Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time….
—‘The Sun Rising’ by John Donne
These lines of John Donne may sound hyperbolic to the modern reader. However, they define like no other lyrics can the enchanting love-story of Krishna Paul and the celebrated writer Joginder Paul. A story narrated through conversations between Krishna Paul and Chandana Dutta, My Other Half is a gripping memoir that recounts the extraordinary life of two people, whose coming together was pure chance but remained the core of each other’s life amidst life’s ups and downs for more than six decades.
The book unravels the Spartan endurance of Krishna Paul: ‘Surely she must have set aside much of herself in order to let us all revel in the world of Joginder Paul.’ These words of Chandana Dutta set the tone for the narrative, woven around her conversations with Krishna Paul. The story unfolds gently—mesmerizing the reader.
Narrated lovingly and unobtrusively, it is an unbelievable story of an inherently strong and gifted woman who melts in the warmth and honesty of the person she falls in love with. If only, he would let her complete her education, she would consent to do anything ‘no matter what the hardships’. Writes Chandana:
His was a world completely at odds with what she had grown up in. To her it was a huge transition, over a long time, from her snobbish, moneyed, upper class upbringing to his completely down-to-earth approach to life and people, full of love and empathy, an intensely deep connection with everybody and everything around.
And then begins to unfold the most fascinating story of the life of an innately resilient woman, who adapts to a life much different, a climate much harsher, and a house ramshackle even as her strong-willed father almost about-turns. Krishna, by that time, ‘was beginning to acknowledge to herself that she was in love with him’. Through all this, her resolve to marry the one whom she realized was ‘no ordinary person; he had something in him which was extremely special, a quality like no other’ and stand by him no matter how trying the times, bears out her exceptional commitment towards him and all those dear to him.