Within Four Walls of the Mind by Smita Naik Salunke

Many people have a habit of writing a diary or maintaining a journal where they would record all that has happened in their lives and how they feel about those events. Psychologically, this practice is believed to be therapeutic and gives a cathartic experience to the writer in general. Researches have also found out that many people feel emotional stability after venting out their heart in the diary. They start identifying with their writing and, as a result, get attached to their diaries as the diary is their real and genuine friend, who would listen to them at all times. The book “Within Four Walls of The Mind” written by Smita Naik Salunke is about the life happenings of the author. It resonates with the idea of such personal writing to be both therapeutic and cathartic.

In her book, Salunke has written about emotions and situations of real life, just like a person writes in a personal diary. As a result, the author has shown courage by writing about real life and genuine emotions in detail. There is no hiding or sugar-coating, or even false portrayal of how she feels. This makes the book realistic and relatable for many at the same time. The book is divided into four chapters that talk about the lockdown stories of the author. The author has written incidents like a short story in the book by mentioning dates and locations precisely. This preciseness also shows the mental and emotional states of the many who were going through those tough times when life seemed more uncertain than ever. As the book is written in a lucid language that flows smoothly and a gripping writing style that keeps the readers fixated on it, the book is an intriguing, provocative, and imaginative read. The book starts from sixteenth march twenty-twenty when the world was facing danger to life and was going through tough times as the pandemic had hit and had spread. When everyone was expected to stay indoors, life came to a halt all of a sudden. This suddenness finds its way through the author’s pen, and she does justice in showcasing what people would have gone through.

The author has shared how everyone around her behaved on hearing about the pandemic situation. “Within Four Walls of The Mind” starts with how the author is worried about her child who is in school, and the author has to bring her child back home from school. Even though this may appear to be a routine incident to many, it is a portrayal of one of many events which would be thrown into uncertainty in terms of happening in the coming future. How the world changed in just one day and gradually, the pandemic days became the new normal. Everyone begins enjoying lockdown days and starts getting less panicked about the situation due to activities they were involved in. They find their ways of keeping themselves engrossed and worrying less, but that isn’t enough, after all. It opens the book to multiple interpretations where such acts would, for once, appear like acts of denial while otherwise, they would appear as means of enjoyment for others. Likewise, there is an exploration of the state of mind of one which would be the representative of many.

While the author is planning to travel to Ooty, this pandemic hits the Indian lands, and like many, her plans too, go down the drain or just postponed for the better times that would follow someday. She handles every emotion very maturely and then gathers information about everything in every possible way. The book may not be for someone who likes to read light stories or fiction as the book is an account of the real-life of the author and that too about lockdown times. But the readers who like to read reality-based work or a stark portrayal of reality would like this book instantly.

The author has written every incident in “Within Four Walls of The Mind” in a short and concise manner, yet she has maintained completeness of an incident which makes the book readable even in parts taking an ample amount of time with patience. Overall, the book comes from the hands of one who had lived through the tough times when the change was not slow; rather it was instant. It becomes a document of a time when the world was struck with the pandemic, life became uncertain, and confinement in home space was less of choice and more of a necessity. The readers of the future generations would also get an idea of how people’s lives were altered in a matter of just a few minutes and strong decisions. To understand the impacts of this situation and the lives of many, reading Salunke’s works would be a good choice.

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