It has been a long time since I first read the novels which affected me the most strongly: Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Ivanhoe and Gone with the Wind. The first two I read when I was ten years old, or thereabouts; the last, Gone with the Wind, three or four years ago. Since then, I’ve read a few books, but none which created impressions as deep as they have. So much so, that I’d come to doubt whether I would meet anybody as kind and as good as Melanie Wilkes, or anyone as terrible as Dorian Gray. I felt that I wouldn’t meet any love as strong as the love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, or the love for Scarlet that Rhett had. Women like Jane Eyre, or Countess Natasha Rostova, or Agnes Wickfield, or Scarlet O’Hara are rarely met with. But a lot of things changed when I decided to correct a mistake that I had made, since I had never got a chance to read Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, having read The Hunchback of Notre-Dame years ago as an abridged version (curse those monstrosities, they rob us of a great deal!). So when I chanced upon a Penguin Classics edition of Les Misérables, a 1976 translation by Norman Denny, I seized it without a second thought.
In my days at IITG, I have often been asked where I hail from. Somehow, I never am sure how to answer it. Consider: I was born in Kerala, I stay in a town called Kalyan, in Maharashtra, and am studying here in Guwahati, Assam. Should I say, I am from Kalyan, where I stay, and which no one will recognise, or should I say I am from Bombay (or Mumbai), which people will recognise? Or should I say that I am from Kerala, where I was, in fact, born? Each answer means different things, and I would often be in a quandary as to which meaning I should choose.
I’ve always had a love of writing programs, maybe because I like to create things. Different languages have different methods of punctuation; there are different styles of indentation; there are different grammar styles, and so on. Since at present I’m studying C/C++, I’ll be sticking to it in this monologue.
What constitutes a friend? My mum thinks that every single person I know is my friend. I certainly don’t think so. I mean, none of them are my enemies, but not all of them are friends. Some are just acquaintances. People you meet, get acquainted with, who no longer visit my mind after they are gone from my life. People to whom I give a polite smile, a ‘Good Day!’, or a wave. These are like shooting stars, sometimes they lighten up the sky, sometimes they aren’t even seen. To me, a friend is something else. A friend is like the stars, or, better still, like the planets. They are always there, even if you don’t see them. Someone you can trust to be there when the time comes. A friend is someone I trust, I respect, I admire. Someone you can open your soul to, someone you can let in to the deepest parts of your mind.
Jurassic Park and The Lost World are movies that almost everyone I know have seen. These movies prompted me to read the novels, and, out of curiosity and knowing that novels always contain more detail than movies, I did read them, laying my hands on a second hand copy of Jurassic Park, and later on The Lost World. Thus did I start reading books by Crichton, on of my favourite authors. It did shock (and dishearten) me to learn that he died on November 4, 2008, due to cancer (I learned it only a week after, when I checked the Wiki article on him).