Tuesday, 20 February 2018

When Twilight hit me

I sit with a befuddled mind and a goofy grin, alternating my time between my kindle and laptop screens. A good decade or more after the book followed by the movie franchise is done with being the rage and heart-throb of scores of young teens, this old mommy digs into it out of a passing curiosity. Little did she know that this paranormal fantasy romance that she so belittled and trivialized years ago would zap her thus! After all this time...
Yes, my dears, I am talking about...err...the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer, something I scoffed at and refused to give even a passing glance has me totally hooked and irrevocably in love to the point of (I never thought I'd say this) obsession! Might as well attribute this episode of giddy-headedness to mid-life crisis!

How did this happen you wonder, well that makes two of us! A few days ago, cursory channel surfing and lack of nothing better to watch led me to freeze on Twilight, the movie. And...I liked the movie, hey don't raise those eyebrows yet, I was surprised myself! Rob Pattinson's intense, brooding good looks wouldn't leave me in peace. 
I thought, what the hell, lemme just check out if the movies and the books are worth the overwhelming rage they were all those years back. After all, for one who's grown up on a healthy dose of Rhett Butler, Darcy, Heathcliff and all the dashing Mills & Boons, Nora Roberts and the lot, with heroes from millionaire playboys to paranormal characters it was a matter of having seen them all. 
An instant later the book was on my kindle and hours later I resurfaced, a changed person, one my sane self looked at a tad disparagingly with a, 'Oh really?'! Back to back I read all the four books in the series - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

Edward Cullen
My life's mantra for the past few weeks has been Edward Cullen. Putting a face to this devastatingly good-looking vampire while I was reading was no easy matter, considering I had to contend with the official movie characterization à la Pattinson. What can I say, MY imaginary Edward is legions more desirable than him! Oh, the power of the written word and the flights of imagination! 

Sigh, it would all be pretty great if I weren't having such not so proper thoughts about a teen fixation, that too ages after the jubilation and frenzy has died down! Whether I like it or not, whether my age begets more mature infatuations or none at all, I am helpless for the deed is done - The immortal lover has taken a firm grip on my heart, while my mind continues to snigger disdainfully at such juvenile pash.

I wouldn't consider putting all these observations on record if it was just the matter of a whimsical one time read and the enjoyment derived therein. The Twilight Saga has something of an addictive quality to it that I am trying to fathom. I have already run through the entire series of four books twice in the last few days. When I am not reading the book, I devote myself to watching the movies online from dubious sites I've dug up, plaguing all my gal-pals relentlessly dissecting the book (read Edward Cullen), looking up Twilight fandoms, gazing at screensavers of Rob Pattinson and stalking him on social media for good measure. (Ye gods, the horrors I am upto these days!)

So what is it about the Twilight Saga, both the books and the movies, that I find so enthralling? 
What is it that has driven hordes of teens and women world-over to go weak-kneed in love-sickness? (I googled to check if I was the only one thus addicted
Isn't it just a teen-romance aimed to attract that gen? 
I am obviously not doing this as a proper book review but just picking bits and pieces of what stayed back with me about this book. (Family rolling its eyes, friends crying out, 'Enough already!' not withstanding!)

Twilight quite simply tugs at the inner romantic in you. The clumsy, regular-looking, self-deprecating, insecure heroine, Bella Swan is someone many of us women can relate to. Bella can never quite believe that someone as mind-blowing as Edward can reciprocate her love for him, it's kinda like something too good to be true and so it comes with a spanner in the works - the vampire angle. Bella is protective of the ones she loves and her willingness to go to extremes to save them warms you to her. The first person narrative from Bella's perspective, makes you feel more into the story.
The out-of-this-world (literally), super-natural, immortal, God-like, unbelievably attractive Edward Cullen however is hands-down the biggest draw! It is obviously not his physical traits alone that matter, even though Edward is this super-strong, virtually indestructible immortal who's agile, graceful, with a voice to die for, smells exotic, looks good enough to eat....well, I need to stop getting carried away!
The Edward that attracts you is this super-sensitive, intense guy with only one agenda on his mind, his all consuming desire to protect the love of his life (his only love in a century...sighh) to the point of obsession. 
His chivalry, his generosity, his old-worldly gallantry, his attentiveness to Bella, his interest in every aspect of her life, his need to be with her through her every waking hour, to watch her while she sleeps, his restraint, his broodiness, his desire to fulfill her every wish, for spouting the most heart-stopping dialogues (do give a look to some of my fav Edward Cullen lines at the end of this postand for being the most unselfish, self-sacrificing guy ever...swoon, swoon, swoon and swoon some more!

Logically speaking it makes no sense whatsoever to me that these are traits I would appreciate immeasurably or interminably in the man of my dreams. Gosh, what a psycho peeping tom, controlling freak and a stick-on leech I would say, especially considering Edward is technically a blood-sucking vampire for pity's sake! Then why are all the gals going ga-ga over him?

Because he panders to the illogical heart, places his love's well-being and needs over his own, because human nature craves attention and love, that belies all logic and chases after the impossible, the thrill of mortal danger, and probably because forbidden love is all the more enticing! 

And then there is the other lead protagonist, human-to-wolf shape shifting, Jacob Black. No love story is replete without the love triangle, remember? Jacob Black is the perfect blend of recklessly handsome hunk, brute strength, heightened passion with a vulnerable side, to create all those conflicting emotions within Bella. But like Bella, once you are smitten by Edward all else pales into insignificance!

The weird werewolf concept of 'imprinting' doesn't feel all that weird when it is described as,
It’s not like love at first sight, really. It’s more like…gravity moves…suddenly. It’s not the earth holding you here anymore, she does…You become whatever she needs you to be, whether that’s a protector, or a lover, or a friend.
Intense much? But it works...surprise, surprise!

Blood-thirsty, sparkly, centuries old vampires, shape-shifting teens, Bella's desperate desire to change into a vampire, werewolf imprinting, all this doesn't freak, disturb or revolt you as you might actually expect them to, now that is something worth pondering!
The other supporting characters of the story like Bella's brusque dad Charlie, flitty mum Renee and Edward's vampire family comprising Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie, are all individually well-essayed characters that manage to tug at the heartstrings, the intriguing Quileute legends in the background making up the visual imagery of this book. Bella and Edward however are the ones that will stay with you. 

The easy flow of the books, steady pace that doesn't wane, suspense that keeps building up, the simple yet lucid language and the author's love for classics like Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet (my favs too) shines through. Meyer's vivid description of the scenes and situations, be it the dull, perennially cold and wet weather of Forks or the beautiful locale of Isle Esme, the blood-thirsty fights, the book takes you right there. The characterizations are amazingly vivid without being overtly descriptive allowing the readers to cook up their own versions. The romantic scenes though pretty chaste are sensual in their restraint, which I'd say is a coup in itself, less is more sometimes!

Despite my initial chagrin at devouring a book for teen audiences, I feel happy I fell in love with it! Age no bar for love, right?
That said, I am definitely relieved that I didn't read this series at a more impressionable age, it is doubtful I'd have ever settled for anyone less perfect than Edward Cullen!
Any of you fellow OCD-ing (Obsessive Cullen Disorder) Team Edward gals out there reading this, feel free to reach out to me, let's gush OME (Oh my Edward) in the comments below 💓💓😍😍
Some Edward Cullen lines that make the heart skip a few beats...

Edward Cullen quotes RelaxNRave

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