30 June 2012

Serious Men: A Serious Discovery

Serious Men
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When one starts reading a book - the story, the characters, the plot, the language, the author are prime factors to deicide your like or dislike of the book. But as you continue to read there are certain characteristics which leave much stronger impression on you. Like sometimes it is the cover of the book, sometimes it's the spacing, or the font, or the paragraph and construction of sentences, As for me, and note that this is a self-observation over my short reading journey, love to discover little snippets, rhyming lines, trivia and quotes in the book. And this book has been a true treasure - a collector's piece.

After a long time a book surpassed all my expectations. I have read very few science fiction books but they are more in the style of a thriller, this one was a social science fiction based on politics and discrimination in a science institute. There are parallel plots running in the book which meet and emerge as a volcanic lava in the climax. It makes a great piece of discussion here but only at the cost of revealing too much, so I will be brief and discreet.

An institute with the best minds in the country, an epitome of intelligence and genius, but plagued with similar human traits of power, ambition, politics, jealousy, discrimination and social hierarchies. Born a Brahmin the road is paved with opportunities, choices, respect and growth - a perfect world with brilliance inherited rather than attained. Though subtle, but the age old debate on the social imbalance between Brahmins and Dalits, the ancient caste system and portrayal of Dalits as Demons in our scriptures has been challenged in this book. The assumptions of a hereditary cerebral deficiency with hardly any scope or opportunities to grow and compete in a world of Brahmins as the learned and power holders.

Another aspect of the book was the strong characters – Ayyan, Acharya, Ojha, Adi, Oparna, Nambodri, Lavanya. Each had a well-developed role with a significant contribution in shaping the plot. I especially like Ayyan sharing pieces of trivia with his wife and son. Oja a simple woman with simple dreams wanting a normal life for her normal family. She understands that ‘being different is not a blessing when you are poor’. One can be normal only when it complies to the rules of social structure and faith. Acharya with his brilliant and powerful persona, leading and winning the deals. You respect and hate him for his cleverness and arrogance. Oparna brings another angle to discrimination – with role of women in a man dominated scientific sphere.
A well written book with intelligent and strong characters, engaging plot, smooth storytelling technique, and perfect language. It was a great discovery of an author, a genre and of course the simple but powerful lines from the book.

Out of all the human deformities, genius is the most useful.

The tragedy of mediocrity is that even mediocre people shake their heads and mull over “how standards are falling”.

Battles of the Brahmins.. Bloodless but brutal. They would fight like demons armed with nothing more than deceit and ideals - another form of deceit among men from good families..

A bag to him was a symbolic of nomadic freedom an imperfection that said the journey was not important, destination inconsequential. A suitcase on the other hand, was a sign of grand departures and self-important arrivals.it was a confession, like the shirt of a dandy , that life was important. Once when he told Lavanya about this, she screamed, 'my god what a poet, you travel business class, don't you?'

She was reminded of her mother’s prophecy one day before her wedding that he would go completely mad one day. But he seems so happy she told her mother. It’s not only the sad who go mad, my child, it’s also the happy, her mother said.

‘Aliens used Aliens to make curd.’- Based on the theory that all life on Earth came from outer space in form of microbes.

The end of an ox is beef, the end of a lie is grief.
There are only 10 kinds of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don’t.-A T-shirt Quote aptly used in the book.
You know rich people have a name for everything. They even have a word for the time a man spends with his family.’ ‘Really?’ she asked, without turning around. ‘They call it Quality Time. They name everything out there.’ He said. ‘There are people in those tall buildings who suddenly begin to wonder, “Who am I? What am I?” And they have a name for that too.’
All a man really wants is to be greater than his friends.
Must-Must Buy Serious Men


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