Chai And The Shadow Lines

Chai always gives a feeling of coming home. The warmth and the taste reminding us to slow down and helping us to look at the magic that this world around us really is. My earliest memories of Chai and its association with home goes back to my childhood days when I used to be at nani’s home and we would all have Chai together in the evening, the elders sharing anecdotes from their lives and the kids playing board games. Over the years the tradition has changed a bit. The elders still share their stories but the kids (now adults) prefer their phones. But the ‘Chai’ tradition still continues, so it’s not really bad. So something that has been a part of your life since childhood won’t go away, right?

Call it that or something else but throughout my graduation days, Chai helped me survive. Making the bad days bearable and the good days, better Chai was one thing that was always there. During my post graduation days, the Chai tapri bhaiya knew me by my name & my friends knew where to find me if I was not attending lectures. Chai is one thing that has my whole heart and touches my soul in a way that is unspeakable.

‘The Shadow Lines’ is another such emotion for me. I read this book back in 2014, little did I know that this book will bind me to itself in a way that is indescribable. “Need is not transitive, that one may need without oneself being needed.” These are my favourite lines from the book. Another one which I loved was “He was not sure whether if he had lived had been together, but in his death she lived with him forever.” The realm of reality has its boundaries whereas the world of imagination is unbounded. We all live in stories, we just choose the ones for us, and that is what the book expresses.

The idea of blurring boundaries is central to ‘The Shadow Lines’ time and again Amitav Ghosh has played on it. The novel has every element that makes it a love story which is complete in its incompleteness. I plan on re-reading ‘The Shadow Lines’ and will be starting in a day or two because now that I’m staying indoors I still sometimes crave that feeling of home.

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