Abandonment Issues

“You will leave me too?”
“I have to take up this job, honey.”

Ruby looked out of the window to the orange sky, She did not want to acknowledge the fact that her best friend could be leaving. Just when she had started to build her life up again. It all felt so unreal. She tried to hold back her tears.

“Look at me honey.”

The warm touch of the hand made her turn. Kara always had this way of making everything seem alright. Even now, when it seemed to getting worse at every moment. She just could not conjure up the image of a life without Kara. She began to cry.

Kara had been the warm slice of life for her after Louise had left. She had helped her find her job, helped her with moving on and everything else. Now, that Kara would be gone…

“I have abandonment issues Kara. I won’t come to the airport.”

Kara smiled at her little friend.

“Never asked you to come Rubes. I hope you have a good day.”

Ruby watched Kara walk out of the cafe. She watched the waiters as they got working on their daily jobs again.

She sat there for a long while mulling over her thoughts. It was not as if it was the end of all. However, it was the beginning of a very sad chapter for her.

The thing about walking with sadness in middle of London is, the weather really hits you. Even when the sky is orange because of the setting sun, the perennial grey of the London sky touches your soul. Kara would have said something nice about the weather. Complimented it on the romance possibly, and Ruby would have smiled at her, teasing her for her follies.

 

“You do not pour oil like that!”
“There are ways to pour oil too?” Ruby let out an exasperated sigh.
“Oh come on, you have to learn to cook a little.”

Kara always annoyed her this way. Yet, she was the only sunshine in her life that was permanent. Ruby looked at Kara for a while as she took over the cooking. She looked so busy with herself.

“How is Louise dear?” Kara’s voice surprised her outright.

She blushed crimson as she looked at her friend. “H-He is alright I guess.

“No proposals lately?”

“None.” She smiled a little.

“Oh are you absolutely sure?”

“None, that I can tell you about anyway.”

“Oh come on, tell me, amuse me a bit”

She Started narrating…

Some Issues with Romance

Romance is possibly the most readable genre on Earth. And no matter what age you started reading, sooner or later you would have come by a romance novel. One of my own first novels was “Love Story” by Erich Segal. The fact is, a tryst with romantic novels is one you simply cannot avoid. And it is probably good too. Romantic novels are one of those novels which because of the topics they cover are quite simply things could lift your mood. However, right now, I have become more and more distant from the genre because reading any romantic novel seems to instill this sense of deja vu in me, this feeling that am reading an old work again.
Romantic novels have basically become a form of fantasy where love seems to be the ultimate medicine for everything. The writers write in characters with flaws and then basically a love interest coming along makes those flaws disappear automatically. Love can apparently cure cancers and AIDS now. Hell, I am sure if someone was writing “love in the Time of Cholera” other than Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Fermina would be fit as a fiddle in that age, and have no wrinkles at all. While optimism in this form is good, it offers a very bad idea to the reader. There is this thought process that a lover can cure anything that you have, and it will all be alright, just because you have a lover. This is basically a very sad way of thinking about love. Love can obviously increase your self confidence and that goes a long way for people to become better but, it does not cure you. You have to aid yourself through that.
When someone abuses you, or you are in depression, you consult a therapist. You get with a doctor that will help you with the issues. Or else you work through those issues yourself. The first point in it being that you should love yourself first of all, before anyone else extends that courtesy to you.
This attitude that romances have of “you are meant to love someone and to be saved by someone” is basically detrimental to characters. Can you believe that? Someone born just to fall in love with someone else? It falls immediately under bad characterization when your character’s ingenuity lies in their soul mates. You cannot write in characters that exist because they have to fall in love with someone else. A feeling that many seem to share. Not only is it wrong from a social perspective, at the end of the day it is a very escapist form of story writing, where you are basically writing a character for the story, and not a story with the character.
There is in fact no problem in writing a fantasy but, you must follow the canonical laws of your own universe. 

The characters themselves are cliche. Love as a matter of fact is a boring entity when you think about it. It is about two people coming together and having escapades, and changing things with themselves and around them. It is romantic to think of it as something ethereal and beautiful but, at the end, love’s nature does not change. What is so different with one love and another is basically the participants. And that is the problem with today’s love stories. The characters seem to fall into this very narrow spectrum. You have to be a certain age, be a certain amount of beautiful and have a certain kind of charm to be in a love story. So, what we get are novels after novels which end up reading exactly the same. The characters are more or less attractive, and are somehow noticed by the other protagonist (who by the way seems to be the player and gives no other girl the time) and it ends up being an experience. Their are many variants. The male protagonist becomes an alpha, an incorrigible fool who seems to have no issue in calculating his years lived with the amount of women have ravished.
“But, cliches are cliches for a reason right? I mean they work their magic”
Oh yes, they are important but, the basic fact is, their past and their actions do not weigh down upon them. Their status is not affected at all by the decisions they take or by the kinds of person they are. if they are insecure about their position to an extent that they must “conquer” women to make themselves feel better they would be the same even while in a relationship. Relationships may change a person but, their decisions taken before the relationship does not stop bearing on them just because they are in love right about then.
Plus, this cliched look at characters also leaves a lot to be desired. Are the other sections of society completely devoid of love? Or just because your rose tinted glasses cancel out everything that is wrong with the society, is the society right now devoid of all wrongs?

Also there is this feeling there which seems to say “Go big or go home” which leads to this huge fights hige decisions and everything. However, as a fact of the matter, small decisions matter the most in a relationship. No one is saying that going big is bad, but, for the chance of going big if you go ahead and make the small things stop mattering it weighs down the story and ultimately makes it look bad. Look, things matter ok. You are going to live with a person, small fights and disturbances do occur. Hell, one of my biggest fights with a friend was about the movies we were going to watch. If you are condensing the story, leave some little details in, leave some rituals. Because hell, those things matter more than the huge fights.

At the end of the day romance has become boring and oft repeated. Almost always containing a particular young and attractive character. It has become a genre which is filled with novels that end up reading like re-tellings. In fact in today, I would admit, a best selling romance novel for me is more of a red flag than bad reviews.

Of Mrs. Dalloway

Recently one of my friends challenged me to read “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf and frankly I was intrigued. I mean it is something to challenge a person to read Ulysses where you could almost be sure that the person would not finish it so easily but, to extend the same respect to a 165 page novel seems a bit too optimistic. However, I could understand why by the time I entered deep into the novel. It was pages and pages of text with images and locations as vivid as some of the best works I have read but, I could feel the fact why it seemed inaccessible to a lot of people. Probably in these types of books the utilitarian way is the best way to go with, because, a lot of people may not be as immersed as the others. It is the case with most of the books now-a-days anyway, no matter who you are, some kinds of writing will always alienate you, and will possibly make you hate a title even if you see positive literary merit in it. For this novel, I finished it in a day, reading it without stop since, the narrative tended to leave one confused if one left it alone. Only when I was at the later part of the novel did everything start hitting home.

woolf-mrs-dalloway

The foreword says that Woolf was a lover of Keats. That was probably the first thing I noticed as I read the novel too. The beauty of the passages and the words seemed to be the remains of a poem which was molded into a story. The first thing that hits home is the language, Woolf writes without restraint and in a language that leaves you gasping for breath. It is possibly the only type of language that could have made this novel what it is.
Woolf creates characters with mastery. She interweaves tragedies of a London life under the guise of beautiful language. Do not be mistaken, every little story of an individual character is possibly a tragedy under disguise of a happy exterior. Even the smallest characters leave a lot of thinking to the individual who reads them and I am enamored. I am in love with Peter Walsh, and I pity Septimus, I understand Clarissa and I try and ignore Elizabeth, soon enough by the time am midway I feel like I am one of the characters interwoven into the book itself.
Herein lies Woolf’s mastery, she creates dialogue even though the book is pretty much filled with narrative passages. The dialogue is between the characters and the readers. The readers look through the eyes of different characters as the story progresses and it helps the novel to be seamless. Yet, for some readers that might pose a challenge as one wishes for more action, more activity in the book. With some books the tragedy is that every wishes to include all sorts of action into a small amount of pages, here the problem lies in the fact that the actions are possibly too less. Yet, that style pays off, because the story lacks action that is happening, the reader can further feel the small changes and it literally makes one think, makes one feel immersed within tragedies.
It is also a beautiful picture of London, a beautiful imagery of its residents and their emotions drenched in the aftermath of war. An image that makes the story more vividly colored as one reads from one page to another.

My only complaint about the book might be that the reader might be lost within the narrative. Often times I read some pages again and again trying to ascertain their meaning, and it adds to a sort of inaccessible air that the book gives off on starting.

I could harp on about individual character, but, I think that would be an injustice to the author and I would let you discover them yourself. It is worth a read, even though a lot of people might come out of the book with only hate. Perhaps it is because of the conflicting views that the book generates that actually makes it more of a classic. However, the key point here is not the mixed bag of emotions that this book would leave you with. It is more about London and about people, and the heightened emotions left by a draining war. It is about a lot of things that can happen in a day and it is beautiful.