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Ramblings of a reader

The problem that we face here is that there are more producers than consumers when it comes to communication. Communication, to me, is an art of listening, reciprocating and further asking a question to lead the conversation. It is an art of obliterating yourself while someone is speaking until the speaker waits for a reciprocation and your opinion. It is more of a selfish act of taking than a selfless act of  giving!

Why selfish? I love being selfish in such cases. I want to take in whatever the speaker has got within himself and give nothing from me. That's why I listen more than speak and that's why I read more than write.

There was a time or you can say a phase when I used to hate people around me so much that it burnt me from within. The hatred for other people only made my fall pretty stiff and quick. I would hate the phoniness that they carried. They effused a certain melodrama in their conversations with others because of that phoniness. I hated that effervescence that arise out of the ugly pretentiousness, to my last living bone.

I am a simple man. Whenever I see an object that I hate, I simply avoid that object. I take an avenue which doesn't even touch a skin of that object. And so it happened that I became more reclusive than Mr. Radley of " To kill a mocking bird". That was essentially my ticket to downfall. That was loneliness and not solitude. That was agony and not peace. That was a suicide and not liberation.

It took me some time to realise that people are just like novels. Only more stupid and pretentious but still similar to novels. They have their own story to tell, although with layers arrogance and superiority. I am learning to read them, to see them through that phony layer. It is indeed a liberating feeling to read people.

But why read people, you may ask. It is because the habit of reading, reading novels and people and situations, give one an idea about the size of one's mind. It gives one an idea of what will fit inside and what won't. It gives you ample of opportunities to try out different ideas and to wear only the ones that look good on you, that makes you complete, that makes your loneliness a solitude, that identifies a peace within and amidst those agonies.

In fact, this is the core belief of Mr. Antolini which he didn't hesitate a bit to pass it to Holden, the optimistic catcher in the rye from the world of J.D Salinger. Here's what he said, when he counselled Holden, a troubled teenager who was also struggling to make a sense of this adult pretentious world:

Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily some of them have kept records of their troubles. You will learn from them, if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's a poetry.

And that's why reading people and books is essential, more important than speaking and writing. Read if you are a troubled soul, read if you are in agony, read if you are lonely and read if you are in depression. Reading just might make you a best friend of yours. And then you would become liberated with peace in your solitude, your safe haven.  


  1. Salinger is highly ironical. Holden learnt almost nothing from Mr Antolini. In fact, he thought the teacher had bad intentions. Salinger himself withdrew from society and refused to tell us about the spiritual agonies he suffered.

    But, I agree, we shouldn't look at the author's personal life while appreciating his literary work. So what Mr Antolini says has a lot of depth and meaning.

    1. I raised an eyebrow when I read the part where Holden doubted the intentions of Antolini. There was a hint of Holden being a homophobic and throughout the novel there were scenes where he was shown to be aware of his male friends' physical attributes.
      Perhaps that was his teenage struggle of accepting his sexuality, whatever that may be.

      I rarely involve myself with an author's personal life when reading his work only for the fact that his work throws more light about his life than any other external information.

      Holden is shown as a teenager till the end of the novel, people like me do not even understand the complexity of the world even after reaching mid twenties, so I have no qualms when I see him not understanding anything from Antolini.

    2. I could understand that part about Holden's suspicion on Antolini. Because I lived with a lot of religious people who preached big morality but were bastards in actual life.

    3. The irony of religion being the watchdog of morality. The biggest irony ever.


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