Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Motorcycle Diaries continued!

I had started out on The Motorcycle Diaries about a month ago, and had promised myself that I would write about the rest of the book later... and I didn't. So here is me getting down to it- eventually. Well, as I had mentioned in my previous post, I was really taken by the Che that I had met in the book. So this post is mainly a few more quotes from the book:
1. "Standing over the small frames of the Indians gathered to see the procession pass, the bland head of a North American can occasionally be glimpsed, who, with his camera and sports shirt, seems to be (and, in fact, actually is) a correspondent from another world lost amid the isolation of the Inca Empire."
Well, I have always been taken by the mysteriousness of the Incan way of life. But also, this comment on the tourist always plots him/her as the outsider. How much ever one tries to merge, one cannot. And while this is probably an obvious statement, I liked the comparison of the tourist to a "correspondent from another world". I believe that touring brings about so much more colour and vibrancy to life, and we get to know these various worlds. And as Che puts it, within one place itself, there are so many different, opposing, worlds.

2. "Gold doesn't have the gentle dignity of silver which becomes more charming as it ages, and so the cathedral seems to be decorated like an old woman with too much makeup."
The first reason this caught me was because of the open indictment of gold. Not too fond of the metal, the softer colours of silver appeal to my senses, and this line tugged at that image. But secondly, this line speaks of an 'old woman with too much makeup'. I suppose that the picture could be a very flashy one. However, somehow, one of those NatGeo-types pictures, where a woman all dressed up sits  at the door to her house with a wide grin on her face flashed across that inward eye! If seen in that way, the cathedral that Che talks about might be gaudy, but simultaneously pretty. I don't know if that's possible!

3. "Our pace was incredibly athletic while within sight of the town's inhabitants, but later the vast solitude of the bare Andes, the sun that fell harshly across our necks and the barely distributed weight of our backpacks brought us back to reality. Until what point our actions were 'heroic,'... we're not sure, but we began to suspect, I think with good reason, that the definitive adjective was approximating something more like 'stupid'."
Firstly, the fact that (be it heroic or stupid) somebody decided to take the hard way out, rather than to find easier, simpler, maybe more costly means is a laudable act. I would never dare to strain my body to the utmost realms of its capabilities, even if I have always desired to attempt it. Secondly, the distinction between heroism and stupidity- what is said about an act and the act itself are two totally different things. And so, what happens is never what it is narrated to be. The last line brings out this distinction with a set of easy words.

4. I loved the last chapter that leaves us with thoughts of the future, of passion and of Che himself. While the whole chapter was a lovely read, there are a few lines that were captivating. I'm going to quote them without explaining or penning my responses to these words, since they deserve to be consumed without modification or moderation-
"I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I would be with the people. I know this, I see it printed in the night sky that I, eclectic dissembler of doctrine and psychoanalyst of dogma, howling like one possessed, will assault the barricades or the trenches, will take my bloodstained weapon and, consumed with fury, slaughter any enemy who falls into my hands."

"I feel my nostrils dilate, savoring the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood, of the enemy's death; I steel my body, ready to do battle, and preparing myself to be a sacred space within which the bestial howl of the triumphant proletariat can resound with new energy and new hope."

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