Mornings After by Tharun James Jimani is a book that all of us can relate to. Waking up one morning and thinking, how did we end up here?
Stuck in the job, hitting the same keyboard keys 24*7, relationships formed out of necessities, dreams being left out to survive in a world which needs money. Mornings After is a story that covers contemporary urban relationships, which when you read may either look familiar to you or unique in its own way.
Mornings After follow the life of a couple, Sonya, and Thomas, residing in Mumbai suburbs. Sonya is a corporate slave, earning good bucks and managing a proper household. Her lover for a mere couple of months Thomas is a writer who is trying to write his next book and takes solace in alcohol from time to time. Dinner, dance, sex and an abusive relationship, Sonya and Thomas have everything that a regular couple has during these times.
Until one day, when India wakes up to the news of Nirbhaya, a medical student brutally raped in a moving Delhi bus, and one of the rapist a juvenile, who suggested others to insert a rod in her vagina. Sonya lays awake dealing with her own nightmare, where Thomas passed out drunk in the cab and strangers started following their cab. A question comes into her mind; If you place your safety in the hands of another, who is to blame for its consequences?
Jilted by media post-mortem of Nirbhaya case, Sonya decides to give up the security of her corporate job and open a webzine of her own. A Bollywood matinee idol, fondly known as “Bhai” also expresses interest in launching Sonya’s webzine, in return of covering up his recent act of misogynist transgression. Sonya is now faced with an old-age question that how far can one go till ends stop justifying the means?
The real test is for Thomas, who was being taken care by Sonya. Will the role reversal bring the best out of him or the worst? The sudden burden of managing food and lodging, and Sonya dealing with problems in applying practicality to her abusive relationship with Thomas, Mornings After explores the aspects of a modern relationship these days that we avoid facing.
Mornings After is all about revisiting and interpreting nuisances of an urban relationship. It explores gender roles of our Indian society, and how today we are dealing with it. Sonya is a feminist who takes care of herself, is always one step ahead of everything and prefers everything to be planned before hand. Thomas, on the other hand, is totally opposite of her. He believes that he is the last of his generation of artists, who stay away from social media and it’s overnight stars and try to find a soul in everything.There is an internal clash between both the personalities, Sonya and Thomas. Externally, there is a gender role reversal, Sonya is bread earner and Thomas is the one who cooks and chills. But somewhere, Sonya wants Thomas to take charge of things and earn a few bucks to contribute to the household. Thomas also regrets his decision of settling down with Sonya for too long, for being dependent on her for every little thing.
A unique thing about Mornings After is that our generation, the 20’s to early 30’s will totally relate to this story. Every day, once a day a thought creeps into our mind that how did we end up here. All kind of political changes affect us, some of us restrict it to the evening news, others get involve and start creating a life around it only. Through Nirbhaya, Sonya also unlearns herself, creating a venture out of a tragedy, putting back her broken self together.
The storyline of Mornings After is pretty great, something that will captivate the reader. The only problem, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. The story doesn’t disclose the plot so easily, it takes time and patience, layer by layer to uncover the hidden meaning behind it. For some readers, like me, it’s like a treasure hunt. For other’s, it might just turn into one of the half-read books. So, if you pick Mornings After, make sure to be patient and discover a world of urban relationships.