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October 12, 2016: Love, the most mysterious of human emotions, can be immensely uplifting or devastatingly destructive, but never static. As times change, so do its contours, and expected roles and responsibilities in a love story can be most fluid and unexpected. And there can be events, even with no direct link, which can cast shadows on the relationship and lead to changed priorities. The ‘Nirbhaya’ episode for one. Using Delhi’s barbaric December 16, 2016, gangrape as both an anchor and a catalyst, writer and blogger Tharun James Jimani creates a stirring modern day-love story, which delves not only the tangled thought processes and emotions of an unlikely couple, both transplanted Malayalis, but what their circle, their families and the wider world expect from them.
Jimani, in his second novel after “Cough Syrup Surrealism” (2013), has senior business executive Sonya meets footloose Thomas at a small beach town in Karnataka when her holiday is ending, and somehow deciding to give him her phone number.
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He, however, doesn’t contact her, and Sonya, with nothing to do one day, searches him on the internet though she doesn’t even remember his full name but only a fragment of their conversation. She finds he is a writer, and impressed by his blog posts, mails him and they have sporadic contact.
Sonya, however, regularly discusses him and his writings with her best friend, and when he lands up in Mumbai, it is her home in Bandra he comes to and they end up in a relationship.
While they do have fun (though Sonya pays for everything, including his clothes), there are pinpricks — his disappeared muse, his fecklessness, a mysterious past and, above all, the questions of her friends as to what he actually does — the intent being to know if he can support himself.
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These can sometimes lead to bigger issues when a former boyfriend, who somehow manages to annoy Thomas, ends up seriously ill at a lunch he has invited them too and Thomas is uncharacteristically keen on. Another bigger issue is Thomas’ tendency to go out like a light after getting high (alcohol or drugs) and his almost fetish-like inclination against any responsibility.
Though they go on vacations and even visit each others’ parents in Kerala, problems are evident. The process begins when returning from one party, Sonya has a near ‘Nirbhaya’-like experience, while Thomas is out cold. And then comes the Nirbhaya case itself, which brings in sharp focus the dangers she can face — and the lack of any reliable support.
When in the wake of the Nirbhaya case, she decides to leave her high-paying job to start a feminist magazine, will her venture will be success? How will she sustain herself after a comfortable life ensured by a fat paycheck? And will Thomas be of any help?
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Set in Mumbai, Bollywood is not far off, and there is an engaging subplot of a controversial macho but chauvinistic male hero whom Sonya and her friends derisively call “the Torso” (no prizes for guessing the identity) who can help her new venture succeed beyond their dreams but at what price? Twist follows twist as the story comes to an end with a horrendous event.
“Mornings After”, interspersed with what are ostensibly Thomas’ surrealistic blog posts, is not only about love or various facets of its modern urban manifestation, including what the maid might think of your live-in relationship, but also of roles and expectations as well as the responsibilities and commitments it demands.
With characters like the “Gender General”, it is also a tale of aspirations, self-discovery, gender relationships and depictions (there is an interesting debate on “item numbers”) but above all the desire for something the heart wants even when it means giving up comforts and violating norms of conformity and regular work, making it a heart-wrenching but compelling read. (IANS)
Title: Mornings After; Author: Tharun James Jimani; Publisher: Bloomsbury India; Pages: 272; Price: Rs 350
By Nimerta C Sharan
Your monthly round up of the latest lifestyle launches, from luxury indulgences to artisanal creations, here's what you can look forward to :
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags 'Artycapucines - Chapter 3'. Six internationally -- acclaimed artists have transformed the black canvas of the timeless Capucines bag into beautiful art pieces. Each bag will be available in a limited edition of 200 and will be released worldwide at the end of October 2021.
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags. | Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
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Looking for a quick festive fashion fix for you and your loved ones? E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. The shopping platform has roped in stylista Sonam Kapoor as the face of the sale that will offer more than 2500 brands at discounted prices.
E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. | Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash
The country's leading design house, Good Earth, in collaboration with textile designer Madeline Weinrib will present its collection of 'butah' motif dinnerware and home textiles at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York. The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe.
The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe. | Photo by Jean Vella on Unsplash
Sweet dreams are made of this! Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. Spread over three floors, the bakery currently has twelve macaron flavours, their signature pastries and tea cakes and other brunch and high-tea items on the menu. Bon appetit.
Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. | Pixabay
Bright And Beautiful
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. Inspired by the richness and diversity of Rajasthan, the collection consists of organza and silk saris and shararas, gota lehengas and kurtas and embroidered odhnis. The colours and silhouettes are just right for the upcoming festive season. (IANS/ MBI)
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. | Photo by Souravi Sinha on Unsplash
Keywords: Lifestle, AJIO, sale, Deepika PAdukone, saris, Motifs, artisan, art
Actress Kangana Ranaut has talked about how her weight adjustments for her latest 'Thalaivii' that "messed up many things" in her body and left her with "permanent stretch marks". For her role in the film, based on the life of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former actress J. Jayalalithaa, Kangana had to gain 20kg and undergo major physical transformation several times.
She took to Instagram to share her experience, detailing that doing all that over the six months period left her with "permanent stretch marks". "Gaining 20 kgs in 6 months and loosing it all within 6 months that too in my thirties messed up many things in my bodya I also have permanent stretch marks as well but art comes to life with a price and more often than not price is the artist him/herself," she wrote.
"Thalaivii" showcases the varied aspects of Jayalalithaa's life, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema, as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader who changed the course of the state's politics. Talking about her upcoming works, Kangana currently has 'Dhaakad'.
She is also shooting for her next 'Tejas', where she plays a fighter pilot. The Indian Air Force was the first of the country's defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from the landmark event. 'Tejas' is directed by debutant Sarvesh Mewara. The film will be RSVP's second film which pays a tribute to the Indian military after the immensely successful film "Uri: The Surgical Strike" which was released in January 2019. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kangana Ranaut, Thalaivii, bollywood, stretc marks, actress, tamil cinema
The status website says the encrypted messaging app is "experiencing technical difficulties" and many people are also getting an in-app error message that says the same thing. Signal allows for secure and encrypted video, voice and text communication, but users are unable to send any messages.
According to Downdetector.com, users started reporting outages around 11:05 PM Eastern Standard Time and it appears to be affecting people around the world. Comments shared on Downdetector.com indicates that Signal was down for users from India, US, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and many other countries.
"Down in Midwest USA. Signal was started by people connected to which secret 3-letter organization? (Look it up) Yep, that's right! An app disguised a privacy app to trick you into sharing more private information than you would with another messaging app," a user said. "I think Signal is having a rough day. Good luck, Team Signal. I'm sure you'll have it sorted out in a snap," said another. The encrypted messaging service has climbed to the top spot in the free apps category of the App Store in multiple countries, including India. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Signal, app, encrypted, messages, outage, down