The Booker Award

Blogging has opened my mind to a variety of cultures and perspectives that have been enlarging and refreshing. And Zebra Designs and Destinations is one such space, that is a feast for the senses.

I was understandably touched and honoured when Lisa included me in her list of nominations for the Booker award, an award that acknowledges ones love of the written word. Thank you Lisa 🙂

The instructions for this award are to name five other bloggers and share your five most-favorite books.  A tough ask…..choosing just five! (But Lisa has already listed two of my all time favourites, so that technically makes it seven!)

My love affair with books precedes my encounter with the travel bug by decades. Years before I had seen the inside of an airplane I had virtually traversed every nook and corner of the earth through the well thumbed pages of my favourite books. The bug obviously contracted from inside those very same pages!

Later, when I moved to a plantation house, I inherited two huge crates of books from my father in law. A treasure trove of tomes by Wodehouse, Pearl S Buck, Hemingway, Maugham, Hardy, Austen, Shakespeare…..you name it! He had apparently blown up (mom in law’s exasperated term!) his meagre salary on books, all his life and she didn’t have room for them in their modest city house! Lucky me 🙂 I devoured those books, sometimes at the rate of one a day! Rereading my favourites over and over!

Sadly, I find it increasingly difficult to read with that level of concentration anymore. Time is always an issue, the ambience not as conducive as a cool plantation verandah, and the rampant hormones don’t help any. It is easier on days like this to seek succour in the pages of old favourites.

Midnights children or City of joy? That was a tough one. While the latter portrayed Calcutta in all it’s gritty reality, I had to go with Salman Rushdie’s epic on the birth of our nation, that taught me more about the painful events leading up to independence than any history book could.

Behind every great fortune there is a crime
That epigraph by Balzac sets the tone for ‘The Godfather with its iconic lines and many allusions to real life mobsters. And my fascination for the torrid tales of the Mafia underworld ensures I never tire of rereading it, with that signature soundtrack playing in the back of my head.

At one point my fascination for the Italian Mafia was equaled only by my fascination for Italian artists, Michelangelo Buonarroti in particular.The Agony and the Ecstasy  Irwing Stone’s beautifully crafted, part fiction, part biopic, about one of the greatest artists this world has ever known, makes me want to pack my bags and follow his trail, every single time.

Roark the idealistic central character of Ayn Rand’s ‘Fountainhead‘ was one of my first heroes. A free thinking rebel who refused to conform, while remaining true to his craft. That he was an architect, at a time when medicine was the most coveted career option in a country rooted in tradition, was the ultimate appeal 😀 “Listen to your heart” Ayn Rand seemed to whisper from those pages!

Architect turned writer, Arundati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things, is a child’s eye view of the rigid social mores and complex relationships in a Syrian Christian household in rural Kerala. This dark tale remains a favourite as much for its lyrical prose, as for it’s setting in the verdant Malabar coast, so reminiscent of my hometown.

It hadn’t changed, the June Rain.
Heaven opened and the water hammered down, reviving the reluctant old well, greenmossing the pigless pigsty, carpet bombing still, tea-coloured puddles the way memory bombs still, tea-coloured minds. The grass looked wetgreen and pleased. Happy earthworms frolicked purple in the slush. Green nettles nodded. Trees bent.” Enough said.

I take pleasure in passing on this award to the following bloggers:

The Wanderlust Gene, whose word craft I admire, and whose stories of her beloved Serendidp I so look forward to.

Kate Shrewsday excels in finding invisible, historical links between, well, anything. Give her any two subjects and she will write the most beautifully worded, funny, compelling post connecting the two!

Jo Bryant is a mean photographer. If that wasn’t reason enough to visit her Chronicles of Illusions her funny, serious, thoughtful and intelligent posts should be.

Johanna’s restlessness is our gain. Her photos and travelogues, especially those on Portugal and Poland, are always such a treat.

Anne’s virtual nook is a space where “body, mind and spirit are nourished by physical wellness, active, green living, creativity and the arts.” Do stop by to check out the true meaning of Zen & Genki.

And finally, I dedicate this post to the youngest nerd in the family, who at six, has gone through the entire Harry Potter series in a matter of a few weeks!