When Franz Kafka wrote to his friend Oskar Pollak ‘ I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us…We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into the forests far from everyone, like a suicide.’ He was probably referring to his works, and the one which stands out the most is THE METAMORPHOSIS.
To attempt to analyze this short literary marvel would be a mistake, it’d be enough to say that every ‘thinking’ person should check it out at sometime or other. The tale in true Kafkaesque style brings our worst nightmare to reality, thereby making us realize that there exists another life that we all lead–the one in our dreams that we seldom give much importance to. Anyone could relate to this at once beautiful, comical, painful and wistful story of an ordinary man who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into an insect.
My answer to that question will begin with another one—-Why read?
Yes, I believe that both these activities are intimately entwined. One cannot exist without the other.
And the credit goes entirely to my late father. Right from the time when he handed me my first book, back in New Delhi when I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old, I was hooked.
My first ‘real’ book was ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell— the story about a beautiful black horse with a white star on his forehead. I was enamored right away and must have read it several times over. It was a very personal story and narrated so well that I could feel exactly what he was feeling and it made me cry. Then there were others like ‘The Tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men’ with the message of good triumphs over evil cleverly delivered through the thrill of adventure; ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’– the perennially relevant account of two diametrically opposite personalities which we all have encountered within us at sometime or other; ‘King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table’– tales of myth and magic which continue to fascinate us even now, and many many more.
I think ever since then, I have harbored a fondness for telling stories, though it was only realized a couple of years ago, when after seeing and hearing about the atrocities that women go through, especially immigrants like me from my country, I was inspired to write my first book. And I owe it all to my father. Thank you Daddy!
My first Book. I still treasure it!