"क्या भूलूँ क्या याद करूँ", the first part of Dr. Harivanshrai Bachchan's autobiography. I got this one a couple of years ago from one of the bookshops in Connaught Place, and could come round to reading it only now.
It's the story of a common man, who began his life in a 'mohalla' in Allahabad. The scale, however, is breathtaking, as the writer talks about history, mythology, culture, religion, social issues, art, literature, family, and of course, poetry. Nowhere is it preachy, nowhere is it a dry discourse. The writer weaves in all the influences that have shaped his life so effortlessly, with so much feeling and in such simple, rich language, that I felt part of the story he was narrating.
This is one of the books I read voraciously. After a long time, I've come across a piece of writing that is so human and yet so thought-provoking. It's been a marathon read till 2 am almost every night, until I finished it. And any book-lover who met me in this period didn't even need to ask, "What are you reading?" before I launched into my impressions of the book. My husband, of course, has had to bear the brunt -- I've been exploiting his limited grasp of Hindi literature and yet, his interest in poetry, to wax eloquent.
The second part is waiting to be read, and I'm waiting to read it. It was quite an intense and absorbing experience, but more than me, those around me need a break.