THE OBSCURITY OF EXISTENCE

Category: Just Books

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Marquez

Disclaimer: I do not really believe in Book Reviews because every book is a treasure in itself. This post is not meant to be treated as critical review and should be more of a conversation between me and you (Read: The reader reading this post, for which I thank you so much, btw).  Feedback is always welcomed

[The article contains SPOILERS.]

This is a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, though not really short. It is basically a narrative penned down by the great author. A sailor, who was shipwrecked, narrates the story of his life spent on a life raft, without any lifesaving amenities and how being stranded on a mere piece of wood makes him a hero in the end!

The occurrence of the ship falling apart was a result of his worst nightmares coming true, and this was because he was too influenced by a movie made at sea, how it gets violent and engulfs the lives of many.

Being a naval officer for a decent enough time, he has always been in love with the sea; being mobile for almost all of his life spent on the sea, he loved the adventures it brought along. Life is good until he watches this movie with his Spanish girlfriend Mary Address, which manages to scare him beyond wit and also his fellow mates. The movie that they watch is about a ship being wrecked recklessly and ruined in a way that could send shivers down anybody’s spine.

Haunted by this fear, he decides to quit the navy and never to return to the sea, to be with his family. He chooses to live a life of security and stability. The ship “Destroyer” fails exactly two hours before they reach Cartagena, his hometown. He is on duty, positioned on the deck, and all he has with him is his watch, keys and a hope of a safe and a better future.

Luck never fails to surprise one at the time of troubles. He, along with his few other fellow mates, are thrown into the sea by the voraciously tumbling ship as a result of furious winds and waves. He manages to get on a life raft and then tries helping his friends on the raft, but ill-fated, none of them manage to get on the raft and they were swallowed by the wind; the raft tracing its own path.

Later on, the story is about his journey to save his life and how he came back to Cartagena. He had to face varied problems like food, water, shelter and his safety. His reckless life on the raft was also an eye opener to many of his life’s queries. With only one hope – to be saved – he gathered his strength every morning and held the oars and rowed them.

It is a good book with an amazing real life story. This is where the crux of the story resides. This book isn’t about finding out whether he manages to be alive at the end, but it is about the life he had when he was on the raft.

The way he narrates it is one of the best I have come across.

I was totally glued throughout the entire time on my train journey, provided I had nothing to do and also it is just 106 pages. I was just so curious to know how he manages to get back.

Marquez tried his best possible to make the mystery last till the end. Anyways, he had nothing to do with the realism of the story, but it takes a lot of effort to store this into one.

Do read! It is short, but not sweet. It is engaging and interesting.
Check out his other books, he never fails to surprise one!

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Maharani by Ruskin Bond

Disclaimer: I do not really believe in Book Reviews because every book is a treasure in itself. This post is not meant to be treated as critical review and should be more of a conversation between me and you (Read: The reader reading this post, for which I thank you so much, btw).  Feedback is always welcomed

Imagine a perfect Sunday evening. You are sitting by the window, cold wind is spreading a chill and you look out of the window, sipping hot coffee, and you feel that something is missing. An intense desire to read an amazing book with such a perfect environment keeps on nudging you. Maharani, a novella by Ruskin Bond is one such book that fits in your Sunday evening treat.

It is nothing extraordinary or astonishing. It is a lucidly written story about the infamous Maharani of Mastipur. Ruskin bond has written this in the first person making himself a part of the book. It gives an insight into the entrancing life of the royal household and the bewitching fate of these princely states.

Set in the serenity of the hills of Dehradun and Mussoorie, Maharani is a very beautifully written book. Ruskin ran into Neena, the Maharani at a school dance in his high school and that is where all of this started. The book covers the life of the notorious maharani and a little sneak-peak into Ruskin’s life. She was married to the King of Mastipur when she was very young. Mother to two kids, she never was a quiet woman and people addressed her as H.H (Her Highness). She loved adventure and parties. She had hobbies similar to the Maharaja, which attracted him so much towards her. Neena was the second wife; his first wife was taken ill and later died owing to her scandalous love affair with the driver. The driver was killed by Maharaja’s soldiers when the affair came into limelight.

We see a very mysterious character play a very important role in the lives of people living in the Mastipur palace – a nun. As per speculation, she was a spy and was given refuge by the king as she was his aunt. After Maharaja’s death, we see her loosening her strings and getting involved in various love affairs with famous men and keep herself drenched in alcohol. She was the epitome of pride, attitude, beauty and confidence. She did not want her life to be lesser than a party. We also see other characters who play quite a role in Ruskin’s and Neena’s life. Maharani falls in love with Ricardo, the diplomat from a Bolivian family that was posted in Dehradun as a part of the foreign embassy. The family is allowed to stay in the mansion while Maharani and Ricardo go about enjoying the affair. Ricardo’s son becomes really good friends with Ruskin and spends time with him watching cinema and playing music. Later, many other lovers appear showcasing the disreputable nature of the Maharani. As the time passes, the beauty fades away, but what remains is the same arrogance and boldness that she possessed. The later part of the story is about how her two sons, whom she disowned and disbarred from her property, try and create trouble for her to get a hold of her property and how she got close to Ruskin and confided in him in the last years of her life. She was old and it did not suit her, she was completely sane yet fears took hold of her which made her lose control.

The way Ruskin Bond narrates the episodes and extracts are so very lively. All you have to do is sit back and let him draw the story. A very simple tale and an amazing read!