Ah, Literature! A round trip to the heart.
I´m reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
My good friend Irene lend me the book insisting I was going to stay awake till 3 am reading and warned my husband to be patient if I woke him up with my laughter.
So I grabbed the book and started reading, knowing in advance that such recommendations tend to overload expectations and you end up a bit disappointed with the real thing (this happens with movies too, have you noticed?). The thing is the book made me feel uncomfortable in the beginning when she starts crying in her bathroom confessing to herself a tough truth: “I don´t want to be married anymore”. Hum! I didn´t like this.
“The author is just like you, your lives are so similar and you even look alike”, Irene had said.
“I cannot relate to that”, I thought after reading Gilbert´s drama in the toilet. I do want to be married, I love my husband and the family we have together is a long cherished dream come true. And my husband loves me too. I know it for many reasons. Right now he´s at the supermarket with the three boys so I have some time for myself. And let me tell you three kids (the oldest is only eight) are a lot in a supermarket when you are trying to check your shopping list and keep your toddler in sight at the same time, while you explain the glutton preschooler he should remove that huge Kinder Surprise box from the cart.
Back to the book, the divorce thing in my novel was quite depressing. So I put it aside for a few days, until my inborn curiosity started wondering how Elizabeth Gilbert´s story went on. But now I had a new impediment: Eat, Pray, Love was missing in action. It wasn´t on my bedside anymore. Not much research was needed to find out where it went and why my husband was looking so sleepy. He had been reading the book, staying awake till late the last three nights.
“I´m almost in India”, he says. “I think this is a light book written for women”, he adds while he keeps on reading.
I´m delighted. He doesn´t read novels. He´s a musician and the only thing I´ve seen him reading apart from scores are sacred texts about spirituality. This is the first time after 10 years marriage I see him reading this way, just for fun, “a light book written for women”.
I have to catch up with him, I think. I´m still in the swamps of Gilbert´s divorce and he´s in rural India already, praying, loving, eating. So I take the book with me to the WC. This is not nice to say, but I confess is the safest place in my home to be alone and get a good read. (I agree with the author: bathrooms are very important in people´s emotional lives).
I go through Italy chapters as fast as I can, devouring pages as if they were Napolitan Pizzas. I´ve been to Italy but it´s not my favorite target for holidays. It is beautiful, yes. But I believe there´s no other city in the world that feels more like Buenos Aires than Rome. Drivers bang their horns the millisecond after the traffic light changed to green, it feels like chaos, people talk really loud and lovers are all around twisting into each other publicly, kissing and fussing each other´s hair. Italy chapters made me feel at home rather than on vacation. And when I read “a light novel for women” I search some sort of mental vacation. That´s the reason why I would have left the book aside completely if my husband would not have been reading it too.
Finally after a few weeks I reached India. Yes, it took me two weeks! I´m not good at “stay awake to read and laugh” as Irene thought. Actually I´m not good for anything at night, except for sleeping which I do quite well.
Ah, India! I arrived! And I´m hoping to find my husband there… oh no! He has already left to Indonesia, the last chapter in the book, which he insists is the best of all. So I´ll have to continue reading.
But for now I´m still here and I feel overwhelmed by memories. I lived in India for more than two years in an ashram. And I would go back every time I could. India and cats have this in common: people love them or hate them. I´m the kind of person that loves India and hates cats. Probably that´s why my English got strongly influenced by the typical Indian accent, emphasis and lilt.
Just wait to see me talking, shaking my head towards the shoulders drawing little circles in the air while I let English words flow on the Telugu cadence. India is one of the most populated countries in the world and without having a look at statistics I guess that this lovely, expressive, poetic and sometimes disrespectful English might be the most spoken version of the language.
I didn´t realize my style was so much influenced by Indian English until Tulsi came into the Eat, Pray, Love scene. She is the Indian teenager that mops the temple floor next to Liz Gilbert and chats with her in “the kind of English you can find only in India -which includes such colonial words as splendid! and nonsense! and sometimes produces eloquent sentences like: It is beneficial to walk on the grass in the morning when the dew has already been accumulated, for it lowers naturally and pleasantly the body’s temperature. ”
FINALLY I know why I speak English as I do, combining all kinds of expressions and words in such a particular way. I´m never sure they´re just right. But I won´t worry any longer about it. It´s not completely my fault. Actually, British expansionism is responsible for that (too), you see?
So, please, be patient with me and keep on reading my posts even if you find auquard sentences and weird ways of expressing ideas. In fact, I´m quite sure excusing my English is much better than excusing my French!
Enough for now, I have to rush. My husband is in Bali already and I´ve heard everyone smiles a lot there. I must definitely catch up with him and bring him back to Argentina safely.
By the way, did I mention I met my husband in India? I must confess not only my English gained new flavors there!