Love Trilogy – Part III

The Cul-de-Sac

“The National Geographical Organization has now given information that time left is very less for people of Darjeeling to evacuate the place. This is the last chance for all those who haven’t. The avalanche is…”. *click*. Ptolev switched the room back to silence turning the radio set off. The clock in his room ticked eleven in the morning.

Ptolev, strangely, didn’t feel hungry though he skipped his breakfast. He just woke up twenty minutes ago and is still snugly ensconced in a warm rug, staring at the white out of the window. But his mind was not as calm and snug as his body was. The haunting thoughts of night were striking him coldly now. Mountains, trees, the lake and the snow outside were reluctant to provide him the comfort they did everyday.

As if the cold was not enough, it started to snow. Ptolev got down his bed and slid his feet into his shoes. He got into a fat woolen sweater and then did something he never before did. Never since he moved into the house did he close his bedroom window for he feared it might be like closing all doors to his inner peace and comfort. And now losing faith in the Himalayan peaks, he didn’t falter in doing it.

He then stepped out of the house, closed the door behind him and started to walk. In minutes, the cold outside numbed his body as he walked down the dreary street. After all its denizens dispossessed the place, it possessed a strange eeriness. Not something new for Ptolev is it? Step after step he took desultorily walking not worried a jot about the ensued avalanche.

*****

Sofia started to rub the pearls away from her cheeks and got herself back to normal. Still crouched on the ground, penitently thought about what to be done. She got up, dusted the snow and dust off her clothes and put her satchel back on her shoulder. Gaining all mental mettle, she now started to walk with the augmented hope.

What a good thing inner conscience is. It now was promising her – The Quest is not Over. That this story of her and her lover is not destined to end but otherwise – Begin. Walked did she now with all might and not contrite. Occupied with these thought she didn’t even remember there was an avalanche waiting to show its wrath.

*****

Ptolev now reached the crossroad where Sofia an hour ago was distracted by the bar into taking left when she had to take right. He stood there looking at the circle in between the crossroad that normally had company of people sitting on it. And then, spectacularly, he could see someone in a red sweater walking towards him from about two hundred meters away. He scarcely could see the face through the snowy fog. As she came nearer, his eyes froze first and then went big. His body jerked in shock. They are now just a few meters away and their eyes met.

Ptolev still was captured in the same shock. Seconds passed by while they stood there staring at each other with their bodies denying to move ahead towards one another. Tears rose in Sofia’s eyes and so did they in Ptolev’s. Sofia covered her face and cried there while Ptolev dumbstruck, stood watching.

And while this happened, the mountains started to dust themselves. The avalanche has started. Snow from top of the Himalayan peaks started to curl down gaining great speed as it did. Both their faces consumed by fear turned towards right to the mountains on which the snow was rumbling down with great noise. The air around them started to get thick covered by loose dry snow making it hard to see each other, fighting the dense snow that was pushing them aside and then all the snow from above came down with all its magnanimity and forte encapsulating the whole place not leaving a skosh.

We do not now what happened next. In fact, no one ever knew what happened next. Did Ptolev and Sofia live to make a happy ending or they got no closer than looking at each other amidst the splentic snow? Did they touch each other? Did they hug? Or did they perish? The story that followed is relayed only to the mountains that looked down and the time that passed by…

 

All we can say now is Arivederci.

 

THE END

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Love Trilogy – Part II

SOFIA GETS DOWN THE TRAIN

 

It was an extremely chilly morning. But her cabin in the train, to her rescue, gave her the warmth that the woolen sweater she wore couldn’t. The train halted with the wheels screeching and the engine whistling. She got up, took her hefty brown leather bag from underneath the seat and treaded the aisle to the door. She was confronted by a worried look from the train attendant at the door.
“Are you sure? It’s dangerous out there now.”
“Yes I am. I gotta do this. I’ll have to find Ptolev. I can’t think otherwise at all.”

The attendant shrugged as if he didn’t care and produced his hand towards the door indicating her to leave. Sofia got down and the train, making all sorts of routine mechanical sounds, left the Dhanwarpur station. It was colder than sofia expected. The air was heavy to breath with moisture in the air hardening into ice. As she walked out of the railway station, in the numbing cold, to her surprise, it was all barren land as far as her eyes could see, only with green and yellow grasses here and there. And right from the exit of the station, a muddy road started going on till the horizon.
Sofia was young (28) and strong though slim, which let her stay undeterred by the spine chilling cold as she paced the path itching for people or houses so she could be guided to Ptolev’s.

The place was devoid of people. was this because of the avalanche warning the radio sets gave the people the day before? Let us see. After walking for ten minutes, to her delight, she encountered a family walking in the opposite direction to her carrying all their luggage in bags and rags. She went over to them and showed the man a paper with something written on it.
“Excuse me please. Would you mind helping me with this address? I came from far away and I do not know any of Dhanwantpur.
Staring at the paper, “Just walk on this road for fifteen minutes and you will find crossroads. Take a right there and you might find someone there to help you from there. The place is emptied now. Didn’t you listen to the governments warning? This place is going to be flooded by an avalanche and be awash by snow any time now.” he said while his wife behind him nodded in approval as if very much concerned about Sofia.
“Thanks a lot. I think I’ll go into the village anyway.”

The man gave a puzzled look and parted with his wife and kids.

Twenty minutes passed by and she didn’t stop anywhere in between. She now was at the crossroads, surrounded by a few wooden houses. On her left was a deserted bar that reminded her of the bar where she refuted Ptolev’s love. She turned towards it and looked at it motionless, recollecting the wrathful scene, feeling more than ever determined to find Ptolev now. She knew that the loneliness around was not a right omen. But she decided she got no business any longer with the omens. She walked straight and looked for someone to ask help as to the address but just then she saw a board that read, “11th street – 2kms.”, with an arrow mark pointing straight. She opened the paper in her bag and read it. “11th street, westside corridor, Dhanwarpur, Darjeeling.”

She started walking, happy that she could decipher it herself. Enjoying the sky with not a hint of sun or its shine that produced an aesthetic feeling in her, she walked. With renewed hope, basking the idyllic surroundings and lonesome moments, she treaded for half an hour. Nothing did she encounter but a few figs and weed on barren lands every where till then. The muddy road then started to disappear. The faint delineation of the road started to fade out into empty lands around. In minutes, there was no road and she started to understand, it was foolish of her to walk so far even after the road disappeared.

She could find nothing now except for a tree afar that stood alone on all the arid land. Unable to digest the fact that she lost her way, shattered, she felt the ground beneath her feet weaken. Hope fading, annoyed, agonized and frustrated with herself, she fell on the ground and started to weep and wail in misery and despair…

The bar she came across shouldn’t have been on her left…

 

For Part I,   https://pratheekreddy68.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/a-gape-out-of-ptolevs-window/

Book Review – DREAMS FROM MY FATHER by Barrack Obama

Author: Barack Obama
Pages: 442

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Many an autobiography is written, each with its own purpose. I do not know if Barack Obama’s intentions behind writing this autobiography of his are directed towards fame and acceptance by the American plebeian but it definitely is intended to raise his pecuniary conditions so he could be adequetly funded to stand firm in the election fray for senatorship of Illinois then.

What his purposes were should not be much of our business while how the book is written and its inspirational and entertaining capabilities is very important. I mind the reader to note that this book had been written when Barack Obama was a first time contestant for the state of Illinois senatorship elections. Ergo, the book cowers only his youth and years after he completes his law at Harvard.

This 442 paged book has a very slow yet gripping story of Obama that he describes in a very lucid language and with bounteous clarity. He describes his life concentrating more on his familial roots. The book intermittently plunges into Obama’s family’s past as he tries to trace it. His father is an aboriginal of Kenya and mother Hawaii. Though he spent most time with his mother for his father seldom stayed with them, his characteristics, thoughts, strengths and weaknesses are more of the latter. His father had been introduced to USA by Kenyans so they could understand the latest developments in the states and reproduce them. This way, incidentally, Obama’s Hawaiian mother and Kenyan father joined maritally.

While his mother was an affable, good matron, always supporting him as a child, his father rarely stayed with them. After he finishes his under-graduate at the Occidental College, he embarks upon the journey to Kenya to understand his past and his roots. This phase of his life when he spent time exploring his father in Kenya, he describes very vividly with good fluency of thought (so is it of the language).

And then his appetite for knowledge for his family’s roots satisfied, he goes on to Harvard to pursue his Law studies where he stands out to be the first African-American to be Harvard Law Reviews editor. And there at Harvard, he also meets his gonna be life mate Michelle.

With many insights into conditions of African-Americans in the States, their status, his struggle as a social worker and crowd mobilizer and most importantly, his exploration of his past , the book is a fluent and a smooth account of his young life in very lucid words. Anyone interested in Obama or even those wanting just to read a good book, Dreams From My Father is perfect!

Love Trilogy – Part I

A Gape Out of Ptolev’s window

 

38 year old Ptolev sat by the window looking at the Himalayan peaks which were as calm and composed as a meditating sadhu. Cut off from people, he stayed in a wooden house, standing lonely night and day in fraught silence that is sometimes broken by the sweet chirps of a bird or two from above the decrepit snow covered tree beside his window. This building, in Darjeeling, has been Ptolev’s house for seven years. Sunshine was, like the sounds of birds chirping, very rare. The small house, with four rooms though, is always faintly lit by the weak white light reflected by the snow all around through the windows.

Most of the time Ptolev just sits on his bed by the window peeping out at the high scaling magnificent mountains trying to decipher the meaning of their sturdy stillness, while the ink on his pen’s nib dries for he doesn’t write a word for hours. Sometimes he even imagined the peaks coming nearer to him but felt sad when he realised that that didn’t really happen. And when the mountains didn’t appeal to him, he selected a tree afar and wondered about it. Nothing in specific but just musings over the tree and its sillhoute. The only thought that often got him away from the himalayas and trees is that of Sofia (his love and 10 years younger to him) rejecting his love years ago before he left to Darjeeling. Why go into its wrathful description when we have the beautiful white mountains bestrewed with ever snow covered coniferous trees to discuss about.

Everything Ptolev does, from splashing freakishly chill water on his face every morning to listening to his bed creak in the night when he moves on it, is perfunctory but for his gaping at the mountains and the lake (just dozen meters away from his bedroom window) that is frozen in the winters ever since he came.

Because of the silence the place possessed, even the slightest and the puny and paltry sounds like that of his breath, his footsteps, the door knob when used, the creaking of his bed, the sound of his pen nib while on work and even the churning in his stomach be very important and noteworthy for him because very rarely do his ears get to feast upon better sounds. Anyway, I don’t think we should be minding as Ptolev lately is trying to find happiness in these insignificant sounds and normally never minded actions too.

Silence and solitude was all that he desired and this house in Darjeeling satiated him abundantly. But, since a month, every night before he slept, a strong feeling (or call it a sense) of lacking subverts his thoughts and moors with all forte untill sleep takes over. A chiding sense of loss, as if losing something that has just come in reach. A sense that something pertaining to him is happening elsewhere and is haunting him like the silence that surrounds him but not revealing itself. Every night! Philiping thoughts about some lack. About some unfilled gap seeking to be filled. So lost was he gaping at the himalayas, little did he realise Sofia was looking everywhere she could, yearning badly for him, after seven long years.

Love hearts are really mysterious.

 

 

For Part II,  https://pratheekreddy68.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/love-triology-part-iii/

 

Comment section for me is like Ptolev’s bedroom window to him…!!

Book Review – THE BOY IN STRIPED PYJAMAS by John Boyne

“The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas”

John Boyne

Pages: 223

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The boy in striped pyjamas is one book that really touched my heart and I am sure it would to anyone who reads it. The beautifully constructed story is edified from Bruno, a nine year old boy’s point of view. This aspect of the book let it stand out from most other holocaust literature. Bruno’s vision and understanding of things like any other nine year old’s is very innocent and naive, possessing childish sweetness that brings the reader a strong feeling of nostalgia.

The boy’s puerile thinking about the cruelest things Nazis were doing to the Jews and lack of reasoning that grown ups possess to distinguish between things accretes to the description of the tale a unique novelty. The author does a brilliant job in taking the reader through various emotions of Bruno with an underlying aim to acquaint the boy firmly and to accustom the surrounding happenings.

John Boyne compounds a beautifully scintillating story that would grip the reader till the end where the book turns out to be a complete tragedy starkly shocking the reader shaking all the feelings bounteously accumulated towards the boy and the story.

The story set in Germany in the Nazi era scales the peaks of emotional states, sentimentally triggering the reader with Bruno’s friendship with ‘the boy in the striped pyjamas’ and the shape it takes before it cruelly terminates into nothingness. The book doesn’t fail in stingingly paining the reader’s heart in the end to an amount where he/she would despise the author for doing it. This type of feeling is achieved not by many a book out there.

All being said, for a beautiful read that really touches the heart and leaves the reader yearning to lapse back to innocently reasonless world of childhood, no other book can surpass “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”. This heart-breaking tale is one that is told in a million years. This story has to be read and felt at least once in a lifetime for otherwise would be a great mistake.

Book Review – GANDHI BEFORE INDIA by Ramachandra Guha

GANDHI BEFORE INDIA
-Ramachandra Guha

Pages: 730

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Ramachandra Guha’s previous book ‘India After Gandhi’ proved itself in the international community as it did in the market. Though this latest book of his sounds by its name as a second part of India After Gandhi, it is not.

Gandhi Before India is an account of what Gandhi was as a child to what he had become after his experiences in South Africa. This book of Guha cannot be said to be a philosophical or spiritual account like many other books on Gandhi are. It is a simple and a chronological explanation of various happenings, deeds of Gandhi and his responses to the deeds of others.

Guha’s lucid language and clear timely description surely would give a very gripping read. Gandhi’s adventurous and heart-throbbing life story complimented with Guha’s knowledge of it and his literary style makes the book all the more interesting and page turning. Guha does not fail in describing even minute details in the book. Sometimes he even goes as far as to describe the colours of shirts the people were wearing. I let the reader mind that this so vivid description does not hinder in anyway but only exudes the depth of research the author has done on Gandhi.

While the book does not disappoint the reader in any way, there does exist a fundamental setback to some for the book does not tell the whole life story of Gandhi but stops abruptly in between. It does not go any further than when Gandhi reaches an age of 50. Another setback, though not as serious as the first, is that the book is best for those who already possess a good picture of happenings around Gandhi of the time. These are the only minuses in the book which “may” play their part for a few readers.

Taking into count the above mentioned pros and cons, it can be said without hesitation that this latest work of Ramachandra Guha, “Gandhi Before India” is a very good book and will surely satisfy anyone with a little knowledge about the father of the nation of India and immensely interested to learn more about the Mahatma.

Book Review – THE HUNGRY TIDE by Amitav Ghosh

THE HUNGRY TIDE

– Amitav Ghosh

Pages: 430

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“Kanai spotted her the moment he stepped onto the crowded platform…”.
The book starts with introduction of the two protagonists Kanai and Piya. And since the introduction, the reader has to immerse himself in the minds of both with often shifting from one to other. This is a book of splendid artistic description of nature, people and circumstances capricious that would keep the reader involved for hours. Amitav Ghosh takes the reader through a roller coaster of intricately woven scenes interspersed with natures unpredictable wroughts.

The story is based in the sunderban islands of West Bengal where Kanai and Piya come together for different purposes though. And then, the story makes its path into lives of many a character that touch the story with leaving their own peculiar impressions on it. The story gains strength with every story Ghosh describes intermittently and every character’s life that he peeps into. Though the story is slow paced and keeps you waiting for something stark and strong to happen, you realise that you immensely enjoyed the read only when you are done reading.

This book of Amitav Ghosh, like his other books, aims not at a powerful climax or the adrenaline rush that the movies achieve but to make the read a joyful ride to the reader. If you are a reader who likes artistic works involving nature, people and their feelings and the way things are described rather than the story, then THE HUNGRY TIDE would sublimely acquiesce you and would leave a tinge of it to carry with you after you are done reading the book.