Bookish Witch

The Part I Left with You by Rahul Saini

Book blurb:

Does the meaning of love change over time? A young, starry-eyed Ratna finds herself at the doorstep of her favourite author, Ronit Sukhdev, and a little white lie lands her the opportunity to stay at his place for a few days. But Ronit, devastated by his break-up with Tasha, has stopped writing, even as Nitasha tries to move on from her past and is on a quest to make sense of her life choices. Funny and heartwarming, this is the captivating story of three very different yet similar people finding their way in life.

Genre: Fiction/Contemporary Romance

Pages: 236

Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback

Price:

  • Kindle eBook: 151.05 INR/$6.00
  • Paperback: 159 INR/$12.50

My Rating: 4.5/5

Ratna, a student of journalism and literature, lands up at the doorstep of her favorite author, Ronit Sukhdev. After a whirlwind and over-the-top first meeting, Ronit reluctantly agrees to let her stay at his home and interview him as part of her assignment. As they get to know and interact with each other, Ronit unfolds his past, helping himself as well as Ratna understand him better. Though there are lingering feelings of love that Ronit has for his ex-girlfriend, Nitasha, does he seem to be falling for Ratna, who is obviously hero-worshipping him?

Book cover taken from Amazon

What I liked about the book:
-> Though the book runs around the axis of past and present, you can easily compare, go through, and understand these very easily. The transitions are not only smooth, and not at all confusing, but also interconnected with the previous chapter. This way of going forward and backward also helps us to know the character’s backstory and the stages as well as reasons behind their current situation.
-> The funny email addresses. I was guffawing out loud at these because they’re so quirky and witty.
-> The relationship between Ratna and her dad is well-depicted. I especially loved their conversation about why girls don’t need to look and behave a certain way just because boys will notice or like them.
-> The book highlights and aptly puts across the message that everyone has their perception of living life and you should not compare them.
-> The story deals with the lead characters’ perceptions of life and of love and though you might feel that’s a done and dusted formula, it’s the way of dealing with love that differentiates this book from most other Indian love stories. The story here deals with love as a feeling, love as a whole experience, and falling out of love altogether. More than that, it teaches us the importance of accepting, evolving, growing, and loving ourselves.
-> I absolutely loved Nitasha’s character and how sorted and matured she is. Her growth in the story stands out as the most vibrant one. Her calm demeanor and balanced attitude easily make her the most likable character in the story.

What I did not like about the book:
-> Though Ratna is the entertainer in this book and her interactions, especially with Ronit were funny and witty, after a certain point, they became repetitive. She becomes irritating too at times. It was difficult to understand whether she was being naïve or obsessive.
-> A lot of the details about the characters’ past and future are left to the imagination of the reader, which was a little confusing as well as upsetting.

Quotable quotes :
-> The perception of love changes with age. Ask yourself what love is after every ten years and you will get a different answer each time.
-> ‘There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “good job”’.
-> All her thoughts might not make sense, but she liked them. She felt comfortable with her thoughts and did not want them to stop.
-> What was it about human nature that made us cling to the past like this? Be it something as beautiful as this piece of art that she held in her hands or something as hateful and grotesque as war or a massacre, humans always cling to their past and carry it with them for as long as time permits. How can one define the past? Why is accepting it and moving on so hard? What is it about the past that is so anchoring?
-> You are all the people you have ever known. The world around you, the people, they make you. And that’s what I am. And that’s what you are.
-> And you will learn to figure out everything in life, you just have to keep at it.
-> All the people that you have met in your entire life, everyone that you have ever loved or hated or even been indifferent to, they are all a part of you. You can’t look at yourself as something that’s separate from them. You can’t turn away from your past, present or future. Attempt that and you will only end up tearing yourself apart. Your past and everyone you have ever met is what you are made of. Accept that. Try to erase any of that and you will only end up erasing your own self.
-> No man can stay away from helping a girl who faints in front of him. It’s almost his moral duty!
-> There is a strange kind of courage and confidence a failed relationship keeps feeding us long after it ends.
-> We don’t pay enough attention to the food we eat.
-> Don’t get burnt trying not to lie. The world is an ugly place anyway. Another lie, another liar won’t make it uglier.
-> What was the point of going out with someone if you didn’t get to know them?
-> Girls don’t need to be thin for others to like them. How much people love you has nothing to do with how thin or fat you are. It only depends on how nice you are as a person, how much you love and care about the people and everything around you. If you have a good heart, people will always love you no matter how you look.
-> Kids these days just don’t know how to work. They just want to “pass” their time. They have no knowledge or desire to know anything. They have almost lost the ability to read and understand text, so any kind of research is out of the question. And when it comes to working on anything, they think that it should show results in the blink of an eye, and when they see things are taking time, they give up and indulge in other, more pleasurable, things. They post their pictures pouting, resembling dying, wide-eyed fish, and feel ecstatic. The generation of students today has lost the understanding that one needs to work hard to reach the top.
-> Authors, artists for that matter, they are very sensitive people. You should not talk to them much. You never know what meaning they might suck out of your words. You never know what might hurt or upset them.
-> The only way to stay happy among humans is to stay away from them, never get attached to them, never connect with them.
-> What was it about relationships? What was this mystery that no one had ever been able to solve? It was the most talked about, most thought about and most deeply felt subject by humans since time immemorial, but most of us are still majorly clueless about it. Love is something that baffles us. Was it natural to fall in and out of love, to find the people you love unbearable and irritating with the passage of time?
-> Time changes things, but does it spoil love as well? Why do people fail to see the flaws in a person when they first fall in love with them? And why do they fail to see the goodness in them when they fall out of love? Falling out of love – wasn’t it a strange expression.
-> It’s funny, no? People you have been with never really leave your memory. That part which lives with us, that part which stays with them. The ghost?
-> We are all masks. We are all masks under masks under masks. And no matter how close we become with other people, how deep we peep into their hearts through their eyes, we can never see who they actually are. Because they are an incomprehensible mash-up of all the masks they wear.
-> We are different people at different times. Who I am now, I will not be all the same tomorrow. I will have different things running in my mind, feeling different and reacting and behaving differently. So if you want to know more about me, ask about the present. Don’t ask about the past or the future.
-> A writer writes because he wants people to read.
-> No one was ever spoilt by reading more books. People get smarter this way.
-> Education was not easy any more. It was not limited to books. One needed a laptop with internet. This had become a basic necessity.
-> The world is a tough place. One needs to understand that no matter how nice they are with people, they will still be mean to them. It’s an ugly world that we live in and one needs to learn how to deal with it. One needs to toughen up, otherwise the world will just eat them alive.
-> Teenage kids are generally stupid. And the world is filled with such stupid people. You can’t let them trouble you. Let them say what they want to say. It only shows how weak and shallow they are. They don’t have anything good to give to this world and that is why they behave the way they do. You don’t have to accept their insults. You must let them roll off your back. You need to learn to always wear a raincoat when you are around such people. Do not care about them, you will never be happy if you do. Don’t give them any power over you.
-> Artists are passionate in a different way.
-> Beautiful stories can come only from a broken heart.
-> Love doesn’t birth only out of lasting relationships and long compatibility. We as humans constantly desire a state of ease and comfort and we must not confuse that with the idea of love. Love is far more complex and, in many ways, superior.
-> True love is not “I find you perfect, I see no failure”. You fall in love when you discover an imperfection in that person and you say to yourself, “I love them despite their imperfections.
-> You don’t love someone because of their perfection. Love is true only when you love someone despite their imperfections. You know they are flawed but you can’t bear to stay away from them; you can’t stop loving them.
-> If you start understanding the world around you well, people start understanding you a little less. And that’s primarily because people don’t like understanding everything; they don’t like things to be explained to them. And most of all, they don’t like to be explained who they are and how they think.
-> These days people read an author’s book because they’re good-looking.
-> Everyone has been given the gift of life and that it’s okay to grow old, it’s okay to be middle-aged. It’s good, in fact. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a long life. It’s nothing to feel bad or ashamed of.
-> Everything, everyone changes. No one likes to stay the same and spend their whole life in one place. Even the sun changes its position to rise and set across seasons; we are merely human. Physically or situationally, no one wants to stay the same forever. Such an eventuality can only result in rot. Staying in one place forever – that’s the idea prisons are based on.
-> We develop, we grow, we transform out of who we were and grow into who we are and will be.
-> In today’s world, intellect is like having a fresh, throbbing pain, an open wound that never heals. There is so much around us that is wrong, and no one cares about it. You don’t want this scar; you don’t want to be an intellectual.
-> We all are the centre of our universe. And we constantly crave to find someone whom we can make the centre of our universe. This can never happen. In the beginning we might spend a few months of happiness and selfless love, not expecting anything from the other, loving the other just as they are. But soon our own personal needs and desires come in the way. The happiness eventually evaporates. You feel your partner does not understand you any more. And you want to find someone who will understand you, someone you can make the centre of your universe. But it’s impossible, it can never happen. All of us crave to find that someone around whom we can wrap our whole life, someone who will become the centre of our universe – who means everything to us and is our whole world, on whom we can shower all the love we have inside us. Someone whose happiness means the most to us, whose happiness makes us happy, whose smile makes our world a thousand times more beautiful. But we can never find that person. It’s a mirage, because whoever we might think we love, we always end up being driven away from them due to our own selfish needs, desires and expectations.
-> We don’t fall in love with people; we only fall in love with some of their characteristics. And there is a lot more to those people than just those characteristics. ‘There is something negative in every person, something that you will not like. Humans by nature are attracted more towards the negative, the wrong. That’s the reason kids learn all the bad stuff faster than any of the good stuff, and it’s the same with many teenagers and adults, unless their instincts are killed in the name of “conditioning” or “philosophies” or “religion”. This natural affinity for the negative subconsciously forces us to focus on all the negative things about the person we think we love. And soon the things we don’t like, the things we find irritating about them overpower what we like about them. We start disliking that person and finding them irritating. It’s simple and natural. You can’t help it – it is human nature.
-> ‘You mean no two people can even fall in love?’ I ask. ‘You can. And you do, actually. Life is only little more than meeting the person you fall hopelessly in love with and then letting that person destroy you. Destroy your life, your existence. But if you want, you can avoid this. You can avoid this shit called love.’
-> Love is a lot deeper. Love is when a person’s happiness matters to you more than that person’s physical presence around you.
-> Everything exists in a cycle. And this cycle of life and death, of being and not being, is inevitably characterized by infinity. Infinite, just like the stream of our thoughts, connecting one link to another, endlessly.
-> She was the artist and he was the writer – they were meant for each other.
-> Relationships. They say at times it’s not a person’s fault and the problem is with the relationship itself, which is just another way of saying that both people in the relationship are at fault.
-> Was life only as rough or as easy as we took it to be?
-> Smart is the new sexy.
-> There are no misunderstandings. There are only different ways, different points of view of looking at things.
-> Misunderstandings can be cleared but perspectives can’t really be altered.
-> People say they understand you, they know how you feel. But the truth is that no one can ever understand you. No one can ever feel the way you feel. It is a sad truth, but you never get what you want in the way you wish for it.
-> We are all infinite and a label amputates our infiniteness, our capabilities, and reduces us to only one of our finite characteristics.’
-> What lives do we live? We sacrifice our happy times together to ensure a good lifestyle, to earn more money. But is it really worth it? Will it make us any happier if our days and lives slip out of our hands?
-> Your work must always be the most important thing in your life, always. Because that is the only thing which will ever give you happiness. If you try to find happiness in other things and people, you will always be unhappy. You must find your happiness inside you. And the only thing that comes from within you is your work. You must always find happiness in your work, that’s the only way to be content in this world.
-> ‘Of course I am unhappy, almost every creative person is. They are always unsettled with the things around them. That is why they are pushed to create new things as an escape from or as a response to reality. If they were happy with the world around them, they would never feel the urge to create anything new.’
-> Stories are strange. They are very different from reality; they are always incomplete.
-> Stories are written, they are engineered to make you feel what the makers or writers want you to feel. And in the process of that engineering a lot of lies are thrown around, so never believe that life is what you see in movies and read
in books.
-> We fall in love multiple times but not all of them stay with us all our lives. Only those to whom we formally commit might stay. And after a while we stop loving them too. We only want them around because we grow accustomed to them, like a piece of furniture. They make our lives comfortable and secure, helping and assisting us in the things we do every day. The kind of love you think you believe in does not really exist. Love is the biggest hoax in the world.
-> In this age, ignorance has become a reason for celebration. Many people have no deep knowledge about anything but still feel they know everything. To learn an art is an act of meditation. It is a truth people have forgotten. You have to stay put, be calm and focus. You can’t keep jumping around, running all the time, trying a hundred things, understanding nothing and pretending that you are learning everything.
-> A reader must always read to evolve their mind. It should not matter what an author’s opinion on a subject is. A good reader should dig further within their own mind and find out what their own opinion is. That should be the purpose of reading – to understand oneself more. And that is what the aim of a good writer should always be – to help readers understand themselves more.
-> Not everyone is going to like you, no matter how nice, how good, how kind you are. And not everyone is going to hate you, no matter how bad, how evil you are. The world runs on this principle – all of us do. That’s why our feelings for people change – when the image we hold of them gets overpowered by their qualities that we don’t like.
-> Your thoughts are the realities you live in. It does not matter what I think of you. In your mind, in your world, what matters is what you think I think of you.
-> We meet people and we think we know them, but we only see a certain image of them which is a reflection of our own thoughts. And this does not only apply to the people we meet; it applies to everything around us – our whole world. This is how we create our own realities. We see and we feel everything around us according to our perceptions and impressions. We are the creators of the worlds we live in. We are our own gods.
-> Men behave strangely when they find out that their girlfriends are not really in love with them any more, when they find out that they like someone else more than they like them. Some even get violent; these acid attacks, even murders at times, happen due to this reason. Some destroy the relationship even when there is still a chance that it might survive. Men are weak that way. They never want to face the reality that the reason their partner is drifting away from them is simply that they were not able to keep her happy, that they didn’t really understand her, that she didn’t get what she wanted. It was their fault, not hers. No, they don’t understand that. They live in a huge bubble of denial and label her unfaithful.
-> When you truly, selflessly love someone, you value that person’s happiness more than your own.
-> True love makes you want to see the other person happy, with or without your presence.
-> If science has done a lot of good to humanity, it has also done much irreparable harm. Were the number of people killed in wars and terror attacks less than the number of people saved from serious diseases by medical science? Art holds a special place in every civilization but not everyone understands this.
-> It’s a hard world for thinkers, artists and philosophers.
-> We live in a world where people are blind to the importance of arts and humanities. It’s a tragedy. People have started looking down upon artists and intellectuals. You try to talk some sense and take a little turn towards an academic conversation and people instantly label you a pseudo-intellectual.
-> ‘I read a novel once. It had a strange take on what the apocalypse might look like. It said that first the world will kill the singers. Then it will kill the actors, writers, artists and philosophers. After that it will go for the sportsmen. And once all of them were dead, the world will be thrown into a mode of self-destruction where the industrialists and scientists will act as catalysts to finish life on earth.’
-> There is a difference in asking for suggestions and telling someone what to do.
-> ‘My books don’t need to go in many hands. They just need to go in the right hands. I don’t write to sell. I write with the hope to inspire, to satisfy. In fiction people generally crave what they lack in real life. I don’t write to fulfil such cravings. I only want the right people to read my books and understand them. I think only a handful of people will know what I am saying.’
-> If you talk nonsense, thousands of people will flock to listen to you, but if you talk sense, only a selected few will follow. Use the usual Instagram tricks of posting a selfie in a stupid pose with a dumb caption, and you will get hundreds of likes. But if you write something meaningful, something of significance, something that might actually be of help to someone, you will hardly get any attention.
-> The people who can think, the people who want to listen to sense and meaning are far fewer in number than the people who want brainless shit.

-> Back in the 80s and 90s, when things used to wear off or break – we used to repair them, not replace them. We valued things more. But now we live in an age of “replacement”, not “repair”. And this idea of replacement applies to everything – your TV is not working properly, get a new one; your phone is not working properly, throw it away and get a new one. And this also applies to relationships – your friend didn’t treat you well, get a new one. Your girlfriend behaving strangely? Fine, get a new one. “New” is the measure of good these days. Nothing you own is good if it is not new. The idea of durability has gone down the drain.
-> Things become more valuable as they age but most people don’t think like that any more.
-> Artists’ lives are just endless struggles and that struggle ends only with their last breaths.
-> ‘Artists are not like other people. They usually create something when they have something different, something new to say. But people these days write songs and make movies not because they have something to say but because they want to put themselves out there as exhibits. They just want their audience to place them on a pedestal and pay to look at them so that they can grow rich. There is a very strange kind of relationship between art and money and the rich. What is desired, what is commissioned and what is produced and promoted. How true is that “art”, even from a postmodern point of view? It is really hard to say.
-> At times, instead of being ashamed of not putting any effort into something, people say they are scared of it.
-> ‘Jorge Luis Borges said, “Reading is writing.” And over the past few years, I have come to understand that the reverse is also true. Writing is reading the world around you; writing is reading your own self. I think I have started to write just for myself. And I am satisfied with this small little circle in itself. Somehow I don’t feel the need to get my work published any more.’
-> You know who is a good teacher? It’s not someone with a lot of knowledge and information. That can be attained from books and documentaries and many other sources. A good teacher is one who inspires, someone who gives students direction and helps them reach heights that they themselves didn’t know they could.
-> Why should anyone be anyone’s hero? They should be their own heroes.
-> At times we do things without a reason.
-> There is a difference in having fun sometimes and having fun all the time.
-> Entertainment must make our hearts and minds grow.
-> You should never take decisions based on how much you love someone. You fall out of love and stop loving people just like you fall in love and start loving them. There are bigger things in life than love and romance. Two people living happily with each other for the rest of their lives is an impossibility and “happily ever after” is a myth sold to us by the media that we all buy in to so readily.
-> People find it difficult to understand the people who understand a lot about the world we live in.
-> We all are entitled to one true love in our lives. And at times we find it in the wrong person.
-> One’s profession and principles are the backbone of one’s life. But they can never be the heart of one’s life. To pump the warmth of life in a person, one needs something else.
-> Love can bloom on the hardest rocks. No matter how stony-hearted you think you are.
-> When two people spend a lot of time together, they lose themselves and gain each other. There is an exchange of habits, behaviour and ways of doing things.
-> If you are so troubled by this world, you should do something to change the things you don’t agree with. We are our own gods and we create our own world around us.
-> We come across people not by accident but because they are sent to teach us something, or to give us a direction when we are lost.
-> Truly passionate people are like good firewood. They catch fire slowly, but they burn for long.
-> Take the pieces of your broken heart and turn it into art.
-> Not everybody is destined to fall in love.
-> Not everyone you find interesting needs to be someone you need to get romantically involved with. We live in a world where most loving relationships outside the family are reduced to one or two categories. Not every relationship is romantic in nature. We all need to learn an important lesson in our lives – everything, all feelings, all relationships, have a life; we can’t really establish lifelong relationships with everyone.
-> Stars are only good if they are seen and loved from a great distance. If you come too close, you end up burning yourself. They are only great balls of fire.
-> When you find something you love to do, when you find what you are passionate about, you stop feeling the need for people’s love and relationships in your life. You stop feeling that void, that emptiness. Your work becomes all the love, all the relationships you’ve ever needed.
-> All comedy is born from tragedy.

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