The Indian lady chatting to the guy behind the till at Wardah Books this afternoon didn't hold back in a pretty thorough condemnation of the celebrated novelist Orhan Pamuk. Her failure to grasp how a writer so completely dull, who just seemed to ramble, could win all those literary awards was amply shared with both cashier and whoever wished to eavesdrop (i.e., myself, who, by an odd coincidence, happened to be browsing the rather limited Pamuk titles on offer.) I toyed with jovially voicing a balancing opinion, but decided it would probably come out rude and condescending, before the guy actually being addressed noted, Well, one man's meat... I'm guessing he was a fan of the Nobel Laureate judging by the somewhat rueful tone of his rejoinder.
The encounter was a useful reminder of the fact that we're simply not designed to share each others' sense of quality and achievement. The lady, to do her justice, had obviously tried to find out what it was about Pamuk that gets so many readers excited, so her failure did her a kind of credit in my eyes. I suppose this is why I can't get worked up about those who, mysteriously, fail to share my tastes in music and literature (and life in general) though finding it quite remarkable that they don't.
Mind you, anyone who fails to understand the complete joy of popping down to Arab Street and environs for a cup of tea and a samosa and vadai and just sitting at a roadside table to partake thereof - which is where we'd been prior to visiting the bookshop - seriously needs their head examined.