Reading Marquez can change your life. And the time to start is now. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the most renowned Spanish story teller from Colombia. His magnum opus ‘100 Years of Solitude’ is universally accepted as the best novel written in any language of the last century. It has been translated into Hindi and other Indian languages including Bengali and Malayalam.
The first striking feature about his books is that his name appear in much larger font size than the title of the work. His books are picked up from the shelves like hot cakes without flipping through the pages to make up one’s mind. It is an established facts that the copies of his creations run into millions. Another salient feature: most of his novels are set in an imaginary city called Macondo. Its inhabitants are totally unaware of any world outside their city. They have been born and brought up here only and have never ventured out of it. No one leaves or enters this city. It is because in their perception nothing exists beyond their own world.
They experience only one new happening in their life, “the birth of a new child”. And only thing jolts them out of their wits, the death of someone in the city. In his famous novella ‘Leaf Storm’ one day the only doctor of the city dies. Ironically everybody hated him. Primarily because of the way he conducted himself, his character and his habits. At times, people suspected where he was a doctor to begin with. Does he have a recognized degree to practice? Since there was no other doctor around, the patients had no choice but to visit him. And at times, they did get cured. Therefore his death was a big news. It spread like wild fire and left burns on everybody. Despite disliking him, everyone wanted to join his funeral, if not till the cemetery, but for some steps. They wanted to relate this event and explain to their children in the evening of their life that they were an eye witness to this historic moment. Those who were too old to walk properly took a ringside seat on their balconies. And remained there till the last mourner in the procession disappeared from their sight.
There was a respectable colonel in the city of Maconodo. Col Auroliano Buendia. A kind hearted man. He took a lead in suggesting that the doctor should be given a befitting burial. He decided to supervise this job. Here is a quote from this great work as a sample:
“That afternoon had landed like a story in our courtyard. Doctor’s death didn’t come as a surprise. We were waiting for it for long. But we never expected that it would give us a rude jolt. I had expected someone from my family to accompany me to the funeral, at least my wife! She took out a cane with a silver handle that she had bought for me during my indisposition. It had a dancing figure on the handle. It’s screws were tightened. It danced with a musical note. My wife Adelaida was all ears at this musical piece. She looked at me in between. Her eyes had filled up with tears. She was looking sad. Even the music was painful. She recalled the doctor’s memories. He was always around at the dead end of the blind alley”. We knew, one day he would be no more and we would have to bury him. We gestured to move but realized it was too late. By then he would have slept for good deep under the earth.