“The scariest thing about distance is you don’t know if they’ll miss you or forget about you.” — Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
The above quote from one of Spark’s most popular novels succinctly describes what kind of emotional upheaval Rohan, a young married man goes through, when his wife Ira decides to leave for New York to study, in this modern day love story.
This well-woven simple tale gives us a glimpse of what may become the norm as more and more women change their priorities and choose career over marriage and family. Written in the first person perspective, the story begins by putting the readers directly in touch with the emotions of the male protagonist Rohan, who is trying his best not to show his sadness and anxiety to his wife, as she gets ready to leave for the US. The very first line from the book, “Ira is leaving.” instantly draws the reader’s attention. One is curious to know why Ira is leaving.
As the book unfolds you become aware how Rohan is trying to cope with his long distance marriage but failing miserably. Of course, people close to him do not immediately realise his mental state as he puts up a brave front and even posts cute updates on Facebook; tagging Ira on all of them. But in reality he is heartbroken and misses his wife terribly. He even doubts whether they will ever get back together.
This uneasy thought coupled with Ira’s seemingly aloof behaviour with him every time he calls her, further pulls him into depression. However, instead of confiding in his close friends or parents he continues to suffer alone. One of the greatest fallouts of living in the internet (and social networking) era is that most of us have become show offers and like to paint a picture – perfect life. While in reality things may not be so rosy. This aspect is well brought out in the novel.
Unlike Rohan, Ira is shown as someone who is sensible and intelligent but a little hurt and tired of her husband’s constant focus on himself. She loves her husband but also feels that he has been neglecting her needs and feelings. As a new age Indian woman this is totally unacceptable to her. In fact, during one of their heated arguments she blurts out how she felt when instead of asking her to quit a job she hated, Rohan had asked her to stop cribbing about it. Now this is yet another irksome side of the husband – wife equation that has been highlighted in the book and many married women will be able to relate to it. After marriage, plenty of Indian women try to adapt themselves according to the wishes of their husbands. However, they also complain that the little sacrifices made by them mostly go unnoticed and unacknowledged by their spouses. The story unflinchingly brings out this aspect.
As a relationships/romance writer myself, I enjoyed the book. However, I did find it a bit dry and unnecessarily dragged – out at places. And while Rohan’s character came alive; I would have liked to know Ira better. The secondary characters in the book did not leave much impact.
The book makes one ponder about modern day relationships, changing gender roles in marriage and also tries to show that despite odds, true love conquers all. (To read is to learn something new. I don’t use star ratings).
My best wishes to the author.
Author(s): Siddhesh Inamdar
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: April 2018
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