Skip to main content

Growing up with Moley

"I am thirty five today. I am officially middle- aged. It is all downhill from now. A pathetic slide towards gum disease, wheelchair ramps and death" - Adrian Mole

The first time I got to know Adrian Mole was when my aunt gave me Sue Townsend's "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4". I think I was about to turn thirteen then. The book was a rollicking ride of self discovery and empathy. I remember that me and my mates from school had a great time reading about Aidy's love for Pandora, his obsession with his spots, his constant measuring with his foot ruler, his run ins with his principal, his pains as an 'intellectual' and his chaotic life of adolescent self doubt and discovery. I think this was one of the most circulated book amongst us. It had, as my aunt wrote in the book, 'helped me grow up'.

My encounter with Aidy didn't end there. We discovered in college that the Adrian Mole series had grown and we got hold which had a few more diaries detailing his life as he grew older - True Confessions, The Wilderness Years.

I then came across his 'Cappuccino Years' when I'd moved out of home and shifted to Bombay. That's when Adrian had moved out to and was coming to terms with fatherhood and his attempts to be a celebrity chef.

The last rendition in the series is 'Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction' where he turns 35. I bought it when I turned 31 and read it during my birthday trip to Goa. That was in 2005.

I picked up the book from the bookshelf a couple of days back. I couldn't put it down till I reached the last page. I had read it before but still hung onto every word this time. But that's not strange. I must have read the Secret Diary more than five times at the least. I was lost in Adrian's world in the WMD and at times was shocked by the way we connected.. Which is funny because this is not a self help Chicken Stew, Middle Class Dad, Children are from Saturn book. This is just a work of humour.

I then did the math and suddenly realised that this the period when Aidy reached 35. I had earlier read the book when I turned 31. But I am now 35 and could relate to so many things in the book.

Self obsessed, neurotic, living from one failure to failure, depressed, klutz with 'a futon and a few pots and pans to show after thirty five years' ... I guess it would have been more fashionable to say that one connects with James Bond, Rhett Butler or a host of other fictional characters... after all this blog is not a 'secret diary'. But Adrian Mole and I go back too far back for that. So I won't add myself to the list of people in his life who have disowned him.

It's really amazing how Sue Townsend is so insightful and can draw out the psyche of Adrian as he grows up. That's real sensitivity. It takes a lot to understand a person of the opposite sex so well. Especially if you writing the book as a diary with daily recounts of a person's life and thoughts.

I really hope the series doesn't end. The time has come for Adrian Mole to turn forty.

Perhaps Adrian could write one of his famous letters to Ms Townsend.
3 comments

Popular posts from this blog

The importance of being 'Nyaka'

'Nyaka' is a Bengali term which beats translation. It could mean coy, coquettish, scheming, la di da. There is no one word which captures it. The term is used in a pejorative context and has a sarcastic tone to it. Used a bit more for women than for men. Has a feminine context when used for men.I posed the challenge of translating 'nyaka' into English to fellow Bengalis in Facebook. Here's a sample of the answers that I got.I have removed the names and kept the statuese as is, hope it's not too difficult to read

Bong man 1Coy.....but that does capture the essence
14 December at 14:37 ·

Me
No ...not entirely. A colleague just suggested precocious. Maybe its too intrinsic a Bong trait to be translated :)
14 December at 14:50 ·

Bong woman 1kol-lan, difficult to get a english / hindi word for nyaka.
14 December at 15:11 ·

me
that's the point
14 December at 15:15 ·

Bong woman 2
oh, i think the essence of the word 'nyaka' will be lost in translation. just like gettin…

Where will you be twenty years from now?

A taste of Mumbai
It struck me the other day that it has been about twenty years since the time I took my first steps, albeit unwittingly, towards moving into Mumbai.
I had been recruited by a market research agency in Kolkata from campus back then. I joined my new office once the MBA course was over. We were then sent to Mumbai for a training programme in August 1997. Once the course was over, my colleagues from Kolkata returned home. I was slated to stay back for a 2 month training programme in Mumbai which then stretched on for close to 6 months. I was put up at a PG in Bandra by my office then.
Such  a long journey
This was the first time that I was living away from home. All I wanted to do then was to get back to Kolkata as soon as I could. Go back and build a successful career in market research hopefully. Move to an apartment in a posher part of Kolkata than where we lived. At Ballygunge for example. 
I thought it would be cool one day have a club membership given to me by offic…

Queue-spreading because its spelling is the least of our problem with queues

Scene 1:

I had gone to pay local taxes at a government office in Bandra a few days back.

I was directed to a table where there was no-one else waiting. I went up to the officer at the desk and submitted our papers. He keyed in the details in to his computer. The results flashed immediately. I gave our cheque, so far so good.

Then the officer pointed out that the cheque was Rs 12 (twelve) more than what was due. We looked at each other and tried to figure out what has to be done. Suddenly an elderly corpulent gentleman came and sidled up and stood beside me. I waited a for a couple of seconds. I thought he might have a question for the officer. I looked at the encroacher. He smiled at me. There was no-one behind me and yet he stood beside me.

I looked at him and said, 'do you mind standing behind me? We are discussing something here.' He smiled at me and said, 'no problem, I will wait.'

I drew my breath and said, 'can you please stand in the queue while we finish.&…