Thursday, January 07, 2010

A few moments of solitude

Jishnu is now a reasonably grown baby at 3 months and his last of the vicious vaccines is done with.


The time I have may not be one hundred years, but I finally have some moments to think and write about something non-baby. So, I’ve decided to do the honours with Mr Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred years of Solitude. It is probably the last book I will have read earnestly enough to remember, for a very long time.

I remember picking up this book especially after seeing the famous Mr Rushdie’s testimony on its cover though I’m not a great fan of the author of Midnight’s Children. Being swayed by his little recommendation could mean landing up another tale with its heads and tails in all the wrong places, another book belonging to the genre of magic realism. But the ‘jhaadoo’ and the ‘khali kursi’ on the book’s cover added to the beckoning and I took my chance.

And surely enough, flying carpets and almost immortal “Macondans?” with similar names came rushing out of the pages in some weirdly fantastic language. In page after page came Aureliano after Aureliano, Arcadio after Arcadio, Amaranta after Amaranta and Ursula after Ursula and sent me scurrying back to the family tree Mr Márquez had very helpfully and knowingly put there for a not-so-clever reader’s reference. In the backdrop of a civil war, the essential Buendia traits of solitude on the one hand and impulsiveness on the other manifest themselves through the many protagonists of the story. While the men fight and party and invent and womanize, the women cook and clean and scheme and birth.

Then there is this Gawd-alone-knows-how-old-he-is gypsy man and a never ending spell of rain and hell yes, this chick called Remedios the Beauty, who walks around naked and then one day suddenly decides to ascend to heaven. Poof! Sudden appearances and disappearances also happen with the Banana Company who Americanize the innocent, little, sleepy town, the Arabs, termites and other characters. The story (as it was supposedly intended) goes round and round in circles with the same things happening to the characters, as it essentially does with all human beings. But the USP of the book is the surreal way in which the mundane is presented.

A good read for those not looking for logic.

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