84 Charring Cross

I first came across this book in Badri’s home in Bangalore. And I nearly read the whole of it in 2 hours, and was captivated by it. But somehow, it did not make that permanent impression inside me and I totally forgot that I had left it unfinished that day. Long afterwards, yesterday, I found a movie with the same title in the library. Something in the title caught my attention. A glance at the story, took me back to the beautiful story.

I have always been captivated by the written word. A movie shows the things, but a book, lets you imagine the plot the way you want it to! But then too, I was curious, about how could a book that was just correspondence between two people be made to a movie. I now know, it can be, and can be done very beautifully.

I love letters. I like to read and re-read a lot of my mails from time to time. I like to think about what I was thinking then, what the context was, and then, by some weired connections which is my brain, I remember the place, I wrote the mail, the things I did a few minutes before etc etc. Ah! I love these Brain-memory-daydream jumps!!!

Like, I was reading this mail about my first few days in US to amma and appa, and suddenly, I remember the basement browsing center in Union South. I love it, when I go to a new place, the scenes are different, but so is the smell and feel, the characteristic background chatter of the place. It takes a little time getting used to it, but then thinking back about it is like flipping the pages of your favorite book. RVCE mess had this aqua-guard singing every morning during breakfast, and that is like the first thought that comes when suddenly I think about the mess. Followed by a scared bunch of first years, in formals, hurriedly eating the breakfast to walk to class in the pleasant Bangalore morning…

Oh! back to letters, I love it as a medium of communication. I would prefer it for, it helps me think and arrange my thoughts before I say it. And for important matters, it allows me the time to think and rethink, before the words are out there, (and as it was eloquently put in When harry met sally, if it’s out there, you cannot take it back).

Digressing again, the joy that each missive bought to the faces of the characters Frank and Helene in the book, reminds me of the glory old telecommunication less days. Appa and Thatha would write to eachother, so would amma and patti. And as soon as the letter arrived, Appa after reading it, would read loud the letter to us. This was followed by the STD’s of Sunday mornings (1/4th rate days). Patti is a brilliant writer. When she used to visit us in Calcutta, she used to take out her pilgrimage notes. The one that stands out in my memory, is a rainy Calcutta afternoon. Amma, Vids and me, lying lazily on the bed, listening to patti’s memoirs of Vaishno-Devi. She has a beautiful writing style. A paragraph would start with the banalities of the morning chai, and slowly end up with some story related to some stone on the path. And, her writing was so detailed. We listened to her for 3 hours about the trip, and I could imagine the whole thing in my head.

I used to write letters too. The first one that I remember was writing to my cousin (in both english and hindi), when I was in 1st Standard, and down with Chicken Pox. And the last letter I remember writing, was to Tatha (and the whole gang in Madras), about our trip to the Andamans. Inspired by Patti, I wrote for around 8 pages !!!!!

(To my readers, if any, go read the book)

The semester is finally over. It just seemed to drag and drag and drag. The summer is here, and so is the promise of some progress in the research. I am keeping my finger’s crossed, and hoping that someone quickly makes an enthu-generating machine
The previous blog, came at the end of a utterly depressing and frustrating day. But, again, I am happy that I wrote it. J and Haddi gave interesting comments on it, and that was good. The feel good comment.
On days such as that, I just hope that I can as easily take a peek into the future as I peek my memories, and see that all’s well and happy….
…but then where is the thrill of it


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