Finding Forrester

The movie finding forester came long back. It was about a teenage guy whose skills in writing and Basketball were prodigious. But no one seemed to appreciate his skills due to skepticism, may be for his skin color or due to some other reason. This teenage guy one day finds a man, in a room. A person who he admired so much, the world admired him as a great author, they learnt from his books. Nobody knew that he resided in this room accept this teenager. This author who has cut himself of from the external world now motivates his young friend to pursue his dreams. The movie was about how the old man makes friendship with this young guy by breaking the barriers of generation gap and helps him to resurrect his emotions and confidence. Watch it to know more.

In this blog I would like to talk about my favorite authors. People who shaped my character and wisdom. People who helped me to be what I am today.

Purushottam Laxam Deshpande

He was the most popular author in entire Marathi literature. Loved by entire middleclass for his satirical style of writing which usually came under the category of Humor but also contained hard biting truths and philosophy. He showed us the humor and happiness in the monotonous life of a middleclass Marathi life. Borrowing newspaper from the neighbour, the humiliating comments made by the ‘Ardhangini’ the wife. Etc. etc. But while commenting with a touch of comedy he also succeeded in showing that it was not that bad after all. Though the wife always passes bad comments on whatever her inferior half does, when it comes to spending some cash she suggests that husband should buy a watch while husband say that the wife should buy a new saree.

He portrayed various characters in his famous book ‘Vyakti ani Valli’ loosely translated as ‘People and Characters’. He so magnificently opened the lives of different people, from school master who struggles to bring quality in education while loving his students to Hari Tatya a person in present time but lives in the history. There was Sakharam Gatane a young student who has flare for reading and lives in an idealistic word where everything is guided by principles stated in books.

His biography of a middleclass clerk ’Asami Asami’ was an instant hit. May be because most of the Marathi people saw the reflection of their own life in it and realized that their monotonous life too was worth living. Laughing at your own disabilities and embarrassments is the best way to tackle both of them.

He admitted that he was impressed by P. G. Woodhouse. While P.G. usually portrayed lives of Rich people in England even after that lifestyle was extinct, P.L. was more interested in the predicaments of the middleclass. His work was extremely down to earth. Something everyone is capable to attach emotionally with.

I learnt from his work that mediocrity is not a fault. It is not something that we should be ashamed of or should be feared of. It’s a very relative quality residing in our own minds. Though the poor clerk can not understand the spiritual talks given by the BABA in a Satsang meant for rich people, he perfectly understands the cunningness of BABA and foolishness of his followers. Though his kids apparently don’t respect him, he manages well to keep his family together. He is cheated every now and then by neighbors, tailor and even colleagues. But he doesn’t regret it he accepts them as reality of life and moves ahead.

Among all his works I liked his Travel experiences the most. Apurvayi an account of his journey in west and Poorvarang an account of his journey in east. He never seemed to posses any inferiority complex because he was Indian going to rich countries, he was not surprised at the industrial development etc etc but he very minutely described the human aspects of life in East as well as west. He is among very few travels who find the local folk arts as interesting than anything else. He perfectly understood the sentiments of people in Japan and Bali. And he also understood people in Europe and America. He was truly a Global Citizen. He did not show his disgrace for poor in other countries but he sympathized for them, even the way he was cheated by taxi owners does not cause any hatred for that country or its people. I wish V. S. Naiupal had read these books before writing ‘A journey to darkness’.

This author is dead now but his books will always remain bestseller among Marathi readers. He was criticized for writing nostalgic writings but I have no shame in saying that I loved it like hell.

Chintaman Vinayak Joshi

He was popularly known as Chi Vi Joshi. He fell in the exact category of P.L. Deshpande but his works originated mostly during pre independence. His central character was Chiman who had a good family. They say Joshi completed all those things which he missed in his life thorugh Chiman’s story. Joshi did not see his mother, his wife was dead after giving birth to 4 children who all were dead soon. Chiman’s kids have names of birds which signify that they will fly one day away from the parents.

Like most of the Brahmins of that time he too is a clerk. With his strong built and angry young man brother GundhyaBhau he tries to add spice to his monotonous life within the limits set by the society of that time. This includes participating in a Kavi Samelan in Goa, Buying a second hand car whose everything accept horn made sound, taking his old blind mother to an pilgrimage in his own house, teaching his kids etc etc.

In short he converted the sorrows of life into things that can be enjoyed. I grew up reading his books. Right from 4th std I read his books and even today I read again and again the same books of his.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Many suggested that I should improve my English and for that reading English books is must. Poor guys, their thinking is so cheap, ask them why English is important and the answer you will get is that ‘it’s important for career’. Frankly I find it silly and I don’t read for my career, I read to pursue my literary pleasure.

My ventured into English literature through Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Christie. Soon I found them boring because their story plots failed to thrill me anymore. People killing each other and some hero finding it out was seemed silly to my grown up mind. It was only after I reached 10th I read these books. By that time my Marathi reading had reached to different spheres, I was reading essays related to politics and philosophy. Biographies etc. etc.

I found a book in my village library that caught my attention and interest. It was entire collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. From Study in Scarlet to Hound of Baskervilles I had read all. The same subject that failed to engage my interest in Sidney Sheldon’s book now had me engrossed into it.

Dr. Watson and Holms solving mysteries without any bloodshed or action was very interesting thing. I must admit that my personality has a great deal of Holms in it. I need caffeine to stimulate my gray cells. I pass hours solving a single unsolvable problem, I tend to learn thing that are irrelevant for my normal course of career and all that. I guess its all because of Holmes.

What I liked most about his work was that, the mysteries were not only for Holmes to solve but even readers can try contemplating what would have happened. The author provided all the links in the story which the Holmes would connect at the end. And readers would easily agree that Holmes really possessed skills to be the hero of the story. Unlike other ‘bestseller’ thrillers in the market he was not good in handling guns, jumping and fighting. But he has a brain that very few detectives matched.

Arthur Conan Doyle opened me the doors of English classic literature.

P. G. Wodehouse

He was an English author residing in America wrote about an England which had became a part of history when his books were getting published. He was the pray of skeptical American and English thinking about Nazis. Woodhouse was accused to be a supporter of Nazi for some silly reasons. But to my surprise I found that his books are still among 1st 100 best sellers in India. Like Shashi Tharoor puts it, ‘ why he is so popular in Indian is just another geo-social mystery, like why Pakistan is so good at Squash while none of its neighbors are’.

After Holmes it was Jeeves who accompanied me in the journey of reading English literature. I read many of his books mostly containing Jeeves. Some of the dialogs I still remember e.g.

“there is not time in a man’s life where ties do not matter’

There was little philosophy in his stories nor there was any hilarious comedy. But there was some kind of elegance in his language, some kin dof idealistic approach where he forgot what the reality was and continued to write what he get pleasure in. That is why none of his countrymen appreciated as Indians did.

Arun Shourie

I knew him only as a union minister. I had no idea that he was a Phd. In economics, editor of Indian Express and a well admired personality in Indian Journalism. For me he was a politician who possessed qualities that are rarely seen among politicians.

After reading his first book ‘A Secular Agenda’ I realized that the English that I pride in knowing is extinct and there are words that do not feature in my pocket oxford dictionary. More over, I learnt that merely knowing words do not mean you can figure out the meaning of a sentence. Despite I had trouble in understanding his English, I loved his one quality ‘his consistently independent perspective with rigorous analysis and research’. Every single doubtful sentence in his book had a reference mentioned below. He gave all the possible views and justified why he thinks a particular perspective is correct.

I loved the fact that there is one author who doesn’t want to be praised among critics and social circles by writing something that will appease them but he fearlessly put forward what he thought was right. When he exposed the Ex-prime minister Rajeev Gandhi he emerged as a hero in Indian Journalism. Very few people knew what troubles he had faced during that time. But when he criticized reservation policies and the so called secular policies he was dropped down by the same people who called him a hero. But this man was unshakable and incorrigible. He did not change.

Till today I have read 5 of his books and I am deeply impressed by his way of thinking and reasoning. He is one author I feel truly committed to his virtues. For me he is a role model.

Shashi Tharoor

I belong to the so called saffron brigade which exists in India. With the flagship organization RSS which are often portrayed a communal, anti secular etc etc. criticism is not something they can ignore or digest.

In RSS criticism is countered by rabid expressions and very little logical reasoning. However I am still their supporter.

Shashi Tharoor is one person who continuously criticizes the organization I love and still I love him. Because he is so right. However I also fear that probably he does not have a clear and true idea on Indian society that exists here. But in ideal situation he is the right Indian and his notions of ‘Secularism’ is just what India needs in order to have communal harmony.

A young guy suffering from Asthma took books along his bed to distract his mind from the decease and ended up in writing a book at the age of 10. He then became General Secretary to United Nations for the Refugees and rehabilitation. He was away from India but India was not away from him. He wrote books like ‘The great Indian Novel’, ‘RIOT’, ‘India: midnight to millenium’ etc. etc.

I use to think that NRIs know very little about India but he proved me wrong. He knew lot more than me. His approach was of a realistic and patriotic Indian but free from any distortions like nationalistic extremism. Among all his thoughts his idea of religion was what I found the best. He described religion in a way I had imagined. He put it in better words was the only difference. He was proud to proclaim himself as Hindu which most of the secular thinkers are ashamed of saying. While proclaiming himself as Hindu he did not forget to tell that he has respect for all other religions and cultures, which the extremist like VHP do not want to say.

I his words

“I am proud to call myself a believer Hindu. I am proud of my religion which teaches me to respect all faiths and beliefs. I am proud of my religion which unlike others do not force me to believe in a single book or philosophy or a god, nor it forces me to believe that all those people who do not share common religious beliefs with me are on wrong path to God”.

And that is exactly is what Hinduism is and that is what all of us should be proud of. That is what makes India such a unique country in the world which contains almost all religions co-existing peacefully.

I think the so called secular organizations in India need to hug this kind of approach to Hinduism and secularism.

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