In the early years, I feasted on generous servings in Thamizh and English. The more I read, the more I enjoyed the serious works in both those languages because they made me think about, and understand, what it meant to be human. Fictional worlds they might be, but they provided insights into how we humans behave and, more importantly, what kind of a human I wanted to be.
Contemporary fiction seem to always fail in that category. I don't want stories to entertain me--I had plenty of those from my great-aunt who was a wonderful storyteller. Especially as I race towards the end, I want to understand myself, understand my fellow humans, and understand the big picture.
Sometimes, the short stories in the New Yorker have enough of an oomph to make me think. This week was one of those.
A story by Haruki Murakami.
Every one of his stories in the past issues of the New Yorker was awesome.
Give him a Nobel Prize already!
Did I tell you that I loved them all.
By extension, I knew I would enjoy this story too.
The guy tells an awesome story, which ends with a phenomenal image:
The willow branches swayed in the early-summer breeze. In a small dark room, somewhere inside Kino, a warm hand was reaching out to him. Eyes shut, he felt that hand on his, soft and substantial. He’d forgotten this, had been apart from it for far too long. Yes, I am hurt. Very, very deeply. He said this to himself. And he wept.I closed the magazine, turned the light off, and was ready for sleep. Content and happy, and at peace with the world. I felt "the early-summer breeze" of the fiction gently rocking me to sleep on a mid-winter night.
All the while the rain did not let up, drenching the world in a cold chill.
What a joy it is to realize that I am a human, alive, and thinking and feeling, on a tiny part of "a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."