Water, her latest, is set in , when the traditions of colonial India were Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel about an exiled child-widow evokes Gandhi’s. A Novel Water by Bapsi Sidhwa. KP. Krishna Patel. Updated 5 June Transcript. Significance. Themes. Lack of women’s rights. Throughout the novel. All about Water: A Novel by Bapsi Sidhwa. LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers.
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Yeah, I’m rankled that they still exist, but I don’t think I’ll be reading this one. I saw the movie, and it broke my heart. It was amazing, but just too sad.
I wrote about it on my blog, if you’re interested, go to the category, “movies” and you’ll find it. I sihwa have it on my Netflix list, but I’m kind of afraid of when it comes. I’m going to need to go get eater more kleenex. The girl in the movie was amazing, by the way. I’m all worn out, just thinking about it. Gosh, yes, the movie made me cry buckets and while the book wasn’t as watee wrenching, I don’t mind admitting I got very teary-eyed towards the end. Watet loved the language in the book and the author’s ability to take very ordinary and mundane domestic scenes, transforming them into enchanting passages just by using her powers of observation and description.
I am very intererested in reading your observations on the movie – thanks for letting me know. But yes she was at that conference yesterday, talked about her movie, answered questions, and raved about canada lol. I will have a post up about it this evening so you can read it!!: Ewwww, this sounds good.
The comments above make it even more intriguing. Onto the TBR list it goes! Do you recommend reading it before or after viewing the film? You’ve written a beautiful review of this book and movie. I read as far as your link to the trailer and then watched it. By the time it ended I was thinking, “I have to read this book before watching the movie. Thnk-you for telling your blogger bpasi about this movie and book.
I may have missed them without you pointing them out. Yeay, I so look forward to your write-up. How lucky you are to have been able to attend that conference! And yes, Deepa Mehta is definitely one of the trinity of film makers that I have such profound respect for – the other sidhwz being Mira Nair and Gurinder Chhadha sp? If your TBR list sidwa anything like mine, I’ll bet you’re sorry to have to add to the already overburdened list: But, at pages it’s a quick read!
Hope you enjoy it. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the review. I saw the movie twice before I read the book.
Water: A Novel
I didn’t even know there was a book until I spotted a copy in an Indian bookshop on my trip back home. I found the book helped explain a lot of the traditions and customs of marriage and widowhood in Indian society. If I had to do it all over again, I might still prefer to read the book after watching the movie.
You bring up a good point – but in the case of “Water”, I think the book provided nice backstories for Chuiya, Shakuntala and Kalyani the movie, due to time constraints couldn’t show us what the lives of these protagonists were like before they became widows. Also, by providing extensive dialogue internal and spoken we are able to understand many things about the narrators that the movie could only hint at.
You are so welcome! Being able to write for such appreciative readers like you all truly makes it so worthwhile. Look out for the movie at the Oscars this year – I’m keeping the fingers of my right hand crossed it wins and the fingers of my left hand are crossed for “Rang De Basanti” which is the Indian film competing with Water! You’ve convinced me about this book, and I have added it to my reading list.
Oh, how I feel the strong restrictive force of schoolwork! I’ll let you know what I think once I read it, and who knows, I might have some questions for you. The trailer was beautiful and intriguing. I’ve added the book to my list and will add the film to my Netflix que.
This is another reason why feminism has to be international. I enjoyed Fire but haven’t seen Water yet. Thanks to your recommendations it’s next on my list. Have you seen The Grave-Keeper’s Tale?
Would welcome a chat over a virtual cup of coffee anytime! I have recently read two books on Nigeria, including your own wonderful “Looming Fog” and I, too, have things I would love to ask you.
Unfortunately, my copy of “Looming Fog” is at my parents’home in Bangalore couldn’t carry it back due to weight restrictionsbut hubby will collect it for me when he visits in November. I agree with you wholeheartedly, India’s loss was Canada’s gain for sure! Don’t get me wrong, I loved “Rang de Basanti” even though I found the ending rather inapporopriate, but “Water” is in a different class altogether – it’s definitely more Oscarworthy than many of the others we have submitted in the past.
You’re welcome, Jenclair It’s an eye-opener and to think it happens to this day! I meant to go for a screening at TIFF but unfortunately there was a scheduling conflict.
Lotus Reads: Water: A Novel by Bapsi Sidhwa
Do you know if it’s “rentable”? Have you seen it? Thanks for always being so enthusiastic about what I review! And stuff like this still goes on today! Amazing that in a world where women can be CEO, presidents, mothers or artists practices even more barbaric than this continue. Hi Lotus, I’m wondering about some specifics about widowhood in the s. If a woman was widowed after having children, what would happen? I bapsii I could stop being lazy and google this.
I’m thinking that if the children were minors, they still needed support from a parent and if they were of age, they might be bapei to support her. Was the ashram the last chance for widows who had ba;si else? Hi, Angela and Anoc Yes, it does go on today, but not to the same extent it did in the ‘s. For instance, widows from rich households no longer have to go to the ashrams because they are no longer considered “bad luck”.
Poorer widows however are either sent to work in people’s homes or in a worse case scenario they go bspsi the ashrams.
There is a wonderful photo slide presentation of the widows of Varnasi as they are today. Take a look if sivhwa can: Thanks for the interest – in those days, whether a widow was rich or poor, childless or with children, when her husband died she was considered a non-person, not just waetr, the family actually considered her jinxed and they were only too relieved to be able to send her off to an ashram and far away from them.
They’d justify it to themselves with the mistaken notion that a widow cannot expect to do anything nobler than worship god all day. Thanks for this review! Sidhwz add sidhsa to my list. Hi, Nomadica Yes, they do, however, I remember reading somewhere that Bapsi Sidhwa wasn’t happy with the title “Earth” – I think she much preferred the book title “Cracking India” but since Deepa Mehta was committed to naming her movies after the elements, Bapsi Sidhwa gave in: Monday, October 09, Water: A Novel by Bapsi Sidhwa.
The year isGandhi is jogging the Indian people from their apathy urging them to fight against British rule and to relinquish archaic Hindu laws like child marriage, the caste system etc; eight-year old Chuiya Little Mouse has just become a widow after the year old man her parents married her off to, succumbed to the deadly thyphoid.
Chuiya hardly even remembers being married to the napsi, but as tradition demands, she has to accompany his dead body to Varnasi, where he will be cremated by the Holy Ghats, after which she is expected to live in a widow’s ashram.
The ashram is not a pretty place. The widows are expected to shave their heads, give up all their material possessions and clothe themselves in a plain white cotton sari without the benefit of even a blouse; they live on just one meal a day. Hapsi festival days they are given paltry alms by temple-goers and on regular days they are given a cup of rice and a fistful eater lentils for every 8-hour session of singing and dancing in temple.
For many widows, this was their only means of sustenance.
On those days when a widow was too sick to perform, she starved. As a widow, Chuiya is not allowed to touch non-widows, she has to take care that even her shadow doesn’t fall on them because she and her shadow are considered polluted.
She is expected to spend most of her time inside the ashram, praying or fasting in atonement for whatever sins caused her husband’s death the Hindus believed that widowhood was the direct consequence of a sinful past life.
As widows were not allowed to remarry, 8-year old Chuiya could very well expect to spend her entire life confined to the ashram Why were widows treated this way wayer India of the ‘s?
In Brahminanical tradition, a woman is recognised as a person only when she is one with her husband. Outside of marriage the wife has no recognized existence, so, when her husband dies, she should cease to exist. The same thinking is responsible for the barbaric act of Sati the self-immolation of a wife on her husband’s funeral pyrewhich fortunately was outlawed in The same thing didn”t hold true for the men,however. Men were allowed to remarry, wateer mistresses wager visit prostitutes.
As one Brahmin man in the book justifies it, “Our holy texts say Brahmins can sleep with whomever they bapei, and the women they sleep with are blessed. It is also a wonderful opportunity to immerse oneself in the delicious language so peculiar to the Indo-Anglian authors of the sub-continent. Bapsi Sidhwa has written a truly stunning novel and I recommend it highly, infact, I would go so far as to call watre an “essential” read because even today there are widow ashrams in Varnasi.
Their inhabitants may not be as young as Chuiya, but the very fact that they still exist in should rankle us. Posted by Lotus Reads at 8: Newer Post Older Post Home.