Sunday, November 9, 2014

The motorcycle diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

I picked the book up in the library during one of my jaunts with A to find his stuff...all the beast quests that he is reading these days! I end up picking essays, some random book here and there, and all the time, very ambitiously hoping that may be this time, I'll read and finish a book.

This one is a fairly quick read, Che Guevara's notes on one of his first trips across Latin America. He was 23/ 24, still studying to become a doctor, when one day, with his friend Alberto, decided to take a trip across the continent on Alberto's bike. The book spans over a few months of their journey, written from Che's notes for the period, is not too long, and is very engaging, very youthful! The young explorers. They begin in Argentina, from their home, on to Chile, the mines there, the lakes, then on to Peru, where they see the Inca homeland, Colombia (Marquez's land), and then Venezuela. While talking about his journey, he sketches the land, the life, the way things go in those countries, and  while doing so, he sketches himself for the reader, and the reader is engaged with the fresh, honest account and since it is Che, tries to read and may be reads more than necessary between the lines. Either ways, the freshness, optimism, and the life in the pages is inspiring and uplifting.

Ernesto/ Che is adorable, charming, and the boyish beginning turns gradually more thoughtful, and the fun of exploration, the joy of faring onward, seeps through the pages and takes hold of you. Most importantly, the faith that all will be fine.

Loved the book, pleasantly surprised by it. I don't read much non fiction,...they need some kind of mental readiness and enthusiasm which I reserve only for fiction. But after this one, I am keen to read more of him. It takes a certain kind of spirit, a wanderlust, an explorer in one to go on like that! And I respect that spirit...to settle is not ideal, to fare onward is what life is all about.

One of the places, he mentions about how when people (as they grow to middle classes), the small victories they collect go to their head...the things at stake stack up higher...and people becoming more cautious, more chained, less spontaneous, more settled. Not an ideal state at all. And if you think about it, an anti-thesis of an explorer...who moves forward as if there is nothing to lose.

This was the same weekend that we watched Interstellar.., I am quite enamored by the whole 'explorer' spirit. '
Old men ought to be explorers, here and there does not matter'.

Its just fitting that the music currently playing in the background as I write this is Metallica's 'wherever I may roam'

...and the earth becomes my throne
I adapt to the unknown
Under wandering stars I've grown
By myself but not alone
I ask no one

...and my ties are severed clean
The less I have the more I gain
Off the beaten path I reign
Rover wanderer
Nomad vagabond

Call me what you will