If you’ve ever read the comment sections of this blog, you’ve undoubtedly glimpsed her name (usually among the first five comments). I know some of you have stopped long enough to read what she’s had to say about a post or story chapter. A few have even engaged with her in conversation. The writers on this blog have read her thoughts on their work with varying mixtures of fascination, delight, deep thought, and always gratitude.
She earned the nickname Genie in her 6th standard, when she randomly began crooning the Christina number in a Science class. Detention followed that, but she became a genie to all her mates and the name stuck.
It’s been nearly two years now since an online search for a fashion blog called High Heels Confidential brought her to my personal blog where I was writing Chains of Silver. – When the blog went private, she vanished, only to later track me down on a forum I frequented at the time, and asked for an invite. I obliged and have never been sorry I did so.
Since then, I’ve gotten to know much about her through her comments on every single chapter of every single story I write and shared with her. She’s always held a special place in my heart just for that courtesy she so generously gives. – I recently discovered that my story Chains assisted her in helping a friend through a personal crisis. As a writer, I know there is no higher compliment than that. – Then, I also discovered that CharmingGenie has on more than one occasion turned down dates because they did not “match up to” a male protagonist in one of my stories. – The writer in me took a backseat and I almost choked on my horrified laughter.
We’re very happy to have her visiting the blog beyond the comment box today. So, please join us in welcoming CharmingGenie in her first (and we hope not last) official Guest Post here on DW.
Guest Post by CharmingGenie – My Greatest Lovers
I have been an eventful child. For a long time I was the only child, hence the opinions were often bestowed without the filter and the quizzing tongue remained unsatiated. It was perhaps to distract, that the dearest father handed me a BIG book.
The year must have been 8 or 9, the pretty picture on the front cover was absolutely ignored in favour of the printed word. They were tiny and long, some were even too hard to be understood, yet the little girl was sure that she has found her heaven. She was finally still. I guess, that is what it is to be in love. And that began the long lasting romance of my life with my beloved books.
It was almost as if a lady was taking form in a tomboy who in the world of words scoffed at any who sighed and sang the paeans of romance. Yet, when the quiet of time was possible, there on that couch in the library, among the many pages of a book, I experienced my first blushes of romance. With the caravan of life cruising the uncharted fields of love, I am yet to be wooed and serenaded in a manner which will fade the impressions of my literary beloveds.
So here it is, the few leading men of my life who have taught me love and above all, to love myself enough before I give my all to that other.
Syndey Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)
Dickens was the first author I ever read. He opened a world of learning and understanding. I go back to my old friend whenever I can, just to see what new perspective I have developed.
A Tale of Two Cities has been one of those books. For that young little child the first read was an emotional experience. The tears never stopped as Papa failed to console and reason Syndey’s end. Inspite of increasing birthday candles, I still find myself tearing up whenever I reach the end.
He was my first. The one who made me cry. And, what a man he was. Jackal as he was called, sloppy but brilliant. It was never about the great sacrifice that he made for Mrs Lucie Manette Darnay, but it was his self realization, the struggle and the evolution he experienced which always fascinated me. To see a life most desired play out in front of the eyes, without you in it, is tragic. Yet, without flinching he gave his all to restore the mirage that never was his. A man who was ignored for someone similar yet more affable, he by taking to the gallows became the one to be admired and loved for the ages. Probably it was his inherent goodness or like what I tend to believe, it was the unrequited love that made him so pure and so selfless.
Yes, this was where I learnt what unrequited love meant. He gave me an important understanding which has served me well over the years, that is, love brings out the best in us. It encourages actions which are selfless, giving and forgiving. The tears might hurt temporarily but it provides an abundance of joy. Freedom.Time has passed but the words he left continue to bring a lump in my heart –
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind)
If ever I was asked to name my most loved character it will always be Scarlet O’ Hara. Her grit for life, the tenacity to survive, acute awareness of her needs and her morbid fascination with the vulgar, made her the most relatable of all the heroines immortalized, atleast for me. Yet, it was her other half, that I desired, wanted and, still do.
Rhett Butler was a fascinating man, in some ideal world, I fancy reading the book through his eyes. But alas, Margret M, played a blinder and kept the man under the mysterious shade. Still he nearly managed to make Gone with the wind, from an excellent civil war magnum to an arduous love story. He was aware of her and appreciated Scarlet as a woman, but most importantly as an equal. He was enamoured by her strength and will. Neither judged her nor led himself to become her obsession. He saw her for all her virtues and flaws. There was something extraordinary in him, ahead of his times, and that was his understanding of a woman. From gifting his friendship to Melanie, to the indulgence on his daughter Bonnie, for once we had a hero who respected the opposite sex.
But for me it was his parting shot, where he put his self-respect even when the love of his life, breathless as ever, finally acknowledged the love she shared for him. It was that moment, that gesture, which reaffirmed that love without respect is not life but a mere compromise. That there are no more chances, no more apologies when the respect is sacrificed at the altar of love. And then there was the growl with which he utters –“My dear, I don’t give a damn.” Even with that cinematic addition “Frankly,” this line has always given me an inexplicable power.
George Knightley (Emma)
Strange Austen choice for some, but for me he went on to become the very reason for my first real crush.
Emma, is my most favourite Austen book. Here was a heroine whose flaws were not given to her circumstances, they were exploited for laughs but the sincerity of her intentions managed to invest me as the reader. I liked how she accepted her shortcomings and went on to grow into a better individual as she finally found her love. Uplifting. In real life I may or may not fancy myself as Emma the matchmaker.
Mr Knightley, apart from having an absolutely glorious name, made me recognise a lover from a friend. He was Emma’s moral compass, a friend, a comrade, but it was his compassion and his companionship to Emma that made him so endearing.
My first ever crush was on a friend who I fancied as my Mr Knightley because we quarrelled like they did in Emma. I harboured that feeling of loving a friend for years, till I realized that I was more in love with the idea of it than the boy. Another reason why George is dear to me, is perhaps, of his acceptance to live in Emma’s father’s house. That was special and something that to this date, I wish my man should do. Give my Daddy the respect and love that may equal if not be greater than what I have. He made “being good” cool for me. Their relationship was perhaps what I seek in my partner, someone who challenges me, advises me but doesn’t restrict me.
Hence when he says, “.Tell me, then, have I no chance of ever succeeding?……… this Emma will always have him.
Oliver Barrett IV ( Love Story)
A somewhat contemporary ode to love, it remains timeless in it’s message. We have had many stories which dwell on the class issue but no where was it executed so earnestly but here.
Oliver is the most real hero. His story is personally very close to me. The lover who left the safe cocoon his surname provided, to carve a life of togetherness with Jenny, was beautiful. But it was the struggle of a husband who saw his wife withering away that connected most with me. The moments of happiness that he creates, the pain he experiences, they pull the heart strings. I have seen the struggle that goes in making the “normal” in a circumstance which is anything but that, so to see Oliver struggle to keep the disease from Jenny was emotionally nerve wrecking. He is the husband who loved his wife.
Their story and he told me many things, ofcourse , one being,” Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.
But it was this quote which made love to be the most bittersweet thing ever –
“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach? The Beatles? And me?
Heathcliff ( Wuthering Heights) – I never loved him nor did I have incredibly great opinion about him but he ended up teaching me a very important lesson. That there is no hero, no Mr Right. He defined passion, aggression and desire. He was all consuming which is what he meant to tell me. If it consumes you too much then it’s time to set it free. The highs might be exhilarating but the lows are just not worth the ride. But then again, sometimes it is this experience which defines for who we are and what we really want to be. It is carnal to be desired and possessed by a man like Heathcliff, but the stifling air and the vengeance proves that it ceases to be about love but more about control. He stands as a living example of how it can be emotionally abusive to be in a relationship. The bad boys are exciting, but they should be treated with a foot long caution stick. Don’t go by the tone or the lack of words, with which I conceal my admiration for him, it took me awhile to loathe him, for the love I had for him.
There is too much effort when I agree with Charlotte , but “Heathcliff, in deed, stands unredeemed”.
Nikhil Kshatriya (Ne’er the Rose)
There is a good reason why he is here. Maybe because I have observed the world the likes of him live in, or perhaps it was his silence which spoke to me. He was and is my Heathcliff, a tormentor whose actions left me battling a war with my own heartbeat. I sought him among the many unknown faces as I caught glimpses of him around me from time to time. There was assured intelligence and confidence which baited me. I don’t know his full story yet, nor him completely, but I sense a kinship, a belonging when it comes to him. It is credit to Anne, for he still remains haunting in my dreams and in reality. I loved the power he had on himself and around him. He catered to my fantasy of “tameable” but alas, it is I who would cherish him, always!
It is true that consciously or not, literature has always played a part in how we perceive love. It has influenced the dynamics of a relationship while continuously searching for the unattainable bliss. I don’t know what my love story is going to be, I have also grown wiser to expect one of my Heroes to come alive. Rather, what I have learnt the most is to embrace love in every way and to seek within me before I seek him.
Till that happens, I will happily spot my corner and dive into a world where I remain unabashedly in love.
About our Guest Poster: CharmingGenie is a 26 year old, obsessive investment banker who has sacrificed much of her social life for the numbers world. Willingly. – Based in the UK, she is however currently slaying dragons in HK and Delhi.