the Void

The first book of Murakami I read probably 10 years back was the “wind up bird chronicles”. It was a bizarre ride! Now that I look back, after reading few more of his other books over the years, wasn’t unusual at all.

It is hard to say that he is an all-time favorite author, because I pick his books only when I am sailing in calmer waters after turbulent storms ( its a metaphor, clarifying just in case ). His motifs, if you have read his books, often center wistful protagonists, who have lost or are about to lose something significant; they have surreal encounters of parallel worlds, they dive in lots of classical and jazz melodies, some incomplete sexual encounters and eventually it all comes trickling down; And more often than not, the ending is abrupt, leaving you in the same void the beginning of the book was.

As I get older, I am probably digging deeper into his writing and finding meanings and warming up even more to the weird worlds that are similar and different from the ones we inhabit. But that void, we are all creating and filling constantly, is ever present and to me it seems like thats the only thing Murkami is trying hard to make us see with all his rehashed novels. Or rather that is my take away from his writing!

It is ok if you don’t get it or want to nor ever will; As a 15 year old, I wondered what  depth is it that my father found in Gulam ali gazals. The cassettes had filled his car and now in reminiscence, the lyrics spoke of a loss and the songs stemmed from that void.

Because if you see, we are all always losing something or trying to, some of us more than others, and we are constantly striving to fill up that space. Shedding something for a better something or learning to pick up after a known or unexpected loss.

So here I am, in a space I can’t put in a compartment; my mother used to call it “aala kanda samudram”. She would be almost embarrassed at my over-enthusiasm. As a child and teenager, I had so little control over my excitement when surrounded with family and friends I loved; I made up for all the hours spent playing alone with imaginary friends, by totally pandering at a house filled with kids and older cousins. It was like I was on espresso shots the entire time, to fill the voids.

But a few years into adulthood, I learnt to contain it and accept the voids and in many ways even embrace it. But i sporadically fall back; I ramble, I express too many thoughts about favorite topics without a filter or jump topics and it sucks me into that space where I knew I was embarrassing my parents, but I didn’t have control. While I dont do it in person anymore; my online persona resurrects every now and then. Hopefully not a case in point, because blogposts are spaces to ramble, may be? 🙂

And just like that everytime I realize, i have said or expressed more than my share, which is not so often, I must admit; I retreat. I pick a Murakami. The idiosyncrasies of his protagonist’s experiences start making sense and make mine look less trivial. I slowly spin the cocoon and weave a safety net for my expressions and experiences and thus hack away at the void that needs no filling.

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