25 October, 2020

My Book of the Century

My Book of the Century
Abbe Provost's Manon Lescaut is the only book that's touched me to the marrow. 

I was perhaps 14 then. The afternoons in my grand-uncle's library during my summer vacations acquainted me with Turgenev, Anatole France, Flaubert and Varahamihira. 

For the rest of the year, I was in Calcutta with my parents. Translations of Tagore, Sarat Babu and Bankim had entranced me by their moody essence. 

My grand-uncle once said: "You're fortunate to be nourished by three distinctly dissimilar cultures, Malabari, Bengali, and English..." A revered poet and philosopher, he didn't dissuade me from reading Havelock Ellis or Bhasa. Even Dandin's erotic plays weren't banned. 

Varaha-Samhita to Tagore wasn't a great leap. 

Manon Lescaut let me into the magical secrets of love. For months I walked in a daze searching for my lover. Did that book wound my life? Did it take me far away from reality? I don't know for certain, I was unmoulded and...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

Latest Magazine

November 02, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section