Seeing what you want to see.

I was delighted to find, in the top shelf of my cupboard, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It has been sitting there, or rather slouched there, bent into a wavy ‘S’ shape, in the small space made by the empty diaries and random documents that were placed on the same shelf.

It was gifted to me some years back (I think – or was it loaned to me?), but to put a definite date to it was impossible. I couldn’t even put a name to the person who gave (or loaned) it to me. The thing about being given a book, rather than purchasing it ourselves, is that it joins the end of the book queue and we allow new books to cut the queue. Since it involves only ourselves, why put someone else’s choices for us above our own? How many activities can we safely attribute our lone involvement to? No obligation or answering at all to another?

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of those books that remained at the end of the book queue, forgotten, until yesterday, when I happened to look up at the top shelf – and found it. How many times, and years, my eyes have glossed over the same book spine but never found the book, alone on the top while the others were stacked on the third and fourth shelves of the cupboard I open everyday for the mirror. The realisation that I am selective about what I want to see made me wonder briefly what else I could have been blind to.

But the excitement at my discovery took over quickly. Recently I’ve developed an interest in Haruki Murakami, much-delayed I know, after looking him up on the internet. In fact, I can hardly wait to unearth the philosophical gems in his books. Before that, I saw Murakami as just a Japanese writer with translated English books. I was judgemental and snotty like that, yes.

So in a way, I found The Wind-Up Bird, really, only because I was now looking for it. Drawing from this, am I deluded by blind spots because I am not looking hard enough or wanting badly enough, and that is why I haven’t found some of the things I have been looking for?

It is midday, midweek, and I am drifting into a labyrinth of thoughts.


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