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    TMYS Review June 2020 - Women Sacrifices and Gender Politics

    GENDER IDENTITIES AND SOCIAL REALITIES : ESSAYS AND STORIES ON INDIAN WOMEN

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    About TMYS Review June 2020 : https://www.tellmeyourstory.biz/tmys-review

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    Subcategory I :

    WOMEN SACRIFICES AND GENDER POLITICS

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    Title : Debt

    Category : Fiction

    Author : Mahima Dundy

    Author Intro : Mahima bid adieu to 12 years of a demanding and constantly challenging advertising and corporate life to raise her daughter most beautifully and intimately. The change gave her mental space and time to explore other aspects of her personality. She always had been a voracious reader, but she  never had explored writing before; it’s very recent that she has started writing. She tries to express what she feels and notices through her blog beautyinmundane.com. As the name suggests, it's an effort to bring joy to the world by seeing beauty in the mundane and extra in the ordinary. She is fortunate enough to travel a lot which provides her opportunity to explore the world. She is a nature lover and believes in preserving the earth for a better future.

    Excerpt :

    The benches are rickety. Every time she moves, they squeak, as if gauging her restlessness. The pitter-patter of raindrops on the asbestos rooftop is turning wild; outside a Banyan tree is swaying with the storm. At last, the shrill screech of the school bell sounds the end of the day. It takes less than a minute for the children to run amok; out of the school. Reshma hurriedly but nearly packs her worn-out books in a plastic sheet before putting them in her canvas school bag.  She wraps her white dupatta over her head,  knowing that it will not be enough to protect her from the rain, and heads out of the classroom. The other kids are already across the compound, so she sprints to the banyan tree, through the kaccha village road. Sunaina, her friend from the village and Zehab, her elder sister  catch up with her on the way.  Together, they  head towards the river.

    The rain is getting heavier and the water is rising fast. Timing is everything. If the river gets any wilder, it won't be possible. They reach the river-bank, taking off their school bags as they do and  pile them up under  a tree. Next, they take their dupattas off  and tie them around the waist: as if preparing for war. They fold their white salwars up till the knees. Zehab breaks off a sharp piece of the tree’s bough and walks  into the river. There is a school of silver fish glistening under the surface. Zehab is focused and quick;  in a flash, she has one skewered on the branch. Content, she walks back out; drenched but victorious, holding the fresh catch akin some sort of war-spoil.

    (Read more at https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : Good News

    Category : Nonfiction

    Author : Kathakali Mukherjee

    Author Intro : Kathakali Mukherjee writes content for others to make a living and writes fiction and short stories for her own readers, to make life a pleasant experience. For her fiction is a way to describe the world she observes. She also works on literary translation of Bengali and German folktales with an intention to publish lesser known works of big cultural and historical significance. Being an explorer in the ocean of literature, she finds old folk literature a strong support that helps one to delve deeper in cultural environment of a specific geography. She tries to express her thoughts and communicate with readers using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  She blogs at https://kathamukh.wordpress.com

    Excerpt :

    It was a family belonging to the Indian middle class. The man, the only earning member in the family of three, was a reputed government servant. His wife came from an ex-feudal family and was trying to raise her child to fulfil the common aspiration of the post-colonial Indian middle class - maintaining the same socio-economic status for generations to come.

    The child, an adolescent boy, was not very studious, but sharp enough to crack JME (Joint Migration Entrance) exam, the gateway to reputed govt. engineering colleges in the region. The day the boy secured admission to mechanical engineering; he realized the meaning of achievement in life. He immediately called his mother. The latter, though not very happy with his ranking, assumed that her brother, an excellent student and currently a reputed teacher in a renowned school , would be the only person to recognize the achievement of her son. She decided to give him the good news at once. A telephone call is the quickest option to reach one, and she opted for that.

    "Hello, is this Reena? " Reena was the name of his brother’s wife.

    "Yes didi, how are you? How are the kids?" and a familiar conversation followed.

    Everything was fine at both sides, children were studying, men were working and laundrymen were showing up on weekends as usual in both the homes. Finally, our lady broke the news. "I have some good news this time, our Bablu cleared JME. He opted for Mechanical Engineering in Indian Technological University."

    Reena sounded overwhelmed with joy. "It's not good news didi, it’s great news!"

    She also had two younger kids; she knew how a mother feels when a not-so-attentive kid does well in the exam. But she had never studied in college or universities, so she wanted her pundit husband to proceed with the conversation. "Didi, you should talk to your brother then; many of his students are also studying in that college. He will be so happy….just hold on, he is right here!"

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : An Empty Nest

    Category : Fiction

    Author : Kavita Iyer   

    Author Intro : Born and brought up in Mumbai, Kavita developed a passion for writing poetry in college. Her poems used to get published in college magazines and newspaper columns, which motivated her to aim higher. She also has an inclination towards writing short fictional stories and shayaris.

    Excerpt :

    Gurukrupa Old Age Home is a well-known NGO located in the city of Palghar in the Konkan division of Maharashtra. Despite its age, it is well-maintained structure, and serves as yet another home for the many aged, homeless and lonely people of Mumbai, seeking a life with dignity and security. No doubt the best place for elders is their own home, but…

    This is the story of Geeta Tai, who had a son whose work had taken him and his family- minus Geeta Tai- somewhere abroad. It had been mutually agreed that the mother should be left in the reputed Gurukrupa Old Age Home, as an alternative to staying alone, since cities were never safe, nor could even the friendliest neighbours be trusted. An early morning at Gurukrupa is the sight of some grandpas and grandmas propped on rows of easy chairs in the balcony, reading newspapers, sipping tea, chatting and smiling.

    "Tring Tring," rang the landline phone kept at the reception. A lady came running to pick up the call. "Geeta Tai, It's for you!" she called out loudly. Geeta Tai, clad in an off-white saree, walked out slowly from her room and shuffled towards the reception; old age had left her with weak legs. She had a very frail frame marked by a humped back. She was among the oldest in Gurukrupa; so she was familiar with everyone there. She had a very calm and composed appearance, almost always with a serene smile on her face.

    "Hello Mom, how is your health now"?

    It was her son. He used to call her sometimes to check on her health and also to inform her how her expenses were being handled, which took care of her medicines and other needs.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Essay by : Aisik Maiti

    Title : A Study of the Representation of Cultural Workings and Paradigms in Three Social Narratives

    Author intro : Aisik  Maiti is a third year English Honours student of The Heritage College (University of Calcutta). An avid reader, he has presented academic papers at three national and nine international conferences. He has two published papers in reputed peer-reviewed journals, one on Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the Bengali Theatre and the other on Bharata Muni’s Natyasastra. His interests include British literature, Indian writing in English and feminist history.

    Abstract : The stories which are going to be discussed in this essay are Debt by Mahima Dundy, Good News by Kathakali Mukherjee, and The Empty Nest by Kavita Iyer. The readings will be done to study the specific sociological contexts in which these narratives are plotted across fictional contexts, to study the stylistic and technical aspects and their relation to the thematic counterparts, to understand the cultural configurations of the social spaces which the tales depict and to study how the characters develop in the course of the narratives. Comparative studies of the stories will be done, along with discussions on how each particular tale stands out as an embodiment of the social reality in which the characters live.

    Excerpt :

    Every day we adapt to new, externally defined roles. Role performance aligns our identity to the concise yet rhetorical platitude we often hear: “Man is a social animal.”  And one of the most poignant ways to record these seamless sociological phenomena, this blending of the individual and the societal, the natural and the cultural, the internal and the external can be storytelling, for it is a craft which narrates and keeps alive the age-old epistemological debate what it means to be “human”.

    In the stories which are going to be discussed in this essay, one term binds them all: – relationships - their fragility, temporality; How ephemeral they can be- like monsoon rains on the swift river waters or   one-minute phone-calls that can change the direction of lives. Stories which speak of senility and emotional dependence, of deprivation based on circumstances, of restriction and freedom.

    Debt by Mahima Dundy is a story which, beneath its apparent simplicity, has a powerful sociological undercurrent – the huge difference in the way rural spaces are perceived within the rhetoric of industrial progress and the actualities of how people still act within the discursive limitations of gender and power. Women empowerment remains just a myth in some of these spaces – every moment women are relegated to male-defined roles. One is certainly reminded of the assertion of Judith Butler:

    “… as a strategy of survival, gender is a performance with clearly punitive consequences.” (Butler, p. 552)

    Furthermore, it is through mythical archetypes that power relations are perpetuated, that gender is imagined and interpreted within particular static modes of meaning. Here, silencing of the “other” is an everyday reality, a reality in which women have lived through ages. Forces of modernity have proven fruitful only in sectors of industry and work, ideological transformation has hardly occurred – Debt gives a remarkable account of this reality.

    Debt has several symbolic layers, and its profoundly dense fictional association of the natural and the emotional realms is described right in the first paragraph. At the outset, the reader realizes the initial setting to be a school classroom, where Reshma, one of the characters, grows more restless as the storms gather in the dark sky, and the rains begin. The not so distant Banyan tree, “swaying with the storm” adds to the longing to step out of the cloistered room she finds herself in, hardly understanding the irony of the situation, since her future is going to be unimaginably one of confinement and subordination. No sooner does the bell ring than Reshma packs her books in a plastic sheet and puts them in her canvas school bag – a little act which reflects the child’s meticulous reverence for her stationary, a signifier of her fondness for learning, which  the classroom space, however can’t fulfil on such a monsoon day! Her acts of wrapping her white “dupatta” over her head and crossing the Banyan tree on to the kaccha village road signify the urgency she feels to join her companions – her friend Sunaina and her elder sister Zenab. Their spontaneous play becomes one with the flow of the rain, the freedom of the waters of the river. Zehab’s act of catching the fish with a broken branch; their contentment at walking towards the dilapidated and desolate fort; their long hours of joyful exchange inside the old historic monument- all have a number of symbolic meanings, which can only be perceived once the reader reaches the concluding moment.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    You can also read the above stories here :https://www.amazon.in/Women-Their-Stories-Tell-Story-ebook/dp/B085GKM43S/

    Go back to TMYS Review : https://www.tellmeyourstory.biz/tmys-review

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