Some Musings and A Book Review

** Cherry Writes **

I have an interview in five days that I have to prepare for. But I choose to pen down a review of this book that I started and finished reading two days ago along with random musings and stressful thoughts because I need to write and paint and read when I should be studying. That is just how I function. Unfortunately.

At hostel, there were classes, chores and friends that helped me escape the preparation. So, I came home in hopes of relieving myself of any excuse I might or might not come up with. And I’m still not serious enough. This habit of doing things at the very last moment and still getting good enough results has spoilt me. Even though I know that it won’t work this time, I still find it difficult to sit and be productive. In my defense, at the cost of sounding lame, I even tried putting on brown noise in the afternoon and found myself waking up three hours later.

My brain believes that if I could have an amazing time watching something or reading something that is so satisfying then I’d be able to concentrate on my studies. This does not include quality series or books. So, unfortunately, nothing cut it – not the hundred YouTube shorts I scrolled through, not the twenty Wattpad stories I started but gave up halfway, not even chatting with Mom for hours. Disappointed but not surprised. So, here I am, as a desperate last measure, doing what I know would give me the most satisfaction – writing. If this still doesn’t do the trick, I guess I’ll just fling it.

I don’t mean it.

It has been a long time since I’ve written anything. So, I’m just going with the flow, trusting the process hoping my sister finds it good enough to post on her blog so it reaches a few readers who will relate to me. Good wishes and prayers are always welcome. In my case, I will most definitely need it.

Coming back to the book I read, it’s “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover. This one’s been lying on my Drive folder for a few years now. It was a lot that I expected – love triangles, steamy romance, misunderstandings and a predictable answer to the question “Who will she end up with?”. But it was also a lot I did not expect – real “flawed” human characters, domestic abuse, sacrifices, ambitions and so much more.

**Spoiler Alert**

It was mostly a reiteration of ideas and beliefs that have been presented numerous times in numerous ways but still never gets old. Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most – you get hurt because you love them. There are no bad people only people who do bad things sometimes. I’m not saying it’s an excuse to forgive them or for them to not get punished but it’s important to understand that no person is born evil. They are only a victim of circumstances. Think Maleficent, or Harry Osborn. I loved Ryle and Lily’s naked truths to each other. No filter. No lies. Only truth. Raw and unadulterated. “Naked truths aren’t always pretty.” And despite that, if it is naked truth time, there is only truth.

I want to be you when I grow up.” Lily’s mom said to her when Lily introduced Ryle to her mother as her boyfriend because she found herself a handsome and dependable person. “I want to be you when I grow up.” Lily said that to her mother when she realized that her mother was strong to have stayed with her abusive husband for her daughter. I loved how Lily dreaded her mom moving to Boston but realized that it’s not so bad and was even thankful at some point for her mom being so close by. Being close to home is always a blessing, though we may not always accept it. As a I child, I had always thought I’d have a career outside India and couldn’t wait to get into college because that would mean I could live in hostel, with friends. In a way, it has been a nice experience but most of all, it made me realize I’d rather be at home. These days its just my parents and me which is convenient since I get the room to myself and I don’t need to get up fifteen times to fill the water bottle or switch on the fan or tidy the bedsheet for my sister. But on days, I miss those days too, when I convinced her to discuss books and movies with me instead of studying for her college exam because she wasn’t going to fail anyway.

Do not stretch your limits. I have always known that I would never tolerate toxicity in my life from anyone – not my family, not my friends and not my boyfriend. However small or insignificant it might be.

Preventing your heart from forgiving someone you love is actually a hell of a lot harder than simply forgiving them.

I thought I’d never give up on my friendships for love but I did. I slowly became detached to my guy friends because I wanted a peaceful relationship where we don’t fight over petty issues. And in very small forms, it continued. I could have addressed them but I chose not to. Once you start being complacent, it will continue and grow.

Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.

My mother went through it.

I went through it.

I'll be damned if I allow my daughter to go through it.

I kiss her on the forehead and make her a promise. "It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us."

Again, there were things I wish were better. Like, interactions between the supporting and side characters. But let’s leave those for another time. It was a good book, not an amazing one but had enough to make me think and reflect on my own behavior and that of people around me.

Another thing that caught my attention was the cover page – the one with cherry blossom. Spring, new beginnings (birth of two children, new beginning with Ryle, divorce with Ryle, new beginning with Atlas, opening of flower shop, Alyssa working for the first time in the flower shop), fleeting nature of life (good moments with Ryle came to halt thrice, Atlas being beaten up by Lily’s dad) itself, symbol of hope as well as sacrifice (hope the 2nd time around that their married life would be good, that Ryle would keep his words, that Lily would give her one last chance, Atlas’ hope that Lily would live a good life (all the time from when Lily got hurt till when she called for help) and leave Ryle (when he saw Lily hurt) and fall in love with him (at the very end)) – sacrifice of Lily despite being hurt twice, Ryle agreeing to divorce after Lily gives birth. Cherry blossoms symbolize both birth and death, beauty and violence. They are a central motif in the Japanese worship of nature, but they have also historically signified the short but colorful life of the samurai.

A month later, as I am finishing up this post, I realize how often people face this conflict between forgiving their loved ones for hurting them and fighting to stay hurt and betrayed because that is exactly what happened. And slowly, we become so numb that we no longer hurt or forgive, we just stay. Satisfied that it could be so much worse but it isn’t.

We all have a limit. What we’re willing to put up with before we break. When I married your father, I knew exactly what my limit was. But slowly . . . with every incident . . . my limit was pushed a little more. And a little more. The first time your father hit me, he was immediately sorry. He swore it would never happen again. The second time he hit me, he was even more sorry. The third time it happened, it was more than a hit. It was a beating. And every single time, I took him back. But the fourth time, it was only a slap. And when that happened, I felt relieved. I remember thinking, ‘At least he didn’t beat me this time. This wasn’t so bad.

P.S. – My interview went well. I wasn’t selected. Gave another interview yesterday. Went well. Again, not selected. Preparing for the next one, whenever it would be.


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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