Tiny Beautiful Things
There was Wild starring Reese Witherspoon.
Before that, there was this piece on BrainPickings about how to write like a motherfucker.
Before that, there was an overwhelming expansion of the heart while reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.
And much, much before that was the dear friend who sent me the eBook not because I asked for it, but because he knew I needed it.
I find it a tad unbelievable that I haven’t written a review of this book on Bookhad or extolled it on my blog in the past. I don’t gift (physical) books without thought. I’m sure that’s how dear friend also sent me the books I have. But me, I never give a book randomly, carelessly, or even superficially. If I ever gift someone To Kill a Mockingbird, they have to be really special insofar as to receive this magical piece of writing, the best father, a universal story. In short, if I love you for the person you are, you get To Kill a Mockingbird.
Over the years, I’ve given away many other books depending on underlying reasons and my association with people and books. Recently, I sent Faye The Grapes of Wrath for his birthday. This novel is a textbook and a Bible (figuratively, of course) for those who love reading literature for the consciousness it brings to life, and for its writing. Gifting The Grapes of Wrath isn’t an act of “Here’s a wonderful gift for your birthday”. It’s an act of, “It matters to me how rich your life will be. Here’s a helping of a wonder of American literature to add to your days. I got it for you instead of recommending it or tossing an ebook your way. It’s going to change your life. And I will be there on the other side waiting. Happy birthday, for ever.”
That’s how I give books. I, for one, do not own a copy of Tiny Beautiful Things, but it resonated my being in such a way I wanted to buy it for everyone. I wanted to hold a stack of it and give it away on the sidewalk. And yet, I didn’t. Because that’s not how I give books.
Instead, I sent the book to childhood friend and Boy. Both of them on different occasions. For apparently different reasons. It wasn’t “Here’s a collection of advice columns that may cause a moment of Eureka in you given that you’re going through a rough time.” It was, “Here are words that have touched me so deeply in a spectrum of emotions, which I have also shared with you. I have cried and laughed when I read them and I was healed and loved; just like I was with you. Here are the words for you too. Because its light will refract our fractured souls and we will shine.”
But I think I’m never going to send this book to anyone else. Both, Boy and childhood friend didn’t read it. I kept asking them if they did. They didn’t. Too busy. Too occupied. Don’t feel like. It’s lying at home. (Like wtf, really!) It made me immensely sad. It also made me realize that probably books are gifts worth giving to those who will appreciate them. They’re so precious you see. Someday I’ll buy myself a paperback of this book.
I could have easily written a review for this book. “You.Must.Read.It” 4 words and that would be that. Nothing else. Nothing about the mind that proffers advice. Nothing about how the words are in perfect order. Nothing about how each column is like being hugged by someone you love. Nothing about it being the perfect kind of delicious hot chocolate on a winter’s evening. Nothing about how this is exactly the kind of thing people must be taught or need to learn. Nothing.
You must read it. There’s simply nothing else to it. Especially if you’re an adult and don’t know how to do this adult thing.
“The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that.”
― Cheryl Strayed,
For Better or for Worse
There’s a scene in the movie Love Aaj Kal when Deepika realises that her wedding to Rahul Khanna is a mistake. The morning after their wedding, she tells him that she knows it’s a mistake and she can’t do this. Of course, he’s horrified given that she could have said it yesterday and saved all the trouble. But she doesn’t realise it until it’s happened. Moreover, she realises what she needs what was that missing part which she couldn’t place her finger on. It’s not the greatest scene in the movie (or by any standards) but the realisation and the courage that takes for such a realisation is noteworthy. I identify with it.
I’ve always believed in following my intuition. There are some things you just know. For example, I just knew that I would love Delhi. I also just know exactly how Boston will feel. Of late, I couldn’t put my finger on my intuition. Like I said to P the other day, I honestly don’t know what I am missing. And then, it came to me. I had been grating my mind and gnawing my spirit all this while. But now I know exactly what I did wrong. I don’t know where I shall go from here but having the puzzle fit in my brain helps because I won’t torture myself anymore. For better or for worse, this is where I would have ended up no matter what. Now it remains to see where I go from here.
“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”
― Cheryl Strayed,
Power of Wisdom
I’ve been giving my blog posts titles of songs. It started out as a coincidence and I have kept it such. I was going to title this Heal The World. But come on now. This post is not about the world. It’s about me. My own healing. And that brings me to the last scene of The Jungle Book. It’s so powerful that it seems divine.
The jungle is burning and the elephants walk towards the river unhurried, paced, in absolute calm. No one knows what’s going to happen now. They’re all silent comprehending that Share Khan is dead, but their home is burning down to the ground. The elephants move in a cadence, break trees and change the course of the river to flow back to the jungle and douse the fire. They do not make a hue and cry. They just simply do.
That moment was my ultimate high. And I have seen the movie twice. Both times, during that scene I wanted to cry.
The wise heal. In silent, compelling ways. They know.
They just do.
“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”
― Cheryl Strayed,