Review : Gently Falls The Bakula

Posted: June 16, 2009 in Reviews

Book: Gently Falls The Bakula
Author: Sudha Murty
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 01-feb-2009

Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd

About This Book:
‘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 an 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 his uncomplaining shadow, silently fulfilling her duties as a corporate 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.

My Views:

When I had picked up the book from the book store I had no idea of reading it so soon but just reading the first page drew me in to the story . I loved it from Line one. Summary on the book cover gives you a fair idea of what the story is but only by reading it do you understand the emotions filled in to the story . When I read about Shrimati , the protagonist ,I remembered so many women I knew who had done the same for their spouses.The commitment ,the sacrifices that go unsung and un noticed by the family and their husbands is not new but its very rarely talked about and much more rarely written about in such a beautiful manner. Women according to Indian traditions and so to say many other world cultures are supposed to stay at home ,cook and take care of the family willingly or unwillingly. This has come down from ages and not many households have changed their view on women’s rights or their independence financially or career wise.You might say that modern culture is different but look closely , Is it really that different? Even career women are expected to do what she would have done if she had stayed at home. Working doesn’t exempt her from being subjected to taunts from in laws or sometimes husband. Not generalising it but 70% of women go thru it.

Characters are really well written, and plot holds the imagination of the reader up to the last page. The idyllic life of Hubli-Dharwad, the harshness and hustle bustle of Mumbai are pictured in a way only Sudha Murthy could have done.The book neither justifies nor glorifies anybody ,but it tells a good deal about our choices ,be it good ones or bad ones , or the ones that make us who we are today. I loved the ending and I think it couldn’t have been concluded in a better way.

I would highly recommend this book. Read it and do tell me how you felt about it.

  1. Jenners says:

    Great review! I think you are right on … whether you play the role of "dutiful wife" or "career woman" or whatever, you still have to do all the stuff you would have done …

    Sounds like a very thought-provoking book. I'll have to check it out.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your review was so well writen that I think I dont even need to read the book.

    Most of Sudha Murthy's books bring characters to life in a very easy and warm way but the meanings are so powerful and touching. I remember feeling the same when I read her book, "Dollar Bahu" which was on slightly similar lines.

    Manju Kapur's novels like "Home" and "The Immigrant" are also powerful portraits of Indian women who are expected to play the role of the dutiful wive and manage to somehow bring in money. I really think these writers have brought great value to Indian writing in English.

    I look forward to reading more reviews from you. So, do keep writing.