Celebrating Love and Pride and Prejudice

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I don’t quite remember the time I first read Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. But ever since, like the legions of its fans, I have remained faithful to it.

When I was young I imagined myself to be someone like Elizabeth Bennet, sharp-witted, spirited, sensible and no-nonsense. In fact, all young girls of a certain age, and beyond, would relate to Lizzy: someone who was terribly proud of her own wit and her apparent ability to judge others, though in reality she went wrong at times. With each successive reading she almost became a role-model, who seemed to be in control of her surroundings, who could rein in her over-eager mother, counter pesky suitors with sarcastic repartee, be fiercely faithful to her best friend and do her best to keep her sisters out of trouble. However, when it came to her own feelings, she seemed to be completely at a loss and made one blunder after another, thanks to preconceived notions and hasty decisions.  She had decided—and with her, thousands of readers—that she would marry only for love  and not for comfort or convenience, something not quite in vogue in the early 19th century, when property and inheritance were usually linked to ”happy matrimony”. But she trusted her own judgement so much that she made some terrible mistakes and almost lost the love of her life, Mr Darcy.

Flattery and self-love are certain ‘vices’ that the very-human Elizabeth is not immune to. So, when she overhears Mr. Darcy badmouthing her, she starts nursing resentment towards him. Her grudge against him was not only fanned by her preconceived notion of the “arrogance of the gentleman class”, but was also fuelled by wily George Wickham, who flirted with her and dropped acid bombs against Darcy.

I would sigh and pore over the pages, waiting for Mr. Darcy to sweep the-brilliant-yet-so-idiotic Lizzy off her feet, (rather, propose to her for the second time), and for her to finally realize how much she loved him. It’s a happy coincidence that Mr. Darcy is super-wealthy, with a family estate at Pemberley and a personal fortune rumoured to be £10,000 a year.

I have never really been cured of my infatuation with Mr. Darcy and I tell myself that his ”pride” stemmed from the fact that he is rather painfully ”socially awkward”.  And Colin Firth, who plays Mr. Darcy in the TV series, did little to help me out of my hopeless love for him. My husband apparently thinks Firth has a rather avuncular look about him, but I think that’s nonsense: Firth is strong-and-silent personified, fitting Mr. Darcy’s character to the T.

In fact, I have mentioned my love for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ so often that when my former flat mate visited England, she brought me a bag that reads: ”I love Mr. Darcy”. It’s just a tote bag, but to me, it’s a priceless gift, something which reminds me of the book that instilled in me the love for reading, the love for love and the love for day-dreaming.




I am Anonymous. I want to be heard, but not necessarily known.

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