What Salinger gave me other than ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

‘Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre’.

The instant message box popped up on my screen. It was the summer of 2006. And I had just completed a year and 2 months in my first job at Hyderabad. And frankly, I could not take it anymore. That was exactly why I had already planned an exit from the city, and asked for a transfer to Gurgaon, nearer to home. And the Boss had agreed too. ‘Just handover your role to this guy who is moving in from Bangalore, and then you can go.’ I was happy. Bangalore guy had arrived 2 months ago, and had royally ditched me. Opted for another role, because it included a free trip to London. Selfish fellow. And so I was stuck here for some more time, till they found my replacement. The message was from him.

‘Huh?’ I wrote, with no idea whatsoever of what he meant.

‘The book I told you about?’

Oh yes. The book he told me about. That one time we actually spoke. We weren’t more than acquaintances really, even though he had been sitting right in front of me for a whole month almost. I wasn’t too interested in talking to him. One because he ditched me. And two because I was asked to find him a non-shared port on the floor after he ditched me. A port on the floor of a BPO, where a higher ‘seat utilisation’ ratio gets you additional bonus. Who did they think I was, Mother Teresa?

So I refused to get him a seat, and he was temporarily made to sit right in front of me. Apart from a few smiles and ‘hellos’ , we never talked.

But apparently, Bangalore guy had been eavesdropping on my conversations in general, because one fine day he looked from over the barrier and spoke.

‘What’s your OHR? Will send you something you’ll like’

‘ Uh, ok. 302012323’

In a few minutes , I had in my mailbox a forward with links to a lot of e-books. All fiction. Ah, guy was a quality eavesdropper.

‘Thanks’, I said, and smiled a rare smile at him, ‘so you are into books too huh?’

‘Well, I am to some extent, but I’m choosy about what I read. I only read books which have really strong recommendations from reliable sources.’

‘Oh. Interesting. Which would be your favorite book then?’

‘Well, I like Salinger’s books. You know, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ kinds?

‘Of course, who doesn’t!’ I said, ego fully hurt. I hadn’t read the book though. And I didn’t know that Salinger was the author, eep. But why tell that? I was the self-proclaimed voracious reader after all. So I kept my mouth shut.

‘Yeah, and there was this other book, which was more like a modern day ‘Catcher in the Rye’, by another author, I forget his name though’

‘Oh, which one?’ I said, with no idea what he could be talking about. Dude, I hadn’t even read the original version, would I know the modern version. Hmph. Show off!

‘Damn! It’s just not coming to me! It’s named after the protagonist himself!’

‘Oh, let me know when you remember.’ I didn’t really want to continue to conversation, lest he threw a few more names of unknown authors and books at me.

I don’t think we spoke after that. A couple of days later, Bangalore guy was moved to yet another makeshift port. And I totally forgot about him. 

Until today.

‘Oh yes, the book you told me about’

‘Very crude language, almost abusive at times, but brilliantly written!’

‘I am googling him now, does have good reviews. Will check it out!’

So here I was, pretty impressed. A guy who reads, I thought. And impressive sounding books at that. I mean seriously, first Salinger, and now modern day Salinger? How cool was he! Interesting enough to keep talking to? Most definitely yes!

What I didn’t know then was that,  the two books he mentioned in our first conversation,  and in the subsequent chat, were probably 2 of the 10 (Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but the number wouldn’t exceed a 2 digit figure for sure) books he had ever read. But what did happen was this ended up being just the beginning of hundreds of chats that were to follow. Chats which led to tea breaks, which led to walks around the office campus, which led to meeting up on weekends, and movies, and eating out. Which led to us getting married exactly a year later. 

All’s well that ends well, and this one story did end very well. The Dude still won’t read a fiction book unless I force him to. And I still haven’t managed to complete ‘Catcher in the Rye’. But the book will always remain a favorite for other reasons.   

And so will Salinger. Because Catcher in the Rye or not, he managed to change my life in a big way. And I can’t thank him enough for that.  

 P.S. I wanted to do this post when I came to know of J.D.Salinger passing away, but somehow it got delayed till now. May he Rest in Peace.


39 thoughts on “What Salinger gave me other than ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

    1. Thanks! 😀 Neil Diamond fan obviously!
      Long time btw! And what have you done to your site, can’t read it in office anymore, Google reader is the saving grace!

  1. Suraj

    “I hadn’t read the book though. And I didn’t know that Salinger was the author, eep. But why tell that? I was the self-proclaimed voracious reader after all. So I kept my mouth shut.”

    on a book about phonies!..:)

  2. rechristened

    Aww what a mushy ending. Who would have known?! 🙂
    Memories are made of these.

    BTW the mention of OHR ID and Hyd/Ggn makes me ask, were you in Gen…(fill in the blank)…?

    1. 😀 Hehe! Totally. And my otherwise ‘I-hate-anything-sappy’ husband, actually saved all these chats! So I have like a whole log to refer back to :))!

      About the question, yes, very much, good guess! Though I thought OHR was a general term used in other companies too!

  3. rechristened

    hee, how sweet!@saving chat logs

    re: OHR–I’m sure other places use it too; just that I haven’t come across any other. So, some things I still associate with only Gen. (how one never forgets things associated with first crush, first job, first relationship is such a mystery)

    The question was instinctive–the combination of several aspects (cabs, hyd, ggn, ohr, etc.) sounded too familiar. that’s all 🙂

    1. Oh! Your first job was there too huh? Nice! That’s a big thing in common, and you were in the training team there?
      (Going by your reference to education as your job field)
      Yes, very true, the firsts always remain very special! 🙂

  4. rechristened

    Yep, was with Healthcare BPO for 1.5 years followed by 3.5 years in the content solutions team (elearning).. I was always located in ggn though a huge batch of the content sol. team sits in hyd too.

  5. And for a year and a half, we shared the floor with E-learning! 🙂 I actually know a lot of people in the team personally too! Hehe, it’s such a small world!

  6. Trust me, it wasn’t predictable. I thought you were bashing some random show-off guy 😀
    I like Love Stories, Happy Endings and Cliches.
    Someday I want to hear this from you, animatedly 😛
    I suppose the OHR number is “does not exist” anymore. Heh.

  7. Yay! I am very happy that you didn’t guess what was to happen! 😀 Makes the whole story writing worthwhile!
    Yes yes, you sure will, I never tire of telling and retelling it!
    OHR doesn’t exist anymore, but I used to love that number somehow!

  8. Thanks! 🙂
    I feel so guilty too! Especially because there seems to be some negative luck involved with me and that book, which causes me stop everytime i start. Have to do something!

  9. Wow! One busy week at office and I have missed so much on Blogs! Chah! Waise, very nicely written ya..Nice romantic-comedy feel to the whole post! Catcher in the Rye is on of those books that I am perpetually “planning” to read! Riding on my optimism wave, I have a feeling this is going to happen soon. 🙂
    And did you watch Grey’s this week? OMG Derek in the Car’s mirrror!!!!! 🙂 🙂

    1. No! No! No!
      I downloaded the damn thing twice. First time, it was a sick joke file. Second time, my whole system crashed and took all the downloads with it. So don’t tell me! Eeee!

      Thanks about the post though, one of the more mush-induced writeup this! 😀

  10. smartassbride

    okay, i missed this post.

    lovely it is, so im commenting and you have to remember what this post was about and reply too *evil grin*

    i have read the book. it’s the most depressing book i’ve ever read. i remember putting the book down and going for some fresh air 😀

    salinger would have been very surprised to know that it led to such a happy ending.

    1. Hehe, I do remember what the post was about, it was one of those oh-so-mushy days!
      Danke! And good to know this different perspective :o! I still haven’t finished it, so can’t comment, but I am hoping it does have a happy ending?
      Going by your comment, I can feel it doesn’t! 😦

        1. Hehe, ok, yep, the tone was pretty morbid, but I guess that’s his style! One of The Dude’s friends has read all of Salinger’s books, and cannot stop himself from recommending them to everyone. So I guess it’s just a different genre altogether!

    1. 😀 You didn’t read this one before kya? How come suddenly everyone is? Is it showing on the first page?

      Ooh, would love you hear your story! Tell tell tell! I did mention The Dude is a DIE-HARD Pink Floyd fan no?

  11. ajay

    Nice story. One mundane conversation led to all this and made lives happy and good. The protagonist of the story is the book. Thanks to JD Salinger 😀 I started Cather In The Rye but the book still lies unfinished. Thanks people for bringing this post up. I’d missed a good one 😀

    1. Oh man, yet another person who did not/could not finish the book! That is not good!
      I am thankful too people, this was one of the mushiest (I think) pieces I had written, so yay, good timing, around the anniversary and all!

  12. Pingback: Read | And that's what it's all about

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s