Monday, January 30, 2012

The vague women


To be honest, I was really, really skeptic when I had ordered the book online. Ninety-nine out of hundred times I wouldn't have bought it. Chick-lit, don't buy it - I kept telling myself. And yet, I went against my instincts and bought it.

It lay in a peaceful corner of my book-shelf for months. And then, without any warning to myself whatsoever, I decided to have a stab. And was late for work the day I started on it. And was almost late on the subsequent day. And the next day being a Sunday, I polished it off in one go.

To begin with, it's not mushy at all. The book revolves around two women, of different backgrounds, age and what not, united only by their profession. And vagueness.

In a world of gory perfection, the two protagonists stand out with the immense vagueness they're blessed with: they can't find directions, they don't pay their bills on time, they choose partners on sheer instinct, they do not complete gym courses, they have their own favourite online psychiatrists, they're ready to forget all woes over Pure Magic biscuits.

The entire book has an immensely refreshing air about it: the style is lucid (it's gripping enough to keep you hooked all through), the characters believable and very three-dimensional (for all you know, they might have been you; or maybe your neighbour), the descriptions crisp, and the observations vivid enough. Between them, all these attributes are good enough to make a book good. This book, however, doesn't stop there: it goes a step ahead and creates a world of vagueness you'd kick yourself for not being a part of. It would make you curse for being too perfect, too calculating all these years. It would make you desperate to back in time and re-live life the way it should be lived. It's only that you'd realise that it's already too late for vagueness. Or is it?

The book, of course, might be autobiographical. It might not be one as well. But, then again, does it matter at all? Ultimately it's all about the impact you create, isn't it - instead of where you draw the inspiration from?

Then again, given that the book involves two seriously young newlyweds, the chapters might easily have meandered into lines of passion and lust. That would've been the easier (and possibly more profitable) way out. But then, why try something so commonplace when you can fall back upon vagueness?

Finally, despite the gender, I could relate to both women in more ways than one. In more ways than one they brought me memories of what I had wanted my youth to be like, what I craved for my life to be like. And if you cannot relate to at least one of them, do let me know. I'd probably think twice before our next conversation.

Thank you, Devapriya Roy, whoever you are. You have unknowingly lit up the days of a man in exile, miles away from all the nice things that are there in the world (The Book Fair, Campari rolls and truckloads of memories, for example). In a country where people study to get a job and work to get married, let the Abhis and Mils always be there.

Followers