When life hurls sorrows and failures at me, I often turn to George Orwell to seek solace. In Orwell’s world, I find refuge from the torments of everyday life. He creates a marvelous world in his works – a world that offers me a consolation of sorts.
Orwell’s world – be it that of Winston in ‘1984’, or of Gordon Comstock in ‘Keep the Aspidistra flying’, or about himself in ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ – carves out a recess lying in which I rest my troubled self, I pause and gaze through the window into a dark world of sorrow, fear, regret, and lamentation that his characters thrive in. Orwell then appears at this window I am looking at; he offers me a hand and walks me through the sombre world he has created.
He shows me people who have greater worries, people who have not sufficient food to eat or clean water to drink; he shows me the dark alleys of unknown cities that are more unsafe than my own world; he shows me the possibility of existence of a world that is more unfair than my own.
He offers me a sneak peek at masters who are more tyrant and more unjust then my own; he makes me realize the comfort of own home despite its inadequacies. He makes me thank my good fortune for having a bed that I can crawl onto and upon which I can snuggle under the warmth of my quilt, quite unlike his protagonists who often have to sleep on cold floors with filth around.
He makes me reflect. And then I stop lamenting my own self and my circumstances and feel glad about whatever little I possess in material wealth; he makes me feel less ashamed of myself at my reticence and occasional furtive behaviour. He makes me feel triumphant even in solitary confinement which I often impose upon myself much to chagrin of my wife.
He makes me want to find him walking upon a street during my aimless wanderings on weekends.
Orwell offers me the assurance of a friend in his own self at times when I wish to divorce myself from social mingling; he assures me that there will always be a table for two – Orwell and I, and there will always be enough wine for two; and, after a hearty chat and enough wine is drunk, Orwell will drop me back to the comfort of my bed that will keep me warm in the cold night.
My two other writer friends – Greene and Ruskin Bond have been great pals too. But only at times I have found myself happy. Orwell has been a friend in times of distress, always.