It's been a while since I have stopped reading fiction. Fiction these days do not add any value to you. I somehow feel that after I read a book i should know a bit more than I knew before reading the book. Most fiction books do not do that. I used to read a lot of fiction once. In school, Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Three investigators and other fast paced adventure tales used to trigger by imagination and would take me to this fantasy world of adventure, thrill and suspense. Then I started reading Bengali Literature. I believe Bengali literature is as vast as English literature. I had full collections of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim chandra, Shorodindu at home and I had read almost everything while I was still in school. Sarat Chandra was my favorite for a long time. All his stories would be around common Bengali households, about common people going about their lives. What made them extra ordinary was the depth in which he would explore human relations, emotions and ties. All this books are extra ordinary studies of the human psychology. Rabindranath was famous for his short stories. His short stories would be based on very simple or common theme and would almost always leave you with a smile on your face or a tear in your eye.
During later part of school, I started reading thrillers like Alistair Macleen, Frederick Forsyth, Robin Cook, Micheal Crichton, etc. I was specially thrilled by Frederick Forsyth books simply because of the detail that would be there. I remember one particular book which had some 4-5 pages or more, describing how to make an atom bomb. I guess the first non fiction book I read was a book called,"Jesus Came to India". It intrigued me beyond comprehension. No fiction book had made me think and interested me as this book did. I some became hooked to non fiction since then. "Truth is stranger than fiction", it's said. Very true. Some times, there are news which can beat any well thought out fiction.
Following is summary of a news article which came in Times of India:
There was this lady who was married to a rich guy. She was not happy with the marriage and so she hatched a master plan. She knew a local gangster. She told him that they were to come to her house, kill the husband, tie her up, ransack the house a bit and leave. She would pay them some cash amount. She would get relief from her husband and also get all her husbands money, the gangster gets their money. Win win situation for all; except of course for the husband. What the gangsters did was, they came to the house, killed the husband, gangraped the lady, robbed the house and escaped.
Recently I finished reading this book called "Dongri to Dubai". It's a book on Mumbai underworld. Though it focuses mainly on Dawood Ibrahim, it a pretty comprehensive treatise of all Mumbai Dons from our Independence period till today. It was like ready a tale of fantasy. The lavish life style in which the dons lived, the fear they commanded and the reckless arrogance with which they snubbed the system awestruck me.
Instances like Haji Mastan in his white suit and shoes stepping into a police station like a police commissioner , talking to Varda Bhai (who was inside lock up) for developing business ties, Karim Lala would just send his walking stick and people would bow to his wants, etc. It was a great book. Very well researched and stitched together. I would recommend this book to any fiction or non fiction reader. Once again the book re confirmed my love and faith on non fiction.