A close-up on the Disobedient women of Sangeeta Mulay's new novel
Set in present-day India, anti-superstition campaigner Aparna's life gets torn apart by something as fleeting as a tweet. A tweet that sets in motion a chain of events designed to bring about her downfall. A tweet that most likely would have ended up forgotten in the chaos of cyberspace, if not for a tiny detail. It was an act of disobedience, a cry for equality in a patriarchal society.
As her story unravels, so do the people around her. Men and women. Friends and family. Strangers. They all have an opinion about what she is supposed to do and what her duty is. But Aparna has a different definition of what duty and honour mean. Will she be able to make a change? For her, her daughter, and all the other women too? Or will she take a step back? As the past entwines with the present, Sangeeta Mulay delivers a compelling novel of raw emotion and explores the political and societal conflicts which influence an Indian women's ability to choose her direction in life.
Read an extract here:
“Now go and stand over that newspaper behind the curtain.
Hand over your clothes to me, one by one. Make sure you stand
completely over the newspaper so that any evidence is collected.
I will examine the clothes and write down my observations.”
Aparna hobbled to the curtain. She took off her sari and handed it to the doctor.
“White sari with a red border. Signs of brown smudges. Measure these and record them in the report,” the doctor said to her pale-faced assistant. Aparna handed over her other garments one by one, as instructed. The doctor kept up a steady stream of commentary which her assistant noted.
“Yellow and orange cotton bandhani-print blouse, and white cotton panties. A splodge of blood on the panties. Write down the measurements of the stain.”
The assistant scribbled.
“I’m going to examine your whole body, starting with your hair. This may take some time,” the doctor said.
Aparna could clearly see the printed paper with columns titled: injuries, fractures, nail marks, bite marks, cuts, lesions, boils, discharges, and stains. Her slumped body found the energy to nod.
The four main characters:
Aparna - a courageous campaigner of rationality and freedom of expression. Will the patriarchal grip of a religious society manage to silence her?
Hari – the passionate founder of a religious organization. As Hari becomes a rising star for the local Hindu right-wing, will he lose himself?
Naseem - Aparna's wise daughter who is discovering her sexuality. Will she have the strength to stand up for her mother against societal stigma?
Kashi - Hari's daughter who is in love with science and…girls? Confused about her sexuality, will she be able to lead a life on her own terms?
About the Author:
Sangeeta Mulay was born in Pune in India and now currently works in London as a UX writer. She received an honourable mention in the 2021 NYC midnight micro-fiction challenge. Her book for young adults, ‘Savitribai Phule and I’ was a notable book of 2020 for The Bombay Review. She has also had a short story highly commended in the Sydney Hammond short story competition. Another of Mulay’s short stories will be published in a 2022 Fox and Windmill anthology.
Disobedient Women by Sangeeta Mulay is released on November 25th, 2022 with Fly on the Wall Press.
*Shipped to arrive on or before this date.
By Stacy Pylarinou