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The Other Woman anthology broadens the narrative of adultery to go beyond the usual themes of seduction and guilt.
Home breaker. Husband-snatcher. Many are the names thrown at the “other woman”, often viewed as the third spoke in an otherwise perfect husband-wife wheel. While the philandering husband gets away, it is the other woman who faces opprobrium for being a “temptress” and for her low moral standards.
The Other Woman, a collection of 16 short stories on the subject caught my attention while browsing at an airport bookstore, and I picked it up hoping that it would bring something new to the discourse. It doesn’t disappoint.
Edited by Monica Das, and containing stories from stalwarts such as Mahasveta Devi, Amrita Pritam, Sa’adat Hasan Manto, Jayakanthan and M.T.Vasudevan Nair, The Other Woman is engrossing and versatile in every way. For starters, it draws on stories from a breadth of Indian languages, bringing to the reader many different settings, urban and rural.
Even more importantly, it brings the idea of the other woman down on its head by presenting her in completely different avatars. From the unattractive Manorama in Sunil Gangopadhayay’s Our Manorama, who is at once a guilty pleasure and a treasure to be guarded, to Damayanti in Indira Goswami’s The Offspring, driven to illicit relationships by poverty, and yet conscious of caste-purity, no two women in these stories are the same.
One of the results of this multiplicity is that the stories as a whole move the narrative of the other woman beyond guilt, encroachment and morality, even as they deal with these subjects, among others. The other woman is no longer a shadowy seductress, but every woman. In my favourite story from the collection, Mahasveta Devi’s Chinta, the other woman becomes ‘other’ not to a couple, but to an entire community.
Even in stories from the wronged wife’s perspective such as Amrita Pritam’s The Unfortunate One, it is the ordinariness of human beings and their relationships, including adulterous ones, which becomes evident.
If at all there is a grouse with this anthology, it is that in including stories translated into English from many Indian languages, the quality of translation has not always been taken into account. Happily, this is only in a few cases, with the majority reading very well indeed.
If you’re willing to look into the grey areas of relationships and reserve judgement for a while, The Other Woman is definitely worth your time.
Publisher: Harper Collins
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Founder & Chief Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations to create change. She has been writing since she was ten. In another life, she used to be read more...
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Tripti Dimri had completely won everyone over with her performance in Bulbbul. so there is a great deal riding on her new Netflix film Qala.
Netflix’ latest release, Qala (2022) is Tripti Dimri’s second collaboration with Anvita Dutt and Clean Slate Filmz after Bulbbul (2020). Her performance was applauded in 2020 with Bulbbul’s character becoming well known in most Indian households.
Thus, the audiences certainly had high expectations from Qala, a film that portrays a protagonist who suffers from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, in terms of what Dimri, Dutt and Clean Slate Filmz would together deliver.
Does Qala match up to Bulbbul?
A few Bangalore schools recently did a search of students' bags for mobile phones that are banned inside, and were shocked to find condoms, oral contraceptives, cigarettes, etc.
When schools in Bangalore conducted surprise checks of the bags of students to see if they were bringing cell phones to school, they were in for a nasty surprise.
As this report in the Deccan Herald says, “In addition to cell phones, they found condoms, oral contraceptives, cigarettes, lighters and whiteners in the bags of students of grades 8, 9 and 10. To their credit, the school authorities handled the situation with maturity- instead of suspending the students, they informed the parents and/ or guardians and advised them to seek counselling for their wards.”
People are, understandably shocked to find out that adolescents in the age group 12 to 15 years are potentially indulging in sexual intercourse. People largely fall into four camps–
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