Monday, May 11, 2015

"A House for Mr Biswas" connection

When I look back, I realize my invisible irregular longing for literature since school days, when I used to read stories by Tagore and R. K Narayan and keep thinking about them for a day or two. With time, the demands of my false ambitions and the need to conform to the world threw me light-years away from the realization that I could read for pleasure. Past that point, whatever I read was for gulping any new information down the throat, most of which would be of any use after my hairs would turn grey. I resumed reading, a major part to fill in my loneliness and a minor for pleasure. In the latest innings of reading, most of the stories and books I read ended with melancholy, sadness and despair. I don't remember, I ever read to be happy. I read to relish the combination of words that would weave a world closer to reality. I would pick up a few, as companions, to walk with me for a day or two. Then, like a heart-throb, I would drop them somewhere and they would be lost. 
            Somewhere two years back, I found a copy of "A House for Mr. Biswas" by V.S Naipaul at my uncle's place. Just few days back of that find, I was browsing internet when I got to read that this was Naipaul's masterpiece written in his early years. So, I clung to it. It started off as a slow black and white movie with the very first line describing the death of the lead character Mohun Biswas. But after few pages, I experienced the book as a window where reading a paragraph was like walking with Mr. Biswas. After reading it, I felt changed in a manner. Naipaul wrote everything that I hated about my background. Closely placed rooms, fights inside family, shame of poverty and most importantly the desire of possessing a house which one could lay my full claim upon. It felt as if the writer wrote on behalf of all those dissatisfied souls whose present affluence made them hate their past background and though I finished that thick book in three days, I remember falling asleep many times while holding it in hand as often it connected the book and my past world. 
          I keep reading parts of it again and again to laugh and touch the slender thread of desolation Naipaul places between series of laughter. It is a masterpiece. A rare masterpiece.

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