The Ministry of Umpteen Digressions

Once a long time ago, someone said, ‘Arundhati should stick to what she knows’. This was obviously a response to a sharing of books and authors one likes, a mandatory cover charge for any one who identifies as sapiosexual. Since, this was still before Tinder was an app on Indian phones, it was more than a hashtag. Hence, like any first interaction, I hid my penchant for offering interruptions and didn’t ask if they meant the novel, storytelling or writing. Instead, decided they wouldn’t say that of male writers. And unfortunately, that bit holds true. 

But, what also shines like a freshly oiled snake’s coil is that I can’t bear the anachronistic digressions of the poet prime minister and the soldier turned fasting prodigy in a story I want to read. 

Why was it easier to accept Tolstoy’s description of peasants and wars in those burgeoning pages that housed the suicide of Anna? (of God, someone look at the name!!!) On some pages, I remember choking with breathless ‘I know’ that of course I couldn’t tell this 100 ml peg of Vodka poured for me by university and obviously couldn’t risk leaving unread. Or may be, I had made peace with the fact that all male told stories were benign mansplaining. All women told stories, however… 

Why can’t I stand this ostentatious retelling of the facts of my mournful city? ‘I know’ , I think to myself and put of reading it. Consequently, the first pages have been marked with doubts and a constant need to go back to that first book about two godless twins and their mortal mother and see why I had at all spoken of the book as one of my liking. 

If at all, one has to become everything to tell a shattered story, then a part of you becomes a pedant who has gone mad from the constant rejection and starts lecturing from the classroom made in the middle of the town’s busiest street, so effectually that people fearing walking off it. 

I don’t know why I am so angry.


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