Let me make it clear at the outset itself that I am no culture vulture. Yet, I have found this culture thing a huge necessity in my life.
The fact is that I am a snob of sorts and I move around in circles where pretence gets priority in the survival of the fittest.
Dropping names is the norm whether it is in the form of a human shape, animal or vegetable kingdom or paper, celluloid, gastronomic as the case may be.
I have successfully overcome many difficult situations on these subjects by clever manipulations using the mobile phone. But the one thing that gives me a brain fade is books. I used to love reading and now I don’t.
Whenever the subject of books did crop up, I usually changed the topic to the weather or the complexion of the person immediately to my left.
I haven’t read a book since the turn of the Millennium, I confess. I cannot lay my finger on why this happened. It certainly wasn’t Chetan Bhagat.
Wham. It just happened one winter’s day in 1999. There I was delving into the intricacies of The Perks of Being A Wallflower by the American Stephen Chbosky and imagining I was Charlie, the protagonist.
For reasons unknown I couldn’t complete the book that day. Sadly, I never did nor did I touch another.
I cannot explain why. Even a coke-filled Sherlock Homes wouldn’t be able to solve that.
There I was – a reader one day and a non-reader the next. In the period from then to now, I only read the obituaries in the cricket bible called Wisden.
The book extends to around 1,500 pages but I did 30 pages per year regularly pertaining to deaths. What saddens me further is that there were no pangs of regret in that period. I was even proud of the fact that the scant grey matter I had wasn’t even tested by a book.
But now having reached that stage in life when the blue yonder would beckon any moment, I decided that I must do something about it.
It certainly will go with my grey hair, long beard and bulbous eyes. There were many in my circles who thought of me as a wise father figure. I decided to play that role to perfection and cover that one defect.
I have joined a book club recently which thankfully meets only once a month. You get one month to read a book and then the members dissect it thoroughly.
We just discussed Haruki Marukami’s novel Norwegian Wood. There is only an outside chance that one of my so-called friends would have read this Japanese writer. I had only read about 10 pages before I found it too heavy for comfort.
But I have ammunition from the book club members to throw at these “nose in the air” souls. I will relish this until kingdom come.