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Lessons In Forgetting

By Sukanya Venkatraman

In the midst of all the Chetan Bhagats and Tushar Rahejas, Anita Nair’s novel is a source of relief, With good command over the language, and an attempted, partially different story telling and a great depth of understanding of both the characters and other elements of a novel.

Lessons in Forgetting, despite what the title suggests, tells you the very basis of human life – you cannot forget your past, but only come to terms with it; hope for a better future and live in the present. Anita Nair very efficiently blends the lives of the two protagonists, Meera and Professor J. A. Krishnamoorthy(Kitcha/Jak). Meera, whose husband leaves her for a better life, and Jak, who returns to India to help his daughter regain her life. In the process of dealing with their problems, they discover their lost selves, in themselves and outside of themselves. Although I’m not in a position to comment or appreciate the nuances of marriage and parenthood that have been described, I still know that it is done with enough depth, sense and knowledge, with almost every aspect of human nature taken into consideration.

Writing the story along the lines of the different stages of a cyclone is an attempt that has to be appreciated but what is most striking is the vivid display of emotions, and the fact that the author hasn’t in the slightest bit been dismissive- of neither her characters, nor her story. Although there are parts of the story which seem hard-to-believe, one must keep in mind the narrow-mindedness of a lot of people of the previous generations, and that their priorities were different, albeit not being justified in today’s world. However, one place where the author fails is to do justice to the social problem that is brought up by her. It appears as though we haven’t yet gotten over our need to write a story that, in any twisted way possible, talks about a social issue, perhaps in an attempt to show the author in better light, having portrayed to have written a book with a deeper purpose. But with all due respect, it definitely hasn’t been passed around in a fool-hardly manner. As for the pace and the story in general, it is interesting enough to keep you going but isn’t a page turner.

I probably wouldn’t recommend the book for the unmarried. There is only so much that one can understand. To fully appreciate the human emotions portrayed in the book, one has to experience them first. A good book, nonetheless.

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Sukanya Venkataraman


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