Day 2: A Journey to Nowhere……….

Have you ever wondered why is it that our memories are sepia toned? I don’t know about others but whenever i look back to the foundation years of my life, everything seems to be in the form of faded black and white. Like old photographs, torn at the edges, crumpled by time and associated with a lot of fond memories.

I have been an avid reader since i can remember. Reading soothes me, calms me and helps me relax. It helps me be a better version of myself also. At least i think it does. I am sure i share this sentiment with millions like me who think books are the greatest inventions of mankind. It is from this reading habit of mine, that i have found a place to run away to…

Ever since i can remember, i have wanted to visit England. Not the new swanky Britain, but the old world Victorian England. An era so politically and culturally rich, that its impact can still be seen on the society. I would like to be a contemporary of Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens and many other notable poets and writers. The intellectual stimulation itself is a temptation. Like all my other old and fond memories, this wishful thinking of mine is also sepia toned, warm hued and very realistic.

The social structure at that point of time is also a point of interest. Defined gender roles and expected social behaviour have always intrigued me. I have never been able to comprehend the need of compartmentalising our potential and our aspirations on the basis of our sex. Even today, as a female, i find myself fighting so many types of set mentalities, but still being a lady in the 21st century, life is much easier.  I sometimes feel very blessed, that i do not need to fight for my existence, my rights and if i do, there is an amount of social acceptance towards that cause. I would like to go back to that space and want o understand, how women did it. How they gently but persistently fought for equality and acceptance and how the society graciously, or maybe not so graciously, paved its way for equal rights.

What also attracts me to this era and this particular country is the description of its natural beauty in all the literature that i have read about it. The beautiful mountains, the deep blue sea and the gardens and fields where one could take endless walks. BBC has romanticised old world England with such beautiful locales and mansions. Nature has its own attractions, and now since such natural beauty and bounties are difficult to see, it is all the more alluring.

I guess nostalgia makes things look better than they already are. Maybe from afar all of this looks romantic, but the hardships and social realities are quite different. The truth is that we have become used to so many facilities and amenities in the modern world that waiting for things to happen. But it would be an experience to go back in those days when life was simpler.

Austen and me

I am a self proclaimed Jane Austen lover. I got hooked to the seemingly idealist romances written by Austen at a very young age, thanks to my mother, herself an avid reader. I would like to believe that I am an Austen purist. I have devoured hundreds of literature discussing the nuances of her writing. I have seen various movies adapted and inspired from her work and still my thirst for her stories remain unquenched. It always seems that she has so much more to say and we as audience so much more to listen or read through. Its never enough. She is the romance queen after all. I doubt there has been another writer who inspired so much of longingness for a Victorian era England and perfect romances, elsewhere.

The time period that she lived in was fraught with social issues. There were so many changes going on in the society and none of these were mirrored or expressed overtly in the novel of Jane Austen . The beauty of her novels, her writing was, I guess, the way she portrayed and understood basic human emotions. Emotions and needs like the need to be recognised, the need to be respected, the need to understand and be understood in return, and in addition to the all encompassing need to be loved. What Austen succeeded in doing was capturing human emotions that have remain unchanged in the ever changing social fabric. they remain unchanged through continents, generations, time and race. That is where people identify with her, they love her and they adore her. that is why she remains timeless.

Whether it is famous Mr. Darcy’s pride or Mr. Elton’s stupidity and vanity or for that matter Anne Elliott’s stoic acceptance of life as it passed her by, they all carry an easy familiarity, that we, as humans, generally relate to. We have all met people who have similar characteristics. She through her portrayal of such sentiments and her idealism gives hope that humanity still lives and will be there forever.

I salute you austen. You shall always be my ultimate heroine.