Friday, May 19, 2017

The Notebook


There are books that you might want to read time and again. Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook  (1996) is one of them. An old man reads out a story to an old woman in a nursing home. Though she is the Allie of the story that is being read, she does not recall it as she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

The story that he narrates is about a summer romance between Allie and Noah set against the backdrop of a small town in California. They have an intense passionate affair and he shows her his old family mansion that he wants to renovate. Her parents take away when they come to know about it and Allie leaves a message with his friend Fin that she loves him.  They get separated because of a difference in class as Allie comes from a rich aristocratic background.

Years later Allie gets engaged to Lon, a young and rich lawyer and is happy. Then, she sees an article about Noah and how he has restored his family mansion. She goes to see him without informing her mother or Lon.

The next morning, she finds her mother at the doorstep and she confronts Allie by reminding her of her engagement with Lon. They argue but she gives Allie a bundle of letters that Noah had written her over the years.


This surprises Allie as there are so many letters which he had written for almost a year and Ann says that she hadn’t given them to her because she found her to be too immature. 


Ann asks Allie to make a choice between Noah and Lon, what is she wants and what is good for her. She finds that though the years have changed them in so many ways, this time she is not ready to let go of what she wants.

Sparks, in his interviews about the book has said that he had modelled the story on his wife’s grandparents who had been married for around 60 years.

The film version of the book directed by Nick Cassavetes is equally memorable though it  focuses on Noah and Allie's love as a summer romance that gets a second chance and is as much about parenting guidelines for parents who discover their kids to be in love with unsuitable suitors from inappropriate social classes. The film is quite sensuous portrayed against luscious greenery and the countryside. The songs based on the film are lovely especially I wanna grow old with you and I will be right there waiting for you.

Rebeilion

You took me for an obedient being one day, when you saw me obey every single word of my master. Not that this heart does not know rebellion, it knew how to burn down worlds in its fury or even bring down the mighty, in its good old days.

It once knew how to fly past the countless mazes even though that meant it had to carry charred wings throughout its later life. It knew how to live without a word of love or encouragement  and yet to look at criticism with equanimity.

Now,  I have lost my belief in prayers for they move no mountains or molehills but has not lost its habit of recognising miracles placed in its way.

The here and the now

You and I were always like this, spending time together without demanding much from each other, what others think as necessary. I think our priority was togetherness first though we belonged to two different spaces altogether. But when I look back, I am amazed by the thoughts that we shared though we were so distant and by the kind of support that we were to each other.

Nowhere but here that's what I wrote when I thought whether you might be wondering where I was, being away from you. Now, in the present space, when such togetherness is no longer existent or real, I look back with wonder at the beautiful days that we had spent together, weaving dreams out of words.

Monday, May 08, 2017

A cup of comfort




Related image

Your words taste like a sip of hot coffee that I drink for comfort during my day, to soothe my throat and to clear away all the weariness of spirit. These words pull me out of very tent of isolation that I weave, out  of every crisis that I have been through. These well-read words bring a catharsis always, laughter or tears.

Some days, these words were a way of talking about things that hurt you the most, that you overcame by finding relief in self-expression and got comforted by strong shoulders, kind arms and a loving heart that you called home. This cup of comfort might be from far away or close at hand, but just like the whiff of your perfume it stays with me all the time.



Friday, May 05, 2017

Eat Pray Love



In a very interesting study of the blunders written by students, there is a story about how Milton came to write his epics. According to a very imaginative student, Milton got married and he wrote Paradise Lost. Later his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained. Though how many times he repeated this practice only history can answer as can be seen from the number of his wives.


Now in popular culture, marriage and love are usually celebrated while divorce is usually represented as the end of your life.  From Jane Austen novels to present day romance novels, there is a long tradition of writing that ties up your life neatly in terms of love and marriage. Then there are as many number of chick-flicks that show how the course of true love never did run smooth.


Eat Pray Love is a 2006 novel by Elizabeth Gilbert that is quite unconventional because of its veracity and audacity. Told in the first person autobiographical mode of narration, the novel depicts a woman’s search for identity after a rather painful and time-consuming divorce. A woman in her thirties, instead of settling down and having a family of her own, is haunted by anxiety attacks. She wants to be free and decides to go on an adventurous trip all by herself.


She feels that she has been floating through life without an identity of her own.  Once her marriage breaks down, she lands straight into the hands of a lover named David. One of her friends makes a remark that if she had resembled her husband earlier, now she resembled David. This turns her inward and she wants to find out what she is really like and what she really wants out of life.


After her brief rebound affair with David, she recognises that another relationship is not quite the answer that she is looking for. She travels to three places that have only one thing in common- the first letter I- Italy, India and Indonesia. In Italy, she learns the native language and finds a new interest in friendship and in the Italian cuisine. A word catches her attention- attraversiamo- which means “let’s cross over” commonly used by her friends when crossing streets.


She goes to India and scrubs floors in an ashram while learning how to recite the prayers correctly. She meets Richard from Texas who calls becomes friends with her and calls her groceries. Her next place of visit is Indonesia, where she meets an ancient medicine man Kekut Liyer who asks her to enjoy life to the fullest and to laugh right from the liver.


She meets a Brazilian divorcee named Felippe in Bali and agrees to spend time with him. She also helps a traditional healer named Wayan to build a house with the help of financial aid from the US. Her experiences make her believe in the goodness of life once more and she feels that she has finally confronted her inner demons. Her scars hurt her less and finally she recognises that she has become much lighter as she has performed this wonderful act of crossing over. A feel good book about divorce, the film adaptation released in 2010 has Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert. 


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

History


This is the story that I have always wanted to write, the story of you and me, not just the pain of parting and break-up, but the sunshine and laughter and a few moments that remain clear like the bright blue sky above me on this beautiful day, unusual blue that stands out with little wisps of cotton clouds. What all fears did we hold out in the palm of our hands that when we reached and spoke with our hands held together, the fears spoke aloud and we could not stop the hands from finding and fighting the fears by melting into each other but time came and took it all away and our love was not writ in stars, but only in water, our love was written in only in water. Yet the love that hands founds and the body vaguely remembers could not remain in the sudden tides that took us apart. We wave desperate, deaf and blind, on either shore, having burnt boats and with tears, shout to each other, helpless.