Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tag! You're it.

I have never been tagged before.

Except when playing hide-and-seek, in which case I was always tagged. ‘Siddhu, you fat piece of shit, you’re it!’ was the phrase that was on everyone’s lips in those days of yore. (It probably had to do with my inability to run fast enough to beat the most overweight tub of lard in my apartment building. But then, that’s a different story altogether.)

But no one has ever tagged me (or called me, or SMSed me, or e-mailed me) ever since I turned thirteen (or even when I was younger, either).
But no more! The Paranoid Android has tagged me on a book meme.

Now, this frightens me. I realize that the world shall know at long last that Siddhu doesn’t read anything of substance – unless we count erotica as high-brow literature (which we do not, being the prudes we are).

But now that the world is in the know, there is no point belabouring, or repeating my point again and again, or returning back to where I started. Or using superfluous words which are not required, primarily because they’re unnecessarily repetitive…

So, to get to the issue at hand directly without beating around the bush…

Total Number of Books I own: I own exactly 852 books; though the number could rise appreciably if I take into account the comics I bound into volumes. A lot of the books have titles which go something like Siberia, 65 East of Greenwich - Oil and People, Evenings I have spent discussing the nature of the Hyperbolic Cosine with Virginia Woolf or The Brothers Karazamov and their father Ivan Mikhailovsky Nichalosovich Sharapov.

Don’t blame me for that – those aren’t mine. My father bought them, and has reportedly read them – something I have always found hard to believe; especially after I read the first three pages of some book written by a retarded blighter named Kafka, about how a man tries to turn himself into a cockroach (though why he wished to do so of his own volition is something that I still fail to understand).

Last book I bought: The last book I bought is a source of constant shame to me. Just the day before yesterday, I spent 240 rupees at a railway station purchasing a Jeffrey Archer.

I, who had sworn to forever steer clear of scum of the ilk of Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer, not to forget Danielle Steele, Erich Segal and Dan Brown!

From the time when I realized the enormity of the crime I had committed, I have been cursing myself without respite.

Last book I read: The Psychology of Imagination, by Jean Paul Sartre.

This is a highly acclaimed book, and I personally found it brilliant. The Daily Mirror found it gripping. Other papers found it bone-chilling, thrilling, and fascinating. It was what one would call a page-turner – one of those books that has one of those unexpected twists pop out at you right in the middle of page 190. Heck, till then, even I thought it was the butler that did it…oops, wrong book!

I’ll tell you more about the Sartre after I finish page number 15 – maybe by 2015. Maybe.

Books that mean a lot to me:

The Betsy, by Harold Robbins: The Betsy is a tale of one man’s passionate race against time to build the best racing car of all time, while simultaneously working strenuously towards perpetuating his bloodline.

Angelo Perino is the alpha male who likes to make sure. So, instead of having sex with one woman just once or with the same woman several times, he has sex with several women several times. He is the kind of man who could bring tears to the eyes of Chinese population planners as well as condom manufacturers – for entirely different reasons.

If you’re going to read it, I suggest not bothering going beyond page 73. The interesting bits which follow that are practically photocopies of the interesting bits before page 73.

The Idiot, Books I and II, by Fyodor Dostove…Dyosto…Dostowhisky…Dostoyevsky: The title of the book strikes a special chord in me, because it is the word by which I have been addressed for most of the 21 years I have spent on earth. Besides, one cannot but admire a man as brilliant as Dostoyevsky – for heaven’s sake, I’ve heard that he could spell his name out clear as a bell, even with a bottle of Russia’s finest sloshing about in his innards.

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand: This book was an eye-opener to me. I realized it was possible for selfishness to take different forms. The thoughts and ideas bandied about in the book gave me food for thought for days. In the end I concluded that it was impossible for me to come to terms with such blatant glorification of selfishness.

But my mind was predominantly preoccupied by the question of how a friend of mine could say that she felt it was a ‘kinky’ love story.

Ulysses, by James Joyce: It was this book that acquainted me with one of the most radical ideas I’d ever heard of –the stream of consciousness. Adopting this approach would mean that I could tell you about the yellow shirt that BBC chap is wearing, not to mention the plight of the giant pandas in Singapore, as I tried to climb my way into Tibet with the Dalai Lama and Luke Skywalker who converted Darth Vader into Ammonium Hydroxide. I could tell you I hate Saddam Hussein when my hindi teacher is dull enough to be classified as an energy saving bulb.

And this would be considered art (by the idiots that matter, in any case). I would probably win some kind of award too.

Psmith in the city, by P.G. Wodehouse: People who frequent this blog should have guessed by now that I worship Sir Pelham. Unless of course George W’s among those who frequent this blog.

I spent hours thinking deep thoughts on which of his masterpieces I loved the most.

The whisper went round, “Siddhu is cogitating,…...”

Siddhu, the individual, ceased to exist, and there sprung into being Siddhu, the cog in the wheel of the legion of Wodehouse fans; Siddhu, the philosopher and book lover; Siddhu, the Worker.

I did not spare myself. I wrestled with the problem with all the accumulated energy of one who, up till then, had only known what work was like from hearsay.
Whose is that form standing on one leg in the morning, contemplating eagerly on Wodehouse’s creations? It is the form of Siddhu, the Worker. Whose is that haggard, drawn face which is bent over in thought long after the other toilers have sped blithely westwards to drink at Kandan Wines? It is the face of Siddhu, the Worker.

And then I knew! It had to be Psmith, P silent as in ptarmigan and pterodactyl. Wodehouse the wordsmith was in sublime form as he sculpted the character of Psmith. Psmith’s monologues have the crisp elegance of a Gavaskar late cut. And by the way, as the die-hard Wodehouse fans may have noticed, the previous paragraph is an adaptation of a classic Psmith monologue.

Book(s) I would love to burn:

Digital Signal Processing, by Sonovabitchakis Proakis and
Illmakeyourlifemiserableakis Manolakis:
Because pronouncing the names of the authors is the easiest bit of the book.

Object Oriented Systems Development, by Ali Bahrami: To quote from the book,

As described in their seminal work in cataloguing program design concepts during the construction of multifarious programming constructs, Gama, Helm, Johnson, and Vlissides [15] say that the design pattern identifies the key aspects of a common design structure, which contribute to the usefulness of the aforementioned design pattern in creating a reusable object-oriented design.

I rest my case.

Four people I’m going to tag

Jormund: Because he has read widely. Because he is not likely to spout as much nonsense as I did.

Karan : Because he actually read Ulysses. And Nietzsche. Because he claims he was Moses, Jesus, Mohamed and Sree Krishna at various points in time.

Mercury : Because she’s steadfastly refused to blog for the last one month. Because she likes Somerset Maugham and P.G. Wodehouse.

Sisto : Because he thinks Erich Segal is a rip-off, and that there should have been a couple of murders to spice the whole thing up a bit. Because he knows The Prince better than Machiavelli himself. Because he may write of where he gets those cheap pirated books he sells to the rest of us at high margins. ;)

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