How important do you think mental health is? Do you believe the stigma and taboo associated with it make it difficult to address and approach? Tahir, in Raman Agarwal’s book Crochet, struggles to find answers to these very concerns.
So, tell me guys- What are your feelings about mental health? I mean, today I’d like to ask you how much importance you place on the mental upkeep of your thoughts and the general feeling of “yes, I’m fine.” Well, I think I touched a raw nerve here. I believe you might not look upon this discussion comfortably as you might be skulking around, checking corners as I address this.
Indeed, this is how the natural tendency seems to have become as far as mental health and well-being are concerned. Nobody wants to address the elephant in the room. Accepting the simple fact that it is okay to not be okay, to talk about what appears to be bothering us for a while. That is the first point I want to make today: mental well-being. Its significance and pervasiveness in our lives.
Raman Agarwal’s crochet I recently read and dusted off made me sit back and pause to give this aspect serious thought. What’s the best part? This one is a mash-up of drama and sensitive emotions, which tends to subtly settle amidst the pages of Raman’s latest piece of writing, which addresses a lot more than just basic mental health issues, albeit in a different way, with a fictional approach and a dramatic, time-based narrative that tends to unfurl itself as you delve deeper into it.
A symphony of a sort, this one proceeds with a strange alacrity to it as Tahir and his trysts and escapades in life have this ability to be able to simply crawl under your very skin. His mind and the thought processes depicted seem to unfold layer by layer, which comes across as discovery for both the readers as well as Tahir’s character himself.
The manner in which the story has been branched and segmented out is something which I found to be absolutely spellbinding as the way in which Raman has addressed the complete plot, demarcating what is vis a vis what Tahir feels vis how things transpire out next and how they have a drastic effect on Tahir mentally is something I am in awe of, as it showed me the wisdom beyond years that Raman has adopted while creating this one.
The unconditionality that prevails in relationships, the way Raman delicately addresses how when we tend to move on we seem to bypass many comfort zones which we might have created for ourselves in the passage of time. It showed us how the smallest of things, instances and episodes have a powerful influence on the way our lives shape up even if they might have been trivial at that point in time in the past. We may or may not realize and acknowledge those things. The real demon, the dormant monster, comes forth only if you decide to ignore and feed it the wrong.
I feel Raman depicted all of this strongly. Even when Tahir discusses his qualms and feelings with Alex, I could resonate with the camaraderie between the two. Not to forget the manner in which Alex gradually yet perseveringly hears Tahir out, helping him fight his demon.
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A writing powerful and so full of expressions that you’d be lost for a reaction, a closure of sorts towards the end. Why? Simple. Because you have already been down the dark labyrinthine ways at some point in time and come back drenched yet unscathed, braving it up and yet cowering and preparing to face the elephant.
“Tahir Khan is perfectly fine, obviously. No teary eyes, bleeding bruises, limping limbs or fluttering eyelids. Nothing can possibly be wrong. Except, he might be dead.”
Tahir lives with Maa and Abba in a refugee colony. A childhood misfortune pushes him down an age-long chasm, surrounding him with ominous shadows and illusory objects. As Alex untangles his knotted head, Tahir uncovers a dark past, stored in long-forgotten jars.
Crochet is a story of greys, fractions, halves, twins, dinky dots, concentric circles, of daisies in gardens, and irises in eyes.
So hope you guys liked my thoughts and musings on this amazing book Crochet by Raman Agarwal. Do let me know in the comments if you have read and come across a special book like this one.
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