Tag is a popular game amongst children. A simple game in which a player attempts to “tag” others by touching them with his/her hands. He or she runs after the whole bunch of maddeningly squealing children. They hide behind pillars, trees, and various other objects and in hush, watch our runner in action. In this modern age, this charming game of Tag acquired a distinct flavor, while retaining that sheer sense of excitement. Tags in virtual world provide an enjoyable social hum.

I have been Tagged by Ant . And the Tag is “Let’s Talk about Books”.

Ah, those companions, we sleep with, with who we can be plaid naked fools, with who we talk in some soft language. I sense Stir everywhere…As I walk with a book in the fold of my arm, the ground speckled with leaves, twigs and seeds, rustles, crunches, cracks under my feet. I linger around the bud and its anxiety in unfurling to reveal its contrasts! Books take me to a world that’s so different from the one I live, and it sounds, throbs as if it’s designed for me exclusively. I am sure, all book lovers feel the same.

1. Total number of books owned

It’s tough a task for me to organize my ever-growing collection of Books, which contains, at this moment, over 1000 books. I love to walk around in the bookshop (the older the bookshop, the richer the experience), listening to their soft murmurs, relishing smells of books, taking a series of jaunts at their crisp pages – they smell of backyards or playful streams or that fresh smell of countryside. The bookshelf at our home is painted in bright and cheerful Red colour by my younger sister who is not so enthusiastic about reading, but admires my love for books. We, girls at times, take a trip down memory lane to recall those afternoon walks, after a siesta, we used to take towards the tiny library in a sleepy town where we spent our childhood. Most books in this main shelf are spaced out by a few tiny Chinese dolls my sister brought from US. These days, I am not fortunate enough to spend as much time as I want with my books, but I try to grab a few minutes while waiting at the airport lounge or at the traffic junction when the life around comes to a stand-still or taking a break at work place or waiting for my cup of coffee at the cafeteria. My car has around 30 books, men & women perched on the bikes, sometimes, stare at the mobile bookshop. Books are everywhere in my room, around the night lamp, shelves, the corners, I cannot live without books. Three-fourths of my bed is dominated by their presence and I do not hesitate a bit to gush over the fact that I sleep with my Books. But this does not necessarily mean that I am a voracious reader. The problem I face, most times, when I sit with a book is that exasperating need to write a few prosaic thoughts of mine.

2. Last book bought  

a) The Complete Prose of Woody Allen, is a collection of 52 pieces of hilarious writing which firmly establish the author in the tradition of Groucho Marx and James Thurber. It is claimed to be an ideal bedside companion, to be dipped into for quick hits of enjoyment. This volume is quite side-splittingly funny, and is a collection of bizarre topics as the invention of the sandwich, organized crime, laundry lists, death, Notes from the Overfed, Guide to Civil Disobedience, The Whore of Mensa, Rabbis who love to smash others’ heads. “Without Feathers”, in his secret journal, Woody writes “last evening I had the uneasy feeling that some men were trying to break into my room to shampoo me”…..His brand of humor is goofy, Irreverent, Bizarre and absurd.

b) Kenichi Ohmae’s The Borderless World is a book about Power and Strategy in the Global Market place. The world, at the precipice of a new age, is witnessing the increasing dominance of consumers over companies and countries, and the resultant melting away of national economic borders to create a global market

c) Yoram Wind, Colin Crook with Robert Gunther – The Power of Impossible Thinking Wharton School’s Book on transforming the business of your life and the life of your business

3. Last book read  Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way, if you want to prove that it’s impossible for one to become absorbed  by an author’s world, I suggest, do read this piece of art. I lost myself many times in this turgid prose with its long, meandering and circuitous sentences. One feels like taking many pauses as this great legend captured self-talk in such a delightful manner that it influences one to monitor his/her thoughts and settle down for one more round of introspection. 

4. Five Books that mean a lot to you It’s tough to pull out just five books from the treasure chest. I have been influenced by (and when I sit down to write, I consciously pull out their style of writing) a few classic British, Russian and American writers. If I were ordained to live in this wonderfully expressive world …- Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda (my master), Virginia Woolf, Iris Murdoch, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, William Faulkner, as a child I spent my nights with Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters…then the Russian brigade came – Tolstoy, Nabokov, Pushkin, Turgenev, and Chekov,….Fitzerald, John Steinbeck, Ian crewman, John Updike, Marquez, RK Narayan, Kafka, Camus, Coetzee………….. In terms of influence over me, which made me sit in a corner and wonder about the world, the unseen, yet felt complexities that are created by others or those stuations which had humans caught helpless, works or thoughts that compelled me to take fuller possession of the reality in my life…

1.       To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

2.       An Anthology of European Contemporary Poetry   {life-affirming collection stays with me as a guide when I write}

3.       The Journals of Sylvia Plath & Faust by Turgenev

4.       The Loser, The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard (sorry, I have cheated)

5.       Then We Set His Hair On Fire by Phil Dusenberry (Advertising) 

Now the best part….

I rubbed my hands with glee, patted myself on the back, and gathered all the positive energies around the windowsill.  It’s time to tag a few friends of mine or those I interact with regularly. Let me spread this hum to Rohit, Alok (he would be furious now), Ant (well, dear girl, I did leave a note at your porch), Amy, Prashanth, Rippu, Subhash, RuchiraVidya , Abhishek and Amit. I wanted to Tag someone, but decided not to disturb him!