She fingered the circular scar on her face as she looked at herself in the mirror. Her eyes glinted defiantly back at her. Smoking is injurious to health, but what is more injurious is when victims turn vengeful. The mark on her face was going to stay, but she had taken care of the person who had marred her face with a cigarette butt. When people played with fire, they were bound to get burned. And he had burnt like a potato chip.
I pull up the syringe
and inject the tune into my bloodstream
and I lose myself to the rise and fall of the rhythm
to forget, to dream,
to fantasize and to be free.
My body is no longer
a bundle of nerves,
but a nest of coiled verses.
Yet I pull up the syringe again,
and I lose myself to the sweep of the rhythm.
Ladies Coupe is a feminist novel that explores the roles and the rights of women in Indian society. The novel focuses on Akhila, a forty- five- year- old spinster, who is on a journey to ascertain what a woman can and cannot do. Weighed down by the responsibilities thrust on her as the daughter, sister, and breadwinner; she feels herself sinking into the morass of life unable to give vent to her womanly desires. In the ladies coupe of The Kanyakumari Express she encounters five women-Janaki, Margaret, Sheela, Prabha Devi, and Marikolanthu—women who belong to different age groups leading starkly different lives.
But unlike Akhila, these women are able to assert themselves and take control of their lives. Ladies Coupe is a remarkable novel that probes into the deceptively simple problems that women face. Here Anita Nair weaves together the threads of life of five diverse women forming a tapestry that is both melancholic and sanguine. She delves into the illusory nature of freedom that women generally experience meditating upon the feasibility of complete freedom.
This novel made me reflect on what it is to be a woman and the choices we have and whether we should restrict ourselves to the choices available or break barriers. Captivating and inspirational, this novel will definitely make you turn to yourself and think about the decisions that have been taken and the decision that are to be taken.
You pull words out of a hat
And throw it on people,
Basking in their sad attention.
A magician like no one else,
Twisting words to suit your needs
That is a talent, no tease.
While you do that
I pirouette to the music
Of your slander.
I stretch and twirl,
Turning things around,
Literally and figuratively.
The very definition of optimism,
No doubt, you would agree
With a beatific smile.
I watch my pet cat dart about
my kitchen garden,
thinking of the changes that have crept in–
Eat or be eaten,
the way of life in the wild,
now, reinvented for the urbane,
concealed by shimmery electric lights
and the smell of warm notes–
Vehicles gush by, silhouetted
by oncoming headlights
and up, above, smoke travels in ripples
choking birds in its wake.