Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Does Your Love Story Need A Reality Check?

Posted by Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8 comments Links to this post


“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.” 
― Lisa Kleypas

I woke up this morning to a surreal image of love in my head.

L-O-V-E

This four letter, just a tiny four letter word has all the power in the world; practically it is the most unpractical emotion ever, and we all know it, love is outright ridiculous. But we all crave this emotion, in spite of knowing its repercussions.

So, when I was thinking and having a rather profound conversation on this strong emotion with people around me, I had this strange feeling that most of us, maybe most of us are setting ourselves up for a massive disappointment. And I would like to blame Literature for this. Yes, let me just thrust the sole blame on Literature and Fiction.

When women talk about love, all they need is a Fitzwilliam Darcy, and isn't it ludicrous that he is a fictional character? I mean, how fair is it to compare any average man with Mr Darcy? Cut the man some slack. I am glad that men do not read Jane Austen because no lady can match up to the wits of an Austen heroine.

Literature forms paints this ethereal and rosy image of love. You know the one, the perfect one, the Prince charming, the drool worthy vampire, Emma Wodehouse, and the metaphors that maybe, just maybe we forget that we live in a cynical world where the goodness of fiction is unavailable. I know, what a shame! Fiction and Literature have been messing up with our romantic lives since times immemorial and much to my chagrin, I find myself saying that Fiction is a fallacy. Quite a fallacy!

Can we all for a moment forget that there is a thing called Fiction and say this to ourselves, especially all the women out there who are smitten by Edward Cullen? (Hold your horses)

I look at this man, a man who is not a fictional character, he is noble but he has his off moments. He is imperfect. He is flawed in many million ways. He does not have blue eyes. He does not read out Pablo Neruda to me. He does not hold my perfectly manicured arm all the time and sing Bryan Adams to me all night. He does not function that way.

But he is there for me when I need him. He knows that I am a simple girl with a plateful. Hey, I do not need a man who can get me a Volvo like Edward Cullen. Not an Edward Rochester either. And when I find a man who loves me in the non-fictional way, I will hold on to him. And I know for a fact that I will open the Pandora’s Box. I do not want to run away from it and crave for a blue eyed boy. When I see this man, all I can think of is home. And I want to go home to him everyday.

Love is all about putting up with the whims and caprices and loving the idiosyncrasies of our partners in the most convenient ways ever.

Read fiction for the whole purpose of enjoying Literature delightfully. Do not dive into them so deeply that you do not own a story of your own. Why do you want to live a story written by some neurotic writer who wrote a story all because he has insomnia and was high on caffeine all night? Be the lead of your story and make your partner the hero. What is the point in living a life if all you need is a Darcy? Because no surprises there, he belongs to Elizabeth Bennet and erm, you are a non-fictional person, aren't you?

There are no free lunches in life. You need to meet your partner mid-way to make things work because this vile thing called love is worth all the pain and effort and this is not fictional.

So now, close your eyes and ask yourself, does your love story need a reality check?

(Disclaimer: I am a strong lover of Jane Austen's work and this is still an understatement.)

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Five Books That Will Change Your Life's Perspective

Posted by Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, April 06, 2014 4 comments Links to this post

People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.
  -Malcolm X

This was one statement my English lecturer quoted very often and back then in school, it just made me roll my eyes. I mean, how in the world would reading a book change your perspective towards life? And that was when he gave me a copy of Charles Dickens’ The Great Expectations and ever since that day, I have read that book five times. I do not believe in reading a good book once and shoving it inside my shelf. A beautiful book can never turn obsolete, isn’t it? I am a voracious reader, and I love reading books that belong to different genres, and recently, I have read few books that have changed my perspective towards life, and I believe they would have impacted many readers out there. *Drumroll*
And here is the list:

 Eat, Pray, Love-Elizabeth Gilbert: One day, I was browsing when I saw a quote, “Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be”, which made me read this book. And of course, Julia Roberts. Eat, Pray, Love is a story of a woman, her trepidations, her relationships, spirituality, traveling, depression etc. Elizabeth is a very successful woman with a healthy marital life, however, instead of being happy, she was plainly discontent. She leaves behind everything and goes in search of peace, travels to Bali, Paris, India and discovers her true self. What this book teaches us is when we find what we love, and do what we want, everything falls in place.

To Kill A Mockingbird-Harper Lee: To kill a Mockingbird is a genius book, and genius is still an understatement. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and you get a fresh perspective towards life each time you read it. So what is so special about this 1960s book that has never gone out of print? It is still one of the highly read best-sellers. This book talks about love and hatred, compassion, humour and emotions, kindness and severity. Like I already said, this book gives you a fresh and a different perspective towards life every time you read it.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower-Stephen Chbosky: This is a very contemporary book that most of the youngsters relate themselves with. This is a story of Charlie, a teenager who is caught between trying to live his life and running away from it. An intelligent, shy, socially awkward kid that he is, he wants to be a writer when he grows up. He tries to participate in activities, makes new friends, reads good books, makes mix tapes, and has his share of dates, family relationships etc. He is deeply affected with his Aunt Helen and best friend’s death and has a tough time dealing with them. This is such a beautiful book and makes you go hopeful about everything.

Fight Club-Chuck Palahniuk: Now, this book is way beyond epic! This book is a story of a man who has lost himself in the world filled with failure, lies, and unhappiness. He finds comfort in secret underground fight clubs that are held after wee hours. A brilliant book that deals with western consumerism, failure, dark humour. This book, later, was made into a movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in the lead. It is one of the best movies ever.

A Calendar Too Crowded-Sagarika Chakraborty: When it comes to writing, our Indian writers are no less. I have read this book when I interviewed this writer for a magazine. Oh, she is wonderful woman, a graduate from NLU and ISB, and it is quite amazing to see how grounded she is in spite of all her achievements. This thought-provoking book is a collection of poignant stories and moving poems which does not just make you think but also helps you to learn few important dates in the calendar of the life of a woman. The stories/poems in this book are classified into twelve months. Basically, the book revolves around womanhood and it showcases the miseries faced by women. Also, the book has a strong influence of Indian Mythology. This is a highly recommended book.
 

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