22 April, 2018

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - 10 of My Favourite Lines from The Story of a Long-Distance Marriage

*** Special Feature - April 2018 ***

About the Book:
We’ll always have each other to come back to.

Rohan and Ira’s life takes an unexpected turn when Ira decides to leave for New York to study. They’ve been married for only fifteen months, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and Rohan is not going to come between his wife and her dream. So, sad but supportive, he stays back in Delhi, where he is on the brink of a promotion at a national daily. After all, his relationship with Ira is strong enough to survive the distance—they are new-age lovers who don’t let marriage come in the way of careers and ambitions.

Rohan prepares for a year without Ira, getting by with a little help from his friends: Yusuf, his on-call confidant who lives in Bangalore; Alisha, a colleague he likes catching up with over tea; and Tanuj, his new role model at work. Life without Ira is going surprisingly well. Until the day, that is, she reveals the real reason she left.

Beautifully written and unflinchingly honest, this is the love story of our times.

Book Links:
Harper Collins * Amazon

10 of My Favourite Lines

For this post, I have put together 10 of my favourite quotes from the book. My really favourite ones, though, are ones that will make sense only in the context of the story and I don’t want to give away spoilers. I hope you discover them as you read the novel and they put a smile on your face. 

1) I want to live my life and my hopes and my dreams even if it means living away from you for a year or two. And I want you to do the same too, if that’s what you want. We’ll always have each other to come back to.

2) As I lock the door, I notice that her gaze lingers on the nameplate we had got made soon after our marriage. We had voted against ‘Rohan and Ira’ because she had felt that without surnames we sounded like we were of the same breed as Momo. We had voted against ‘Shastri and Sebastian’ too, because I felt it sounded like I was married to her father. And so it had ¬finally said ‘Rohan Shastri and Ira Sebastian’, a quirky Kannadiga Hindu and Goan Catholic couple from Bombay in a Jat locality in south Delhi, both secure in their independent identities.

3) I had asked her the question several times before but never got a proper answer: what did her interest in art stem from? I wonder now if this is what led her to study art, if it’s the same thing that made an artist out of Hanz. Only such a person would want to create something who has seen so much around him destroyed. Only she would look for beauty who has shadows to ¬fill.

4) Yes, come to think of it, that’s how I’ll put it. I don’t know if it’s true for others also, if they too have a certain place they associate completely with the security and happiness of love. But, for me, there is such a place, and that is Delhi.

5) So, now when I drive, it’s about more than just getting from point A to point B. It’s liberating. It’s about rising above my limitations. When I drive, all that is inessential falls away and I only commune with my car and the road ahead. It’s like the car is an extension of me. I feel so completely in control that I enter a space of infinite possibilities. It may sound contradictory but it isn’t really. It’s like imagination. When you are truly in control of it, you can make anything happen.

6) ‘Since we are talking literarily, I’ll use Rowling,’ I say. ‘Horcruxes. In the books, horcruxes are bad. That’s how Voldemort eludes death for years. But I don’t think horcruxes are always bad. Or that it takes something as grave as murder to create one. We may not be consciously doing it, but we are splitting our souls all the time. There is a part of my soul in Old Delhi, where we are going. It’s where Ira and I had gone when I ¬first came to Delhi to see her. There’s a part of my soul in Sikkim, where I first experienced what it is to fall in love many years ago. Horcruxes, I think, are a way of life. They are a way of loving.’

7) When you first fall in love, it’s a feeling you’ve never imagined before. It takes your breath away, it moves the ground beneath your feet. But, most of all, it moves something inside you.

8) And there it was, right in front of me. Hidden the previous day, it now seemed so close that I could make out its contours, its shadows and almost the texture of its snow. I ate my words and conceded it was unlike anything I had seen before. Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, its heights swathed in the pearly pink light of daybreak, looked old yet ageless, tall and stoic. Ironically, it was something so still and unmoving that moved something inside me, and right there, unable to take my eyes off it for several minutes, I fell in love for the very ¬first time.

9) After a whole day’s relentless journey I am now at the northern-most point in this part of the country. It has been a long, long journey into a space so remote that the inessential falls away and only the essential survives. And now I know what that is.

10) Love is not when two people are alike or when they try to be alike or when they can’t bear to be away from each other. Nor is it when they decide to live together or set for themselves common life goals such as a house, a child or a retirement plan. Love is, once you are truly in its grips, a capacity for change. And once you have that figured, everything else will simply fall into place.

About the Author:
Siddhesh Inamdar is a 30-year-old writer and editor based in Delhi. 
He graduated in English Literature from St Xavier's College, Mumbai, and was a recipient of Mumbai University's gold medal in the subject. He did a master's in English from Delhi University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, where also he ranked first in his batch. 
He has worked with the  Hindu as a correspondent based in Pune, with DNA in Mumbai and with Hindustan Times in Delhi. He has been with HarperCollins since 2013 as an editor for non-fiction books. Some of the authors he has worked with include Raghuram Rajan, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Devdutt Pattanaik and Aanchal Malhotra.

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