Sunday, 16 April 2017

Two tales

               Nothing can occasion a comparison of Pride and prejudice and A thousand splendid suns other than my having read them one after the other. Also how long it's been since I obsessed over/felt depressed by a book this much. So, there.

               Spoilers abound.

              As for the titles, like Elizabeth Bennet says, 'One has got all the goodness and the other all the appearance of it'. As it turns out, one book is like an uplifting song, and the other, a fresh wound.

               The former is replete with literary merit, the latter a heavy plot.

               The former so exhilarating it takes a lot to keep still, the latter so saddening it takes anti-depressants to go on reading. Interestingly, one Tamil (yeah, I'm dropping the 'zh'; it seems like an affectation) word captures both these sensations: கிளர்ச்சி.

               With one, you wish it were true; with the other, you know it's too real to shirk off.

               While it is almost effortless to break out of the former's charm with the realisation that it is fiction, it is not as easy to shrug off Mariam and Laila as mere fictional characters. Maybe it's just negativity bias, or my pessimism, but forced marriage, domestic abuse, preference for male offspring and the pervasiveness of political unrest on everyday life seem so familiar that even the hope-filled end does very little to help with the feel-good.

              Elizabeth's eloquent rejection of the tedious Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy's curt gems to Miss Bingley and Elizabeth's incredible verbal duel with Lady Catherine - all, in effect, Jane Austen's brilliance - make one gush with admiration. Gutless Jalil, the failed escape of the women, resignation to cruel fate (all of which remind me of Sivagami from Sivagamiyin Sabadham), stoic Aziza and the cowardice of rebels who demolish historical artifacts, on the other hand, make one tremble with outrage.

               In the gradual metamorphosis - from hatred to embarrassment to love and matrimony in one, and from a progressive father to a bad marriage, to love, matrimony and hope in the other - they are similar.

               In the ultimate reward - Jane-Bingley, Elizabeth-Darcy; dead (brutally slain) Rasheed, Laila-Tariq, a recovering Afghanistan, (can't think of a convincing one for Mariam) - they are similar.

               Guess I can no longer criticize people who discuss TV soaps with unrelenting passion, without feeling a little hypocritical.

No comments:

Post a Comment