But if these damn mosquitoes would let me write in peace!

So I was in a small used book shop in Pondicherry, India a couple of weeks ago, as I had read all the books I brought with me for my trip. I picked up 2 non-fiction books, and was looking for a fiction title that might spark my interest (indeed, The Fountainhead in its original cover art and glory was fastidiously placed high above all others, beckoning me, but I left it for another to read it, as hoarding it’s copies serves me no joy).

I saw a furtive black and orange cover on the shelf, and the words in all caps, as the header “SALMAN RUSHDIE” and the footer “THE MOOR’S LAST SIGH”.

I took a gamble based on something I had heard Neil Gaiman, a favourite author of mine, once say about Rushdie’s literary prowess. Though I couldn’t recall in verbatim his assessment of Rushdie, I remember it being mysterious enough a statement to peak my curiosity, so I paid for it, and the other 2 books, and left for home.

I started The Moor’s Last Sigh about a week later and haven’t been able to put it down. I could go on and on about its beautiful portrait of India in all it’s ugliness and beauty, it’s backdrop of post WWI, WWII, India’s fight for independence, and the technology of the 80’s and 90’s, and Rushdie’s elegant use of Magical Realism, to an understanding of poetic jargon that only Indian’s could truly appreciate. But that’s not what inspired me to blog about Rushdie.

I was in Jaipur a few days prior to my buying The Moor’s Last Sigh, and for those of you who are unaware, I was a few days too early for the annual Jaipur Literature Festival. Read all about it, but the gist of this is Rushdie (and many other writers, and Oprah, for some strange reason) were all to be attending. I read the news today on Wikipedia (I do not trust newspapers, or any news source with advertisements, as shouldn’t you. When information only exists because private corporations are paying for that information to exist, that information can not be accurately trusted) and it announced that Rushdie had cancelled his plans to be in Jaipur. I found this odd, but then I discovered the true history of Rushdie.

I can not sum it up as simply or as decisively as it is done so here, so I encourage you to read it. But suffice it say that again, religion has done nothing but prove to me that it brings out the worst in humanity. I’ll stick to my beliefs, without religion, thank you very much.

I applaud Rushdie for his courage and literary genius, and have no doubt that his works will stand the test of time. It is my hope that one day a country like India can free itself from its corruption and perspectives enough to make his works mandatory reading material. And all countries for that matter. But my greater hope for the moment is people share this author’s struggles with religious censorship and persecution as much as they can. The recent attacks against SOPA by the online community show us once again how people in today’s age can come together to keep freedom of expression alive. The internet allows us all to connect and share knowledge in ways we never hoped possible. Silence only allows us to connect and share ignorance.


(all links open in new tabs by the way…I encourage you to read them. And mouseover the Red circle on the page that opens from the “my beliefs” link to get the full experience)

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4 Responses to “But if these damn mosquitoes would let me write in peace!”


  1. 1 rampantcinephile January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Great post! I’ve always wanted to read more Salman Rushdie but I have yet to get around to it. The only book of his I have read is “Shame”, which is really beautiful and bizarre. You should definitely check it out. If you are still in touch with Red, I lent her my copy a few years ago and never got it back, you should borrow it from her!

    How long are you in India? I hope you are having a fabulous time πŸ™‚

    • 2 Saran Ekambaram February 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm

      Hey Michaela, thanks! Haha, I will ask Red and maybe even get the book back to you. She is bad about stealing books. She stole a Madrox TP of mine once and convinced herself she never borrowed it. Then she found it one day and tried to sneak it on my bookshelf…haha πŸ™‚
      I’m in India for a few more days. My trip is for 5 weeks. When I get back I will post a bunch of the pictures.
      If you want I can lend you “The Moor’s Last Sigh”. It’s very good, reinforcing themes of darkness and isolation, as he wrote it while he was in hiding.

      • 3 rampantcinephile February 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

        Haha, that would be awesome. Also, I would love to borrow “The Moor’s Last Sigh” if possible. I have tons I need to read lying around my apartment, but I always make room for more πŸ™‚
        5 weeks! That’s quite the trip. I’m excited to see your pictures. I enjoy travelling vicariously…I hope you have a safe journey back.

      • 4 Saran Ekambaram February 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

        Will be uploading pics eventually…I can lend you the book anytime. We’ll figure something out!


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