Shobhaa De has had a rough year. From shaming an obese cop on social media to being trolled for her comments regarding Major Gogoi, Virat Kohli, GST, Padmaavat etc, the Mumbai socialite has faced the ire on the social sphere. So does her new book Seventy…And To Hell With It throws any light on all that? Nope, not at all.
Her new book is a rather a reflection on the everyday problems of the well-off, the rich and the known. The 300 pages are filled with opinions on topics ranging from how the young crop of Bollywood stars ought to conduct themselves to how parenting needs to be done right. The book has no structure, no narrative and no method, rather Shobhaa hops from one topic to the next without any thought.
A self-help book disguised as a memoir
Shobhaa De barely pours her heart out, rather, she goes about throwing pieces of advice on topics ranging from parenting, family and relations to office politics, Bollywood and media. She talks about how to conduct yourself when you’re a newlywed, how to give space to yourself and your children, how not flee like a runner from the marathon of your problems and the dangers of being ‘rich and famous’. She writes about how social media turns into a tool of escape in times of need and turns into a foe when all eyes are on you. She shows surprise at the new-age problems of young adults and is unable to comprehend why people need their own space.
All in all, it’s a relentless rant about first-world problems.
Nobody we talked to could believe that Shobhaa De turned 70 just last month. And in her book, she too felt that she was merely in her mid-30s, after which the feeling of ‘where did all the time go?’ dawns upon her. The book works only in a few sections, and most of them are about ageing. The interesting bit of writing here is when De talks about her toenails. Even if she put in all efforts to take care of her skin, she describes, she still couldn’t do anything about her toenails breaking, fading and discolouring — a stark reminder of the frailty and reality of age.
“Who, after all, lets go of vanity? At any age, we want to look our best…as good as is possible.”
Other engaging bits involve her talking about her late mother — how siblings remember their parents differently and the flood of emotions those memories evoke.
It is not the first time that Shobhaa De reflected on the years that went by. She penned a similar book when she turned 60 titled Shobhaa At Sixty. We just hope when she turns a decade older and decides to write a ‘memoir’ again, it actually is a reflection rather than a rant.