Tuesday, May 28, 2013

April: The Month of the Library

Hunt Library, 29th April 2013

I spent all my April days at the Hunt Library. Somewhere between the last day of last year and the first day of this year, my relationship with my girlfriend of a little more than three years ended and I wallowed in a thick jelly of retrospection and introspection, oft times irrational and maudlin, for a long, long time, as is the case with me after every big loss, but towards the beginning of April a sort of panicky realization came over me. It occurred to me that my time at Carnegie Mellon was limited, and that when I had first come here I had been madly awed by all that it had to offer. But soon enough I had come back to my equilibrium state of procrastinating my assignments till hours before they were due, rambling on phone with my then girlfriend, chattering with whoever of my classmates wouldn't at any time be studying, making plans to study and circumventing them, issuing library books and returning them unread after some days etc. And then after January this year months passed without anything I would in my later life call constructive or even simply correct. Coming to the point, at the beginning of April I decided to spend more time at the library studying, and mastering the material that my superb professors so wonderfully and painstakingly introduce to us in the most lucid way, in my opinion, possible. At the back of my mind was the hope that even if I spend a lot of time not actually studying -- my focus and concentration of late had been as stable as a pigeon's neck -- the time that I spend not studying would be better spent in and around books than if I spent it on my bed thinking self-detrimentally about the past or if I spent it with my laptop, swimming through an ocean of 99% crap and 1% value which is invariably forgotten -- and is therefore in a way also useless -- after another hour of surfing because it is by then obscured by more of the said crap.

The last paragraph was just an apology for spending so much time, practically living, in the library. The main point of writing this post is something else. Since even now my focus levels are far from their best, I often get up from my desk and roam about the shelves. And I find that I am invariably attracted towards dusty, hardly-visited bookshelves like a hot girl to bad boys. These deserted bookshelves carry in their isolation old books and journals usually from the first quarter of the last century, with their pages ranging the whole gamut from yellow to downright brown in color. And when I look over their pages, half understanding their contents, I cannot help but think how their authors must have dreamed their works to outdo time. Having been an aspiring writer once, I can't help but think about how these authors must have imagined that these books which took years out of their respective lives to write, will still be read and discussed a hundred years later. And then to think how they are biting dust in a secluded, forgotten corner of a library. (But here's the important, although meta, part..) And then to think that a hundred years later I am (and maybe several others are) drawn to them everyday, that I am wondering about their 100 year old history, that I am writing a blog post about them.

I think if I were a writer I would have been happy with that fate! Guess they didn't fall too short of that, pardon the following clumsy words, hyperreal ultralonglivedness.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Someday I'll get around to drawing Mehdi Hassan too.