Friday, April 16, 2010

Greedy for Air

I've been enjoying my round of fiction reads this month.

Just last week, I got through "The White Tiger". Much can be said about a book that openly reveals that greed and survival are really not the same thing. The human mind forever fascinates me. The limits we place upon ourselves, as well as the new frontiers that are challenged in those finite boxes of sanity and insanity are largely unexplored. There are, I believe, yet to be seen examples of how much the potential of the human mind will surprise and enthrall, and yes, even horrify the 'clanging masses' rest of us.

Taking from the White Tiger, although situated in India, the story has echoes of relevance for South Africa; not just from an 'Indian' point of view, but also if we were to take both a human and then even an inhumane outlook. Okay, let's not pretend that we're one swathing mass of loving humanity; there are amongst us those who will sell their mother's left hand given the right blend of conditions.

Writer's like Adiga are adept at bringing that 'potential' of the inhumane human to the fore; of highlighting the irreverent contradictions of what it is to be a human being. And while I would like to imagine, still, that it takes much of a stretch of the imagination, I know at some rational level, that I would be kidding myself: I had barely put the pages of The White Tiger to rest, when the ET debacle exploded right in our midst. Not even for 7lakh rupees. Just. Dead.
Was it because of years of pent up Hatred?
Was it an act of Love?

I don't really want to know. A human life was slaughtered at the hands of people maimed by his own acts of terrorizing them over years. Do we really reap what we sow? This might be an apt example. Still, a human life is so easily rendered to a bag of bones and flesh and blood that oozes back into the womb of the earth. We're so easily turned back into the clay from which we came.
All material, mortal. There it is again. Mortality looks back from the mirror everyday.

Which brings me to the new book that I am reading, and reviewing, this time, for an Afrikaans paper: 'Say You're One of Them,' by Uwem Akpan. I am just learning, that childhood is a commodity in Africa. Akpan brings this idea to life in his book.

And. midway through the book, I am blown away. Now to scrape and claw for some moments of objectivity. Watch this space.



desert demons said...

A brilliant read , he has this ability to write reality in all its rawness. Be sure to follow up with his, Between the Assassinations, you will not be able to put it down either.

Azra said...

Wanted to ask, have you read "Road To Makkah" by Muhammad Asad?