‘Another Man’s Wife’ is one of the titles in the collection of nine women-orientated stories beautifully told in a poetic detail with easy flow.
Manjul Bajaj, is a good observer of people’s expressions and mannerisms, her description of characters helps you relate to the persons you might have met sometime in your lifetime.
On page 107 she writes
Nusrat never fussed or hemmed about telling a story like other storytellers do. No clearing of the throat or slipping of a clove into her mouth or asking for water or tea. It was as if the story of the day was in the air surrounding her, waiting to be plucked out and told. “Listen then,” she would say, tilt her head to one side and simply begin
On page 207 she beautifully chalks up the love affair between heaven and earth during rainy season, she writes
Weeding the vegetable patch in the homestead, Kuheli looked with happiness at her maize crop dancing in the breeze. After three successive years of drought, the rain has come pelting down this chaumasa season. The gods had finally stopped clearing their throats and were singing without restraint, the joyful song of falling rain. Heaven and earth were in love again and many good things would be born of their passionate coming together.
I love her style of writing and her bold descriptions of sensual moments, showing sensitivity and insights, the writings that very few Indian writers dare to explore. On page 282 she writes
Betrayed by her knees, she shut her eyes tight and slid down slowly to the floor, pulling him to her, over her, into her. The river of time was breaking all around her in swift spasms, rising, falling, thrusting, heaving, twisting, turning, shuddering, gasping and finally crying out aloud. She heard him whisper her name over and over again, like life-saving mantra, as he climaxed.
On page 144 she resonates my thoughts on women, she writes:
I wanted to tell her that we virtuous women set too much store by our virtue. If we don’t let the man who love us take our body, time will take it anyway, without passion, indifferent to its beauty. I no longer believe that there are thick dossiers on each of us in the heavens and a record kept of our every deed and omission. At most each of us is given four or five chances at happiness. At the hour of reckoning we are left alone with ourselves to answer this- did we grab our opportunities with open arms or did we let them slip through our fingers, did we squander those chances or make something of them, did we sit our life out on the earth caged in prisons of our own making or did we have the faith and courage to walk out and know ourselves as the inheritors of the world and all that it has to offer?
'Another Man's Wife' has been an excellent read for me, I surprised myself when I took 2 days off the social network and paused all my other activities to cuddle with this book and walk with the author, Manjul Bajaj, into the interiors of India, passing through the villages, the deep forest, the Mango orchards, the markets, into the huts, the Shikaras, the private homes, feeling the spirit of a particular community and getting entangled into the folds of women’s mind.
I would highly recommend this book to all those who like women-oriented stories.