Saturday, August 02, 2008

Confessions of an Addict: Buildup to The Russian Fever

WARNING: Long Post.


Nanga Fakir: Hello folks! I am Nanga Fakir.

"Hello Nanga Fakir".

Nanga Fakir: I am an addict.

(Weak voice) "Sure honey, go ahead".

Nanga Fakir: I guess it was innate. Something that I had been born with. Some affliction which seals your fate even before you're born. I have long suspected a genetic basis for many of the ailments that I suffer from -- pessimism, cynicism, depression, fondness for black humour and scatological jokes, boredom, nausea, laziness, aversion to pets etc. A new item has been added to the list. It is addiction.

<*glances nervously at the audience and smiles in confusion*>

<*the audience eyes him full of compassion, feigned perhaps*>

Nanga Fakir: This will not be an intelligent account. It will be an erratic recollection at best.

<*audience nods in encouragement*>

Nanga Fakir: Perhaps it started with comics. The cheap, sold-on-the-roadside stuff one could rent for a night. Many a day would pass while the infant NF would read about the adventures of Bankelal under the slanting rays of the sun, oblivious to all worries of the outside world.

The fascination continued. With Chandamama captivating him in its fantastic yarns of ancient empires, beautiful princesses, wicked sorcerers and powerful yogis, NF would get transported to parallel universes where he would commandeer armies and humble the most powerful by his wisdom and magic.

Then came the crucial discovery of the book that took his world by storm -- Chandrakanta. The masterful suspense, the ancient empires, the mazes and labyrinths, the tilisms, and the aiyyars made the normally quiet, introspective kid exclaim in hushed reverence -- "This is the greatest book that has ever been written."

He hunted for, and soon read the six parts of the Chandrakanta Santati series. And since the supply of comics/books dried up due to reason not remembered, he reread all the seven books of the series one after the other -- again and again and again.

His appetite grew by leaps and bounds. Reading books was all that he would do, drawn irresistibly to the yellowed pages and the smell of the moth eaten papers. He felt an almost carnal pleasure in watching the pages turn and the content reveal itself. He read without purpose, goals, plans, or ulterior motives. His addiction had begun then.

Come 8th standard and he gave his school library a not indifferent look. Lurking in the glass panelled shelves, he saw along with his friend who went by the name of Man, a collection of stories by Soviet writers. He came back promptly the next day to return the book and look for more. A book by the name of Mother caught his attention. "Ah, another Russian book!", he said to himself and got it issued.

This started what he now refers to as The Russian Fever. Very soon he had on his hands Anna Karenina which, although he did not understand in its entirety, hit him with a force that he had not thought possible.

By now, Nanga Fakir would read books simply because the cover jacket of the book would look sexy. The pubescent kid would get aroused in the wrong regions of his body due to the wrong reasons and he would not notice this till the time to remedy the situation was too far gone past.

And then it happened. During one of his rounds of the school library, he noticed a fat, white book squeezed between two fatter tomes. He decided to investigate.

The book smelled funny. It was written by a Russian guy with an unpronounceable name and the translation was by some female called Olga Shartse. The book was called "The Idiot (part one)". He decided to give it a try since the book cover was sexy, the smell was different and the writer was Russian.

He stood in line to get the book issued. The librarian looked at him wearily. She saw a frail, undersized kid holding a book that weighed heavier than him. "You're sure you want to get this issued?", she asked. "Yes ma'am", came the prompt answer. Slowly and methodically, all entries were made and signatures acquired. And at the end of it all, the book came into Nanga Fakir's possession.

End of Part 1

<*no longer nervous, Nanga Fakir ends his account with the audience clapping enthusiastically. he smiles confidently to all those present and is happy with his performance*>

(Weak Voice) "By all means, your account was fascinating and engrossing. But why do you talk in third person? At times it is irritating to hear you say 'Nanga Fakir felt this...' etc etc."

Nanga Fakir: Hey fuck you bitch!

1 comment:

ira said...