Posted by Mansi
Writing without a trench or magnifying glass, without the Secret Scouters’ ever-bending vocabulary and wordplay, is incredibly hard. Here I’m not the cool kid in big sunglasses running around Mumbai; here, I’m a harried starter-upper who’s trying to get you to like me.
So I’m going start with something safe, and one of my favorite topics – books. I read all the time, as much as I can. I burrow under the skin of words, make friends with fictional characters, instinctively assign the events and people in my life with literary counterparts. I routinely accuse a my mother of being crazy like Mrs. Mehra of Vikram Seth’s Suitable Boy, who’s desperately trying to marry off her daughter; deeply impacted by Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild, I gave away all my furniture to the Salvation Army on a frosty Saturday morning, and lived without a couch or TV for over a year.
Recently, while reading two novels back-to-back, Super Sad Love Story by Gary Shteyngart and Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life, it happened again. But this time, the parallels are between the two books (and also for real): although they come from vastly differing genres with largely opposing viewpoints, the similarities between them are uncanny.
Both are set in imaginary worlds, both are propelled by male protagonists (Lenny and Luka) who embark on seemingly impossible quests for immortality, both feature great, all-consuming loves. And both are absolutely terrific, lush and funny and ferociously well-written.
Both come highly recommended (by me and much more learned critics), but I suggest you pick up Luka first. This may be because I have a soft spot for the series –I absolutely love its prequel Haroun and the Sea of Stories, so much so that I lobbied very hard for my blog name to be Princess Baatcheat, a character from the book.
But that got shot down by party-poopers at the bpb office. So here I am, not as a Secret Scouter or magical princess with a terrible singing voice, but just a harried starter-upper who’s trying to get you to like me.
Hi, I’m Mansi, and it’s nice to meet you.