Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

An endless walk without a destination seems exciting at first. But then, a few hours into the journey it becomes a chore. One forgets why you began to walk in the first place. With nowhere to go, the miles keep adding on and one keeps drifting about, like driftwood in the warm currents of the Indian ocean.

This form of desultory living is what our friend Marcus Aurlieus may refer to as a curse. A curse of living life without a direction. Of just floating away. In the novel, English, August – Agastya, the protagonist does exactly this. On a year long training in Madna, this young IAS officer leads a desultory existence, making up stories about his imaginary dying wife and going about just living, masturbating, getting stoned, shuffling files in his office. I managed to finish the book nearly 10 years after I read the first chapter and never got around to reading it. I liked the novel a lot. Perhaps because I identified with Agastya in many ways. Take his his inner dialogue, filled with wry humour bordering somewhere between irreverent and plain brazen. But even in a dull place like Madna, where he is first posted, Agastya manages to find moments which make his time worth the while. While he seems to be breezing through the official meetings and numerous get-together at Srivastavas, the collector, he is constantly battling with the chocies that he is made. Another commonality between August as he is referred to by his friend , and yours truly. The constant battle between choosing paths and the turns ignored, continues to keep me up as well. Agastya is also a reader of Aurelius and the Geeta, and loves music.

But a desultory life for a little while is like being on vacation. And like any other good or bad vacation, it is bound to come an end.