Gita V. Reddy’s collection of short stories, The Vigil and Other Stories, deals mainly with the many emotions and problems faced by women in Indian society. Each story competes with the other to gain one’s attention. There is sure to be a character in each of these stories that a woman in India can identify with.
My personal favorites are The Gift and Sita’s Lives. The Gift is about an artist who is solitary, whose art is inspired by unrequited love. The way the story is told on how the heroine has suffered, would move anyone to tears.
Sita’s Lives is about the mental torture of Sita, at being abandoned by her Lord, whom she loved a lot. The reader is able to empathize with Sita as the story is narrated by Rohini, a character who has suffered similarly in her life.
The Vigil is about the feelings of a busy executive, Naina, whose pregnancy comes at an inconvenient time. How she learns to appreciate the little life within her, and comes to terms with her pregnancy forms the crux of the story.
Time and Space is about Pramila, a lady in the dusk of her life, aching for some time for herself. It is interesting to read and find out how she succeeds in this dream of hers.
Open Court is about a woman who has to travel alone at night in a bus filled with chauvinistic people. It reflects the common mindset of people of our society.
Delusions is the story of a very understanding husband and wife, both actors. It is interesting to find out how each one of the couple surprises the other with their love and understanding.
A slightly irritating, but likable character has been portrayed in the story Mr. Krishnan. The title character is a field officer in a bank who is quite a chivalrous man wanting to help others. But his habit of having sudden chest pains is a cause of discomfort to others living with him. Also, he has a car that is falling apart, which he uses to help others.
In Life and Death of Shiva the author has dealt with the mystery of relationships and life, even philosophy. Shiva is a mysterious person who believes that death should come naturally. However, the narrator is surprised when Shiva is found to have committed suicide. As they try to solve the puzzle, several truths come out of the closet.
A Dangerous Bend deals with the demons a woman has to struggle with when she comes to know that there was someone else in her husband’s life. The story is all about how she learns to live with it.
Alive is a tale about a pathetic street child, who has become so apathetic that he notices nothing. How he comes to cherish love and companionship is interesting.
The Square is about four artists, thick friends at art school, who meet five years after graduation. Three of them have been successful and had developed their own styles, but the fourth one is an enigma. What happens at their reunion is what one gets to read.
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- There is so much of insight and wisdom in each of the stories.
- We are able to visualize the characters and their struggles through her stories.
- Gita Reddy has written, in a captivating manner, about people we see in everyday life.
- We can see a philosophical touch in stories like Dreams can Tell and The Seeker.
- The Gift and The Square teach even a novice to appreciate art.
- Alive shows us the importance of love and companionship.
- Time and Space and Dreams can tell show us it is important for a woman to look after her own happiness too.
- Patience and wisdom are the qualities of the women characters of Gita Reddy that would haunt us for a long time.
Engross yourself in Gita Reddy’s musings on womanhood in the land of her stories.