I’m finally done reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. I had decided to read one story a day from this collection and I ended up finishing it today itself. Apart from overwhelming me with a mixture of emotions, my first reaction after finishing reading was to throw this book far far away from me. I didn’t want something so powerful to be around me to have this effect on the way I think and feel. And the next moment I wanted to hold it dear, deciding never to lend it to anyone.
After being associated with media for a very long time and doing some technical writing as well in English and Gujarati, I had started questioning the effect that printed words have on us. How much do we trust what we read? How much do we get involved with words? Do we actually care for the words and what they mean or we simply interpret the script based on the meaning associated with it, that meaning which has evolved differently in us after the upbringing, education, environment, experience and things like that.
This book has reinstated my faith in the power of the written word. I no longer want to analyse the book or look up online for what other readers have to say about it. I was unable to read with the rush. I kept lazily moving from one story to another. With a wish to be moved in a way that would not bring me back to where I was the next morning. And here I am, writing at midnight, waiting to see if I retain the same effects in the morning.