Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lost Symbol - I

These days the literary circles are abuzz with the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol. And that instantly makes me nostalgic about how I first read his book.

It all started with missing a connecting train. That was a long-long time ago. Missing that train is another story worth telling, but some other time. So there I was stuck at a train station and no train for another five hours and the journey itself was of about eight hours. It was seven in the morning, sometime in October 2004. I roamed around, loafed around, and killed time. Basically did everything that a young male does. Then the sun came out, the market started opening up and the pirated books were laid out on the pavement. Yeah, I was not so rich then to buy an original. Now I am rich enough to buy originals. Come to think of it, this is the only change in my fortunes in all these years. So I got this book. The Da Vinci Code. Now ever since I can remember I have loved this guy. Not Danny boy silly, it was Leonardo Da Vinci whom I have always been in awe with. I all ready had read whatever I could read (and historians could write) about him. Besides just three months back I had completed a course in cryptography and I was sure that there was no code called Da Vinci code. You see the title itself was so exciting to me. So I bargained hard and picked the book. Little did I know that I am going to experience the history from a very different perspective (is convoluted the right word?). Monalisa’s crooked smile (due to bad printing, pirated book, remember?) didn’t entice me enough to start reading it on the platform. I killed some more time. Train came jam-packed and I still could get a window seat. How I miss those days when I could do that. So I have eight hours to sit and a new book in hand.

I started to read it, very soon it picked pace. This book seemed to have more twists and turns in the plot than any roller coaster. I just kept on turning pages. And all of a sudden the story ended. Just like that. I almost wished I had not read the last few pages. I felt so betrayed. I mean, it’s like you drink a gallon of water and hold it for half a day. Then you empty your bladder and not feel even a little bit of that overpowering nice feeling. That kind of betrayed. All of a sudden the story was back to where it started. I mean if the curator was smart enough write so many super complex codes to make the protagonists to go round in a circle trekking the continent at a breakneck pace to end up at the same place where they started at, he could as well have written just two semi smart codes. One for telling them where the girl’s brother was and another just to say “about turn”. And semi smart because no one other than Langdon seemed to have any clue about anything anyways. I do think that this guy had an ego problem. That probably is a part of the membership plan of some forever secret brotherhood.

Thus I was introduced to Mr. Brown’s works. One evening, not too many days later, I thought I will read all his books. You know what kind of mental state one decides such things in. I won’t explain that here (my family reads this), just blame it on hot-blood-just-out-of-college-lad thing. Ok, since this post is about codes and clues, I will give you one. That was a Saturday evening. Well, what is more disturbing (now when I think about it) is that I actually started to read them. Angels and Daemons, then Digital Fortress and then Deception Point. That’s as far as I could go. I just could not get myself to read “187 Men to Avoid: A Survival Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman”. Yes Sir! Along with “The Bald Book” that is one of his earliest works co-written with his wife. I don’t know who was giving advice to whom. I just wish they had thought about having kids to occupy their free time. Or may be bring a pet. Don't even get me started on why 187 only and not 189. Is that some secret message?

So much about my history with Dan Brown. Now I also wanted to talk about “The Lost Symbol”, the book that I have not read yet and the movie that has not been made yet. But wait till next time dear people.

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