Author: Mahasweta Devi
: Vikram Iyengar
Publisher: Seagull Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170461863
This volume, spanning over three decades of writing, shows an unusually tender side to Mahasweta Devi, widely known for her satiric prose and biting indictment of societal inequities.
Five elderly women and the men in their lives: husbands, lovers, sons and friends. All living in the margins of society, ageing, enduring, struggling to make two ends meet. These touching tales, with their humor, delicacy and warmth are each centered on a woman character. There is Kuli who finds herself unexpectedly divorced in the heat of a quarrel, but decides to defy societal taboos with her ex-husband, companion of many years.
Mohini, lonely after her sons leave home, vows that since her husband objects to her verbosity, she will henceforth talk only to the crows and cranes. Kamal discovers how harsh the indifference of today's world can be; while Anandi mourns the sudden loss of her only friend and the simple pleasures of their companionship even as sensitive forces question her links with the old man. Finally there is the ageing actress, Kusum, who after a lifetime of devotion to her lover finds herself alone, and questioning what it was all about.
VIKRAM IYENGAR, currently engaged in research in Performance Studies, is also a Kathak dancer.