Not a book review: Giovanni’s Room

The first time I came across the name James Baldwin was when we were discussing Love & Queer Literature sometime in February. I went through that post again [in preparation for writing this one] and I’m surprised to note that though Giovanni’s Room is mentioned in it, it didn’t really make a dent in my subconscious at the time.

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An ode to the roti

To the rotis that puff

I have no idea what technique I need to use to get you to puff. I have tried all and I have no consensus. But I know that you do not perform under pressure, do you puffed roti? Any time I need to prove that I know how to make rotis, there you are, lying on the gas, like a dead piece of flour.

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Who am I

Who am I
Am I the bird in the sky?
But birds live in cages too.
Am I the tree in the forest
A delicate balance of give and take
But trees don’t go anywhere.
Am I a cloud, ephemeral
Here one minute, gone the next
Only to appear once conditions are right again?

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Guilt and me

These past few weeks – months? – guilt, rage and helplessness have become my friends. I didn’t like what it was doing to my mental health – sleeplessness, lethargy, more rage, inability to focus – so I thought of going through my notes to find some sort of message or solace. It’s something I like to do. Every time I have come out of one my spirals, I have made a note of it: what happened, how it affected me, and what helped me get out of it. These notes help when a similar, yet unsimilar, spiral comes. That’s when the title of a note caught my attention: I have a theory on guilt.

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Chapter 25 – How the mightY fall

The story was told by dawn.

The details had been fuzzy; Arthur had banished all memories and thoughts and fears to the deepest crevices of his brain, never to see the light of day again. But Janah had been relentless in his questions and had unearthed details even Arthur didn’t know he had.

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Chapter 24 – No eXits

The continued delicacy with which Arthur Uriel Banes, formerly Arthur Chubs, formerly Mr. Chubs, was handled by the guards – plural, several more had joined the first one – left him reeling in shock and suspicion. Was he going to be executed? He barked a laugh at the thought. It would serve him right.

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Chapter 23 – We are gods

It begins with a story.

It is a story of a queen who is poisoned by her son because he’s tired of waiting for her to die. He has been waiting for seven years and finally decides to kill her so he can get control of the throne. It’s laughably easy and he’s not incompetent. He sets up the stage so it never gets back to him nor is he even in the castle when she drinks the poisoned wine and dies three days later. It’s a slow acting poison with symptoms imitating a run of the mill cough. By the time the physician suspects foul play, she’s already gone.

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Chapter 22 – Victory dance

The road took Arthur Chubs inexorably towards Forbearn. There were numerous places to stop in-between and he made use of them liberally. And yet it took him an embarrassingly long time to realize the road he was on would lead him home if he so chose. He chalked away the delay to not having travelled these roads in more than a decade. The roads had changed, grown, much like a child would if left to its own devices.

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