Saturday, 17 January 2015

This Is not a Book Review: V for Vendetta

I had watched the movie only a few months ago. Had liked it. That is, had liked what it said. Usually if i happen to watch a movie before having read the book which was adapted to make it, i leave the book forever. Decide not to read it. It was only two years ago at Kolkata Book Fair that i finally got my copy of 'Godfather' and was able to watch the classic of a trilogy after reading it. This time when i got back from home my room was a mess as expected when it is left to the custody of my roommate. But among all the junk from all over the place i found two things which caught my attention. One was a suitcase which sat under my cot, unassuming. At night i saw one of my classmates in my room with a can. Looked like he wanted something from my room. Then i saw my roommate approach this suitcase and when she opened it the familiar smell filled the room. A suitcase full of freshly plucked weed! Was she serious! Thus i was told the story of how RK in his village had spotted some of his relatives go with the new stock and had asked if they could give him some. RK's weed was powering the general euphoria on campus for a week now. Phew!

RK's prized possession
I had quit smoking up the previous year and the suitcase stopped being of interest to me in a short while. The second thing in the room, however, interests me even now. It was the graphic novel, V for Vendetta. I had assumed that my roommate had found it in the library and was going to congratulate her on her achievement. I myself had failed at locating a copy. But she said it was dumped in the room by someone and she didn't know who. The thief in me awakened. I flipped the pages to see if there was some mark of identification of the owner. None! Oh it was just perfect. But i was scared if someone would turn up the coming day and claim it. So i decided to make the most of it while it was in the room. I read it. I liked it.

More than the book itself i liked the note from Alan Moore at the end on how the graphic novel was conceived and came about. Stories about creation are often as interesting as or even better than the creation itself.

The novel speaks at length about the concept of anarchy and i was reminded of a friend who had taken it to be his religion. Making fun of his anarchy was one of my favourite vocations during the vacation. The perennial source of fun was his obsession with cosmetics. Like how he had two hair gels. One 'soft' and another 'hard'. Soft one was for rough hair and the hard one was for soft hair. He said his hair was hard and that he used the soft gel. When questioned why then he needed the hard gel as well, he replied quickly, 'you never know when your hair might turn soft!'. Then i would go, 'yeah, great going, anarchist!'. [He is very serious about anarchy and its philosophy. This was all on a lighter note, between friends.] Vendetta's way of sketching and writing about anarchy was new. I felt theories and schools of philosophy would be much reader-friendly if people put it in this form. 

morning cuppa with a dash of anarchy

 Here are some of the portions from the book which i liked.

justice Vs anarchy
This is the conflict between 'justice' and 'anarchy'. I have problems with the way it has been personified as women. While justice was V's true love, anarchy is the mistress. This method of giving sexuality to ideologies itself strikes me as silly and unwarranted. The key concepts are valid, though.

V says 'anarchy' has taught him more that justice ever did. That 'anarchy' taught him that 'justice is meaningless without freedom'. Anarchy, he says, 'makes no promises and breaks none', unlike justice.

Flames of freedom
After attaining freedom with the aid of anarchy the adjective 'just' that the author uses to describe the 'flames of freedom' is paradoxical and quite clever. It is as if justice can be obtained only by losing faith in it and seeking shelter in anarchy.

sweet music
This portion where V gives an emotional guide tour to Evey before he sets off on his final mission is touchy. I loved this portion where he reveals his human side by saying 'Anarchy must embrace the din of bombs and cannon-fire yet always must it love sweet music more.'

Even though i found the relationship between V and Evey patronizing and to some extent abusive, the part where Evey meets freedom is quite something. 'You're in a prison, Evey, you were born in a prison. You've been in a prison so long, you no longer believe there is a world outside.' I find this to be true about any ideology be it fascism or religious fundamentalism etc which smothers you. He goes on to say 'You can feel freedom closing-in on you. You are afraid because freedom is terrifying.' Yes, freedom is terrifying. When you are free you feel so light, so light that you feel you no longer exist. There is no force of gravity from your beliefs and convictions which were binding you pulling you towards its core. You are floating and drenched in freedom. Like how Evey was in the rain.

So far there has been no claim laid upon the book. Nobody is looking for it and nobody is worried. I think it's a keeper.

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