Saturday, December 22, 2012

Out Of Touch With Reality

I lost three whole weeks of my life.

It started out innocently enough. I even remember the time - it was about 1 PM on a Sunday. I was bored with the book I was reading, and I wandered over to the bookshelf. Lazily flipping through some of the dozens of books I've bought on past binges at Blossom's, my eyes fell on a line of fat books I had propped up on top, above eye level - books 4-10 of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. (Here's a post on my history with these books.)

I had made Nikhil buy them for me nearly three years ago (he's no good as far as birthday gifts are concerned - fortunately, I always know just what I need). But I had given up on the series a couple of books later - partly because I got too busy to read, but mostly because I had started to find Jordan's prose repetitive and irritating. As Sandeep said, "If Nynaeve pulls her braid in anger ONE more time, I'm going to pull my own hair out."

I randomly pulled out one of the books, and read the back cover. And before I knew it, I was hooked. I had pulled out book 6 - Lord of Chaos. It is a thousand pages of closely printed text, but I finished it in three days flat. And then it was so natural to just keep on going through the rest, all the way to Book 10.

Jordan's prose continues to grate at times. But the story he spins is so delicious that I have decided to forgive him. His world is vivid and colourful, and it's easy to sink in completely. I have spent entire days just reading reading reading, often having to remind myself to bathe and eat. In fact, I was so addicted I used to get up at five in the morning to read. And hence the lost three weeks. I don't know what Nikhil thought of me - going off into another world for entire hours at a time.

Some time in the middle of Book 10 (the worst of the series by far), I suddenly realized in a panic that I didn't have the rest of the books. And I was determined to finish it this time - my third attempt. I went to Blossom's and bought Book 11. But they had only first hand versions of Book 12 and Book 13, and I wasn't so addicted that I would spend that much money on what is at the end of the day a potboiler. Besides I had some time - Book 14 isn't going to be published till January.

So I decided to order them online. India Book Store - that wonderful, brilliant page - told me that Homeshop18 had Book 12 cheapest, and I ordered it. A week later, they informed me by mail that they had cancelled my order because they were out of stock. Grr! And they had the temerity to end the mail with, "We hope you have enjoyed shopping with us." Of course I did.

I finally ordered book 12 on GOSF day, ironically at almost the price I would have got it second hand. It took nine days to arrive, and I'm very thankful for those nine days. I feel like I've come back to the real world after a long time. Though my reading has suffered. I'm unable to concentrate for long periods, probably because I've been spoilt by Jordan. I've started five books during these nine days, and finished only one. And that one was a book of short stories.

Here are the books I've started, by the way. I'm going to finish The Sanjay Story - it's a fascinating account, though written before Sanjay Gandhi died - and plunge back into Jordan's world. Goodbye, Real World!

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