Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No Turning Back

For every decision which we have made, there are consequences that follow. There are times we wish we could go back in time and undo the things we have done. We wish we would be given a second chance to correct some steps we have taken or  do something better. We will never know what could have been if we have made different choices and taken a different decision but various decisions and choices  have  to be made from time to time.

In the novel “Landline” written by Rainbow Rowell, Georgie McCool is a TV writer and something has come up just before she and her husband are supposed to visit his family in Omaha for Christmas. Georgie tells Neal that she cannot go as she has to stay back in Los Angeles to work on her show. Neal is upset with Georgie and she wonders if she has ruined everything when her husband and the kids go to Omaha without her.

Would  she and Neal be better off if their marriage had not happened? Georgie is miserable when she decides to stay back and work on her script. She is distracted and she discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It is like time travel but it is not . When she cannot get through to Neal on his mobile phone, she tries the landline at his mother’s house and it is always busy.

Georgie was back to the past looking at the future which is her present. She thinks about their almost breakup one Christmas fifteen years ago before they got married.

‘Not fine . Completely not fine.
‘I should have told you ? I did tell you.  I said, ‘ I can’t do this anymore.’ I said, “I love you , but I’m not sure if it’s enough. I’m not sure it will ever be enough,’ I said. ‘ I don’t want to live like this, Georgie’- remember?’

It made sense, really. If Georgie was going to have a delusional, paranoid breakdown about her husband leaving her ,it made sense that she ‘d flash back to the one time Neal actually had left her.
Sort of left her.
Before they were married. ‘

Georgie is obviously miserable and tries to resolve her conflicts. She is  not that likeable a character as she seems self indulgent but aren’t most of us self involved even though we may try not to  show it?

Georgie wasn’t better off. Even of Neal was right – even if they’d never make it work together, even if they were fundamentally wrong for each other  -- she still wasn’t better off without him. (Even if your heart is broken and attacking you, you’re still not better off without it )

Georgie’s mother is the  “cougar” as her dates become considerably younger and Georgie finds that her mom is a pervert, a libertine when she checks out twenty-something guys at forty. The other character in Georgie’s life is fun and trendy . Seth is Georgie’s writing partner since college days. She went to University of Los Angeles because of The Spoon which was the Harvard Lampoon of the West Coast. Seth was a sophomore and already an editor. He and Georgie work well as a team. One can imagine them as buddies starring  in a sitcom where their lines are witty and funny.

Seth’s chief pastime back then was paying attention to girls. ( Another thing that hadn’t changed.) Lucky for him, then and now, girls usually paid attention back.

Huangshan, China
The way  Rainbow Rowell describes her  characters  is like how we describe someone we know. She has an easy going voice and there are some very funny lines. With hindsight, we may or may not appreciate the decisions we have made. On reflection, we may have done things differently but the question is : Would we have been better off ? That is the theme that comes through the latest book written by Rainbow Rowell. Landline has recently won the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction 2014.

Relationships are never easy. In some cases there may be no degree of atonements that can ever reverse a situation. There is no turning back. The British film Locke  tells such a story.  The protagonist Locke was played by Tom Hardy whose performance is compelling.

Locke is about Ivan Locke, a successful construction manager and a family man who has to ring up his wife, Katrina to tell her that he will not be home because a colleague with whom he had a one night stand is having his baby. His wife and sons are waiting for him to watch a football match with him and his job is at stake.  He is in a bind, and he has to be present for the premature birth of his child whose mother needs his support as she lives alone in London. He has not been able to tell the wife about his infidelity until then. The entire film takes place in his car and you get the story  from the phone conversations he has with his colleagues and wife and sons. He is also seen to have an imaginary conversation with his own father who has abandoned him as a child. Even though how his life is turned topsy turvy within a span of two hours’ drive does not seem possible, it is not improbable.


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