Saturday, January 29, 2011


Elizabeth Gilbert simply indulged, absorbed, obsessed and out-whined herself around the very core of her being. She orbited and bobbed around the centre of her own little universe. Declared her innermost desires, described her own multi-faceted self and ruminated on her post divorce writhing to the world through her writing. Like a running commentary.

This book must have made many a divorced person thump her head against the nearest stove, wall or lamp post in frustration. For her lack of foresight to obsess, to indulge, to be despondent and broken enough so that she too could think of little else but herself. For not thinking of publishing her diaries. For not thinking of compiling her Facebook statuses in paperback. For not thinking of vacationing half way around the world in misery.

Elizabeth Gilbert also had the foresight to have had her dream guilt trip funded by a publisher's advance. In return all she had to do was to describe in words how she had licked her wounds in sexy Italy, in meditative India and in romantic Indonesia. Of course with the hope that she returned home whole, healed, raring and ready to face the world again. To live and love again. With renewed strength, vigour, courage, and self esteem. And a new book. Amen.

A divorce is painful. As well as profuse. We live in a period of time when divorces occur so liberally that for every wedding I attend my first wish for the couple would be that the marriage lasts long enough to have made it worth their money spent. Should the marriage last ten years, or more, I would applaud and have much admiration at the couple's success in upholding their vows thus far. But should it end in divorce I would not have received it with much surprise considering the current trend. In fact, I would probably wonder if it would be worth the effort of raising my eyebrows for such little surprise.

Divorce isn't as sad and shocking as it once used to be. Education, independence, modernity and today's common practice of public emotional display has encouraged egocentricity and narcissism, for both men and women, in equal measure. More so when Twitter and Facebook came along. A space where your most trivial of thoughts may be updated, where you may stamp your existence and nurture your ego, for the world to see - at two minute intervals. I am surprised that, in this day and age, marriage is still a much desired institution for many. That there are still couples who dive into it as fast as they break out of it. 

Divorce is no longer something to be ashamed of and it no longer qualifies as potential material to be skeletons in our cupboards. Nor was Gilbert's post divorce distress distressful enough to be reenacted into a movie. Most of us grew up around it, as a result of it or in it. It is so profuse that it even repeats itself on the same people. Divorce is not a tragedy. It is not a mystery. It is not alien. It is not out of this worldy enough that it should be a trigger for a long drawn out public exposition of self discovery half way around the world in order to find with what, where and how to glue yourself back together again. It is no longer an ill-fated destiny like the comic fall of Humpty Dumpty. Or calamitous enough so that all the king's men and all the king's horses need come to your rescue.

So, I do stand in awe of Elizabeth Gilbert for making a mountain out of her divorce and a mountain of money out of it too. I'm glad she got over it. And I wish I had had half her wit and her vision. I could have been rich. I also wish I had borrowed the book instead of paying for it.

Excuse me now while I go eat, pray, love. And while I'm at it perhaps I should write a book too. Or update my status. Whatever.

1 comment:

  1. Zurin,I share the same sentiments... nowadays, when I attend weddings. especially those which are peppered with sweet presentations of their courtship, I would turn skeptical and silently urge that they lower their profile- for all these will look ridiculous if one day, they have to go seperate ways... I am turning cynical, I know.