Thursday, December 29, 2011

Unconsoled - Experiencing what one is reading

While in the hospital, I was reading a section where the narrator in Unconsoled gets angrier over trivia - mainly because it somehow reminds him of the past and the same thing happened to me. I wonder if it was the impact of the novel or a coincidence.

I lost my temper over nothing and it was an unpleasant surprise/experience for me. It had more to do with some vague irritation from a past experience or an anxiety about a future possibility.

Need to take up yoga to stay calm :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Unconsoled - Strange but very powerful

Kazuo Ishiguro's Unconsoled is probably the strangest book I have ever read. It was a remarkable experience. The impact of reading this book was similar to having a very vivid dream. I wake up and the dream is ridiculous and absurd. However, the emotional experience of the dream is profound and lingers.

This reading of a short story by Ishiguro can give a reasonable idea of the strangeness of the novel:

The impact of the book may have been greater as the environment in which I read it was abnormal. One of the threads of the book is the expectation of parents and children from each other. Here I was in a hospital room near my mother, who had had a severe stroke and was in a semi-conscious state. And I was frequently interrupting my reading, waiting and looking for little signs of recovery.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Complexity issue? - Deadlock at a crossroads.

I made the mistake of showing a little courtesy to the car which had taken half a turn to complete it. This would have cleared my lane so I would not have to abruptly risk switching lanes to go around that car.

Another car noticed that I had stopped and rushed to take the empty space. Now, no one could move at the crossroads - each car was being blocked by another!

For once, I was calm and amused. It was my passenger who got very upset. Anyway, a minute or more later, a police man came around. Forced the idiot to back up and cleared my lane. I am surprised at how often such deadlocks occur - can't people reason about the implications of their actions? Is it that complex?

If the turning is so bad, I would have just taken a left and taken a U-turn around a large circle. It might have added a kilometer to the distance but should have been faster. Is the cost of driving one kilometer so high that few seem to do it?

Discourteous, Callous or Just Simply Stupid

I have been trying hard to ignore minor irritants in India. With so many people, perhaps, such irritants are inevitable. However, it pained me when my mother was to be taken to her room on the 6th floor of the hospital in a stretcher. It was visiting hours and the visitors rushed into to the elevator. The attendants had to request and push them to make space for my mother.

Aside from the sheer discourtesy shown to an ill patient in a hospital, I was particularly bugged by a group of people who had rushed in first. They had to go to the first floor and pushed their way out. They were younger than me and healthy - so why on earth did they insist on using the elevator.