Saturday, December 10, 2005

“Two Lives” – Part Two

A discussion of Vikram Seth’s work is not complete without quoting some of those more amazing lines from the book. I have tried to mention only those portions, which , even without a complete context, will make enough sense for even the most casual observer.

Here’s a masterpiece, to start with (has a lesson for perhaps everyone):
...There was a great deal they did not understand about each other. They were not soulmates. Theirs was a companionship based on mutual confidence rather than confidences.
They believed in each other’s abilities, in each other’s character and in each other’s love. It may not have been a requited passionate romance, but it was a deep and abiding concern. Beset by life, isolated in the world, in each other they found a strong and sheltering harbor.
What is perfect? In a world with so much suffering, isolation and indifference, it is cause for gratitude if something is sufficiently good.

And here’s another that reveals what a true sacrifice perhaps means (Shanti is Vikram’s uncle, one of the “lives” in the book; Henny is his wife, the other “life”):
Shanti had told her he would give his life for her. In the end, Henny did something perhaps more difficult; she tried to live on, despite indignity and pain, for his sake

Here’s a glimpse of the author’s understanding of the immortality of good friends:
..if we live long, the living dwindle to a small proportion of those we know. I keep up a conversation of sorts with some of my dead friends. But often there is no response, and the result is an empty sorrow. I keep at it, though, so that they should not be forgotten, and –more importantly – that I should not be left completely without them

We get a glimpse of the pain caused by the Holocaust through these lines:
...God gives us no more to bear than we are capable of bearing. But in her case and that of her daughters, he appears to have exceeded his brief, as in the case of millions more.

And towards the end, as the author gets particularly philosophical, he reminds us that everyone of us is special in our own way and reiterates the complex simplicity of our existence:
...Behind every door on every ordinary street, in every hut in every ordinary village on this middling planet of a trivial star, such riches are to be found. The strange journeys we undertake on our earthly pilgrimage, the joy and suffering we taste or confer, the chance events that cleave us together or apart, what a complex trace they leave: so personal as to be almost incommunicable, so fugitive as to be almost irrecoverable...

(End of Part – II)

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