Lateral Perspectives

The huge world inside a tiny head

Engineers and Empathy

I was talking to a friend of mine, who was sick and said she didn’t eat anything.

My reply was full of suggestions. Did you try this, did you try that, maybe you could do this, blah blah.

And it hit me just now that the first thing I did was to identify it as a problem and find a solution. Being trained as an engineer and a computer science student- though not a hardcore one, I don’t create algorithms or come up with ingenious solutions or anything, I sometimes tend to see everything as a problem.

I mean, when you have to force yourself to be logical and calculating coldly, sometimes, you forget the bigger picture. Sure you identified the problem, sure you are working on the solution, but what about the ongoing effect? What about the actual thing that is going on?

Take the above case, what she probably was looking for was comfort and a few words to cheer her up probably. Instead, I did the classic move, ignored her and focused on the issue. But that doesn’t mean I was not concerned about her, was I? I am reading Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh now. He talks about many points of a business, about customers, passion, interest, empathy and trust.

All these got me thinking just now, what about all the engineers in the world doing awesome work, bringing wonderful solutions to all these people? They were probably driven by the fact that there was a problem. Perhaps it was personal, perhaps it was because it posed a challenge, even because they had to, because it’s simply their job. Now imagine if they lack the empathy to understand the problem. The people who enjoy the fruit of their labours, might even enjoy it more if they could have interacted with the engineers.

I don’t know. Maybe the world needs to be a bit more empathetic. And perhaps, engineers could be the biggest beneficiaries of such a movement. The world definitely needs more people who can ask simple questions like, “Are you Ok?” Or, “Do you want to talk about it?”

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Mom and Cats

Kids are the best source of innocence, perhaps apart from my mom.

Last year, when I was in India, a pregnant cat had somehow found its way to our store room. I don’t blame the cat, it really is a safe place where predators wont find them. I don’t know what you call this in other places, but its where we keep all the things “that might come in useful someday” and old newspapers, woollen sacks,some food stuff and so on. It’s sort of a messy room really.

So my mom being a typical mom, starts getting agitated. She doesn’t really like cats, but don’t mind them either. It’s really cute of her. I would suggest throwing the cat away playfully  and she would be like, “No!”. Motherly instincts. Anyway, the feline gave birth to some four or five tiny kittens. It was quite cute to hear the small meow meow coming from the store room. The thing that surprised me was it was hard for me to find where they were! Even in the store room, the mother had chosen to put her home at a height, inside a cardboard box. Typical of a cat to go for a box.

Now mom was getting more agitated, one moment she’ll be like oh no, the kittens are making so much noise, I cant work in the kitchen, and a bit later she’ll be like, awwww they sound so cute.  There is this guy, Philip who does some yard work for us, and we mentioned it to him about the kittens when he came around. She asked if he wanted the kittens, and if he didn’t want, to throw them away somewhere. No no, don’t kill them.

He agrees and says he will come another day. 2 days later he’s back, at something like 8 in the morning. He never comes that early and we were wondering why. Apparently, his kids loved cats so much, and one of the cat went missing or something and they had been crying out ever since. He told them about the kittens in our house and they started pestering him from the moment. He could no longer bear their pleads  and came home to take them away.

Now we had forgotten about the mother cat. Her cries were so heart breaking, mom wanted to go get the kittens back. She would be cutting some vegetables and when she hears the cat, she would stop and listen, and then look at me.

After some time the cat went away, never to be seen again. I don’t think mom has moved the box from the store still.

Rekha

Rekha. No, Rekhachechi.

A name that had started to fade somewhere along the back of the mind, catapulted to the front now. Pictures come running through the mind as if someone has put a flashback on.

With both hands her in her pockets, the image of someone walking on yellow tiles that smells of disinfectants, here pristine white coat covering her bright saree with colorful designs.

With wide eyes and a mischievous smile, she would come around to look for me, if she knew I was around. Did she have dimples in her cheek, and  a touch of sandalwood streak on here forehead?  I cant remember. Come to think of it, I don’t even have a picture of her at home, and a fuzzy remembrance of how her face looked.  The only thing that I do remember with clarity was the love with which she would call out my name. I may even have forgotten the voice, but the love remains etched, like the birthday card greetings that she have left behind, which are still kept in a little box in one of the shelf.

Now you might be wondering, what this is about. This is about Rekha. She used to work with my mom in a hospital. Chechi is a term of endearment and respect, that which one calls and elder sister. Much like Akka in Tamil or Didi in Hindi. I was very little then, probably around 10-12 years old. Even back then her name piqued curiosity. It felt unique, and even now, I haven’t met anyone with her name. Her name means “A line”. Simple enough, but may have different interpretations.  A mathematical line, or a line that’s supposed to be drawn on the head,which also denotes faith, or it could even be a ray of sunlight.

I remember going to her wedding along with my mom. I remember being adamant that we should not be going empty handed and having wanted to give the gift myself. If memory serves me correct, it was a small miniature of a wedding couple with Happy Married Life or something written on the bottom. Hers was the first of the only two Hindu wedding that I have taken part in. I remember talking non stop about the taste of  food we had. It is one the tastiest vegetarian food I’ve ever had.

She left the hospital after her wedding. Mom moved to another clinic. I saw her many years later. She had a vegetable store, and lived in a flat above it. She looked completely different. Married, working and with a kid, she looked older. We caught her in the middle of work. She looked flustered, yet happy to see us. The hair was dishevelled, the face starting to show wrinkles, signs that she had left her youth far behind. The remnants of a mischievous smile still playing on her lips, surviving, somehow.

Why did I think of her now? Come to think of it, how many Rekhachechi’s are there in my life? For some reason, I find myself reluctant to think about it. Is it a sin to forget people whom we once loved and respected, but had moved out of our lives long back, slowly faded out?

Yet, there is a strange feeling of happiness for having though of her now. At least I have thought about her, written her down, and through this, some years in the future, I might return to read this, only to remember a lovely voice calling out my name dearly.

Frustration

I think frustration is the most horrible emotion one can have, and the most infuriating.

Having one of those days right now, I can’t concentrate at work, just staring at the screen. I can’t say the reason aloud here, let’s just say it’s something quite personal.

Feels like screaming and smashing the monitor and keyboard and just walking away. Almost pulling my hair right now. So instead I took a break and is sipping some tea.

Sadness can be dealt with – cry.

Anger too can be dealt with- I mostly try to turn my anger constructively, by taking out everything in my room and arranging it back properly.

But frustration, oh boy, cannot be tamed, it seems.

At a certain point though, I asked myself, is there any point in being grumpy right now. I had a conflicted emotion right there. Working myself to make me grumpier felt sort of right , while the logical part of the brain said that’s not good.

Why would I want to infuriate myself? Why was the brain designed that way?

Come to think of it, WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE EMOTIONS?

From an evolutionary point of view, I can understand the rationale behind fear, and to some extend, happiness and sadness.

Is frustration an extension to sadness as well? What about anger?

The Accident

I was cycling to meet my friends after a friendly volleyball game for dinner.  I reached a junction and was confused about the direction, and stopped to call one of them. That was when it happened. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone rolling of the front of the car at the pedestrian crossing. I stood there for a second processing what just happened. Just ran across  the highway and reached her.

I don’t think I ever felt so horrified before. It was a lady and she was pregnant.

Pregnant. It took all the effort to hide my shock.

The driver who hit her seemed equally horrified. I quickly took out my phone to call ambulance, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the emergency number and my phone was hung. Luckily, the driver was already calling them. I looked down at the lady and she said the most heart-wrenching sentence I ever heard in my life.

She said, with tears in her eyes, “My baby, my baby”.  I’ve felt helpless at moments in my life before, but this was just heart breakingly unreal.

All I could do was search my memories to what first aid I could administer. Movie and television series scenes flashed through my mind. I held her hand, and asked her is if she was hurt anywhere. She pointed to her head. Someone wanted to raise her to a sitting position. I said NO. We didn’t know how bad she was hurt and whether us making any movement would make things worse. There was no blood thankfully. She was breathing frantically and I then asked her to relax and take deep breaths. She kept on breathing rapidly. I asked her to fully open her eyes and focus on me. .This she did, and she seemed to calm down a little.Her eyes looked clear and was steady.My priority was to keep her conscious and alert. I asked her to take deep breaths and keep focusing on me. She was still crying and just kept repeating “My baby, my baby”. I asked her name, she replied Toto.

Meanwhile, there was  a crowd and thankfully, nobody was crowding around us and creating a big scene, probably because it was the highway. Cars kept rushing past us, with curious faces in the window. At this time,I was sitting by her side, holding her hand and stroking them. I don’t know. I think it helps to have a human contact. I wanted to assure her everything was all right. I hope it calmed her. I thought she was Chinese  and asked one lady from the crowd to speak to her. Being in an accident is traumatizing and  I thought speaking a familiar language would help her. When she spoke it turned out the lady was from Myanmar. I then asked her if she had her phone with her.  She nodded. Another standbyer looked through her handbag but couldn’t find the phone.  I asked the crowd to search for a phone nearby. But couldn’t find it. I asked  her number. Unfortunately, my phone was hung, so I asked another person to make the call. The phone ended up being on the cars viper. We gave her the phone and asked her to call her husband. She said he was overseas. She then called her brother and cried.

Another few minutes and thankfully, the medics arrived. We stood back and let them take care. I thought they would immediately bundle her up and take to ambulance, but they took their time assessing. When I thought about it, it made sense. She was bit sprawled about. One medic held her head steady, while another started touching her from the arms and asked if she was having pain. Finally when the assessment was over, they sort of tied her legs and thighs together with some cloth, and brought down the stretcher.  There were other witnesses, so I left the scene.

I just had to write this down. There were a few things that came to my mind.

  1. I couldn’t remember the emergency number, and didn’t have it saved in my phone.
  2. The only first aid training I had was back in high school, and I couldn’t remember shit. Why isn’t first aid training mandatory everywhere?

 

That pleading eyes with that cry, it is going to haunt me for some days. If there is indeed a god, please, I beg,let nothing happen to her and her baby.

Lonely Little Star

It was quite windy up in the hill. Past midnight, my favourite time to visit my cozy little open spot. Hope nobody is there right now. I want it all for myself.

Simply put, its a small hard rock at a small height which allows one to sit, and long enough to actually lie on. Not comfortable for too long, but just nice for me. The moon is out in all its glory. Opened YouTube and played a song with good guitar strums. You know, the sort of songs that are perfect for situations like this. Not that I was in any situation- it was pretty much my vibe all the time, except when I have to fake happiness and disinterest. Anyway, I’m lying there, looking at the beautiful moon, my thoughts going in circles, breaking, adding new thoughts, circling back- the usual mess.

An hour or something might have passed. I was lying down and was looking just at the plain sky distractedly and then I saw -there was a star there. A tiny little star, that somehow evaded my eyes for the past hour. Was it there earlier?  Or did I just miss it while I was it lulling in my own thoughts?

Or was it because the moon’s shine was so bright, I didn’t think about the stars at all?

Oh, how I feel for you, lonely star,

for I too have been a little star you like at times.

Never bright enough, but always noticed when the moon shines not,

only to be forgotten when the light comes back on.

 

Oh, how I feel for you, lonely star,

for the color of your glow is different

a mixture of green and blue,

but only visible, if one only looks close enough.

Lost among a hundred stars, and out shined by the moon too.

 

                                   Do you feel lost too, my little star?

                                   Do you wish you were bigger , brighter

or perhaps, far away from the moon, or maybe this galaxy,

so that someone always comes across you when searching?

 

Have you felt insignificant too, my melancholic star?

Have you craved for care, for love, for attention?

Or perhaps, unlike me, you do not wallow in self-pity,

shining proud and strong,

with not a care in the world

for who notices you and not.

 

Perhaps, at this very moment, to think that,

someone across this planet might be looking at you too.

Or to think of people who look at you, but do not see you

Or look at you, but searches for different colors

Or people, who only looks at the moon.

 

How wonderful, then, to have you all for myself,

my little star, up in the night sky.

For you, shall I live the rest of my nights

For you, shall I forego the moon,

that treacherous friend, who comes and goes.

 

And to think that, all this while,

you have been watching over me

unconditionally, without a sliver of look

in return, all this life!

 

I have another star in my life, little star!

For she is my mother, who shines better than the moon

and unlike that friend, never leaves my side. Are you a friend of

my mother too little star?

 

Are you, a little prayer from her,

send out to watch over me

to console me when I can’t cry

and bathe me with love, when she is so far away?

 

 

Or are you a little friend of her too,

I’ve always wondered, what she does

when I’m not around her. Maybe to her

you are me, a tiny little star,

proud and glowing nevertheless!

You

I want to bury my nose in your cheeks,

with our fingers intertwined,

Your body resting on mine,

And me, taking in all your smell,

And I shall call it heaven.

Done!

What a year it has been.Particularly, the past few weeks. The last semester was project, which meant a lot of things to do. Long tiring days of work+project,and I was chosen as the project manager.Though this means I had less to worry on technical stuff, stressed myself a lot unnecessarily.And then some major stuff at work that I had to plan, including technical stuff.

A lot of worrying,and stressful days. But hey, there are finally over.An end to the 2.5 years of self-doubts and torture called part-time degree.
Now that I’m done with the degree, the relief is immense. It is indescribable. I feel a weight has been taken off my chest(and my brain).

Now is the time to unlearn and start learning what I really want to learn.
The only problem is finding out what I really want to learn.I want to learn everything,
so I find myself jumping from topic to topic and going in circles.

Anyway, taking a quiet and much deserved break for myself now. I’ll get to travel to Germany next year,in January, (oh wait, that’s next week!) as part of work,
so there’s that. I would so love to have a traditional dinner with a German family, but that is perhaps hoping too much.Starting the year with a travel to an unknown place, weather and people.

And the best part is, I somehow feel happier. That the best part of my life is yet to come, and there is urge to start writing again.

This blog has remained silent for long, and that shall be the case no more.

I think next year is going to b-e-a-utiful.

 

ഭാവി

കല്യാണം കഴിഞ്ഞിട്ടിപ്പോൾ ഏകദേശം പത്തു പന്ത്രണ്ടു വര്ഷമായിക്കാണും. ആദ്യമൊക്കെ ഇടയ്ക്കോർത്തിരുന്നു . പിന്നീടെപ്പോഴോ പൊതുവെ മറന്നു. അങ്ങനിരിക്കെ , കുറെ നാളുകൾക്കു ശേഷം അവിചാരിതമായി ഒരു പഴയ പട്ടു കേട്ടപ്പോൾ അറിയാതെ അവളെ ഓർത്തു പോയി. തിരഞ്ഞു പിടിച്ചു ഓർത്തതല്ല. പണ്ട് ആ പട്ടു കേൾക്കുകയും പാടുകയും ചെയ്തു കൊണ്ടിരുന്നപ്പോൾ മനസ്സ് നിറയെ അവളുടെ മുഖമായിരുന്നു. വരികൾ വർണ്ണിച്ചുരുന്നത് അവളെ പറ്റി ആണെന്ന് സങ്കൽപ്പിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരുന്നു. ആ പാട്ടും അവളും തമ്മിൽ തന്നെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളം അഭേദ്യമായ ബന്ധമുണ്ട്. ആ മുഖം, ചിരി, അവളുടെ ചെറിയ ഗോഷ്ടികൾ. ഇത്രെയും കാലങ്ങൾക്കു ശേഷവും രണ്ടു വരികൾ അവളെ തിരികെ കൊണ്ടു വന്നിരിക്കുന്നു! ഇനിയിപ്പോൾ ഇന്നത്തെ ദിവസം നൊസ്റാൾജിയയുടെ പിടിയിലായിരിക്കുമെന്നത് നിസ്സംശയം.

തെരുവിൽ കൂടി നടക്കുമ്പോഴും,ട്രെയിനിൽ കയറുമ്പോഴും , ഭക്ഷണം കഴിക്കാനിറങ്ങുമ്പോളെല്ലാം , ഇനി ചില സൂചനകളെ അറിയാതെ തേടി കൊണ്ടേയിരിക്കും . ചുരുണ്ടതാണോ നേരെയാണോ എന്ന് തീരുമാനിക്കാൻ ആകാത്ത അവളുടെ മുടിക്കായി, കാട്ടരുവികൾ ഒഴുകുന്ന പോലുള്ള ചിരിക്കായി, എന്നെ ചേർത്ത് പിടിക്കു എന്നപേക്ഷിക്കുന്ന മിഴികൾക്കായി. അങ്ങനെയിരിക്കെ ഒരു ചിന്ത മനസ്സിൽ വന്നു. ഇപ്പോൾ പെട്ടെന്ന് , അവൾ തന്റെ മുമ്പിൽ വന്നാൽ എന്ത് ചെയ്യും ? എങ്ങിനെ ഞാൻ പ്രതികരിക്കും?

ഒരു പക്ഷെ കുശലം ചോദിക്കും. രണ്ടു പേരുടേയും ജീവിതം മുന്നോട്ടു കുഴപ്പമൊന്നുമില്ലാതെ പോയതിൽ സന്തോഷം പ്രകടിപ്പിക്കും . കൂടെ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്ന സുഹൃത്തുക്കളെപ്പറ്റി ഗോസ്സിപ്പടിച്ചേക്കാം . കുട്ടികളുടെ ഫോട്ടോകൾ അങ്ങോട്ടും ഇങ്ങോട്ടും കാണിക്കും. എന്റെ യാത്രകളെ പറ്റി അവളും , അവളുടെ എഴുത്തിനെ പറ്റി ഞാനും ചോദിക്കും. ചോദ്യങ്ങൾ ചോദിച്ചു കഴിയുമ്പോളുള്ള മൗനത്തിൽ ഞങ്ങൾ അസ്വസ്ഥരാകും. പൊങ്ങി വന്ന ഓർമകളെ അടിച്ചമർത്തും. ഇതാണിനി എന്റെ ജീവിതമെന്നും മുന്നിൽ കാണുന്നത് മറ്റൊരു ജന്മത്തിലെ ഓര്മയാണെന്നും സ്വയം പറഞ്ഞു ആശ്വസിക്കും . ഒടുവിൽ യാത്ര പറഞ്ഞു പിരിയുമ്പോൾ ഒരു ചെറു പുഞ്ചിരിയോടെ പറയും, കണ്ടതിൽ സന്തോഷം.

എല്ലാത്തിനുമുപരി ഒരു പക്ഷെ നമ്മൾക്കറിയേണ്ടത് ഒരു ചോദ്യത്തിനുള്ള ഉത്തരമാകാം. ആ ചോദ്യവും അതിനുള്ള ഉത്തരവും എന്ന് പറയുന്നത് ഒരു നല്ല കഥയോ സിനിമയോ പോലെയാണ്. ക്ലൈമാക്സ് എന്താണെന്നു അറിയുവാനുള്ള ജിജ്ഞാസയും , അറിഞ്ഞു കഴിയുമ്പോൾ അത് തീർന്നുവല്ലോ എന്നുള്ള വിഷമവും. യാത്ര പറയുമ്പോൾ, കണ്ണുകൾ ഉടക്കുമ്പോൾ , നാം ചോദിക്കാതെ ചോദിക്കുന്ന ഒരു ചോദ്യമുണ്ട്. നീ ഇപ്പോഴും എന്നെ സ്നേഹിക്കുന്നുവോ ? എന്ന ചോദ്യം! അങ്ങിനെ ചോദിക്കുന്നതിന്റെ പൊരുൾ എന്താണെന്നു അറിയില്ല. ജിജ്ഞാസയാകാം. സ്വാർത്ഥതയാകാം. വേദനയാകാം. താൽക്കാലിക ആശ്വാസത്തിനാകാം. വലിയ ഒരു ഭാരമിറക്കുവാനാകാം. ഉത്തരങ്ങൾക്കു പണ്ട് ലഭിച്ച അനുഭൂതികളെ മായ്ക്കുവാനോ മറക്കുവാനോ ഉള്ള ശക്തിയില്ല. എങ്കിലും, ആ നിമിഷത്തെ തെല്ലു ഭയത്തോടേയെ കാണുവാനാകൂ.

ട്രെയിൻ വലിയ ശബ്ദത്തോടെ നിർത്തി. സ്റ്റോപ്പ് എത്തിയിരിക്കുന്നു. ഞാനിറങ്ങട്ടെ. ഈ യാത്രകളിൽ ഒരിക്കലും കണ്ടു മുട്ടാതിരിക്കട്ടെ. പക്ഷെ, മരിക്കുന്നതിന് മുൻപ് അകലെ നിന്നൊരിക്കൽ കാണുവാനിടയാകട്ടെ. പറ്റുമെങ്കിൽ അന്യോന്യം തിരിച്ചറിയുവാനാകട്ടെ.

Pamuk and Other Colours

13th June 2017, marks an important day in my life.

I finished reading Orhan Pamuk’s book titled “Other Colours”.  He is one of the very few authors, or author of the very few kind of books that I have read, who has made me reflect on life. While half way through the book, reading his reflection on Dostoyevsky, I suddenly realized that I have never seriously studied a novel before. Sure, I have drawn parallels and infused myself on thoughts on life in general, comparing the character’s circumstances and decisions made, about how the world is evil and not to be trusted, about how people are never what they mean and say, but do. But never in a studied manner. Never erudite, always a passive impassionate mode of thought. To think of it further, I almost never ventured to dig deep into books, or novels. I always assumed that they were pretentious at best, trying to please the audience.

I say almost because partly the blame lies on how literature is taught in schools.  Putting critic’s reviews in textbooks may not be the best idea. Since these existed and I read them, I grew up with the idea that whatever critic I would make would be a replica of theirs. A number of half-witted, self-promoted intellectuals try to dissect and vainly identify patterns, link or ideas even the writer may not have considered, for example, in goodreads or Quora. “The curtain is blue”  – the textbook would ask us what this could mean. It would try to impress on us that it depicts the writer’s depression, or whatever the critic decided to attest its meaning to.  Codswallop in my opinion.  I did not want myself to be associated with such people. In fact, I refrained from making any such assumptions and distanced myself from it as far as possible. In a way, it was good. The deeper meaning behind this book was not always something I concerned myself while reading. I read simply for the pleasure of enjoying the imagination of the writer, to visit new lands, to reflect ideas never discussed before, or to see them in a new light, a wondrous moment indeed.

Speaking of critics, one come across writers who write what they think, but these are rare, and I adore them dearly. The earliest one I have come across, is in my own native language, Malayalam. A critic of the acclaimed novel by Mohammed Basheer, Premalekhanam. The prose of the critic was incredibly hard, and fortunately, my teacher was extremely good. She made us think beyond the literary meaning of the critic’s word. This was my first true encounter with the critic. I harboured hatred for the critic for tearing down a wonderful novel – how dare he find meaning behind words! And a conflicting part of me developed admiration for him. I was seduced by how he painstakingly researched the time, condition and the mentality of the original writer and how all these influenced and lead to the novel, how it was received and affected the society, and how, the future generation of mine ought to read and think about it keeping all these things in mind. It was more like how they say Tolkien’s Mordor was inspired by the wastelands of the Word War.

Orhan Pamuk is such a writer/critic.  His thoughts are well formed, his conscious clear, and he tries to be polite and humble when it’s not. When reading Isaac Assimov’s robot series, I pondered very little on his take on the role of humans in a robotic world. I assumed these were natural consequences of such circumstances. I never realised the depth of his thoughts when he depicted the world and his characters. Moving forward in this digital and futuristic world, I can’t help but feel that more than fiction, he was a visionary, and his novels not mere science fiction, but predictions, of a future yet to come. It is not utopian or dystopian entirely. After all, much of science fiction has become commonplace these days. Except time travel and inter-galactic travel. I have my suspicions that space travel will find tremendous progress in the coming decades, and I would witness some historic moment with respect to it.  Time travel, unfortunately, is not something I think would be possible.

When reading Harry Potter, apart from falling in love with the magic world, I simply agreed with Rowling that power struggle is real and the magical world is no different world when it comes to basic human traits. Sure, there is a hero, a villain, anti-villains, traitors, but I still think the greatest character Rowling introduced is Umbridge. This, is what made me love the series even more. This separated Rowling to me from being a mere fantasy writer to an astonishing writer. You see, Umbridge is the kind of character I hate most in this world. Misusing and representing a position of power. A story of lies and deceptions, of their influence on unimaginative people, who in turn resented authentic ones. But these thoughts not occurred then, but a few years down the road. Until then, I always had thought Umbridge was simply a bad character. Only when I started working and witnessed true politics, did I appreciate what Umbridge truly represented.

In other words, it is high time to observe nature and society more. Even more essentially to me, to study books deeper. To read more classics and see what men and women, thought of people and society in general. It is not enough that I just read a good novel anymore. It is imperative that I understand more than the book, that I question the author’s circumstances, that I realize what the greater question is. I may not go to the extent of the critic, to break it down as finely as them, but would probably end up thinking a little bit more about the novel.

Some words on the actual novel itself. First of all a word on the title. An apt title, a breath of fresh air that also truly reflects on the content of the book, which is the authors breadth and width. I am quite happy to have witnessed the dear writer’s mind. Or whatever he chose to publish to the world. I was sort of surprised that he spoke little about philosophical ideas such as love, jealousy, ego, faith , pride and happiness, but greatly on turkey, childhood and the east-west conflicts. Perhaps this is what truly concerns his mind most of the time and the others, well he has written in his novels. Another part of me was partly happy because to be honest, I was bored by some of the articles because they were quite dry in nature.  Even a great writer like Pamuk can also write something that does not concern or interest me was surprising to say the least. There were two particular chapters that invoked an emotion that I was unable to identify or name. These are “When Ruya is Sad” and the final chapter, “My Father’s Suitcase”, which is his Nobel prize acceptance speech. Apart from these there was a particular article whose title might be “No Entry” which I think was quite clever and would like to leave it to the readers imagination to read and reflect on them. The former is a very short piece which touches lightly on melancholy. The speech which begins with a slow and dreary pace but soon picks up emotion and ends up in a spectacular paragraph on why he writes. I was so moved that tears welled up in my eyes. I choked and had to dry my eyes at the library. It would not be an understatement to say that the book has inspired me again after ten years, after reading a novel called Snow. That the same writer can have the same effect on you after such a long time, when you have undergone so much change is just purely incredible and to that Mr Pamuk, my favourite author, I owe you a lot.

 

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