by Elton Gomes
Children can sometimes turn into the best teachers in life. With their unrelenting questions and undying enthusiasm, they seem to instill a sense of unmatched wonder. Harimohan Paruvu’s new book This Way is Easier Dad stands out as a crisp example of this unmatched wonder and awe. The book’s sub title—How my daughter saved me from growing up—makes it clear that the book is about children, growing up, and relationships. However, This Way is Easier Dad does not seek to delve into tenuous familial relationships, instead it is a simple account of day-to-day conversations.
Paruvu began writing down snippets about his daughter’s behaviour since she was two. As she was growing up, the number of snippets increased. What also grew was his daughter’s affinity towards pragmatism. The little anecdotes record conversations that Anjali, Paruvu’s daughter, has with her father. In each of them, there exists a little learning for everyone from corporate employees to millennials to would-be parents. But for Paruvu, reminiscence transcends the learning: “But, if, while reading the book, you relive some incidents, wonder at the innocence and the simplicity of life and smile, my effort will have been worth it,” he writes.
Paruvu’s clear and lucid writing does manage to create a sense of nostalgia, but the accounts somehow seem too short. A sense of wonderment does exist in parts, and the takeaways run the risk of being basic—perhaps Paruvu wished it that way. This is where the simplicity of the book lies. The book manages to captivate the reader though this simplicity. Although the takeaways might be basic, they tend to remind readers about how children can double up as sensible adults. This Way is Easier Dad maintains its spotlight on Anjali and her rejoinders. The book is light on the hands and the eyes.
Some of the written accounts are peppered with some of Anjali’s actions, such as the time when she was batting on zero and “did a couple of goofy jigs to celebrate her accomplishment” or the time when she “moonwalked herself out of the room.” The book comes alive in these quotidian instances. Such instances might have something for everyone—their like the photographs our parents or relatives clicked while we were small. Paruvu’s succinct prose gives the reader a clear view of what his relationship was like with Anjali.
At the end of each chapter, Paruvu decides to gauge Anjali’s worldview as she’s growing up. Asking a child for their opinion and letting them question you in return is a critical and novel route taken by Paruvu.
This Way is Easier Dad provides for a simple, light-hearted read with conversation at its crux. It also rekindles curiosity and wonderment, allowing the reader to think about their childhood and whether they acted in the same way as Anjali did. Through a simple book like This Way is Easier Dad, Paruvu manages to transport the reader to their childhood.
At a time when invectives are launched left, right, and centre, the book can be a welcome relief. The prospect of going back to one’s simple, carefree childhood seems alluring, and Paruvu’s accounts give us enough reason to become sensible like a child once more. Anjali’s responses are simple, but through This Way is Easier Dad, Paruvu invites readers to a world full of alacrity and delight.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius