DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - BOOKS -

Most of us wouldn’t think get­ting an auto out­side Ban­dra sta­tion could be fash­ioned into a re­mark­able story, but that’s be­cause most of us aren’t Am­bai. ‘ Jour­ney 7’, which is about an older woman, Mausiji, help­ing a young wife named Rup­mati and her brood of chil­dren ne­go­ti­ate their way through Ban­dra sta­tion. Mausiji is such a re­fresh­ing alternative to the schem­ing, snip­ing and inse- She weeps, she’s melo­dra­matic and for much of the novel, she’s wor­ried about get­ting her daugh­ter mar­ried. This doesn’t sound like the for­mula of a strong woman char­ac­ter but in the way Rabi care­fully carves out an in­de­pen­dent iden­tity in the in­tensely- con­ser­va­tive Hausa so­ci­ety, she’s pos­i­tively heroic. When Rabi is thrown out of her mar­i­tal home ( with her chil­dren), she sniffs and sobs but she also wastes no time in set­ting up her own busi­ness. Rabi’s story would prob­a­bly feel far closer to many an In­dian woman’s re­al­ity than the saas- bahu se­ri­als on tele­vi­sion. late in the novel, Sukhvin­der is ul­ti­mately one of the few peo­ple in Rowl­ing’s Pag­ford who warms your heart. She’s doesn’t move past her in­se­cu­ri­ties mag­i­cally, but she is strong enough to not lose sight of what she be­lieves is right. In the end, when she or­gan­ises the funeral for the mis­un­der­stood Krys­tal, Sukhvin­der proves she has more in­tegrity than al­most any­one else in the novel. Brava!

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