Title: Letters To My Ex
Author: Nikita Singh
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 134; Price: Rs 199
Something about the title of Nikita Singh’s book will either make you smile or make you cringe. It will bring back memories about one or several ex’s and the things you want to say to them, and if you are anything like me, possibly have, often in the form of letters. But the reason I chose to read this book is nostalgia – the sense of nostalgia this very picturesque cover enticed me. The bundle of letters tied together with a piece of string with withered stamps and postage marks; the promise of connecting you to a loved one. Yes, I’m a sucker for charming covers, though I try not to judge books by them.
Letters To My Ex-takes you through a year in the lives of Nidhi and Abhay – one that was meant to be a happy one, but turns out rather differently. During their engagement ceremony, Nidhi cops to her gut feeling and decide she can’t do this and walks out on Abhay, leaving him dumbfounded – and in all honestly, herself as well.
As the month’s pass, Nidhis goes through the motions of dealing with her decision; repercussions with family and friends and struggling with her own sense of loss and disillusion. She does so by pouring her heart out in letters to Abhay, that she never sends out, but is her way to get out all the conflicting thoughts swimming around in her head. The writing serves as a catharsis as she questions, accuses, apologizes, mourns, laments and searches for answers for the gut-wrenching realization that her five-year-long relationship was broken. The flow of thoughts is not just one way; we see email and message exchanges between Nidhi and Abhay and even face-to-face interactions that give insights into Abhay’s feelings and attempts to find closure for both. I don’t want to give away much about what transpires with the story, so I’ll leave it at that.
Each chapter is a month of this eventful year in the couple’s life and is told from her perspective, barring the month of July where Nikita decides to narrate in third person. I must say, this change threw me a bit while reading, and I disagreed with it, but I shook off my disappointment and focussed on the story instead.
This is a book about romantic relationships, but perception it the narrative exists purely to support a much deeper purpose. The gamut of emotions that Nikita takes you through is incredible for such a short read. Through their tale Nidhi and Abhay are forced to reevaluate their understanding of what love is and how it changes and grows. And through them, we – the readers – are lead to the real message; to look beyond the superficial factors of relationships and ask the hard questions. Do we truly understand and support each other? Do we deal with ssues at hand or sweep them under the carpet? Do we even know what we want from ourselves and from our partners? I think this book is a must-read for youngsters in love; at the same time, I feel it will only truly resonate with those who’ve had their hearts broken. This tale reminds you that it’s okay to step back and reassess who you are, who you want to be and who you want to be that person with.
And most of all, Nikita’s simple yet insightful book urges you to be brave. To say the unsaid things, the hard things, the hurtful things, the kind things; to ask for what you want, to give all that you have without being afraid of what will happen.