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Rohit Trilokekar’s ‘The Perfect Outside’ is Inspired by the Pandemic-Altered Ability to Socially Perambulate

Rohit Trilokekar’s ‘The Perfect Outside’ is Inspired by the Pandemic-Altered Ability to Socially Perambulate

  • It is an easy-to-read story about a man devoted to his anthropomorphized pets.

Once upon a time, there was a single man who lived in a comfortable house with two pets. An entitled, well-manicured Siamese cat (who reminds me a lot of my feline friends who look down upon the hoi-polloi like Marie Antoinette) and Polly the proverbial parrot. They were comfortable in their companionship in the comfort of their luxurious nest. They were not friends of “the same feather” but the appetite for everything familiar, thickened their friendship. They were having a simple life with commonplace quibbles and grievances when the hand-knotted silk carpet was pulled from beneath their feet. 

Enter another female of the species and their doting master was turned into a sniveling hen-pecked husband. Their “inside” peace was shattered and so they decided to go on an adventure to “The Perfect Outside.” A backyard. A tree-lined neighborhood. A scenic picnic or an exotic foreign locale? That’s the cardinal question, Rohit Trilokekar explores. It is an easy-to-read story about a man devoted to his anthropomorphized pets. Reminiscent of the Jataka tales or the Panchatantra but it’s more. Much more. The author explores the mandatory lockdowns of the COVID pandemic and reminds us of the bittersweet quest for perfection.

The book with philosophical references to Rilke, Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett is introspective. I would hesitate to overanalyze but it suffices to say that the narrative is inspired by our recently altered ability to socially perambulate. This time the uninvited intruder is not “a female of the species” but the fickle respiratory virus. Corona. Who keeps changing its spikes so that we can never be able to feel perfectly safe outside.

Outside, almost all of us “humans and pets” took for granted. Now, we all have learned how it is like to work from home. Order takeout instead of going out to the restaurants. To be away from the company of friends or family. I have made and canceled several airline and hotel reservations, despite being fully vaccinated because of the uncertainty of impending lockdowns under the threat of Omicron. Till then I am comfortable in my perfect inside sanctuary, reading and watching shows. Eating pomegranates, fluffy pancakes, scrambled eggs. Sipping low-fat caramel macchiatos. 

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I am glad that there is no one vying for my attention. Neither do I have to pander to anyone’s fancy. I do miss the companionship of my parents but they are away from the clutches of contagions. And I can discuss books with them anytime. They are eager to lend me an ear. I for one am not “waiting for Godot” or to find the Perfect Outside. I wish the “chatterbox parrot and the supercilious cat” a pinch of luck (as my grandson calls them after listening to their story)! Might we see them again in their quest to find happiness? Rubbing shoulders with the KungFu Panda or Rilke’s panther? Perhaps they too “will go to the limit of their longing…No feeling is final.” Worth a read, indeed. 

With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published many poems, movie reviews, book critiques, essays and two books, “My Light Reflections” and “Flow Through My Heart.” You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM.

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