Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Unsent Letters


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

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 Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

Always intrigued by the Letters that Noah wrote Ellie in Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook. Thinking of writing 365 letters that were unsent.

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

The Unsent Letters

Alohari Anandam


“Remember the Frenchman who asked his grandmother at what age we get free from the temptations of love. The old woman said she didn't know” The Doctor’s Dilemma, GB Shaw.
Sarah Joseph’s Alohari Anandam ( Per Capita Happiness) explores the winds of change that perplexes and confuses a Syrian Christian family in Kerala. Published in 2013, the novel deals with controversial themes such as loveless marriages, marriage of senior citizens and lesbianism. Joseph’s characters liberate themselves once the yoke that they carry become too much for them. 

Emma and John Mathai are the senior citizens who decide to get married with the support of the young generation and Paul. The typical reaction to a couple who decides to get married so late- a widower and a spinster- are jokes laden with obscene humour. However, Joseph treats the theme with much sensitivity and her Emma is a lovely bride who rejects all makeup and finery on her wedding day that her niece Ishana has designed for her. 

Ishana is the designer in the family who runs a funeral parlour and a beauty parlour. Joseph satirises the way in which all church rituals have become focused on clothes, jewellery and the aesthetics involved. On the occasion of a baptism, Ishana’s thoughts are entirely on the stone-vessel that she chose for pouring the water. She represents the new generation who sees marriage as a trap set to limit individual freedom. 

The lovers in the novel Paul and Anu carry the burdens of their marriages. Paul is married to Teresa, a lesbian who is forced to marry him. Anu struggles to bear the weight of her loveless marriage with Cherian. When the idealistic Paul meets the dreamer Anu, they feel a strange comfort and are drawn towards the lovelight that they see in each other’s eyes. As Paul says:

“There are people who become happy with the little that they have...both among men and women. Not just that, the majority is like that. They try to unravel the knots of this world. Small achievements make them happy. Small losses hurt them a lot. Their longings for love are of a shallow nature. But there are people who seek themselves in their mates. They need a life of deep love. For them, marriage is a failure, if the lover doesn’t complement their mind, body, intellect and emotions. It is not necessary to have such a relationship within marriage and that’s when you seek another relationship” (Free Translation). 

Joseph's novel Alohari Anandam, celebrates the joy of living and individualism. Through her beautiful and lyrical evocation of the Song of Songs, she recreates love as a Garden of Eden shared by those who want to experience the happiness of being fully alive, emotionally, spiritually and physically. 


The Unsent Letters