Sunday, March 11, 2007
Ladies Coupe(the book) review
Ladies Coupe is a compartment in a train that is reserved exclusively for women. This compartment is safe, quiet and preferred by women who are either traveling alone (or traveling without a man). However, Akhila, the protagonist chooses to travel in a ladies coupe to discover herself.
Akhila is a 45-year-old single woman who belongs to a
conservative Brahmin family. She enjoys eating eggs, doesn’t do her prayers, makes love to a man who is much younger than her and gets upset when she sees the signboard at the ticket counter which says ‘Ladies, handicapped and senior citizens’.
he title in itself is very interesting to begin with. It’s in this compartment that five women of different age and family background come together and weave their own world. As the story develops, the Coupe turns into a place where five women share some of their life’s most private moments– about their childhood, their husbands, their sons and their lovers.
In each of the stories, it is clearly seen that all the five women have been victimised by the male-dominated society and each of these women have struggled, at some point, in their life to establish their own identity. Some failed, some succeeded and some managed to stay ‘afloat’.
‘Afloat’ – that is my favourite chapter in this book. I have never disclosed the plot or the story in my previous review and I don’t intend to do it now. However, I would like to mention that the simplicity of this chapter is what caught my attention. The narrator challenges herself to break the monotony of her life and assert her identity again. She succeeds and stays afloat.
The main character Akhila gets to peep into the lives of these women who also become companions in her journey. Like they say: It’s the journey and not the destination that matters. I am not sure if Akhila found the answers to all the questions that have haunted her for so long. But I am sure that by making an effort to find her answers, Akhila found a lot more than what she was searching for.
Any body can relate to this story. If you are a girl, live in India, fall in the age group that the society considers “eligible for marriage” and your resume is frequently circulated among relatives, shaadi.com and a family pandit – you will thoroughly enjoy this book.
The book is humorous, witty, serious, light hearted and thought provoking – all at the same time and I would suggest it to any body who wants to read a simple and well-written masterpiece.