Saturday, February 25, 2006

Central Park

It’s been a while since I read the book. But I remember that I had sketched vivid images in my mind while reading it. “The Catcher in The Rye” means different things to different people. Over the years lots of people have sworn by this book – people both famous and infamous. The book has had an impression on me too, so add another one to the list (except I am still very ‘unfamous’). I had identified with the book so deeply at one point of time that I would imagine myself as Holden Caulfield walking down the streets of Manhattan and sitting in Central Park by the night.

But then it has been a while. That the images still lay intact in some deep recess of my mind came as a surprise to me. It came back to me suddenly as I walked down 5th Avenue somewhere near the crossing of 51st Street. I was alone on the street, and it was crowded as ever. Snow was melting around me, and the slush on the street made it difficult to walk. And then it came to me, like an epiphany, that it was just around the corner. A strange eery feeling I cannot explain. I walked on delirious with excitement. It had to be there, and there it was. Shining dizzily, dressed in snow. My Central Park.

It was all slippery, sloppery and I flip flopped several times trying to keep my balance. A carriage passed me by, pulled by one of those big hairy horses. A golden statue looked on at me with a sly smile. Children slid by on sleds and parents nodded approvingly. Lovers slipped their hands around each other and stared at the tall buildings in the distance. Freaks jogged in the snow (yes freaks, just imagine jogging in the snow in that kind of weather!). Where was it, where was the lake? There it was almost frozen. Where were they, the ducks? There they were, some of them, cringing in the cold, under the bridge. Is it real? Am I dreaming? My mind was going wild – Penn Station, Edmont Hotel, Greenwich Village, Grand Central Station, Broadway, 5th Avenue, Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was all in the book wasn’t it? And where was that “Little Shirley Beans” record that he had dropped that night when he walked out of the Wicker Bar and roamed all around Central Park. Where did you drop it Holden? It broke into pieces. Did you grab them all and take them with you Holden?

Where was Phoebe?

I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around . . . It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all.

There I was, all alone. Like I have always been. There I was walking down the street away from it all. The golden statue looked on. It was cold.


Camphor said...

Holden too, was fundamentally alone, for all that he had Phoebe.

Perhaps that is one reason why.

Wriju said...

Perhaps the only reason?

Ben Heller said...

Great pics Wriju. You guys had a Lot of snow

erikku said...

Ashamed to say I've never read "The Catcher in The Rye," nor have I been to NYC.

It seems I have a lot of living left to do, a few more goals to etch onto my mental to-do-before-I-die list.

angel, jr. said...

I loved "The Catcher in the Rye". I still do.
You've caused me the desire to read it again.

the Monk said...

damn, I really should read Catcher again...

Camphor said...

The only reason? No, I don't think so. Though powerful, it can't be the only factor. There was something more to it, or at least for me, there was.

Wriju said...

Yes we had a snow storm the previous day. The city was covered with 2 feet of snow!

There is so much I haven't read. Besides I can't do anything close to 100 sit-ups :-)

Guess what, I can't find my copy of the book! But I am gonna go buy one ASAP.

Yes me too :-)
I believe that when we grow older we read the same books differently.

There was a feeling of futility in him - a feeling of insecurity about his future and the direction it was taking him. Then there was the feeling that he didn't fit in. And thereof his loneliness.
I know of people who did not identify with either. This perhaps is not a book for everyone.

erikku said...

They're not sit-ups, they're crunches.

I cannot do sit-ups.

Wriju said...

Well I'd rather do neither :-D

Tai said...

mmm.Lovely post.

Chloe said...

what a poet you are.
a poet for every continent.

i loved Catcher in the Rye and the other one Franny and Zooey.