Archive for August 31st, 2008

August 31, 2008

And just in case you missed it

Two bloggers I’m very fond of are quoted in this TOI piece about child-free zones. The comments are excellent – apparently not wanting little Pappu howling at you in the middle of a movie hall, or sticking his finger in your dinner while his parents smile fondly on is a sign of the grossest inhumanity.

Oh well.

August 31, 2008

Spreading my tentacles…in LOVE

The first time I met Aadisht he gave me a copy of Ravi Subramanian’s* execrable If God Was a Banker. Some months later on a lovely November afternoon we sat in a cafe and roared over Tuhin Sinha’s That Thing Called LOVE: An Unusual Romance…and the Mumbai Rain. We haven’t read the new Chetan Bhagat book yet, but a certain pattern seems to be developing.

So in July I thought it fitting to gift him a copy of The Saga of LOVE Via Telephone…Tring Tring by one Pankaj Pandey. But he went back to Bombay the next day and I hadn’t had a chance to read it until I came across a copy this afternoon.

It seems that capitalising LOVE and putting in some ellipses is fashionable among young writers at the moment. Hopefully this post will find takers, therefore.

Anyway. The Saga of LOVE Via Telephone…Tring Tring (referred to as LVT for the rest of this post) tells the story of an engineering student named Pankaj and his girlfriend Shikha. Pankaj’s first encounter with Shikha is described in the first paragraph of the book:

She emerged through the lane from her classroom with open hair, a tinge of lip-liner, walking next to hundreds of students, some standing right in her path. Without getting perturbed, she walked across the lawn, went to the library, returned her books, and walked back on the same path before disappearing out of sight.
It was amazing…
I have never seen a girl behave in such a different manner.

Stunned by Shikha’s (apparently unique) method of returning her library books, Pankaj feels that he has to get to know her. So he approaches her on Orkut with a friendship request.

Within ten days of my love at first sight, I had started mailing her on Orkut. For the first six days I did not receive any reply. But I was not the one to be easily disheartened. I continued to mail her at regular intervals till she was forced to enquire about me. I just wanted to be noticed by her.

Pankaj’s methods of meeting girls are brought into some sort of perspective when we learn this about his roommate Anurag:

He possessed the knack for flirting, making friends and waiting for girls outside their houses, just in front of their windows so that he could catch a glimpse of them.

Anyway, Pankaj and Shikha begin to talk on the phone and fall for each other. As Pankaj himself puts it,

I would rather say that I gradually started spreading my tentacles in love.

Yep, we have hit upon what is possibly the only book published in India in 2008 to deal with tentacle porn.

Like That Thing Called Love, every page of LVT yields new treasures that I’d love to share. But here are a few favourites:

I was in search of a book which would help me in understanding girls – their worries, anxiety, what they liked and what they hated most in boys. I went to “Crossword” where such books are easily available.

She was an obdurate sort of girl, with a quiet nature. She always seemed lost in her world. She was blunt to the core. In real sense she was a ‘scrounge’.

“was she in nemesis?” I thought several times.

Then, started my saturnine days.

Every single moment two things were uppermost in my mind – Shikha and Shri Krishna.

“Trauma has restricted the movement of life force from one to the other centre and caused the energy system to go haywire. He needs serious attention. He has become dormant,” was the doctor’s advice.

I love her unconditionally. If the situation warrants, I’ll be manqué.

What will Pankaj do in this perplexed and imbroglio situation?

There are also some amazing clothing related sections:

“Why don’t you try that parrot coloured shirt and chocolate coloured trousers? You dazzle in that combination.”

Each one of us decked ourselves to the best in swanky clothes, cool hair-style and funky looks.

I simply say “grey” because I lack the vocabulary to describe the colour of her trousers.

And then there’s Pandey’s fondness for literary quotations – one at the beginning of each chapter and a few scattered instances in the text. Included are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jane Austen, Marcel Proust and P.B. Shelley, among others. There’s a sublime moment where he quotes Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner at a time when Pankaj is especially depressed and earnestly explains that “The ice of Samuel Taylor had become my tears”.

LVT ends rather tragically, with Pankaj and Shikha parted due to circumstances. But the hundred odd pages that make up the book are only a part of the Saga of LVT. As we are informed on the last page,

This story cannot end here…
Saga of love is indicating evocative scenes of hubbub and excitement…
Wait for the next part…

I shall.

*Who I’m not related to, as far as I know.