All great love stories have this magical beginning. It may seem mundane and ordinary while it happens, but in retrospect one cannot miss the fantastic air around it. The love T and I share, had such a beginning, ordinary and even bordering on boring. However, as we now look back, we realise that the meet cute was so brilliantly orchestrated by fate that it was nothing short of a fairy tale.
Today I would like to write a little about my other love affair. Yup, I have been in love with this… well… lets just say “soul” since before I met T. As routine things go, the meet cute was random and quite unexpected. It was this totally lame afternoon in mid may, 2004, when vellore’s heat was at its peak and like any engineering college student, I had absolutely no classes and nothing to do. The sticky humid weather made it impossible for me to do any serious reading so I lazed around flipping through the pages of some magazine my roomie had left around. As I read through the book reviews, one specifically caught my attention. It was a review for a book called “The Last song of dusk”. The review was intriguing enough for me to want to read the book.
Now remember, those were the days B.F, as in “Before Flipkart”. So when you wanted to read a book, you would either ask around to see if anybody had a copy or buy one for yourself. Nope…engineering college libraries DO NOT carry soul stirring novels!!! (I would know… I literally spent my first year in a cubby hole there). At that point in time I was a bookworm alright… but not yet a bibliophile. So the decision to actually buy a book meant a huge deal for me. I know it sounds silly but I actually bought the book for three main reasons :
1. The review of the book was awesome (this was before I knew that some reviews are actually paid for)
2. The title had my name’s meaning in it, “dusk”. ( I know this is a silly reason but wait till you read the 3rd reason)
3. The author was not just a few years older but amazingly cute!!! (YUP!!! )
And that is why I decided to buy my first book ever (Raging teenager hormones I guess!!!). So during my next trip home I bought the book. Again, in the days B.F and B.S (Before salary), buying frivolous things as “books” wasn’t easy at my house. I had to sacrifice my birthday gift in order to get my folks to foot the bill of the book. I finished the book on my journey back to college and that’s when I knew I was totally smitten. I had fallen in love… the head-over-heels type of love.
I have always loved re-reading books… the classics and the odd thrillers. However, ever since that day, the only book I have re-read every time has been the LSD. I have read it when I was in a pit of depression (my first heartbreak ), or was overwhelmed by euphoria ( first job), or was blind angry at people or simply wanted a little me time… And this book made sense every single time. It speaks to you in a language that no other book will ever do. The poetic words do perfect justice to “life” as it is. The story feels your own and the spatters of wit just make it more interesting .
At every Big moment in my life I have read this book and it has always created this magic bubble around my life. Bookworms like me will understand this better… when you are so immersed in the lives of the characters of a novel, you breathe for them… you cry for them and you start living for them. This is that one book in my life which always makes me “feel”. I have read over 600 novels since then (a slight exaggeration… since 600 sounds better than 576, which is also not true!!!) and I own exactly 410 books (as of today plus the other ten that I just ordered), however none of the other books even come close to this one.
I read it when I first met T and was trying to figure out my feelings. Anuradha helped me understand true love. While I was away from T even after our marriage, it held me and I realised that “Love was enough”. Every time I was hurt, I found my ointment in the midst of the very same pages while previously meant something totally different. The book once again surprised me when I read it during my postpartum depression days. It spoke to me in words nobody ever did. The joy I felt at my son’s birth, the anxiety I went through was right there in black and white on the pages of the book. What is more astounding is how the author captured all these emotions in those few pages bound together. Every read aroused a whole different set of feelings and emotions. I know it seems like I am trying too hard to explain what this book means to me… but it is exactly THAT… It IS too hard to explain. Lets’ just say my soul resides in it.
Over the years I have gifted this to many , recommended it to many more just in the hope that everyone finds a little something for themselves in it. This year is the tenth year anniversary of LSD. The author, Siddharth Dhanvant Shangvi, had a reading of the same at NCPA in June. Since I couldn’t go (Cause I have a baby… DUH!!! ) I begged, pleaded, bullied and threatened my lil brother into going there and getting me an autographed book. This (according to my bro) means that he will not have to buy me anything for my birthday or Rakhi for the next five years (Ya… you wish). But it is so worth all the begging.
I know there is that last song of dusk which when taken to the mountains returns no echo… However, I found the echo of my life in this book and this love affair continues to enrich my life as well as my soul. Thanks SDS for this beautiful work of art. While I hope you will write something new soon, in my heart I wish you wouldn’t, cause nothing will ever come close to perfection that is “The last song of dusk”!!!