Sharing a few thoughts on Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan
Dark Things by S. seemed like the best book to read after the heavyweight that was Rahman’s In The Light of What We Know (which I have still not grasped in its entirety, but this story is for another day).
After all, Dark Things was described to be about fantasy, and romance – two genres that I had steadfastly avoided in the last few years. It seemed like the best thing to lose myself in, a world that was fictitious and in characters that did not exist.
How foolish I was.
Someone once told me that in every fictitious tale, lies a smidgeon of reality, a reality that you don’t even comprehend fully, until it is right in your face, staring at you, demanding you to deal with it. This reality does not take excuses for an answer. It is a reality that wants you to know that truth always finds you, even if you refuse to see it, once, twice, however many times.
Perhaps, this is the best descriptor that I can provide, as I finished this book.
Dark Things is about many things, but ultimately, it is about love. (Just like life, I suppose. Life is about many things, but ultimately, it is about love).
There is a love story that is explicit, that which transpires between Dwai and Ardra. It is right there. It is not that complicated, it begins in the early chapters of the story, and it lasts till the end of the book. But this is not the love story that demands one’s attention in this novel.
There is another relationship that never quite begins, and never quite ends, between Dara and Ardra. A relationship much more complicated, much more real, much more relatable, and one that has no conclusion even as one draws to the end of this tale.
Because it speaks of a love that was, until it wasn’t. A love that wasn’t, until it was.
How can feelings, that have never been acknowledged, ever come to fruition? And yet, are these feelings any less real?
All of us carry these tales close to our hearts. Of the loves that we wished we had done something about. Of the people we yearn for, but can never return to. Of the things that we could have said, but didn’t. Of all the ships which have sailed, of all the memories that remain in the harbour.
It is so difficult to name this particular brand of love, because it is one that we have never quite owned, one that was never truly ours. And yet, perhaps, because of this very fact, this is the love that will always remain with us, because it is a love laced with freedom.
And if love should be anything, it should be that. It should be free.
This was that smidgeon of reality in Dark Things that caught me by surprise.
Because it is easy to forget, in this day and age, where life is about ownership, where relationships are about claiming and staking, that what is free and gone, is probably what will remain with us forever, however ironic that may seem.
In the concluding chapter of this novel, Ardra says that she can never quite return Dwai’s love the way he deserves to be loved (I presume she meant, as completely and wholly as he felt for her). And this is because of Dara. What she had with him, which was really, what she didn’t have with him.
This was another smidgeon of reality that demanded my attention.
Most times, we do not end up with the people who have us completely. We end up with the people whom we meet at a particular leg of the journey, who get to have the most of what we have to offer, to share, to experience. We are incomplete; the love we share, mostly complete.
And this is how our (love) stories will also come to a close. Never quite finished. A continuum. Just like life.
And perhaps, if we remember this a little more fervently, we will come to accept this passing of feelings a little better.
Read this book, and meander through your own memories of what is, and what isn’t.
*picture is not mine*