Wednesday, 20 November 2013

You Had Me At "Hlo"

“Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it's the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it's a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.” 
― Stephen Fry

Someone very wise once said that language's greatest strength is its ability to evolve- a trait that it has exhibited by the bucketful for centuries past. Nobody really has a certain idea about where language originated, but linguists and philologists have for years been speculating on the meek and hazy beginnings of the spoken word.

A number of theories dominate popular belief, however what most researchers have agreed on, is that language came from the association of sound to certain visual stimuli. These associations created meaning.
Over the years, as cultures diverged and various peoples migrated to unexplored parts of the world to behold things that had never been seen before, they developed new sounds, new associations- new languages. It would probably be safe to assume that language evolved much like the human race did- in a logical order, best suited for the conditions in which it had to survive.

Language has always been one of my primary loves. Coming from a country that has, over the centuries, amassed a rich and opulent culture, and what can only be described as a bright-hued palette of languages, I find it mildly embarrassing and not a little strange to admit to being truly proficient in only one. It is also fairly ironic that the language I am most comfortable with is one that was brought to my countrymen in a rather unattractive visage, by an alien culture- and accompanied by years of slavery, robbery and colonialism. You win some, you lose some, I always say.

The 2013 statistic, updated in November, says that English is the third most-spoken language in the world, following Mandarin and Spanish. It has the largest vocabulary of any existing language. It also happens to be one of the few things I care about. (All in one, huh?)

Picking out landmarks in literary time, take Chaucer, Shakespeare, Shaw and Chetan Bhagat as loci, and you have a perfect map of how the landscape of language has changed over years and years of writing and speech.

Now, for someone who prides herself in being open and, for lack of a better insult, 'modern', I recently realised that when it comes to English, I instantaneously become one of those intolerable stuffy bastards who invoke Jesus' name every five seconds, and cannot tolerate anything being contrary to the Bible's instructions. You know the type- they always have the top comment on YouTube videos of The Ellen Degeneres Show, which reads something like "Pls don't be homosexual! Jesus will punish you and you will go to Hell!".

Well, I essentially am a linguistic equivalent of those. Frightening, isn't it? Although I prefer the Oxford English to the Bible, the two are so similar in principle that I feel ill at ease every time I think about it too much. I suppose, then, that putting my fears up on a public forum is the new-generation form of escapism.

The thing is, every time someone uses the wrong conjunction (which is often, believe me) or an incorrect derivative, or just the wrong word- I feel the compelling need to circle them three times in an anti-clockwise fashion and sprinkle them with holy water, while chanting, "Forgive them, lord, for they know not what they do."

All this, and I only just realised how terrible it is. I wondered, whilst sipping a terrible cup of coffee at my workplace and staring into space as I often do, who is a true lover of language? One who feels the need to be smothered under layers and layers of rules and regulations and feels the constant need to keep it 'correct', so to speak, or one who understands its essential nature of change, and enjoys it in all its forms?

Perhaps it is the latter. The essential elasticity of language has always been its greatest virtue- and had it not been this liberal, it wouldn't have had half the words in its vocabulary that it does now. Joy, bump, marketyard- one a borrowed word from the French joie, one a completely made-up word by a semi-famous poet, one an amalgamation of two words to form a single one that conveys all the meaning it needs to, without using up unnecessary space. (i.e., 'marketyard' as opposed to 'the yard in the market') It really is quite brilliant. And I suppose that's why it's alright to say things like "I'll go karofy that now." (A frightening thing I heard someone say the other day) instead of "I'll go DO it." It is a merger of sorts, after all. And that's why the Oxford Dictionary expands every year- to allow the English language to grow and flourish like it has been for years.

I read somewhere, recently, that with text-messaging becoming the new-wave of communication, there's an entirely new language developing. I don't mean just condensations of words (What's to wt's), but also entirely new meanings attached to words that have always existed. You know how, in the days of non-QWERTY phones, there was the Dictionary option, where you had to type out the word and then choose from a selection of possible things you may have typed out, the word you meant? Right. So when you typed 'cool', it automatically became 'book'. And because no-one bothered to correct it, it became accepted colloquial terminology. So in some parts of the world, 'book' now means cool.

Frightening. I suppose all it takes is a little getting used to. Just like religion, animal sacrifice and marriage rituals. On second thought, maybe not marriage rituals. You hear about hundreds of languages dying out every year because nobody uses them any longer, and you might be thankful that English does not share their snobbery. It is willing to change. Now if only we'd (I'd) let it.

Either way, I don't think I'm ever getting used to this:

2 b, or nt 2 b–tht is = ?:
Wether ’tis nbler in da mynd 2 sffr
Da slings N arrows ov outragus 4toon
Or 2 tke rms agst a C of trubles
N by opposin end dem. 2 die, 2 sleep–
No mre–n by a sleep 2 say wii nd
Da hartake, n da 1000 nturl shoks
DAT flsh is air 2.

That's Shakespeare's Hamlet, in case you were confused. I know I was. The speech conventionally begins "To be or not to be."

I had hoped that putting all this painstaking effort into writing this piece would help me form an opinion on English's new form, but as always, this was all for nothing.

Oh well, that's the end of this episode of Being Forced To Listen To Pointless Rants. Hope you enjoyed yourself. See you again next week. It's good-night from me.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Spoils of War

Break-ups are hard. At least, that’s what they say. You have to deal with not having that blanket of security- that person who reminded you why you were (sorry, are) so amazing, the feeling of your sentences being completed, that sensation that, no matter what you do, you’ll have someone by your side.

You know who break-ups are harder for? Your friends.

Yes, break-upper/upee: I speak to you.

You chased us around for weeks. You emotionally blackmailed and threatened your way into getting us to meet your new beau. When we finally, finally relented, you looked so relieved, we thought you were going to wet yourself. We had that one conversation. That one cup of coffee. We assured you that we loved him/her, and that we’re happy for you.

And you sighed with joy, satisfied, and took her by the hand and pranced off. We sat there, bought a packet of high-calorie chips, drank another cup of coffee, and read by ourselves. We were happy you were happy.

But let me tell you something about that meeting. We lied. We don’t think anyone’s good enough for you- and even if someone is, there’s no way we’d know that with one meeting. But, caring about you is a flip-sided coin. We understood that it’d make you happy- that lie. And it wouldn’t really affect us, right?

Wrong. We gave him/her another shot. And another. And bam! As it turns out, we liked them. The spouse (What? Marriage is just semantics.) was worth it! We met more often, and through you, we made a new friend. We started hanging out together, laughed at the same jokes, laughed at you. It was all going well. We were so proud of being SUCH a good friend to you, that we found a way to reap the benefits of our self-sacrificing affections.

And, as always, the iceberg peaked out from beneath the still waters. Your perfectly blissful, perfectly happy piece of heaven split in two. The Break-Up. You decided you were done with each other, didn’t even care enough to be friends. Or share friends. And we were stuck with one leg on each piece of heaven, and our privates uncomfortably exposed to the pollution from Earth below. (Took the metaphor too far, perhaps, but you understand.)

And suddenly, there was a choice. We had to schedule ice-cream with you one day, beers with him/her the next. Watch one movie with you, another with the Ex. Suddenly, we felt like we were cheating on both of you. And we had no plays left. All the lies had been told, all the discomfort had been shared, you had both cried on our shoulder, and we had comforted you both. What did we have left, but the truth? So we told you.

It was traumatic. You both widened your eyes, took deep breaths and said you understood. What’s worse, we knew you really did. And we knew you were both hurt. We just didn’t know how to make it better. We knew we couldn’t ask you to get back together just so we wouldn’t have to watch the same movie two separate times on alternate Sundays.

So we carried on the charade, continued playing the game, and somehow, we survived until you both moved on.

The alternate situation, of course, is that we'll magically end up being the reason you broke up. But that, perhaps another time.

But here’s what we hope you understand, you bloody idiots. Leave us out of your love lives. We’ll lie about our approval just as- if not more effectively if we have no idea who you’re dating. And we’re happier that way. Trust us. Everyone’s happier that day. Maybe we’ll meet him or her the day you guys get married. At least a divorce will take a while to come around. And you always need a character witness in court.

Now go on. Go live your life, you giant idiot. We’ll be fine as long as you’re happy. And sometimes, even if you're just alive.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Eternal Masochist

Love is a funny thing. They say we never choose it- who, or when or even if. And I suppose they’re right. Choosing who to fall in love with, is probably like choosing your favourite flavour of muffin. You don’t decide on it. One day, you take a bite and you just...know.

Then again, the choices we make are nothing if not reflections of the people we are. The old ‘Opposites attract’ adage has been disproven both by science and society over time, and the new ‘Love is your recognition of the values you hold highest in yourself’ has taken its place. While not too many people know who Ayn Rand is, everybody has an opinion about her idea of love.

Until a very short while ago, I agreed with her wholeheartedly. I still do, really. I’ve just gained some perspective on what she said, recently. Not all values are those we hold dearest in ourselves. Were we exalting all our virtues and burying all our vices, we’d all be prouder-than-ever obnoxious offspring of the legendary Narcissus. While Rand’s characters may be unapologetically proud, the real world functions a little differently. Even the proudest of us, have something we look back on with a cringe, something about ourselves we’re still finding the answer to, something that sets us apart- that we wish, didn’t.

I have long maintained that intelligence is humanity’s- and my- greatest gift. It is all I’ve cared about, and perhaps all I will. When I was very young, someone I held in very high stead told me that the only way to truly judge, and be judged, is to use the human mind as the first and only parameter. I listened. Today, it is my only rule. And somewhere along the line, in my quest for knowledge and answers to quench my curiosity, I forgot about the more primal, the softer aspects of humanity. People became dispensable, the few people I loved took a backseat, and they didn’t matter if they didn’t have ‘the brains’ to be in my life. All more or less harmless changes in the grander scheme of things, particularly because I wasn’t very concerned about these changes.

What the realisations did lead me to, however, was a larger question. What is most important to you and, therefore, what you will look for in love, may be your favourite value- but not necessarily your greatest. And in looking for that one person who secures that value and nourishes it- are you also nourishing the part of you that requires to be killed?

We all know that love is supposed to make everything better, and sunnier and lighter. But not all love is like that. Sometimes, the best kind of love, the one you can’t live without- is also the kind that pushes you to the edge of sanity, makes your head swim and you wonder why you haven’t left yet. But you know the answer- and it is, you can’t. You can’t get rid of the low- that’s so low, it’s the best high you’ve ever had. Of the maddening uncertainty, that makes you confused, annoyed, frustrated and so, so aroused. Of the times you want to bury yourself in the ground, to hide away: but don’t, so you can feel the kick of the happier times.

We're all masochists, at the end of the day. Someone may inspire the sadist in us from time to time, but when all's said and done, we never really feel alive until we feel pain. It is that pain, that feeling, that se sentir vivant, that we're drawn to.
The strangest thing is- we all do it. It’s not just victims of abuse. It’s not just married couples. It’s everybody, and everything. Love for a friend, for a spouse, a child, a book, music, the stage, a painting- even the muffin that tastes like heaven until it oozes chocolate sauce all over your white shirt.

It’s all love, all over the world- it tends to treat you this way. Like you’re a disposable. And you only feel that way until you leave, with the intention of never coming back. And at that moment, when you turn around, you feel that pit in your stomach- see your love crying for you and run back- arms open, ready to do it all over again.

Who decides, then, what love is healthy and what isn’t? You do.  If you look closely enough, you’ll see the fine line that runs between roller-coaster and just plain unhealthy. What you have to decide, though, is if you want to draw it. And when you do, where do you draw the line, beyond which anything is too much? And then, there is always the kind of question that’s simplest to ask, and nearly impossible to answer- the kind that contains both the question and the answer, but has enough dimensions to serve as neither. And the special question of the day, is-

What if someone who brings out the best in your mind, also brings out the worst in your soul?

"All this time I've blamed you. For pulling me into the dark. But I was wrong. It was 

me who brought out your dark side."

-Blair Waldorf.
Gossip Girl.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Letting Go

Some of the best and worst of us go through life looking for something we never seem to find. The validation of those around us. We seek the reassurance that the person we are turning out to be at every point in our life is the one that those around us approve of.

We all have those friends, segregated into groups and kept there for when we need them. The school friends- who your parents know and love, who will always see in you the five year-old girl who blossomed into the confused, awkward teen and then barely saw you again. The puberty friends- who you met in junior college and tuition classes, who saw you when you were in your famous pseudo-confident, I-have-a-personality phase. The college friends, with whom you do all the illegal things you’d never, ever tell your school friends about.

And that’s where they stay. In their own little shells, ready to be called on when you need advice in their specific areas of expertise on your life.
Through life’s thicks and thins, through the ups and downs and the pretty much regulars, they’re there. To witness your circumstance wind, ebb and flow, changing you into the person you eventually become.

Then there’s that moment, that only very few of us have the privilege to step back and realise we’re living. The one where we realise, that all the people we concern ourselves with on an everyday basis, who we think about so often, who we pretend hold a place in our lives- don’t matter. What’s more, we always knew that. They never did matter. That all the chattering, the gossip, the mindless meeting was just that. There was never anything more to it. Because we realise, that in the struggle to be ourselves, we forgot how little we cared for the opinions of others.

There’s them, and then there’s us.
Us. The ones who once tried to fit in, gave up, realised they were better outside of the social arena, fought stereotypes and then grew up one day- suddenly- into the kind of people who never cared enough for stereotypes to fight them. Our victory was in finding the truest version of ourselves that we could possibly find, distilling it to its simplest form, and spending the rest of our lives staying true to it.

Somehow, we realise that the validation we spent some of, or all our lives looking for, is never what we wanted. We wanted that validation for ourselves. And we lose grip on all the people we surrounded ourselves with, who we kept close by like safety blankets for when we were confused and disoriented. We don’t need them anymore. They’re not who we’re living for.

And that’s when we find our real friends. The ones who tell things to us like they are. Who are disappointed in us, not when we let them down but when we let ourselves down. Who, when we lose clarity, determination or objectivity, become those virtues to us. Who speak to us in our own voice and somewhere along the way, help us realise that they were somewhere inside us all along.

Who remind us that, once in a while, you really will find someone who can look at you through your own eyes. That you chose a life of living for yourself, by yourself, and that you must always remember why you made that decision.

Because a true friend to a person who knows he’s better off by himself, is a friend who knows that adding value to one another is the essentiality of a good friendship. Who doesn't need to be told when to be there, or what to say, or how to say it- but somehow ends up doing everything right.

At the end of the road, when we find our real selves, in all our clarity, they are the only ones that stay with us. They are the only ones that matter. They are the only ones we want.

As for the rest- we just have to let go.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Women and Lingerie

Had Superman been a woman, boy, would he have had problems. Every morning would have been an endless supply of doubts and frustration. What underwear should I wear? Is it flattering? Is the colour okay? I can't wear red underwear ALL THE TIME! Everybody will think I'm a giant bore! My god, this cut makes my thighs look like Hercules'! (Although, I suppose, saying that to Superman would mean paying him a huge compliment. But you get the picture.)

Even though women seldom- if ever- wear their lingerie on the outside of their clothes, their problems make  Superman's hypothetical ones look like molehills before mountains. (Even though being stuck with molehills could very well be something some of us may have to deal with.). Every morning is a Pandora's box of revelations, unanswered questions and self-annihilating "discoveries", as we like to call them, but know, in saner and more secure moments, that they are just baseless and pointless fears. (I think.)
Either way, lingerie is the single most important component of any woman's closet. Irrespective of whether or not somebody is going to see it. Everything matters. I mean everything. Name it, and it's relevant to the grander scheme of lingerie-buying, and morning-to-morning What-Lingerie-Do-I-Wear-Today decisions.
Any woman who is reading this, shaking her head and saying "Psh. Not me."- Liar. You know you care. I don't need to tell you that. Go out and buy yourself a nice new bra in your favourite colour, and tell me that it doesn't make you happy.
All the men who are reading this- well, I don't know why you are, really. Although it's always nice to know you're working on understanding what women care about.
I'm all for the 'each woman is unique' thing, but this is the one, I repeat ONE common thread that binds us. Like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Except when I say pants, I don't quite mean pants.
Good lingerie can make or break your day, really. We all know that. Men- you too. I know you're thinking about it. If you sit down and make a mental checklist of everything you think about when you buy a piece of lingerie- any piece of lingerie- underwear, stockings, corsets- whatever- you'll know how the things you consider are nothing like what you consider when you buy a shirt, or a pair of pants. Not even a pair of shoes. (I'm not a fan of...well, shoes in general, but I do understand how important they seem to be to a vast majority of our kind. And by kind, I mean gender.)
You look at a shirt in a store, and go: "Huh. It looks great. Where will I wear it? If it's only going to make me feel nice once in a while and I won't get use out of it, what's the point? I don't want to buy one shirt that'll make me feel special thrice in my life, instead of three shirts that I can wear every three days."
When you look at lingerie, you go, "Why should I buy this? It may be relatively inexpensive, and it may go with everything, but does it make me feel special? I don't want to skimp out on the expenses, and buy three irrelevant *insert whatever you're buying here*, instead of one great *insert previous term again* that makes me feel like the queen of the world."
Of course, we obsess about IDIOT things while we're at it. I don't say idiot because we shouldn't be obsessing about them- I'm fairly sure I'm obsessing about at least one of them right now. I say idiot because there really is no end to the obsession. Things like, "My bra and my underwear don't colour coordinate exactly. What if someone notices?! What if the next person who sees my underwear, thinks I look like a clown, because my top half and bottom half are differently coloured?" Of course, not everybody has this particular problem- some of us enjoy a little colour under our clothes. To hell with matching, we want the clash. Fair enough. But not to worry, there are lingerie-related problems for all kinds of people, irrespective of colour, caste, nationality, lalala. How about "I have that date today, but I'm not sure if he is going to see my lingerie today, so maybe I should bring out the lace, just in case. But the lace underwear is UNCOMFORTABLE. Maybe I should put them in my bag, and excuse myself and go to the washroom, and change them, and...". And while these worries are universal, both in their occurrence and pointlessness, there are far more pertinent things to do, whilst shopping for, or choosing what lingerie to wear every morning. Bikini waxes, panty lines, love handles (I always wondered why they had anything to do with love. Isn't that supposed to make you fitter? Anyway.), ill-fitting bras, those damn clasps that insist on popping open when you're sitting in class and minding your own business.
Damn this lingerie business, and bless it, too.
I don't think men have such pressing problems. Boxers or briefs, sounds like the most intensive problem they're likely to have. And, from what I've been told, they're more thankful for lingerie than you are.
In fact, as a friend told me a while ago, "We don't care if you don't match. We don't care if you're wearing neon (Ooh!) underwear. It doesn't matter. We're just happy we got to see your lingerie, at all."
Sounds fair. Of course, perhaps there are boundaries. Like I'm fairly sure this:

Is not the same as this:

But thank you, anyway, gentlemen. You make our

All in all, lingerie is like chocolate. It feels good. Always. On a bad day, it lifts you up. On a good day, it perks your euphoria. A Victoria's Secret catalogue may make you feel like shit, but going out, buying a good pair of stockings and rolling them on can make you feel like Mrs. Robinson in five seconds flat. And we all want to be Mrs. Robinson. Don't deny it, now.
That's her, in case you were confused. If you don't know who she is, go find out. It's worth it, I swear.

I remember stumbling across a couple of articles, that said "The colour of a woman's underwear speaks volumes about the kind of lover she is." To that, I say, balls. A woman who owns pink, black, red and nude underwear, is not schizophrenic. She is just smart enough to know, that when she is out shopping, her choices are not based on whether she wants to be loved tenderly or primally, but which side of the bed she woke up on. And besides, no lingerie is boring unless you want it to be.
What's of greater import, however, is that the magic of lingerie lies in it's ability to seamlessly settle into your personality, and make you fall in love with yourself. Not to mention, make some-lucky-body else fall in love with you. It could be mysterious, bold, flirtatious. Anything you want it to be.
Of course, I could blabber about this forever. It's one of those profound, yet fond subjects of discussion.

It's all about drawing the line, really. Panty or otherwise.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Shrugging Atlas

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders -- what would you tell him to do?
I don't know. What could he do? What would you tell him?
To shrug.

I'm smart.

We know, they say, with a tinge of understanding in their voice, and a great deal of disapproval for my arrogance in their eye.

I'm strong.
We know that, they assure me, with a sideways glance at my slight frame and an ill-masked look that conveys their supposed attempt to humour the child they know I am being.

I know.
We know, they sigh, shaking their heads at the book between my fingers and my black-framed glasses that, like my face, are buried in the pages it houses.

I think.
We have always known, they venture. They look nowhere but in the depths of my eyes, as though searching for a break, a flaw in the thought whose lack of sentiment discomforts them.

I believe.
They smile, knowing my rationality will keep me from any real belief- their eyes betraying that they do not believe a belief in rationality to be true.

I love.
They look befuddled- their foreheads creasing into a maze of wrinkles, the corners of their mouths turning down in disbelief. They look for that hint of a sentiment they may identify with, search my face painstakingly, helplessly for that 'love'. They do not find it.
They do not find it, for my love is for the rare few that foster it, nurture it, bring it forth. For those wrinkled pages. For the comforting woodenness of a stage. For the lilting notes of a violin. For the faces- the ones I see every time I blink, and I will never tire of.
For them, for those who don't see how that love is born, I bear none. So they continue to search. Endlessly.

I live for me.
They protest instinctively, pointlessly, helplessly. They try to convince me that I'll grow out of it as I will grow out of everything else that I am now. Selfishness, they explain with gracious patience, will get me nowhere.
At them, I smile. I nod. I acknowledge. I listen. I understand. I don't disagree. I don't blame them for what they say. But I don't agree. I quietly, in the secrecy of my mind, revel in the confusion they bear towards me.
They will never grow out of it, I think, and laugh at the joke I know is only for me. To them, I offer no explanation. I present no defence. I make no comparison.

I am.
They are silent.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Paedophilic Pastimes

“There are more things that frighten us than injure us… and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.”  

Over the last two days, I re-read, after years, a book that, I now realise, I picked up too early for my own good. Vladimir Nabokov wrote, in 1955, a book that was highly commended, and highly controversial. The title of the book- named for its subliminal protagonist- has since gained a stereotype and a cult status like, perhaps, no other publication has ever gained.
The book deals with issues that are far more complex than they're made to seem. Of course, Nabokov has displayed aptly through his work, his uncanny ability to latch on to the mind of his protagonist so strongly, that all other themes than those that he talks about, are lost to the reader until he or she puts down the book, and the frightening realisations come flooding to him in an uncomfortable and stubbornly overpowering wave.
Based, it is ventured, on the story of the kidnapping of 11 year-old Florence Horner by mechanic Frank La Salle who, it is said, raped her repeatedly while she was under his 'custody', 'Lolita' deals with the iffy- and taboo- concept of helpless paedophilia.
A lifelong attraction to young girls, who he calls 'nymphets' culminates, for Humbert Humbert, in a strong emotional and physical attraction towards the daughter of his landlady. Dolores Haze, all of twelve years old. Cranky. Wilful. Irresistible.
Shan't tell you what happens next, it's no fun if I do. Well, maybe fun isn't the best choice of vocabulary.
Either way, Nabokov, in his unique style, his uncanny ability to draw out shades of personality that transcend the usual black-and-white- even with reference to subjects that are disconcerting in their very societal presence, and his knack for the descriptive, flowing, effortless 'erotica' (although I dislike the term when used for this particular book), raised very potent questions about lifestyles that may or may not be widespread, and definitely don't go down well with a majority of the population.
What defines paedophilia? Is inculcating someone into the act of sex- which they will inadvertently discover anyway- when they don't know any better, and have no opposition: a sin? Is an unusual (yes, that is what it is, after all. Just unusual. I suppose.) attraction cause for psychiatric remedy? Or worse, for a lifetime of self-induced guilt and repentance? All I know is, our hero feels none. No guilt, no repentance. If anything, just a sorrowful desire that all women aren't like the ones he desires. If I recall correctly, 'childlike innocence' is the term he uses. Or perhaps, he uses both words at different instances.
The book made me think. Long and hard, about things that I had never really considered actively before. Look for answers to questions that I hadn't bothered to raise. It made me look at the psychology of attraction in a way that I hadn't looked at it before- definitely not the first time I read the book.
Who decides what attraction is good, and what is bad? Humbert Humbert is a despicable man for what he did to that child. But is he? Or is he merely lost in a world of people that do not understand what he does- that desire is what it is. Nothing more, and nothing less. Why Lolita, particularly? Why does the desire for possession morph so quickly into an all-consuming vacuum, that eventually overpowers any desire one has felt before, or is likely to feel?
Oddly, and for the first time, I felt impulsive, unadulterated hatred towards a character in any piece of literature. In my head, there is nothing, nothing that validates what he did. Not even a natural bent of mind. Never before, have I been so profoundly affected by the degree of disgust I feel towards a fictitious man. Given, Nabokov has provided his reader with a strong psychological cause for the behaviour that he has spoken of, and normally, I would consider it. This time, it's different. This time, there's no room for open-mindedness. So, though I see and appreciate Nabokov's skill of developing for his character, great many dimensions, I find that I cannot agree with any. The voice in my head, telling me that there are things that I will never agree with, is too loud. And for good reason.
In some respects, Lolita seemed to occupy a place in my mind very close to Robert Browning's Porphyria's Lover. If you haven't read the poem, read it. If you haven't read the book, read that, first. And if you've read both, you know what I mean by the parallel.
Until then, I'm not here to impose my judgement. I'm just giving you insight into a piece of literature that may rush you to create your own.