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Book Review: Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair

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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.

A Positive Spin

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.

City Life

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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.

Marriage

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A rolling suitcase and a handbag greeted me as I stepped out of the bathroom with my toothbrush in my mouth, toothpaste foam dripping down the tiled floor.

“She is leaving me?” he asked himself incredulously.

“Oh, you’re awake, get your bags ready, we are going on a trip”, she announced as she came out of the kitchen with two huge bottles of water.

“It ‘s Sunday. What has got into you?”

“ We planned this last week, remember? No, you don’t. I am invisible to you.”

“I wish she would leave me”, he muttered as he brushed his teeth.