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A world that is secretly stupid

The times we are living in are as full of weird and inexplicable events as the books that try to decipher them. To try and make sense of any of them is like taking to sudoku seriously, writes Kushalrani Gulab.
By Kushalrani Gulab | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUL 15, 2008 08:37 AM IST

With apologies to Ye Ed and my mother (my only reader), this column is going to have to change. No longer will it be about books and their mysterious and not-so-mysterious connections with the world. Instead, it will be about books and their mysterious and not-so-mysterious connections with sudoku. That’s because, while I’m pretty good at figuring out sudoku puzzles, when it comes to the world… well, I have to admit I haven’t a clue. The last 10 days for instance, have been unusually inexplicable. It began with the nuclear deal. No matter how hard I try to figure it out, there’s always a point when the lint, dust bunnies and bits of towel fluff that constitute my brain gather into a defensive ball, zip into a corner of my left ear and lie there, whimpering.

Next, there was that astonishing story about the man who used to be a woman who had a baby in spite of being a man, which seems to me an unnecessarily convoluted way to become a parent. What’s the child going to call the mother/father? Muddy? Dammy?

And finally, the CBI announced developments in the Aarushi murder case. They had to release her father from jail because there was no evidence that he did it, so they jailed three other men though there was no evidence they’d done it either. Do you still wonder why I’d rather do sudoku puzzles than try and figure out the world?

So it was only natural to read The Secret History of the World As Laid Down by the Secret Societies. This book was perfect for my state of mind for two reasons. One: It’s written by a man called either Jonathan Black or Mark Booth depending on whether you have the UK or the US edition, which made it intriguing. And two: it’s supposed to ‘reveal’ an alternate history of the world based on the teachings of secret societies like the Freemasons and Knights Templar, which, given that I can’t understand the world as it is, made me both curious and grateful.

To my surprise, this book confirmed several of my own secretly-held notions of the world. First, that the earth and everything on it is the product of a cosmic imagination (the cosmos, like Stephen King, loves situations of horror). Then, that we were once not so much vegetarian as actual vegetables (so even cannibals didn’t have to worry about bad cholesterol). Next, that we only became human after the fish gods taught us to talk to plants (i.e., each other), so we promptly lost our wisdom. (So true!) And finally, that the ultimate aim of every single one of us is to become a vegetable again (that explains couch potatoes).

But even though my faith in the world has been reaffirmed, I’ll still have to base this column on sudoku, not the world. That’s because I just can’t understand how ridiculous books like this are ever published.

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