Life is a big bore; it is dull and dreary; it is agony to be born and living; it is pain and sorrow; it is grief and it is just fun and happiness which makes it dull too.
This will be what my life and your life would look to another. In the midst of frantic living and utter lust for life, resulting in miserable acts of survival in whatever comfortable way possible, we forget the dullness, the dreary insipid or even rollicking flavour our lives may actually have. And if we were to pen our story, be it the autobiography or a novelette based on our life and our experiences- with the real life characters, places and situations we have experienced what a drudgery and endless tedium that will be to the reader. So be the biography of our life, unless it is compiled by a person who has imagination to provide the touches and finishing, polishing a life dull, sad, fun filled or plain bore like they do to the piece of carbon chunk.
Life retold the way it unfolded and in letters will be vapid and bland. It may be exhilarating to you, can be poignant and filled with stoicism to be rubbished. But to the other who is told about, it can be a sempiternal bore and that is much asking to endure.
I guess that is why some creations in literature are exemplary in quality of read, and feel. An example of disaffection to a story of a real life hero, whose endurance, perseverance and obsessive purpose has no peers, is in my opinion the story of Lance Armstrong. “It’s not about the bike. My journey back to life”, is perhaps a story of his life written by himself or a ghost writer. Armstrong was diagnosed with terminal stage testicular cancer at the young age of twenty one. The cancer had by then matistised to his brain and lungs effectively consigning him to a world of no return. Doctors gave him a month or more to live. It was from that terminal and utterly depreciated hopeless stage that he came back to living and went on to win Seven "Tour de France". You expect the book to provide you much insight into the life of a rare breed of human being. But the book was tasteless in words and narration it was as bland as a cold meat. I express this with all respect to a man who dwarfed an illness that makes you forget about life outside the infirmary.
“God of small things”, of the onetime novelist Arundathi Roy perhaps is more known because of the Booker prize the book was awarded. Certainly it may not be comparable to much other excellence in literature. But, for a person of her age and generation (including myself), born and childhood spent in Kerala, the book must be fascinating. More because, I could relate to many happenings in the milieu of Mallu life in the Kerala of the later part of 1960’s. Else the book, though narrated in good English, may be dull to many.
Whereas J.M.Coetze’s ,”The Master of Petersburg”, I felt was a story apart. Though the plot was based on Coetze’s real life and the agony of losing his son, it was adapted with Dostoyevsky as the protagonist. The story was well adapted and set up by the author, that a real life sage and the experience is mesmerising in content.
I have always wondered how a student of law or of medicine can read through and understand the literature in their respective fields. They are dreary! The convoluted and abracadabra of words Greek and Latin in origin that we see in books on medical science is far too fathomless to many. However the power and artistry in managing words and weaving of ideas and messages with them makes "The Emperor of Maladies" , a book of almost five hundred pages a repository of treatise that a lay man can enjoy. Else how a book on the story of cancer could be so powerfully conveyed to lay people like me and many other? Siddartha Mukherji is a new avatar in story telling based on real life.
The purpose of writing this is to express my opinion that our life as it would be retold, or rewound and played for someone from the netherworld, a stranger, friend or foe, or even a Rip van Winkle, would end up as an eternal famine that will be full of ennui and donkey-work.
Perhaps that must be why there is dearth of empathy in the world we live.