Book Review Treat: In Love and Free by Jagdish Joghee

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In Love and Free by Jagdish Joghee is a novel which looks at the nature of relationships very closely in modern society and questions the precepts on which we base the expectations of a relationship.
Shruthi is a modern South Indian girl, she has been blessed with everything in life. She has had a perfect life- a rich supportive family, a good education and a loving boyfriend who later becomes her husband. Even her in-laws were loving and supportive and she was later blessed with two kids.
However, the thing that hold Shruthi back is that she’s always been overprotective and she has never had to take a fall in her life. Thus, despite being a very happy person she finds herself in an extra-marital relationship with her neighbor Rahul.
What I find very funny, whether it be the attitude of the writer or the character only, that the same person who gives up her career after her marriage with Madhan (apparently because he was already earning very well and she had no drive to have a standing of her own) under the guise of ‘motherhood’ later tries to moralize extramarital affairs (done without the knowledge and consent of her partner who trusted her so much and was loyal to the core with her) throughout the novel. Not to mention, her extra-marital affairs affected her parenting as well, she ended up neglecting her kids when they needed her the most.
While the question raised about society enforcing on monogamous relationships as a rule is valid and worth thinking about, however, given Shruthi’s situation, it’s very alarming that the author has tried to justify ‘adultery’ as a form of polygamy till the end of the novel whereas there have been humongous questioning of why women should work after marriage. (The protagonist seemed to lack a drive for self-development and responsibility throughout the novel).
The hypocritical nature in the development of this character brings out the question as to what kind of female protagonists do contemporary male writers seem to portray. While a woman’s desire to balance self-reliance and motherhood is questioned; infidelity as a form of polygamy (even at the cost of upkeep of children and family) has been justified till the end. I wonder if this form of polygamy is justified for men?
Shruthi has been in love with two men. While she says she loves her husband who toils so hard for her and does his best to provide her and their kids a safe and secured childhood; she also loves her best friend’s husband secretly.
However, when she realizes the hidden motive behind Rahul’s love and more importantly the fact that he was having another affair through his wife, her views on polygamy magically changes and she starts hating Rahul for having cheated on her all the while.
Despite having information over how Rahul was secretly planning to harm both his wife and Shruthi, she makes very less effort to actually act upon it and take responsibility. Neither she tries to apologize to her husband nor her best friend. The only luck she had saving her from a life-debiliating situation was her luck, her father’s money and her husband’s blind love.
Though the initial premise of the novel is very promising, like:
* how the protagonist compares her life and challenges with the sea, sometimes powerful other times crashing and some other times silent and weak. She beautifully relates her life situations and choices with the Sea as a witness and a silent strength.
* in her monologues about how society views relationships and polygamy. The expectations, rules versus the matters of heart

However, the threads which looked very promising were left loose by the author. There was a very weak character building, and questioning of morality was a very dubious and hypocritical in nature. As a protagonist, I would say Shruthi did not contain much strength nor content. She did very less, rather she took further self-sabotaging choices when she was given a chance to act upon her ‘ideas’. It is shown that Shruthi as a character never truly grows. True to her upbringing, she relied on fate and ‘adults’ taking care of her dirty business.

She does questions morality in society, but only when it suits her personal interest and caters to her own convenience and her personal gains. In places where morality tested her own discretion and required her to make tough choices, standing up for herself and others, she falled short because her contemplation only came from a place of self appeasement.

I think this is a major turn off for this book because if the characters don’t manage to teach you something valuable in this already complex moral society, what is the point of raising questions in the first place? Liberal views are good when the precepts of it are same for both the genders. Here we see a topsy side of the patriarchal society- while the woman questions her right to freedom, she’s enraged and hurt when a man is put in the same position.
If she so believed in an extra-marital affair as polygamy, why did she judge Rahul when she found he had another woman in his life? Wasn’t she doing the same with Madhan, her husband, as he was doing with her?
If she believed in polygamy, shouldn’t she have conveyed this to the person she called her soulmate and the one who fought till the end for her?
Also, if she accuses a working woman to be neglecting her role as a mother, why did she neglect her own children (and her in-laws’) because of her affair?
Is there a clear message being sent by these contradictory views? Is Shruthi a quintessential ideal character for a modern patriarchal mindset, catering to male fantasies? While she’s allowed to be sex-starved, she’s not allowed to be a strong, independent and a self-reliant person.
There’s also this question of how a woman in modern times receiving trust and support from her in-laws abuses the freedom right behind their back. And she’s never questioned for it!

Throughout, we find Shruthi’s character to be very childish and insensitive to other’s concerns. Even at the climax when she was acquainted with the choice to act upon her mistakes, she does very little to apologize genuinely and set things right. She infact, as usual, relies on her fate and her Dad to take hold of the situation.

The writing style used in the book is casual and easy for a reader, and in the end the story suddenly takes up pace. There have been instances where the tension has been built well. The characters are very realistic, even Shruthi’s character in my opinion because she questioned the moral standards of the society only when she saw the thrill and adventure in it. However, when the initial honeymoon phase was over and it was time for tough choices and taking up a stand, she began to question her own liberal views!

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Love’s Myriad Challenges

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—- By Aditya Shrivastava

A big part of love means consciously opening yourself up to your beloved and sharing with your partner from what’s best in you. This means consciously choosing and risking being vulnerable and trusting your partner and revealing yourself.

The opening up of oneself occurs relatively easily in the beginning of most romantic relationships because the euphoria of new love encourages this–sharing ourselves, opening ourselves is reciprocated and also helps to increase the mutual intoxication and euphoria of falling in love.

But as love deepens and changes from novel to familiar, it also changes from automatic to conscious and deliberate, from easy to requiring effort and attention and attentiveness. It’s similar to the difference between stumbling upon someone else’s garden and consuming/enjoying in all of the flowers and vegetables and fruits you find there, versus learning to plant and tend to a garden of your very own.

Which means consciously and deliberately choosing to open yourself up instead of waiting to be opened up.

As your beloved becomes more important to you and more and more a part of you, loving your partner means actively choosing to open yourself up to him or her instead of passively waiting for this to happen for you automatically and or because the feeling or mood strikes you.

Love'sMyriadChallenges

Consciously opening yourself up to your partner means allowing yourself to be vulnerable to loss, to death, to rejection, to pain, to disappointment—to the full gamut of the risks and rewards of intimacy—which also means choosing to open yourself to the possibility of beauty, consoling, tenderness, kindness, warmth, passion that can only be found in a mutually loving relationship.

Consciously opening yourself up to your partner and the relationship also means approaching your partner and the relationship from what’s best in you.

Thus, a sizeable part of consciously choosing to open yourself to your partner and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and real means trying to remove your own inner blocks to doing this.

And this almost certainly entails courage, insight, understanding, journaling, inner work.

We all have blocks to love. The blocks are not our fault. They are relics from our past, useful in the past because they helped us survive and make sense of what was confusing, new, foreign, dysfunctional, neglectful, even abusive, even traumatic in our past. Those blocks may be useful now, or they may be intrusive, counterproductive, and not needed now. Because now that we are grown and have survived and are in a different environment, different responses may likely serve us better, as well as serve better those we love.

And because we have grown and survived, we are capable of those different responses, if necessary, if warranted.

It will be up to us consider all of this.

And it will be up to us to choose.

We can take responsibility for our own life and relationship by making the choice to open ourselves and give and receive the love that those around us have for us as well as want and desire from us. Or we try to avoid that responsibility by continuing to act from the past and trying to love those around us from behind the safety and familiarity of our blocks and relics, and in spite of our blocks and relics, and see if we are actually able to love and be loved……

………..

Read more about the author:

https://mindpickles.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/guest-blogger-aditya-srivastava/

Book Review Treat: Hues Of Modern Love by Paras

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Can love be so cruel that it shatters all the bits and pieces of your heart?

Can there be a second chance in love turned sour?

This is the story of a friendship formed in an unexpected journey which unearthed so many hidden hues of modern love. Cherry and Joy meet in a railway station and have a thrilling adventure which strengthens their bond beyond imagination. Further on, they meet beautiful and bubbly Zoiba who plays a very important role in their lives to help them realize the truths of their emotions.

The three of them share their disappointments, hurts, pains and joys and bare their souls to each other, thus bringing the perfect bond between 3 complete strangers. While Joy reveals his disappointment over his womanizing habits which further leads to breaking the heart of his girl completely, Cheery reveals his anguish over losing his girl to the cruelties of fate due to a small careless mistake. The only solace to the heartbreaking nature of love is Zoiba’s story, who has a perfectly realized love, which brings the reader to realization that love stories always don’t end so tragically, and more often than not just require nurturing like a delicate seed.

However, the crestfallen protagonists are given a second chance and a chance for resolution of past hurts through a twist of fate which brings them to another realization: a thing as fragile as love and someone as spontaneous as a hopeful lover, can they both survive together without breaking each other?

Paras, true to the title and tagline “An Odyssey Of Soul To Soul” has done justice to his novel through this soulful saga of love, betrayal, disappointments and drama. This book has a different yet relatable storyline, quite unlike usual chick lits and romance novels. The stories and narration are truly heart touching and soul kissing.

The downside to this ever-sweet saga of love and friendship is the drag writing, especially in the beginning of the book, unmistakable grammatical errors and typos throughout the novel, and dialogue structuring.

The plot has strong message packed on love and soul-searching but the writing dilutes the effect at many parts. Still, this book has a huge potential and is a breather among the usual clutter of Mills and Boons clichéd stories. A must read if you want to have a deeper understanding on love and relationships.

© 2016 Mind Pickles

Rating: 3 out of 5

Find the book at : http://www.amazon.in/Hues-Modern-Love-Paras/dp/938513731X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464364116&sr=1-1&keywords=hues+of+modern+love

Meaning Of Love

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—– Aditya Shrivastava

Love is not all you need. You need mutual respect, compromise, sacrifice, understanding, the willingness to work at it and stand by him or her when times get rough. You need to be willing to be by their side not only during the bright days but also during the dark ones. To encourage them to become the best version of themselves, but also to love and accept them as they are today.
To be under the impression that the perfect person will come along, is to be under the impression that relationships do not take work. When, in fact, no relationship has ever worked without work itself. When I look around at my parents, grandparents, or other couples who have been together for decades – I am often surprised by how different they are from each other. None of them will tell you that they have been married for 30+ years because the pieces just fell into place. None of them will tell you that they are free from fights, disagreements, or conflicts.
None of them will tell you that they will stay together forever because, hey, it’s easy. None of them will tell you that they pledged their life to the other because being with them is sunshine and rainbows every single day.
But, that’s the thing about love. When you love someone – when you really love someone, it’s not a matter of convenience. It’s not only something you feel when times are good, it is the very foundation of staying together when times are not as good. When they are bad. When life is tough. That’s when you pull those you love closer, not push them away. It’s the cornerstone of your willingness to fix something you might feel is broken instead of just throwing it away.
You are committing to someone’s whole self. You are not just committing to them under the condition that they stay young and beautiful – because they will not. And neither will you. You are not just committing to them until someone better comes along – you are committing to the idea while neither they nor your relationship is perfect – this is the person you want to be with. You are committing to their very being. To the idea that the two of you are the consistent center and your circumstances simply orbit around you.
You do not commit to someone because things are perfect, you commit to them in spite of the fact that they’re not.
Commitment is not just an arbitrary word to be found in the dictionary. It is not just a statement of temporary monogamy. It is a pledge, a vow, a way of living that embodies honor and integrity. Commitment is not a rule, or a regulation – it is an action.
Commitment is not the act of losing your freedom; but exercising it to choose who you want to give your most valuable gifts to:
Your time, your emotions, and your heart.
Sorry, you’ll never find the perfect person. But, you will find the right person, once you realize that the two do not have to be the same

………..

Read more about the author:

https://mindpickles.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/guest-blogger-aditya-srivastava/