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Autumn Shadows in Print

It's been almost a year since my memoir, Autumn Shadows, was published as an e-book at Amazon. Quite a few people asked me for a print version of the book. It took me a while to get the print version ready. Here it is. 

You can order your copies here

Here is an extract from the book:

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being,” as Camus wrote. The disquieting ruggedness of my ascents with the Sisyphean rocks through years has not depleted my nostalgia for innocence.  Rather I have rediscovered it in the autumn of my existence on the earth, the only existence that I will ever have.  Like Camus’s quintessential rebel, I have said No to certain systems and realities and Yes to certain others so that my life has acquired a unique meaning for me.  This book is about that meaning and about my journey toward it.
I have come a long way from Meursault through Sisyphus to Dr Rieux.  Dr Rieux is the protagonist of Camus’s The Plague.  A plague epidemic that breaks out in the Algerian city of Oran extracts a simple but overwhelming heroism from Dr Rieux who is an atheist. Can one be a saint without believing in god?  Dr Rieux shows one can. 
Father Paneloux, on the other hand, shows that god can lead to disillusionment and despair.  The Jesuit priest delivered a fiery sermon to his confused and frightened congregation declaring that the plague is God’s punishment for their sins.  Dr Rieux confronts his theory with the death of an innocent boy.  How can God punish an innocent boy? 
A personal experience had shaken Camus’s faith in god much earlier.  He witnessed a child being run over by a bus.  Camus averted his face from the gruesome sight and, raising a finger towards the heavens, said to his friend, “You see, He is silent.”  How can a god who permits so much mindless evil make sense to any rational creature?  “To become God is to accept crime,” as Camus wrote in The Rebel.  This was a problem that I grappled with in the summer of my life.  In the spring of youth I said adieu to god more like a wanton adolescent than a serious thinker.  Wantonness made me a dissolute person.  For years my life was a journey downhill like Sisyphus who had abandoned his rock altogether. 
The rock will not abandon you, however.  It waits and gathers mass with vengeance.  Then someday it comes to haunt you like a witch with a magical brew.  You put your shoulder to it and there you go ascending the hill to dare the gods.
Father Paneloux’s God betrays him.  The priest alters his view in a second sermon delivered after the death of an innocent boy.  He still believes whatever he said in his previous sermon but adds that the death of an innocent child pits a Christian against the wall.  The child’s death is a test of faith, he argues.  It requires the believer to either deny everything or believe everything.  Soon after this sermon, Father Paneloux falls ill and he dies clutching a cross.  Dr Rieux knows that the priest did not die of the plague.  What killed him then?  He lost out in the test of his faith.  Disillusionment and consequent despair killed him. 
Camus’s concept of intellectual honesty has always appealed to me.  I cannot take anything merely on faith.  It may be a flaw in my character.  I need intellectually satisfying answers especially when I am dealing with things that matter much in the human world like gods and religions.  I put my shoulder to my rock once again and started my ascent.  The climb has been both challenging and stimulating. 
When I gather the dead insects in my living room into a dustpan every morning, I wonder about why those insects were born at all.  Why was I born?  The insects probably live just a few hours and then fly towards a source of light which kills them sooner than later.  My life has also been a search for certain lights.  The lights I have discovered so far are quite different from what other people seem to have discovered.  That’s one of the reasons why I still remain an outsider to the society around me.  I am fortunate to have a wife who understands me and loves me.  But she has also suffered much with me especially in those days when I abandoned my rock and just kept walking downhill like an irresponsible and recklessly gleeful Sisyphus.  She has taught me a greater lesson than Sisyphus, however: love has no logic.


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