i am drunk. i haven't been drunk in 3 1/2 weeks. there are two reasons for this - the first is that there really isn't any alcohol legally available in rural gujarat (and i didn't know a bootlegger); the second is that the only kind of people who get drunk in rural india are men or witches. in any case, this isn't a post about my being drunk, this is a post about a book.
cities nauseate me. i mean this in a literal sense. i am asthmatic, and this means when i don't pay attention to how my lungs work, i suffocate and feel nauseous. when i don't swim, when i don't jog/walk/do yoga/exercise, i start to pay attention to things like air density and humidity levels.
this has nothing to do with how much i love cities.
i recently read the latest murakami book, colourless tsukuru tazaki and his yeas of pilgrimage.
i talk about how cities are nauseating because i have belatedly come to a conclusion about all of murakami's books. his most central concern, or the one that i relate to most anyway, is the condition of urban loneliness. or to put it in another way, he writes about people who put themselves in boxes. i may mean this literally - because what are urban homes if not boxes; but i most certainly mean it in a metaphorical sense. we become people without names or faces; we become persons whose lives are only meaningful to ourselves.
we become concerned with what we eat and what we wear and our daily routines and who we are friends with and what sort of books we read and what towels we use and whether we use conditioner meant for dry hair or oily hair and what sort of music we listen to and whether we think epubs are better than whatnot and where we download our music from and whether we are indie enough and whether we support the right kind of hip issues and whether we are green but what the hell is wrong with any other colour which brings me right back to murakami.
i love him, and i was asked recently what it is i love about him, i love him because he is so bloody good at talking about the urban condition. murakami, better than anyone else, talks about what it is like to be a person of one's own - not merely in the sense of being independent - but in the sense of being singular. that's not true. i love murakami because i associate my own solitariness with his characters. they are not driven or passionate about any one thing; they do what they do because they do it. they have no strong sense of direction - they go where they go because life takes them there. and that's just how it is.
but the truth is also (okay i'm drunk so i'm gping to tell this story - someone had a whole 45 minute conversation with me today assuming i was about 5 years younger than i really am - i'd blame it on my new and fancy haircut) that i love murakami because i loved him when i was younger. when i needed him, he was there. when i read after dark at 17 alone in a cafe-cum-bookshop after a fight with my best friend when i was sure i'd never talk to her again (it has been ten years since, we're still talking) it struck a deep resounding chord in my heart and i was hooked. five years after, when i read dance dance dance, it spoke to me in ways noone else did. his work has left a deep blemish on how i read and write fiction, no question about it. but do i love him as i did four or five years go? not really. is he as relevant? may be more than ever.
i might delete this post tomorrow, but right now i'm super astounded by how few spelling and grammatical errors there are.
also i read the book on a sunday on my kindle on my phone in a village 10000000 miles from a mobile phone tower. and i'm back in delhi now. i really feel on some days that i should make my google calendar public, just in case someone wants to hang out with me. (while we're still on the urban loneliness thing). okay post ends.
edit: tomorrow, when i'm sober, remind me to talk about cities, anonymity and loneliness; and why sleeping under the stars is all fine but really airconditioning is where it's at.