Just finished reading a Caribbean classic. I have been reading a lot lately, Chekhov to Chinua Achebe, Garcia to Gibran, O Henry to Tagore, Woolf to Arundhati Roy. I am an ignorant person who hardly knows twenty established names in the field of literature. With great difficulties, I have been able to read around 50 odd novels in last five years. Its almost laughable.
While going through “One hundred years of solitude”, I realised something. I could recognise the characters much before their identities were revealed. Somehow, Ursula (hundred years of solitude, Caribbean) reminded me of Ammu (God of small things, India) and Ekwefi (Things fall apart, Africa) who somehow reminded me of my mother, crazy for her children’s safety.
Somehow I got a deja vu about Jose Arcadio Buendia while reading about Okonkowo. The other day I met this chariot driver in one of Chekhov’s short snaps (Russia) who talked and walked exactly like this cart driver from one of Premchand’s simple reflections of his contemporary India. At times, O. Henry (New York) accidently, writes of a character who smokes and talks in a certain way which is uncanny about the one I met in one of Sherlock Holmes(somewhere in London) stories.
How is it possible? How can people born in different generations, in different societies, speaking different languages, wearing different clothes say the stories about the same people? Do these characters know about their desolate soul twins fighting similar fights with different foes, seven seas away?
Cant it be a feasibility that humanity runs farther than races and religions? That it crosses borders of nations and continents to stay one amongst all of us? that all mothers are mothers, whites and blacks and browns and yellow? That all patriarchs are a little haughty and stubborn no matter rich or poor? that dreams reside in eyes of one child to see the world while the other one wants to be the world of some girl? Doesn’t it sound logical that we are all slices of the same soul, prospering in different parts of the giant land bound by one red blood? That we all go through similar phases in our lives, just in a different premises?
Aren’t we living the lives of each other, one way or the other?
Ah! How beautiful is this thought? How beautiful is humanity!