I love reading books. I absolutely adore the paperbacks, hardcover, ragged, torn books. I cherish the first touch of the cover, I love inhaling the fresh smell of printed pages or the old dust smell with yellow patches make me weep. I love all kinds of books from glossy paper to coarse paper, from low brow to high brow language, from serious novel to comic books anything everything. I can now read e-books too!
But I cannot read books once they are prescribed in my course work. Yes at this moment I hate Vanity Fair for its length, but when I was in ninth grade I had swooped through the pages in three days. I enjoyed the sexual tension between Catherine and Heathcliff. I enjoyed imagining my own Wuthering Heights. Now I loathe the book when I realise the real age of the characters being less than twenty, who am I kidding when Catherine returns all refined and ladylike she is just ten! The novel White Teeth sits on my lap and my own set of white teeth grit at colourful cover of the book. Tagore just scares me with his tiny novel Chaturanga, which in past I had read as Broken Ties! I hate translators and publishers now for confusing me!
Sometimes I question myself, no wait I question myself everyday what on earth made me study literature? The answer is love for books! How many books have I read just for the pleasure of reading in last few months not more than twenty five! I have found carnal pleasure in rereading fanfictions and manga. The very idea of dissecting poetry or novel or an historical period from a discursive perspective, it irritates me.
May be factories were sucking life out of labourers when Dickens wrote, yet in his stories melancholy had a charm. When Henry James wrote he had his set prejudice. Or when Woolf, Joyce and Lawrence decided to wage a psychological war on us, the century was already scattered. Or when Waiting for Godot debuted it was meant to be watched not peeled word by word! I bet Beckett may once have regretted writing this play. Even absurdity did not gave him leeway! But did all of these writers always think of a theory or a discourse when writing may be they did now and then but all the time? I doubt it. Writing has always been a process of meditation, no matter who argues with me. I will always regard writing as a method of healing and reading as the best medicine.
I have always been a fan Coelho, rather I have been the blind follower of this man that I literally picked my pen name from his. But I bet if today I am given to dissect his story on basis of plot, theme, structure and background! I would for sure jump in the well. Murakami has seduced me too much but if one day I am asked to write about his surrealistic narrative! I shall chose to be Oedipus the blind.
I won’t deny the need of examination or an evaluation system, yet I cannot whole heartedly accept the process of teaching and the way our education system is expanding itself. To students who don’t belong to literature we appear to be bunch of crammers who rewrite the stories we read in class in our answer sheet. But we do try to read our books in a format of analytic science. And I say we are doing it wrong! We are student of humanities not science. There is reason both branches differ and we need to stay away from scientific approach in literary studies. We try to categorise our texts by its genre, and it’s not pronounced (Jener) gothic, picaresque, sentimental, psychological, popular and what not. Then we will churn out the narrative style, its structure and try to read it up and down, down and up, left and right, right and left and maybe across the page!
Sitting at lunch time my father asks me what will be my next course of action. I have taken English Literature and practically I have two options to earn a living- A school Teacher or a Teacher in college. It rounds up to teaching! I love reading but to make a juice out my reading and feeding students really doesn't appeal me.
I want to do PhD I really want to do! I want to study Queer Literature and explore the scope of that branch. But when I see constant homicide of text and literary theories I find myself cringe behind with every second. May be I should write novels and try to sell them in Indian Railway Market with the tagline Bestseller on it. What we are doing sitting in classroom is not the purpose literature or a reader. In the end anything ever written was meant for reading and creating thought process and not meant to be chewed and spat around on answer sheets.
Yes I don't feel like studying anymore.
P.S- I think I should start with my plan to become VC in different University in the country! But for that I need too many degrees and PhD!...
thanking you to bear with me