Rohit's Realm - May 2011

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May 08, 2011

Into the Heart of Despair

Those who know me well (and by that, I mean long-time readers of this wretched exercise in self-defeat) most likely realize that I spend much of my waking life consumed by low level despondency and existential despair. Generally, that's not a problem: over the years, I have grown quite adept at pursuing success—money, cash, hoes, that is—even while the increasingly irate voice in my head continues to question why I have chosen to go on that particular day (the answer, by the way, is usually a pernicious combination of hope and complacence). Most days, therefore, the competing virtues of meaningless materialistic pursuits and suicidal impulses can coexist in a peaceful harmony that manifests in the particularly acrid self-loathing that is part and parcel of my existence (such as it is).

But some days, that peaceful harmony of self-loathing that allows me to remain a semi-functional member of society is disrupted. Perhaps the petty joys of senseless materialism overwhelm the existential despair for long enough for me to feel a brief, effervescent sensation of happiness—for me to hate others more than I hate myself, in other words. Or more likely, the ultimate futility of existence and the sense of meaninglessness rise to such a fever pitch as to destroy the delicate balance. Nipping at the heels of the tidal wave of all-consuming self-loathing is usually what I years ago dubbed the black venom: soul-crushing, debilitating despair from which recovery is never assured.

Debilitation, of course, existential or otherwise is not an option. All theorizing about suicide aside, I will almost certainly end it all before I am relegated to the status of failed human being. But what to do when a debilitating bout of despair is on the horizon? Engage it, that's what.

May 15, 2011

Rohit Reviews: Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies

As the long and largely gloomy list of books I have reviewed on this site over the past seven odd years should make clear, I am not a person particularly enamored with contemporary literature, and certainly not short stories. Indeed, the last short story collection I read was probably Anton Chekhov's Stories for an English class at Cal back in 2003. Less justifiably, I think, I am also not a person who frequently reads works by female authors, though I had never given it much thought until it was pointed out to me by a friend who noticed a dearth of such works on my bookshelves. It was that same latter observation that prompted my friend to gift me Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, among others, which I completed today.

I was of course familiar with Lahiri from The Namesake, a book which I had long been meaning to pick up but to which I had never gotten around. After completing the Interpreter of Maladies, I think it will be one I will be picking up sooner rather than later (though the question of whether to purchase a paperback or Kindle version continues to vex).