Natasha Badhwar’s Immortal for a Moment listens to the sound of silence and the soft murmurs of the heart, and while doing so, faces fears, slays falsehoods, and takes a long, hard, honest look at the myriad aspects of the unfinished business of life, with unconditional love.

From independent film-maker, media trainer, columnist, broadcast journalism coach, mother of three girls, and author of My Daughters’ Mum, Natasha Badhwar, comes a refreshing and candid part-memoir, part-essay, Immortal for a Moment that picks up from where it left off in her first book. Continuing in a similar vein, with undiminished vulnerability and honesty, the biographical and autobiographical narratives shuttle between the intensely personal and political, blurring and often merging the lines between the two, to excavate universal truths.

Natasha Badhwar
Picture Credit: simonandschuster.co.in

As it was with her first book, this one too is divided into seven panoramic parts, where the commonplace and the wondrous coexist, where casual conversations at the dining table sow the seeds for greater exploration, where a regular everyday incident throws up questions to be probed and fears to be faced, where confrontations and truces jostle with each other to highlight the contradictory nature of existence, and where wounds are examined and granted the time and nourishment to heal. No subject is taboo or anathema here, nothing too trivial. With a gossamer voice and a hard-nosed approach, Natasha examines the diverse facets of love, marriage, children, families, friendships, life, travel, death and abortion. She also inspects minutely the tectonic shifts in relationships, human flaws and failings, false gods and sterling people, the contradictions of motherhood, the dualities that challenge, and conversely, nurture a marriage, the anatomy of languages, both spoken and unspoken, the seesawing of emotions, the heart-warming aspects of siblinghood, newly defined Raksha Bandhan moments, the lost and the found, money and its management, and religion and coexistence, with a quest to unearth the truth.

No subject is taboo or anathema here, nothing too trivial. With a gossamer voice and a hardnosed approach, Natasha examines the diverse facets of love, marriage, children, families, friendships, life, travel, death and abortion.

Here is a writer who is on alert, incredibly mindful and aware of the pulsating potential in a moment, yearning to capture it for the meaning it offers, and for the return to love it invariably purports. Every piece is about being in the now and immortalising the precious moment before it slips into oblivion, allowing the body to photograph it, and gathering it with both hands, albeit for a split second, to watch it blossom in surprising ways. The evocative and poetic prose shovels up all that settles inside us and causes the periodic quakes that upset our composure.

Here is a writer who is on alert, incredibly mindful and aware of the pulsating potential in a moment, yearning to capture it for the meaning it offers, and for the return to love it invariably purports.

Natasha’s writing is unsparing yet kind, critical yet compassionate, open yet sensitively discreet, unapologetic and courageous. While it resonates and provokes thought, generates empathy and throws up insights, it makes it clear that there are no quick-fixes or magic balms to thwart being swallowed up by the maw of pain or submerged in loneliness or shaken by anger. There is no pretence here, no façade of a breezy marriage or easy parenthood. Living is hard work, demons abound, and multiple layers have to be peeled to weed out the thorn in the side. Even thereafter, as Natasha affirms, ‘Recovery is not a full stop. We are always recovering.’ There is light at the end of the tunnel and joy for the asking.

While it resonates and provokes thought, generates empathy and throws up insights, it makes it clear that there are no quick-fixes or magic balms to thwart being swallowed up by the maw of pain or submerged in loneliness or shaken by anger.

There is on offer the promise of creating a world in which love works. Always. The idea, the writer knows, is to keep it simple.

Feature Image: STP

Immoral For a Moment by Natasha Badhwar is published by Simon and Schuster India.

Archana Pai Kulkarni is the Books Editor at SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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