I read the book while I was on a trip (how ironic, right?). And I must say, it is one of the most magnificent but coincidental encounters in down-er than Down Under, younger than most new lands, none other than New Zealand.
It was a book which I wasn't planning to read because I'm not one who will support over-commercialized publications. Eat, Pray, Love was on everyone's lips and every magazine's book reviews, peppered with sprays of praise. Sheesh, I thought.
When I was in Auckland, I spent most of my evenings, waiting. Not the kind of wait that makes you bloat with redness in your face. But the pleasure-is-all-mine kind of wait. And one uneventful evening, in one of my 'waitings', I picked up this book at the local bookstore, picked a good seat and started reading. I decided to challenge Elizabeth Gilbert and see what she has to say about eating, praying and loving. And two pages after that, I was stuck. And that was the last night I waited in the bookstore. Because, every night after that I found myself waiting anywhere and everywhere with the book. And then magical conversations happened.
Two things which struck me was Gilbert's most approachable writing style. She's funny, witty, intelligent, curious, innocent, sometimes quite a doofus but in a good way, kind of way, and it captures you like a friend with the most listening ear. And she speaks to you as if you guys have known each other for years. There was no double meaning, no guessing, no wondering if you-could-have-meant-this-instead-of-that kind of situation. It was honest and the brutal truth about a woman who at the turn of her 3rd decade in life started going berserk because she wasn't sure if she likes to be who she was. Hmm. Sounds dramatic right? But show me a person who has never been at this crossroad before and I'll show you whatever you want to see in your life. Sometimes, some people pause for a long time, questioning the journey, wondering if they should get off the next stop. But sometimes, they only pause a second long enough before snapping out of it, returning to their joyous or monotonous life. Nevertheless, they paused.
The other thing which struck me too was, her audacity to chase after her directionless dreams albeit what society pressures her to be. And I think all of us can relate to that. It's almost like giving a voice to our subconscious to those of us who don't have the balls to face facts, own up, stand up and needless to say, who aren't blessed with New York Times-worthy English to have narrated like how she did in a book. Her life story, compiled and compressed in between two covers. I loved Elizabeth almost instantly and because it was a good ending, I'm assuming it must have given millions of other wondering and wandering souls (women or not) a kind of hope that if you are still living and breathing, you can always get off the next stop, buy another ticket, go the other way, go round in circles till you figure where you want to head to, or just be still at the station. And that will be okay.
You should read this. And you should get all your friends whom you suspect may be in a crossroad too to read this. And you can start by borrowing it from me here. Today, I'm no longer waiting. I'm actually going somewhere. Good luck ;)
Who else will fit such a role if not Julia Roberts? :)