A Novel Way To Be The Perfect Culture Vulture

Flying open books in library
Image used for representation only.

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.

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Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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