Riding and Reading; The Safe Way to Commute

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Five days a week I, like most other people, go to work. There are potentially dozens of ways for me to get to work: car, bike, segway, helicopter, skate board, or hitch hiking; the options are potentially endless. I have chosen to go the traditional route and commute via the bus. On my way to work I take a TriMet bus (#44, #54, or #56) from stop #925 to stop #7803; on my way home I take a bus from stop #7586 to stop #955. The ride to work takes 13.5 minutes. The ride home takes either 15 or 21 minutes depending on which bus I catch. During this time I read. During most other times I like to babble. This blog combines all three: books, buses and babble.

Monday, September 21, 2009

India...off to a bad start?

New book: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Bus #44; 6:12 a.m.
Pages read: 1 - 5

Susie (more about Susie later) gave me this book, otherwise I would have put it right back down on the Goodwill bookshelf. Why? Because it takes place in India. I do not like reading books about India. Frankly, I do not like India. I have come about this personal opinion, not b/c I have been there, but b/c I have friends who have been there and I have read books set in India. Is my inexperienced judgment a tad unfair? Maybe. A bit (okay, a lot) prejudicial? Yes. But I have a reasonably legitimate basis for this opinion.

The book (through protagonist, Balram Halwai) itself lends support: "And [India], though it has no drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy, or punctuality, does have entrepreneurs." Entrepreneurs that live in a shitty place that is morose and depressing. This admission of India's crappiness occurred on pg. 2.

Also, The Inheritance of Loss left me feeling like someone had died and visualizing India as a grey, smelly place. I recommend this book if you ever find yourself too happy and want to bring yourself down so that normal people don't want to smack the smile off your face.

So, when I grabbed The White Tiger off my pile of "to read" books, I did so with trepidation. I, personally, cannot imagine that I am about to undertake a light-hearted, funny, witty jaunt down literary lane. But Susie gave me this book (again, more about Susie later), so I will give it a try.

Despite my skepticism, I have to say there was a noteworthy tidbit on pg 1. The book begins with a letter from Balram to the Premier of China and in the address Balram refers to Beijing as the "Capital of the Freedom-loving Nation of China." The author has struck a favorable blow right of the bat with this little, subtle absurdity. Also, there is a bit (repeated several times) about Balram needing to use an English obscenity b/c there is no comparable word in his language (which I have no clue what that is, although "Indian" clearly doesn't sound right to me). What the swear word is has not been revealed and I am curious which cuss word is not replicable in "Indian." Will this mystery be solved? We'll see.

P.S. Regular bus rider (I call her woman with flame orange "I am a quirky and hip 50-year old" cropped hair who thinks bus rides are social events) was wearing ugly homemade beaded earrings. She was without her usual cadre of regular riders to chat with. I successfully avoided eye contact and she did not engage me (avoiding conversations being one of the best reasons for reading on the bus).

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