I don't usually give up a book mid-way and start reading another book. Of course, there were cases when the book was very monotonous and the progress was so painstackingly slow and I had to put the book aside and start another book afresh. I would neve commit such a feat, even if the book was so boring. I would in the least skip a few paragraphs and complete the book in some way. But I never stop a book in the middle and start another one because I believe that it is the worst degree of disgrace any book might have earned from me. And yeah, there quiet a few books that earned such a degree of disgrace from me. It depicts the torturous path I went through during the course of reading the book. The books which I gave up midway - or the moment I complete the first few pages of the book - are never touched. Once a bore, always a bore. That's what I believe when it comes to books. When I stop reading a book, I put the book aside, write a review describing how torturous the book was and start readinganother book. Neither do I read mutiple books at a time. I have this deformity in my mind, which, when multipe books are read at once, will mix up the stories of the books and the outcome of the review is not just confusing to me and readers, but also authors. To save you all this misery I don't read more than one book at a given instance of time.
That is the quality of my reading for you. And this book is an exception.
Actually, I was midway through the book, Arjuna, when I started and completed reading this book. The discontinuation of the former book is not because of any negative aspect, but due to circumstance. The reason for that case is a story in itself. Readers who are uninterested in the story but the review, can scroll down past the 'My story' part to read the remaining review. Others, read on!
When I was about 60% through the book, Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli, I was boarding a train to Chennai from Hyderabad. I was going there for my summer vacations, for paying visit to innumerable maternal uncles based over there. The number of maternal uncles and aunties I had always fascinated me. My grandfather must have been a man of stamina. (Note: Girls, who are reading this review. I am the direct grandson of him. If you know what I mean. ;) )
Anyway, it was a full 12-hour journey and I was determined to complete reading Arjuna. The moment stepped into the train; I extracted the book from my bag and started reading it. Though the train is of 12 hours, I had only about 4 hours of reading time, because after 11 PM lights are switched off and I was sure to not wake up until the train reaches its ultimate stop and some co-passenger would wake me up, out of mere pity, if not helpfullness.
As I have said earlier, I started reading the book the moment I got into the train, paying little heed at the petty jokes cracked by the ill-jovial co-passengers. Noticing that I am not paying any attention to their jokes and was immersed in the book, the hefty aunty to my side asked me what I was reading.
I, who was interested by anything related to books, said with enthusiasm, "The book's name is Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli. It is the story of Mahabharathha narrated in the English used in 20th century." Just then, my mom called me to have dinner. We had dinners early during train journeys. The hefty aunty borrowed the book and I went for dinner. After I returned from dinner, the aunty wasn't ready to part with the book. I hesitated to mouth the request.
After sometime, maybe aunty sensed my hesitation, she said, "I will read this last chapter and will give you. You are heading Chennai only, no?" Noticing my frustration, she said, "Don't worry. I will return the book before you get down the train for certain." That is when all the hope of completing reading that book shattered. I thought, I had to spend the rest of the journey with only one companion - boredom.
That is how I came to read this book. The reason: To evade boredom. Why this book: Because its thickness is about 3 needles kept side-by-side.
Plot (from GoodReads):
In dull and dusty Pipalnagar, each day is like another, and 'there is not exactly despair, but resignation'. Even the dreams here are small. Adrift among them, the narrator, Arun, a struggling writer of detective novels in Urdu, waits for inspiration to write a blockbuster. Meanwhile, he seeks reassurance in love, and finds it in unusual places: with the young prostitute Kamla, wise beyond her years; and the orphan Suraj, homeless and an epileptic, yet surprisingly optimistic about the future. this is a memorable story about small lives, with all the hallmarks of classic Ruskin Bond prose: nostalgia, charm, underplayed humour and quiet wisdom.
My take of the book:
I don't think Ruskin Bond, the author, needs an formal introduction. Even people who don't read book should be aware of him as many of his stories are included in English textbooks all over the country. Even I had one story of his when I was in my sixth grade. Due to the long years between then and now, I don't much remember the story. (I had to ask my friend in which we had his story.)
Ruskin Bond has a special haven inside my house. Why, you ask me? Even I can't answer that question. In fact, I don't know the answer for that question. I developed a liking for him even before I read any of his books. In fact, if you can believe, this is my second book from him. The first one being Road To Mussoorie. It was was joyful read. I always had a heart for hills and hilly regions and this was just the book to rejoice my heart. Perhaps, it is his narrative style that rejoices one's heart.
Ever came across a book by Ruskin? Not the omnibus kinda books, but the other ones. The novellas. My jaw literally touches ground when see the size of one of his novellas and the price printed on its back. Even this book was a mere 111 pages, double-spaced - or maybe, triple-spaced - and costs 150 rupees! If you consider other books, you will recognize it is pretty expensive. Even the matter inside the cover is worth the price. But, that is for me. I guess this does not apply for all the readers.
As a reviewer, the right to judge a book lies in my hand. And that is what I should being a book reviewer. I have to judge the book. On the other hand, my reviews should be genuine. I shouldn't show partial feeling about the authors or the publishers. But very often I am thrown in a turmoil, where I myself am not sure whether the book I like will be of everyone's interest. This is one of those cases. Now I have decided to review and rate this book on the basis of my point of view. Let me push all the thoughts of likes of others aside and present you what I have experienced when reading this book.
Like I have said before, it is perhaps Bond's narrative style. It is like a pleasant, heart-warming melody from a violin. Frankly, I don't think the story holds much fascination about itself. It is the style of narration and the author's vivid imagination of a character, who itself is an author but a poor one. Also, the protagonist's, who is an author, story also interested me to some extent. That could be maybe because I am aspiring to be author, too. Or it could be mutual with other readers alike. I can't say.
I want to end the review here itself. There is not much I could recollect that fascinated me about the story. Yeah, I noticed even in this book - like the one I previously read - Ruskin Bond, the significant effect hilly regions have on man's brain. I couldn't agree with him more. Also the blurb mentioned on the front cover of the book can't be more true.
"A small gem of a book" - Outlook
Based on the description of the story and your hope and understanding of Ruskin's story's go for the book. If you haven't read any of his books, then you must certainly pick one of his book. You will be happy, I assure you.
All those readers who want a tiny refreshment. All those readers who enjoy Ruskin's novellas. All those experienced readers who are capable of enjoying deep-narratives style of thoughtful authors like Ruskin Bond.
Title : Delhi Is Not Far
Author : Ruskin Bond
ISBN : 9780144000951
Rating : 3 out of 5
Read between : 09-06-2013 (one day read)
Pages : 111
Price : Rs. 150
Publishers : Penguin