By

MEGHA RAO
Poet, author and coffee addict Megha Rao‘s first novel, Alice: The Netherworld, was published in 2012. An avid fan of Josephine Wall and Frida Kahlo, Megha’s new romance, The Story of Us, is about Harsh, who’s madly in love with Harita — but the two lovers are separated. All Harsh has is a diary she left behind, and a few mysterious letters. We asked Megha to list out 10 timeless romances she can’t do without and have stood the test of time:

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1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: The truth about life and marriage in the 19th century, and also the truth about contemporary Indian society. I loved this book not only because I could see my own mother in Mrs Bennet, but also because Jane Austen was witty, charming and above all, an observer of people. The characters have all got so many colours, so much depth in them. I absolutely love how Elizabeth isn’t just some typical belle; she reads, argues, and has a mind of her own. My favourite line: ‘We are all fools in love.‘ (Get it for free here)

 

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2) The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles: I had a very lovely professor teach me this novel in college, Dr. Ann Thomas of Madras Christian College, and I fell in love with it. The funniest part is, I still don’t understand a lot of it, especially the female protagonist, Sarah, who is one of the most complicated characters I have ever come across. Read it more than once so you won’t get confused. My favourite line: ‘I wish to be what I am, not what a husband, however kind, however indulgent, must expect me to become in marriage.

 

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3) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: Very long, but totally worth it. A book about life, a book that will take you through a fascinating journey of a love affair, a train, and a tragedy. I could also relate to the characters; we’ve all had that one ‘mad’ love that took us on a roller-coaster ride and made us do insane and unbelievable things. My favourite quote: ‘I’ve always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.‘ (Get it for free here.)

 

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4) Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Tragic. Heartbreaking. Utterly upsetting and disturbing. The mother of could-have-beens. Scarlett O’ Hara is, in my opinion, one of the best drawn characters ever. She is a fighter and a survivor. This book is a masterpiece. This kind of love is just timeless. My favourite quote: ‘I’d cut up my heart for you to wear if you wanted it.

 

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5) Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire: One of the best romances of the twenty-first century. Travis is a badass tragic hero. I hated him, and yet I loved him. You’ll worry about his sanity, you’ll care so much that it hurts, and you’ll end up in a ridiculously complicated tangle of emotions. Tattoos, gambling, sex. And love. Lots and lots of love. Like the title says, this boy is a beautiful disaster waiting to happen. My favourite lines: ‘Abby: “It’s over. Go home.” Travis: “You’re my home.”‘

 

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6) A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks: Sparks is known for writing tear-jerkers, but oh hell, I just had to read this one. It’s terribly sad, and will make you cry. We see Landon, a boy who walks the earth without giving a damn, change into a man who knows how to count his blessings and relish them for as long as he could, all because of a girl who had a big heart and a short life span. My favourite quote: ‘Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.’

 

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7) P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern: A story told in letters, about a young widow learning to deal with loss. In a way, I’m like Holly; I’ve a million memories I can’t let go of. The bad times can’t undo the good. There isn’t one definite happy ending, but many shades of it, and that’s what this novel taught me. Gerry only exists in memories, but he was so very selfless and brave, so gentle and loving. And Irish. Heh! My favourite quote: ‘Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Open your heart and follow where it leads you…and remember, shoot for the moon.’

 

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8) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: I am conflicted about this one. I loved the foreshadowing, but the language didn’t do it for me. But the way the author dealt with themes of love, fate, destiny, personal choice and, of course, time, was mind-blowing. My favourite quote: ‘I won’t ever leave you, even though you’re always leaving me.’

 

 

 

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9) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: Augustus and Hazel. Two broken people coming together. Need I say more? Okay, here you go: Nice guys don’t finish last! Books like these are the boss. A touching and heartwarming novel, and after I finished it, I thought: ‘My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.’ One hell of a good book! My favourite quote: ‘As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.’

 

 

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10) The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks: Another masterpiece by Sparks. I’m a sucker for beautiful writing, and this was pure poetry for me. It’s got a whole lot of long romantic verses and stunning imagery. It makes you believe in soulmates, in true love! I loved Allie and Noah, and I loved their story. My favourite quote: ‘You are, and always have been, my dream.’

 

 

 

 

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The Story of Us is now available on the Juggernaut app here.

 

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