Norwegian Wood

Read till the end to find some plans ahead for us to read together.

We’re talking about a book written by a Japanese author. The book is a mixture of magical realism and concepts our minds question the bigger universe about. I see this is the heart of my first Murakami book. And, I love it.

Word of trust

Before I talk about the book, I am aware of my responsibility as a lover of books to not spoil it for anyone. It’s a strange approach that I had to come up with, to not talk about the book and yet speak lengths about it. I love such challenges. You can be rest assured that you will (if you ever plan to) read the book without having lost a single surprise the author has set stage for. It will be as fresh as you’d want it to be. However, you still have the option to read the book before going ahead with this article in any case that you can’t trust someone on the internet. No pressure, but only a little.


As it happens, author Haruki Murakami was to be seen everywhere on the internet well before I decided to read his books. This made me curious. What was he to offer? Why do people have an obsession over Murakami?

The name definitely sounds like I’ve known it for ages.

After reading this book, I’ve found that the hype is valid. He’s just too brilliant, and you might not notice without taking a look. Some might even go ahead and call it underrated, this hype.

Norwegian Wood happens to tell me a lot about the hip-culture in the 20th century, in it’s own subtlety. It lays out clear descriptions of what I always imagined of Japan. It might as well be only my intention to perceive the book as calm, which I hope resonates with Japan’s culture.

This close relationship of Murakami with the calm, makes me want to take a look at my breath. Every breath is precious and yet inexpensively fundamental. You can try meditating a few seconds now. Close your eyes if you’d like, and watch (observe) your breath and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Try it.


Now, locations – the stage for drama. A writer might speak lengths about the location of the story, and so does Murakami here. Yet I found that this story particularly doesn’t rely much on the terrains of all the characters’ lives. I reckon it’s motive is to set the grounds clear for bigger conclusions. But, Murakami does this metaphorically at a level I have never come across. You’ll breathe in the nature that surrounds the paragraph. If the winds are harsh, watch out. The sun’s scorching heat might just burn your fingers.

To me, it felt like I have been there whenever Murakami speaks about a place. He is involved just the way you are. This is also one of the reasons why I loved reading the book – I kept wondering, whether it is me or Murakami that is listening to the story. I have been there, because the author just took me to the place holding my hands as if it were his.

Not just the places, but even the characters seemed to present themselves to me throughout the book as though I have known them for a period longer than my life. This mostly is because of the fact that they are vividly human and imaginative at the same time. Turns out, they were as new as the book was to me when I thought about it.

The human, however, has been here in our minds for centuries enough to keep them as precious.

What I find to catch my attention very often is how the characters’ introspection feels like my own. This happens to me every time I read a book. It’s a trip inward. And, the questions I ask myself are very spontaneous yet I know I’ve been wondering all these days about them. It’s a ‘check’ to what I thought of me and the world.

Books help me find the spirit of solace, and I play with it. Be it subconsciously, I know that I am having a “better” approach to my anxiety through a book rather just my thoughts on their own. It feels like the author is telling me I’m not alone in the misery of our lives. The author gives me hope in everything. And, this book does the same when I see that one character laughs while the other mourns – right there in front of my misery.

It has stories about human touch, the mind and it’s adventures with sadness. And, how it normalizes the miseries of human lives tells me how exaggerated a few aspects of our lives have become. Not just in the contemporary world, but it has been the habit of humans for a long time to find taboo in what is normal. If you find anything and everything as “weird” just too easily, I recommend reading a Murakami book.

Please read a Murakami book. Who knows? You might just fall in love with the “weird” of our lives as if it were only normal. You know it is normal to pick your nose, it is normal to stare at a tree and it is normal to be yourself.

To sum it up, I think this is one of those books I’ll never forget having picked up and it’s pages being flipped through with excitement. It is as memorable as my first time reading a book, ever. The Secret Seven, by Enid Blyton.

But, see, Murakami is the definition for why I’d love to read books. To explore, to feel safe while I am challenged to death, to dive deeper in my worlds built up these many years of my life. And, much more. There is always much more than my thoughts to a book. It’s impossible for me to tell how the book shows up to you. It’s personal in every sense possible. So, if you have read the book, please tell me about it in the comments. I am curious to know what others think of this book.


Reading books together

Thank you for reading till the end. So, I’ve been thinking about how we (you, me and other readers) can feel like we’re in a community on the blog while reading it. To try this out, how about we do something together before our next article? It’s a call too imaginative for now, but we can begin somewhere.

We can read books together (on our own) and in the next article when I talk about the book, you can feel much more at home. So, what we’ll do it read a book and then contemplate in the coming article. Every article on books, end with the title’s name for the next article.

Our next book: The Choice by Edith Eger

Shape up or ship out

What would I tell anger?

Thank you for deciding to go away. But, you need to hurry up.

This pace is getting us nowhere. I mean, there is huge progress but since you’re a human trait I guess you are no good to the world’s benefit these days. Humans loving other humans is taboo in few places so I wouldn’t doubt how you are perceived.

Do people love having you? When you put your face on theirs, do they smile? Or, do they cry behind you? I bet no one likes having you. And, that’s the thing. Why do we have you? Confusing our little minds you seem to have control about, you always disappoint.

Some days you have a voice like you are a dinosaur. And, on others you are as quite as my fish in the ocean.

Why do you even exist? Just go away. From my life and from these words.

When will corona die?

Another walk on the road, and we are seven in number. Us three from home and the neighbors. It is lovely, like usual, the sky today.

“Amma, when will corona die?” asks my neighbor’s kid. Her mother dials a number on the phone which makes her even more impatient. She’s always trying to make her point on our evening-walk. When morning, she’s usually as quite as the lake we walk to. We maintain a distance of seven feet. One after another, like the train of angry ants. Yes, we call ourselves ants trying to be better humans.

To avoid being at her tantrum, I answer “A few more days. Why? You love going to school that much?”

“No! I don’t ever want to go to school. It’s better this way.”

She winks back to the point made. But, her dad couldn’t say the same about his office. ‘He cannot say this about his office’ is more precise. Without having options to choose from, he chooses to risk it all.

He works at the Government, and I barely know him. With him in the front, we barely talk. And, with me at the tail, it’s easier to have fun with this kid. Must say, it’s even comfortable back here without being fed with opinions and facts. At least we both agree that Tom was Jerry’s best friend.

We talk about the sky more than corona. More about the fun in not going to school than corona. More about our personal tricks to walk on the lake than corona. But, it’s challenging for even us to not talk about the killer walking freely on these streets.

“Tonight, it will die. I just spoke with corona! Tomorrow morning, it will have died!” her mother replies with the widest smile. She just got off the phone.


Click here to see my artwork!

Me

I don’t like hating people. Here’s the thing, I generally don’t hate. But, when I do, it feels like my motive is absolutely right. And, that is something I have to deal with in a way I don’t understand.

Says a note signed “Me” on the canteen’s refrigerator.

This person mostly loves someone who is good to be ignored, if not hated. At college canteen, such notes are rare to find. The person writing them usually makes sure we know who wrote it and why.

That’s precisely why people stopped taking them seriously. Much like Facebook, but in real. I look around, eating my pie, and there she is, crying alone with her burger.

I don’t know why, but it felt like she was the one who wrote it. I did not want to judge a personality so real that she is crying in the crowd.

I walk up to her. Offer the remaining of what’s left on my plate. She does not respond. Gets up and walks away. Maybe she thinks I am the one who judged her for being real.

But, it’s not me.