Silence… Erling Kagge… Book Review

“I believe silence is the new luxury. Silence is more exclusive and long-lasting than other luxuries…… Silence is the only need that those who are on the constant lookout for the latest luxury can never attain…”

I fell in love with the cover of this book, much against age-old advice 😊… I judged it and I bought it… And I never regretted it.

The word ‘Silence’ and all that it stands for has always intrigued me, but I never questioned that deep desire.

Often I find myself stuffing my ears with ear plugs to erase every intrusive sound… I felt a need to be enveloped and hugged by the kind of silence one finds high up in the mountains, while on a trek, or deep under water while scuba diving.

To find someone who made it his life’s mission to be curious about it and write a book about it was a wish fulfilled, for me.

Erling Kagge has written a work of great beauty and wisdom. One feels like taking ones time reading it, savouring every sentence, rolling it on ones tongue like exotic wine, and then slowly ingesting it.

The author speaks from experience, both personal and historical, about the significance and importance of finding pockets of silence in daily life.

The font size, the page layout, cover design, are all areas where a lot of thought has gone in.

This book is certainly not a fast paced thriller, it’s a slow chugging train on a narrow gauge track, making its way through the maze of ones mind, urging it to slow down, and enjoy the ride… 😊

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Book Review – behind the beautiful forevers

When a non-fiction  book is written by a Pulitzer Prize winning author and when it is a reportage of life in ‘Annawadi’, a makeshift settlement behind a row of luxury hotels and close to the new International Airport in Mumbai, it cannot but be a gripping and touching read. 

The aspirations and goals of parents and the younger generation strike a chord. One is guilt-ridden as ones eyes move around the room in which they are sitting and reading… Maybe sunk in a favourite couch, coffee at hand, fresh fragrance to soothe and create an ‘atmosphere’ perfect for reading….and then you enter the slums, gagging on imaginary stench, and gut-wrenching poverty.

The excitement of rag pickers when they come across trash thrown by the rich,  gives a clear insight into a world very few pause to think about. The suppressed emotions and tensions over sex, religion and power, show the layers in which society exists. It also reflects on how idealism is a luxury one affords when the belly is full and the children are healthy, otherwise one would sell ones soul and ones body too. 

Catherine’s book is relentless and no-holds-barred account of life. It has a truth that all of us are aware of but few are comfortable enough to confront, quite like Arvind Adiga’s ‘White Tiger’. 

The stories that pan out are touching and shocking… How can people live like this, one wonders?

But they do… Millions of them…

My Thoughts… Book Review

I must admit that this was the first time I read a Kannada novel translated into English. 

This is a slim copy taking us into a middle-class urban Indian family that comes into big money after seeing a life of great financial difficulties. The sentiments of all members, the emotional tug of war, the petty lies and deceit that make their way into personalities make for a fascinating read. 

It was over in one lazy Sunday reading session but has piqued my curiosity enough to know and read more works by Vivek Shanbhag. 

The Pressed Rose

Remember the joy of coming across a forgotten pressed Rose? A first Valentine memory or a beauty that one wanted to always remember….So one found a book of poetry or whatever it is that one was reading at that time and placed it between the pages and shut the book gently…
And there it lay, a pressed rose, exuding its fragrance and coaxing it into the aging pages of your cherished book, till one day, years later, you chance upon it once again and you drop everything to just sit and reminisce about that small yet beautiful moment in life…

One that came back on the delicate wings of a pressed rose.