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A list of the lovey dovey stuff

A list of the lovey dovey stuff

It’s valentine week (We don’t care. So commercial. Stupid Archies. Whatever. Rolls eyes) so we sat down and picked 8 things that made us blush and gush and some that simply reinforced our belief in love (This is nothing like Madhuri Dixit buying flowers and heart-shaped candy for herself in Dil Toh Pagal Hai).

Louie and Pamela. I know it’s television and it’s scripted but this is probably one of the most beautiful declarations of love I have ever seen on television.

Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.” From this Sugar Says column.

This letter from U.S President Ronald Reagon to his 26 year old son.

Hema and kaushik. It’s not the greatest love story ever written, in fact I’m sure there are far better ones but this has stuck to the sides of my brain for some strange reason. It’s when loves mixes with loss and emptiness; the kind that makes you jump about and smile but leaves your eyes hollow. Jhumpa lahiri’s short stories from Unaccustomed Earth tell the story of Hema and Kaushik. It keeps changing perspective and talks about cultural similarity and the similarity of a meaningless existence that the two characters face. It’s one of those beautiful stories.

In the language of love, there’s love and then there’s The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. My favourite passage is the conversation that the Rabbit and Skin Horse have early on in the story, when Rabbit wants to know what being real is. “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” Here, just read the whole story.

The closing of credits of Grease can either be incredibly ridiculous or incredibly sincere. Maybe it’s because I love nonsense words, or because I love Travolta in that film, or that I love the whole film, but to my mind, real romance is when the two of you go together like rama lama lama ke ding-a-de-dinga-dong.

Deeti and Kalua. There are some books that come to you when you need them the most; when you feel like nothing will ever make things better. And then they do. I’m a terribly huge fan of Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy and especially of Deeti and Kalua’s story from the Sea of Poppies. He saves her from having to jump into her husband’s funeral pyre and then run away to start a life together. It’s love unlike we know or see because it’s pure and complicated but still sweet like teenage love. At the end of the book, Kalua leaves the Ibis to save his life and for the past four years, I have been waiting for Ghosh to finish the trilogy so I can finally know what happened to them.

I’m an Emily Dickinson fan. My favourites have always been the shorter ones with strong imagery and since in college my life was all about the unrequited, part of me clings to Wild nights! Wild nights!, as a symbol of joyousness and hope one needs in matters of the heart. WOW, that was a long sentence.

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Wild nights! Wild nights!

Were I with thee,

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile the winds

To a heart in port,—

Done with the compass,

Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!

Ah! the sea!

Might I but moor

To-night in thee!

“A writer of uncommon elegance” – The NY Times: A tribute to Jhumpa Lahiri

“A writer of uncommon elegance” – The NY Times: A tribute to Jhumpa Lahiri

Boredom can lead to some great discoveries. A few years ago I was spending a summer in my grandmother’s house in Bangalore and ended up picking up a copy of Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.

I started it grudgingly because I had already read and disliked The Namesake (which I admit, I read just before Mira Nair’s movie version). The narrative of that novel was uninteresting and the details felt unnecessary and disconnected from the story of the Ganguli family.

But the poignant, subdued emotions of Unaccustomed Earth planted themselves in my mind. Lahiri, a Bengali born in London, raised in Rhode Island and living in Brooklyn explores stories of generations of Indian immigrants that struggle to hold on to their roots or shake them off.

Yes, too many Indian authors write about immigration and living in an unaccustomed world, but Lahiri’s writing moves and grows as if unguided by a pen. The characters are themselves and grow into who they want to be in the most organic manner. She’s in no hurry. The last three stories in this short story collection, about Hema and Kaushik are some of the most beautiful stories I’ve read. You can read the first one here.

Interpreter of Maladies, her Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories moves from simple immigration issues to insightful stories about relationships. And her Indian characters could, really be of any nationality. The New Yorker’s archive has Sexy, one of my favourite stories from the book, here.

Some books come to you when you need them the most. Almost like the universe saw your underlying restlessness and frustration, scanned its ginormous library and threw a book in your lap.

Displacement is universal. Whether you’ve lived in the same house since you were born or whether you’ve moved three cities in the past year, the feeling of not entirely fitting in, is universal. There is always some people, some place where you struggle between who you are and who you are trying to be.

Jhumpa Lahiri is credited with having changed the future and course of American fiction and was slammed by some Indian critics for not painting Indians in a more positive light. But I think she has the ability to spin life’s most simple, monotonous chore into the most wonderful story, like this one about her father cooking pulav. Lahiri’s stories have a universal appeal aided with the slow and steady pace that makes you feel like your own life (if chronicled in it’s truest sense by a really brilliant writer) would fit right into the pages of a Jhumpa Lahiri book.

Bonus : Hell-Heaven

– Sharanya

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