To Stories that touch the heart, and Monsoon, My Old Love

Some stories are clever. They strike with their ingenuity and execution and they hold your attention. Some stories are well-plotted- all the pieces fitting together neatly in the end like a jigsaw puzzle. Some stories however hold your heart with their authenticity and the ones in Julie Orringer’s collection titled How To Breathe Under Water belong to this category. Orringer's writing is beautiful- raw, lyrical and honest. They break your heart and choke you and you, immersed in these other lives, don't even notice you're holding your breath. And you realize why it is so- it's because Orringer draws you out from your own time and space and immerses you in with her characters who are all submerged, in the process of drowning, and you drown with them. Perhaps if we reach the end of the book, we shall become adept by then to breathe underwater. I sincerely hope that the people in the books did- the pilgrim children, the sixth-grader dancer, the drug-addict aunt... I hope they can all find their way to the surface, or learn to breathe underwater.
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When we first arrived at the house where we now live, ours was the only house for a long way. In the evenings, for we didn't have electricity yet, our house was like a lonely ship on a sea of darkness, gazing at the lights on the distant coast which were the far-off houses. Even after we got our electricity connection, our house remained the only house on the block. From our roof, and even from our balcony, we had an open view of the horizon lined by coconut trees. When the grey clouds assembled during a thunderstorm, the coconut trees would sway against the darkened sky, and if I could reach out and touch them, I would be in a fairy tale world where tall demons from folklore shook their foliage-crowned heads. Watching those trees sway in the storm was for me a soul-stirring experience. They hinted of a mysterious world that I am still trying to find, of stories that I am yet to discover, of an invitation and a promise. I think my romance with the rain dates back to those days and I'm still searching for the adequate words to do justice to it. There's something  inexplicably magical about the way the sky darkens and the leaves turn greener and the world suddenly turns beautiful and young. When I was in college as a young undergraduate, I would sometimes stand alone in the veranda in front of the girls' common room and watch it rain over the sports ground, creating  a grand silver curtain. And on the other side would be wonderland. But then the rain would dwindle and the world would return to its mundane version.
Granted, I really don't like stepping on waterlogged streets or splashing into puddles. My friend Raina is your person for that. But the state of my footwear and of the streets apart, the rain is truly beautiful, with its unearthly light that brings back memories of a greener, simpler, far more enchanting world.

One-day I shall find my magic land beyond the silver curtain and ride away on the wings of the storm clouds.

DISCLAIMER: I'm just trying to clear my head here

Comments

  1. Relatable 😍 .. It's a treat to the eyes to read it. I literally saw what I read through these words.

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