A train of thought

Thinking of my countless train journeys, in my mind’s eye, I see a kaleidoscope of memories, of people I met and the places I saw, of the undeniable beauty that unfolded mile after mile, of the shouts and cacophony of railway stations and the silence of the nights, and the looking out of the windows through unseen eyes.

Recalling, I can almost feel the cool breeze when we are near streams and rivers, the wheels thundering over the bridge and I can think back vividly of the unbearably hot afternoons and the landscape broken occasionally by the lone tree. I remember the verdant meadows and the delicate yellow mustard in the fields. I can only imagine the swish of the golden sheaves of wheat as they sway in the wind, the clatter of the train drowning out the gentle sound.

I think of the times I had walked along the rail tracks with friends trying to get to someplace when we were not sure of where we were going.

I can recall Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina as she sets her eyes on Vronsky and her destiny for the first time on a railway platform.

I can think of the incredibly crowded trains where people jostle for space. I sit with Margayya of R.K.Narayan’s Financial Expert, watching as a man tries to enter the train through the window just to get a seat.

I recall the many snippets of overheard conversations on the railway station and on trains that have stayed with me over the years, my mind still turning the phrases around to make sense or to understand the context.

I think of the entire gamut of human emotions that I have been fortunate to witness in those places where humanity is bursting at seams.

Over all other means of transport, it is a train for me every time. I have had so much time to day dream during those journeys.

Journey is My Path – A Book Review

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“The Universe is made of stories….”
Muriel Rukeyser

A book is as much a tapestry of words, as it is a narrative. And when a narrative takes the reader on a journey in search of answers that he can relate to, it becomes a hard-to-put-down story. ‘Journey is my Path’ is that story at the very least and at its best, it waxes eloquent as a tale of the modern times, the struggle of an individual trying to seek meaning in life.

The story talks only of ‘he’, the unnamed protagonist. He is born in a typical Indian middle class family, and from here the story of a person, trapped in the societal norms and expectations begins. The child turns to boy and thus he finds career and life choices waiting to be made. Things get complex as his life progresses and the reader moves with him from confusion to decision, apprehension to confidence. Along the way, he starts exploring his passion and finds himself through pushing his boundaries.

The telling of the tale is lyrical in its simplicity but at times I almost wished it to be a memoir; for a hide and seek of events and characters. The places the protagonist travels to are very interesting, yet I wanted it not to be in a chronological order so that as a reader, I could move from place to place without really knowing which gem he would stumble on.

I also wished that the book was peopled with diverse characters. There are many who cross his path and one almost longs to have a conversation with those who influenced his life.

The chronicle of the journey, literal and symbolic, is inspired by the writer’s own travel experiences and is heartbreakingly candid at places. Without breaking pace, it moves to a revelation that echoes the American mythologist, Joseph Campbell in saying that it is the person who brings meaning to life.
“Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” Joseph Campbell.

A very good read and a riveting tale.

Trablogger is an indie author and the book is available on amazon as an ebook. For paperback lovers, the book can be ordered through the author’s website.

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.