It is a long time since I have read an autobiography, though often the fictionalized memoirs are as inspiring as the real ones.
And, last week I did get lucky when I downloaded a limited free eBook version of Wise Enough To Be Foolish written by Gauri Jayaram courtesy Amazon.
Though, initially, seeing the tag line ‘based on a true story’, I was a bit apprehensive. I don’t know why but I often feel that the fictions based on true stories, that too of the narrators, are usually soul searching boring stuff written by someone who is long past golden age and finding little inspiration elsewhere, inflict the poor readers with never ending philosophies, especially if the book is a freebie.
Yes, I was this biased when I picked up Wise Enough To Be Foolish. But, the novel has made me reassess my set ideas and now I am delighted to say that the novel is actually Too Good To Be Ignored.
The prologue itself was sufficient to jerk me out of my self inflicted ignorance, as Gauri’s chunky style and colorful language made me sit up and take notice of a newly married woman whose husband is probably cheating on her. The anxiety of wife, the callous attitude of husband and the strange Divine intervention hooked me. And, before I knew, I was reading the book at a frantic speed, anxious to know the entire story of Gauri, written in perfect yet simple humor laden prose.
Now, before I begin to bore you with any more of my biases towards the other extreme, let me take you on a supersonic tour through the exciting life of Gauri, daughter of an Air Force Pilot and slap-happy strict conventional Punjabi mother, living a restricted life as the middle offspring, sandwiched between a brother (an ideal son and committed student) and a younger smitten-with-Gauri sister.
As Gauri tries hard to emulate her elder brother and protect her younger sister, a fantastic tale was spun, set in a small town. Within her limited independence and resources, Gauri tries to make best of her life as she grows up in Bangalore, studies and takes up a job in Mumbai and after a mind whirling global tour ends up getting married in Chennai.
My feelings towards Gauri suffered a roller coaster ride as she transforms from an attention seeking Tomboy to an inquisitive teenager to a globe trotting boyfriend dumping girl, changing my impression of her from innocent Swami to a desperate Bridget.
But, as I kept on reading, even her mess of love affairs and chucked jobs, could not dampen her refreshing, vivacious personality. Though, at times, I found it hard to compare the sobbing newly wedded woman of the prologue and the guilt free girl who was able to change boyfriends without any remorse. My conventional upbringing squirmed at her frank bold attitude to life, especially when she indulged in sex talk with a boy nick named Rapist.
But, I think these episodes were also written with a brazen honesty by the writer. And, as I carried on, Gauri’s spunky attitude, her naive boldness and her special hotline relationship with God mesmerized me. Different facets of her personality shone through the narrative. She is headstrong enough to walk out on her patents but is still sensitive enough to stand by her younger sister when she is molested. Slowly, her frankness infected me and I could feel the bubbly spirit behind her whims and fancies.
Also, the writing style is as refreshing as the narrative. Her analogies are different yet amusing and her philosophies anything but boring. The novel is a welcome addition to the genre of fictional biography and is written in a chirpy, conversational way. And, does complete justice to the story of a young girl who metamorphoses into a mature adult woman, ready to trust her intuition more than the conventional wisdom.
A good light novel that made me re look at each phase of life as a new death and a renewed birth. A worthy debut by Gauri Jayaram.