The Count of Monte Cristo – A Coupe Across Europe

An Unwitting Spectacle

The last two months I have been making slow and delicious progress on the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

I also think you would have had as much fun watching me read the tome.

As I was reading an engaging section, where The Count makes a particularly daring escape, I thought I had my reading face on. But an unexpected reflection showed my face was contorted, with furrowed eyes and straining taut neck nerves. I was hunched over as if I had eaten a two day old taco.

I can only imagine what I must have looked like during those sections when revenge was being served, or during those frequent thrilling cross country romps when the Count would fly across borders in his relay coupe, pulled by powerful sleek black steeds. He would arrive with exquisite timing, stilling disparate chatters, parting crowded ballrooms and.. well you get the picture.

CountofMonteCristo-1

If you have not read it, give the Robin Buss translation a try. It will entertain you, tone your arms and substitute as a step ladder. In short, it will serve you as a companion for life.

The Count is a medieval Batman prototype. A big tipping, swash buckling avenging angel. Centuries have not dulled the excitement nor lessened the grandeur of his exacting wrath.

Small Borders: Big Adventures

We once rented a tiny car and drove along some parts of the world mentioned in the book. Belgium, Switzerland, France and Netherlands. The dormant thrill of that journey with rides along mountains, seashores and cobbled streets immediately recalled Dumas’ lines. Similar countryscapes as the Count would have traveled with more drama.

That trip is without doubt one of our most treasured adventures. Today that word is lost. Adventure. Even venture is used only with creative embellishment. As we grappled with and immersed ourselves in languages, customs, cuisines and temperaments we learnt a lot about ourselves.

For instance that we can laugh when forced to beg on the highway (not figuratively). We learnt that we form part of a larger whole. When one crumbles the other collects them back and reshapes them. We worked out that we can go our separate ways to experience the world as we like it and come back to walk the path together again.

It is a kaleidoscope of memories that we can close one eye and keep rotating to delight in child like shared wonder.

Bruge

An evening in Bruges with a ghostly streetlight

If The Count watched A Tamil Movie

Yesterday I watched an acclaimed Tamil Movie (AaduKalam). It was stylistically a pretty good movie with an engaging enough plot. However the depiction of the romance between the dark skinned slum dweller and the fair skinned PYT made me squirm. It still traversed the path of creepy stalking, an unrealistically fair female character with the mental maturity of a 10 year old at crucial decision making times, contrived insensitivity by the rich to the poor and the poor about love, and a whole host of other attendant problems. Movies are a reflection of life. Movies are also a reflection of the creator’s depth of emotions and a willingness to establish counter narratives.

The Count’s observation about a Parisian production and its reductionist pandering to the theater going audience comes to mind.

“Would you like me now to tell you the cause of all this ineptitude? It is because in your theatres, as far as I can tell by reading the plays that they put on there, you always see people swallowing the contents of a flask or biting the bezel of a ring, then dropping, stone dead: Five minutes later, the curtain falls and the audience leaves. No one knows the consequences of the murder, one never sees the police commissioner with his scarf, or the corporal or the guard with his four men, and as a result a lot of weak brains imagine that this is the way things happen.”

How could you not love him?

4 thoughts on “The Count of Monte Cristo – A Coupe Across Europe

  1. Hahahaha if he had watched a Tamil movie indeed. That was funny as hell. In fact I d want the count to be played by T Rajendran in a Kollywood adaptation. “I am jail, no chance of bail, poda poda time is but a snail”!

    Love the book though. It got me off to a reading frenzy and away from the maddening crowds.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hahaha.. classic… dandanakka. danakkanakka..but on the whole the tamil/mallu movie industry is churning out some real gems nowadays no?

    Like

  3. I’ve got the unabridged version of this I’ll be reading in the second half of 2016 (that’s this year, if anyone’s forgotten). Just shifting Moby-Dick out of the way first. Yep, gone for some epics recently!

    Liked by 1 person

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