Absolutely, Mr. Singh :)

March 02, 2011

The other day was spent with a good friend in a book store. I will be shameless in admitting that we have a favourable pastime of sitting there and reading books, even though it is in fact, not a library. But in our defence, they do make it very easy to do so, what with the coffee shop they have in it.

My book of choice was a recent one by Khushwant Singh. It was mostly his views on different occurrences in his life. In all that he wrote, he was upfront and brutally honest, and no matter how supposedly controversial his views on some topics were, I couldn’t help but agree.

He talked about his career in writing, mentioning the qualities it takes for a person to survive in the business with integrity. He also mentioned how he gathered numerous threats for the views he professed, and how that never stopped him. He talked of the people he had met in his lifetime, the ones he came to respect and the ones whose views he didn’t relate to. He spoke of his love for women, scotch and Urdu literature (not necessarily in that order :)) It was all, truly stimulating to read.

Out of his many topics of discussion, one was death. What I really liked about his views on the subject was that he didn’t for once try to explain his interpretation of it. He said that being the age he was, with his peers and many of his comrades already out of the picture; it is inevitable that he would think of it. But when his time came, he wouldn’t want anyone to mourn, because that was something completely unnecessary. A poem he referred to was,

Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea…

Twilight and evening bell
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness and farewell
When I embark…

Mr Singh seems to have gathered a lot of public attention in his career, mostly for how uncensored and unapologetic his views have been. I can imagine him actually enjoying his defiance to popular belief. And even though I may not be aware of all the controversies he caused (I plan to do a lot of researching), I have come to respect him immensely.

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