Hansel and Gretel

While  Mom-Dad where at hill station, Hardipur and Geetu, had gone wandering around the neighbourhood.

Annu antie would have watched then like a hawk [or an obese parrot], nothing like gossiping about chootu children. Can understand parents full genealogy.But poor Mom-Dad didn’t account for latest serial played on full blast on brand new Ultra, Ultra HD Plasma curve, super sonic TV bought by NRI son.

Hardipur and Geetu, who preferred Hansel and Gretel, had never gone around their neighborhood, slum area is too close by. They were picked up by AC school bus and went to international school named after a random phirangi [probably Richard or Jacob or someone, as long as he has white skin and blue hair why does it matter?], and went to kids section of overpriced club #24 after they reached home and finished googling homework.

Hardipur and Geetu went up and down, left and right, here and there, like they smelt 3 tons of chocolate. They can to a strange lane where everything smelt strange, dogs weren’t on chains and people wore lungis-sarees, full traditional get-up even though it wasn’t ethnic day.

Hansel-Gretel or whatever you call them, ran up-down making their white, white uniforms brown and bought some pani-puri. It was better than canteen version. They went to small park smaller than their front yard, where other kids played. Other kids looked at them, they looked at other kids. Hardipur wanted to discuss Pokemon gen 40 and new super-duper, ultra evolution, but they didn’t understand him. Hansel-Gretel/Hardipur-Geetu played on their phones. Everything was very nice they noticed, it was nice to be out they said and sat awkwardly on the benches.

It was soon night and they were scared.Google maps doesn’t work when your phone has expired. Hansel-Gretel were very sad, scared even when a nice dark old lady came along and offered to take them home. She took them to her home first, asked them a few questions, but they just smiled awkwardly in response. She looked like a witch working on magic brew when she made them dinner. She ate little, and kept smiling as they ate.They decided she must be a cook .

She wasn’t smiling when sirens screamed and neighbors came out to watch as police took her away. Parents said hi to Hansel-Gretel/Hardipur-Geetu, police looked everywhere and some random case was booked. Hansel-Gretel/Hardipur-Geetu noticed the house was dust covered and looked a little like chocolate as they taken back home in their tinted window, AC car. They looked at each other and felt a little guilty, but Mom-Dad said she is not a nice lady. She had forced them to cancel vacation.

Probably kidnapping she was trying. Don’t go to the slums again they said. They could hardly stop huffing and puffing when they realized that Hansel-Gretel/ Hardipur-Geetu must have eaten meat. Later they discussed what caste the old lady must have been and what purification ceremony they would have to perform. Hansel-Gretel shrugged were happy to have Wi-Fi access again and everyone called it a happy ending.

1Q84 book 1 April-June

I haven’t read much Japanese literature and what I have read are biographies and material related to history. The even fewer works of literature that I have read consist of small poems and short stories. But I’ve always been interested in reading Japanese novels; while I do know of and have read much manga and other works that were written by Japanese authors I would not call them novels.

The style of narration and the episodic made the difference quite distinct. Manga, Anime and Japanese history always make for interesting reads. Having evolved from an island shadowed by china -which was often the mightiest, wealthiest and most respected nation on earth-to a place which has been able to come close to over shadowing Chinese history with Samurai,Manga and a history of modernization combined with fierce protection and preservation of what was thought to be Japanese. So when I bought a thick,heavy and expensive copy of Murakamis 1Q84 without knowing much beyond the fact that Murakami was a famous author I was very eager to see what was in store.

The books cover with a grey tree and peeling moon and a smaller green moon next to [along with a puzzling message at the back] did much to add to my assumption that there would be some sort of great mystery to uncover. The first chapter seemed to confirmed my beliefs when it proved to be extremely descriptive and well written- while it did not actually tell you much about what you actually want to know.

Aomane and Tengo seemed to shoot the book in opposite directions like a rubber ball at a tennis match. The more you read the more you wondered how these two people who were so different in nature and lifestyle could be related at all.

Murakamis writing really carries the novel. I don’t think many other writers could keep you interested while offering you so few actual hints about the true direction or purpose of the story in between so many vividly described details of the world they inhabit.

I did not however find much beyond the names of characters or places without which the story might be uniquely Japanese. That isn’t a bad thing, but it did seem unusual and I wonder if this is due to some overzealous translator.

Describing the story feels almost criminal as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone. The manner in which bizarre hints and encrypted speech reveal at a tantalizingly slow pace more and more of the story and the two characters makes you feels the revelations must be earned. You are in lockstep with the characters and are often as surprised and as baffled as they are by what you discover.

The novel and writing within the story is also incredibly important [and clever] as it allows Murakami to come in and tell you all about his writing and story telling while also telling you how to read the story. The beginning of the book might inspire you to ask “Whats really happening?”. As I near the end of the second book I’d say I still  don’t know. I may know a lot more about the characters and their stories, I may have read through months of their lives but I don’t feeling any closer to answers. In fact both you and the characters have far more questions due to prior questions being answered. The way Murakami keeps you hooked on the long way to the end is simply a brilliant feat of story telling, one that is definitely  worth reading.