When we think of love, relationships and people come to mind. What about everyday objects where we spend our most private moments with?
In Objects of Affection, Krishna Udayasankar gives voices to these objects to tell stories in three main themes of love, betrayal and hope. Some are daily items we use, while others are pieces of furniture or locations. All bear witness to the joy and struggles of their owners.
Objects of Affection by Krishna Udayasankar
In one of the earlier excerpts “Glasses”, young love is described from the perspective of a pair spectacles.
“She laughed at me on the first date, though not in an unkind way. She liked my wearer well enough, I could tell, from the way she leant over closer in mock ophthalmological examination.”
Udayasankar goes on to capture all the feelings in a first date – trepidation, excitement – and transmits them to the reader, allowing you to relive your own experiences.
However, innocent, loving gestures make way for deeper and darker themes as you go through the collection.
Increasingly, we are brought through emotions of guilt, grief and pain through the objects. For example in “Razor”, we see that the razor knows the owner so well that it recognises a break in the owner’s patterns. The razor even knows the reason behind her actions and the emotions she feels.
“She is seeing him today. I know because of the way she runs me over her leg, pressing me that little bit closer to her skin and manoeuvring me carefully over her knees…Perhaps her lover’s
was worth the guilt of using her husband’s multi-blade, close-finish, aloe-stripped shaver, after all.”
While this object remains as an observer, other objects are more positive, feeling hope with their owners.
The “Bed” is one of them. It charts the history of an unnamed couple through the distance of their pillows and unique scents. While the bed knows that they face problems, it is hopeful that they remain together.
“And now, his smell is again his own. She breathes deep of it as she lies in the dark. Her eyes stay open but there are no tears. I share her hope and wait for their mingled perfume to
line my sheets once more.”
Drawn in by how human and relevant the emotions are, you often forget these are the thoughts of an object. Udayasankar masterfully reveals just enough to keep you questioning. At the end of it all you are left wondering, were the owners about one family or many? Read the book to find out.