Lıve In The Time Of Corona

25 April, 2020
# Topics
Follow Us

Lıve In The Time Of Corona

25 April, 2020

A book is as much about the reader, as it is about the writer.  During the Corona lockdown, when I revisited some of the classics, I realised how true this was. After two decades, every one of the books read differently. Some of them were so contrary to my recollection, that I wondered if I was even reading the same book.


Wuthering Heights : Heathcliff, as I remembered him, was a passionate lover, but what I found between the pages now, was an implacable bully – driven by rash impulses and a fierce temper. While his brutish behaviour was probably acceptable in the wilds of Yorkshire moors, I shudder to think what he would be like in modern times, particularly in a lockdown situation. This tale of star-crossed lovers, now reads as a treatise on obsession that needs psychiatric treatment, rather than as a tribute to true love.

The Great Gatsby: While the book still packs a punch as an emblem of the jazz age in USA,  I wonder how I could have misread Jay Gatsby’s refusal to face reality as a token of his undying love. His attempts to turn back time, to reclaim his lost love, to erase her past: had never seemed like a grand delusion when I first read it, all those years ago. Now I think – how very stressful to be under the constant scrutiny of a man, madly in love with your past self, holding you to expectations that can never be met!

Jane Eyre: In my eyes, there was no redemption for Mr. Rochester, once he had locked up his wife in the attic. Having undergone the Corona lockdown, my full sympathy lay with his first wife and Mr. Rochester, as a romantic figure, instantly fell by the wayside. The reasons for his action didn’t hold up, and thereafter, neither did the story, no matter which way I read it.

The man who really stood out in this melee of misfits was Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the gentle mechanic and husband of Mma Ramotswe, proprietor of The No.1 Ladies’ detective Agency. Patient and likeable, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is a man you can love and live with, especially in the time of Corona.

Archana Rao-D'Cruz