If my life had any leitmotivs, books would no doubt be “numero uno” among them. It is to them that I owe most of my convictions and it is to them that I retreat for solace when the blues hit me. They’ve given me so many friends in the form of the characters inside them, who’ve kept me company through the various legs of life. Some of them I grew out of, but there are a few who are etched in my memory forever. They are part of me now and sometimes it is to these immortal figures, I look for advice when faced with a situation similar to the ones they did.
I’ve always wanted to share and write about the characters who have influenced me at some point or the other, the ones who have left a lasting impression in me. Since there are so many of them, I’ve decided to pick five of my most favorite ones.
Chips as he was fondly called by everyone around him is the protagonist in “Goodbye Mr.Chips”, a book written by James Hilton. Chips embodied all the principles I valued at the time I read the book. He was a gentle soul, warm and endearing. The book showcases his life as a school teacher at Brookfield, a fictional British boys’ public boarding school of the Victorian order.
Everyone knows this man by his alias “The Count of Monte Cristo“, the title character and protagonist of Alexandre Dumas’ magnum opus. I must confess that I literally worshiped Edmond after reading the book. In fact I even remember plotting revenge against imaginary enemies the next few days. The ingenious manner in which he avenged himself is without doubt the perfect example for the phrase “Revenge is a dish best served cold” .
Another hero, who was part of my childhood for quite some time. Conor is the lead character of Trinity, written by Leon Uris. Conor was part of the Irish movement for independence. He was an architect, a farmer, a romantic and a revolutionary, the perfect combination of brain and brawn. Hats off to Uris for creating this masterpiece of a character.
This was Henry Charrière’s eponymous novel about his exploits on escaping from a French penal settlement where he was a prisoner. Papi narrates the whole story in first person which makes it all the more easier to understand the thoughts running inside him. He matures as the book progresses and it almost feels like you are in his shoes as his thought process changes over the years from gutsy to wise.
The so called “jackal”, Carton is a character appearing in “A Tale of Two Cities” written by Charles Dickens. A brilliant young man and a wastrel, his unrequited love for the female lead in the book is heartrending. Those words of his when he faces the guillotine haunt me even to this day.
“ It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. ”