A Booker Prize 2020 nominee “Girl in White Cotton” was definitely a pick up for me. Though, Avni Doshi was a first time read, the book sets the spark from page one.
So we have a mother who refuses to acknowledge her daughter’s existence. A daughter who wants to end the unscrupulous relationship with her mother. The book describes the bond between a mother and daughter thwarted by dilapidated past and impenitent ideologies.
The story is set in the backdrop of the Pune city. The journey scaled by the duo is tedious, remorseless and extremely poignant. Tara breaks the shackles of an obscure marriage and goes on to live in the hides of an ashram with her daughter, Antara. The escape from captivity is a chase for freedom so long lost by the idiosyncrasies of the unblemished culture and rituals.
The formative years of Antara are challenging and in solitude. She develops a love-hate relationship with her mother walled by ambiguity and treachery. As she grows up, she wears the hat of an artist, picturing her insecurities. Tara is diagnosed with diminishing memory and Antara comes to her rescue. As a conscientious care taker, Antara leaves no stone unturned to make her mother well.
The book juggles between the complexity of emotions and how vulnerable relations can make you. If deceit is a harbinger of our wrecked emotions, we find love to act as a balm on the repressed wounds. The story so beautifully captures this set of expression. In between the read, we also welcome some shades of grey when Antara gets involved with her mother’s paramour.
The Take Away
We are what we live. But, if we live with a haunted past to define our present, we are mutilating the essence of our very being. The book dissects the analogy of human mind, its fears and its impact on perceptions and actions.
Be ready to dissect a relationship which so unbelievingly exists.