Kalimpong - lets list that one as a place I would love to visit someday. I should really maintain a list, alphabetised and categorised based on country, region, climatic conditions. Next time the husband says 'shall we go somewhere?' i should whip the list out and pick a place and hand it to him. He is bound to agree if I paint a good enough picture of the place. Quiet. That is enough of a description of a place for him to jump to it. So yeah, I hope for it.
The party was as follows - we were supposed to be just the two of us - meaning child and myself. Mid-afternoon the husband decided to postpone his trip to Jaipur (7 pm Fri Night Flight) to Saturday. He assured us he would be home for dinner. Oh yeah! with Friday night traffic, said I. Watch me, said he. So my plan was simple. Dinner. A couple of phone calls. Bed by 10 pm for an hour or two of undiluted reading. Since we would surely be just the two of us on Sat morning, no gym for me. Also, no pressure to do my studying etc. So had the luxury of sleeping late. Should be easy to finish off the book, I had already decided in the afternoon.
Surprisingly, he did show up, around 9:30. We hung around and talked and the child was super super excited cause I had not told her he is coming back, to maintain that surprise thing. It was jumping around wearing a pink tee looking for all the world like a bunny rabbit. Heart-warming and all. To think that a few short years ago, you would have found me behaving like that. Its a relief to be all grown up now, for sure. Less jumping.
So by the time I got things settled, sent him off to eat his dinner, forcibly got the child to sleep, kept one eye open in a dark room to resist the urge to fall asleep (I really HAD to finish that book), it was 11 pm. Too bad, I am surely not going to wake up till 7 so lets go for it Kenny, I said to myself.
The Inheritance of Loss
Kiran Desai - Last known at Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. Indian, American (German?). Young girl. The Man Booker Prize 2006. Daughter of Anita Desai.
The second you win a prize, of course, there is a class of people that start making disparaging comments. Taking stuff away from the prize. If you compete in a gender-unseparated category and HORRORS! are a woman, fully expect this and more. She was all cute when she won. But even I was like 'hmm, should I read this one? will I be sorely disappointed with her, her mom, the Booker, and in general this whole diaspora thing? Will it be clever or just borderline smut with lots of American scenery?' Of course I HAD to read it, and postponed it up to now. Loaned it to all the family members who expressed an interest. Finally picked it up last week, and said, OK lets get this over with.
As a disclaimer, a book is never a book for me. Its an experience. I am in the pages, sort of. Sometimes I am the writer, sometimes, the girl, sometimes even the furniture that is sitting around. But I am there. Not as an objective observer but as a slightly crazy participant. Which means, that unless it is completely totally impossible for me to relate to anything absolutely at all in a book, I can afford, in my mind, to be not overly critical of it, cause you know, I was there. Flipping that coin, I can read it in a frenzy, find myself in every page, and then totally diss it because, you know, I was there and it sucked big time. In short, readers expecting an unbiased, clinical, objective review are in the wrong place.
The people I loaned it to returned it to me saying 'so-so. 'A' for effort though' and so on, but, I will say this. I liked it. When I shut the book a bit past midnight, I said, Hey this was real nice. Would be good to read it again even. I thought it would be a laborious thing, in the initial few pages. There was this teenage romance thing going on, if it headed in predictable directions of usual heart-break, I would have been troubled. There was all this stuff about rain. It was raining here too, the end of the monsoons, the time you really hate the rain cause your umbrella is broken, the raincoats smell weird and you really want to feel the sun. I was thinking, hey, enough of this rain already. The characters were small in number, not a solved equation. There was this judge dude who was prominent and really a tough one to like. The girl was fine, but I was worried would turn out cute-sy. The American immigrant was going through too much hardship for me to look at with enthusiasm. But she did a great job with all of it and all of them. In the end, there was still the rain. There was a farce of sorts with a dog. The characters retained their character totally. There was no particular surprises. There was a distinct touch of reality to the whole thing. But I closed it with a satisfaction, a simply written, honest book. She is a star in her own right.