The Rum Diary by Hunter Thompson on Verses Inked

The Maverick, the Method, the Madness. The Rum Diary by Hunter Thompson on Verses Inked. All in – One Love

RUM BOTTLE

Hope has seldom been better explained, as understood in the cracking open of a bottle of rum.

Welcome to the world of verses inked, verses explained through ink. Better never, fashionably late, statutory – tending to ambling, as is the piece in discussion. Delightfully laid down, as often was during counter culture era, as also at Verses Inked, we present to the dear readers, this category they should be interested about. Verses Thread. We dive in first, here and how. Hunter S Thompson-The Rum Diaries.

The absolute artificer of Gonzo Journalism, you may rest your spine assure that if Hunter Thompson explains a situation, he would have had, in most accounts gone through it. There is then this iffy relationship which the writer shares with the keyboard. A chemistry which churns out the content. The perceptions in between the known and the unknown.

The Diary is in vein autobiographical. A dedication , as print suggests to Heidi Opheim, Mary Sue Rued and Dana Kennedy.

The following quote precedes the written text:-

My rider of the bright eyes,

What happened to you yesterday.?

I thought you in my heart,

When I bought your fine clothes,

A man the world could not slay.

 

-Dark Eileen O’Connell 1773.

 

Also Read:Who Killed Hunter S Thompson – An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Master of Gonzo 

 

HUNTERSTHOMPSON-PORTRAIT

Hunter Thompson, was a life long aficionado of alcohol, substance and mistake not, fire arms. The author was once a sports journalist at San Juan in Puerto Rico.

The narration of the plot hashes out a plethora of situation, which with overt gestures reflects the author’s time at the island. It remains a matter of more than mere chance that the characters stringing together the circumstances, in this case often radical, also draw inspiration from real life.

There is the all conquering, scrambling through, somehow protagonist, Paul Kemp, who throughout the narration, like almost everybody, almost always, in a drunken stupor, holds his own, as situations come hurling in, swell out of proportion towards the greater conclusion, leaving the reader in a state of wishful trance.

Paul Kemp’s romantic interest, from the very beginning, in fact, since his fateful flight to Puerto Rico, had been this petite blonde girl,Chenault. The situations in between the two always have a tensed, along the fringes of outrageous, knack about them.

There is then The Daily News, headed by an uncertain Ed Lotterman, and run by an entourage of staff. Sala the freelance photographer and a dear confidant to the protagonist; Yeamon, a close friend, also a reporter at the news, as well Chenault’s romantic interest during the former part of the story,until the carnival. The ever resourceful PR guy, Hal Sanderson, hell-raiser Moberg, the sports editor Bill Donovan, of prim and proper disposition, yet all in comparison and according to the situation. There is also a certain Mr. Zimburger, an acquaintance of Sanderson, a former captain at the Corps, still proud,more obsessed, a mean to an end.

The story is set against the back drop of fleeting communist references, the dwindling fortunes of the Daily News, and the influence of rum, which individually is the all encompassing throttle driving the narration ahead.

Al’s kitchen serving up its indigenous hamburgers and rum, plays host to a number of scenes. There is also the News office, and the sights sounds of Puerto-Rico which puts the novel together. The description of the Carnival at St Thomas, and the immediate events which ensued, is of notable importance to the flow of the time-line. Random watering holes, filled with writers, sailors and compulsive merry makers, that borrowed dilapidated car, that scooter in worse condition, a quiet beach somewhere, angry mobs, police stations, cab drivers, spill overs among innumerable Rum refills and the ever pressing tropical air. That is what makes the book, the odd two hundred pages of substance that it is.

The story concludes in a melting pot of emotions, which is somehow made mellow by the mere mention of Rum, albeit over and over again. The overarching daze seeps into the imagination of the avid reader,with conviction. The newspaper eventually shuts down, the staff are busy, getting the far flung fractals of their lives together. Their belligerence lead to a chaotic, yet successful attempt of assassination at Lotterman. Paul Kemp, has no part to play in the homicide. Yet he could not totally not feel a sense of empathy towards the conspirators. Chenault, armed with a surprise waits for him in New York. More rum and hamburgers, every time served at Al’s by this negro named Sweep.

Protocol, or perhaps belief, that it takes a hundred strikes and more to fashion gold, whereas in case of iron, it takes only a numbered few. So is Thompson’s narration. Perhaps his body of work, to some sentimental, judgmental mind is like the strike of a hammer on iron,one blow at a time. The narration lacks the close knit, yet it all holds together, perhaps as always.

It is not for nothing that the cinematic rendition of the novel has a number of alterations in the screenplay, when compared to the original text. The freakish flamboyance of Yeamon and the drive of Hal Sanderson is moulded into one character, as Sanderson. Besides the whole business deal with Mr Zimburger acts as a prequel to the carnival, and is of little importance after, in the novel. Whereas in the movie, the whole affair draws considerable breadth, and leads to the helter skelter at the conclusion

The film was a brainchild of Bruce Robinson, brought to life by the only Jhonny Depp. It was in fact, Depp’s industry and prolonged acquaintance with the author, that the original text, written in the sixties, was brought to print fourty years later. What more, Thompson calls his house, Owl Farm.

-88-

Part 4- Love, laughter, luxury: the metamorphosed Delhi

Dear Qi,

It has been long I know. Ever since I boarded that fateful flight on July 6, I haven’t had a second to reminisce. The earlier plan was to stop, see, go but Delhi enamoured me, most unexpectedly. As soon as I landed in all my hippiedom, the leviathan on my back, the daunting red stroller at my heel, I was gathered and buried deep in the arms of lush green & earthy brown.

The city after seven years looked like it had been manicured into a model for lavish living. Each red brick and cream coloured dome was breathing new history, writing a new future. If kindness could be measured, I’d be drowning. From renewing old sinews to weaving new wreaths, from the newly renovated “non-smoking” India Coffee House in Connaught Place to the mushrooming liberal East side.

I witnessed the urban underbelly in the graffiti adorned subway selling Tribal handicraft, I tasted Korea in their cuisine, soju (Korean vodka) & graphic novels in the seedy by lanes of garish “Punjabi” Pahadganj. I found an isolated English cabin called Sakleys in the midst of concrete buildings. As my friends kindly awarded me with the title of “cloud carrier”, we revelled on roads mirroring generous dark clouds.

There were pleasant incidents & experiences, then there were events that wringed my heart with regret for ever doubting the Dil (heart) in Dilli (Delhi).

My friend and I fixed an appointed hour to meet at The Monkey Bar in South Delhi. With my obsession for arriving on time, I was there early waiting for her.

A pleasantly smiling young man in the restaurant uniform walked up to me,”Do you play the guitar?”

I glanced at the tall black cover standing erect behind my chair, “I’m still training on my own”.

“I used to perform in a band in Manipur. I had to migrate to Delhi for money,” wistful glint of a smile.

“Would you like to play?” I offered. He jumped at the opportunity and played a local love song. His colleagues thronged to our table, lavishing attention & conversation as I waited for my friend to arrive. Next thing I know, word had spread far & wide till it reached the owner, coincidentally a friend’s acquaintance and I was on my way to getting pampered fancifully at their premium eatery!

After a brief stay with this friend in Gurgaon, I set out to brave the potholed, monsoon frothing streets. An eager cab driver pulled close, it was an Easy Cab with an aged, smiling face behind the wheel. I propped in with no knowledge of a cheaper means of commute.

 

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“How much would it cost me from here to East Delhi?”

“Roughly Rs.1100”, he said calculating quickly.

Sensing my disappointment, he offered, “I could drop you till the next metro station, it would be cheaper & quicker.”

He looked genuinely willing, but the skeptic in me wanted to smell a motive.

I smiled instead, “thank you”, the wheels set in motion.

“Are you not from Delhi?”

I decided to be honest, pushing my boundaries, “No I’m from Bombay.”

As though a switch flicked, “You’re from outside? Let me show you around Gurgaon”. Before I could protest he’d wheeled us into a less crowded lane which looked safe but desolate. There he began waxing eloquent of the skeletal structures which would soon turn into architectural marvels. He insisted I stop at a popular eatery for their unmatched Biryani. Had I not been attending to anxious friends I would’ve indulged.

“I’ll drop you to the nearest Delhi metro station. The station in Gurgaon is always crowded.”

I mutely agreed mentally calculating the money in my wallet.

After myriad stories of Assamese tradition (Did you know Assamese people add Tsri before their name to signify that the person is alive and Tsargiya for the dead?), his hometown in Assam & his 25 years of driving on Delhi streets, we finally arrived at Chhatarpur station.

“How much is it?” I enquired, partly pleading in my head to not exceed the currency in my wallet.

He chuckled, “I turned the meter off long back madamji. You are a guest here, you need not pay.”

How would you react if you were in my shoes? I was simply dumbfounded, even partly relieved. I still insisted to pay something for I had run out of words to acknowledge the goodness of his heart. He accepted a hundred rupee note and began to hand me back lose change.

I guiltily resisted but he politely insisted,”Keep it. You’ll need it at the metro counter.”

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I thanked him profusely and walked up to the counter. He was right! The change was more than sufficient, he had returned a lot more than the metro fare.

Over that one hour metro ride, I couldn’t stop smiling. Each time I felt there was a hint of a wayward glance or a wanton comment, I battled it inwardly with the strength of his kindness. It was like my Petronus charm.

I fall back upon your wisdom Qi. The world is a mirror, a reflection of your fiercest fears and brightest beliefs. I hadn’t just survived the city, I had conquered it. I allowed Delhi to cradle me to its bosom and in return, I’d found a new home.

My friend says kindness is like a boomerang, you put it out in the world and it finds you, no matter where you are. I promise to put it out without inhibition, I promise to harness the wisdom of affection, silently, unendingly. I promise to spread your legacy.

Until the next turn in the road,

PC

Priyanka Charan

 

 


magic
Magic

 

lisbeth
Lisabeth

                                                     Artwork By Judit Szakter