Last time, I started my post expressing my sadness over the shootings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis. I also expressed my fear for the safety of the good cops that are out there that would be put more in harm’s way because of the actions of a few bad cops. Today, I’m starting my post in mourning over the massacre in Dallas, Texas Thursday night.
I don’t want to make this blog political, but I do want to say that I believe the majority of our police force are professional, honest, hard-working people who deserve our utmost respect for putting themselves in harm’s way every day. They are here to protect us. The sad thing is that this is happening because many people do not feel that they are protected. I think that is due to a small number of our nation’s police force, that DOES need dealt with, but it is most definitely not ALL cops, or even the majority. Killing each other isn’t going to solve anything. This quote has been thrown around a lot lately, but I think it rings true particularly now: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
OK, moving on. To the books!
India! The country that produced the zero, plastic surgery, and Gandi (who influenced Dr. King, btw). It is the country that Columbus was trying to reach in 1492 (he thought he made it…that’s why our Native Americans are called Indians to this day. Columbus really thought they were in India).
The book I chose for this country is called The Story of my Assassins by Tarun J. Tejpal. This was a REALLY fantastic book, you guys. Highly recommended.
So, the book starts off following a journalist who is a complete and total ass. Like, you hate everything about him. He is just a total dick. And then you find out that there was apparently a plot to kill him, but the police found out about it in time, and arrested the would-be assassins and saved his life.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting. Apparently, there are some people in this journalist’s life that believe there was no plot against his life, and the police are just arresting random people because they want to make themselves look like heroes (apparently the police in India are known to be corrupt). One of these people is the journalist’s mistress, who takes it upon herself to interview each of the five men the police are accusing of attempted assassination. What follows is the life story of each of these young men, up to just before this moment in their lives.
I warn you: these stories are heartbreaking. They are told so matter-of-factly, so up-front, that you can’t help but be devastated by the lives of these young men. There’s no attempt in the writing to lay out emotions or emotional responses from the characters – just the simple facts of what happened to them. I won’t give you any spoilers, but suffice it to say that all of these stories are painful. The life stories of these young men are meant to draw the ugliest, most fucked-up picture of a country that you can imagine. I don’t think it was meant to be like “oh hey India is a terrible place, fyi,” but more of a “hey, these are some real problems in our country, can we please address them asap instead of sweeping them under the rug? Can we please make some changes?”
This whole book reads like the rebirth of an entire person. As the journalist is confronted with the stories of his would-be assassins, you start to see where he has doubts about himself, his work, and his life. I won’t spoil it for you, but if the ending – the VERY LAST PAGE – does not leave you in tears, you’re probably a robot.
Also, fun fact! Apparently swearing in Hindi or Punjabi is WAY more creative than anything we have in English. I learned so many new swear words! My copy of this book is full of my hand-written English translations of various Hindi and Punjabi swear words, phrases, and insults.
What do you guys think? Does a story about a character’s change of heart interest you? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter! Also, here’s a map, in case you don’t know where India is 0.o