I have never been somebody who shopped for books on impulse. I usually wait for somebody to recommend something to me, or cling to the safety that familiarity breeds and pick unread books by known, tried and tested authors. However, of late, that strategy was failing and I had a pile of books that I was unable to finish- because they had either bored me or were too predictable. So (after ages), I walked into Landmark and mindlessly picked a whole lot of books that caught my fancy.
A good job is one that lets you buy all the books you want- and allows you all the time you need to read them. I-totally-love my job.
I believe that books are somehow connected to your destiny. Have you ever noticed how certain books fall in your lap when you desperately needed a beacon to guide you out of a difficult spot? How sometimes, the answer you were looking for would pop out of a book that you were reading for the eighth time, and made you wonder how you missed it in the first place? How a book that made absolutely no sense when you first read it would startle you with its clarity when you read it again because you were ‘ready for it’?
Would you believe me if I said some of the books in that photo transformed my life in a way I never would have imagined? Books like the Fountainhead and the Motorcycle Diaries have moved millions of readers and created a movement by themselves.
Of those books, three I loved. The Palace of Illusions- speaks about the Mahabharata from Paanchali’s perspective: About her divine love for Krishna- because it comes with no attachment or obligation, about her opinions on Dharma, and its twisted reasoning, and about Karna, the most tragic, unsung hero of the epic.
The Forty Rules of Love was a book that conjured images and music as I read it. It was about the mystical nature of Sufism, about Rumi- and how Shams Tabrizi met him, loved him, transformed him and died for him, about the power of love and how it can alter you, and about the forty rules one could use, to love God. My two favourite rules- from the book:
Hell is the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we scend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.
It is never too late to ask yourself ‘Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?’ Even if a single day in our life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one way to be born into a new life: to die before death.
The third book, The Bastard of Istanbul, was by the same author who wrote the Forty Rules of Love. It brought alive the sights and smells of Turkey, whimsical descriptions and a heavy plot apart, it taught me a lot more about how words have the power to transcend political boundaries and make you fall in love with a country and a culture you have never known, smell dishes you have never heard of, and love people who don’t even exist.
That- is the power of the Pen, which is mightier than anything else in the world. Ironically, it cannot be expressed in enough words, but can only be felt.