shooting in the jungle?". "They fought the most savage battles of the Empire's war, but the world looked elsewhere, and already they were closed out of its memory." "And even after death there was a field, the farthest field: it was where you went when even the memory of your name was gone, and you were forgotten completely." I don't do book reviews. I don't even like reading detailed book reviews. Don't tell me what happens in the book. Just tell me your thoughts on it. Tell me what the book made you feel. Give me your raw, honest emotion.
Here's my honest take on the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad: This book should be compulsory reading for everyone able to read English and interested in World War II. But it should also be compulsory reading for all those fools who believe that there is glory in warfare. "It was harder now to hate the enemy than to pity them. At times the only difference Bobby saw between the Indians and the Japs was what grew on them: fungus on the winners, maggots on the losers. - Raghu Karnad, Farthest Field.
More neglected basement shelves. This one is used mostly for storing books we have lost interest in and do not want to give away just yet. There are stages to these things! 😅 Also, where I keep extra copies of my book. Hahaha.
The poor shelves in our basement don't get enough love. The bookshelves in our home are such a mishmash of his books and comics and my books. Our shelves reflect our separate tastes and interests, but also all those moments of blissful companionship, when the two intersect. I recommended Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam series to him and he loved it. He urged me to read The Game of Thrones before anyone had even heard of George. R. R. Martin. I read Tolkien because he loves Tolkien. In the early days of our marriage, I even read some of his Star Wars books and he, so sweetly, would tell me bedtime stories from his favorite of those books, and I, the horrid creature, would fall asleep within the first few sentences, but he never got annoyed with me. The next night, my male Shahrazad, would just start again.
"People have two deaths: the first at the end of their lives, when they go away, and the second at the end of the memory of their lives, when all who remember them are gone. Then a person quits the world completely.
War brings the two deaths close, because it chooses young people most deliberately to die. If he died at twenty-five, those who loved him still had long journeys to make, with little of his to carry with them. Eventually he is kept more as a photograph than a name, and even the photo sinks under the layers of their life's increase. People can have two burials."
- Raghu Karnad, Farthest Field.
Two of my paternal uncles died serving their country. As a child and a teenager, I loved looking at their pictures. They looked so young and handsome, one photographed next to his plane and the other, in front of a tank. My dead uncles always seemed so much cooler than the ones who were/are alive. I wanted to meet them and imagined long conversations with them of the kind, I was too intimidated to strike up with the living ones.
Death placed them in frames and I plucked them from those frames to give them imaginary lives, which had little to do with their real lives. I had some odd characters as imaginary friends even when I was a child.
These are the books I should have already read.
The Days of the Beloved by Lynton and Raja
Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad
The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed
White Mughals by William Dalrymple
Hoping to get to them all this month.
In order bookish news, I am still plugging away at Midnight's Children, marvelling at every word as I go along.
In non-bookish news, Luna is fast asleep as usual, my teenage son doesn't want to go to school, and I rather sit in the sun and read over all else, but since this is life, the kid just left for school, I am going to cook bhindi ki bhujia (okra curry), while only Ms. Luna gets to do what she likes best, sleeping.
Hope the rest of you get to follow your heart's desires, at least, once in a while. Do it too often, and it would lose its charm. Or would it? Wonder what Luna would say on this topic.
Soooo... I got the answer wrong. I am now keeping my word and posting this picture selected by my friend @sanchari_sur I’m challenging my friends who are logical and smart thinkers, to have a crack at guessing the answer to the riddle below. When you think you know, Private message me the answer. If you are not going to follow the instructions after you lose, don't bother playing. Your turn! Read the riddle. If your answer is incorrect, I can choose any of your photos and you have to post it along with the riddle. If you answer correctly, I'll write your name in the comments (with a trophy emoji). Riddle: It's 7:00 AM. You are asleep and there is a sudden knock on the door. Behind the door are your parents who came to have breakfast. In your fridge are bread, milk (pasteurized), juice, and a jar of jam. To answer, what will you open first? * Answer directly through Private message only please. Answers in the comment section will be deleted. ** Note: It’s not what you think.
"The Family Party had come to power promising to deport Illegals, to manage its borders more efficiently and to ensure that people of European stock weren't overrun in their own country." - Lawrence Hill, The Illegal.
I found this on my mother's bedside yesterday. It's a book, I read a few years back. I preferred Hill's Book of Negros to this one, but that said, this was a good book.
Also, sad to see that this book is still very much relevant years after I read it.
• • • • • •
Things She Could Never Have by Tehmina Khan.
I'm beyond excited to tell you guys that the book I'd been waiting for so anxiously for the past three weeks has finally arrived at my doorstep 😍😍 This book is a collection of short stories by my very own @tehminakhanwrites and I cannot wait to read it from cover to cover!
Thank you @tehminakhanwrites for being the queen that you are and sending me this gorgeous book of yours. I know sharing a book with someone is like sharing a piece of your heart, and I couldn't be more grateful for it. I'm impatiently waiting to read it because short fiction is one of my favorite genres ever, but this one is going to be even more special for me because it is gifted to me by you. I BLOODY LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! 💜💜
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The more Rushdie I read, the less certain I am of my own rather poor writing. How I wish I had his ability to give each of his characters such a distinct voice. Here's something I sometimes do while writing; I remove the names of my characters from the dialogue I have written to see if I can still distinguish between them without the help of names. With Rushdie's writing, you don't need the names to know who is speaking and that is good dialogue writing.
Here's a line recently read from Midnight's Children, a line that struck me, because of how seamlessly he slips in the profound while describing something completely mundane. "And behind them, looking benignly on, the Rani of Cooch Naheen, who was going white in blotches, a disease which leaked into history and erupted on an enormous scale shortly after independence... 'I am the victim,' the Rani whispers, through photographed lips that never move, 'the hapless victim of my cross-cultural concerns. My skin is the outward expression of the internationalism of my spirit.' - Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children.
"She attempts to cajole me from my desk: 'Eat, na, food is spoiling.' I remain stubbornly hunched over paper. 'But what is so precious,' Padma demands, her right hand slicing the air updownup in exasperation, 'to need all this writing-shiting?'" - Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children.
How is it possible to forget how much you love a certain book? But apparently I did. I am just on page 25 and savouring every word of Midnight's Children. This book is a feast, a feast to return to, again and again. The language, the characters, the history, the scenes; there is so much richness here to dip into time and again.
And of course, right in those first few pages are those unforgettably delicious scenes when the young Doctor Aziz examines Naseem through a hole in a white bedsheet. "So gradually Doctor Aziz came to have a picture of Naseem in his mind, a badly-fitting collage of her severally-inspected parts. This phantasm of a partitioned woman began to haunt him, and not only in his dreams. Glued together by his imagination, she accompanied him on all his rounds, she moved into the front room of his mind, so that waking and sleeping he could feel in his fingertips the softenes of her ticklish skin or the perfect tiny wrists or the beauty of the ankles; he could smell her scent of lavender and chambeli; he could hear her voice and her helpless laughter of a little girl; but she was headless, because he had never seen her face."