Saturday, June 2, 2007

Adrift Already.

Yesterday was nothing special, another day drifting into anonymity. Woke up early with a most nasty bellyache, went off to give the SAT Subject Tests, successfully threw up before the test in a bathroom that redefined bathrooms, got distracted by the invigilator’s shade of lipstick, groaned through world history and literature – partly out of my own ineptness, and partly because of my tummy, which was by then doing weird flipflops – and then felt sorry for myself the rest of the day.

Today I am off for a holiday, heading for the hills. I have a new camera *crazy celebration dance* so my next post WILL have pictures of dense undergrowth and mountains. I have chucked my cell phone into the bottom-most drawer of my table, and packed my clothes into the one side of the suitcase that I was designated. Two pairs of jeans and a hoard of sweatshirts don’t take up much space; I wanted to carry my own knapsack, but mothers are sometimes the most wonderful and sometimes the most unreasonable creatures on the planet.

I’m trying very unsuccessfully to complete a lot of things at the last moment. Multitasking always hated me. To take a break, I’m doing the most sensible thing I’ve done this crazy morning – typing out the last blog entry in a week or so. I’ve been tagged by New Age Scheherazade, and I shall have to type out the last paragraph of Page 123 of the book I’m reading currently, which happens to be Adrift On The Nile by Naguib Mahfouz. The only other Mahfouz I’ve read, Palace Walk, shares a love-hate relationship with me. I read it in bursts and starts, abandon it for three months, then pick up where I left off and read again. The last time I checked I had a hundred pages left. I’ve always disliked translations, but this Mahfouz is different. It’s giving me thrills already. Anyway, Page 123:

“He paused for a moment before saying: “No.” His hesitation made a deep impression on everyone. Why don’t I put the brazier out on the balcony and have my own fire festival? Its blaze is immortal, unlike that of false stars. But women are like the dust, known not only for their rich scent but by the way they seep and settle into you. Cleopatra, for all her amours, never divulged the secret of her heart. The love of a woman is like political theatre: there is no doubt about the loftiness of its goal, but you wonder about the integrity of it. No one benefits from this houseboat like the rats and cockroaches and the geckos. And nothing bursts in unannounced through the door like grief. And yesterday the dawn said to me when it broke that really it had no name.”

I also have to tag five others. I tag Annesha because of her single-minded insistence at stuffing this wonderful book down my throat if I didn’t read it, I tag Brinda at irrelevantbanter, and Flamebird. Also Mrinalini of the Demented Thoughts. That makes four. I can’t think of anyone else, so we’ll just assume I’m mathematically challenged, which is true anyway.

One amazing quote which integrates the two things I love doing most – “The world is like a book, and he who has never traveled has only read a page.” No, “he” wasn’t one of the two things. I shall act offended, and storm off the page now.

7 kindred spirits have swallowed my rambling:

little boxes said...

hey this one was nice....and i hated Palace Walk...

Pancham said...

I comment on your blog, you comment on mine, mainly because about two and a half people regularly read my ramblings, and that is quite depressing......My comments page starts to ape a monologue....
oh yes, some part of the comment has to mention your post I guess, so I shall just say that I too don't like translations that much, but hey, how many languages can ya learn?

Priyanka Kumar said...

@bedatri: i agree. palace walk sometimes is too ickyslush.

@pancham: haha, i know five languages. FIVE. and i can mumble a few french phrases. so THERE *grins*

FlameBird said...

Just five languages? bleh! I can speak 6 :P

Btw Welcome back!

Cheers!

new age scheherazade said...

five? which five? I can do four, if you don't count mumbled spanish.

and how was the trip? I went to a little village in north bengal for the weekend. took lots of bad pictures. our hostess stuffed me with wow food. mmm.

Priyanka Kumar said...

english, hindi, bengali, tamil and malayalam with reasonable fluency. have three years of french, and can read and write it okay, but catch me talking it - i sound like i'm gargling.

and i want to learn arabic. if anyone knows anyone who'd teach me, please let me know.

Rajarshi said...

you were that nervous about the SAT? my condolences. enjoy your holiday in the hills, i just came back from one!