9000 seconds ago (i love calculators), i was patting myself on my back because i was yawning. finally, my biological clock will be reversed! finally, i can wake up at 0700 because that bird with a sore throat is squawking happily! finally, i can revise French by the pool and watch roadrage in action from the roof!
but no. i go ahead and pick up this book that Ravi had woken up earlier one Saturday in Singapore just to get for me from Borders (i strongly believe in the conspiratorial idea that books in Dubai are a mafia-run business designed to extort exorbitant amounts of moolah from hapless and helpless poor nerds whose hands won’t stop shaking till they get their next fix).
if you are not me, which you most probably aren’t, you’d finish this book within 2 hours or less. but because i was cared for by a maid in a dual-income household led by an domineering father (whose initials A.H. can be compared with the terror that accompanied another tyrant in history with the same initials), and was strictly forbidden to fraternize with the other kids at the playground (or even go to the playground), i tend to talk to my books.
yes, full conversations with my books.
yes, i don’t speed-read. and i still cannot believe in it even after forking out money which could have been better spent on movies and Gary Barlow posters than on Tony Buzan’s Speed Reading courses, and a jostle with other bespectacled, drooling kids desperate for an autograph that will fetch, after inflation, maybe $1.59 in 100 years. i like to read my books in an intimate manner, like the voice in my head belongs to someone sitting across me at an al fresco café in Paris who doesn’t mind spending a part of his life telling me a story.
at first, i thought the book would be about age, being old, whether it’s great or mortifying – hence alienating me like Vernon Boring Little did. but then again, this is the chick who wrote Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally. and hey, Nora Ephron’s 60+ and learning more about the next 40 years of my life in 2 hours sounded like a great deal. by the time i got to the 2nd line of the 1st page, i was sold.
this is one of those books which made me realise how fortunate i am that i am at home, reading this book in the privacy of my underwear and that persistent itch on my clavicle. if i were on a subway or up at the pool, people would think i’m a loony bin who will start waving about a prepared tampon for insertion in the air like it was a Lily of Death after i stop laughing hysterically out loud. again. and again. and again. and again.
Nora Ephron reminds me why i have not yet succumbed to occasional homicidal or suicidal thoughts. because after i’ve thrown mug after mug on the floor or buried my head with my ass in the air into the corner of the sofa like an endomorphic ostrich does, i tell myself, “you’re gonna laugh about this eventually” or “it’s gonna be alright, dali” even when i am still fuming or my cheeks are freshly glistening with tears.
she proves that yes, it is true: you will laugh about it and it will be alright.
i have not loved a book this much since reading Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind 18 months back. in fact, i have a good mind to give this to the girlfriends i’d donate part of my liver to, the ones i call the Spiked Paddles of My Life.
Nora Ephron writes so candidly, casually, realistically and simply that you feel she isn’t just a voice in your head at an al fresco café in Paris, she is sitting there with you in one of her 57 black turtlenecks that cover the neck she feels so bad about. it’s not an autobiography but you feel like you’re reading the first line of every page of her life diary because she wants you to. because she needs to say it, and because somehow she knows that we need to hear it.
24, 42 or 60, disgustingly rich or irrevocably stuck in middle class, fat or thin, organised or a complete sloth – we’ll probably reread this book to keep us sane, especially since it is such a quick, enjoyable read.
but like foie gras, it’s gone too soon and you are left staring at the plate. i actually caught myself staring at the back of the closed book, nodding to myself after the Little Death that is The End of The Book.
i have the urge to write to her and tell her Thank You, like she wanted to write to all the writers she loves. but i won’t, like she didn’t – like you would also think of, but won’t (or i might be severely underestimating you).
instead, i’ll go ahead living my life and buy a few more of her books to read in the privacy of my cellulite and armpit stubble.