Apr 25, 2016

Love and Longing in Nirmal Verma's literary world

Love! For those short sentences and the long ones with curves. Sensuality. It's exhilarating to experience someone's yearning and it tugs at memories, some familiar, some forgotten. The cold knots untie themselves when  you meet the narrative you've craved. He takes away the noise of feeling, and probes the silence.

It's not often that I let myself be hooked to a book on love and I refuse to use a pseudonym that can only snatch and tear away at the meaning, with each connotation and implied sense. I want the core, and I want it now. His language has the intensity of something that is most often fleeting. That which is inescapable, honest, and brutal yet silenced. He wins my heart. I normally, hate to use terms indicating victory or anything grand because it undercuts the fragility and indicates unwarranted strength. But, I've found this emotion in literature to be a challenge, and shied away from stories that had love somewhere lurking because of fear that it may have been dealt with frivolously.

The gaze of a young narrator feverishly desiring a friend, whose neck crevice is all that tells us about his passion, is utterly bereft of any trace of sadness. It's that intensity, and I was compelled to look for anything similar that I've read in other books (English/Hindi) but I couldn't recall, maybe Browning and Marquez. And unlike me, it's unhurried. There's cadence, rhythm, like a lingering note from Thomas Newman's music. They are tinged with longing, yearning, and he's a master at that.

The matter-of-factly tone to talk about something annoyingly depressive, such as a girl watching a couple from a distance, the man's fingers, and her incapability of expression, is charged with the author's restraint. Annoyingly so. You want to know more, and somewhere you feel he's letting you crave. He's a tease.


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