When Rockstar’s album came out, I fell headlong in love. There was no recovering from it. All of it was like a story knitted together in perfection – the music, the lyrics, the singers – it was exactly how magic is meant to be. Those days were the times of CDs and I had its CD with a huge Ranbir Kapoor poster inside it. I also loved the movie when I saw it first, which later seemed like a bad idea because it’s quite cliché and pathetic in parts. I also went to Nizamuddin dargah and visited Delhi with a renewed sense of attraction. Of course, this was back when I still had rose-coloured glasses on and I was oh-so-full of all kinds of hope. It was around that time I read City of Djinns by William Dalrymple. The subsequent falling in love with Delhi has been an irrevocable act. In some ways, it has changed the course of my life because of the people I met due to this love affair. In others, it broke my heart as love is supposed to do. Basically, now when I listen to the songs of Rockstar, I am unloving them and learning to love again for tactical instead of emotional reasons. The album is still as perfect. Everything about the songs ‘Tum Ho’ or ‘Aur Ho’ gives me goosebumps. It has made me a lifelong fan of Irshad Kamil. I’m a lyrics person. They really, really matter to me. But the point I am trying to make here is that when I started to hear the album again recently, I made a mental note to distance myself from things and people I love. If I’m too close to them it clouds my judgment. If I am to love at all, I had better do it from afar.
A lot of interesting things have happened in the recent past, and I have not set aside the time to blog. I’ve done other kinds of writing, of course. But among other things I’ve realised I probably need to make more money. This is because almost all the new books I want are priced above Rs. 700. (Why-o-why!) So I have started to really consider looking for a good library. Foster father used to tell me about the efficient system of public libraries in the US because most people there can’t afford the overpriced books. I’ve seen it too; the various links to catalogs of public libraries online. Maria Popova links to a lot of public libraries in her posts, too. So, in some ways, I feel like I’ve started all over again in trying to go back to the time when one wanted just the stories and not the books. The last time I was in a library of British architecture was when I was working on a personal project earlier this year, in and around Fort. It was a bright, full of wooden desks and cupboards, and straight out of an English novel. Needless to say, I had a really great time.
The last book I bought from Amazon didn’t get delivered. I ordered A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and while the cover of the book that got delivered to me was correct, the contents were of a book called The Sword and the Scimitar (or Ironfire). Of course, the logical thing would have been to send it back, but I over thought the entire incident and kept it. Spanning more than 700 pages, and thankfully, The Sword and the Scimitar has been the most fun book I’ve read this year. Yes, the last 50 pages of the war were a little sluggish, but hey, 650 pages of pure adventure. Set in the 16th century Middle East, it’s the story of two siblings who get separated when the brother is captured by the corsairs. Before every section, the author has given historical context and references, which lent authenticity to the entire novel that I lapped it up, and my God did I enjoy it or what.
Speaking of which, did I enjoy Birdman or what. Did I mention it here? Did I write about how I roamed around with a Birdman hangover for a week after I saw that movie? That it became so real to me, I couldn’t get it out of my head. The scenes of that movie are so visually appealing, there’s no need to make the movie 3D even if you wanted to. Broadway was inside my living room. I was backstage. The New York sky was flowing onto my table. You know how you can touch most pieces of art – be it a book, a painting, or a sculpture. If there has been a movie, that I have wanted to touch with my hands, and I really don’t mean to be creepy, it has been this movie. I imagine it would be like a ball of water in free space gliding across my palm.
Made curious by the movie, I also read the short story which they’re adapting in the play. DF says I don’t have sufficient perspective now to dismiss it, which I would have to agree, but then again, what I have loved (prematurely, see opening paragraph) is the story behind the writing of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. I read the original version and saw the edits to the short story, and it made me chuckle. I think it’s quite fascinating to read up on the peripherals about why authors wrote what they did; it just makes them more human. Ever met the kind of teachers/mentors who were unforgiving about mediocrity? They’d just scratch out stuff that didn’t work for you or set you tasks that you didn’t think you could do, but then you did them anyway, and were thankful for it? (I’ve had too many of them.) Ray Carver’s editor seemed like that kind of a person to me. Side note: Whiplash was just bordering on brutal and I’ve been told that drummers don’t bleed.
I may have to take some time off from everything and go to the mountains or something of the sort. Too much has been done and said, and I need some space to hear the silence ring in my ears. Sometimes, I really miss having some of my friends around, in physical capacity, I mean. People who I don’t have to tiptoe around or pretend in front of. People who I could just sit next to, and even though we wouldn’t be changing the world, it would just be okay. I’d prefer that instead of this – putting up with those who can’t accept you or talk to you only when they need something. It’s quite uncomfortable, really, and is causing a lot of unwarranted issues.
I saw this picture posted by William Dalrymple today, and it’s also the reason why I fell in love with Delhi. Looking at this monument makes me so happy, it’s not even funny. I guess for a while now, it’s going to be loving from afar.