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The Mute Anklet is a love story between two extremely different people, Uma Brooke and Captain Trevelyan. It explores relationships and the search for identity.
Set in the 1790’s, when Tipu Sultan was waging a ferocious battle against the British, the “Mute Anklet” narrates a captivating love story of Uma Brooke and Captain Trevelyan. Radhika Nathan has very wisely used various artistic liberties in setting up the plot of this historical fiction. Not merely a love story, the novel is also about finding one’s identity and understanding relationships. Further, the book is a perfect blend of history, romance, action, and suspense. Also, the descriptions are so vivid that one can actually visualize the forts, temples, the early 18th century south India, and the ferocious battle between the British East India Company and the kingdom of Mysore.
Raised in South India, Uma Brooke is an Englishman’s daughter, in the care of Maharaja of Mysore. Though she has distinctly English looks, she is deeply attached to India and has developed strong prejudices against the invading Britons. Captain Trevelyan is a Briton and a man with an indifferent attitude towards Indians. While Uma believes in literary romantic love and feels ‘do not enter marriage if you do not love’, Captain Trevelyan does not believe in love. He says, “Marriage would be the fastest way to get me into all that I loathe.” He associates marriage with volatile mood swings, confrontations, complicated words, and worries on balancing one’s pocket.
The two completely different personalities are brought together through unusual circumstances and married for strategic purposes. Meanwhile, in the background runs another story of the ‘Mute Anklet’, which can be termed as one of the prominent characters in the book. Another unresolved mystery is that someone is chasing Uma and threatening her wherever she goes.
“Why did everyone think marriage was necessary for one’s happiness? She would have been perfectly content with her books, her chess games, and her debates with her papa and the maharajah”, wonders Uma.
Radhika Nathan brings to light the various thoughts on marriage and relationships through her characters Uma and Captain Trevelyan.
Radhika Nathan brings to light the various thoughts on marriage and relationships through her characters Uma and Captain Trevelyan. Through Uma’s dilemma on her marriage with Captain Trevelyan, she raises questions on the necessity of marriage and relates it with happiness. Similarly, through Captain Trevelyan, she brings a different perspective as the Captain says, “Volatile mood swings, confrontations, complicated words all give me a headache. I’d have to start worrying about balancing my pocket too. All this for attaching myself to one woman for the rest of my life? My sole intention is to steer clear of all that.”
Further, through their story Radhika conveys that changing one’s beliefs is not a sign of weakness. The strength of a relationship lies in accepting the other person and holding on to each other despite all the flaws. But the question that looms is will the young couple be able to secure their teetering relationship? Will they be able to accept their marriage which was merely a strategic alliance for them? And, will they be able to rise above their ideologies and prejudices to see each other in a different light?
Another element of the story is Uma’s journey to find her identity.
Another element of the story is Uma’s journey to find her identity. Being born with English looks, everyone considered her to be different even in her family. She had only her Maharajah to comfort her and her Ayah. Marrying a Briton and living among his people, will she be able to fit in and hold on to identity? Will she be able to discover her past?
The Mute Anklet is a fine piece of writing and a great read. One cannot put the book down before finishing it. Further, the characters in the book are deeply etched and Radhika Nathan portrays great imagination and artistic abilities. Also, the humorous tidbits in the book add to its charm. Playing with time is a big risk that Radhika has taken. However, she has brilliantly set up the plot against the historical background and has masterfully used the artistic liberties. Though not a great piece of literature, the book is a remarkable piece of writing from a debut author. And, I hope she will come up with more such wonderful reads in coming days.
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Answer this question and you could win yourself a copy of The Mute Anklet!
If you ever wrote a novel about a historical character or an imaginary character in a historical era, who/what would it be around and why?
One lucky commenter wins a cop of The Mute Anklet!
An engineer by profession but a writer at heart, I try to seek happiness through
I would love to write about a historical character, may be Sai Baba , because his tales are full of humanity and kindness…one of those traits which are severely lacking in the current scenario….In short, his teachings are relevant even today!!
I would like to write about a simple normal middle class character as I love the way how the lives were simple without any fear or stress during those days as per the stories I heard from my grandpa n grandma.
I would want to pick either an existing misinterpreted/ misunderstood female from Mahabharata or Ramayana or any mythological stories and give her a new identity. Portray her and her story that is apt for the present era. or I would want to continue a mythological character’s story imagining how his/her next generations would have survived in the present world.
I m fascinated by Mahabharata. But with a twist… It will be the story of the friendship of Krishna n draupadi, who wanted all the power, hence played all the hi cards diplomatically n cunningly to start the kurukshetra war. It was a game of power much higher than the rich of pandavas n kauravas n the grandmaster was none other than Krishna with the help of Draupadi.
I would write about the strict horoscope matching by Brahmins where sects /subsect/ gothra, language, family background, dowry expectations, age restrictions( male should be older than female), monetary income( male having more income), height, weight, looks, color..so many things skewed up that there is no room for intellect, individuality, feelings, chemistry, sharing of personal values..these are lost in narrowing down the prospects for marriage
Different People, Different Thoughts. One cannot know who their biological mother and/ father is until & unless told by her. My point is we cannot ignore or object our Puranas, unless and until we have any solid proofs/ points to defend our statements. Personal opinions/ assumptions would mostly be baseless and cannot be trusted up on or considered for further arguments.
Nevertheless, if you got time, patience and willingness to know about ‘Draupadi’, you can visit my blog and comment.
In fact, there are many shrines for Goddess Draupadi, spread in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. One of the shrines, where She is a Grama-Devatha and Kula-Devatha to many, is located in one of the small villages of Tamil Nadu.
The village is named KONDAL, Mayiladuthurai Taluk, Nagapattinam District, Nidur P.O, Tamil Nadu.
Draupadi Amman Thunai – May you all be BLESSED by HER grace!!
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