My last post caused a furore I never anticipated! :-) The furore is not the subject of this post. It is too personal. Yet, it took a while for me to get over it. Only now, more than a month afterwards, do I feel ready to write another one. The fact that I have been more busy in recent times has not helped either.
One thing that my last post and its aftermath definitely made me do is look for a copy of THE FOUNTAINHEAD. The most obvious place I tried was the local library in my town of which I am a member. Unfortunately, the book is not available there. During my search, I stumbled across another another gem - THE GODFATHER - instead! I had read it more than ten years ago. May be almost fifteen years ago! I still remembered it vividly... or so I thought! I still took the book out of sheer curiosity of finding out how a classic (or rather an individual's interpretation of a classic, in this case the individual being me) changes with age, time and circumstances. What I found was astonishing. Something that I think deserves a post in its own right.
About the last time I read the Godfather, I don't remember a lot of detail. I don't remember where I read it for example. I don't even remember when exactly I read it either. What I do remember, however, is the physical experience of reading the book. What I remember is how it made me feel. I remember my trembling body. I remember how I had to go to the loo a number of times through sheer excitement and thrill the book gave me. I remember my continuously racing heart. It was unbelievable. Of course, I did not expect to feel the same excitement again. (Why don't we have a delete button for some of the memories? I could have enjoyed the same thrill reading this book again!)
To my surprise, bringing this book home was like Jumanji. It kept calling me until I started reading it. And then, just like Jumanji, once I started reading, there was no stopping it. I had to finish it. The book again made my heart race. It was again exciting. It was again thrilling. There were so many smaller characters that I had completely forgotten about. So many situations I did not remember existed in the plot. It was like reading a new book almost but for the biggest of the surprises that I don't want to reveal for those who may wish to read it.
The biggest surprise the book had in store for me though was its PHILOSOPHY.
In the amazingly pacy plot of The Godfather, I had almost skipped it.
Or may be I was too dazed to notice in the thrill of the first-time-read of this novel.
This time around, after almost fifteen years, I found pages and pages of it strewn across the book.
Pages that talked about life.
Pages that talked about people.
Pages that talked about tough decisions.
Pages that contained gems like -
Every man has but one destiny.
Behind every great fortune, there is crime.
I'll make him an offer he can't refuse.
In that one final instant, before anything actually happened, Sonny knew he was a dead man.
These and many more...
But one part of the book made me rethink my whole life again. The process is still on. In fact, this post is just a beginning. The story quickly and in short -
Johnny Fontane is a singer and a movie star. Nino Valenti is his buddy who used to sing with him while they were younger and when Johnny was not a star. Johnny loses his voice when at the pinnacle of his career. His career is almost in an irrepairable decline. Godfather helps him gain some of it back. But his voice does not improve. In the meanwhile, Johnny gets Nino into hollywood. He makes him a star too. By luck, Johnny comes across a skilled surgeon Jules Segal. He identifies the root cause of Johnny's voice failing him and repairs it. Johnny doesn't trust the doctor and never believes his voice could come back. One night though, he just feels like singing and does sing - alone. He realises his voice is back. He can sing again. Johnny is delighted. All the acting in the movies, being a producer, earning money, being in Don's good books, none of it has been able to make Johnny happy. But one night of singing and the realisation that his voice is now back makes him extremely happy. It shows. To Johnny's surprise, Nino is standing behind him listening. Johnny senses Nino is happy for him and yet curiously jealous. When Nino is about to die through his own excesses in life, Johnny finally realises - Nino was not jealous of Johnny getting his voice back. He was jealous Johnny had something in life that could make him so happy. Nino didn't. There was nothing in life that Nino cared about enough that could make him live. Nino had everything. But no purpose. No passion. That brought him to his deathbed eventually.
What is my purpose in life?
What is my passion?
Where do I want to be ten years from now?
Do I have something in my life that will make me feel absolutely lousy if I lost it?
Do I have something in my life that will make as happy as Johnny Fontane if I rediscovered that lost treasure?
WHAT IS IT?
Wish I knew!