Friday, May 2, 2014

Geisha ......tragic but imaginative

I read a free PDF version of it. It is basically a life story of a sophisticated traditional Japanese escort during World War II era. I have read  auto-bio's/memoirs  of a hell  lot of people eg. Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Gandhi, Marie Curie, Feynman,  Gen Musharraf, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Steve Jobs , you just name it . But there is something different in this book. The book has a very uncanny narration. She is not hurried into unloading her emotions but very patiently through imaginative and thought provoking ways gives the  analogies of her circumstances with some objects around her (may be like a bark of a tree). She takes the reader inside the world of a Geisha , how they are plucked away from their family at a very age. How she herself was tricked by the same very person she regarded very highly.
 Her description of the hardships she faced during her early formative years as a Geisha will wrung your heart with pain. She plans and attempts escapes but it always ends up getting severe beating by the hands of the House lady.
Later on as the years pile up, she herself wants to be a geisha to escape the drudgery of working like a house maid in the Geisha house and works hard on her training. Their training includes dancing, cooking, public behavior, ways to please a man and steer the conversation in a direction which   pleases him. Young geisha's also have  to do an  internship also with some senior geisha. And observe her and learn how she entertains her customers in taverns and pubs. The part of the story which disgusted me the most was the "Mizuage" thing. Mizuage is the unbroken hymen of a virgin  Geisha. For a newly initiated Geisha this is a prized thing. Rich people bid for the " mizuage " and the person who bids highest gets  to break the seal. Such a pathetic practice. And the Geisha has to select the bidders by offering them rice Cakes. The way  the narrator has described the consummation scene, it make you hate sex and that is a very difficult thing to do seeing that 70% of books sell because of sexual passages.

The silver lining in this manuscript the tender feeling she had for a man who was a friend of her client.That man had once while she was young  given her his handkerchief which she had kept all these years inside a secret cabinet inside her elaborate traditional make up box,

Even if you have no interest in the Japanese way of life or anything. Just read the book for its vivid imaginations, it makes your look at the world with a different shade of lens.

I loved the book and it will stay with me for a long time to come.

Must read.

PS: I watched the movie, it's pretty honest with the book , but somehow i don't like images being fed into my brain, I'd rather imagine the same in the studio over my shoulders.

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