Friday, August 30, 2013

Wise Enough To Be Foolish by Gauri Jayaram

Title :Wise Enough to be Foolish
Author: Gauri Jayaram
Publisher : Jaico Publishing House
Genre: Fictionalised Memoir

It’s a candid story. Direct and simple, a tale almost any middle class girl who has gone against the tide of family customs and marriage and lived her life on her own terms, making mistakes and learning from them; sometimes not learning and making them again.

We are introduced to Gauri when her marriage is on the rocks, a marriage we learn of her own choice maybe more out of convenience, ease and friendship than love and inter-religious to the boot. What brings her to this stage, her struggle (if you may call it, considering she had lead a comfortable middle class life) , her journey from growing up as an armed forces child to becoming a true Mumbai girl forms the first half of the story. It is interesting, anecdotal and very realistic. Readers, especially women, can identify with it as the stories are very similar to their own.

 A girl trying to reason against gender discrimination and stereotyping in her own family, she grows into a rebel. Her coming of age along with the crushes and disappointments are typical of teenagers. Her strength is her intellect, the rare trait of foresight as well as a reasoning mind. She has amazingly clear insight as well as foresight. She then moves on to Mumbai as a college girl and we get a glimpse of her hostel life and work. This part has nothing new but refreshingly told and very entertaining. Her travails and travels and new people that she meets and befriends are interesting.
Again we come to the beginning of the tale and see her through the process of a divorce; which she handles with characteristic calm and intelligence. She continues her turbulent journey of self discovery and of finding true love and her own happiness and we are thoroughly entertained.

It’s a tale you can identify with. Many incidents and lines make you reminisce about your own life. Women can easily identify the gender bias, the stereotyping and the family pressure and the stress that a dominating relationship gives you. But what is most heartening is her determination to overcome everything and live her life on her own terms. The writing style is simple and flowing. The dialogues are crisp and the characterisation apt. Some characters though could have been more fleshed out. Also the men are given too much word-space, a little less about them and a little more about the other women and her work would have been welcome.

All in all a simple but refreshing tale which will make you introspect and feel good. A book that will surely tell you that pursuing your own happiness is not after all a crime. A good entertaining read.

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