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Welcome to Suprose.

Why Su-prose? "Su" in Sanskrit is a prefix for "good". This is a place where we will discuss and analyze prose (with a South Asian Connection) - that which is good, awesome, excellent, and maybe rant about prose that could be better.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Kaavya Viswanathan -- Why did it happen and How is she going to cope with it?

This is not just the story of a shattered American dream… This is a young and ambitious 19 year old that we are talking about. The summer holidays are here. School and university students get their three-month break to recover from 10 months of lessons and homework. This is their time to rejuvenate, energize and ready themselves before another school year begins. It’s the same for Kaavya Vishwanathan, who is a mere 19 years old, but is dealing with a misfortune that even adults find hard to stomach.
Internet blogs like Gawker and Puritan City reek with tittle-tattle and chitchat about how Viswanathan was found smoking at a nightclub in Cambridge, “I saw her at a cinco de mayo party at 44 jfk on friday night. My friend was a little drunk and was shouting about Salman Rushdie. She did not look pleased. Another friend later found her in a more secluded room smoking and told her that “smoking kills.”
A lame satire article in Forbes magazine by Karl Shmavonian titled Kaavya Viswanathan’s Secret Stash, talks about an enraged former roommate who handed over a hidden stash of unfinished manuscripts to literary scholars. The article scrutinizes and dissects some of the manuscripts and says that, “Historians were also tantalized by notes indicating that she was sketching a virtual history, entitled Peace and War: How Napoleon Got Crowned, Got Eager and Got a Country, in which the emperor was victorious in his desire to conquer Russia.” According to the satire, Viswanathan’s roommate is working on a memoir!
The world can be a cruel place especially for those that are trying to nurse themselves back to normalcy.
While everyone is talking about how she failed, and how she may never write again. No one seems to be thinking about how one so young is coping with this calamity between school and exams. Yes, this is the story of the 19 year old that shot up to fame and came crashing down even before she reached the top. The story that has been in every media one can think of. Her downfall was an even bigger story than the $500,000 contract itself.
After my interview with her I came away believing, then and now, that this was just another likeable teenager with quirks of her own. She was charming and beautiful, young and bubbly, audacious and opinionated. She was rushing from one interview to another, while managing classes and her many extra curricular activities. She is a foodie, who loves to cook, shop and travel. She loves the theater and the arts and hopes to become an investment banker. She loves her parents but scrunches her nose at their choice of music and clothes. She is just another teenager.
What forced Kaavya to take on so much, at so young a life? Who was pressurizing her to maybe perform more than she could give? Or was this just a teenager on hyper drive who wanted it all? Is this going to change her personality from the bubbly person she was to a more withdrawn and quiet person? When will her life return to normalcy? So many unanswered questions.
Bottom line, she was and is just a teenager who has her whole life ahead of her. She needs to be left alone so that she can cope with her emotions. One misstep cannot and will not mean the end of one so young and vulnerable.
Harvard students, that know her, say that Viswanathan is coping rather well and working hard at getting her normal routine back on track. She is back to attending her usual parties and events and goes to her regular hangouts. She is believed to have said that “this is just a temporary media frenzy which will eventually die down”.
This I believe… Viswanathan is an extremely resilient teenager with a drive and ambition that will see her through. . She will return after a summer of recovering and recouping and continue to work through school as successfully as she did before. In time, she would have learned from her mistakes, achieved her goals, and become a successful person. Time is healer time will mend… Give her a few years to recoup, heal, and she will be back, with a vengeance…

by Visi Tilak

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