I was looking forward to this week. Two holidays. And if I worked from home one of the days I get a long sequence of them. Then the question. What will I do with so many days? One thing about festival holidays is that you are going to be busy doing things. Not like the US where you could just chill out and plan for a long weekend. For them, the only ones where they do things with some tradition comes in Thanksgiving and Christmas, and those come in Winter anyway.
Monday came. I went to office braving the traffic. There was nothing surprising, the traffic was normal, as bad as it usually is on Mondays. But then I stopped obsessing with it a while back. Only really bad ones make me look out and stress out. Like the one that evening. Apparently, a truck had broken down on the ring road near the never-ending construction for the Bellandur flyover. I waited in the company Innova (which drops me past the flyover), which moved some 20-30 feet in 15 minutes. Realizing that that would be a no-go, I got down and hitched my way to Marathahalli and the route through the city and majestic to home sweet home. Traffic had backed up all the way till the Marathahalli Bridge thanks to this blockage, a good 5 Kms! It was 8:30 as I reached home and the Bangalore Traffic Police had notifications of BWSSB work all over the city!
Thanks to some weird scheduling, Tuesday was Eid in Brocade unlike the more conventional Wednesday. I stayed at home and coursed through ‘The Immortals of Meluha’. I had started this book a few days back and was immediately put off by the quality of writing and the thinness of the plot. Over a period of time, I gradually switched over to Amar Chitra Katha mode minus the pictures and it worked fine enough to be a decent read. It even makes you want to read the next one.
Wednesday was interesting, as I made it to work in 1.5 hours and was in by 8:45! All thanks to the Eid holiday for the rest of the city. I expected the return to be equally breezy, but turned out that BWSSB had ripped open the service lane leaving only the main road, with half of it claimed by the flyover construction. Another huge traffic jam. This time the Innova driver was smart enough to cut through the backside and make it past the site without any issues. Apparently, some news channels had also visited to see the kind of mess the ‘civic authorities’ are creating in that area! So much for planning. On the return journey I started reading ಆವರಣ, my first Kannada novel.
Today, was spent traveling to Chamarajpet where a friend of my dad had bought a flat who’s gates opened straight into Mysore Road! After that, and a visit to the Ganesha temple where relatives run the show, I returned home. But not before causing a huge scrape and a tiny dent on my car from a half closed gate of TR Mills. Apart from that, was surprised to see the temple and a projecting rock all nice and gleaming with new paint. Was surprised and impressed to know that all that was done by my dad’s cousin, just one person working every day after work to paint the whole structure!
On returning, I began reading ಆವರಣ. To say that it was a plod would be an understatement. It was beyond difficult. As Ashwin put it on twitter, the language was dense! But then the book is dense not just in the language, but even emotionally. No word or sentence is left hanging without any need for it. There is no cruising through it, brushing past filler sentences. Every word, every sentence carries import. The first few pages set up the story and it moves into flashback mode as the main protagonist reminisces over her marriage to a Muslim and conversion, trouble with in-laws, understanding a new religion, and most importantly seeing the person she loved as not just one guy, but as a part of a different religion. The whole flashback lasts only some 20 odd pages, but he carries you through every emotion, every thread of the major discord she encounters as her marriage starts unraveling before it magically patches back up with some intervention, before he brings you back up for breath at the end of the chapter. The start of the new chapter plunges you straight back into an emotional roller-coaster.
At some levels this book reminds me of Snow. The pacing is much faster, but its a plod. Have noticed that unlike thriller-ish novels, ones dealing deeply with human emotions tend to be a bit of a plod. Anyway, its a great read so far. The topic is very contentious, so will make up my mind at the end of the book. Hopefully will have a post then too.