Sunday, November 22, 2015

The world is a stage...

Finally I started reading ‘The girl on the train ‘after much procrastination. I had received the book many days back, but I hated it even before I started it ….it smelt of cheating! The online portal from where I had ordered it, cheated me by sending a pirated copy! Never thought this could happen! I didn’t want to read it, I hid it right at the back of cupboard – It resurfaced during the spring-cleaning!
I had got a short story collection from the library (because it said ‘Maugham- like’ on the jacket), but it disappointed me – actually it gave me a bad headache. Only good thing about it was its jacket – very attractive, totally unlike TGOTT.
Well – I am not going to write about the book per say, but the central idea of the book, which I found quite intriguing. The girl on the train, Rachel, looks at certain set of houses, present near the tracks, and builds stories in her mind about the people who reside there.
I often think that, with so many flyovers sprouting all over the city, the life of people staying just next to them will be visible to all the commuters. Of course, we pass by them pretty quickly, and have no time to view them properly or to build stories. (Lucky them!)
And in India, we simply cannot build stories about people we see from the trains – our trains pass mostly through hutments and the sight we see commonly is people doing you-know-what!
But building a story about somebody you see every day but don’t really know is a fascinating idea – you can give these people names and try to guess their professions as Rachel did. I often try to do it when I go for my evening walk in the park. I try to build some sort of a story about the conversations I overhear between people walking behind me .I also become Miss Marple-like sometimes, thinking that this lady looks like the one who works in the school or some such thing…although I don’t observe whether their noses twitch in a particular way indicating that they are lying !
(Talking about Miss Marple and the trains  reminded me of that wonderful book of hers – “ 4.50 from Paddington” – where one of her friends sees a murder being committed in a train running parallel to her train . It also has a wonderful character of Lucy Eyelesbarrow – a lady of multiple talents and loves working as a domestic labor!)
As the story progresses (TGOTT), Rachel’s need to build stories disappears because she is sucked into their story. If you really know about the people ,you are building imaginary worlds about, you simply wouldn’t have a story. The spell would be broken and you come back to real world.
So many dramas – real and imaginary going on simultaneously in the world…no wonder Shakespeare thought the world was a stage ….