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One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul is a funny take on a growing up brown in Canada, with all the baggage that comes along.
Growing up most of us faced various dilemmas be it the first pimple or the first boyfriend or the choice of clothes or even nail paint and many such trivial issues.
We have been jibed at and faced crude comments. People have given unasked for advice for what is and what is not correct.
We have lashed back sometimes at people and questioned our parents’ opinions. We have felt irritated at others’ attitude and lied to parents. We may have skirted around the taboos, shown our annoyance and rebelled against more such irrelevant topics.
Some of the fears and inhibitions of our parents take hold of us subconsciously and though we may disagree or throw tantrums, we do in some ways mirror them. Finding our own footing without annoying or totally disregarding our upbringing is a difficult proposition and too much work.
It may be a bit more so if you are growing up in a country where you are considered ‘brown’ even if you are fairer than most of your acquaintances in the country of your origin ‘India’. The western world has pre-conceived stereotypical views about Indians and it shows in conversations and behaviour like being called Osama bin Laden’s relative or being teased about the accent or being made fun of for ‘natural curry scent’.
Scaachi Koul in her ‘One day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter’ shares her growing up moments as a brown girl in Canada; some that scared her, some amusing and some plain irritating.
Her book has essays on various themes from fear of flying or finding a white boyfriend much older than her or hiding facts from parents to struggling with large body size and body hair to finding friendship in other ‘coloured’ people of different ethnicity. She writes about being trolled on internet by overzealous people sending extreme hate mails for a harmless shout out for non-white writers. She also mentions how women become an object of fascination for sex obsessed men who try to take advantage of women blaming them to having been wasted after a liquor indulgent evening and ‘asking for it’.
Her father’s quips and annoyance features in almost all her essays portraying fixed ideas and reservations of most Indian parents. At times I thought I was reading about my father!
But the book is not a rant or a sob story for world not being fair. Instead the stories have a witty streak in all the essays with her father’s emails and opinions setting the tone. The book has a humorous take on little episodes from shopping trip to conversation with her bikini waxer. Scaachi Koul’s keen observations about gender rules in both Indian and Western cultures find mention in her essays as well as does the arranged and love marriage debate.
The author has been brutally honest in her observations and yet is not hurtful to any sentiments. She has introduced the funny element in issues which otherwise may be provocative and dark or preachy or victimised sob story.
The book is aptly titled. Come to think of it, if all trivial non issues were left just like that, wouldn’t it be a better world? Truly none of the fights, snide comments, preachy advises and assumed hurt will not matter once we are dead and yet all right things and right behaviour will matter.
The book has been picked up for adaptation into a comedy television series but Scaachi Koul is not in a hurry and while she sits and sips wine celebrating the success of her debut collection of essays, this is a good book to read and muse about the modern life.
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Top image via Pixabay and book cover via Amazon
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