No Deadline for Love by Manasi Vaidya is funny. It provided me with laughs galore on a cold winter day when nothing seemed to go right. I loved the hot tempered Megha. I like real protagonists with frizzy hair, who are not in a hurry to straighten it, and issues with controlling their temper. As real as they come. I would have rated it higher if advertising jargon didn’t have me glossing over some lines.
I found my copy in the bookfair and it appears to have been autographed! I wouldn’t be caught dead with a book whose cover is bright pink but with No Deadline for Love I got more than my money’s worth. I do hope that she writes more books. I don’t know if laughter is the best medicine but it sure is the greatest distraction. Nothing like sarcasm to keep the pain at bay.
Now coming to the point, turns out in the Indian context there is a deadline. Not necessarily for love (because in their book only arranged marriages exist!) but definitely for marriage. People take your pictures when you’re eating in a canteen. Neighbours ask you when is the feast. In my opinion, it is quite presumptous of them to think that they are going to be invited. It might just be a court wedding and a small reception. If you don’t get hitched before 30 you turn into a pumpkin! Of course the last part people don’t add but that is what I am hearing. Apparently, the glow of the skin fades – said to me by a cab driver when he found out my age. He even insulted my parents for keeping me unmarried. You know what’s funny – he couldn’t figure out my age and had to ask me and then the spiel was neverending till I reached home. Well I was in a good mood so I humoured him and wrote him off as a village idiot. But turns out he was an idiot with principles. He returned my phone which I had left in the cab in a hurry to get away from him.
Continue reading “No Deadline for Love”
That urge to revisit. To take things slow. To see a film again. To read a much loved book again and not rush the process. It appears contradictory because as we grow older we realize we have less time. But really knowing something changes things, doesn’t it? I know I will never be able to read all the books I want, watch all the movies and series I want. Time is more limited than I had thought and flies far more quickly, especially when you are not paying attention. I realize being aware of your mortality is a good thing.
It is the strangest thing. On some days going through a day is hard with time barely passing, and getting to the next day is a struggle. Yet we struggle with time. If that is not a paradox I don’t know what is. If nothing life has a sense of humour. Irony is what makes the world go around.
Note – Thanks to the publishers for sending me a review copy.
In Aakash Mehrotra’s debut novel The Other Guy, Nikhil and Anuj meet and fall in love. How they come out to people who are close to them, and navigate their lives forms the rest of the story.
The book is not set in an engineering college (thank God for that!) but media studies in Delhi and we get a sneak peek into the college life they lead. The Delhi the book evokes, the sights, sounds and smells would be familiar to anyone who has ever lived or spent time there.
Romantic relationships are tricky as it is but the figuring out part is even trickier for people who are not heterosexual. You never know who will reciprocate, who is in the closet or who is interested but can’t reciprocate. This is shown well in the book – the indecision and the risks involved of putting oneself out there. Not telling people and keeping their relationships or sexual identity a secret is familiar in the Indian context where repression is the norm but Article 377 makes it a criminal offence which adds to the tension. The book makes me wonder how many people are forced to live such dual lives to escape an archaic law.
(Edit – Article 377 has been done away with. Though we have a long way to go, one hopes the story would end differently now.)
The writing for the most part felt laborious to me, too many similies and ornamental language made for clunky prose. The difference between love and lust ought to have been evident; I felt it was leaning more towards the latter in most places. The book would have packed a punch if was shorter.
The author perhaps thought he was keeping it real but the cop out ending undermined the basic premise of writing the book, as far as I was concerned. I applaud the author for choosing to write on such a contentious topic but its treatment is conventional which takes away from the book.
One doesn’t have to be gay or have an alternate sexual orientation to understand the core of the book but if you have never loved anyone, you won’t be able to be feel the pulse of the book. Having said that, if you have ever felt out of place or not been accepted for who you are, The Other Guy will resonate with you.
Dr. Albert Ellis needs no introduction. He is one of the greatest psychologists, the pioneer of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) which is said to be the forerunner of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I have not studied psychology in any capacity but it has always fascinated me. So when the opportunity to review Dr. Anjali Joshi’s I am Albert Ellis (translated into English by Meenal Kelkar) came my way nobody was happier than me. It was a revelation. For people who are debating whether or not to go for therapy, read Albert Ellis and you will find the answer.
In the beginning we are introduced to Albert as a child and his family. With an absentee father and neglectful mother, he looks after his younger brother and sister and becomes self-reliant very early in life.
We all live together in one house but separately.
Isn’t that the reality for most of us? Ensconced firmly in our (technological) bubbles we come to the surface only when we are in dire need of real time and face-to-face social contact.
We see how in college Albert becomes self confident, forms opinions and sticks to them, even getting expelled as a result of standing for what he believed in.
The book talks about him studying in the public libraries of New York and forming his views on sexology by reading numerous books and papers. We see the trials and tribulations of getting his work published and being rejected by publishers. Because he uses words which most people shy away from it makes his publishers uncomfortable.
He starts seeing clients and his success as a marriage counsellor leads to the formation of Love and Marriage Problems Institute (LAMP). To make it official, he decides to register his organization and get a degree in psychology. He decides to train in psychoanalysis and the course of history is forever altered. Psychoanalysis as it was then didn’t appeal to his scientific mind. The philosophy of Epictetus resonated with him and thus was born Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), a new approach to psychotherapy. The theory of REBT states that our behavior and emotions originate from our beliefs towards the events, not the events themselves.
Continue reading “Book review – I am Albert Ellis by Meenal Kelkar”
I was watching The Fault in Our Stars and I was amazed how it felt like a new film. Hearing the news of the Bollywood remake has sent me scurrying to the book. I don’t want to imagine the lead actors to see Augustus and Hazel in my mind’s eye. I wish I had never seen the pictures! How are they going to keep the humour and wryness intact in the film is what bafffles me. One can only hope they don’t massacre it. When I watched it I did not know this was on the cards and had John Green not tweeted the news I would have shrugged it off as a rumour.
How did I miss the cameo of author John Green when I saw it on the big screen is equally astounding. Of course I remember the key points and see some differences (inevitable comparisons to the book) but four years later (it released in July 2014) I can somehow just enjoy what’s unfolding on screen and be at peace with it while racking my brain to remember the exact date I saw it first. (Thank you Gmail for keeping a log of my memories, of tickets booked and the exact expenses.)
Instead of watching a recently released film (there are so many I want to watch) I stuck to an old favourite. Not exactly true, I know, if you have seen a film once but sometimes once is enough to know that you will be returning to it. I know the terrain for a film I have seen before and the comfort factor is of paramount importance when in pain. I know that pain demands to be felt but sometimes distractions help you survive so you may lose a few battles but win the war.
Like there’s comfort food, there’s comfort viewing because with something that is familiar I won’t be in for any nasty surprises and that’s all one needs to get through the day sometimes. For all the unpredictability packed into the day, you need something to hold on to. And it is a bonus when so much time has passed that the film is almost new. The Fault in Our Stars was like a breath of fresh air (pun intended) and I am looking forward to reading the book again. Okay? Okay.
Have you read The Fault in Our Stars or seen the film?