Status: Read from Jun 18 to Jun 18, 2016
My rating: /5
Author: Sudha Murty
“Shrikant was restless…Holding a bakula flower in his palm, he was wondering why he was fascinated by this tiny flower, that was neither as beautiful as a rose nor had the fragrance of a jasmine or a champaka. And yet, it was very special to him. It held an inexplicable attraction for him.”
Shrimati and Shrikant are neighbours and star students of their school in the small north Karnataka town of Hubli. It leaves no one in surprise when they come first and second respectively in the final Board exams. Soon Shrikant discovers he is strangely attracted to Shrimati, a plain looking yet charming person, who always does better than him in the exams. Shrimati too falls in love with the amiable and handsome Shrikant and the two get married. Shrikant joins IT company and starts rapidly climbing the corporate ladder. He works relentlessly and reaches the pinnacle of his industry, while Shrimati abandons her academic aspirations and becomes leader’s wife. But one day, while talking to an old professor, she starts examining what she has done with her life and realizes it is dismally empty…
Gently Falls the Bakula is the story of a marriage that loses its way as ambition and self-interest take their toll. Written nearly three decades ago, Sudha Murty’s first novel remains startlingly relevant in its scrutiny of modern values and work ethics.
As usual this is sort simple story. This is story to two different individuals Shrikant and Shrimati Deshpande. They both have very different approach towards life. Shrikant is a very ambitious young lad where as Shrimati is an intelligent yet simple girl. They both get married and start their live together in a new city. Shrikant joins an IT firm and soon reaches the pinnacle of his industry. He puts all his passion and love for his job. On the other hand, Shrimati abandons all her dreams and ambitions to help Shrikant make his dreams come true. She becomes a fulltime homemaker and helps Shrikant by becoming a leader’s wife.
This story points towards the typical Indian society where the girl abandons all her academic aspirations after marriage to accompany her husband. But here there was no pressure on Shrimati to leave her dreams. But she herself was too submissive to give up her aspirations to look after Shrikant. In the beginning of their lives together even Shrikant insists her to join in a college and continue her studies and research. But she denied and kept postponing her plans. But her submissiveness made Shrikant to take her for granted. Shrikant was so hungry for success in his career, that he put all his soul to his industry. He started growing in his professional life and achieved success in all steps. And Shrimati became just a tool to help him in his basic needs. The quote from the book aptly describes the nature of Shrikant:
“Initially men work for money but soon, money becomes unimportant. It is power. There is nothing like power. Power is like liquor. Once the intoxication of power catches hold of an ambitious person, there is no escape from it. It is a vicious circle. Like in a whirlpool, it is difficult to come out of it. More work, more involvement and more power. The individual loses the ability to see and enjoy anything outside his work. He is immersed in work throughout the day. Work is his breath. What happens when such people grow old? All the pages in their book of life will be empty, except the page of achievement. Shrikant’s book will contain different computer languages, different specifications and products, but nothing about his wife, family or friends. ”
Shrimati stays in touch with Professor Collins, who time and again stated to Shrimati that he can arrange a scholarship for her and she can continue her studies. Shrimati realizes very late that, Shrikant loves his career more than her. Shrimati just becomes a personal secretary to entertain Shrikant’s business partners in his life. She realizes that there is no more love, affection and meaning to their relations. And she cannot blame anyone else for this. She is the one responsible for her situation now. She gave all power and authority to Shrikant to behave with her like this, to take her for granted by giving up her everything for him and his success in his career. Now when she looks back, she has nothing. Her life is empty.
This when she decides that she has to become a student once more to give a meaning to her life, to do something to makes her happy.
This is a simple story questioning the choice that a woman make and are they happy with their choice. Are they happy with the sacrifices they do for the success of their partner?
About the Author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.
Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.