I wish I could reduce the gaps between my posts writing on this blog. It takes me almost a year to write about something, as I strongly believe in expressing my thoughts when the reason to do is of an absolute implosive nature.
What brings me back, to my own bloggers’ abode? Well, when I started my MBA in 2011, I was working full time in addition to going to school in the evenings, five days a week. This hectic routine lasted for 3 more years. My daily routine included going to work in the mornings and then attending university followed by studying in late nights, almost every night.
This chock-a-block routine meant I could not find the time for one of the few things I love about my life the most; reading. I stopped reading titles other than ones recommended by my course as I believed that rummaging through novels and history volumes would distract me from my goal of attaining wisdom lying in the financial management sphere.
So, three years, no make it four, went by without me reading a single book other than what curriculum recommended. This also led me to believe or false-believe that I had lost my skill, my appetite and my ability to appreciate good literature (definition of ‘good’ is totally relative here). I thought I was now deprived of and unarmed with the precision and focus that a good reader possesses, given such a long hiatus from reading.
I visited book fairs, literary festivals like Karachi Literary Festival in between my work hours, sneaking half an hour in between and managing to meet, briefly though Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, one of the few people I idolize for his persistent love for logic and humanity. I even managed to attend Sharjah Book Festival this year. I kept glancing at and reading a few pages of titles on shelves, but never could I muster the courage of actually buying a book and devouring it completely. For I believed that reading, titles other than those of one’s own profession is a habit entertained by two types of people; one who have achieved everything in their lives and hence are now at liberty to do the wildest things in life, like reading books. And the other types are those who lack focus and cannot care less about their goals and aims in lives.
But love, be it for a woman or a book is a tempestuous phenomenon, one knows it will likely cause harm in the shape of loosing focus from one’s goal(s) or aims, and yet one keeps tugging at its coattails for some stimulus.
My love for that girl and for reading was reawakened and re-invoked when a friend passed onto me an e-copy of a coming of age novel about an modern, urban Indian couple. I kept the book saved in my phone for more than a month, without caring to open the File, until yesterday morning.
I had an interview scheduled for me for a position I was least bothered about, yet I moved on in the morning in an effort to give myself evidence of my own professionalism and work-ethic. I took the train to UAE Exchange, formerly known as Jebel Ali at Burjuman Metrostation, my stop was at Jumeirah Lake Towers or JLT, which even using the fast paced metro, takes around 2/3rds of an hour. Now in the morning hours, one needs the luck of a Leprechaun to get a place to sit in the train.
Resigned to my fate, I stood clutching onto my shoulder bag waiting for any seated passenger to get off at the next station: didn’t happen. By what stroke of luck or fate I decided to unlock my phone and open the File containing the e-book I will never know. But it has changed at least a tiny portion of my life, which in turn has brought me back to this blog space to write about it.
I had been a fan of Chetan Bhagat without having read any of his fast paced novels about semi urban, urban or rural youth of India. I became his fan because his work was the source behind 3-idiots, a very intelligent film in its depiction of university life in South Asia.
The book in consideration is ‘Half-Girlfriend’. It is the latest by Mr. Bhagat if I am not being incorrect. It tells the story of a boy from Bihar getting a place to study in a posh college in Delhi. It is a testament to the Writer’s ability for crafting interesting characters and even more intriguing situations when I say that I consumed half of the almost 300 page novel on my way to the interview and back, in totality, a journey lasting less than 1 hour and 10 minutes.
I will not disclose the story for I wish people to go and read this wonderfully urban and modern reading, which many of the highbrow pseudo literati among us will most likely dismiss as a cheap shot at genuine literature.
I have always believed that any conversation that hits straight to your mind, in crystal clear manner is more convincing and powerful than one laced with vague ornamental words belittling the importance of the very topic it is supposed to discuss. Prose that is composed in a manner that helps you relate to it, think about it and forbids you to let go of it is far more esteemed in my view than the self-important pretences we deem as ‘Classics'.
The writer of Half-Girlfriend does exactly that, he delivers what the youth want, a clear cut storytelling technique which is direct and easy to grasp. But that’s the technical side of my story. What really prompted me to write about this Book is the story which I am self-bound not to reveal. It reminds me of my failed attempt at seeking accomplishment at a project called Love during my MBA days, reminding me of my failure, which surprisingly seems more engaging and pleasant in its memory in comparison to, if I had won the heart of that Girl instead. So, until the next time, go buy the Book, read it, cherish it and thank me and Mr. Bhagat for the deed.