Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quiet space

Until recently I didn't realise how much of an introvert I am. As far as I can remember, it hasn't always been like this. But off late, things are indeed different. I have always had this nagging need for space. But now, it is a lot more than before. I feel the need and want to be alone occasionally. I have no qualms about eating, shopping, watching movies or travelling alone. In fact I like the solitude. It is truly refreshing. But, this doesn't make me a people hater or anti-social. It just means I like picking (very carefully) who I hang out with. And what's wrong in that?
People usually refer to introverts in a way to suggest that we are a strange species. Quite often, people have tried to make me 'enjoy' what they enjoy doing. Sometimes, it works out fine for me. Sometimes, I refuse and my kind extrovert or not-so-introvert friends do oblige. They accept me as I am :) But, it hasn't stopped tonnes of people from questioning 'Why I am so sad all the time?' Or 'Why I do not learn to just chill?'
I have been told that it's very hard to understand what someone else goes through. And I get that. I totally do. But when I am 'hiding' in my shell, I am having fun. And I might be sometimes hiding from the outside world. But it doesn't mean I am not enjoying myself. 

Multiple times I have asked myself if I take life too seriously and don't have enough fun (gulp). Sometimes even I answer that question with a yes. But then, I look back on my life and realise I have had fun. I lived in a room full of extroverts (four of them, phew) for a year. It was scary for me for a long time. It took them ages to allow me to just be. I would go out with them rarely and they got used to it eventually. It bothered them cause I think they felt like I didn't like them. It's just that I liked me better. No harm in that right?
But over time, I found some fellow introverts with whom I would spend hours in silence. Those relationships just came more naturally. Not that I can only be friends with introverts (which is grossly untrue). But for me, that relationship is more natural. (Here I would like to mention that few of my strongest bonds are with not-so-introverts and I love spending time with them.)

I have been misunderstood for long. It has taken me years of introspection to even understand that it is 'okay' to be the way I am. For being by myself has led me to find and indulge in my two passions. I have turned into a voracious reader (for I read, therefore I am) and I simply love writing. I might have found outlets to them otherwise as well. But by indulging in both often, allows me to socialise better. I find solace in both. I feel like a part of me is out there when I write and a part of life is understood in the writings of legends.

So being an introvert isn't so bad. In fact it suits me just fine. I hang out with people I love to hang out. And occasionally, I break a leg ;)

Don't judge me for liking my alone time and I will try to not judge you for your extrovert joys. That's all I am saying. We just have different ways of living our lives. I am just trying to find a corner where I can live life on my terms in a sometimes noisy world. :)

P.s I suggest you read this Seeing Life Through Introvert Eyes 
and The Inside Scoop on your Introvert Friends

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Stories within a story: A book review

“What matters in the end is the truth.” The opening lines of the book describe what storyteller ‘Hasan’ hopes to find through the course of the evening at Jemma el Fna in Marrakesh.
Wandering through the various narratives, the narrator of the story, in a hope to find out what really happened the night the two foreigners disappeared, explores the depths of Marrakesh. But while he willingly allows his audience to interrupt him and narrate their individual versions, the many contradictions in the tale come forth. The reader is left to question if a truth, any truth, exists.
The slightly prolonged narrative of the many eager “storytellers” in the audience tends to drag a bit. Maybe more than a bit. But the delectable prose of the story drowns the reader in the nuances of the story. It allows one to prod on the many stories entwined in a single story, in the narratives that probably suffocate in the usually single narrative. But often, the larger picture seems vague and sometimes even lost.
“Perhaps it is because in retelling our various encounters, each one of us is intent on honesty, as well as absolute commitment to memory that inspires what we storytellers, with our voracious appetite for physical detail, call the imagination,” said Samir, a Berber merchant. This point puts succinctly the diversity of stories that are brought alive with the disappearance of a remarkably beautiful French American woman and a silent, maybe broody, Indian man.
As the evening passes, the contradictions continue to unfold with the audience unwilling to even agree on the appearance of the foreigners.  Hasan throw his bits highlights the vast difference between truth and memory and the grey area between the two. The narration brings alive not just the Moroccan people but the place and the surroundings. And in this lies the beauty of the book.
“The Djemaa is a symbol, a meeting point of all the peoples who have passed through and continue to come through this part of the world,” Khadija, the fortune­teller, declares. The statement aptly puts the wide cross section of people indulging in the story of the vanishing act of the foreigners. Not just the mere act of their disappearance but the path that led them to it.
Touching on the many nuances between truth and distortion of truth, Joydeep Roy Battacharya indulges the reader in a lively Moroccan setting full of their history and culture. The book makes for a slow but delightful read with a lot of questioning involved. It is recommended for voracious readers who prefer reading between the lines. At least once in a while. For, “the truth of my story is immaterial, as in whether or not a woman vanished or a man or both of them or neither. What matters in the end is life, the breathing of air, the breasting of waves, the movement of sand, each grain of sand a mirror of conflicting perceptions and testimonies.” And there is some truth in that.
Star rating: 3 ½
Joydeep Roy Battacharya is also the author of the book The Gabriel Club.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!