Monday, October 18, 2010

My Entry.

Women's web has announced a contest asking contestants to write about their favorite female characters. Details about the contest can be obtained here. And here I go!



I've read Sivasankari's Nakel some 10 years back but it is a story that I love to repeat since it impressed me a lot. I must admit that I am not very sure about the names of the main characters. As far as I remember they are Renuka and Muthuswami. I may however be muddling up the names. Kindly bear with me. The essence of the story remains the same. so read on.


The character of Renuka in a Hindi translation of Sivasankari’s novel titled ‘Nakel’ is an all time favorite among the many female characters I like. Nakel’ means the halter – pin/ halter fixed to an animal’s nose to tame/control it. I think it should translate into ‘mookannakayiru’ in Tamil but unfortunately a web search did not throw up any result so I am not sure. However my desire to read the novel in the original remains and I do hope I am able to lay my hands on it soon. The actual surprise is at the end of the story and Sivasankari is simply brilliant to come up with such a superb ending to a story that seemed so very stereotype.

Renuka, the typical docile, tolerant Indian woman is aware of her husband’s umpteen affairs outside marriage but cannot do much about it. She has inherited a business empire from her father but is incapable of running it and happily lets her husband Muthuswami manage things. The story begins with Renuka’s teenaged son telling her that he had seen his father emerge from a hotel room accompanied by his secretary. He felt that the two of them shared a fair degree of intimacy. Renuka waits for her husband to leave on a business tour and swings into action. She first visits the secretary’s home and realizes that her family solely depended on her income for sustenance. She meets the girl’s father and offers to get her married to Muthuswami. Her inability to satisfy him in bed due to health reasons was bothering her and she wished to do something about it. She assures him that his daughter would continue to support him even after marriage. She also offers the same explanation to her husband’s elder brother who strongly opposes the idea initially but relents later. By the time her husband returns a date for the wedding is scheduled and preparations are underway. The husband is inwardly delighted but puts on an appearance of reluctance. The wedding takes place as planned. The two leave for their honeymoon.

On his return from his honeymoon Muthuswami rushes home with gifts for his first wife and children and looks forward to some private time with her. He had after all neglected her long enough. But no, he is in for a surprise.

Renuka asks him to leave her alone and move in with his second wife.

“From now on you will be staying with her in her house.” She declares. “The world knows that I got you married to a woman of your choice due to my indifferent health. So no one will be surprised if you do not stay here. You may visit us during the day if you so wish. This will not be your home any more.”

““The company will pay you your salary on the first of every month and you can look for a rented accommodation to suit your requirements like all other employees.”

Muthuswami remembers that the company was legally in her name and he himself a mere employee. Taking her loyalty for granted he had never bothered to change the arrangement.

“Why did you do this to me?” Wails Muthuswami.

Renuka explains. The secretary would accompany him on his business tours and keep an eye on him. It would not be easy to fool her the way he managed to fool Renuka. When the question of the marriage of their children came up, society would accept a second wife in his life but would object to a father with roving eyes. As for her she would stand tall as the sacrificing wife who understood her shortcomings and placed her husband’s happiness before hers.

She has the last laugh.

21 comments:

artnavy said...

Wonderful choice! great post.

Anonymous said...

unbelievable
Anu

Ugich Konitari said...

HHG , I'm totally thrilled with Renuka .....what a smart lady !

dr.antony said...

Smart lady. I was suspicious to start with.I knew this woman was tricky.Muthuswami was stupid,but understandably in pursuit of his carnal pleasures.
But is she good enough to be the most favorite character?

starry eyed said...

Wow! What a plot!

Doli said...

hehhehe interesting!

Jay said...

Wow! Can I find the author's book(s) in English?

Hip Grandma said...

artnavy:Thanks.

Anu:nice ending. Don't you think so too?

Suranga:i loved her character. Seemingly docile but strong willed and her solution is just too good.

Dr.Antony:I was beginning to get tired of the stereotype of a sacrificing woman who bears the brunt of an unhappy marriage for the sake of her children so the end came as a bit of a surprise. This has to be the most favorite character since it is 10 years since I read the book and I remember it as if I read it yesterday. However I suspect that I may have muddled up names.

starry eyed:Really a good plot I felt.

Doli:Thanks.

Jay:I think Sivasankari's novels and short stories have been translated into English too. I'll find out and let you know. Each one deals with a different social problem and is definitely worth a read.

hillgrandmom said...

A really smart woman! Must look at the contest details.

PNA said...

That's some smart thinking on her part and a good punishment :) Would love to lay my hands on this one

Hip Grandma said...

hillg'mom:smart thinking on the author's part.I think some of Sivasankari's books have been translated into malayalam too. you should read them if possible.

PNA:True. The book makes one rejoice over the fact that a cheating husband has been properly dealt with.It is available in Hindi since I've read it.It is certainly worth a read.

Renu said...

I always like the women who are gutsy for the right things, so I love Renuka.

Manasa said...

Brave women. Totally, second the post. Wonderful!

radha said...

Great story. A woman may appear docile, but definitely is not dumb!

Hip Grandma said...

Renu:don't you think we need more like her?

Manasa:thank you.

radha:Men like to think that women are dumb. Maybe some are. Certainly not all of them. I've seen the most submissive looking women manage to do great jobs as and when required.

AMODINI said...

Sounds interesting ! What a creative way of ridding oneself of bad rubbish :-)

Hip Grandma said...

Amodini:you're right.It was a mini novel but very interesting at least from a woman's point of view.

Hari said...

Didn't this come in DD as Mookanakayiru ...

With JaiGanesh in Lead.. The same story...

At that time, I was a very small kid, probably around 10 years old, I only remember the gist of the story, but this was one serial with one hell of a following...

Hip Grandma said...

Hari:welcome here. i wouldn't know if the serialized version was aired in DD-5(Tamil) since I do not have access to the channel. i haven't even read the original in Tamil. I've only read the Hindi Translation. after writing this post I wrote to Ms. Sivasankari asking her whether I could get the original and if so where and how. She was kind enough to give me the mail id and phone. no. of the publishers. I haven't got a response to my email to them. I must try ringing them up.

Srijith Unni said...

Sounds interesting. must read this. I feel, like you said in your comments, the characterization of the betrayed housewife has been too stereotypical in contemporary literature and popular medium. This sounds like a refreshing change.

Have Fun, Take Care and God Bless!

With Best Regards,
Srijith.

tassu said...

The decision Renuka took was too witty ! But again a quick question, didn't she loved her husband to let him go with this another lady?Why did not she tried to confront him and win him back?I mean ill health could not be a license for disloyalty after all.