Monday, June 06, 2005


The Binding Vine - Shashi Deshpande

Just finished a really quick and brief read of Shashi Deshpande's The Binding Vine and while the the book is not perhaps the best written work of Deshpande, it still hits too close to home. And by home here I mean, today's settings.

A book about surviving, perhaps, the worst kind of traumas a woman can undergo. Yes there is rape, but rape under the shelter of marriage, especially the kind that never gerts reported. Also the loss of one's child and coming to terms with grief and life after that. And in typical Deshpande style, there are many other issues simmering below the surface - dynamics in a marriage, filial relations, the fear/fright of a first night for a comely young bride (I could write a whole post on that but will refrain).

Urmila and the various people who help her, directly and indirectly, to get over the grief of losing her daughter Anu. She, in turn, consoles, Sakhutai, whose daughter Kalpana, a victim of a brutal rape, lies lifeless in the hospital and no officia records on this rape are encouraged. The end is , in one way, very open ended but on another note, Urmila does find a closure to her grief.

One thought that I came away with was despair. Women take such crap just so that we will not be alone. I do not understand whats the point of living with some one who is more trouble than not, takes your money, beats you, rapes you, disowns you for other women or neglects you. And then turns around and supposedly protect you. Protects from what am still trying to understand.

This is most definitely a book that will be appreciated more by women than men and if I am not wrong, it is/was at one point, in the syllabi for feminist writers/writings in the BA course from Mumbai University.

Must be an enjoyable read The Binding Vine by Shashi Deshpande . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.
You are right - The Binding Vine was one of the Mumbai University's prescribed texts for the BA course.... But the theme in this dark book was not one of despair but of hope. Hope that the future holds something better for women, hope that the fairer gender is able to defend herself in these still archaic times!!
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