Sunday, September 19, 2010

She Got It All

Whatever i do these days takes me back in time. i am during the course of the day indulging in memories and seem to enjoy this solitude when my husband is away. Some times i feel guilty that i don't even miss him because actually i am so relaxed and so much at peace doing all that i love doing that there is no time to miss him.
Reading non-stop is one such indulgence but it requires certain pre-requisites. One you should be free from other responsibilities and commitments and second but most importantly the book should have the capacity to keep you obsessed.

Long ago there was one such book which did that to me. My very first bestseller and that book actually had a profound romantic influence in a way that when other girls my age were dreaming about Amitabh Bacchan i was day dreaming about PRIESTS. Some tall priest with a black cassock over his pristine white trousers and that slight white collar at the neck which proclaimed his priesthood. And the priests' name should be Ralph.
Yeah the book i am talking about is "Thorn Birds' by Colleen McCollough.
Also then i was head over heels about Australia and was a regular listener of Radio Australia.To listen to that oh so husky voice of Suzaane Darling radio jockeying the Top 20 of the week... in between the sounds of the kookaburrra, the laughing jackass that kept me enthralled although my friend who later lived there for a nice 4 years said that the kookaburra sounded haunting and creepy to her.

Thorn birds  was the first real book which also made me cry. Many times throughout the book. In fact right from that page which gave this,

"Ralph de Bricassart (to child Meggie): There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the price of great pain... or so says the legend..."
i had that book with me like a nun carries her Bible/Rosary with her. Except that i did one mistake. i lend that book to one of my friends and God alone knows where my book is because it never came back to me.
That book of MINE which was quite expensive for my pocket at that time, which i had saved my pocket money to buy and own still exists i know some where in the International Circulating Library. i can say it with confidence because such books never leave owners even though the owner is a borrowed one.
Now i went back in time about Thorn Birds because yet another book found me and it has had the same effect on me. Not romantically though but an effect of the kind that is searching in my dreams Devanna.
i want to be a character who seeks out Devanna and shower all my love to him...sooth away the pains he suffered...maybe even ask him to accept me not as a lover but as a dear friend who loves him intensely as he loved that girl Devi.
This is when ever i think of the suffering of Devanna that brilliant boy who was gifted so far as brains is concerned...a gentle and caring boy whose love for plants and animals is so rare...a boy who wouldn't say boo to a goose and yet suffered right from the beginning when he became motherless.
i want to be a character in the book a sakhi to Devi and chide her for being so stubborn.For making her understand that Devanna never had wanted to hurt her...his love for her was Divine only that he defaulted because he was in so much of pain...
i want to remind Devi about her biased love for a particular child... for being so indulgent in her love for her lover's child instead of her own show her the damage she is causing...
i want to be that aunt who could reprimand Appu...reprimand him not to take things for granted and warn him about corruption, lust and deceit...
i want to be that aunt who could shower all her affections on Nanju and his father Devanna...
oh God i cry and cry and want to do all this...
This book has had such an impact on me that it does not feel like a feels REAL
'Tiger Hills' by Sarita Mandanna.
i can only talk about how her descriptions has swept me away. More so because i have been to Coorg and many scenes i could vividly picturise not only through her brilliant words but it helped because in my mind's eye i was going down the coffee plantations...seeing Sampige' (Chanpak flowers)...following the arrow like confliguration of the herons...over the sun drenched fields...
i could have an easy picture of the misty Bhagmandala mountains and the Tala Kaveri...
i could even savour the ottis, coorg chicken, mutton pepper fry and home made wine thanks to my Homestay owners Deena and Sujay of Raksh Cottage who not only were as elegant and dignified as the book says about Coorgs but also great hosts too in all matters including food .
The descriptions in the book amazes, and also is mystic i feel in it's nature. Emotions grip you and while reading, there were many places i felt those lumps in the throat which again provoked by words make you cry real tears.
Not only do you feel the emotion but like i said because it had some mysticism about it that perhaps has made me an ardent fan of Sarita Mandanna. i could quote from many places where she has through folk songs and poetry given the essence about life and it's trials and tribulations. Just like how through one or two liners Abdul Kalam has given in his 'Wings Of Fire". Something like ...when you are at the anvil bear but when you are the hammer strike.
So is Tiger Hills amidst the narrative interspersed with native wisdom and even Latin , P B Shelley, Dante and many others that i do identify but can't really recall. i shall be googling though to know the origins of those in my second read.
"You shall leave everything you love most:
this is the arrow that the bow of exile shoots first."
This by Dante reminded me what one our most celebrated poets had said in 'Yashodhara' (by Shri Maithili Sharan Gupt). Somewhere in the book in beautiful words through the thoughts of Buddha he has portrayed something similar.
Exile actually starts from the one you love the most. i wish i could remember the words to quote it in it's prophetic poetry verse.
It is really hard for me to read books on self improvement but if the book is like Tiger Hills i find the lessons easier. i wish i could quote all but i would love to pick up that part that i read (i don't remember the count)   many times.
This comes actually at the terminating phase of the book which also sounds prophetic. Something like no matter what your life has been, in the end everything gets evened out, everything becomes okay and fine.
She writes,"Hurt accumulates. Unless consciously cast aside, it accumulates, building on itself. Hardening, thickening, gouging our hearts apart. We try at first to pick at the scabs, to render ourselves as untainted and innocent as we once were. Over time, though, it becomes too difficult. This forced unbandaging, this revisiting of painful memory. Easier to lock it away, unseen, unspoken. To haul it about like an invisible stone about our necks. We leave our wounds alone. Layer by layer our scars thicken, until one day we awaken and find ourselves irrevocably hardened. Rooted in a keloidal past while the world has passed on by.''
Isn't this so beautifully said. Once again i find that lump catching my throat. But Sarita has said it so aptly through her story.That is why i found it so real. Maybe i am not as prolific and brilliant as she is and am incapacitated to express more but this book now will remain with me forever.
i am dying for my son to be back narrate the read out passages like i did when he was a child. Because i know of all the people in this whole wide world he will listen and will let me cry and not call me a 'sentimental fool'. Of course i will tell him all those single words in the book that i loved ...kunyi, Monae for starters.
Definitely i will remind him about what i always tell him about the signals that nature gives us. This book is replete with all those signals...Herons first and then your own intuitions .
'' Hundred of miles away, a woman woke with a start, her heart contracting with nameless dread.''
i will tell him that though the times have changed and we dismiss what we do not know but there are certain pure souls who do get some sense of foreboding. Some people who are able to see the future. Like our ancient rishis and munis who achieved that status through intense penance and purity of soul. The tainted gurus of today have spoilt everything for the youngsters to have faith in. But deep in the forests where people worship nature the oracles do exist who are able to sense and have made true predictions. Not everything can be explained by science alone. Maybe not today but perhaps one day it could be proved through equations or who knows by brain mapping...
Oh i have to tell him so many things now.
And never again will i do that mistake of lending Tiger Hills to anyone because i would not want to lose this book to the International Circulating Library.
Before i quit i must confess though that after finishing the book...seeing how she looks like...knowing her credentials i just said to myself, "There are people who do have it all."
Sarita Mandanna i wish i knew you personally to have told you, Hats off !  Salute !, and also that i respect you ...will wait for your next now...that is if you...which methinks you should because you got yet another gift.
Sarita this book made me cry even when the book ended with a positive overtone because i wanted it to go on. i want to know what happened to Appu and Baby...will Nanju get married now to someone who would tide him over Baby? Will Appu realise eventually the futility of his wild ways???
i also have another secret prayer now...i hope you, S M are able to hear what i am saying...Amen Image courtesy:


  1. hi shivani v interesting post. after reading this many would like to read "Tiger Hill" and the Author of book is gonna say CHEERS :)...Jayshree

  2. @Jayshree thank you for considering my blog worthwhile.
    But choice is a personal thing...i ranted because the book touched me but some may not feel so.
    Glad that you think otherwise...happy...happy :)

  3. Shivani:

    You are quite a woman, I see! Imaginations, wanderings and books. In this post you have taken us to places where we have never been and sights that continue to amaze us!

    I must lay my hands on those books now.

    Joy always,

  4. @Susan thank you to to see me thus.
    i don't know or what impact the two books will have on you but will want to know nevertheless.
    Thank you to take time out on a Monday for me.
    Joyful now and shall be,

  5. thanks for introducing me to tiger hills and its author.u hv expressed yr views and now i am looking for the book too.the lenth of yr post is intriguing and i want to know who devenna the way if u r looking for papa's thorn birds, its with me.

  6. @Gauri thank you for having patience and reading my long post.Devanna is not the protagonist of the book but a character from the book.Trust me your heart will go out to him.
    Papa's book came much much later...My copy was the one i bought from a book fair in the school itself.i was the only one who could afford that book and from then on it passed hands never to come back to me again.
    Papa bought the book after seeing the movie much much later...just after he had finished Gone with The Wind.
    But it's good to know u have Papa's copy.Keep it safe.:)
    i want to have my own copy and maybe i'll get another one.

  7. Your write-up makes me want to read her book right now. I'll try to grab a copy. :)

  8. @Anirban...hey how have you been? Thanks for saying so but don't be disappointed if you find it otherwise.My experience tells me that boys hate senti stuff...are more inclined towards Sci- fi...War stories...Action oriented stories.
    i am not generalising just playing it safe.
    Thanks for stopping by :)