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Some of us carry our scars visibly, on the surfaces of our skins, as a conspicuous reminder of the chaos and frightening randomness of life. Others bury them deep.
When the book began with the quote of Firdaus’, “How shall a man escape from what is written; How shall he flee from his destiny?”
When the prologue began with an accident, I thought I would settle down with the book till I complete the rather lengthy book, of little more than four hundred pages. But then I little knew I would be traveling and I was loathe to abandon it only to pick it up at the next available time slot.
Before I dwell into the plot, I am perforce to tell why the book worked for me. Unlike most books that has the protagonist’s (s’) suffering because of someone else’s (read men) action; this book dealt firmly with each of the four main protagonists’ lives and each one of them took the responsibility for their own lives- be it the happy moment or not so happy moment as we were taken into their journey of a little more than thirty odd years. The other’s action was just peripheral to their respective lives.
The book is in four parts ranging from eight year old girls to well into when they are in their forties.
As the story progresses, Pari, born into Peshawar-born middle-class Tamilians turns from rather a toothy girl full of complex to a responsible, beautiful human being. She takes the rather tumultuous journey firmly on her chin while becoming a teacher at her alma mater.
Her best friend from school, the beautiful, affluent Samira, becomes a TV reporter and a global celebrity. Did she have a cushier life?
Roma who detests all things Delhi and is unable to accept the move from Calcutta has no other friend than the kind Pari. She hates Samira all through her school life. She marries Pari’s rather hot cousin. But is she happy? Growing up, has she forgiven Samira for all her imagined slights?
Madhu, the daughter of the driver in Samira’s household suddenly finds herself lost when she loses everything including the largesse of Samira’s father almost overnight. Does she become a doctor that she dreamed of? Is she still wallowing in self-pity?
Pari has a great pal in her mother who very beautifully tells Pari, “You cannot depend on someone else like a crutch for the rest of your life, Pari. You need to learn to make your own way. If your friendship is true, it will survive anything.” I think that stood in good stead for Pari as she grew into her own skin.
We often read about wrong company that one keeps. As Pari observes when she thinks of her brother Sri and his friend Rakesh, “I supposed Rakesh was to Sri what Samira was to me. But where Samira was our ray of sunshine, Rakesh was like a dark cloud that followed Sri around.”
Pari reminiscences at the beginning of her adult life, “oh, the lies we tell ourselves. The deceptions we inflict upon our unsuspecting selves, believing that life will give us everything we wish for. Then one day when all those dreams have turned into ash, we wake up and we’re never the same again.”
As it is often the case with most readers, the quote drove home much more than any self-help book would for me.
Among the other peripheral characters, I liked Ms. Margaret D’Souza, the principal of Kinara Public school. What it is to have a great teacher and educator who makes it her life’s mission to be good with her wards. Naturally then her retirement turns into a celebration with all her old students coming to bid her farewell. Do the girls come together to forgive and forget? As Samira says, they were just sixteen and hence mistakes were bound to happen.
As the epilogue rolls by, it is remarked that “none of us escape life unscathed. Some of us carry our scars visibly, on the surfaces of our skins, as a conspicuous reminder of the chaos and frightening randomness of life. Others bury them deep where no one else can see them or fathom their existence. Yet, we know where they are and we worry at them constantly.”
I liked the flow of the novel as it traversed the journey of each. I loved the little things that make school lives what it is. I enjoyed that every one of the character were human with their warts and all. They did what they had to do as they lived their respective life and took the readers firmly along in their journey.
If you’d like to pick up Intersections written by Poornima Manco, use our affiliate links at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
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Image source: shutterstock and book cover Amazon
Chandrika R Krishnan, a Bengaluru-based writer and educationist likes all things beginning with a ‘T’ - talking, teaching, tales and tea.
Her 300-odd published articles, poems and stories are eclectic and mostly experiential and read more...
This post has published with none or minimal editorial intervention. Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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If her MIL had accepted her with some affection, wouldn't they have built a mutually happier relationship by now?
The incident took place ten years ago.
Smita could visit her mother only in summers when her daughter had school holidays. Her daughter also enjoyed meeting her Nani, and both of them had done their reservations for a week. A month before their visit, her husband told her, “My mom is coming for 4-5 months!”
Smita shuddered. She knew the repercussions. She would have to hear sarcastic comments from her mother-in-law for visiting her mother. She may make these comments directly only a bit, but her servants would be flooded with the words, “How horrible she is! She leaves me and goes!”
Are we so swayed by star power and the 'entertainment' quotient of cinema that satisfies our carnal instincts that we choose to ignore our own subconscious mind which always knows what is right and what is wrong?
Trigger Warning: This has graphic descriptions of violence and may be triggering to survivors and victims of violence.
Do you remember your first exposure to an extremely violent act or the aftermath of a violent act?
I am pretty sure for most of us it would be through cinema. But I remember very vividly my first exposure to aftermath of an unbelievably grotesque violent act in real life. It was as a student at a Dental College and Hospital.
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