have a tendency of being sketchy and sometimes even contrary to reality so
although I do remember this little occurrence from a few years back (mainly
owing to the effect it had on me as an avid fan of a popular teen novel
series), I am not sure whether the narrative is correct to its last detail.
was at the end of a tiring classroom session that our professor broached the
subject of reading in general and how it is becoming more and more of an extinct
hobby. He pointed out the pros of inculcating a regular habit of reading
non-academic books, be it fiction or non-fiction and the importance of one
beginning with the habit at an early age. Then, as the audience listened
captivated, he went on to name a few authors, which beginners could see as
readable, Chetan Bhagat being one amongst them. He opined that Bhagat’s novels
are easy to go through and simple to digest.
as the session progressed with more names being shouted out by students from the
back, a friend of mine looked at me and shouted. . . . no scratch that. . .
began shouting. . . . no no not that either. . . he actually began
chanting at a high pitch, wanting everyone in the room to hear- HARRY
POTTTER. . . . . HARRY POTTER. . .
yes, everybody did hear it. But, to my good fortune, nobody looked at me. They
all looked at him. Our professor guffawed and the students followed, leaving my
friend red in the ears even as he tried his best to direct the jeering towards
me with his hand and eyes.
Hahahahahahah FOR CHILDREN!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahaha.. . .
pretty sure that my ears were as red as his as I sat still, scared enough to
make no movement lest some other quick witted friend of mine spot me in my
unnoticed corner, regrettably recount that I too had an enormous interest in
the Potter series and join in on the pointing out exercise.
it didn’t happen. Our professor (God bless him) shifted the discussion back to
safe and secure curriculum-centric talk and the audience was hushed again.
have to say, the experience wasn’t that bad because it ended quick and
everybody forgot even quicker.
want to know what the worst bit was?
was the bit that followed. The bit where I walked back home with the incident
replaying in my head like an endless loop hell bent on making me confess that
my tastes were wimpy and sissy.
I admit it. It sucked big time.
mean, don’t get me wrong. I already knew that I was a nerd before the day of
this incident; always have been and always will be, no matter what the milieu I
am stranded in the middle of.
it sucked big time.
felt like this puny little kid who is refusing to grow up when everyone around
him belonging to his age group or even to the one beneath his, are moving up
with passing years, their minds in sync with reality and their thoughts tuned
to the sound of facts and truth, as they should be ideally.
felt so stupid.
a class that is one hundred and thirty strong, I am the only geeky geek who
enjoys reading perfumed and powdered up tales of magic and wizardry meant for
I think it was only after I reached home and went through the stack of novels I
had already added to my collection by then that I realized how wrong I was. . .
. . not in being a geek but in thinking that I was wrong in being a geek.
asked myself- Hold on, wait a minute. When the fuck did I ever enjoy reading
Harry potter for the magic element?
what point exactly did wanting to learn more about wizards and witches be my
sole purpose of devouring the seven part series?
was it ever even a purpose in the first place?
|Magic! Hahahahah! For children! Hahahahah!|
mean, yes, I would readily agree if someone pointed out to me that the first
Potter book that I read was way back in my eighth grade. And of course, you
wouldn’t picture an eighth grade schoolboy reading Harry Potter and the
Sorcerers Stone because he wants to write a critique on it later.
yes, the incentive before I had begun reading might have been magic. The USP of
the book, that’s what you could call it.
what about after that? What about once I began reading? What about the time
that I had reached halfway point and what about the time that three parts out
of the seven were behind me and I was still revving to have a go at the fourth
and then the fifth and the sixth and the finale?
it magic that drew me towards the books and made me continue?
was then, I think, that I laughed a laugh that is generally reserved for those
awkward moments where you realize that something that has left you shaken is
actually full of shit and doesn’t deserve even a second’s glance back.
or no magic, those books were wonderful reads and I still stand by this
it may happen sometimes that I truly feel like reading through and reliving
those scenes in my mind again which sadly I am unable to, not because of the
fact that I am no longer a teenager. No sir! Its just the time constraint that
as I write this post now, thinking again about the voices (one hundred and
thirty strong) that laughed and jeered at the idea of Harry Potter being even
suggested as a recommendation for teens to read in place of a ‘One night at the
call centre’ or a ‘Five point Someone’. . . . . . yes, I’ll admit, it makes me
laugh and jeer too.
for quite the opposite reasons.
Potter is one of the best series to begin your reading streak with if you are below
or at twenty.
moment before you write this post off as- NOT ANOTHER LUNA-FUCKING-TIC CROONING
WITH A FUCKING KEYBOARD ON HIS LAP INSTEAD OF A MIKE IN HIS HAND ABOUT SOME
SISSY-GIRL BEDTIME STORY OF A BOY WIZARD WITH A WAND IN HIS HAND AND A BROOM UP
HIS ARSE. OH NO PLEASE! NOT ANOTHER NUT JOB WHO THINKS THAT SORCERERS ARE REAL
JUST ‘CAUSE SOMEBODY READ IT TO HIM EVERY NIGHT BEFORE PUTTING HIM TO SLEEP,
WANTING TO MAKE SURE THAT HE DIDN’T WET THE BED ‘CAUSE IF, BY ANY CHANCE, HE
DID LET GO OF HIS BURSTING BLADDER ANYWHERE ON THE MATTRESS, YOU-KNOW-WHO WOULD
COME ALONG AND RAIN DOWN HARD ON HIS BUMS WITH THE ELDER WAND (in-joke) UNTILL
THE TIME THE MATTRESS GOT DRY AGAIN.
for letting you down, but I do not have a hard-on for either flying brooms or
funny sounding spell names or talking snakes or all of these and many more
I do have a massive. . . . MASSIVE addiction to well told STORIES.
to anyone who is interested in knowing, I would like to state for the record-
Harry Potter is probably one of the best STORIES to begin your reading hobby
with. I mean- its big, its unique, its a coming of age tale that is aimed at an
audience who is supposed to grow alongwith the characters. It becomes mature
and darker and more complex as the parts and years (both yours’ and the
characters’) progress. The sub plots are rich in detail, the twists are
believable but not naïve in their execution. It is in fact a ginormous web of
wordage, littered with cross references and inter connections all across the
seven books, so much so that you are bound to remain engaged till the very end,
silently rooting for the protagonists whilst also wishing for the antagonists
(or atleast their sidekicks) to change sides.
the first two or even three books, I would not agree with anyone who opines
that the books are just meant for kids. (Because they just aren’t).
do you want to know what it is that I have an even greater addiction to as compared
to well told stories?
|Boy o Boy does she know how to spin a web!|
I have to tell you, when you begin with Bhagat’s first four “popular” novels or
when you are done with the first two or even after you’re done with all four,
you will still be at the starting point of learning as far as the English
language is concerned.
totally agree with all my heart on my professor’s opinion that day in class
that Bhagat’s novels are easy to go through and simple to digest.
are most processed foods if I’m not wrong. (Maggi! 2-minute mein Khushiyan!!)
I don’t see any parent recommending his kids to eat a bowl of noodles for
breakfast, lunch and dinner till the time they haven’t broached other
multifariously better food items. Because the whole point of making them eat in
the first place is so that their growing bodies get and retain some form of
it is on the same grounds that I reject the idea of Bhagat’s novels being a
safe bet for inculcating reading habits amongst teenagers. Because the whole
point of making them read in the first place is so that their growing minds get
and retain some form of literary experience, some form of experience in
exercising the usage of their imagination and intellect, their language and
grammar skills. Which sadly does not happen after you’ve read the books in
put it in short (especially for those teens or anyone else for that matter who
have read till this point and found ‘fuck’, ‘fucking’, ‘arse’, ‘bums’ and
‘hard-on’ as the only interesting bits)-
just wham-bam-thank you ma’am!
wham-would you like to go out to dinner again-ok-dinner and a
movie-ok-GREAT-wham-you’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever went out with-thank
you-wham-this is special, I think we have something special between us-I
know-wham again. . . . . . until finally bam (before the next step or
after, in no particular order) – I love you–me too-thank you
ma’am dear (for
being part of my life )!
question of simplicity and the question of pure bullcrap are two different
questions with no connection to each other. If I agree that beginners would
prefer to read something simple in wordage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that
they must begin with something that is forgettable bullcrap being served in
simple wordage. The standard of the content should never go down, irrespective
of the experience and the expertise which the audience has. Only the tools
deployed to present that content may change depending upon the reader’s
literary capacity. But the writing has to evolve and also allow the reader to
evolve, to question his own capacity and to question the perception that he has
about his capacity for words being limited to paltry levels.
are two ways of teaching, I believe- one is to lower your level down to the
level of the learner and make him understand. I doubt that this form of
teaching can be resorted to for long without getting annoyed because there is
very little outcome that can be achieved. The other way is to simplify what you
are teaching but only to that extent where the person being taught is able to
comprehend it and at the same time he feels the need to raise his own level to
understand the deeper and more profound sections of the content.
you not see?
try comparing Memento with Ghajini. Or better, Munnabhai with Chennai Express.
I’m positive that it’ll help.
there it is. My first recommendation to beginners- If you do not mind a fat
load of fiction served alongwith a bowl of vocabulary that will last with you
for the rest of your lives- read Harry Potter.
then again, when I think of it, I have many friends who are as ardent a fiction
reader as I am and they did not find the idea of going through the Potter
series as interesting, not back then, not even now. Which I don’t mind, because
I do not see them jeering and pointing fingers at those who have. Its just a
matter of having different tastes in the same field.
when it comes to the question of taste, I- those who know me well enough will
agree with me here, others please bear with me- am not one to compromise so
thus it is (FINALLY!!!) that, after typing nearly 2100 words under the pretext
of giving the subject of my post a decent background, I arrive at the part
where I am supposed to actually write about the subject itself.
moment before you think once more about writing this post off as- NOT ANOTHER
MOTHERFUC. . . . . . . . .etcetera etcetera.
post ends within the next few lines. I promise.
intent was to make a few recommendations for budding readers of fiction who
feel, as I feel, that reading helps in other areas of life. So, considering the
fact that not everyone would enjoy reading Harry Potter, I give you a few other
suggestions which are a MUST READ for any teenager who wants to improve on his
language without getting bored in the process:
book that spans over two generations is a classic tale of fate pitting two
ambitious men against each other despite both of them being righteous in their
own ways. It follows Kane and Abel, the two protagonists right from the point
of their birth into two different families at two extreme ends of the economic
spectrum. After reading it, the only thing that bugged me was why hadn’t I ever
thought of reading it before in my life?
witty, sarcasm-filled, first person narrative of a boy from the lower class of
our society aiming to make it big and actually making it big albeit through
unethical shortcuts is bound to make you feel hurt and question whether how our
country has been portrayed in here is authentic or not. But I say to you, isn’t
that the whole point of reading a book?
You wanting to question its contents
and wanting to know whether it is true or not for yourself and your perception
of the people around you? Read it for the intelligence that the author oozes
out of the narration that is both disturbing and hilarious at the same time.
Again, I assure you, it makes use of very simple English.
But a forewarning- donot go ahead and pounce on ‘Last Man in Tower’ written by the
same author, thinking that it will also be similar in structure and simplicity
as The White Tiger, or that it will be a smooth sailing with a satisfying end.
Because its not! (In fact its kind of a drag, I’ll have to admit, and way more
complex in terms of character building and narrative depth).
So for now, stick
to just this one.
the answers to any of the below questions is Yes, you have no right WHATSOEVER,
to skip this series of short stories and novellas:
Are you an aspiring
Are you preparing for a post graduation degree that contains law.
. . . any law, as part of the course content?
Are you being groomed, or do you
yearn to be groomed for a job that requires your hands to have that particular
knack of writing theses just as fluidly as you are able to speak with yourself
Do long drawn, complex, comprehensively written and heavily
verbose sentence structures bother you?
Believe me, trust me, I beg you.
This is for your own good. You may not enjoy your first few attempts with Sir
Arthur’s heavy handed narratives, but stick with it and there shall remain no
provision under any legislature that you are unable to make head or tail of. And, as you are bound to know already, Sherlock Holmes’s cases are quite good
to figure out.
like to make a special mention for James Patterson. He is a brilliant writer
who has been involved specifically in various programs to increase the love of
reading amongst children and teenagers. I chanced upon a book of his, named
‘Don’t Blink’. If the idea of reading a full book fills you with dread, please.
. . do yourself a favor and help yourself with this fast paced book. You will
begin, you will reach half point and then you will find yourself on the last
page in the blink of any eye. I promise.
|Looks like a Sloth, but writes much faster|
a lot for self-confidence. (Oh! Oh! I see a finger being raised somewhere by
someone who wants to question me of my favoring some firangi author when
our own Chetan Bhagat also does the same for reading since his books are, as I
seem to have pointed out many times in this post, easy to go through and simple
to digest. To you, man, or woman, I give a simple solution- read both and
decide for yourself what makes one different from the other.)
how can I write a post on simple writing and not mention the heavy weight, the
one and only Ruskin Bond. Bond is just brilliant. Even the thought of his books
carries me away into the snow clad ranges of Himalayas and the villages
situated at its foot with their slanting roofs and smoking chimneys. I am just
humbled by this author's narrative intrigue. You always find yourself wondering
at the beginning of his stories whether it will be any good because the words
are so damn simple and straightforward but as you proceed, you find yourself
caving in to his descriptions of nature so much so that you think- HECK! THIS
AIN’T A BOOK, THIS IS A PAINTING I’M LOOKING AT!
I say again. Plain and simple brilliant.
|The one Bond that I care about|
here’s to the beginner reader, the learner, the novice. You are an empty goblet
that wants to be filled to the brim . . . and fast! So get out there and
get to know of what it is that you seek to be poured into you.
wine that doesn’t leave your insides even after decades of cleansing; that
lingers within you like an immortal soul and makes you yearn for more and more
of its taste?
just tap water.
enjoy! Because that’s what it is all about after all, isn’t it?