After reading "English, August" by Upamanyu Chatterjee
"It's very tempting to take the easy way out, to go on about how the people here are so dull, ignorant, smug and provincial. They are all that, but there's also something very wrong about my attitude to them".
"Do not choose the soft option just because it is the soft option. One cannot fulfill oneself by doing so. Yet it is also true that it is your life, and the decisions have to be yours."
"English, August" chronicles the life of a trainee civil servant, and I must say that this one character Agastya has made me feel terribly guilty of what I have been doing of my own life. I could identify with Agastya Sen some bit, because I feel that confusion and disorientation at this stage of my life. Life can be so unsettling at times, and so dull and prosaic. You do feel the yearning of wanting to break free too. The moment when you want to shrug off the responsibilities, when you would rather want to be worthless. That suits us sometimes, you see.
But having said that, you can be an escapist only momentarily. One has to come back to life. So, what you ought to do of your life should come naturally to you, not as a pressure or as a compulsion, as if you didn't have any other choice! I wonder if that was the feeling that made Agastya come back to the community of "Sahibs"!
I loved Chatterjee's punchy one-liners. They hit you so hard! I can't be so ruthlessly honest while communicating, I can't write without inhibitions. No, not yet. And well, I am glad there are some like me too, disoriented and disillusioned. I won't be so harsh on myself now.
17th March, 2000
"Whatever you choose to do, you will regret everything or regret nothing. You are not James Bond, you only live once."