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The turbulent life of an average middle-class wife

Positioning herself as India’s first feminist erotic writer, Shreemoyee Piu Kundu talks about the struggles of an average lower middle-class housewife through Sita’s Curse – her latest book.

Sita’s Curse was initially supposed to be nothing more than a short story. “But then as the plot thickened and I got absorbed into the skin of the character Meera, I realised there was potential for a full length novel. I engaged myself intimately with the history of classical erotica in our country, drinking copious amounts of Kalidasa, Jayadeva and Tamil poet, Andal,” says Kundu. A familiar name in journalistic and literary circles, Kundu, who also dabbled in PR before giving up her lucrative job to be a full-time novelist, says she “became a writer because I relished writing – it was and is the only way I know how to live”.

Between strangers
The tale is about Meera, and her journey from a small town girl in Sinor, Gujarat to a sexually awakened yet unhappily married woman in the suburbs of Mumbai. And the lengths she goes to, to get what she wants. Kundu drew inspiration for her protagonist from a particular Gujarati housewife in Byculla she’d spot daily on her way to work in Mumbai. “Sometimes hanging clothes on a flimsy plastic wire or feeding green chillies to a tota in a cheap wrought iron cage, the Meera of my imagination slowly transformed into a daily obsession. She was a woman with the most melancholic eyes I have seen – like the color of rain, the veins on her face transparent like fish. This is her story,” explains Kundu. But after the floods of 2005, an event that is also central to the book, Kundu never saw her again. “I was also a victim (of the floods), taking three days to reach home, battling a serious viral infection. When I resumed work, she was gone,” she informs.

Kundu hopes to start working on Rahula, a political tragedy based on the son of Gautam Buddha soon. Rs. 262 on amazon.in

— Rashmi Rajagopal

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