Friday, October 8, 2010

Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It took me a while but I finally finished 'Love in the time of Cholera'. It is a different love story of one Mr. Ariza's undying, undiminishing love for Ms. Fermina Daza a pretty young thing set in the Caribbean islands in a time when cholera outbursts were quite frequent. As a youngster the unimpressive yet highly romantic Ariza pursues her with poems and letters and serenades her with with the violin. Fermina responds with her own letters and they continue writing to one another, passionate letters until one day Fermina is stopped form seeing him and sent away by her father. The long distance love prospers for a while longer until Fermina one day sees Ariza from up close and falls out of love with him in an instant. She detests the guy from that moment on (which to me appeared rather disconcerting after all the build up). Ariza however decides to carry his love for her till his dying day.

Ms. Fermina Daza marries Dr. Juvenal Urbino, a well educated medical doctor belonging to a family of high social standing, and though she does not seem to have any great passion to share with him, lives on with him for the ext fifty years in a typical married life. And on the day Dr. Urbino dies, accidentally, Mr. Ariza, now a wealthy director on a rich company, still single but one with numerous liaisons,  presents himself again and tells Femina Daza that he is still waiting after fifty odd years. Fermina is angry and hurt but slowly, the steady love of Ariza does win her over and they do make peace in their old age.

'Love In the Time of Cholera' is a classic love story told in that inimitable style of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.Some fabulous lines are spoken through the characters - 'Thank you for making me a whore' says one to Ariza feeling completely happy at not having the pressure of being a nice old woman, 'There is a number of predetermined lays that one comes to the world with says Ariza and one must not waste them or else they are gone forever'. And so many more brilliant lines. Ariza is an ugly, unimpressive guy and the only thing he carries with him is his great love for Fermina and that is what, you know, pulls him through his life. It is a slow read but certainly one to savour.

One more reason why I liked the book is that it has a time span that is longer than my book 'If You Love Someone...' where Meghna and Aditya, who like Fermina and Ariza, meet before marriage, and meet again after thirty years. I was worried how the long gap would be received by the readers. But here is Marquez not only taking a fifty six year gap but one where there is love only from one side and he is also an unimpressive guy. Also realised that the premise for the movie 'Badmaash Company' of smuggling shoes by getting only left pairs in one consignment and right pairs in another and then auctioning for them, is inspired by this book!

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