Mahasweta by Sudha Murthy
Sudha Murthy’s books are easy reads, available and are based on the real Indian women and their struggles. All or most of her books have heroines from Karnataka and the freshness and simplicity of her writing doesn’t let you give up on her books. And still I never really did pick up her books. Why? you may ask and I would say what can a techie, wife of the most celebrated and famous industrialist and founder of Infosys, could possibly write – I judged her books without reading it – a crime that I am ashamed of.
When our friend told us that she had really liked Mahasweta, my sis-in-law rushed to her office library and snagged a copy right away. She gave it to me before she read it as she had another one she was ankle deep into. And without reading much about it (of course I did remember Priya’s glowing review) I jumped into it. It was a fast and light read but the things that it talked about touched me deeply.
At the heart of it, Mahasweta is the story of Anupama, hailing from a very poor family from Karnataka. She is a very bright student and is studying on scholarships. She also works for NGOs and is interested in Sanskrit literature and does a lot of stage plays based on stories long forgotten. She meets Anand, a doctor from a very affluent and wealthy family, they fall in love with each other, get married ( though Anand’s mom is not keen, she agrees in fear of losing her son). Anand leaves after marriage to pursue his studies to US and leaves behind Anupama who would join him later because Anand’s mom wants her to host the Lakshmi Puja in which the whole city is invited and perform the puja herself, which is a big deal for his mother. Everything goes well for Anupama and she is living her dreams until one day she notices a white patch on her leg. Her fears are confirmed by the doctor, who tells her she is suffering from leucoderma. WHat happens next and how her life changes is the main theme of this book.
Leucoderma changed Anupama’s life, but more importantly it changed how people looked at her. The social reactions, the pity and being accused of having something like this before marriage. People in Anupama’s village reacted as well. And the pain, the shame of it all, I think Sudha Murthy has been very successful in capturing the emotions that bind our lives.
ANother thing that really touched me is the epilogue in which the author recounts a real life story of a women who suffered from leucoderma after her engagement. It was a very touching story and it was a great reminder of how this book changed someone’s life. I highly recommend this book.