I was born in a small town called Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. We usually don’t get the English movies get released there. Usually we get the popular old movies in Theatre. The main means of watching English movies were through hired video cassettes. Sometimes we used to get the prints even before the movie’s official release in India.
I saw a movie, I think it was during 1993 without the knowing the name where old man has a dinosaur park and how it gets ruined . It was Jurassic Park. I was not old enough to know who was Spielberg or dinosaurs or even the man who created the story..
I came to know about the movie after it’s official release in India, I think a year after the original release. It was also the first movie to get dubbed in Tamil. Even some of the schools in the town had a special show for the Children. That was the first time I got introduced to Crichton’s work.
My brother is a voracious reader of books like me. I believe that we got this trait from our mom, who used to read a lot of Tamil books and collect stories from magazines. But I got in to English novels because of my brother. As usual it started with Sidney Sheldon but I slowly moved on..
Usually we get money for the new year from the elders as a start to the year. Using one new year’s money I bought the first book of my life, which was “The Lost World” – the sequel to Jurassic Park. It was not as celebrated as the prequel but I liked the way it was written. The initial killing of the small girl by tiny T-Rexs was more chilling in the book than the movie…
I have never jumped up and wanted to buy Crichton’s books but I had strong affinity to the words of this guy. I read Congo and then Andromeda Strain.. But my favorite of his books is the most controversial one too..
I got this book during my Mumbai Training trip in 2005. It was one of my worst trips and I was heading back to Chennai in Train. I wanted a big bulky book which can salvage my 2 night travel. I bought this without hesitation because it was Crichton’s.. Believe me it was one of the unputdownable reads of my life.
The book is State of Fear which revolves around Eco Terrorism and Global Warming. The final scene is where the protagonist tries to stop the artificial tsunami attempt. It was shocking and hair rising experience for me because it was barely 3 months from the worst Indian Ocean Tsunami..
In State of Fear, he questions the intentions of scientists, environmentalists and governments who instigate fear on people’s minds based on global warming.
Then it was Prey and Next for me, one discussing Nano-Technology and the other on Genetic Engineering. He has always been like my high school science book. I get to know a lot of stuff about a particular topic from his book and I then search the internet, check his references to know more about the topic. He instills that interest in you when you read his book.
Whatever the critics say, he is one of those rare writers who can be a wonderful read for both the fiction mongers and educated..
It has been year of farewell for me.. First my favorite Tamil writer passed away and now my favorite English writer.. Sometimes I think why these people should die??
But one thing is for sure these writers will live as characters, places, plots and idols in the hearts of many people. Crichton will live as long as people remember dinosaurs, as long they debate global warming, as long Tsunami threats are there, when nano technology develops and when generic engineering produces a human mutation.. Above all every time when one reads a science fiction..