I was, once upon a time, just another person in this vast sea of humanity, I believed what was told to me, I gave my 'Silent Obedient Consent', I wanted to live a safe sheltered life, I wanted to grow up with a good job, probably get married, have kids, retire with a pension and have grandkids for company and die a peaceful death, hopefully, in my sleep. You know the whole nine yards. Then one day, I realized that I would just be another statistic on that cosmic board of facts. I started reading the kind of books, which I would, up until then, furiously avoid. Until then the only books I felt, were worth reading were science books. I thought that works of fiction were a waste of time. I was very wrong.
It is here that I would like to digress a bit and talk a little on Indians. Yes I am an Indian, not a native Indian nor a West Indian, just a plain Indian, original recipe, not new and improved, not a new flavor just plain old me, and us Indians, I have seen, have an aversion to things that are not pleasant to face. I would think that this is the result of centuries of indoctrination, that has made us this way, in our holy scriptures, by the wise old men of antiquity, etc , as a result this is how our Zeitgeist has been since a very long time.
Let me give you an example.
SEX. That usually gets most people's attention. Now we are aware of the fact that is the only way most higher organisms can reproduce. It is ubiquitous, its a fact of life. There is nothing to be ashamed of it. Yet in India, there is a stigma, a sense of shame attached to it. If you will observe carefully, when some guy says that his wife is pregnant, he is usually says so in such a way that you'd think he were ashamed at having "Fucked" his wife and gotten her pregnant instead of being happy\elated\proud. It is funny.
Back to what I was saying earlier, One fine day, while in engineering college (KREC, Surathkal) I came upon Arundhati Roy's The God Of Small Things. In fact a very close friend of mine recommended that I read it. I was apprehensive about it, as at that time it was very popular, It had just won the Booker, and was everywhere you went. Yet many people(obviously Indians) said that they hated it. I was intrigued and decided to give it a shot, and that was when I got hooked. I could see plainly why they did not like the book. It shocked their plain Indian sensibilities, If you can call them 'sensibilities'. It shocked them to see otherwise avoided topics being addressed and openly discussed\dissected. I then went on to other stuff. And it took me a while to get rid of the inhibitions I had and learn to really appreciate what I read. Here is list of a few good books I have read and liked and would recommend people and more so: Indians, read.
1)1984 by George Orwell
2)V for Vendetta by Alan Moore\David Lloyd
3)Catcher in the rye by J.D.Salinger
4)Maximum City by Suketu Mehta
5)Any of V.S.Naipul's works
6)The Story Of Philosophy by Will Durrant, an excellent starting resource to get started on philosophy
7)The Moor's Last Sigh\Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
8)Chuck Palahniuk's works especially Fight Club\Survivor\Choke
9)Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre, somewhat of a 'modern version' of Catcher in the rye
10)A clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
And the list goes on, but this shall suffice for now.
Here is a nice snap I liked, I am not a Christian, but I post this snap as a critic of all organized religion as such and I do not single out any one particular religion, My parents are Hindu which does not make me Hindu by birth. The only thing that it makes me is: Human. Human by birth. However, for the sake of being PC, I must say that the snap could have had some Hindu spiritual leader in place of the pope and it would still serve the same purpose. And I hope that you see what I see. If only we could make the whole world see huh ?
I am a humanist.
Try to see the symbolism in the snap above.
And as always a quote for this post:
"The thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die." Søren Kierkegaard