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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

09 October 2003

I think I have no other option but to turn to the cliché –

"Better late than never.. "

I mean I just made up my mind to read what Ayan Rand is all about, though my sons have all along been proding me to read her – particularly Fountain Head. (when I started searching the book shelf for this book, I found it was missing. And it took an ISD call to find out where it went :-) and he quips over the long distance – “get yourself another one amma. Web bookstores offer discount.” However, I am not really keen – not yet - to buy another copy. So, if anyone knows of a good library to lend me this title in Chennai, do let me know.

Anyway, right now I’m flipping through her first work, ‘we the living’ – all about life in Soviet Russia. If you think that’s all about the novel, she immedietely clarifies – forcefully – (this conviction and clarity of her ideas is what impresses me about her.) “We the living is not a novel ‘about Soviet Russia’. It is a novel about Man against State…. It is a story about Dictatorship, anywhere, at anytime, whether it be Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or – which this novel might do its share in helping to prevent – a socialist America.”

A socialist America? May not be. But when I read a particular passage where she describes the opening scenes when the protagnaist Kira’s family leaves their city and travels far beyond, I couldn’t help a weird thought flashing in my mind.

A poster in the station cathces Kira’s attention. “LONG LIVE THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT! WHO IS NOT WITH US – IS AGAINST US!

Well, doesn’t this last sentence sound very familier – heard somewhere very recently during the “smoking them out of holes” exercise in Afghan?

The introduction in the 60th aaniversary publication of this book by Irvine, California, talks about how strongly Ayan Rand hated the way of life in Soviet Russia. “ the novel’s original title was ‘Airtight’, the meaning being that under dictatorship man cannot survive. Dictatorship, she writes in her journal, “crushes a whole country and smothers every bit of life, action and air….(it) makes the atmosphere choking, airtight……’

Well, I sincerely felt Rand can actually make the reader feel what she feels. Anyone who values individual freedom will appreciate her.

I haven’t finished reading this book yet, but her hero Leo sounds like Margret Mitcheel’s Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. And if I am not mistaken both novels came out more or less same period – middle thirties.( that both novels were turned down by several publishers at the initial stage is an irrelevant postscript :-)

I did like Rhett. I don’t know yet about Leo. Similarly I wonder if Ayan Rand’s “noble” Andrei is Mitchell’s Ashley’s counterpart !!!

Btw, what made me pick up Rand suddenly? Well, I was workng on my column for “U” magazine. (sorry no link – the magazine is not on the web) And this time I chose to talk on handling ego at work place. And when I was thinking this topic aloud, a friend popped the question. “ don’t you believe in Ayan Rand’s theory that selfishness is a virtue and that it is the fountain head of life?”

Now you know the rest of the story :-) OK let me read more of Rand and then come out with my verdict – whether I agree or not with her theory on ego. thanks anyway to my friend for pushing me to Rand. Remarkably forceful writer, her words can hit you like bombshells. You may agree or not with her, but certainly can’t ignore her.

btw, i apologise for not updating for sometime now - my routine got erratic on personal front - shuttling between two homes - one to look after dad and another my own nest - and i wasn't logging in much - at least not enough to blog ;-) and in this laptop that i am logging in from - the shift key not working properly - so all my smilies and underscores and caps are falling in respective lower keys... ugh... ;-0 like this... 1 - get the idea / - i mean get the idea?


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