Point of View

image

Gustave Caillebotte's 1877 painting. Paris Street; Rainy Day

One of Gustave Caillebotte’s best known works, the 1877 oil painting, ‘Paris Street; Rainy Day’ depicts a road intersection. The arrangement of roads and buildings is such that it allows him to use a ‘two-point perspective‘.

A gaze at a landscape, a street, a crowded square can be meaningful if one uses different angles and perspectives. The same can be said about viewpoints. Just as a physical dimension can be looked at in varying manners, so can be done with situations and human relationships. A wealth of understanding lies therein.

Closer home, there is something comforting to me about a rainy day…and night. The steady pitter patter of rain is soothing, so is the cleaner, greener landscape. And afterwards, there is the promise of sun.

Friday Listicles: Top 5 Literary Fixes

Being a voracious reader, I like to read book after book, with scarce a pause in between. I can be reading up to three different books at a time. When I am full of one, or overwhelmed with the thought thread in another, I only have to turn to yet another. Good books nourish the soul.  But there are times when I need some mindless reading, or something that is not too much effort but is good reading. I call such reads my literary fixes as they fill the gap in my reading and they are light and pleasant.

The Top 5 Literary Fixes

Re reading Classics
Classics are considered ‘heavy stuff’, with archaic language and difficult to follow plot line. Yet, there is nothing more comforting for me to turn to the familiar characters I have grown up with (I started reading classics at a very young age and had read many of them by the time I finished school) and relive their lives, struggles and emotions. I go down the familiar lanes, see the landscapes once again and wander the mansions. It is something I cannot do in real life, for people and places change every time I blink.

Western Novels
The wild, wild west attracts me like nothing else and because the uncertain, danger ridden, pistol toting, knife wielding characters always live on the edge, it is a perfect antidote to my staid lifestyle. Any time, I pick up a Louis L’Amour book and follow the protagonist across the deserts or on mountain trails, I come back rejuvenated.

Travel Literature
The Lonely Planet magazines are my best friend. They are always perched on my shelf just within reach. I pore over the articles and the magnificent photographs and sigh and dream. Well, some day….

Romance
The girl is lovely, simple, sincere and the guy is rich, arrogant and seemingly too good for her. Yet, ‘feelings’ develop and they inch towards a commitment. The key words are ‘simple’, ‘feelings’ and ‘inch’. These are the features of the romance novels I like. Yes, Barbara Cartland, Georgette Heyer…. They are old world and so am I. But, sometimes, books like Twilight seem too interesting and… delicious!

Good Housekeeping
This is the last but definitely not the least. Any time, I am fed up of the chores, the endless running about, the loooong list of things to be accomplished, I plonk down in a comfortable chair and check out the online version of Good Housekeeping magazine. The pristine houses and beauty of living spaces makes me forget my own shabby surroundings, badly in need of dusting. In my mind, I an repainting the kitchen cabinets a gorgeous red and getting the perfect floral centerpiece.

I would love to hear from you, my readers, about your literary fixes.

Lost

I lost my white chopping board. And mislaid a spoon. Normally, in the clutter of my house, I wouldn’t notice if an entire basket of fruit disappeared-polished off by my children, of course. And dust lies so thick on everything else that the original colour of things cannot be ascertained, nor their shapes. Everything is obscured by this.

Now, how did I know I lost my chopping board? It was one of my dear possessions. And that was back in the time, I was starting a new life, a married state of existence. Our belongings were numbered, as were my spoons. A set of dozen, bought by my mother for the new house. Losing one meant I suspected the maid of stealing it. My husband told me not to be silly. But I told him of the wisdom imparted to me by the elders ( mostly women) of the family. That, the part time house maids we employ are able to flick things especially little objects concealed in their clothes. I was not upto frisking them, but cast aspertions on them, I could. This innate suspicion had been handed down for generations. In “A Passage to England”, Nirad C. Choudhary talks of the propensity of the Indian housewives to keep an eagle eye on the household provisions. They would count the number of onions and potatoes, after their household helps left. He does not talk of confrontation. Nor is that possible in today’s world of unionised house maids.

Back to the chopping board. It was plastic with a lot of notches made by my knives. It was always in my mind, for I had read some place that chopping boards need to be wooden. Then they do not make the knives blunt. Now, I was forever calculating, which would be cheaper, replacing the board or my knives.

I probably left it propped against a shelf in the kitchen, when we moved house. The Movers and Packers were very efficient and they put things in boxes in a few hours flat. They did not leave anything behind, not even the toilet cleaning brushes I meant to discard. Then, how did the chopping board escape them? The maid could not have wanted it, for she liked to have her vegetables chopped the old fashioned way, by hand and this was the only way she knew and respected.

Thus, it became a mystery of sorts. The disappearance of the spoon I rather expected, so it was okay. And then a few years down the line, I lost a couple of my dinner bowls. Stainless Steel. Tsk…tsk… But that is another story.

My Recent Reads

Since childhood, I have read books, books and more books. Many a times, I am asked to talk about my favourite ones. Or put out a Must read list. Although everyone has a different experience while reading, based on their likes, leanings and perception of the world, there really are many books that appeal to a wide range of people. These are the classics. And then there are books that go on to become so popular that they have a cult following.

I like to talk about what I have read. I like to dissect and praise. And like most, I like sharing the ‘aha’ moments of the book. At different stages of my life, I have liked different genres. Some of the recent books I have read, I have talked about on my blog.

Here are three of my favourites. The common thread is that they had a visceral effect on me. I experienced a range of emotions that sometimes I could not fully express and they led me down new paths of thought.

Making a Mango Whistle

Bitter Fruit

The Sense of an Ending

Enjoy! I would love to hear of your favourite books!