Review | Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

#QOTD – Where are you from?

This question has always baffled me.

“I’ve never stayed still, I’ve always been moving, that’s all I’ve ever been doing. Always waiting either to get somewhere or to come back. Or to escape.”

Whereabouts, Jhumpa Lahiri

I am from Assam, but I have never lived there. I was born in Delhi. With Dad’s transferrable job, we moved to Bangladesh when I was a kid, then moved back to Delhi after four years. I was living in Delhi for eight straight years, although my high school was from Jakarta, Indonesia. I came back to Delhi for my under graduation, then moved to UK for my post graduation. Came back to Delhi again and kicked off my career. I got married two years back and have moved to Calcutta since then. But I keep doing an up and down to Delhi as my parents are there, but then they might decide to shift to Assam someday.

‘Whereabouts’ by Jhumpa Lahiri follows an unnamed woman as she is living her life in an unnamed city on her own. She moves through cafes, stationery shops and cobbled streets, and sonders around. This book is plotless, where she just observes the people around her, and wonders about their lives. She introspects her solitude.

She likes to travel, yet wants to settle. She is content with her life, yet is also dissatisfied. Somewhere this woman is just like you, and somewhere she is just like me. I have also always been moving, and never settled. For me, a city is not just a place, because every city has given me a home. I have a little bit of every city that I have lived in. When I used to move, I wanted to call a city my own, but now that I have probably settled, I feel unfamiliar to this feeling of being grounded!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s