Em and the big Hoom – A Review

When you notice the ebb and flow of your own thoughts, you realise that they are a constant tumble of ideas and observations that are shoving for space to stay that one moment longer in your head before you are distracted by the next thought. In the space of your mind, you are unafraid of judgment or repercussions. On some days, you may even allow yourself to wade into the darker corners of your head, thinking of scenarios that would otherwise horrify you with their atrocious nature.

Jerry Pinto captures the casual tone of our minds and puts that voice on paper, showing us the truest version of a middle-class family in Mumbai, with no filter or even judgment on the good and bad. Things just are. He discusses topics like a famous sweet shop at the corner and the killing of one’s mother in the same tone. It is almost like the writing is unable to shy away from the underbelly of the protagonist’s life, quite like when we cannot always push away the thoughts that we “shouldn’t” be having.

Thus, the story is both intimate and funny, dark and sometimes as nonchalant as the four of them sitting around with nothing much going on. The language flows so easily, the writing seeming effortless even in its most significant or chaotic moments. This book is an act of such vulnerability that it was impossible for me not to be there, completely transported into the smoke-filled one-bedroom apartment listening to fragments of a story over the lifetime of the storyteller.

If there were any criticism that I had to afford, it would be with the characters on the sidelines. I would love to know more about Susan and Mae, and maybe even a little more about the mystery that was the Big Hoom. Overall, this is a book that I read in a matter of a few sittings and it was one that stuck with me long enough to avoid picking up a different book just to be able to mull this over a little longer.

A Prisoner to Time

I look for a bottle, a small one.

After a lot of thought and quite some searching,

a pretty glass jar with a cork was found.

Tiny enough to fit in the palm of my hand, unseen

Delicate and strong, or fragile and young,

it depends on how you see it, really.

I go to the cabinet now – holding the secrets of life

in small tiny pills, some colourful and some white.

With all my raw materials I shall now sit,

creating a potpourri of pills.

I soon hold the jar, transformed and full

Each tablet unique and with purpose.

And as I finish my project, I’m calm, finally calm

My anxieties kept busy and distracted.

It’s so easy to trick the human mind

into believing a future (the irony),

with our present actions.

I close my eyes and savour

The blank emptiness that could be mine

Before I get up and walk away,

Stepping on glass, still a prisoner to time.  

-the positivity of black

From the Journal of a Person with Depression

April 2, 2019

My bedroom

Depression is contagious. I feel like I have the flu. I sneeze because of my allergies. Or something. I have a heavy head and blank mind. Thoughts are tough. And more importantly, thoughts are scary. What if the love of my life and I weren’t meant to be?

How am I supposed to face the fact that the one person who seems to be my anchor may also be contributing to my mood?

He doesn’t seem to understand, which is okay. But he doesn’t seem to try. I’m not saying that he doesn’t want to. He cares, he’s concerned. But I would appreciate if he went a few steps further. Maybe do some research, try to see what he could do, or understand what it is I am going through. No matter how much I explain, it’s not the same. 

I’m so so tired. Tired enough to feel unwell. I keep thinking of how good it would be to not be. To not exist. So that I’m not so fatigued. And I’m not being dramatic. It is not just sadness, or being upset. It isn’t. I feel like I’m being dismissed like it is. I know, because I did that to myself too. But I was wrong. It is more.