Archive | January 2021

The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde

I have decided to read or reread at least one classic every month this year.

I picked up this book randomly without a clue about what it was about. As with most controversial books from another era, this too did not shock me, but oh, how it fascinated me!

I loved Lord Henry. I found myself highlighting so much of his ‘wisdoms’ every time he spoke. The language, the beautiful prose from the nineteenth century, was such a pleasure to read. While I still do not fully understand what Dorian’s sins actually were, the endless sentences describing his hedonistic lifestyle were breathtaking. A small chill ran through me each time the painting changed, each time something happened for the painting to change. How wonderful if would be if we all had such a mirror to show us our true faces.

What exactly was Dorian’s relationship with Lord Henry? Was Dorian a piece of clay that Lord Henry was moulding into everything he himself could not be? Were they lovers or was he just Lord Henry’s social experiment? What was it that Dorian was blackmailing Alan Campbell with? There is so much in the book that is not said, but the reader does not feel the need to seek explicit answers. You just know. Of course, the lack of women in his sinful life except for Sybil Vane and an obligatory Hetty makes it obvious that his main ‘sin’ was being a beautiful, rich gay boy who lived life on his own terms. The undercurrent of homosexuality that runs throughout the book was just the right level, not in-your- face but always there. How daring Oscar Wilde must have been to write this in that era!

This is the kind of book that you will keep going back to again and again, just to read the passages you’ve highlighted. A book that will stay with you for a very long time.

Dream Journal: The Train

It is still dark when the train stops. I stretch my hands as far as I can in the upper berth and yawn

I hate it when I have to disembark at a station that is not the last stop. So much hurrying.

I gather my belongings and dump them into my handbag. I realise that my bag had remained open throughout the night. I zip it up and scramble down. I have two suitcases, one big and one small. Both blue. I hate blue but always end up with blue suitcases. Maybe because they are the cheapest.

I can’t find anything to tie my hair with, so I put my hair up in a bun. How do women look so effortlessly chic in messy buns when I always end up looking like I just lost a fight at the water lorry.

I pull out the suitcases from under the seat. The big blue one needs an angry yank to come out. Most of the passengers have already disembarked, so I am able to roll both my suitcases without bumping into impatient people. I roll them down the platform and go towards the exit. There is a ticket checker at the exit gate. Strange.

I stand in the line waiting for him to check the tickets and a wave of horror sweeps over me. I don’t have the ticket with me. It was a physical ticket, the one printed on the small piece of cardboard. Do they even make those these days? A family in front of me say that the TTR already checked theirs on the train and this checker lets them pass. It is now my turn. I tell him the same, but he is not convinced. He tells me to show it anyway. I open my handbag and fumble with the stuff inside. There is so. much. junk. Something tells me to slip a finger into the tiniest compartment of the bag and miraculously the ticket appears. First Class. Rupees 30. The ticket checker nods and lets me go. I pass the gates and place my bags on a bench to organise myself. A wave of panic sweeps over me! I do not have my phone or Kindle! Damn. I must have left them on the berth!

I grab my stuff and run back into the platform. The train has slowly started to move. I don’t remember my coach, so I leave my suitcases on the platform and rush into the one nearest to me. The upper berths have been folded down. This is the train where the berths are allowed to be folded out only after 9pm. I hate this new Railway Ministry’s rules. Someone would have found my things and stolen them. There is no way it is going to end up in the lost and found.

I hop off the train as it picks up speed. I see some guards standing at the door of a compartment. As a last ditch attempt, I run along with the train and tell them that I have lost my phone and Kindle on the train and ask them if they can do anything about it. They look at each other and say something. Suddenly my phone rings. Damn! I reach into my pocket and there it is! I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I must have put it in my pocket when I was fumbling for the ticket in my handbag.

The guards laugh too. Then one of them shouts to me, ‘ You said Kindle. What is that?’

‘It is a book’, I shout back.


‘For ebooks’


‘Yes. It has a brown cover and looks like a big cellphone’

The train is picking up speed and I run faster to keep talking to the guards.

I lift my left hand and show them what I am holding. ‘Kindle’, I shout louder and wave it at them. ‘It looks like this.’

The train thunders off on its tracks.

How do I interpret this dream? Something as obvious as ‘what you so desperately search for has been with you all the time’?