Life, Odds & Ends - Preface

This book is a collection of four short stories. While writing these stories, even as I was defining Aliya, Mira, Rithima and Rumi – I was wondering that these could have just as well have been the stories of Maya, Saara, Jyoti, Vidya, Sandhya or Anvita. Though each one of us is different, yet, there are things common to all women, different from men.

No matter which generation we belong to, what educational, financial, or family background we come from, or what work we do, in some corner of our the heart, women are women and the same holds true for men also. And it must be, or else life would fail to sustain itself.

In older days, there was a clear separation in the tasks, and roles of men and women, based on the different physiological and brain structure and abilities. Choices were less and life was simpler. In today’s generation, apart from child-bearing,men and women feel they have the need to do similar tasks.However, the way they derive their fulfilment out of various activities is still gender dependent. Given our careers and lifestyle choices, we often tend to overlook this factor or even end up stereotyping it, which lead to individual miseries.

If women have no feelings, all of them would be task-oriented and career-focused, selfishly refusing to take a break for childbirth and that would be the last generation on this earth. But evolution won’t allow this fate. And the male dominated environment in which women live, makes them confused. Men are also in a push-and-pull struggle with their own identity crises.

Families suffer just as individuals do. Intentions without strength, to carry them out, take a toll on one’s life. As a result, we often keep reading about men versus women issues in self-help books, magazine articles and jokes. “A married man should forget his mistake. There is no use two people remembering the same thing.” Unless it affects us, we laugh over these jokes.

Man or woman, we live our individual lives. As individuals,we get bored, and want something different. As humans we evolve by improving things, to make a better world. Change sand improvements are desirable, yet still unknown and stressful at times. Work-life balance is still a challenge for an individual. As per the life force, an individual comes up with amazing plans (to evolve). In the midst of all these plans,biology has other ideas and stimulates emotions in us. Since we are not knowledgeable or focused enough to understand what is happening to us, we make mistakes. We exaggerate our pain that results from these mistakes.

A few turn to the path of spirituality at a later stage of life to develop the strength to absorb this pain. But if only we understood life right at the very beginning, we could live better lives and contribute to a better society. And this is so fundamental to humans; just think of humanity evolving from the Stone Age to the civilisation of today. Wouldn’t all generations have felt the same confusion in their own way,according to their own era?

As social beings, relationships and the life of an individual impact one another heavily. The stories in this book revolve around the marital lives of the protagonists. Why do we talk about marriage? Because of all relationships a person has,marriage is a bond promising a lifetime commitment. As out of all relationships, a person’s marriage is probably the only one promising lifetime companionship. Hence, it is the most challenging relationship and one expects it to be the most exciting as well.

It is interesting to notice how we tend to live a rational life where decisions are driven by emotions. No matter how civilised we have become as a society today, ‘falling in love’still makes one weigh his or her partner’s everything and all other relationships. What happens when one ‘falls out oflove’ and why? Can all other achievements, relationships and materialistic things replace the connect one can have with the spouse and it’s impact on family and other relationships?

Further, do we change? Do our relationships change? Do we take things for granted or become numb? Do we play games? Do we believe in ‘When in Rome, do as Romans do’? Do we plan and prioritise the right things? What is right?‘How much’ of ‘What’? These, and other burning questions we all face and keep figuring out as long as we live. In short, life is an interesting puzzle that we all solve in our own ways. 

Reflecting on the stated thoughts in the mentioned context of today’s life, in these stories, we would see the reflections of ourselves and our loved ones. This coincidence conveys that in some mysterious ways, we all belong to the same soul.

- Anvita