Getting older


Disclaimer – Not for LinkedIn but since blog is synced. You have the choice of not reading.

Just finished read Fair Warning by Michael Connelly. It’s the third book for lead character Jack McEvoy. Must read book if you haven’t read it still.

So while reading, I realised that the character has aged. Jack is over 50 now. That got me thinking about my favourite Michael Connelly character – Harry Bosch. He is 59 now. Was 39 in his first book. Mickey Haller would be perhaps younger.

Michael Connelly is a master writer. One of the rare ones who have stayed with the lead character for a long time across many books. Even woven in other lead characters or ones from other books. The relationship between Harry and Mickey for instance. Or Rachel Walling who appears in novels for Harry as well as Jack. For those who don’t follow Michael Connelly books or do not get as immersed as I do, they won’t get the emotion. But the ones who do, will know how it feels every time a book ends. Will there be another Harry Bosch book? What will we do when there is no Harry Bosch?! 20 years span is a long time and we tend to build a relationship with the character.

In similar vein is Jack Reacher by Lee Childs. He was 36 in his first books and over so many other books, Jack had grown older. 50+ now.

Now why is this interesting? Because the characters and I are pretty much same age. I have grown old with them. The lives so to say are intertwined and in a few instances have been quite similar. Also the nature. Whether it is the need to always do the right thing or to be anti establishment on occasions, there are similarities.

Why this post though? It’s about getting older and about making the act of getting old look good. It is not easy task. In our country, the legacy of govt jobs means we all have a retirement to look at by a certain date. That itself creates a certain behaviour. It is almost as if life comes to an end. Most people start retiring from life a few years before it actually happens. All their thinking is about where to settle, what to do, how to manage pension and stuff. In their mind, they already have.

But Harry hasn’t, jack Reacher hasn’t, Jack McEvoy hasn’t and I haven’t either. It’s lot more fun not to think of “that age”! And now with what has happened in last few months, there is no point in planning too far ahead. Plans do not work out. Also all the discussion about being under 60 or over 60, geez who wants to get old!

Me & Harry Bosch


suicide run.jpeg

 

Nope this is not a bromance or anything. It is just about similarities. Yeah call it crazy but that is how it is. While professionally we are not even in the same zone. But his addiction to his work perhaps matches mine…

Let me give an example. An excerpt:

“A big part of the rhythm was the monthly cycle of waiting for the yellow envelopes to come out. Sometimes Bosch found it hard to sleep during the nights leading up to Christmas. He never took time off during the first week of the month and never came to work late if there was a chance that the yellow envelopes were in. Even his teenage daughter noticed his monthly cycle of anticipation and agitation, and likened it to a menstrual cycle. Bosch didn’t see the humor in this and was embarrassed whenever she brought this up…

…He wanted a new case. He needed a new case. He needed to see the look on the killer’s face when he knocked on the door and showed his badge, the embodiment of unexpected justice come calling after so many years. It was addictive and  Bosch was craving for it now”

New case… something to work and think on afresh… break the mundaneness of sitting at office and doing the same thing over and over again… to go out there and catch a killer perhaps has driven Harry Bosch most of his life.

Same thing here. More than 20 years into the profession… I am still hungry.. still hungry for a new pitch. A call inviting us for a pitch gets me as excited as it used to 20 years ago. it galvanises me into action. And when there are multiple pitches on at the same time, the adrenalin rush is unbelievable.

I am glad that I am in the profession I am in… it is something new all the time… I did stray away for a few years and didn’t last very long… I guess am what people call adrenaline junkie…

Sure I don’t win all the pitches (if I did, I would have been the most sought after hitman haha) but the range of emotions one goes through during the process… only the people who are as passionate as me will get it.

I know a whole lot of people do not share the same enthusiasm but hey there are very few who have the same zealous approach as Harry.

In fact, just in his life, solving cases has become a number game, where bringing a killer to justice is just a case solved and most don’t share his emotions about doing the right thing, same way, in my profession, it has become all about billing rather than the satisfaction of winning the pitch.

(image courtesy bookhound.wordpress.com)

Train ride with Harry Bosch


I just had to write this post. This post is more for me than for people to comment on. Like I said on Monday, fingers are restless to type.

So I had one busy day yesterday. Didn’t get time to pick up a book for the journey. Did pass the book stand at the airport. Saw Bazaar of Bad Dreams but it didn’t urge me to buy… Not time yet.

Whole day was busy and railway station is not the best place to get the kind of books I read.

I was travelling in a long distance train after a long long time.

5pm the train started and by 6.30 I was extremely restless with absolutely nothing to do… Usually in hour and half we hear the pilot announcing that we have started our descent… Scrolled through my apps and realised that ‘The Burning Room’ was still there in Flipkart e-books. Of course I had read it earlier. But hey, long train ride ahead and a Harry Bosch book to read (even a read one) was a great combination.

Nobody ever has quite figured out why Michael Connelly is my favourite author or why I keep talking about Harry Bosch.

I read the first Harry Bosch book in 2008 and over the last 8 years, I have done his life journey of about 22 years across many books…

Right from the first book, I felt I could identify with him… Relate to him. And as he grew old and the way his life panned out, with some exceptions, I feel like its my life.

His passion and obsessive commitment to his work… It mirrors my obsession.

His love for his daughter…

His zeal to always do the right thing even at the cost of antagonizing people around him…

His disregard for authority in pursuing his objective.

His suffering when those authorities leave him out in the cold.

I so identify with all of that. Though am not a cop.

Just like him, I can’t imagine doing anything but what I have chosen as my profession. It makes me want to wake up and be at work every morning.

I am also the first one at work and sipping on my coffee way before anyone else arrives at work.

I have kinda gone through hell too by doing the right thing.

But most of all, I think that like Harry, am a loner… Focused on the things I want to focus on. Not great at relationships and friends…

It is not easy to understand him… Or me for that matter. You have to take time. Like I keep saying, all good things in life are a slow burn…

Train rides are a good time to evaluate yourself and the choices you have made in your life. A time for introspection. Because there is nothing else to do. And I am not the one who will engage in conversation with fellow travellers.

As the train hurtles through nothingness, it takes us on a ride deep within ourselves. There are no answers that emerge from that ride. No destination that is reached except for the one that we reach ultimately when we get off the train. But it is good to spend time with yourself.

I spent the night reading, thinking, yearning… And then it was morning.

Couple of hours more and I will reach the physical destination but mentally where I need to be, no clue… Nor do I want to have the clue…

Jack Reacher


Nope.. this post is not about the really bad movie that was released last December. the casting director for that movie should have been sacked for choosing Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher!

For the many who are not aware of Jack Reacher, he is a character in all the Lee Child books. Now I don’t think there are many out there who would not have read any of his books. The pseudo-intellectuals would probably call his books pulp and trash.

Now why should I pick him for a blog post?? Well for one, I have pretty much read every Jack Reacher book and here is a brief description about the character courtesy Wikipedia:

Jack Reacher is a former Major in the United States Army Military Police Corps. He was born on a military base in Berlin on 29 October 1960. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he served 13 years in the Military Police, during which time he became part of a fictional military police unit, the 110th Special Investigations Unit, formed to handle exceptionally tough cases, especially those involving members of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Though he was demoted from Major to Captain in the prequel novel The Enemy, he regained his rank by the time he mustered out in 1997. He received many military awards during his career, including the Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in the bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983.[citation needed]

Since leaving the Army, Reacher has been a drifter. He wanders throughout the U.S. because he was accustomed to being told where to go, when to go and what to do for every day of his life from military childhood to military adulthood. He also felt he never got to know his own country, having spent much of his youth living overseas on military bases and at West Point. He usually travels by hitchhiking or bus. As a drifter, the only possessions he carries are money, a foldable toothbrush and, after 9/11, an expired passport and an ATM debit card.

And to add to this.. as the radio spot for one of his novels said – Women want him and men want to be like him!

Once you read his books, you also realize that for him, justice is important. He wont stand back and watch an innocent getting trampled upon. He is a loner and yet it doesn’t stop him from taking on the bad guys or the establishment.

There are similarities between Jack and my other favorite character – Harry Bosch… Both live a life that is filled with loneliness and yet there are always people around them… However both of them quite never form a long-term relationship.

And while Jack never mentions it but somehow he follows what Harry believes in – Everybody counts or nobody counts.. It’s the sense of righteousness that runs through both.

Harry roams the streets of L.A. while Jack is in the countryside of US.

I am sure like me… there would be few others who have seen both Harry and Jack evolve and have lived their lives through every book… What is it about these characters that make us associate with them. Age perhaps must be one of the things. I haven’t heard of anyone young talking about either of them… Second I think is their belief system. Out in the real world, all of us want to go up against everything that is wrong but we don’t… because we don’t have the courage to do so… because that would need living like the two of them do and it would surely be in dissonance with the societal norms. And we console ourselves that it is easy in a book… not in real life! True… absolutely true… so we live the lives of Harry & Jack in our head and in every book… And yes.. at some level one also yearns for an Eleanor Wish or a  Rachel Walling or a Jodie Gerber.. and also (now this is something most guys I bet crave for) the way Jack & Harry move on… not because they are womanizer or philanderer but because they can’t be held back. For them, there is a world out there and while they don’t say it explicitly, it needs them…

There is a drifter and a vagabond in all of us.. wanting to break free and move through the vast landscape of life… with a strong sense of purpose… but that drifter in us never breaks free and never will… It will always stay in deep recesses of our minds… and in every novel we read by Lee Childs and Micheal Connelly…

Life with Harry Bosch


Cover of "The Reversal (Harry Bosch)"
Cover of The Reversal (Harry Bosch)

Over the weekend I read the new Michael Connelly book “The Reversal“. Reading of the book has led to this post.. as is obvious. Harry Bosch figures in the book… along with his half-brother Mickey Haller. Decent book but it left a lot to be desired and I will come back to it later but first… Harry Bosch.

I have read every single Harry Bosch novel in past 4 years. Have followed his life from “The Black Echo” to “9 Dragon”. Let me rephrase… not followed but lived his life. From his undying spirit to follow an investigation (no matter where it leads or who is the culprit) to his run ins with the establishment (probably a bit of me in there)… to the aspect of his personality which never lets him open up even to people who are so close to him… whether it is Eleanor Wish or Rachel Walling and not surprising enough… he never has a long-lasting relationship… they walk in and walk out of his life…

Michael Connelly’s writing style has always ensured that every Harry Bosch book is an immersive experience. Places mentioned in the book feel so familiar… the overlook on the Mullholland Drive… Farmer’s Market… Parker Center… From 40 to 60… two decades of living Harry Bosch… Going back into the book cabinet and taking the books out to read them again.. and again… and again… saying hello to Harry Bosch every time and finding something new…

Sure there are other books and characters that Michael C has etched in his books but Harry Bosch is well… Harry Bosch…

I have read books since I was 10 and that was so long back and the number of books I have read… never have I looked forward to a new book as I have for a Michael C book or rather a Harry Bosch book.

Coming back to “The Reversal”. Knowing Michael Connelly, there surely would be a reason for a lot closer interaction between Harry, Mickey and Maggie.. and the jealous Mickey when Harry and Maggie travel out of LA together. Or for Hayley (Mickey and Maggie’s daughter) and Maddie (Harry’s daughter) to come together… not to miss the appearance of Rachel Walling and her meeting Mickey… The book was a  nice read but it lacked intensity… Yes it had the Harry Bosch moments of him going off on his own and chasing his train of thought and coming up trumps.. But something was amiss…I think it was the balancing act that Michael C tried.. giving equal pages to Mickey and Harry… sure didn’t work for me… Mickey sections almost felt like an interruption in the narrative and I was a little disappointed with the book.

I want a Harry Bosch book… pure unadulterated Harry Bosch with no family in it.. the crusader who will rub people the wrong way and single mindedly follow what he believes is right… wonder if it would happen… so much has changed in LAPD and he soon may retire… but one last hurrah… that one book which would make people appreciate Harry and make others wonder why they could not look deeper inside him and believe in the person he truly was..

Is Mr Michael Connelly listening?