Check­ing out of heart­break ho­tel

New Straits Times - - WOMEN HEAL - Meera Mu­ruge­san meera@me­di­

Dumped — A Jour­ney of Lessons Through Breakups, Mishaps and Mis­ad­ven­tures Au­thor: AMAL NADIAH GHAZ­ALI PUB­LISHER: MPH GROUP PUB­LISH­ING

RE­LA­TION­SHIPS are com­pli­cated. There’s not a per­son out there who would dis­agree that this whole boy-girl or man-woman dat­ing world is prob­lem­atic. It’s ei­ther you can’t find some­one, you keep find­ing some­one un­suit­able, you can’t get him to com­mit or you can’t get her to stop try­ing to change you.

It al­most makes you won­der why peo­ple even bother ven­tur­ing into this whole game in the first place. Af­ter all, the rules are un­clear and no mat­ter how hard or well you play, at some point or the other, you may lose.

Amal Nadiah Ghaz­ali ad­dresses all these is­sues in her de­but book, an hon­est, witty look at re­la­tion­ships, by a young woman, who by her own ad­mis­sion, got dumped a day be­fore her birth­day.

And like many women af­ter a breakup, she takes so­lace in food, friends and travel. While she does pon­der now and then about “The Boy” (read ex), it’s re­fresh­ing to note that un­like some women, she doesn’t chron­i­cle her mis­ery in a book.

In­stead, this is an ac­count of how she moves on af­ter a painful break-up, the lessons she learnt, the peo­ple she met and the places she got to ex­pe­ri­ence post­break-up.

The book’s ti­tle is ac­tu­ally rather mis­lead­ing. Dumped doesn’t bog one down with the deep and com­plex process of heart­break. It’s ac­tu­ally a pos­i­tive and up­lift­ing read, pep­pered with the writer’s in­ter­est­ing life ex­pe­ri­ences and hu­mor­ous anec­dotes and of her ad­ven­tures, or rather mis­ad­ven­tures in the of­ten con­fus­ing world of dat­ing.

It’s some­thing we can all re­late to — the ex­cite­ment of meet­ing some­one new, the frus­tra­tion and pain when it ends, the chal­lenge of be­ing sin­gle and sur­rounded by friends who are ei­ther hook­ing up or get­ting mar­ried, and hav­ing to put up with well-mean­ing aun­ties and un­cles who al­ways want to set you up with “some­one nice”.

By her own ad­mis­sion, Amal Nadiah is free-spir­ited and spon­ta­neous and a lot of those char­ac­ter­is­tics come through in her writ­ing. With an easy-to-read style and sim­ple, di­rect ap­proach, the book comes across al­most like a jour­nal, some­what like tak­ing a peek into your best friend’s di­ary. It’s easy to re­late to her ad­ven­tures and to like and laugh at her quirky ob­ser­va­tions, like when dur­ing a visit to Hanoi, Viet­nam, when she ob­serves that “the mag­i­cal pow­ers of the pho are equiv­a­lent to a tub of ice cream on a night of a break-up”. Well, cer­tainly a health­ier post-break-up in­dul­gence any­way.

As she goes through her var­ied ad­ven­tures, she slowly comes to the re­al­i­sa­tion that she hasn’t been think­ing that of­ten of “The Boy” any­more. He has grad­u­ally been given the slip in her mind and per­haps that is the most pow­er­ful les­son this book teaches.

As cliched as it sounds, keep­ing busy, liv­ing life to the fullest and savour­ing the sim­ple mo­ments are the best ways to over­come a break-up or any mis­ery for that mat­ter. It cer­tainly beats cry­ing your­self to sleep or re­gal­ing your friends and fam­ily with end­less hours of your heart­break.

In this book, the writer pulls it off by sim­ply mov­ing for­ward, and liv­ing life and em­brac­ing what it has to of­fer. As she points out, we are all liv­ing ex­traor­di­nar­ily or­di­nary lives. We are flawed, we fall down and scrape our­selves but we must get up and move on again.

The book is a re­fresh­ing and up­lift­ing read.

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