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For the Love of a Man

Father, lover, husband, son, have let me down one by one.
Each time I fell on life’s terrain, another’s help I sought to gain
Each one jerked his hand away and, heartlessly walked away.
Each time, something within me died, as feelings numbed and crystallized.
Each stab, each wound, each little prick, scarred and hardened into a brick,
That turned my heart into a fort, which could now stand, without support.
I have done with sighs and anguished cries; with love and longing, lust and lies,
After elusive shadows, long I ran, never again, will I crave the love of a man.
From now on, it just my dog and me and a book beneath a shady tree.

Amrita is forced to submit to an arranged marriage though she loves another. As long as she remains the image of glorified femininity, she blends into the background, for that is what Indian womanhood is all about. She grows corns standing on the pedestal and steps down to do what pleases her. Her virtue is irrevocably stained when she gives in to an unsuitable lover. All too soon the price of illicit love exceeds its pleasures.

Her parents condemn her, her sons despise her and her husband tightens the chains of matrimony despite her infidelity. There is shame and blame and a devouring isolation. In an attempt to retain her sanity, she flees to the Himalayas. In those lofty reaches she finds a startlingly simple solution to her problems – she has to look inwards for the peace evaded her.


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When a Mighty Tree Falls

This is the story of the 1984 riots and the effect it has on an obscure Sikh couple, Lajo and Kujlit, residing in a resettlement colony in Delhi. Their Hindu landlord, Vikram, lusts after Lajo who succumbs to his advances and conceives, though she has been childless for years. Kuljit is delighted and Vikram, she vows, will never know.

Indira Gandhi’s assassination triggers the birth of a premature baby. Kuljit is brutally murdered in the ensuing anti-Sikh riots, and Lajo starts afresh in ‘Widow’s Colony’, perhaps the only one of its kind in the world. Her son, Sharan, grows up in an environment of anger and hate. Later, a reunion with Vikram makes Lajo realize that the Hindu–Sikh divide was the mischief of politicians with vested interests. Appalled at the fanaticism she has instilled in her son, she tries to undo the wrong but in vain. The inevitable follows. Sharan learns about his mother’s perfidy, murders Vikram, and suffers from an acute identity crisis.


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