Sunday, April 15, 2007

Imagining things can be fatal

In these last few weeks, because I don't have TV and infrequent papers, I've been leading a little old lady life. I listen to NPR, watch birds and I cook. This is cool with me. Because on a day you hear the news, an interview with Gwendolyn Brooks, a radio-doc about kids and Shakespeare, an interview with a new punk-rock band and This American Life, which has lovely rambling perorations on things people's lives are about: ruined reputations, mean pretty girls, conversations in a restaurant or Wire Tap, a show whose host has phone conversations with friends, family and strangers (one today was with an 81 year old woman who specialises in puns. She has made 200 puns about boyfriends which she turned into a storybook and it is now doing very well). I wish we had good radio at home. I wish someone I knew would open up one of them community radio things and hire me to work there doing whatever I want. Anyway I like this texture - it reminds me of the random general knowledge and arts and ideas articles that would fill up my head. Or of school Sundays where Vinod Dua's Aap Ke Liye would spring on the morning his bouquet of variety stories.

In this continuing little old lady mode, I decide to give the evening a Japanese theme - just for some way of organising the sights and sounds and moments.








While in the bath I read the following- in which a Russian, known, for literal reasons, as Manskinner Boris, says this to a Japanese lieutenant:
"I tell you Lieutenant, there is only one way to survive here. And that is not to imagine anything... I certainly never use mine. My job is to make others use their imaginations. That's my bread and butter. Make sure you keep that in mind. As long as you are in here, at least, picture my face if you ever start to imagine something, and say to yourself, 'No, don't do that. imagining things can be fatal.' These are my golden words of advice to you, Leave the imagining to someone else."

Now they tell me..
It's enough to make a girl stop reading and start thinking. And then what if she starts imagining something then? Will she suddenly meet her Boris Manskinner? But let's not go THERE.
Does this happen to you that when you are reading a book, it sort of becomes like your personal I Ching. That every second page seems to contain some paragraph that holds a particular, resonating, resounding message for your life as it is then. I suppose that's the sort of dangerous tendency the paragraph's warning me about. Conundrums wherever you turn. The rose scented bubbles cannot be trusted for very long.

No comments: