Sunday, May 27, 2007

What I am reading right now

Upamanyu Chatterjee's book "English, August". I started this book reluctantly since it seemed very dense and pretty pointless not to mention pretty depressing as well. I have since started admiring this book and I am only about halfway through it. I am not even going to try and summarize it or analyze it. Here are some favorite passages of mine from this book, from whatever I've read thus far.

' In the government, you'll realize this over the years, Sen, there is no such thing as absolute honesty, there are only degrees of dishonesty. All officers are more or less dishonest - some are like our engineers, they get away with lakhs, some are like me, who won't say no when someone gives them a video for the weekend, others are subtler, they won't pay for the daily trunk call to Hyderabad to talk to their wives and children. Only degrees of dishonesty. But, of course, honesty does not mean efficiency.'

'Bhatia made Agastya's secret life seem so ridiculous, he wanted to laugh. Its major consolation had been the possibility that it was a profound experience, something rare; now it seemed as common as a half-bottle of whisky, something he shared with Bhatia. Agastya faintly disliked him for this, for shattering one of his last consoling illusions. But he could not admit to their similarity. He realized obscurely that the sense of loneliness was too precious to be shared and finally incommunicable, that men were ultimately, islands; each had his own universe, immense only to himself, far beyond the grasp or the interest of others. For them the pettiness of the ordeal was unrecordable, worthy at best, only of a flicker of empathy. He was really not that interested in Bhatia's life; later, Dhrubo would not be interested in his, and his father would not be able to understand it.'

'The inhabitants of his world moved so much, ceaselessly and without sanity, and realized only with the last flicker of their reason that they had not lived. Endless movement, much like the uncaring sea, transfers to alien places, passages to distant shores, looking for luck, not sensing that heaven was in their minds. I was not born for this, said Agastya silently. He had said that all he wanted was to be happy. Now alone under the stars, he could finally admit this to himself without embarrassment. '

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