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Saturday, Dec 04, 2021
Outlook.com
Review

Strong As An Oek

The brave act of creating a heroine who is not stereotypically tall, slim and beautiful. Not an earth-shaking novel, but worth a read.

Strong As An Oek
Strong As An Oek
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Perhaps the single most striking thing about this debut novel is the brave act of creating a heroine who is not stereotypically tall, slim and beautiful. Mohini, born to Keshav and Kamla, arrives in this world a restless and irritable child, and is soon diagnosed with a rare congenital disease. Not expected to live beyond three, she nonetheless survives and her grace, passion and humour take this gentle story, set against the turbulent times of India’s independence, through its telling to its moving end.

The regular blood transfusions Mohini has to be given to stay alive, her gradual surrender to the disease, her loss of control over her body in some way act as metaphors for the larger changes the Oek household is caught up in as India moves from colonial rule to independence. And how Mohini’s grandfather, Vishnupant, prepares to deal with the altered reality of India—to put it in the words of Swami Siddheshwar, "this country is so ancient that endless knowledge and energy must be employed if it is to meet today’s demands". A piece of wisdom that remains as true today as it was then. This is not an earth-shaking novel, but worth a read.

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