I raised this question of whether An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar is an autobiography at all in an earlier post. Here I am giving my view on that.
I read the book with the purpose of gaining insight into what it means to be a gay man in a country where being gay is still illegal. Even if he was from a society where they are most accepted. While I did know that he did not come out publically as gay in the book because of the legal reasons (not everyone is an activist and I respect the fact that he doesn’t even pretend to be one just because of his position in society) but I expected him to talk about the difficulties or I should rather say challenges.
I was disappointed. It was not that he did not touch the subject at all. Karan was rather forthcoming and called himself effeminate many times but there were no real challenges he refers to. He did say that he went through some voice therapy to make his voice more masculine and little things like that. It is either that he did not have to face too many challenges or it is that he did not want the book to be about his being a gay man.
This, however, does not completely answer why I refrain from calling the book an autobiography. The way he has written the book is more like a narrative. In a style that I am writing right now. It is like he is chatting with us. He goes back to his childhood and his school. He talks about his struggles and mentions his feelings at the time without going into too many details at any point in time. Also, he does not follow a timeline. He follows subjects. This makes the book seem like a casual conversation; which I will say is rather candid in nature.
Something I will like to mention about the book is – it is an honest book coming from the heart. While reading you will feel it that Karan’s mind is what the book tells us it is. It is crude where he rants about Kajol and her unimportance in his current life. It is warm when he speaks of Adi Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan. It is sad when he talks about how friendship took a backseat in the business partnership he has with Apoorva Mehta. You will feel the honesty he has put in the book. I will still call it as an account of parts of his life and not something that chronicles it.
Hope you enjoy reading the book because I certainly did enjoy the candor.
“Now that serve that he just hit is called an ace. He, Roger is a master of aces. It is basically the kind of serve in which the ball hits the court in a way that makes it impossible for the opponent to return. The more you watch, you will understand.” It was Federer vs Nadal, French Open 2007. I just happened to be there and ask my uncle a question that had been bothering me for an year now. How the hell is tennis played?
It had all started when one of my tuition teachers was disappointed due to a rain delay at a crucial time in a match and was cribbing to us how he would have liked to see it finish but for the class he had scheduled with us, he could not wait for the rain to end and the match to resume. That is the day when I had first asked this question. My teacher tried to explain it to me but I think since there wasn’t an example game playing in front of me, I did not understand. I especially did not understand the way the scoring was done. Since then, I had asked this question to quite a few people. However, due to the lack of interest of the people around me in any sport but Cricket I never got an answer.
This was the day, I got all my answers. I not just got all my answers but I also became a fan of Rafa Nadal. I have always felt a connection with him. Unlike Roger who plays smart, Rafa is a player who plays hard. It is clear, Roger is more talented than Rafa; but what makes Rafa special is his never say never attitude. This is also the reason that Rafa stands a chance of being the greatest tennis player in history. Inshallah (if God wills it) Rafa will soon surpass the grand slam title count of 17 that Roger currently has.
I have grown as a fan of Rafa over the years. My dedication to him was so evident that in 2011 one of my closest friends gifted me the recently launched book ‘Rafa – My Story’ on my birthday. Due to my fear of biographies (I always feared that they will bore me and I will leave it in turn effecting my stature as a fan) I had not come to reading it until two weeks back.
Now that I have read it. I must congratulate Rafa’s parents on being such great parents. I hope and wish I become such a parent some day. It was only fitting for the upbringing they gave to Rafa that he become special. I would disagree with Toni Nadal (Rafa’s uncle and coach) when he says to Rafa ‘you are not special because of who you are, but because of what you do’. I would disagree because the Rafa’s upbringing and humility makes him special for who he. I, who have not achieved a thing in the world is not as grounded as Rafa is. Reading Rafa my story was a delight and it was as inspiring as it could be. Thank You Rafa for being my inspiration. I have never had a role model or inspiration to look up until I read about your life. You are a Hero. My Hero.